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Old 10-03-2015, 12:39 PM   #1
StefanHultberg
Dojo: Roskilde
Location: Roskilde
Join Date: Jul 2015
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yonkyo musings..

Yonkyo (sometimes called kote osae) is a sublimely interesting technique in aikido. For starters it works on some people and not on others. When it works, though, it REALLY hurts!

In our dojo we have both sorts, some of which wince at even the thought of yonkyo and some who basically do not feel it. For the ones who feel it the pain is just horrible, the kind that renders not only the arm but also the body and mind helpless and willing to surrender regardless of terms. Even so, the frustration as you focus all your power into grinding that 3rd index finger joint deeply into uke's nonexistant yonkyo point is horrible too. Uke laughs and winks, signalling that whatever dark powers you try to send into his arm – he is not subdued and a clap is not forthcoming.

We do have an understanding with sensei, though – he knows who have yonkyo points and who don't. Therefore when the non-yonkyo-point-bearers (NYPB's) are uke's at grade testings they clap and show pain in their faces when subjected to yonkyo. Sensei knows and accepts that it would have been an effective technique if applied to a yonkyo-point-bearer (YPB).

Applying yonkyo to a non-yonkyo-point-bearer is not a good idea, but since you cannot know beforehand you have to have a backup ready when applying yonkyo. Basically I think one should always have a few backup techniques up one's sleave but this is especially true wtih yonkyo. From a failed yonkyo one can easily change to e.g. sankyo (kote hineri) which will work immediately and beautifully on basically everyone, including NYPB's. Atemi should be available at any time, not least in order to distract uke from taking advantage of a failed technique.

Anatomically yonkyo attacks the radial nerve and the periosteum of the radius bone, the latter especially while applying the technique ura waza. Yonkyo also directly attacks the lung meridian of traditional chinese medicine. Since the lung meridian represents the first entry point and intitial circulation of ki this is comparable to closing the tap for the garden hose, the whole system gets starved. Furthermore, yonkyo is applied quite close to the “liè que” point (“broken sequence”, lu7) of the lung meridian. The name “broken sequence” refers to the fact that at this point the lung meridan connects the large intestine meridian, meaning that both meridians – which represent the yin and the yang components of the metal element are affected. The metal element, interestingly, represents analytical thinking, which means that yonkyo may represent simultaneous pain and brainfreeze, a simultaneous lock on body and mind.

A little extra finesse is that the yonkyo ura-waza application includes an excursion of the 3rd index finger joint to the urine bladder meridian (in the so-called masunaga extension system). The urine bladder meridian is a part of the water element which is supposed to represent the innermost reserves of ki, so in addition to closing at the source the innermost reserves are blocked.

In fact, I have observed that few techniques seem to drain people as yonkyo ura-waza as performed in the takemusu aikido system that I practice, a traditional aikido style which traces its lineage via Ulf Evenås Sensei and Saito Sensei to O-Sensei.

One may speculate whether extra focus on “ki-aspects”, e.g. through breathing, optimized body posture etc., could improve efficacy of yonkyo also when applied to “NYPB's”.

Yonkyo thoughts anyone ??

Stefan Hultberg

Last edited by StefanHultberg : 10-03-2015 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 10-03-2015, 12:57 PM   #2
rugwithlegs
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
Location: Durham, NC
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Re: yonkyo musings..

http://john-hillson.blogspot.com/2012/02/yonkyo.html

An old entry.

I did study at a school that said what you are saying, that it may not work. What I found was they had a restrictive definition of what Yonkyo was, and they did indeed do several techniques that were what I learned as Yonkyo. We won't do any techniques exactly the same way if Uke is resisting or ready for them, I wouldn't do Kotegaeshi on someone who put his hands in his armpits, but for Yonkyo some groups have a very tight definition.

Some people will talk about how they prefer Iriminage, but they are actually holding the arm and head with Yonkyo. Can people ignore pain, or are their nerves affected? Yes, same with Kotegaeshi or Sankyo done without kuzushi and a focus on control.
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Old 10-03-2015, 02:24 PM   #3
Cliff Judge
Location: Kawasaki, Kanagawa
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Yonkyo is not just a pressure point attack, its a way of getting into a position where you can use your whole center to keep ukes posture broken and control him. You don't have the kyusho point properly unless you can get your whole center into it. So it doesn't matter how much pain you are inflicting, you should be able to control ukes body through that point anyway.

It is apparently a core technique with multiple aspects in Hakko ryu. I don't think I have seen it exactly in Daito ryu, but there are a couple other points that are hit in the lower kata sequences.
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:45 PM   #4
rugwithlegs
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Left out a couple of tidbits I found since writing the blog entry above.

Kisshomaru Doshu's book Aikido had a Kote Hineri Tekubi Osae technique - Sankyo and Yonkyo at the same time. A Shodokan Aikido school had something similar. A morote Dori Yonkyo technique I had to learn for nikyu was arguably a Kote mawashi Tekubi Osae - nikyu and Yonkyo at the same time. And the pin is an ude Hineri at the same time too. Hope I have the names correct.
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Old 10-04-2015, 03:11 AM   #5
StefanHultberg
Dojo: Roskilde
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Interesting points, I think I will monopolize our most yonkyo-point-devoid aikidoka in the club and do some serious yonkyo experimenting the next few weeks

Optimized body posture and control without too much focus on the specific point sounds quite intriguing.

Stefan
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Old 10-04-2015, 05:34 PM   #6
Janet Rosen
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Re: yonkyo musings..

As nage I never stand there trying to get the pressure point; I aim for where it "should be" and work on achieving the progressive lock-up that, as I was taught it, is the actual yonkyo.
Since I am a non-sensitive uke vis a vis the nerve thing, I can testify that yonkyo is HIGHLY effective considered as a joint lock providing for progressive immobilization up the arm, across the shoulders and to uke's center...if that is how one envisions it.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-04-2015, 07:56 PM   #7
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
Location: Oceanside, California
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Yonkyo is a kyudansha test requirement in our organization. Several years back a friend was testing and I agreed to practice with him in preparation for the next six weeks - with one caveat; I would only agree to suffer five yonkyo on each wrist each night. I am one of the unfortunate ones who can't tolerate yonkyo. I got tears in my eyes just reading the previous posts! Comes test night and my friend did a wonderful job on everything Sensei and the test panel called out, but they never called for yonkyo. I sat there on the edge of the mat and looked at the black and blue bruises on both wrists and muttered unkind words under my breath. Great body locking technique and damned if I don't hate it.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 10-05-2015, 02:10 AM   #8
StefanHultberg
Dojo: Roskilde
Location: Roskilde
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Re: yonkyo musings..

I do enjoy reading these comments, especially the one about tears in one's eyes. Yes, aikido can be very painful, but I try to think that the pain, for some inexplicable martial arts reason, is good for me - at least it teaches me to accept pain.

Interestingly, about yonkyo, William Gleason writes:

The main point is that you must cause uke to push into your hand and receive his power in you hara and your legs. As you allow his pushing to enter directly into your hara, he will be moved.

He continues:

This makes it comfortable to apply the water mudra just above his wrist.

Interesting indeed!!

All the best to everyone on this beautiful morning - the first time I am allowed to practice aikido for 5 weeks after my stupid pacemaker implant Yonkyo I think !!

Stefan
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Old 10-05-2015, 08:42 AM   #9
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: yonkyo musings..

ran into folks in both categories. usually, i told folks to think of holding a sword where the tip of the sword is uke's shoulder, then try to behead uke with his own arm. i swear, one of these days, i would run into a really big, nasty, and ugly nage who would rip my arm off and beat me with it, and i would say "see! that works, right?!!"

i have known to advise uke to apply tiger balm to their wrists before those yonkyo practices. it's fun to watch nage reactions in the changing room.

Last edited by phitruong : 10-05-2015 at 08:44 AM.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 10-05-2015, 11:40 AM   #10
Devon Smith
Dojo: Hakkoryu Kenshinkan Dojo
Location: Michigan
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Re: yonkyo musings..

Hello from a Hakkoryu guy! And forgvive me, my Aikido exposure is really small.

I think what you folks are describing as Yonkyo could be compared to Hakkoryu's Yondan-gi teachings. It involves some pressure to the inside of the arm rather than twisting a wrist. For anyone not familiar with Hakkoryu, it could be thought of as a sister or brother of Aikido when it comes to roots, I suppose.

Hakkoryu's Yondan-gi is super secret though, and I'm not allowed to share details! Such is the writing of the ryu, but being in good stead with Hakkoryu and the fact that most of you realize that what I write can't sink in without a little one-on-one experience (shades of IHBT) here you go.

In Hakkoryu, the pressure inside on the "in" or "yin" targets the meridians (lines) themselves, not specific points. Lung, Pericardium and Heart are all fair game.

This isn't really any secret stuff, but the application may not be a finger, but a bigger part of the hand. And it's not a "look, I can hurt this person!" thing either. The reason Hakkoryu puts this late in its syllabus is for a reason. It's not something to rely on. In Hakkoryu, the previous teachings should serve well; good, solid jujutsu.

Hakkoryu's number one teaching is "relax".

Devon

Last edited by Devon Smith : 10-05-2015 at 11:52 AM.
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