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Old 11-02-2015, 10:34 AM   #1
Star Dragon
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Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Hi people,

Recently, I was thinking about the optimal way of doing Ikkyo. Or Ikkajo, or Ude-osae, or the straight arm bar, as it is called in various martial arts. I don't mean to limit this discussion to the way it's done in Aikido. If possible, I would like to see this technique considered in more universal terms, on the level what works best given the human anatomy. I imagine that some of you might have some knowledge of Jiu-jitsu and other arts that use arm locks.

Let's start with the method to control uke's elbow, as there are different takes on how to go about doing that. Aikidoka will generally apply their sword hand to uke's elbow. But does this still work when we are already in a position with uke's arm right in front of us touching our body, with no room for our "unbendable arm"?

Other styles use the part of the forearm below the elbow to press a point above uke's elbow joint; some even strike the area by the bottom of the fist (the so called hammerfist); some go for the triceps tendon or even the shoulder instead.

Did any of you ever study and compare such different ways of getting this basic arm bar on?

One common form is to push the elbow towards uke's head first. I have only seen that in Aikido so far. What's the merit of doing that? Surely, it's a way to break uke's balance. In Aikido Toho Iai it is said however that this method has no relation to sword fighting and actually endangers tori as there would be plenty of opportunity for uke to hit tori meanwhile.

Please give me your thoughts and experiences on initiating this technique.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:00 PM   #2
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

The arm bar is the least important part of ikkyo or whatever you call it. If you want to know what is the most effective way, its whatever you can do to take uke's balance as soon as you touch, or before.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:42 PM   #3
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

I think if you're thinking of ikkyo as an armbar, rather than a center control, you're probably defining it too narrowly. Once you have uke in a sufficiently compromised position, you can do whatever you want to his elbow.

Katherine
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Old 11-02-2015, 02:27 PM   #4
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

I agree with the above points. Both ways that you described are ineffective.
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Old 11-02-2015, 02:37 PM   #5
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

In Daito Ryu, Ikkajo is a list of 30ish techniques. Most look like the core movement is similar to the Ki Society Ikkyo Undo. I give myself permission to make a wedge shape to attack the center.

I believe John Stevens translated the one phrases as "Iriminage and Shihonage take ten years to master all the variations, Ikkyo takes your whole life."

I learned Shomenuchi Ikkyo Omote as come in as the hand is raising and help the elbow up over Uke's eye socket. Almost felt like a palm strike. Shomenuchi Ikkyo hamni handachi, Sensei told me it was the inspiration for the dokka, "you must stare death in the face and receive 99% of the attack." No footwork, just lead it in and down. Now, my teacher tells me to end close and lead out. I used to be told to cut and then step in to sweep or strike.

When I look at Budo, in the 1930s it seems Ikkyo had a much broader definition than my 5th kyu test did.

It's an interesting question.
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Old 11-02-2015, 05:38 PM   #6
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

My sense of ikkyo is pretty limited compared to most, but here are three example I particularly like and try to emulate, the last one being from my own teacher.

Shibata Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4oAP8w_FZE
Gleason Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCr_-Sewj-8
Barrish Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvrq-fPXDiE

Last edited by mathewjgano : 11-02-2015 at 05:41 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:29 PM   #7
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
My sense of ikkyo is pretty limited compared to most, but here are three example I particularly like and try to emulate, the last one being from my own teacher.

Shibata Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4oAP8w_FZE
Gleason Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCr_-Sewj-8
Barrish Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvrq-fPXDiE
Thanks for that. Bill Gleeson's version is very similar to what I have been learning, but I think all 3 videos have something to offer. Definitely worth checking out.
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:13 AM   #8
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
The arm bar is the least important part of ikkyo or whatever you call it. If you want to know what is the most effective way, its whatever you can do to take uke's balance as soon as you touch, or before.
Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I think if you're thinking of ikkyo as an armbar, rather than a center control, you're probably defining it too narrowly. Once you have uke in a sufficiently compromised position, you can do whatever you want to his elbow.

Katherine
Alright, from your replies I gather that breaking the uke's balance is the crucial issue here. I also understand that this can be done in more ways than one.
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:21 AM   #9
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

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Patrick Buchbinder wrote: View Post
Alright, from your replies I gather that breaking the uke's balance is the crucial issue here. I also understand that this can be done in more ways than one.
That's true, but the arm is not the key to any of them. Sure, you can hurt the arm using pressure points etc., but at the end of the day, that isn't a particularly effective technique. As a matter of fact, as a mechanical arm-bar, ikkyo is a highly ineffective technique. To me, that is a clue that it isn't supposed to be a mechanical arm bar.
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:27 AM   #10
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
My sense of ikkyo is pretty limited compared to most, but here are three example I particularly like and try to emulate, the last one being from my own teacher.

Shibata Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4oAP8w_FZE
Gleason Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCr_-Sewj-8
Barrish Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvrq-fPXDiE
Thanks for sharing. A few comments.

Shibata's considerations are probably significant on an abstract level, but I am not sure if/how this would translate to a self-defence situation which would obviously start out very differently. Unlikely that the opponent would offer you a tegatana to tinker with.

Gleason doesn't look like he is really controlling uke sufficiently. He would better move in closer. If his uke were non-compliant, he would be in trouble. Imho.

I find Barrish's small movement approach rather convincing. Wham, down uke goes. Your teacher seems to take a fairly realistic approach (as evident not least from the BOB dummy standing near the mat ). I like this guy.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:09 AM   #11
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

When trying to use the arm to achieve ikkyo, you are basically trying to "bend the unbendable arm". That is no good.
Lately we have been studying the Ikkyo curve (George Ledyard) and combined with how you need to position your arms (body) on the inside of this curve (Gleason) which was very revealing
Eventually we translated that to 'our form' of Nobuyoshi Tamura.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:11 AM   #12
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

I tried to post a reply to Matthew (a comment on his three videos) several hours ago, but I got a message that it needs to be approved by a moderator or something like that. I hope it will show up soon...
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:39 AM   #13
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

From my perspective, ikkyo is not an arm bar. Most of our kansetsu waza are not "locks" in the sense that our goal is not to isolate the joint and damage it. Most joint locks, like an arm bar, isolate the joint to prevent the body from defending it. That component is not necessary in aikido; some instructors may even advocate that is how you better control the body, by allowing it to move in defense of the joint being attacked - this is compliance technique.

Is this ikkyo?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5IcDZQCMls
my vote is, yes.

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Old 11-03-2015, 12:29 PM   #14
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Ikkyo is a control of center by cutting -- and it is a tai jutsu analogue of sword engagement in at least three basic variations:

1) Kiri-otoshi
2) Suri-otoshi
3) Suri-age

Most of what is done as "basic" ikkyo omote is in the mode of 2. 3 is the entry mode of ikkyo ura. 1 is seen in a standing "draw" cut ikkyo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WNXeXMMqKU

YMMV

Cordially,

Erick Mead
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Old 11-03-2015, 12:30 PM   #15
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
John Hillson wrote: View Post
In Daito Ryu, Ikkajo is a list of 30ish techniques. Most look like the core movement is similar to the Ki Society Ikkyo Undo. I give myself permission to make a wedge shape to attack the center.
There are some technical aspects shared by Aikido's ikkyo and really a whole bunch of different Daito ryu kata in the Hiden Mokuroku, they aren't all in the Ikkajo set.

I firmly believe ikkyo is derived from Daito ryu's first kata, Ippon Dori.

Here is what Ippon Dori is all about.

The "metaplot" of this kata is that you are being attacked by a guy who has his sword out, and he means to cut you straight in half. You enter as he lifts his sword and take his balance as you touch him. You need to be early enough that you aren't pushing uke back up - if you are late, you do the ura version.

You don't need to keep the aiki on as you take uke down - if you get uke in the right spot with timing / kiai / chutzpah, then its your fault if they get enough room to maneuver out of the pin. But, I think Aikido's ikkyo evolved out of explorations of how to keep the aiki connection the entire time.

Though I think the original kata - at least the way we do it in the main school - really is hugely valuable in terms of teaching how to GET IN THERE before that sword comes down. I guess that principle is generally subsumed under the study of "irimi" in Aikido. Its very "this is the most important principle of the art and you are shown it in the very first kata"-ish.

(And fwiw, Saotome Sensei has said that "ikkyo means first movement." That implies that the entry is the most important thing in ikkyo, as it is in ippon dori.)

People don't tend to perform shomenuchi like they are really trying to cut you in half among the people I do Aikido with, its more like a kendo cut what we do. So you can't get in before the strike starts to come down, because it never went up high enough, and if you try to get in physically its clashy / impactful and doesn't result in a good Aikido technique. BUT - training ippon dori teaches you to enter "energetically" as Ledyard Sensei might say, and that can really change the way you do ikkyo.

P.S. When practicing Ippon Dori I have found that the sweet spot where you snag uke is on the "ikkyo curve" that has been mentioned in this thread.
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:05 PM   #16
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Thanks for posting that! Very cool clip. Kondo Sensei and Daito Ryu have important insights for Aikido people.

You're right, there are two ways to move the shoulder to extremes - one that come to an Ikkyo-Yonkyo direction, and the other that leads to Shihonage/Kotegaeshi-ish angles, so many arts figured that out and there are many ways to make this happen not just one kata. In terms of defining Ikkyo and the Yoshinkan Ikkajo, I am not certain if the name hardens back to our roots. Ikkyo is now one thing, with a hugely broad level of applicability.

But, like the OP noted, I was first told do an arm bar in my first class, and trained for years before the "Thing One" name became so nebulous.

One blog by Patrick Parker talked about the difference between the First Thing and the One Thing. I started in an association that had me do Ikkyo to Yonkyo for every test, I now train in one where 5th kyu is one Ikkyo, nikyo appears on the fourth kyu test, etc. I feel my shoulders were healthier to have regular stretching of all the above compared to the beginners I see now getting no Sankyo for a year, then several Sankyo techniques for one test. I do pull away from the idea of First and chronology. I don't consider Yonkyo to be something that should wait until after Ikkyo, Nikyo, Sankyo.
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Old 11-03-2015, 02:30 PM   #17
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post

Is this ikkyo?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5IcDZQCMls
my vote is, yes.
Absolutely!!!!
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:08 PM   #18
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Is this ikkyo?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5IcDZQCMls
my vote is, yes.
nope! not ikkyo! that's taiji! a bunch of aikido heathens! they wore silk pajamas to a fight! didn't even have the decency to put on a skirt! come one, eveyone in aikido knows that you can't do effective ikkyo without a skirt.

here is another aikido heathen who even suggested to do ikkyo on the way down https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ba6NShe6ak (start around 19m or so). although he didn't tell you the secret of his approach, that in order for it to work, you have to sing "all about that bass" while performing the technique. don't take my words for it. try it out and put the video on youtube.

you know that ikkyo curve(s) also run along the hip bones?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 11-03-2015, 04:34 PM   #19
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
My sense of ikkyo is pretty limited compared to most, but here are three example I particularly like and try to emulate, the last one being from my own teacher.

Shibata Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4oAP8w_FZE
Gleason Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCr_-Sewj-8
Barrish Sensei
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvrq-fPXDiE
Alright. Looks like my first reply to this vanished in the infinity of cyber space. Never mind. Here's another.

Shibata Sensei: He looks like he is sharing a real secret. Something of great importance. Alas, I don't get it. But after all, in a real situation, it's unlikely that I would be crossing hand-swords with my friendly attacker anyway.

Gleason Sensei: Imho, he neglects controlling his uke properly, doing things like moving in closer, getting the arm straight and the elbow locked etc. If uke weren't compliant, Gleason would be in trouble.

Barrish Sensei: His small circle approach makes a lot of sense to me. Wham, down uke goes! He keeps making jokes while teaching, that means he is relaxed, and relaxation equals power, in Aikido and elsewhere. Plus he has a BOB (dummy for striking practice) standing nearby, so I take it, he has a realistic aporoach to martial arts. I like this guy.

No offence to the others, but art for art's sake is one thing, going martial another. To each their own.
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:03 PM   #20
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Patrick Buchbinder wrote: View Post

Gleason Sensei: Imho, he neglects controlling his uke properly, doing things like moving in closer, getting the arm straight and the elbow locked etc. If uke weren't compliant, Gleason would be in trouble.
That's what I'm trying to tell you. Things like getting the arm straight and the elbow locked are not what makes ikkyo effective, and they are, in and of themselves, ineffective. I think you are barking up the wrong tree. Look at the Ellis Amdur video that Phi posted, which talks about achieving kuzushi on contact. That is really the key to Ikkyo for me, and that is what Gleason is doing.

For what it's worth, I have received ikkyo for Gleason sensei (just once - I'm not a regular student or anything) and I can vouch for it's effectiveness.
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Old 11-03-2015, 05:35 PM   #21
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Patrick Buchbinder wrote: View Post
Gleason Sensei: Imho, he neglects controlling his uke properly, doing things like moving in closer, getting the arm straight and the elbow locked etc. If uke weren't compliant, Gleason would be in trouble.
Suggest you find your first opportunity to get on the mat with Gleason Sensei, and take it. Until then, suggest you refrain from commenting about his technique.

Katherine
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Old 11-03-2015, 06:02 PM   #22
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Patrick Buchbinder wrote: View Post
Alright. Looks like my first reply to this vanished in the infinity of cyber space. Never mind. Here's another.

Shibata Sensei: He looks like he is sharing a real secret. Something of great importance. Alas, I don't get it. But after all, in a real situation, it's unlikely that I would be crossing hand-swords with my friendly attacker anyway.

Gleason Sensei: Imho, he neglects controlling his uke properly, doing things like moving in closer, getting the arm straight and the elbow locked etc. If uke weren't compliant, Gleason would be in trouble.

Barrish Sensei: His small circle approach makes a lot of sense to me. Wham, down uke goes! He keeps making jokes while teaching, that means he is relaxed, and relaxation equals power, in Aikido and elsewhere. Plus he has a BOB (dummy for striking practice) standing nearby, so I take it, he has a realistic aporoach to martial arts. I like this guy.

No offence to the others, but art for art's sake is one thing, going martial another. To each their own.
My sense of these videos is that they are primarily illustrating a method of entering/displacing/balance-taking...demos, more than anything else. How practical they would be against x,y, or z, opponent, I couldn't say.

I've never practiced with Gleason Sensei, but my understanding is that his method is pretty focused on controlling the center of aite/uke on contact, as Robin mentioned. I believe the same could be described of Shibata Sensei and Barrish Sensei (this was at a seminar he did at another dojo, so the BOB isn't his), but not having experienced anyone other than Barrish Sensei, it's hard for me to compare. I posted the videos because visually they demonstrate qualities I think I can see with regard to that idea of softness and kuzushi on contact, and have a strong focus on that moment of "de ai" as my teacher describes it.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 11-03-2015 at 06:17 PM.

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Old 11-03-2015, 06:21 PM   #23
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

For me, I like to think that the aim is to do an arm bar or arm lock. Actually, waki-gatame is one of my favourite waza. But, uke does not allow that. He bends his elbow slightly - but not in a stiff way, rather in a sort of squidgy soft bendable way - to protect himself. Then, to deal with that, we, as tori, have to roll his elbow over and voila, the ikkyo shape appears. I always think in practical terms. If someone gives me a soft arm I just lock it out straight away and take advantage (while telling them to maintain it in a more undendable squidgy way next time). Further, more for self-defence, if ikkyo fails due to excessive resistance or my bad technique, I slip past and enter waki-gatame which works great against resistance, they hit the floor, and then I proceed with ikkyo ... only because someone told me to do ikkyo ... Again, for me practicallity must always coexist or linger hidden alongside Aikido perfection.

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Old 11-04-2015, 02:21 PM   #24
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
That's true, but the arm is not the key to any of them. Sure, you can hurt the arm using pressure points etc., but at the end of the day, that isn't a particularly effective technique. As a matter of fact, as a mechanical arm-bar, ikkyo is a highly ineffective technique. To me, that is a clue that it isn't supposed to be a mechanical arm bar.
I have seen armbars accomplished in no time using Triple Heater 10, 11 and 12, specifically.
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Old 11-04-2015, 02:29 PM   #25
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Re: Divergent Views on Doing Ikkyo

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Ikkyo is a control of center by cutting -- and it is a tai jutsu analogue of sword engagement in at least three basic variations:

1) Kiri-otoshi
2) Suri-otoshi
3) Suri-age

Most of what is done as "basic" ikkyo omote is in the mode of 2. 3 is the entry mode of ikkyo ura. 1 is seen in a standing "draw" cut ikkyo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WNXeXMMqKU

YMMV
We might add that Taiji also employs a variation of Ikkyo designed to get the opponent completely under control - at least long enough for a knock-out blow to be delivered.
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