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Old 09-05-2005, 09:58 AM   #1
kokyu
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Yokomenuchi

When I first learned yokomenuchi, I often slid off the centre-line and struck nage from the side. My first sensei subsequently corrected me by saying that yokomenuchi meant moving in a straight line towards nage before chopping to the side of nage's head. I think my confusion was due to looking at ken techniques, where one would strike the partner with a bokken by moving off-centre.

More recently, one of my senseis said that yokomenuchi SHOULD be done by moving off the centre-line - i.e. not moving in a straight line towards nage. The reasoning comes from looking at kumitachi practice, where one doesn't rush straight into your partner, as you would get impaled by his bokken. In the empty-hand technique, a similar reasoning followed - i.e. you would run into uke's outstretched fingers (or maybe get punched) if you moved in a straight line when doing yokomenuchi.

I would really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this. Thanks very much.

ps I seem to be asking lots of basic questions recently... don't know if that's a good sign
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Old 09-05-2005, 10:33 AM   #2
Mark Uttech
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Re: Yokomenuchi

you seem to have answered your own question very well as regards yokomenuchi. Actually, someone who wants to smack you and doesn't know yokomenuchi technique is going to just try to smack you.
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Old 09-05-2005, 01:07 PM   #3
Aristeia
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Here's what I was always told and it makes good sense and works for me. The quickest most direct strike is in straight line. We represent this by shomen uchi. So shomen uchi is always uke's perferred choice. But if nage has a good kamae you cannot get in for shomen because their guard is in your face (running onto the sword). So in this case, uke steps around the guard and performs shomen from the new angle - which ends up striking the side of the head. This method also stops the big loose swinging strike - IOW it's a slightly more difficult problem to solve.
That's why it sometimes annoys me to watch people without their kamae up receiving yokomen - I can't help but think why is uke taking all that extra effort to move to the side when they could move straight in and strike.

Having said all fot that, Mark alludes to a reasonable point. Our attacks are, as we are so often told, representative. Designed to teach us different angles rather than mimicing exactly any sort of attack we'll find "out there". The other method you describe may well be useful to simulate certain angles of attack (step up hook?). But the strikes come the sword so by and large should follow sword based logic.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-05-2005, 11:42 PM   #4
ikkitosennomusha
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Yokomenuchi strike with bokken or empty hand should be no different. Remember, the bokken is just an extension of your hand, body, self. The movement is the same so yes, you will step slightly off the center line.

Remmember as nage, any strike that uke can give whether it is linear as in tsuki or angled as in yokomenuchi is a gift and as a aikidoka, it is a gift you are happy to recieve and deal with.
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:01 AM   #5
Charles Hill
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Seki Shihan, at the Aikikai Honbu, insists that uke does not step off the line. He actually goes around the room and physically corrects every person. In other classes, teachers taught differently. So I had to learn how to attack one way in one class and another in another class.

Charles
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:30 AM   #6
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Seki Shihan, at the Aikikai Honbu, insists that uke does not step off the line. He actually goes around the room and physically corrects every person. In other classes, teachers taught differently. So I had to learn how to attack one way in one class and another in another class.

Charles
Yes, i have been taught the "same" technique differently too. I think it depends on what one is looking at. Certainly one doesn't want to walk into a punch. To avoid being hit, I think we must move off the line of our attacker's attack. To attack our opponant, the more direct we are, the more our central force gets into the picture. I generally practice that a yokomenuchi starts out looking like shomenuchi, but at the last minute there's a slight pivoting of the hips. It's as if at the moment of actual attack, depending on what presents itself to be attacked, our motion can change, even though on the mat we're often practicing something very specific.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 09-06-2005 at 12:42 AM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 09-06-2005, 02:28 AM   #7
xuzen
 
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
When I first learned yokomenuchi, I often slid off the centre-line and struck nage from the side. My first sensei subsequently corrected me by saying that yokomenuchi meant moving in a straight line towards nage before chopping to the side of nage's head. I think my confusion was due to looking at ken techniques, where one would strike the partner with a bokken by moving off-centre.

More recently, one of my sensei said that yokomenuchi SHOULD be done by moving off the centre-line - i.e. not moving in a straight line towards nage. The reasoning comes from looking at kumitachi practice, where one doesn't rush straight into your partner, as you would get impaled by his bokken. In the empty-hand technique, a similar reasoning followed - i.e. you would run into uke's outstretched fingers (or maybe get punched) if you moved in a straight line when doing yokomenuchi.

I would really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this. Thanks very much.

ps I seem to be asking lots of basic questions recently... don't know if that's a good sign
I personally will walk straight into Shiite's front and yokomen uchi straight away aiming at the temple. No stepping to the side. It will waste valuable micro seconds. If the argument is that one will be impale on a katana; well, if the adversary is holding a katana, one will not so foolishly walk straight in anyway. When doing aikido stick to aikido, kenjutsu stick to kenjutsu. The two works on two different scenarios.

As for the shite receiving uke's yokomen uchi, I will move ever so slightly on the centreline sort of to draw shite away from his stable position.

With regards to running face on into Shiite's outstretched finger/palm/punch.... well we call this yokomen uchi irimi tsuki.

SHOMEN-ATE (TM), the solution to 90% of aikido and life's problems.
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Old 09-06-2005, 09:15 AM   #8
kokyu
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Seki Shihan, at the Aikikai Honbu, insists that uke does not step off the line. He actually goes around the room and physically corrects every person. In other classes, teachers taught differently. So I had to learn how to attack one way in one class and another in another class.

Charles
I remember that very well... Seki Sensei (7th dan) doesn't normally talk much in class, but he certainly growled "masugu, masugu" (straight, straight) at me when I kept on veering to the side with yokomenuchi. He wouldn't let me go until I moved in a straight line towards him.

I guess Aristeia is right in that it all depends on nage's kamae. From my limited experience, nage's hands tend to be close to his hara, so it is easier to move in a straight line to attack. However, in situations where nage's arms are slightly higher and longer than usual, it might make more sense to slide off-centre to strike.

Just out of interest, I have also noticed differences in the initial hand position for yokomenuchi. Some people start like shomenuchi, with the hand brought to the forehead. Others start with the raised hand to the side of the head (which feels easier, but one has to be careful that the swing isn't too wide). I'm also curious as to what people think about this
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Old 09-06-2005, 09:33 AM   #9
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
Just out of interest, I have also noticed differences in the initial hand position for yokomenuchi. Some people start like shomenuchi, with the hand brought to the forehead. Others start with the raised hand to the side of the head (which feels easier, but one has to be careful that the swing isn't too wide). I'm also curious as to what people think about this
We are told to start like shomenuchi. The reason is that the agressor should not show the direction of the attack too early.

Quite similar in karate semi contact competition we were toldfirst to bring the knee in front of you as high as possible. Then you can decide to do maegeri, yokogeri, mawashigeri, ura mawashi, or even the down-kick (forgot the Japanese name). The later you decide the harder is it for the opponent to react.

In aikido kata you know what is told to come, so you should not be surprised. But you should be always prepared to receive a false attack.

End for training randori the idea is even more important.

regards Dirk
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Old 09-06-2005, 12:39 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
Just out of interest, I have also noticed differences in the initial hand position for yokomenuchi. Some people start like shomenuchi, with the hand brought to the forehead. Others start with the raised hand to the side of the head (which feels easier, but one has to be careful that the swing isn't too wide). I'm also curious as to what people think about this
I think this also depends on the basic kamae one starts from/how one strikes.
I was originally taught to model yokomenuchi as if w/ bokken: so the footwork is entering off line, and the hand is sraight rise up the centerline as if for shomenuchi, with the "arc" on the downward cut being driven more from the offline turning hip than from a "baseball bat" swing of the arm.
Some places arms-out-to-the-side seems more the norm and it is irksome; sometimes I want to bop uke on the nose :-)

Janet Rosen
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Old 09-06-2005, 03:54 PM   #11
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Raise the hand like shomen-uchi and attack directly - it is uke who moves off the line (although I know in some places tori moves off the line too - and we try it too sometimes - if tori has his posture up, for example, uke has to attack slightly around it - I think if you make the distinction then you are more aware - and as tori, I myself tend to have no-posture - arms by the side). A more important point is what tori does. What I insist on is that tori moves off the line slightly and then moves into uke directly - kind of like two separate movements - at first. So there is a sideways avoidance then a direct counter attack before moving into technique. I know that the more ususal method is to avoid, turn, and move in all in one go (for irimi) but for many people, the result is that they do too much turning and not enough moving in towards uke - if they did it with a sword in this manner the momentum of the sword swing would likely add spin to their taisabaki and they would lose control of their own movement. Anyway, after making use of two separate movements I find that students can make a better deal of the more usual - all-in-one movement.

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Old 09-06-2005, 07:22 PM   #12
Jiawei
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Re: Yokomenuchi

I thought yoko men was side stepping and then chopping the side of the neck and not centerline. Ehh, maybe I am wrong....
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Old 09-06-2005, 08:54 PM   #13
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Jiawei Lee wrote:
I thought yoko men was side stepping and then chopping the side of the neck and not centerline. Ehh, maybe I am wrong....
No, not necessarily wrong - many people do it that way. The trick is to attack forwards - after side-stepping - while striking.

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Old 09-06-2005, 08:58 PM   #14
Aristeia
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Re: Yokomenuchi

It seems pretty clear that yokomen uchi is actually different things in different schools. At the end of the day it's not a biggie - do whatever the sensei in front of you is telling you to do. The idea of yokomen is to deal with lateral attacks of some sort. This can be tested by asking people to throw any lateral attack - hook, cross, round kick etc. Some of the more mischevious amongst us may argue that we should spend more time training against the actual attacks we're likely to see rather than representitive one with faith that it will prepare us for the real thing. *shrug*

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 09-06-2005, 10:02 PM   #15
Lan Powers
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Re: Yokomenuchi

"Our" aproach to yokomenuchi attacking has the Ten-shin movement of the nage (to blend with and avoid being struck by the attack) being matched or mirrored by the uke as well. this makes both of the participants maintain connection from their centers, as well as being in a proper hanmi when movement stops. Nage is blending, but Uke is matching that movement. Both end in a strong centered hanmi , just the opposite foot forward from when they started.
The amount of deviation from the straight-line of attack is mostly determined by how hard the attack comes in...softer, less movement, harder, more movement to dissipate the energy of the blow. (or avoid it altogether).Ma-ai is nice from this as well.
It seems easier with more of a lateral type blow...hay-makers are so much easier to deal with than a good snapping jab.

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 09-06-2005, 11:43 PM   #16
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
Just out of interest, I have also noticed differences in the initial hand position for yokomenuchi. Some people start like shomenuchi, with the hand brought to the forehead. Others start with the raised hand to the side of the head (which feels easier, but one has to be careful that the swing isn't too wide). I'm also curious as to what people think about this
I try to keep everything on my centerline. In my meager experience, starting the hand at the side of the head seems something akin to telegraphing...I don't know...centerline seems stronger to me, but can't exactly say for sure why.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 09-07-2005, 05:49 AM   #17
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Nobody's brought up the invitation of tori which lures ai-te to attack a specific part of the body.
When compared to working with boken, nobody in his right mind leaps forward and executes shomen or yokomen uchi (and thus be killed instantly ). Your attack is controlled by the opening(s) presented (or at least the ones you think are there ).
In turn that means you can control the possible attacks.

If you (as tori) lean forward ever so slightly and to either side, this might be perceived as a weak posture by ai-te and he will attack (yokomen).
Ai te may decide to change his attack at the last moment, from shomen to yokomen or other way around. This is actually very good practice and you'll find the is not much difference between them
Reversed yokomen with tanto
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Old 09-07-2005, 09:16 AM   #18
kokyu
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
It seems pretty clear that yokomen uchi is actually different things in different schools. At the end of the day it's not a biggie - do whatever the sensei in front of you is telling you to do.
I agree that it's important to do whatever the sensei in front of you is telling you to do. However, I like to fit what I am learning with what I have been taught, rather than overwriting my past experiences.

My first sensei had invited a good friend to conduct our classes for a few days. The guest was a very powerful lady who started Aikido in her 30s and is now a 6th dan. At the end of the classes, the guest graciously said that if we had written her teachings on a piece of paper, we should crumple that paper and throw it away (I think she was afraid that we would confuse her teaching with my own sensei's teaching). My sensei replied by saying that we should remember her teaching. He suggested that we turn the paper over to record his own teaching

I think I'm going to need paper with multiple sides though
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Old 09-07-2005, 06:23 PM   #19
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote:
Nobody's brought up the invitation of tori which lures ai-te to attack a specific part of the body.
When compared to working with boken, nobody in his right mind leaps forward and executes shomen or yokomen uchi (and thus be killed instantly ). Your attack is controlled by the opening(s) presented (or at least the ones you think are there ).
In turn that means you can control the possible attacks.

If you (as tori) lean forward ever so slightly and to either side, this might be perceived as a weak posture by ai-te and he will attack (yokomen).
Ai te may decide to change his attack at the last moment, from shomen to yokomen or other way around. This is actually very good practice and you'll find the is not much difference between them
Reversed yokomen with tanto
Well said !

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Old 09-09-2005, 08:25 AM   #20
Brion Toss
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Hello,
Another detail: which foot you have forward will tend to "draw" either a shomen or a yokkomen. If your leading foot is on the side opposite the strike (ai hanmi), a shomen is more attractive for uke, because it is easier to bypass that lead foot (and hand). But if the leading foot is on the same side as the striking hand (gyaku hanmi), yokkomen will be more attractive, as uke will need to get around the lead. I believe that is why shomen is usually practiced in ai hanmi, and yokkomen in gyaku hanmi. Further, these are examples of intentionally drawing/initiating an attack, as opposed to standing there and waiting for something to respond to.
Yours,
Brion Toss
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Old 09-09-2005, 03:58 PM   #21
seank
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Re: Yokomenuchi

Hi Everyone,
This might sound very obvious, but aren't yokomen uchi and shomen uchi very much stylised attacks, representative of a number of possible techniques?

Yokomen uchi could well be substituted for a hook punch or hammer fist, or other similar roundhouse style technique. As the technique is representative of many different possible attacks, wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that the line of attack could also significantly vary?

Another important point I find with yokomen is how nage moves. If nage tries to blend too early, I certainly step off line to redirect my attack and keep on target for their neck
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