NGAExperience® Nihon Goshin Aikido

If You Want To Throw Like Him, You Have To Move Like Him

“I want to move like a little girl, but throw like a Greyhound Bus.” ~ Sensei Litchfield  

If this is your goal (and it should be), you need to focus on your relationship to uke as you move.

Shezentai to Hamni:  

(“The First Blend”)

The “First Blend” is ‘my name’ for the movement known as “Mae Sabaki,”  Generally, this movement is the footwork for the First Wrist Technique (Classical Technique).  It is a simple blend, and works well for getting out of the way of straight punches, circular punches, overhead chops, and kicks ~ with a slightly forward movement..  

Video covering Irimi, Tenkan, and Tenkai (called “Kaiten” here for some reason) movements.  Unfortunately, this video does not discuss the Tenshin movement.  Further, while all movements in this video are demonstrated from hamni, they can also be performed from our preferred shizentai starting position.

Here is a video devoted solely to the Tenshin movement ~ which is a movement “back and off line.”  You see the movement very clearly @ 6-8 seconds, and then various techniques are performed from differing attacks ~ with the same “Tenshin” movement happening over and over again throughout the video.  Note how easily this movement off balances uke is throughout the attacking sequences. Tenshin is a very powerful aikido movement.

Shezentai to Hamni (Irimi)

This is the exact footwork for Scoop Against the Kick.  This opening movement seems to be Stephen Seagal’s entry move of choice.  This blend presents a strong and decisive forward movement.  Hageme for more on Irimi.

Shizentai to Hamni (Tenshin)

Similar to the First Blend (See Above) but closer to the Reverse Wrist Technique in terms of finishing distance between uke and nage, but note that the nage ends up in left hamni, and not right hamni as he would if he executed the First Blend.   Hageme for more on the Tenshin Blend.

This illustration would be more helpful if it indicated “where” the attack was coming from.  Envision a Roundhouse

Right coming coming from the red “Irimi” at the top ~ and everything makes sense.

This portion of the Movement discussion is a complete work in progress.


General Aikido Movement Exercises:


Foundational Aikido Movement Exercises relative to Uke:

A Small Sample of Aikido Movement Combinations (most of these are demonstrated in the videos below):

Generally speaking, each aikido entry movement has a unique Japanese name, but I’ve noted that the movement names we use in our style (which are Japanese names) describe movements which sometimes have very different names in other aikido styles.  Further still, there is disagreement in movement nomenclature even within the aikido styles that operate in the Japanese vernacular.


All that said, regardless of what we call them (or don’t call them), the general ideas of aikido movement still exist regardless of the debate on terminology.


So in summarizing the nature of movement, one might conclude a few things:

  1. Aikido Movement is generally circular, but not always.
  2. Aikido Movement is best when it capitalizes off of uke’s striking intention, and extends or redirects uke’s striking intention in some fashion.  It can also reverse the striking intention ~ if met early enough.
  3. If your movement is properly timed, you will immediately know it as the application of your technique will feel effortless, while being perceived as ultimately powerful by your uke.  If you feel like you’re having to “muscle” uke, you need to reevaluate your initial movements ~ as uke is not unbalanced if you are having to use muscle to make your technique work.
  4. As you get better and better, your movements become more refined.

Shizentai to Hamni (Tenkan 1)

Reverse Hamni Step.  We do this all the time.  Think of the Initial Movement for Two Hand Wheel Throw, Arm Bar Throw, Twist the Ankle Against The Knee,  etc.  Hageme for more on the Tenkan Blend.

Get outside the friendly confines of the Classical Technique, and too many of our students look like they have never studied Aikido in their lives.  While I agree that an excessive focus on footwork in applications can generate an initial stiffness for nage, it must also be noted that logical and meaningful footwork should be a priority in applications because in applications proper footwork presents the most efficient and often powerful transport ~

from point A to point B.

Mae-mawari Sabaki ~ X Step

Movement found in Back Breaker, Cross Arms Throw, etc.  Called “Reverse Blend into Jigotai” in “Integral Aikido.”



Don’t Forget Your Entry Movements!

~ A Partial Listing Of Movement Possibilities ~

Nice video from my Sensei on Movement Principles.  I believe that the idea of changing applications for a specific technique as you change initial movements (demonstrated at the end) is somewhat unique to our style, and demonstrates Master Shodo Morita’s genius and versatility.

Yang Blend (Irimi =>Tenkan)

This is the signature blend in Nihon Goshin Aikido. It gives NGA its unique look relative to other aikido styles, and it must be mastered.  It creates a 180 degree turn.  Called “Irimi: Entering and Pivoting (Yang Blend)” in “Integral Aikido” and “Nihon Goshin Aikido,” ~ It is actually the result of the combination of two Initial Movements: Irimi & Tenkan 2.  When you add a Hamni Turn (Tenkai) to the end of a Yang Blend, you get a full 360 degree rotation.  Hageme for more on the Yang Blend.

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Shizentai to Hamni (Tenkan 2)

We do this all the time also.  Think Unbendable Arm Against the Kick, etc.  It is a full 180 degree pivot (in the picture to the left  the pivot is made around nage’s left foot) Sometimes I loosely refer to  it as “The BIG Blend.”  Hageme for more on the Tenkan Blend.