This Week In Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #17
August 26, 2014
In This Issue:
Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionado!
So for the past 3 weeks there has been a post it note on my computer that reads, “Write This Week In NGA Newsletter.” I’m happy to be able to take that tattered note down today, but I’m not going to throw it away because then I’d just have to make a new one next week.
I think I may have to change the name of the newsletter to something like, “When Inspired I’ll Write” or something like, “The Intermittent Newsletter in Nihon Goshin Aikido.”
Regarding timeliness, I’m reminded of a sitcom about a radio station called “W-KRP in Cincinnati.” Once in every show, Les Nesman would read the “top of the hour news.” There was only one problem: the clock in the background was never on the top of the hour. I understood it to be high brow humor. And there is some correlation between the hapless Les Nessman and myself in regard to being punctual.
By the way, if you ever have an article or something that you’d like published on the site, let me know! We’ll be glad to post it for you.
Clarifying Terms: Naming Applications
“Breaking the Arm Over the Shoulder” has got to be simultaneously the coolest and scariest named Arm Bar application there is. In fact, in our dojo, we just call it “Arm Over the Shoulder” so we don’t scare away new students. ~ lol
That said, unlike “Breaking the Arm Over the Shoulder” or the “Rollover Arm Bar,” generally our descriptions of applications simply list the attack and the technique used.
The dojo glam shot favorite application: “Scissors from a Straight Grab” or “Scissors from a 2 Hand Grip from the Rear” provide us with a few examples of this concept. Incidentally, my new favorite application is “Wheel Throw from a Front Kick” (think on that for awhile).
Not to get side tracked, the point is that for our purposes, the name of the application generally only describes the type of attack employed and the technique applied. Then we sort of interpret the movement using our own imaginations.
Once in a conversation about movement with Sensei Carter, he said, “Off the top of my head, I can think of at least three completely different movements that would allow you to an Elbow Chop from a straight punch.” Then he showed them to me.
Another time, I was participating in a cross training venue, and we were doing Shihonage (Pivot Take Down). They had two versions of the movement. The first version of the technique was sort of like our Classical Technique ~ where uke’s attacking hand is encouraged to continue its journey across uke’s body ~ thereby unbalancing him, and leading into the technique.
The second version of the Pivot Takedown was a simple reversal, in which uke’s arm was spun back upon itself ~ with nage remaining on the outside. When we did this version, my training partner asked me, What do you guys call this one?” I said, “Pivot Takedown from a straight grab.” He then asked, “What do you call the first version?” I replied, “The way we would normally do a Pivot Takedown from a straight grab.”
I’m not sure what my point is here ~ it is certainly not critical. This is just an observation on our terminology.
Aikido Topic Of The Week: Front Wrist Throw Ingenuity
“Well thought out” is certainly one description of our Front Wrist Throw. When you cross train in traditional aikido, you can certainly see the genius in many of Shodo Morita’s preferences including this one.
Sensei Weber describes the Front Wrist Throw in his Classical Techniques DVD series this way, “We call it the Front Wrist Throw because it starts in the front, and it stays in the front.”
Now in traditional aikido, they typically irimi tenkan and this movement puts nage in an ideal location (behind or beside uke), but as they apply the technique, uke is lead into a dangerous and potentially disastrous position (balanced and directly in front of nage) if the technique was employed on the street.
Please take 96 seconds to watch the video second from the top on the left (that’s its full length). It clarifies the movement most often seen in traditional aikido’s version of the Front Wrist Throw. Pay close attention to uke’s ability to strike nage right before uke takes his fall.
I submit that uke could hit nage every time (on the way over) ~ and certainly counter nage if he wanted to. If the aim is to “not get hit or countered” then we will all probably have a problem with the execution of this technique ~ as it prevents neither as demonstrated.
Now we are not the only ones to see this potential failing in the technique. Gary Boaz (video not shown) has also identified the problem, and advocates a solution similar to ours regarding the manipulation of the wrist. Like we advocate, Boaz suggests a much smaller / tighter rotation of the wrist ~ at belt level ~ which allows less time for uke to counter , and reduces the length of time uke is faced up with nage. Sensei Boaz still establishes traditional aikido’s preferred flanking position, but he makes mention of our preference to remain in front as well (at least in the Classical version of the Technique).
Stanley Pranin, a traditional aikido online archivist, Japanophile, and aikido sensei has other ideas or potential solutions presented in one of his Aikido Journal videos posted here for discussion also. One his most interesting proposals is the idea of executing a rollover arm bar after establishing the flanking position (though he doesn’t quite get there explicitly), before transitioning to the wrist turn. There is some debate as to whether or not Pranin’s other presented solutions would be effective in a martial context.
Personally, I think that the key to making this technique as martial as possible is two fold: regardless of the position of nage (either flanking or directly in front of uke) nage must step back (or step forward) as he turns the wrist, and nage must keep the wrist turn tight to his body and low (at belt level).
Incidentally, one of the first youtube searches I ever did on Nihon Goshin Aikido delivered fine Front Wrist Throw results. Posted on the left, Sensei Delgado tests Tim Gallagher’s ukemi skills in a lesson on the Front Wrist Throw utilizing a variety of powerful applications. This video is worth well your time.
Finally, the Front Wrist Throw is a key component of our technical arsenal. It should be practiced often due to its practicality, versatility, and reliance on good timing.
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Traditional Aikido Kotegaeshi
The established position (@ 20 seconds) is extremely desirous for nage, but quickly conceded (@ 34 seconds) ~ when he mentions, “my partner turns to face me.” Note: At this point, uke has one hand free to strike, while nage has both hands on uke’s wrist. In the rest of the demonstration that follows, you can see that an “aware” uke would be able to strike nage with his free hand every time.
I wonder if Takeda had a newsletter? ~~~ lol
Stanley Pranin’s Kotegaeshi (Front Wrist Throw) Solution
Two versions of our Pivot Takedown.... Of the two, the first one is the one closest to our Classical Technique. We could certainly say, “they are Applications of the Pivot Takedown.”
Sensei Delgado (dan graded in our style) ~ demonstrating exactly what is possible from the Kotegaeshi (Front Wrist Throw)
This video is also interesting because he uses (almost exclusively) the traditional kotegaeshi grip and not our version of the grip. The grip preference may have been because of the cross training venue he was teaching in. He also refers to the technique by its Japanese name: “kotegaeshi.”
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