The Secret to Smoothness ~
Effective Yang Blending
By Jonathan Wilson
5 December 2015
In my mind Master Morita’s aikido looks like a big circle. See the picture to the right which demonstrates the Yang Blend. Essentially every high level practitioner of Nihon Goshin Aikido uses the Yang Blend as his default response to uke’s striking intention.
Let’s look at the Yang Blend in detail.
The Yang Blend is a four step movement process that repeats itself over and over again as nage responds to uke’s attack.
Step 1: Read the attack
Step 2: Step In with the foot opposite the strike (Irimi)
Step 3: Rotate away from uke’s attempted strike on the lead foot (Tenkan)
Step 4 (optional): Execute a Hamni Turn (Tenkai) to pivot an additional 180 degrees ~ which makes the Yang Blend a full 360 degree circle
Step 5: Reset to Shizentai
When you think about the individual steps, it is apparent that the Yang Blend is actually a combination of the Irimi (Enter), Tenkan (Turn), and the optional Tenkai (Pivot) movements in which nage inscribes a circle beginning by entering and then moving away from uke’s striking intention.
The genius of the movement is that the Yang blend creates a simple response outline that works with most varieties of attack, and consistently positions nage in his rightful place: namely, in the whirlwind eye of the proverbial hurricane.
Consider the video featuring Sensei Heath Macaluso below.
If anything Sensei Macaluso’s demonstration of Yang blending is monotonous, a simple step inside (Irimi Movement), a swinging of the back foot away from the punch (Tenkan 2), followed by the application of technique ~ but you can not argue it’s effectiveness.
So many times I find myself exploring the fringes of the art ~ wanting to secure its boundaries in my mind’s eye, but it pays great dividends to come back to the core principles of the art. If you consider the testing requirements related to blending, it seems Master Morita’s idea is that most often nage should move away from the punch in a circular fashion using the Yang Blend.
This is also why you have the blending line at the end of a lot of classes ~ where you are always moving away from the punch. As we train in blending lines, we execute the Yang Blend over and over again.
So hears the deal: You want to show aikido lineage to Mr. Bowe? Well, make sure your aikido looks like Mr. Bowe’s aikido. Get that Yang Blend down pat.
~~~~ Special thanks to Sensei Macaluso for posting this outstanding youtube video.
Uke Appears Unhappy ~~~
The Core Nihon Goshin Aikido Movement: The Yang Blend
~ Irimi Tenkan ~
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The Secret to Being Smooth ~ and looking like an NGA Practitioner ~ is Getting Good At The Yang Blend
Irimi ~~~ Just Enter
Tenkan ~~~ Stepping Back & Away
Important Disclosure: The Yang Blend potentially creates trouble for nage when dealing with combination punches (eg: uke throws a double roundhouse punch combination) or in multiple attacker scenarios (in which both ukes throw roundhouse punches), etc. Click Here to See A Video Tutorial Detailing What to Do in These Situations.