Fundamental Techniques

Taijutsu (tai: body; jutsu: technique) refers to empty hand techniques in Aikido. Essential in all Aikido and the study of harmonization, these techniques may be applied from simple grabs or complex attacks. Every technique that we execute in Aikido is a unique method of harmonizing and becoming one with our partner.

Three fundamental instructive techniques in Takemusu Aikido are:

  • KATATE DORI TAI NO HENKO
  • MOROTE DORI KOKYU HO
  • SUWARI WAZA RYOTE DORI KOKYU HO

Every taijutsu lesson begins with tai-no-henko and ends with suwari-waza-ryote-dori-kokyu-ho.

KATATE DORI TAI NO HENKO

Paolo Corallini - Tai No Henko

Starting from gyaku hanmi (opposite stance) put strength into your fingertips and bend them inward and towards your abdomen; bring the big toe of your front foot to meet the big toe of your partner’s front foot; keeping your arm slightly bent, execute a tenkan movement. At the end of this movement you should be in the same stance you began in, but facing in the opposite direction. You should have the same feeling as grabbing a sword. The basic footwork performed in this movement is the same for all ura waza techniques.

KATATE DORI TAI NO HENKO KI NO NAGARE

The ki no nagare form is performed the same as the previous movement (kihon), but you have to blend with your partner, pivoting the moment his or her hand touches your wrist.

“Daily practice begins with tai no henko. The basis of ura movements is footwork. Bring the toes of your left foot to meet the toes of your partner’s right foot. Turn in a circular movement into a position alongside your partner’s side. When pivoting, open your fingers fully and extend your ki. Learn to keep your hips stable regardless of whether your partner pushes or pulls. At one time the founder executed tai no henko with a single hand, but in his later years he used both hands. Pivot around and bring the fingers of both hands to the same level.” – Morihiro Saito

MOROTE DORI KOKYU HO

Francesco Corallini - Morotedori Kokyu-ho

Starting in gyaku hanmi, bring your front foot to the side of your partner’s front foot and lower your shoulder, elbow, hips and centre at the same time. Then, pivot in place assuming the opposite stance and looking in the same direction as your partner. Raise your arms over your head, turn your hips towards your partner and enter behind him or her with your back foot, then throw by shifting your weight and extending your arms. Keep your arms straight in order to protect your face from a possible kick and look forward.

“When your partner stands in right hanmi and grabs your left hand, move your left foot to a position beside your partner’s right foot and turn your hips to change from left hanmi to right hanmi. Do this movement with the feeling of dropping your shoulder, elbows, and hips slightly. Turn to a position beside your partner, looking in the same direction that he is. This is a basic point for all kokyuho exercies. The spacing, or maai, between you and your partner will be wrong if you look at him. If you face in the same direction with the feeling of enveloping him, you will stay close to him and he will be unable to escape. If you look at your partner even slightly, his body will separate from you and there will be too much space between the two of you.” – Morihiro Saito

SUWARI WAZA RYOTE DORI KOKYU HO CHUDAN

Francesco Corallini - Suwari Waza Kokyu-ho

Raise both your hands in tegatana position upward and in a circular motion, from below to above, turning your palms inward and keeping your elbows low. Then, enter to the side of your partner moving forward with your knee, making him fall, pushing with your hips and keep both your hands fully extended to pin him down.

Saito Sensei’s classes would always begin with tai no henko and morotedori kokyuho and finish with suwariwaza kokyuho. Saito Sensei reminded us that O-Sensei always taught his classes in Iwama this way and he was following that tradition. He stated over and over again that his main purpose in teaching aikido was to preserve and spread the founder’s techniques in undiluted form.

About Takemusu Aikido South Africa

The Takemusu Aikido Association South Africa (TAASA), formally Iwama Ryu™ South Africa, is a free group of black-belted practitioners of Aikido based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our aim is to promote and spread the traditional teaching method of Morihiro Saito Sensei, direct student of the Founder of Aikido, to all communities in South Africa.