Saturday, 21 April 2012

Aikido Warm-up and Ki exercises

It never ceases to amaze me what you can find on YouTube. I just discovered this excellent short video in which Tohei Sensei (founder of the school of Ki Aikido) demonstrates a number of the warm-up and 'Ki development' exercises which often precede classes of Aikido. If you are learning Aikido, this video provides a good reference. I am in the process of providing some annotations to help you recognise the various exercises being demonstrated.

The names of each exercise and a short description are given below. The numbers refer to the times in the video:

0:3 – Nikkyo Exercise
0:09 – Kote Gaeshi Exercise
0:16 – Arm-shaking Exercise
0:24 – Funakogi Undo – Rowing Exercise
0:54 – Shomenuchi Ikkyo Undo – arms extended, fingertips to eye-level
1:27 – Zengo Undo (two-ways exercise)
1:36 – Happo Undo (eight-ways exercise)
1:55 – Kokyuho Undo (turning around wrists with tenkan-2)
2:07 – Tekubi Kosa Undo (crossing wrists i) at  one point, ii) in front of face)
2:40 – Sayo Undo (‘sideways’ exercise i) standing, ii) moving sideways)
2:56 – Ude Furi Undo (Arm swinging to shoulder level i) standing, ii) with big tenkan 2)
3:22 – Ushiro Tori Undo (turn ‘to throw an attacker from ‘bearhug’)
3:30 – Ushiro Tekubi Tori  (Zenshin Undo) arms up, bend forward throw
3:42 – Ushiro Tekubi Tori (Kotai Undo) arms up, step back, bend forward throw
4:00 – Unbendable arm exercise (first incorrect/tense, then, at 4:09, correct, relaxed)
4:25 – Unraisable body (first incorrect/tense, then, at 4:34, correct, relaxed)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Gozo Shioda - ah, if only we could all be this good!

I am posting this video because it shows the beauty and power of aikido. The great master Gozo Shioda is shown here. Shioda Sensei founded the Yoshinkan school of aikido whose training methods and techniques are sometimes a bit different from those we practise in Ki Aikido. Personally, that doesn't bother me at all. The plain fact of the matter is that Shioda was a true master of aikido, and anyone who practises aikido (no matter what 'style') can always learn from the great masters of the art. At any rate, I just love watching him. I hope you do too...

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Aikido Escapes – the basics

While most of our lessons are conducted in English there are inevitably some Japanese terms which we use when describing fundamental aikido techniques. To help students learn these terms, I plan to write some blog posts to explain some the most commonly used terms. Here I look at four basic escapes - movements we use to ‘get out of the way’ of an attack.


Irimi is an entering motion, a movement forward and slightly to an angle, which will take you towards and slightly to the side of the attacker. There are two basic variants on irimi.

Irimi 1 – slide forward on the forward foot. For example, if the left foot is forward initially, the left foot will still be forward after the irimi.

Irimi 2 – step forward with the backward foot. For example, if the left foot is forward initially, the right foot will be forward after the irimi.


Tenkan is a turning motion ‘outside’ the line of the attack. There are two basic variants on tenkan.

Tenkan 1 – ‘pivot’ on the forward foot. For example, if the left foot is forward, turn 180 degrees by moving the right foot behind your body. You will end up facing in the opposite direction to that in which you started but your left foot will still be the forward foot.

Tenkan 2 – this is, in effect, an irimi 2 (step forward) followed by a tenkan 1 but you should attempt to perform this escape as a single fluid movement. For example, if the  left foot is forward, step forward with the right foot and immediately ‘pivot’ on the right foot to perform a tenkan 1. You will now face in the opposite direction to that in which you started and the other foot (here, the right foot) will now be forward.