Friday 10 January 2014

Tohei Sensei Aikido video, 1957

Someone recently posted this video of Tohei Sensei showing a mix of exercises and techniques back in 1957. I thought some of you might find it interesting.


  1. He was a great man a true master of the art. I was enjoying the exercises until the bit where he rolls and stands up ! Interesting his final direction of the kote gaeshi application. Looked good to me. What a shame there are so few of his calibre out there from whom we could learn. Good luck with your excellent classes, perhaps you'll have a queue of 70 year olds waiting next time. Best wishes, Richard

  2. Thanks for the comments, Richard. Let me say a bit about kotegaeshi as I think you may have misunderstood my approach in which I do not teach a strong wrist-twisting movement as the fundamental feature of the technique. The sideways wrist-twist (and accompanying overarm breakfall) is available to us as an option but that is not the way I teach beginners and I'll give you a couple of quotations from teachers greater than myself to explain why.

    This from Koretoshi Maruyama's book, 'Aikido With Ki' (page 82): "Since Aikido uses many techniques involving an opponent's joints in throwing an opponent, many think Aikido uses harmful, unnatural techniques. But this is a mistaken conception. There are both unnatural and natural joint techniques. Those that bend joins in the way they naturally bend are called 'jun'. Those that bend joints forcefully in an unnatural way are called 'gyaku'. In Aikido, whether the throw be shihonage, kotegaeshi, nikyo or others... only jun techniques are used. Joints are bent in their normal, natural direction... simply throwing someone does not mean one has correctly mastered the throw or understood the principle behind it. To do this one must always train with close attention to each movement, always following the natural in all things."

    And thius from Gaku Homma's 'The Structure Of Aikido' (page 50): "The correct way to perform kote gaeshi is to roll your partner's hand toward the body rather than out to the side. If done correctly, breakfalls are actually very difficult to do from this technique. If you do twist your partner's wrist away from his body your partner has the option to do a break fall or to perform a high round kick to your head or ribs."

    Obviously there are many variations on kotegaeshi. I hope the above gives you some explanation of the style which I generally prefer!