Aikido Hand Movements

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Figure 24. The Toji no kata form.

The third level of Koso no I (see fig. 25) is called chokushi no kata, which involves a further shortening of the form. The holding of the right arm by the side is subtracted, making the movement go directly from "passing the blade" (step 3) to shuriken no kamae, (step 5). The arm moves in a round movement, travelling past the side to the rear, then raises to the position behind the ear (yokomen uchi movement in Aikido).

Shuriken Kamae

The final level called Koso no I, is really the essence of the front throw movement. Over years of training, the shape of the throw becomes more natural, free and smoother, even appearing casual, yet the core movements, the Koso no I, remain internally, even though the large, rigid and superfluous movements have gradually been whittled and trimmed away. The posture is such that the throw is available immediately, without having to adjust before cutting down with the right arm. It is pure readiness. The ultimate goal is to be able to simply look at the target and strike it with a shuriken.

Figure 26. The Koso No I of Shirakami Ikku-ken
Saito Sensei Negishi Ryu
Figure 27. The Koso no I of Satoshi Saito Sensei, current head of Negishi Ryu

The second form of front throw, Jikishin is really a simplified form of Koso no I, but its emphasis is on surprise and speed. It is used for short distances, and uses a different method of holding the blade. (see fig. 28)

Figure 28. The Jikishin grip.

This method of holding the blade facilitates a quick draw...it is a simple yet natural grip; the right hand can reach for and take the blade in one movement quite quickly and easily, and can be thrown as quickly as one can raise their arm, however, the grip does not facilitate a long distance throw. As with all other grips, the hand is light and relaxed, as if holding a swallows egg. The arm movement on the throw is as though one is cutting with a sword.

The Jikishin throw

The Jikishin throw

The third form of front throw is called Uranami, and is the more difficult of the 3. It is like a softball pitch where the arm swings at the right side, from the natural, downwards pointing position, forward to a horizontal angle facing the target. It is the underhand version of the Jikishin throw, as it utilises a right forward step as the blade is thrown. As with the Jikishin throw, it is fast, immediate, and a surprise.

The Uranami throw

The Uranami throw

Aikido Hand Movements
4 5 6

Side Throws

Side throws also involve 3 forms, 1. Hon uchi (the basic over-arm throw), 2. Yoko uchi (side-ways throw) and 3. Gyaku uchi (under-arm throw). In practice, these throws can be done from standing, "tachi uchi", or sitting in "za uchi", in the traditional Japanese style of sitting on the knees and ankles (see below).

Figure 29. 1. Hon uchi, 2, Yoko uchi, 3. Gyaku uchi (4. Ura Uchi)

Figure 29. 1. Hon uchi, 2, Yoko uchi, 3. Gyaku uchi (4. Ura Uchi)

How Throw Shuriken

Hon uchi is the basic throw, yoko uchi is more difficult, and gyaku uchi being the most advanced. The latter two are not usually practiced until the hon uchi form is mastered. Mastery of hon uchi requires practice at various levels of performance, which starts with Manji no kata, which progresses to Toji no kata, then to Chokushi no kata, leading to the final form Koso no I. This final form is the essence of all levels of the over-arm throw, which is done completely naturally and without thought, and consists of only 2 movements; raise and throw.

The Hon-uchi throw

The Hon-uchi throw

Early Forms Shuriken
4 5 6

The Second Form, Yoko Uchi

The action of hon uchi focusses on the bending of the elbow, and is not a powerful throw, while the second form, yoko uchi, (see fig 29-30 above, fig. 31 below) will produce more power and is quicker. The lesson in this form however is the change in hand movement to allow a fast and powerful throw sideways, either right of left. In the second and the third form, most of the technique is an extension and variation of principles of the first form; if the first form is mastered first, these will be easier to attain, despite them being more difficult throws.

Figure 31. Yoko uchi.

The illustration shows to basic form, where one steps as the blade is passed to the other hand, then the throw is made from a static posture. The more advanced form is one movement, stepping and throwing together. From shizentai, the blade is passed hands, the right arm raised to the chest, and swung out and towards the target, as one steps sideways. The moment the right foot is placed on the ground, the right hand is just completing the throw.

Yoko Uchi Shuriken Throw
Figure 32. The end of the yoko uchi throw by Shirakami Ikku-ken.

The Yoko-uchi throw

The Yoko-uchi throw

The Third Form, Gyaku Uchi

In gyaku uchi, the throwing action comes from the shoulder, and is more difficult than hon uchi or yoko uchi. The arm raises with the palm down until it points towards the target. At this point, the hand stops raising sharply, and the blade is allowed to depart the hand. This throw is different from Uranami, as the hand raises from the front of the body, and the palm is face down in gyaku uchi, whereas Uranami comes from the side, and the palm faces to left at right angles to the ground.

The Gyaku-uchi throw

Aikido Movements

Rear Throw, Ura Uchi

Ura Uchi uses a similar throwing action as Gyaku uchi, but it is aimed at the rear, and the palm is not facing flat to the ground, but vertical. Elevation in this throw is gained by leaning the body more forward, and angling the hip more sharply at the end of the throw.

The Ura-uchi throw

The Ura-uchi throw

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