Category Archives: Technique

There are moments as an instructor when you look around the dojo and notice that your students are producing some astonishing aikido. I’ve been having rather a lot of these recently, so much so that I wanted to share it here. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll have picked up that I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional teaching method (see here, here, and here). What you may not be aware of is that I decided to do something about that. For the last two…

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People often talk about modernising aikido, but when they do this they tend to refer to adding techniques and removing others. Very few people ever talk about the techniques used to teach aikido. The closest aikidoka come to that is discussing free-style sparring. Some are against it, others just go ahead and do it. This blog post will introduce a new way to teach your students the irimi entry. The Problem At some point in their training every aikidoka will have been told to “go forward”. For a sensei to…

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Over the last number of months, as the world has been shut down, there has been an increase in weapons training. As noted in a previous post I think this was a missed opportunity but it has revealed something else that was unexpected. The world over aikidoka are performing weapons techniques and kata. Now, more than ever, social media groups are flooded with videos of aikido weapons. Watching these videos it’s almost impossible not to notice a problem. Failing To Finish It seems that when aikidoka are performing weapons kata…

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There is an aspect of aikido that is at least as important as the techniques. It’s called ukemi. There are some basic principles that apply to it that are universal regardless of the type of aikido you practice. Today, we’re going to consider just one of the most basic aspects of it, but it is also one of the hardest to get right. Quite simply, you have to move. An awful lot of ukemi is performed from a static position. Much of the rest becomes static after the initial attack…

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I recently came across a really great concept that in my head immediately related to the practice of aikido. Not just one aspect of it though, but pretty much right across the board. It’s pretty simple and goes like this: Stupidity should be painful. Initially as an uke, then even further as a teacher, I’ve learned that one of the quickest ways to teach somebody that they shouldn’t be in the position that they are is to hit them. For example, if they are standing right in front of you…

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Okay, so nobody is allowed in the dojo at the minute. Seems to be a worldwide thing. For weeks now all I’ve heard is the question, “How can I train at home?” Not being allowed in the dojo is the perfect time to work on that area that is massively neglected, fun to train, and just about everybody sucks at. No, not weapons. Put The Weapons Away There, I said it, stuck at home is not an excuse to do nothing but weapons. Sure, weapons can be important, but there…

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Another question that has come up on social media recently was, ‘What would you like aikido training in the future to look like?’ Again, this was an interesting and thought provoking question that prompted many responses. I’ve expanded on my thoughts on this topic here. Unsurprisingly, there’s a few factors to take into consideration on this subject. Self-defence The first and most obvious is the self-defence aspect. 99% of people (and that’s being generous) have no real concept of what self-defence actually is. This includes the vast majority of self-defence…

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There’s a really common idea in aikido that if it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t work. I can understand where this sentiment comes from. If somebody applies a nikkyo lock to you then it’s usually accompanied by pain. That tends to be how it works. The classic one for this though, is yonkyo. People groan when yonkyo practice is announced because it means they’re in for a lesson of pressure point squeezing pain. The catch though, is that yonkyo doesn’t hurt. None of the katame-waza in aikido actually hurt. They can…

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Kaiten nage is a fascinating technique. We can learn many lessons while performing it but I think we often miss one of the most important. It takes place during the uchi form but not the soto. Rather, it is more obvious in the uchi form. It concerns where the elbow in kaiten nage goes. The specific part of the form that we are going to examine here is after the entry under the arm. Just at the point where nage turns to face the same direction as uke but before…

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Irimi nage means ‘entering throw’. Many aikidoka are successful at the second part – throwing, but less so at the entering. What amazes me is the sheer number of aikidoka that don’t actually enter when doing irimi nage. This is one of the greatest technical pitfalls and it is actually very easy to determine why. The majority of aikidoka fail to begin irimi nage with a step deep enough to carry them behind the uke. Proper entry in irimi nage involves being behind the uke. The problem is that nage…

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