Little House In Ise

The Right Way, the Wrong Way and Ninomiya Sensei’s Way
April 10, 2009, 17:06
Filed under: Aikido | Tags: , , ,

This morning, Ninomiya sensei grabbed me and shoved a sword in my hand. He said his knees hurt too much and that I should act as uke for a fellow (a fifth dan, gentle giant) he was teaching. After a few throws of various sorts, Ninomiya sensei pointed out a flaw in the guy’s kotegaeshi pin (小手返し押さえ). This was about when I should have run and hid.

Unless he moves very slowly, Ninomiya Sensei’s Aikido is so subtle it usually does not register on me until I’m writhing in pain. The transition from, “That’s interesting” to “Holy shit I’m dying!” seems effortless, for him. This is how it was with kotegaeshi. The throw itself was mundane though extremely compelling — even without the bonus leg amputation/radical vasectomy that would have occurred had I not been using a training sword. However, the source of my joy was his variation of the kotegaeshi pin.

Until now I have only seen two basic variations of the kotegaeshi pin. The first, the “right way”, starts with uke on their back, nage holding one of uke’s wrists and hand (throw just completed). Uke’s slightly bent arm is corkscrewed up and around until uke rolls over on their stomach. The corkscrew part is the key. By applying the webbed part of the hand (that did the throw) between thumb and forefinger, to the inside of uke’s bent elbow, nage can rotate the elbow about uke’s head. The hand holding uke’s wrist lifts up while nage slides their body around uke’s head. The combined effect of lifting wrist and turning elbow encourage uke to want to move.

The “wrong way”, is less gentle. Uke’s arm is locked and pressure is applied against the joint as nage slides around uke’s head. In theory this works but if uke is stronger than nage this will turn into a wrestling match.

Then there is Ninomiya sensei’s way. He folds uke’s elbow so their hand is near their face, lifts their elbow up and then applies body weight to the back side of their arm (between the elbow and armpit). Doesn’t sound like much does it? When your back is arching and you are trying to lift up on your toes to prevent arm dislocation — then tell me it’s not much. The fact that I was also rolling on top of the sword certainly added to my discomfort but it was the wicked elbow/shoulder lock that got my attention.

It also got the attention of Nishino sensei who stopped by to watch and experiment. After Ninomiya sensei left, Nishino sensei continued to play. He explained to me that this variation was really just an extreme example of the “right way”. He then went on to show me how all three can be further supplemented by kicking uke in the head (stepping through rather than around their head).

Good training. These guys are awesome!


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