Aikido techniques and relaxing
Aikido techniques look easy enough to apply. Turn a joint in the wrong direction and uke falls down right? Forcing the technique can work if you are bigger and stronger but that is not what aikido is about. Aikido is about using the entire body in one movement. While training it is important to take care of our partners. If a technique is forced then uke can be injured resulting in one less person to train with. If your uke stands up shaking his hands or is in considerable pain, that is not aikido and you need to relax. Relaxing, using your hips and proper form will produce a far more effective technique than muscling through it. Everyone is made differently so the technique might have to be tweaked just a little bit.
Ikkyo/Ikkajo is usually the first technique taught to new students. It looks like an arm bar halfway through the technique. With the initial strike Shite/Nage is shuffling forward. Remember wrist to wrist and hand to elbow. At this point rotate ukes arm up and down as you shuffle forward. Relax your arms, keep your hands where they are and try just using your hips to control uke down to the mat. On the final pin relax and drop your weight down. Don’t try and force their elbow to keep them down. This results in a wrestling match sooner or later.
Nikkyo /Nikkajo can be the hardest wrist technique for some people. Relaxing is very effective with this technique. After you have ukes arm in that “S” shape it is not about squeezing their hand and cranking on the wrist. Have your pinky finger in the wrist joint while holding ukes hand and rotate their hand towards them. As a beginner you can practice using your hips by bowing. Once you see their hips move they are locked and off balance. Popping out their hips helps to make them go down, not pushing them down. Shuffle forward and guide them to the mat. Relax into the pin, drop your weight, and turn. Ukes shoulder is going into the mat not off of their body.
Sankyo/Sankajo involves using your whole body to lock out ukes wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Start off uke in the sankajo position. Grasp their hand and rotate their palm out. Remember uke is moving around you not the opposite. If uke is not locked out the start over but this time moving ukes hand up towards their armpit then rotate their palm out and follow through with your pivot. Keep a relaxed grip while locking out their wrist and move them around you. Again while applying the pin, relax and drop your weight while turning ukes shoulder into the mat.
Yankyo/Yankajo is the fourth control. This technique is difficult to learn, it is also the only one that causes additional pain when properly applied. The main objective is to control ukes elbow. The icing on the cake which is also where the pain comes in can make uke drop on its own. This involves applying pressure to a nerve cluster on the inside of ukes forearm. The exact spot is different on everyone but it is usually along the edge of the forearm. You apply pressure with the pad of your index finger by dropping your weight and driving in with your hips. A firm but relaxed grip will help you apply it over time. The control though is still in the elbow. Once you have the wrist and elbow you can drive forward and down to control uke to the mat. Again relax, drop your weight, and turn ukes arm so their shoulder is going into the mat.
There are many more techniques in aikido but these are the four basic techniques that are taught. Accept ukes attack with open hands and become one with their energy and thank them for trusting you by safely taking them down to the mat. Remember after you have your turn uke has theirs. Be nice and remember to have fun while training. Osu!
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