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Kaiten Nage in Aikido - "the rotary throw"

Updated on May 12, 2013
Kaiten Nage
Kaiten Nage

This is my personal favourite projection used in Aikido. When applied swiftly, the spectator can only see a series of spectacular rotations that end up with the attacker being either rolled away harmlessly or launched in mid-air following by a heavy fall, depending on the intensity of the technique applied.

The primary objective of Kaiten Nage, or "the rotary throw," consists in channelling the motion/action of attack of Uke into a dynamic extension forward and then reversing its stream back to his rear in a large circle. The technical difference which imparts to this technique its unmistakable identity lies in the fact that in Kokyu Nage and Irimi Nage, his dynamic extension is skilfully diverted and caused to flow from front to rear in a circular pattern passing over his unbalanced upper body. In Irimi Nage that same dynamic extension will be diverted and caused to flow to his rear in a pattern also circular, but running this time, beneath his unbalanced body, as illustrated.

Katate Dori Gyaku Hanmi Kaiten Nage
Katate Dori Gyaku Hanmi Kaiten Nage

The body of Uke usually will be bent forward and very low, in a condition of open unbalance: One of his arms (the one on the side where you will be centrally located) will be swung in a circle going first to his rear and up, then forward again from above and down in a full dynamic reversal launching him ahead while, at the same time, increasing his unbalance until it becomes dynamically irreversible and causes him to fall to the mat. The back of his head will be contacted lightly for a brief instant, causing him to bend down circularly.

Your own position of operational centralization will be a well-balanced one and you will shift your central weight fluidly from one leg to the other, without leaning too far past the vertical line of support of either leg: One of your hands will grasp the wrist which is closest to your body and swing his entire arm in a circle as illustrated, passing from the rear and ending in a frontal extension toward the ground. The other hand will brush his head down lightly and circularly in the opposite direction – to his rear; you will move out of his way, as you pivot in the centre of the action and lead him down and around.

Shomenuchi Kaiten Nage
Shomenuchi Kaiten Nage

Psychologically, the intention of this technique is not to throw Uke vertically down onto the ground, but to project him tangentially away from you, possibly toward other attackers as they converge upon you. Therefore, all of your motions and actions as you lead him into the throw must be geared accordingly and performed from a position very close to the ground. You will lower-your body on legs spread apart and keep yourself well balanced, extending all of your powers in a direction flowing away from you toward the horizon. This is in order to avoid narrowing this otherwise open throw into the ungenerous mechanism of a tight and possibly ineffective reaction.

Kaiten Nage
Kaiten Nage

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    • ZungTran profile imageAUTHOR

      Tran Z 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      And we should expect nothing less from our doshu. I shall hunt down the O-Sensei videos now.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Doshu Moriteru also executes the technique flawlessly. He's really fascinating to watch. I found old clips of O-Sensei and they are also interesting. Small movements and variations in the position of the body make a huge difference in executing the technique.

    • ZungTran profile imageAUTHOR

      Tran Z 

      5 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the comment. I especially enjoy watching the execution of kaiten nage by Christian Tissier. And all his other techniques for that matter :)

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This technique is a good example of the proper extension and manipulation of ki direction. Of course, it takes practice to harness the directional force of ki and use it to your advantage. One key factor in executing this technique is to flow harmoniously. Again, the uke-nage relationship is important.

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