Here we look back at a compendium of guidance produced by Sensei Lewis Bernaldo de Quiros to support students new to Aikido. This is part 4 of a 4 part series and is reproduced from the Takemusu Aikido Motril website (https://aikidotradicional.eu/entrevista/).
Terminology for naming techniques in Japanese (see Appendix 1)
In Japanese, the general term for a technique is descriptive as follows: attack - technique - direction - level
As an example: katate dori - ikkyo - omote waza - kihon
katate dori is the attack: one handed grab to the wrist
ikkyo is the technique (1st pinning technique) omote is the direction, in this case to the front waza means technique
kihon is the level (basic)
Another example: ryote dori - shiho nage - ura waza - ki no nagare
ryote dori is the attack: two handed grip to both wrists
shiho nage is the technique (4 directions throw)
ura waza is the variation (back)
Don’t worry too much about this! In class the instructor should repeat the names of the techniques every time he performs them at first and as they are repeated often, eventually you will come to recognize them.
Guidelines for training in the Dojo
The absolute basics
Remove all articles of jewelry
Keep your gi (training suit) Clean
Keep hand and toe-nails short
Be in time and help with the cleaning of the dojo both before and after training
Pay membership dues on time and notify the instructor if planning to be absent from training for any extended period of time
Follow the teacher’s instructions carefully and keep talking to a minimum at all times
Some directions on ‘learning’
Cultivate ‘beginners mind’ (shoshin)
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few.
Learning through practice is like pushing a cart up a hill: if you slack off, it will slip backwards.
Take responsibility for your own training and learning and never accept, or believe, anything without critically examining it against your own common sense and experience (and don’t forget to ruthlessly question these as well!)
Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching. It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of Aikido are brought to life.
See the principles and essence of Aikido as universal and in the world around you and this will gradually close the gap between practice in the dojo and its application in the greater dojo of everyday life.
Study the teachings of the pine tree, the bamboo, and the plum blossom.
The pine is evergreen, firmly rooted, and venerable.
The bamboo is strong, resilient, unbreakable.
The plum blossom is hardy, fragrant, and elegant.
Appendix 1 Glossary of japanese terms used commonly in Aikido
AIKIDO The Way of harmony
- AI Harmony, to join with
- KI Life force of energy
- DO The Way
AWASE The blend with, join with
ATEMI Strikes to vital points
BUKI WAZA Weapon techniques
- BOKKEN Wooden sword
- JO Wooden staff
- TANKEN / TANTO Wooden knife
DOJO Place of the way, training hall
HANMI Triangular foot position
IRIMI / TENKAN Irimi: entering, to take the initiative (yang)
Tenkan: to turn leading the initiative of the other (yin)
KATA Set technical form
KEIKO Training, physical, mental and emotional
KIHON WAZA Basic techniques
KI NO NAGARE Flowing of energy techniques
KI MUSUBI ‘Energetic’ binding with one’s partner
KOKYU Breath power
NAGE The executor of the techniques
REIGI Dojo étiquette
SEIZA Formal sitting posture
SHOMEN The head of the dojo where the photo of O-sensei is situated
SHOSHIN ‘Beginner mind’
SUBURI Individual movement solo exercises with weapons
TAI SABAKI Body movement
UKE The attacker
UKEMI Receiving (falling, rolling)
URA Back, to the rear
ZANSHIN ‘Remaining / residual / peripheral awareness’
ZAZEN Sitting meditation: centering in being through complete and
unconditional non-resistance to the contents of one’s immediate
and ongoing experience
Numbers in Japanese
1 ichi 11 ju-ichi 20 ni-ju 31 san-ju-ichi
2 ni 12 ju-ni 30 san-ju
4 shi, yon
Different levels of practice
KIHON WAZA basic techniques
YAWARAKAI WAZA soft/smooth technique
NAGARE WAZA flowing technique
KI NO NAGARE ‘flow of energy’ techniques
Different types of practice
SUWARI WAZA techniques pefromed from seiza
HANMI HANDACHI WAZA techniques performed from seiza where uke is standing
TACHI WAZA techniques performed from standing
USHIRO WAZA techniques performed against attacks to the rear
OYO WAZA applied techniques (techniques against specific attacks)
JIYU WAZA freely executed techniques without agreement
NIDAN WAZA second applied technique when the first fails or is blocked NININ DORI techniques applie against two attackers
KAESHI WAZA counter techniques against Aikido techniques
TACHI DORI techniques for disarming an attacker of a wooden sword JODORI
techniques for disarming an attacker of a Jo
TANTO DORI techniques for disarning an attacker of a knife
JO MOCHI NAGE techniques where uke is thrown with the Jo that he attempts to
take from nage
KUMI TACHI advanced wooden sword partner kata
KUMI JO advanced staff partner kata
KEN TAI JO advanced partner practice of ken against Jo
KATATE DORI one handed wrist grip
MOROTE DORI two handed forearm grip
RYOTE DORI two handed two wrists grip
KATA DORI shoulder grab
RYO KATA DORI two shoulders grab
MUNE DORI chest grab
USHIRO RYOTE DORI rear double wrist grab
USHIRO RYOKATA DORI rear double shoulder grab
USHIRO ERIDORI rear collar grab
SHOMEN UCHI frontal strike
YOKOMEN UCHI frontal strike to the side of the head
Footwork when facing your partner
AI HANMI mutual stance the same
GYAKU HANMI mutual stance the opposite
Appendix 2: 20 Jo and 7 Ken basic suburi
20 jo suburi
5 thrusts (basic; included in 31 kata kumijo)
1. Choku tsuki direct thrust
2. Kaeshi tsuki reverse thrust
3. Ushiro tsuki rear thrust
4. Tsuki gedan gaeshi thrust, pull back low and sweep to knee
5. Tsuki jodan gaeshi uchi thrust withdraw above head and strike
5 strikes (basic; included in 31 kata kumijo)
6. Shomen uchi komi strike
7. Renzoku uchi komi consecutive right and left striking
8. Men uchi gedan gaeshi strike pull back sweep knee
9. Men uchi ushiro tsuki strike rear thrust
10. Gyaku yokomen ushiro tsuki reverse strike rear thrust
3 one-handed (advanced; included in 10 kumijo)
11. Katate toma uchi one handed long high to low sweep strike
12. Katate gedan gaeshi one handed low to high sweep strike
13. Katate hachi no ji gaeshi uchi one handed figure eight double sweep strike
5 figure eights (advanced; included in 13 kata awase and 7 kentaijo)
14. Hasso gaeshi uchi figure-eight sweep
15. Hasso gaesi tsuki + strike
16. Hasso gaeshi ushiro tsuki +thrust
17. Hasso gaeshi ushiro uchi + rear strike low
18. Hasso gaeshi ushiro barai + rear clearing sweep
2 flowing movements with 180 direction change (advanced; 13 kata awase)
19. Hidari nagare gaeshi uchi left flowing strike with 180 change of direction
20. Migi nagare gaeshi tsuki right flowing thrust with 180 change of direction
7 ken suburi
First suburi. One move.
Second suburi. Two moves.
Third suburi. Three moves.
Fourth suburi. Consecutive straight shomen cuts. Stepping practice.
Fifth suburi. Consecutive circular yokomen cuts. Stepping practice.
Sixth suburi. Consecutive cutting and thrusting on same side.
Seventh suburi. Consecutive cutting on right thrusting on left side.