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The Takemusu Aikido Student Compendium (Part 4/4) By Sensei de Quiros

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 (

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)

  • ki no nagare is the level (flowing)

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.

(Shunryu Suzuki)

Practice regularly

Learning through practice is like pushing a cart up a hill: if you slack off, it will slip backwards.

(Japanese Proverb)

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.

(Morihei Ueshiba)

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.

(Morihei Ueshiba)

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

MA-AI Distance-timing

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

WAZA Technique

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

3 san

4 shi, yon

5 go

6 roku

7 shichi

8 hachi

9 ku

10 ju

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

TSUKI punch

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.

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