"It's just like magic," winked Goto Sensei, in the middle of explaining how to make a simple Kokyu-ho work from a katate-dori, one-handed wrist grab. We had been struggling.
The technique involves stepping in beside uke while keeping the grabbed hand extended, sort of like Tai No Henko, except the feet are reversed for Kokyu-Ho instead. Then nage raises the grabbed hand and strikes through uke to execute the throw. Our trouble was that we were, as usual, just throwing with the arm, and this results in forcing the throw. Either uke gets whacked in the face, or clotheslined across the chest by the swinging arm. Neither of these outcomes is conducive to a lasting peace.
Goto Sensei was telling us that extending and raising the grabbed hand is only the visible part of the technique, and that much of the function of this hand is for misdirection while something else more important takes place. Very sneaky.
He said, "a great magician is someone who does a trick, you know what he is doing, and you still can't see it." In this technique, he continued, the raising hand captures uke's attention while the hip and shoulder sneak in right next to uke's body. That's the tricky part. So that when the hand is ready to strike through for the throw uke's body has already been unbalanced by the surreptitious hip and shoulder adjustment. When it's happening right, Goto Sensei said, the hand is extending and raising while the hip is moving back into uke's body. This conforms nicely with the basic Aikido strategy of moving in opposite directions at the same time.
In the picture series, Goto Sensei shows first the beginning posture after the turn, but before the throw. In the next photo he shows how an improper arm-only throw leaves space where the hip hasn't moved in. Finally he shows the same posture but the hip has moved in while uke was kept occupied by the raising hand. Both nage's and uke's whole bodies have moved instead of just the upper bodies, and uke becomes light.
We tried it out, extending and raising the grabbed hand while snugging the hip up alongside uke's body. Voila. Folding uke. Of course, done properly, it's all one movement instead of the herky-jerky, stop-start method we used to make sure we were doing all the parts. But eventually we'll be able to do the sleight-of-hip thing and people will wonder how come uke fell down.
technorati tag aikido