© Malcolm 2014
Ki2Aikido - a Beginnerís Guide Home History Words Etiquette Exercises Attacks Gradings Dictionary News Gallery Links Contact

Ki Aikido Attacks

Aikido Moves

Most real life attacks are linear, a punch, grab, knife thrust, etc; in Ki Aikido we seek to blend or harmonise with the attack and convert it into a circular motion that neutralises the attack. Instead of crippling kicks or punches that are used in other martial arts, Ki Aikido uses wrist locks, arm pins, and throws to deter further attacks.

Method of Attack

The uke usually attacks with his/her right hand first so the tori has to present the appropriate hand. This is usually the left  hand but for some attacks, katate kosi dori for example, the tori presents their right hand. Moves are repeated on both sides, left and right, to maintain balance. Most moves are practised statically at first, to show the detail of the technique, but once this is mastered they can be done  dynamically. In this case, the uke makes the same attack but moving in; the tori will seek to avoid the grab, punch, kick, choke by doing the counter move before the actual grab, punch, etc occurs (but still within the uke’s flow). The uke is an active participant in the move. They should attack realistically but also be compliant and flow with the tori’s   counter; ie not be deliberately difficult! To be ‘realistic’: The uke should maintain their ki, ie not lunge forward off balance; The uke should not swing their arm out wide to grab (dori) the tori but come in straight, from behind their hip; ‘Grabs’, on wrist or shoulder, should be firm to give the tori something to work with (but not so tight that it hurts); The uke should make a positive attempt to grab the tori’s wrist(s), shoulder etc even if the tori counters in such a way  that the grab never actually occurs; Punches (tsuki) and strikes (uchi) should be centred and with follow through, as if for real, and not off to one side,  flabby or prematurely terminated. They may however be made slowly to give the tori a chance to practise their  counter moves.

Basic Attacks (by Uke):

Contact ‘Grabs’:

Katate-dori – Single-hand grab. One hand grabs one wrist (on same side, ie not across body). Katate kosa-dori – Cross hand grab. Ryo-te mochi (or Morote-dori) – Both-hands grab. Both hands grab one wrist; the lower hand should be on the inside, closer to the Uke’s palm. Ryote-dori – Two hands grab. Both of the Uke’s wrists are held; one by each of the Tori’s hands. Sometimes written as  expansion of katate-dori to include both hands, ie ryo-katate-dori. Kata-dori – Shoulder grab. A shoulder grab. "Both-shoulders-grab" is ryo-kata-dori. Mune-dori – Chest grab. Grabbing the (clothing of the) chest.

Non-Contact Attacks:

Shomen-uchi – Front-of-the-head strike. A vertical knife-hand strike to the head (but follow through, as if slicing to navel). In  training, this is directed at the forehead or the crown for safety. Yokomen-uchi – Side-of-the-head strike. A diagonal knife-hand strike to the side of the head or neck. Again, follow through; as if ‘strike’ exits body below opposite rib cage. Mune-tsuki – Chest thrust. A punch to the torso. Targets include the chest, abdomen, and solar plexus.

Actions by Tori:

Whatever response the tori makes, the aim is to first blend (tai-no-henka) with the uke, not fight against or conflict with the  way they are moving. There should be minimal disturbance of the uke’s hold (to achieve this, the tori may need to move their body around the uke). When the tori decides it is time to move the uke, a line needs to be taken where the uke is not strong  (this may be up, down or sideways for example as opposed to back or forth). Aim not to conflict; but to change the uke’s form. This is the art of Aikido, why we go to classes and practise. Aikido cannot effectively be learnt from words alone or watching a video. Irimi – To enter or entering. Move, face into an opponent’s space. Tenshin/Tenkan – Turning. Moving to the side, outside of an opponent’s space (These two terms are often confused). Kokyu-nage – loose term for various moves that do not use joint locks or twists as used in other techniques. The Tori brings  one hand up front of Uke’s body, over face and then comes down, extending ki over Uke’s face, dropping the Uke to the ground without touching them (I wonder if this is why it is called a ‘breath’ throw?). Kokyu-nage is soft and blending, utilising the  Uke’s own movement to complete the throw; this makes Ki Aikido very different to most martial arts. Shiho-nage – known as the 4-way throw (I think because there are 4 ways Uke can be thrown) but is when the hand is folded back past the shoulder, locking the shoulder joint, and is then brought down to fell the attacker. Rule of thumb is that if uke (or attacker) pulls you toward them then use Irimi; if they push then use Tenshin.


Be Careful! Apply slowly; these techniques can hurt if done incorrectly or with undue force. The descriptions below are simplified reminders; sensei will demonstrate the techniques in full. Ikkyo  (pronounced ik-e-o) – first pinning technique – press arm: (thumb over their thumb, 3rd and 4th fingers hooked over back of their hand.   Other hand on   their  bicep. Keep Uke’s arm straight; change to nikyo if it bends. Move Uke down to ground) Nikyo (or nikkyo) – second pinning technique – turn wrist: (pin folded hand into shoulder; from over the top of the uke’s arm, the tori’s other hand stokes along and around the  arm to the ‘pulse’. Done correctly, this action bends the wrist more and brings uke to his/her knees.) Sankyo – third pinning technique – twist wrist, directing upward, spiral tension through arm, elbow and shoulder. (twist wrist so palm faces out, fingers down in front of uke’s chest) Yonkyo – fourth pinning technique – press wrist: (one hand holds uke as for ikkyo; 2nd hand holds wrist of same uke hand with tori’s first finger first joint pressing into pressure point, radial nerve, on side of uke’s wrist)

Summary Table of Attacks and Responses

To be added
Attacks Uke Uke Tori Tori