Taijū no ido, Taijū no dendō & Tenshikei

Taijū no ido & Taijū no dendō

Among the fundamental skills for generating power are taijū no idō or body weight shift and taijū no dendō or body weight transmission most prominent together with tenshikei.

The displacement of the body weight (taijū no idō) is when one moves his center of gravity. By using gravity, taijū no idō generates idō ryoku or locomotive power. Most of the footwork exercises can be used as a tool to avoid the impact of an attack, but also as a tool to generate idō ryoku or locomotive power. It is even possible to use taijū no idō without footwork.

The transmission of the body weight (taijū no dendō) is the action of putting weight  into the opponent. For example when one is grasped at the forearm, use this point of contact to transfer weight without using local muscle power. Even the intention to use muscle power will be detected by opponent. This skill can be used as a method to fix an opponent.
The perception of putting  weight into the opponent can give the impression of pushing or pulling without movement. Atemi waza, for example aigamae ate use the pushing version of taijū no dendō before taijū no idō is applied, while sumi otoshi or hiki otoshi use the pulling version of taijū no dendō.


It is not always possible to use taijū no idō as an external body movement. Sometimes the opponent is grasping us very strong by the arm or dogi. Tenshikei is a skill to create distance by using internal rotation. This kind of rotational power together with taijū no dendō can be used without footwork

To summurize.

There are 2 basic powers to make aikido waza efficient.

  • Rotational power – tenshikei
  • Gravitational power – jūryoku (重力) – taijū no idō & taijū no dendō

Most of the aikido waza will use those 2 kinds of power simultaneously.

Both skills can be improved by using exercises where 1 kind of power is predominant.

Rolling feet and pushing

setting upPushing practise is a resistance exercise which includes rolling feet. Pushing exercises & rolling feet improves the efficiency of your aikido waza.
Another feature in pushing practise is gankyōbappai* (含胸抜背).

*This phrase is used to describe the postural adjustment at the chest level (Empty the chest & Pull out the back ). Keep the concave shape of the chest and stretch the spine to widen the back. Important is not to tense the muscles. Again the use of local muscle power is not necessary.

By understanding rolling feet, you will develop the skill of taijū no ido and taijū no dendō.

Fixing an opponent

If you push someone, opponent will react by resisting your power or will step back. In both cases we need the skill of fixing the opponent. Kuzushi or balance disturbing is a kind of fixing an opponent and creates opportunity to apply atemi-waza or kansetsu waza. Don’t forget taijū no dendō can be an important factor during kuzushi.

kuzushi and fixing

Another one is attacking with metsubushi  (eye  blinding), opponent will close the eyes and there is an opportunity to proceed with atemi-waza or kansetsu waza.

metsubushi abe
Tadashi Abe metsubushi

The concept of “aite wo suemono ni suru”

The first word “aite wo” means your opponent.
The second one is the key word, “suemono”. One of the most popular meaning of this word is used in Iaido. It is a roll of straw that is used for a cutting exercise with a sword to check its cutting ability.
The last word of the concept, “ni suru” means to make or set.
The meaning of this concept is to attack an opponent which cannot move his body and/or his mind.
Of course these actions are monitored by a part of the brain where your survival instinct is located. By using some actions we can invoke these survival movements in our favour to neutralize or throw the opponent.

Aikido waza and rolling feet

The skill of rolling feet is necessary in most aikido waza as a method of throwing in combination with tenshikei. Atemi waza, especially pushing techniques use a lot of rolling feet skill. But it is also possible during kansetsu waza. Don’t forget rolling feet is a key factor in footwork for taijū no ido and taijū no dendō.

rolling feet 3

rolling feet 3

rolling feet007

Kansetsu waza use a lot of tenshikei. Tenshikei is a rotational skill and can be used when there is not enough external distance. Tenshikei is using the internal distance to create power.

gyaku gamae ate05In some aikido waza both skills, taijū no ido and tenshikei, are used to make the technique efficient. For example gyakugamae ate, tenshikei will improve the skill of taijū no ido. Gyakugamae ate is one of the basic atemi waza in Tomiki’s aikido. Atemi waza can be used during randori as an attack to a dynamical weak point. Kenji Tomiki selected a limited number of techniques to formulate a method for randori. During the history of Tomiki’s aikido for randori, the numbers and nature of techniques changed a lot.

5 Basic Atemi Waza

There are more than 5 atemi waza. Why to learn only 5 atemi waza?
Body positioning is one reason to start with 5 basic atemi waza.

We can consider 3 kinds of positioning in relation with an opponent. You can take a position in front (1), left or right (2) and behind (3) the opponent.

The left (or right) positioning can be a regular facing posture or a reverse facing posture.

5 basic atemi waza depending on positioning are:

  • shomen ate – frontal posture
  • aigamae ate – regular posture
  • gyakugamae ate – reverse posture
  • gedan ate – lower posture
  • ushiro ate – behind opponent

Kihon Waza

Kenji Tomiki created basic 15 in the early 50-ties which included 3 atemi waza, in the 60-ties he added 2 more (gedan ate & ushiro ate). Information about basic 15 and basic 17 or basic 22 –>see basic15 & basic17

Even in basic 15 or basic 17, there are many versions depending on the point of view by the instructor or student. As mentioned elsewhere, katachi is a basic format to study principles or fundamental elements. Understanding of the fundamental elements cannot be ignored. Without the understanding, the performance of the practitioner becomes shallow or empty.

Yōso* – Fundamental elements

Kenji Tomiki was inspired by the ideas of Jigoro Kano in formulating his Aiki method. Kodokan Judo is based upon “principles”. Principles are fundamental elements and are the essential characteristics of the system. Principles follows the laws of nature, and without the link with these universal laws a system becomes a delusion.
There are laws specific to the human body, rules specific to the relations between human bodies, as well as rules proper to the relations between the human beings within the framework of martial arts. All these laws are real and concrete realities useful for Eastern and Western people..

Training in martial arts will take in account the laws and rules of

  • Psychology, the science of behavior and mind, including conscious and subconscious phenomena, as well as thought.
  • Physics, lit. knowledge of nature, the natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion and behavior through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force.

Yōso* : literally translated as “principle”, but in the context of our study we use “essential element” or “reality based upon laws and rules”.


Integration of Taijū no ido, Taijū no dendō & Tenshikei in Kihon Waza

Because Taijū no ido, Taijū no dendō & Tenshikei are ruled by laws of nature. The body will use these fundamental movements without using conscious thoughts.

Every teacher can create his own basic 15 or basic 17 depending on the understanding of the body and mind. The choreography of the katachi will be almost the same for everybody, but the fill-in of the Yōso can be different according to the level of understanding.

Published by

Eddy Wolput

A passion for Martial Arts since 1964

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