Hara Tanden – An Imaginary Spot

When the muscles of the lower abdomen are tensed, the seat of body’s power, the tanden, appears. The tanden is the tension of the muscles and appears only in the living body. It was not discovered through western medicine or academics because it cannot be found in a dissected body.

“The Essence of Budo” by Prof. Sato Tsuji, (Professor of Literature, Kogakkan University) and Kawakubo Takiji, Iaido Hanshi

Content of this article


Is the Hara Tanden the core of your being or is your brain the core?
We can address this from a western perspective, but also from an eastern perspective.
Talking about Hara Tanden may be very confusing for many of us. If you try to understand Hara Tanden with your brain, you will undoubtedly have a short circuit in your head.
Attempting to approach Hara Tanden from an Eastern point of view with our Western education will give many difficulties and errors in the translation of the concepts involved.

Hara Tanden, your engine

For those who have a problem with Hara Tanden’s concept, we can do a comparison with a rowing boat with outboard engine.

Are you going to use the engine or the paddles?

Most of us only move our bodies as efficiently as we can. Unfortunately, we just paddle even though we have an engine in our body.
Hara Tanden is about where our centre of gravity is. Your lower body muscles can be used to move more efficiently. Hara Tanden will serve as a base for upper body support. Without a strong support base our motions will become unstable and the power of our upper body will simply depend on the local muscle power.
To use our motor effectively we need fuel, Hara Tanden uses “Ki” produced by effective breathing.
Understandably, the words Hara Tanden or Ki mean nothing to you. It is very difficult to explain them.

2 different explanations

Of course, there are many more explanations, but these are examples from the West and the East.

From Wikiwand:
The Hara or lower Dantian, as conceptualised by the Chinese and Japanese martial arts, is important for their practice, because it is seen, as the term “Sea of Ki” indicates, as the reservoir of vital or source energy. It is, in other words, the vital centre of the body as well as the centre of gravity. For many martial arts, the extension of energy or force from this centre is a common concept. Many martial art styles, amongst them Aikido, emphasise the importance of “moving from the hara”, i.e. moving from the centre of one’s very being – body and mind. There are a large number of breathing exercises in traditional Japanese and Chinese martial arts where attention is always kept on the tanden or hara to strengthen the “Sea of Qi”.

The “Wiki” text is certainly written from a Western point of view, trying to define something we don’t understand.

From a Chinese text on Dantian (Tanden):
Anatomically speaking, what is in the tanden is the lower abdomen, and it is nothing more than a multi-layered structure of the intestines. However, from a mechanical point of view, the lower abdomen is a place where the force called gravity and the repulsive force generated from the ground are in opposition .

The physiology of the joints, a masterpiece of manipulative science, explains that this up and down force that collides in the pelvis draws a circle along the structure of the pelvis. The imaginary Tanden stands in opposition to be supported by this circle. In other words, it can be said that the sense of fulfillment you feel when you put effort into the tanden is, first of all, a sense of vertical balance that arises from the feeling of stepping on the ground, or more simply, a sense of mechanical stability.
Concentration of energy in Tanden means performing abdominal breathing. Specifically, the pumping action of the diaphragm causes gentle cardiopulmonary exercise in the upper part, and repeated contraction and relaxation of the internal organs, mainly the intestines, in the lower part.
Also, “bringing the mind down” is actually a way to release the tension in the brain.

The Chinese text (translated) is less philosophically orientated than the wiki text.
The Chinese and Japanese understand the idea of “Qi/Ki” very well because it is part of their culture. Most martial arts texts are mainly practical and explain how to carry out the movement of the body.

There is no magic involved

The word “Ki” or “Qi” is often used to describe the magical power of the martial arts of the Orient and is often translated as energy. This translation is in fact not covering the concept of “Ki” or “Qi” as understood by Japanese or Chinese practitioners. A paper written by a Western follower of Chinese Martial Arts and TCM will give you some practical insight of the “Ki” or “Qi” concept.

Observations on the importance of the yao/koshi to the actor in Japanese Noh ̄ and Chinese Jingju (‘Beijing opera’) From an article by Ashley Thorpe

Ki or chi/qi

Energy may be considered as a culturally specific phenomenon, but there is correspondence between no ̄ and jingju. In Chinese, qi can mean breath, air or spirit, but it is also a technical term used in traditional Chinese medicine to refer to a vital life energy. The conception of qi as referring to the energy of the actor is in evidence in jingju, as Jo Riley explains:
Qi means more than mere breath control. A performer who has qi is considered to be ‘in-spired’, moved by a special kind of energy or filled with presence. During training, the master will often point to the student’s abdomen and demand that the student draw up his qi. This is the heart or residence of qi, the undefined and indefinable centre of the human body from which presence( force) flows.
Shelley Fenno Quinn has suggested that qi [in Japanese, ki, 気] was used by Zeami Motokiyo (c.1363-c.1443) to describe the technique of the no ̄ actor in producing his voice.

Basic training

The focus on basic training automatically raises significant differences between the two forms. In no ̄, an actor develops through the learning of kata [型], movement patterns that form the basis of plays. Techniques that might be regarded as basic, such as kamae [構え] and suriashi [摺り足], underpin all kata, are used on stage in performance, and thus cannot easily be demarcated as a distinct set of basic training exercises (even though these techniques might still be described as the ‘basics [’基本]). Incontrast, jingju has training explicitly conceptualised as jiben gong [基本功], ‘basic techniques’that are only practised off-stage, but nevertheless are central to underpinning the quality of movement on-stage. Jiben gong includes exercises designed to cultivate specific skills, fitness and endurance in the actor, including in the yao [腰] ‘lower abdomen and thighs’, tui [腿] ‘legs’, taibu [台 化] ‘stage walking’, yuanchang [垈 魁] lit.‘circular course’, a training exercise in which the actor practices fast stage walking by repeatedly circling around the room, shanbang [山膀] ‘mountain arms’, yunshou [云 手] ‘cloud hands’, tanzigong [毯子功] lit.‘carpet training ’but meaning the conditioning of the body for acrobatics, and bazigong [把子功] ‘weapons training’. Thus, jingju performers do not begin by studying particular plays or characters, but by focussing on how these foundational skills and movements should be mastered. Once central aesthetic ideas are understood and the body has become accustomed to the demands placed upon it, jiben gong is extended according to the conventional requirements of one of four role types in which the actor may specialise: male [生], female [旦], painted face [昌], and clown [丑]. A professional actor must have technique “inside the heart” (xinli you, 心里有), a state fully achieved only by solid training in jiben gong as a child, and further consolidated throughout adulthood. Thus, the conceptualisation of the ‘basics’ and its relationship to the actual material performed on stage is different in each form.

Building presence (kigurai) – harnessing tension: the significance of yao/koshi 

In no ̄ and jingju, I have experienced energy emanating from the lower section of the trunk of the torso (yo or koshi in Japanese, yao in Chinese). The term yao/koshi is difficult to neatly translate into English. Koshi can variously refer to the pelvis(to include the hips, pelvic carriage, lower spine, sacrum and coccyx), the lower abdomen, the upper thighs, the centre of gravity in the lower abdomen, and all the muscle and other bodily material situated around these areas.
In my own experiences of training, although I can locate the central locus of energy reasonably precisely to a specific area of the body, I would never describe it as only element of the lower trunk working to produce, support and distribute energy. I find the yao/koshi to exist as a kind of ‘interconnectedness’ between the skeletal and muscular structures in the lower section of the torso. For instance, in no ̄, I find that the locus of energy emanates from the base of the spine. Yet, tension is also achieved by pushing the base of the spine inwards and extending the hips backwards, creating a solid central focus of compressed energy around the lower back more generally, which is then forced further downwards. Indeed, teachers have often stressed to me the importance of having good koshi, which supports the basic kamae stance. In jingju, energy is considered to emanate from an area described as the dantian [丹田], an ‘energy centre’ situated towards the front of the waist just below the navel which is also cited in relation to Chinese martial arts, Qigong, and Taiji. Basic exercises aim to strengthen the yao as a means to cultivate stamina and suppleness in the dantian, which, in turn, supports all movement, from walking, to gesturing, to acrobatics.

Some Japanese expressions

To write concepts, the Japanese use one or two kanji (or more) to express a complete concept. An explanation in a Western language requires more words and still cannot transmit the message fully. Find a few examples here.

  1. 呼吸法 Kokyū-hō: breathing method – in the context from Martial Arts: Abdominal Breathing.
  2. 緊張 Kinchō: tension 弛緩 Shikan: relaxation – “Tense” and “tension” (緊張) is often used to describe the prolonged or continuous contraction of muscles, tendons and other parts of the body.  Its opposite is “relax” or “relaxed” (弛緩). Breathing is an alternation of tension and relaxing.
  3. 含胸抜背 gankyô bappai: relax the thorax, elongate the back. “Lower the chest means the chest is drawn in to enable chi to sink down to the dan tian (or the abdominal energy field about 3 inches below the navel)”.
  4. 気位 Kigurai: pride, haughtiness. Kigurai can be seen as fearlessness or a high level of internal energy. What it is not, is posturing, self congratulating.

Kyokotsu and 含胸抜背 Gankyô Bappai

Kyokotsu (sternum) and Hara Tanden are connected through the spine and the attached muscles. Especially the latissimus dorsi plays an important role.
The use of the sternum is called 含胸抜背 gankyô bappai: relax the thorax, elongate the back. This skill opens the shoulders for power transfer coming from the legs.

含胸抜背 gankyô bappai

Become conscious of the point in the middle of the chest (the midpoint where both nipples are connected) and pull it down while pulling it back. Open the shoulder blades with the latissimus dorsi instead of opening them with the trapezius muscles of the shoulders

Kyokotsu is the lower point of the sternum in the Hino Budo exercises. Most of the exercises in previous posts on kyokotsu have to be seen as methods to make the torso more flexibel. Of cours, kyokotsu is translated as sternum and all the points on the sternum can be considered as the focal point for exercises and movements.
Using 含胸抜背 gankyô bappai is in fact the more practical application of the sternum manipulation.
After creating gankyô bappai, we can make a link between the sternum and the arm, especially the elbow. Most of the Aikido methods have exercises to develop “Hiriki” or elbow power. Unfortunately, when there is no connection between the sternum and the arm, elbow power will solely depend on arm muscles.

Pressuring Hara Tanden

Before we can transfer power from legs to arms, we need to be conscious of Hara Tanden in the lower torso.
When we look inside the abdomen, we may not be able to see the Hara Tanden. The creation of the imaginary spot is the result of a breathing technique by controlling the diaphragm and the pelvis.

The main action of the pushing down is a backward action against the spine.

Sometimes you will find a text: “Lower the chest means the chest is drawn in (or pushed down) to enable chi to sink down to the dan tian (or the abdominal energy field about 3 inches below the navel)”.
When you push down the breath, the Ki/Qi sinks into the Hara Tanden.

After several sessions of breathing exercises, you can feel the Hara Tanden in the lower part of the torso.
We can connect the upper part of the body with the hara tanden by using gankyô bappai. “Become conscious of the point in the middle of the chest (the midpoint where both nipples are connected) and pull it down while pulling it back. Open the shoulder blades with the latissimus dorsi instead of opening them with the trapezius muscles of the shoulders“.

気海息 or “Kikai breathing”

This is about abdominal breathing (Hara Tanden breathing). As you will notice, the first word “Ki” is a breathing related word.

There are many types of breathing, but in martial arts abdominal breathing or kikai breathing is preferred. Not all abdominal breathing is efficient for martial art power. Hara tanden breathing creates pressure in the lower abdomen.
When the muscles of the lower abdomen are tensed, the seat of body’s power, the tanden, appears. The tanden is the tension of the muscles and appears only in the living body. It was not discovered through western medicine or academics because it cannot be found in a dissected body.

Moving system

The arms and the legs are fundamentally our tools to perform actions like grasping an object or walking around. The torso is the place where our main components of our body are located.

Anatomically, the arm begins at the sternoclavicular joint, the connection of the collarbone and the sternum. Manipulation of the sternum or gankyô bappai affects the spine and the arms.

The legs are connected through the hipstructure to the lower end of the spine. The opening of the crotch is necessary to transfer the power from the legs in the spine. By controlling the Hara Tanden, we stabilize the pelvic girdle and give access to the power coming from the legs.

Mata no chikara – Power management from the groin

Hara Tanden is mainly used to transfer power from the legs to the upper body.
股 Mata is mostly translated as crotch, inner thigh, groin or femur.

Using “round crotch” is not only in martial arts often used, it is also important in artistic body movements.

圓襠 En machi – Round crotch
股の力 Mata no chikara – powering up Mata

Making crotch round is a skill to open the groin for transfer of power. The iliopsoas is the muscle that controls the hip joint.
Using Hara Tanden to develop legpower uses iliopsoas muscle. If this muscle is not not active, the upper and lower limbs will not work together. You can’t even push the floor.

Making crotch can be created naturally by doing the following. Open both hip joints while pulling them left and right, both knees are subtly tightened inward. See picture above (圓襠 En machi – Round crotch)
The breathing exercises “Hachi Danken” are very helpfull in making the crotch round.

Fundamentally making crotch round is the same as gankyô bappai, the opening of the shoulders.

Tsugi ashi – Using The Iliopsoas

Tsugi ashi 次 足, mostly translated as “succeeding or following legs/feet” or “shuffling”. There are many explanations for this kind of footwork.
Fundamentally, tsugi ashi is build upon the use of the ilipsoas. Without an active iliopsoas, we cannot pressing down the feet to generate power.

The distance between the feet when using tsugi ashi
Between the feet, in most instances, there is a width of approximately shoulder width. When the distance becomes greater, it becomes more difficult to carry out tsugi ashi.

How to activate the iliopsoas and perform tsugi ashi (shomen uchi)
The example is given when using a sword, but it is also possible when using tegatana or handblade.

  1. Open the front of the hips to activate iliopsoas, front foot is ready to move forward
  2. Push with back leg into the ground, knee of front leg softens
  3. Put front foot heel forward softly on floor
  4. Put ball front foot down, heel back foot goes up, knee of back leg softens
  5. Move back foot forward, don’t cross feet

If iliopsoas is not enabled, it becomes hard to push with the rear leg. The rear foot is going to have a dragging effect.

The iliopsoas and shomen tsuki
The same skills as with shomen uchi strike will be used during shome tsuki.
In Tomiki Aikido, tanto-randori is a method to explore your skills against an attacker who is using a frontal attack (shomen tsuki) to the chest with a soft tanto.
A frontal attack (shomen tsuki) can also be used as a frontal strike to the face with the palm of the hand.

Ayumi ashi

Ayumi ashi is normally associated with ordinary walking. This is correct. Unfortunately, most people are not walking efficiently and are frequently exposed to loss of balance. We see this often with elderly people.
Keeping balnce is important in ordinary life and certainly during martial art training.

How to keep your balance during walking?

  • The heel of the right foot in front lands on the ground. When the heel of the front foot lands, the back foot is firmly pushing the ground without lifting off the ground.
  • Then, when the front right ball of foot touches the ground, the rear left heel rises.
  • When you fully step into the sole of your right foot, the left knee come forward.
  • The left foot is brought forward

One of the more important skills in ayumi ashi and tsugi ashi is the flexibility of the knee. The knee must be very relax and this gives the ability to stretch and bend.

Aiki-Randori, the approach of Kenji Tomiki.

I have been asked by people of various sections as to the wisdom and possibility of judo being introduced with other games and sports at the Olympic Games. My view on the matter, at present, is rather passive. If it be the desire of other member countries, I have no objection. But I do not feel inclined to take any initiative. For one thing, judo in reality is not a mere sport or game. I regard it as a principle of life, art and science. In fact, it is a means for personal cultural attainment. Only one of the forms of judo training, so-called randori or free practice can be classed as a form of sport.
Jigoro Kano


Probably, Jigoro Kano knew very well he could not stop the sportification and competisation of Judo. The same story we can find in the sportification of Karate. Gichin Funakoshi was not a fan of “kumite”.
Aikido as a competition sport is the result of Kenji Tomiki’s way of thinking. He thought that by sportification, Aikido couldt be promoted in the same way as the promotion of the Western Sports. There is of course also the pressure by the Councel of Waseda University.


Randori or kumite* is a kind of sparring used by Japanese martial arts, but you will find similar training methods in non-Japanese martial arts.
To be clear, randori is not competition, although randori can be used in a competition format.
During sparring, focus is on the fundamentals of the method and includet stability, mobility and smart use of power.
Another feature of Japanese martial arts is the use of “waza” and “kata” to teach the important elements of the art.
Sparring or randori is the method to test the efficiency of your skills learned through the study of waza and kata.

*Although in karate the word kumite is usually reserved for sparring, some schools also employ the term randori with regard to “mock-combat” in which both karateka move very fast, parrying and attempting acts of extreme violence with all four limbs (including knees, elbows, etc.) yet only ever making the slightest contact. Total control of the body is necessary and therefore only the senior grades can typically practice randori. In these schools, the distinction between randori and kumite is that in randori, the action is uninterrupted when a successful technique is applied

Waza can be described in 2 ways

In general, waza can be practised in 2 ways

  • Hard techniques (Go), relying on athletic performance and muscular power. Hard, in martial arts terms, means using force mainly produced with the help of our external movement system.
  • Soft techniques (Ju), relying on internal resources of the practitioner. Soft, in the case of martial arts, signifies a yielding, accepting, or non-resistive.

Most of the martial arts using a combination of hard and soft techniques. Sometimes hard technique is dominant, sometimes soft is the dominant factor.
The engine of waza is movement and is called tai-sabaki or body movement. Tai-sabaki has 3 main components:

  • Koshi-sabaki – concerning the hara region
  • Ashi-sabaki – concerning the legs and feet
  • Te-sabaki – concerning the arms and hands

The integration of the 3 components is necessary to perform an efficient action. The study of kata is the most important tool in Japanese martial arts for studying fundametals.

Kata, collection of waza

Kata may be thought of as an old presentation of type of techniques and concepts.
The transfer of knowledge of the practice of kata can not be replaced by watching video clips without practice. Nevertheless, video and digital tools may be helpful in the absence of teachers.
And there’s also a concept of “feeling”. A teacher may give you the physical and mental sensation of waza. Of course, there are practitioners who have the capacity of kinetic awareness just by looking at the movements.

Kodokan Judo

Kodokan Judo Go-no-kata and Ju-no-kata are 2 examples of hard and soft techniques in 1 martial art. Although Kodokan Judo is promoting the “Ju” aspect of their art, when the competition side comes to the foreground many competitors forget the softness.
The “Go” aspect of Judo can be found in their approach of what is called “Olympic Judo”. Most of the Judo matches are dominated by the “Go” aspect. Of course we must remember, hard techniques also have some “Ju” influences.

Tomiki Aikido

Aikido is a martial art and the techniques has the label “soft”.
The goal of the soft technique is deflecting the attacker’s force to their disadvantage.
Soft technique doesn’t mean without power. The defender is using power in a very smart way. The “Ju” aspect is the dominant factor.

A special feature of Tomiki Aikido is the concept of randori. In fact not all the randori formats in Tomiki Aikido can be called “Aikido”, we better call it “Randori Kyogi” or “Sports Randori”.
During Sport Randori most of the practitioners change their mind from a soft approach to a hard approach. For some practitioners, winning or not losing becomes the goal.

The Philosophy of Competition (JAA NPO)
Sports Aikido was borne from the research on reorganization of Aikido from educational viewpoint made by Professor Kenji Tomiki who was the initial Chairperson of our Association. Tomiki Shihan preached the necessity of practicing “Randori” in parallel with the practice of “Kata” in order to make Aikido to serve modern education and to develop as a valuable national culture. “Randori” is the practice with which the players can compete mutually with their free intention. By studying “Kata” and “Randori” in combination, technical principles of Budo such as Shizen-tai (natural posture), Kuzushi (posture-collapsing technique), Yawara (flexibility in movement), Sen (way of taking priority in movement), Ma-ai (distance keeping), Metsuke (way of eye-focusing), and Tou-ho (sword method) can be internalized in oneself for the first time.
On the other hand, the competition was set for making it objective that the ability is cultivated through Randori practice and using it as a material for reflection toward further improvement of spirit and technique. The competition can be expected to have a nurturing effect on such as keeping calm, fighting spirit, mind of suppressing one’s desires and overcoming oneself, and being merciful and compassionate. Therefor it is not expected to fall into the harm of supremacy of victory in the competition, taking advantage of its purpose and features.

Winning is not the same as not losing

During randori, a mixture of hard and soft can be seen. If the level of the practitioner is insufficient, too early exposure to randori can create an attitude of “not losing the fight by blocking”. Of course, randori can be fun and is a magnet for many practitioners. The non-Japanese martial arts have a similar problem.
In Chinese martial arts, the pushing hands method is an often used method to test the skills of yielding and power explosion. It is transformed into a competition method. The perception of these events has nothing to do with martial art itself. Most of the time this is a muscular display where the strongest and heaviest has the largest opportunity to win. Avoid losing is carried out by blocking an opponent’s action using muscle power.

Aiki Randori-ho

The early practitioners of Tomiki Aikido had an advanced knowledge of Kodokan Judo. People like Senta Yamada (6th Dan Kodokan Judo) and Miyake Tsuneko (6th Dan Kodokan Judo) are well known by the older generation of Tomiki Aikido.
Both teachers broke away from mainstream Tomiki Aikido after the introduction of competition into Tomiki Aikido. Kenji Tomiki and Hideo Ohba actively promoted the competitive concept. But for those who were high level Kodokan Judo, the creation of a new competition format was not a major goal for the study of Aikido.
When Senta Yamada came to the United Kingdom in the late 20th century, he remarked that there is a certain advantage in the “tanto-randori-competition”.

Before adopting the competition in Tomiki Aikido an experimental format randori was introduced to the students of the Judo Club called Aiki-Randori.

Text published for Aikido-Division – Waseda Judo Club (around 1950)

A way of Aiki-Randori
by Kenji Tomiki
Professor Waseda University
Physical Education

People who have learned Kodokan Judo or Aikido will benefit a lot from the atemi-waza and kansets-waza randori-ho.

Table of content
Section 1 General
Chapter 1 What is Aiki-Randori-ho
Chapter 2 The development of Jujutsu (or Budo) by “sportification”
Chapter 3 The importance of a renewed Budo (Bujutsu) in education
Chapter 4 The importance of sportification of (Budo) exercises
Chapter 5 Aiki Randori-ho and Goshin Jutsu (selfdefense)
Section 2 Techniques
Chapter 1 Warming up  (light callisthenics, flexibility and toning exercises, ukemi)
Chapter 2 Basics for Randori (posture, unsoku, tegatana, kumimasenai *, kuzushi)
Chapter 3 The techniques for Randori-ho (atemi waza, hiji waza, tekubi waza and uki waza)
Chapter 4 Combination and switching techniques (renraku henka waza) for atemi waza and kansetsu waza

*Kumimasenai : how to avoid to be gripped, punched or kicked

What is Aiki Randori-ho?

To revive old style jujutsu atemi waza and kansetsu waza, aiki randori-ho was created. Aiki randori-ho is modernized old style “aikido” and is a way to practise atemi waza and kansetsu waza.
Aiki randori-ho is following the same footsteps as my teacher Jigoro Kano, creator of Kodokan Judo. He developed Judo Randori by combining the best elements from Tenjin Shinyo Ryu and Kito Ryu.
Repeating the kata endless time was the old way of training, however randori training has the following advantages :

  • The emphasis is on making the will alive to investigate the mechanism of techniques, the content is more important than the outer form.
  • Modern sport education develops human character and improves the personality of the human being. Aiki Randori-ho is suited for this education goal.

To reorganize old style jujutsu into randori-ho, Jigoro Kano limited randori-ho to nage waza and katame waza and created the “kumu” method of training, grasping eri and sode (collar and sleeve). This method became the trademark of Kodokan Judo.
The downside of this method was atemi waza and kansetsu waza were almost entirely omitted. To use the full potential of old style jujutsu we must keep the atemi waza and kansetsu waza in the format of aiki randori-ho.

Aikido (old style) has its roots in the former Aizu-han, especially in the Takeda family, teachers of Daito-Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. My master Ueshiba who was taught by Sokaku Takeda, added original elements and the style was called first Aikibudo and later Aikido. He taught his art as an ascetic practice. (shindo-no-gyōhō)

The content of Morihei Ueshiba Aikido (not contemporary Aikido) could be assigned to old style bujutsu. It is in principle empty hand fighting (toshu), but sometimes against tanto, katana, yari and bo. The practitioners are able to use those weapeons by themself. In other words, it is a versatile martial art suitable for real battle. The training is just like old style bujutsu based upon repitition of the form.

Kansetsu waza are the most advanced in Aikido, above all others. Kansetsu waza is frequently used against tanto, katana, yari and bo.
To revive kansetsu waza in aiki-randori, I have added techniques from old style judo kata.
In contrast to the Judo Randori-ho Kumu-method (grasping the dogi), in Aiki Randori-ho I introduced Rikakutaisei, keeping posture apart. The meaning of rikakutaisei is using atemi waza and kansetsu waza when you are not grasped and avoiding punching or kicking.
The purpose in old style jujutsu of atemi waza and kansetsu waza was to inflict damage to the opponent. In Aiki Randori-ho the purpose of atemi waza and kansetsu waza is nage (throwing) or osae (holding), which makes no difference with the concept of Kodokan Judo nage waza and katame waza. Atemi waza and kansetsu waza must be performed in Aiki Randori-ho without the intention to hurt the opponent.

On Jujutsu and its Modernization

The next article is based on the older article (1950) and contains an overview of the methods for practicing Aiki-randori.

Shiai – Competition

Shiai is the testing of oneself. The phrase is made up of two Japanese words. “Shi” means “to test” and “ai” means to meet. It’s generally accepted that a shiai is a competition, but the concept of the word implies “testing” more than “fighting.”

Sadly, not everyone understands that concept. Winning a medal becomes important and sometimes the concepts proposed by the founders are ignored.
Investing in loss is not an option for those individuals. The good news is that not everyone is looking for medals and champions. Investing in losing can be very beneficial to improve your skills with the correct attitude and training. Not to lose competition through blocking must be avoided.
Many champions understand that winning is the result of training and the next contest again requires training and persistence with the right attitude.

The Butterfly Experiment

Author: Eddy Wolput °1948 – 7th dan Aikido (JAA-Tokyo/Japan) – 5th dan Iaido – 5th dan Jodo. 
Part of the material in this article is not directly linked to the Japan Aikido Association (NPO) program or Shodokan approach. Other concepts are incorporated into the study of the subject presented.

Chiko-go-itsu – Knowledge and action are one

Yoshida Shōin

The Rorschach Test

The Rorschach test is a projective psychological test in which subjects’ perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person’s personality characteristics and emotional functioning.

Rorschach’s test is/has been used as a tool to analyze “perceptions” of a patient.
“Butterfly Experience” is a tool to study your ability of a connected body. The perception you have about a connected body is not always truthful. But by using a partner, you may know whether you are connected is real or just an illusion.

The Butterfly Experiment

How can I experience the outcome of a “connected body?
The “Butterfly Experiment” is an exercise that is not directly related to any martial art situation. This exercise can make your body connected while working with a training partner.
The partner maintains an upright posture. The body is neither stiff nor too relaxed. The arms are in front of the body, the fists are lightly squeezed. The resistance to butterfly motion is structural.

When the body is connected, it generates a tremendous amount of power without relying too much on muscle strength. Rendo allows the flow of force to increase and transfer to the target efficiently.

Akira Hino on the concept of Rendo

The butterfly experiment is not part of a normal training routine. The experiment can be done from time to time experiencing your progress in the creation of a connected body and the associated power.

Kinetic Chain a Western approach to Rendo

A “Kinetic Chain” is a term used to describe how force is transferred through different parts of the body to produce movement.
The concept was introduced by Franz Reuleaux, a mechanical engineer, in 1875 and adapted by Dr Arthur Steindler in 1995.

Using power means moving your body. If the body does not have a synchronized posture, the power will be scattered and finally we may lose our stability and fall.
Moving the body can happen in a stationary or dynamic situation. Neither situation can be experienced properly if there is no balance or stability.

Our movement system

Our motion system’s got multiple subsystems. In general, we can talk about three fundamental things.

  • Stabilizer system
  • Mobiliser system
  • Our brain

The movement of our body is the result of the use of muscles and tendons and ligaments attached.
There’s a thousand ligaments and tendons all over the body. Ligaments and tendons are made of connective tissue.
Ligaments connect one bone to another. Tendons connect a muscle to a bone. Both, however, are vital for good body mechanics.
Another part of our system is fascia.
A fascia is a structure of connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, blood vessels, and nerves binding some structures together, while permitting others to slide smoothly over each other.
And we cannot forget our brains, or else we cannot function properly.

Stabilizer system

During any movement, the stabilizing muscles act to stabilize the body or part of the body. It is also important to note that there are no specific stabilizing muscles in the body. The name just outlines exactly what these muscles do.

Mobiliser system

These muscles are found close to the body` surface and tend to cross two joints. They are usually composed of fast fibres which produces power but lack endurance. Mobilizers help with rapid or ballistic motion.
Biceps and triceps are examples of this.

Stationary training

Basically, this kind of training focuses on the stabilizing system of the body. The mobilizing muscles of the upper body and arms perform large movements without excessive tension in these muscles. The goal of these exercises is not to create big muscles, but to create a synchronous movement between the stabilizer and mobilizing muscles.


Footwork is closely related to balance and stability. Footwork exercises are basically working on the stabiliser muscles.
Practitioners of an older age can have a lot of benefit of footwork to keep their balance and stability during dynamic training.

The mobilisers of the upper body are in general not used during our footwork exercises and are kept in a relative fixed position.

Why holding the arms in this position?
This exercise is a good workout to strengthen the stabilisers of the upper body.

Koshi mawari

Koshi-mawari is in general translated as turning the hips. Koshi-mawari is a very complex way of moving with the lower torso. Koshi-mawari can be considered as the movement of a ball (kyūten*). Korindo-ryu aikido is largery based upon this concept.

*Kyūten – 球転 Ball rolling, ball rotation

Koshi-mawari can be performed at any time without a break, when your koshi is lowered sufficiently, with slightly springy knees. This makes it easier to react spontaneously to changes in any situation.

Stationary Tegatana Dosa

The posture is slightly deeper than the normal posture. This deeper position provides the opportunity to practice easier “Koshi mawari” or the so-called lower back rotating or hip rotating.

  1. Shomen uchi
  2. Shomen tsuki
  3. Uchi mawashi
  4. Soto mawashi
  5. Uchi gaeshi
  6. Soto gaeshi
  7. O mawashi

Numbers 3 to 7 are based upon the 5 original basic arm movements developped by Kenji Tomiki.

Power is generated by koshi mawari and directed into the arms and hands.

Footwork without Tegatana Dosa

Dynamic Tegatana Dosa

Mawari or turning/pivoting exercises

Applications of solo training

Without a suitable test, our solo practice may become an illusion. There are different ways to challenge your skills with a Training Partner. Some of these methods can be seen as an application of martial art solo exercises. Other testing methods can be considered as a learning tool to find out if our movement is effective in our daily life.

The first steps in Aikido as a martial art

Can one deal with an offensive action of the partner acting as an opponent?
First, we must find something from how far an offensive action can be effectively executed. Offensive action may consist of a strike, a push or a seizure.

How to deal with a simple offensive action is not at first glance a real street combat situation. This is a learning tool for finding the right timing, distance followed by a neutralising action with a “kuzushi” result. This may be followed with a “waza”.

Weapon training

Weapon training can be a great help in creating a connected body. Let me give you an example with a “Jo”.

Strategy, a secret

Without a strategy, victory in combat will be based on muscle power alone. Using “Chiko-go-itsu – Knowledge and action are one” is necessary to develop effective use of strategy.

Looking for the thruth

I’m not looking for the right answers in doing so,” . “I am just focusing on being able to do a certain task or technique. That is different from trying to be right.

Akira Hino

Tomiki Aikido Syllabus – Basic Framework Training Tool.

Author: Eddy Wolput °1948 – 7th dan Aikido (JAA-Tokyo/Japan) – 5th dan Iaido – 5th dan Jodo. 
Part of the material in this article is not directly linked to the Japan Aikido Association (NPO) program or Shodokan approach. Other concepts are incorporated into the study of the subject presented.

Study Group Tomiki Aikido – Shobukai Dojo Syllabus
This article outlines the “basic framework” employed in the Shobukai Dojo. The emphasis is mainly on “how to move the body” and “how to control the opponent”.
Members of the Shobukai Dojo study how to move the body and the methods of control of the opponent before being able to proceed with Tomiki Aikido Kata.

What Is a Martial Art Syllabus?

A syllabus is a document that presents all the necessary information on a martial art course. It lists the topics you will study while you practice martial art.
The course programme is a working document and a personal document. The syllabus can be used as a guide for the instructor as well as for the dojo.

Living Syllabus 

A syllabus is not fixed and basically a “living syllabus” can be updated as often as the teacher considers it necessary. This creates a vibrant, living document that students can interact with. Of course, the interaction between the instructor and the students is a major factor in updating the program.
Unfortunately, the emphasis is sometimes too much on a programme given by an international institute which does not allow much interaction between the institute, the instructor and the students. In this case, we cannot refer to a “living syllabus”.

An international institute program can be basically a policy guide to be used to generate a “living syllabus” for the local group.
So you can find a different program among the local groups while teaching the same concepts and principles.

Shobukai Dojo Syllabus

A Tomiki Aikido Syllabus can focus on various options for study and training, depending on the kind of dojo students.

  • Grading tool
  • Competition as the main goal
  • Sparring (randori)
  • Bodywork, efficient body movement
  • Self-protection and self-defense
  • Movement therapy
  • Other goals

The Shobukai Syllabus is based on the ideas and concepts of Kenji Tomiki and his nearest followers. There is an influence of other Aikido methods and Bodywork of independent instructors.

The program is built around various types of core concepts.

Basic arm movements

Our hands are one of the most important tools of our body. Tegatana translates into “sword hand”, but also includes the arm.

Basic arm movements can be performed either stationary or dynamically.
The stationary method emphasises the use of the “Koshi” synchronized with arm movements (tegatana). A dynamic version is integrating footwork.

Basic arm movements are based upon the basic arm movements developped by Kenji Tomiki.

The Stationary Method

The 1st part of the videoclip gives a overal impression, the 2nd half focussing on the use of the koshi.

The Dynamic Method

The integration of footwork into the tegatana exercises is the first step for practising “hakkei” or sudden power.

Hakkei Tegatana Dosa

When practising tegatana dosa in a stationary or dynamic way, movements are relatively big. The performance is quite slow and with no explosive power.
After several years of training, sudden power or Hakkei may be introduced.

Footwork – Unsoku-ho

In the Tomiki Aikido method a formalized exercise is wellknown by most of the practitioners. Because the focus is more on the pattern or in which direction to move, the most basic ways of footwork is in the backround. In the syllabus, the basic ways of footwork (ayumi ashi, tsuri ashi and tsugi ashi) is mentioned as a basic exercise. The different methods are integrated in the dynamic tegatana exercises.
When practising footwork, the arms are hold high and the intention is to hold a big ball between the arms. The arms are not used to push or pull, the power comes from the footwork initiated by the koshi.

Ayumi Ashi forward

Ayumi Ashi backward

Tsugi Ashi

Testing the solo exercises

Sometimes during training, the instructor can test the posture and movement of the student or to give feedback (interaction). All the movements of the solo-exercises can be tested.

Some testing examples

Testing posture and tsugi ashi

Ko-mawari testing

Kumi Kata (Judo)

The definition of Kumi Kata is grip fighting. The word “grip fighting” means to take a grip that will give you an advantage over your opponent. But also not to allow your opponent to take a comfortable grip to be able to counter.

The mastery of Judo Kumi Kata is a critical component for any judoka to succeed in modern judo. Without this skill being very well developed it is difficult to see how any judoka can experience the ability to throw ones opponent cleanly, effortlessly and with grace and beauty.

Ridatsu ho & Seigyo ho

Grasping the wrist in Aikido is a kind of strategy skill similar to the strategy skill of Judo Kumi Kata. Without this skill, we are not able to perform kuzushi and waza.
Tegatana kihon dosa (basic hand and arm movements) can be used as a setting up for gripping skills and controlling the opponent: Seigyo ho
On the other hand, kihon dosa can be used as a defensive action when the opponent is grasping you: Ridatsu ho

Both methods will depend on a correct and powerfull gripping skill.

The are different ways to grasp the wrist of opponent.
The purpose of grasping the wrist is to control the opponent action.

The comments of holding the sword, the golf ball and the soft tanto apply also for grasping a wrist.

Some examples of grasping the wrist

The example shows an offensive way to capture the wrist of the opponent. When the opponent performs an offensive movement, you can apply a basic arm movement and then grab the wrist.

How to seize

A strong grip can be catogorised in 3 major metods. See picture.

In essence, grasping the wrist in Aikido is similar to grasping the hilt of a sword. 
The basic rule is to grip firmly with the middle finger and thumb, keeping contact with the base of the little finger.

A study performed by The University of Western Ontario on the Individual finger strength and published in Journal of Hand Therapy gives the following results:
The percentage contributions of the index, middle, ring, and small fingers to grip were approximately 25%, 35%, 25%, and 14%, respectively.

While the ulnar side of the hand (ring and little finger) is taught as the dominant side when holding the “tsuka” of a sword, there is a lack of control if you don’t use the middle finger and thumb. When you start grabbing with the middle finger and thumb and index finger, the ring and the little finger, you will have a strong grip with many possibilities of precision.

3 important points

  • Base of little finger
  • Middle finger
  • Thumb

Exercises to develop correct wrist grabbing

Using Thera Band Flexbar

Soto gaeshi & uchi gaeshi
As mentioned earlier, both movements can be used both offensively and defensively. When you grip a wrist to apply a technique, Soto gaeshi or Uchi gaeshi may be applied. An exercise with the Flexbar almost gives you the feeling of gripping a wrist with a certain resistance.

Holding a golf ball.
Holding a golf ball is a good exercise to power up the middle finger and thumb.
Index, ring and little finger just close, but do not put pressure. Do not tighten the ball or you will lose control of the ability to manipulate your hand and arm movements.

Other examples of grasping

  • Holding tsuka
  • Grasping softanto (soft training dagger)

Holding tsuka
Hold the tsuka with the middle finger, the thumb and the base of the little finger. Index finger and ring finger close without any pressure.

Holding softanto (soft training dagger)

Soft tanto is a safe training tool used during sparring (randori). Frequently used in a Tomiki Aikido training program.

More pictures
European Championship Antwerp 2014 – Zuiderpershuis

The same comments apply as for holding the ball or holding the tsuka of a sword.

Kihon no katachi – Basic Aikido Techniques

Kihon no katachi is not the ju-nana-hon no kata or ju-go-hon no kata (an early version of kihon no kata), but it is a collection of basic aikido techniques usefull during friendly sparring (randori). It is a basic techniques syllabus.
There are 4 different kinds of techniques in Tomiki Aikido. All techniques start from a “tegatana awase” situation.

  • Atemi Waza
  • Hiji Waza
  • Tekubi Waza
  • Uki Waza

Atemi Waza

Kihon dosa or basic movements is the source for succesfull applying atemi waza. The philisophy behind atemi waza is explained in differents posts on this blog.

  • Shomen ate
  • Ai gamae ate
  • Gyaku gamae ate
  • Gedan ate
  • Ushiro ate

Hiji Waza

The use of “seigyo ho” or seizing skills are necessary to apply a skillfull hiji waza.

  • Oshi taoshi – straight arm push down
  • Hiki taoshi – straight arm pull down
  • Ude gaeshi – entangled arm
  • Ude hineri- entangled arm
  • Waki gatame omote – elbow lock
  • Waki gatame ura – elbow lock

Tekubi Waza

The use of “seigyo ho” or seizing skills for control are necessary to apply a skillfull tekubi waza.

  • Kote Hineri (uchi gaeshi)
  • Tenkai Kote Hineri
  • Kote Gaeshi (soto gaeshi)
  • Tenkai Kote Gaeshi

Uki Waza

Generally, this type of waza is translated as “floating techniques”. Basically, kuzushi or balance disturbing is performed as a throwing technique. All examples of wrist grabbing can be used to throw the opponent.
We distinguish 3 area

Kihon no katachi describe 3 major throws using Uki-waza skill.

  • Mae otoshi
  • Sumi otoshi
  • Hiki otoshi

Sparring or Randori Ho

  • Kakari geiko – continious predescribed attacks, no resistance
  • Hikitate geiko – continious predescribed attacks, escape possible for uke
  • Randori geiko – both can attack and defend
    • Dojo sparring
    • Shiai format

Example kakari geiko

Tanto randori – competition format

Aikidō: A Matrix Budō

In 1976, I stayed for several weeks in Shizuoka Japan and practised mostly Korindo Ryu Aikido with Hakamatsu sensei, a Shihan of Minoru Hirai Korindo Ryu. I didn’t really understood very well the principles and concepts of this martial art. But I made a lot of notes in my martial art diary. From time to time I am re-reading my notes and I discovered some secrets which I didn’t understood very well in that time.

The ideas and concepts taught to me in 1976 by Hakamatsu sensei are not opposing the ideas and concepts of Kenji Tomiki sensei and Hideo Ohba sensei. I was thaught by Hideo Ohba in Okubo Tokyo a few years later and I didn’t realize the similarities at that time.

It was a shocking idea to discover the concept of “Matrix* Budō “. One of the most important principles is to apply a single set of basic forms of exercise, which contains all vital movement elements, to all types of combat. These forms are contained in the developed taisabaki (tandoku undo). This taisabaki is the basis of all forms of movement, from which all techniques arise. A botai-budō or matrix-budō.

This concept was in the mind of Kenji Tomiki, when he was rationalizing Ueshiba’s Aikido. He formulated unsoku-ho and tandoku undo, containing the basic information for further development of the practitioner. Together with some other fundamental principles, a unique system is created which included kata and randori.

*Matrix = Botai (母体) = whomb, uterus

Don’t become fixed on techniques. Create your own waza.


Matrix: an environment or material in which something develops; a surrounding medium or structure.

Matrix Budō

Minoru Hirai was the founder of Kōrindō Aikidō, a martial art based upon older forms of Jujutsu, Kenjutsu and other Japanese martial arts. He was also during World War II a director of Kobukan, Morihei Ueshiba organisation. Minoru Hirai introduced the word aikido as a generic term for Japanese martial arts not associated with Judo or Kendo. Basically it can be said, aikido is a term to define martial arts auround the “aiki” principle. (see also Minoru Hirai Korindo Aikido). As usual, the information on Wikipedia is based sometimes upon the view of one person or group and can be controversial for other persons.

Hirai’s martial art developed over time into what he calls Matrix Budō “, which is not based on a multitude of different techniques, but is based on a single principle practised during taisabaki movements:

The harmoniously round circle (enten) and ball rotation (kyūten) expressed by koshi-mawari in a number of forms of movement called taisabaki.

Koshi-mawari taisabaki serve as the basis in order to acquire efficient natural movement.

From koshi-mawari taisabaki, you develop a natural, rotating-flowing movement mode. Out of this, techniques are created unintentionally and adapted to the constantly changing situation, with which the attacker can be controlled and thrown because one does not oppose the attacking force. In order to acquire the movement of koshi-mawari taisabaki the following forms of exercise are practiced in training:

  • 7 or 8 forms of movement (taisabaki), which are initially trained individually, then in combination, and finally with a partner;
  • Partner forms to deepen the correct posture and the approach of every movement;
  • Randori means free attack and free movements in order to spontaneously realize the principle of koshi-mawari.


円転 Smooth circular motion; spherical; rolling smoothly; (with) smooth circular motion

The principle of giving movements a circular, flowing, non-okori course. The circular movements can be thought of as horizontal and vertical rotations.

Okori: The approach or initial impetus that usually initiates a movement. As a result, an attack usually reveals itself at the moment it arises. This happens often when attacker lauch a strike by stamping his back leg into the ground to create momentum or using a stamping front leg to give more power in the (tanto)strike. This can be avoided by using ashi no korobi or rolling feet or using a short tsugi-ashi after adjusting ma-ai.


球転 Ball rolling, ball rotation

In Chinese martial arts, the concept of Dantian and Chan Si Gong (silk reeling exercises) is related to kyūten and tenshi & tenshikei (discussed earlier).

from: Narita Shinjūrō – Kōrindō Aikidō

The ball rotation is perfectly round at all times. It has no corners or edges. Thanks to the rotations of the ball with this form of movement, continuous changes in direction are always possible. One could also describe the rotations as the sum of all angles of a circle. In Budo, the angles at which the two opponents meet play a critical role for victory or defeat, since each of the opponents tries to avoid the attack of his opponent in some way in order to get to the target with his blow. How to design the relationship of the angles to an attack line for your own advantage is therefore one of the decisive questions in every style.

Hirai came to the conclusion that it was not necessary to deliberately choose an angle of attack or defense against an opponent, but it was enough if one acted on his rotational movements from the angular fullness of the rotations of a 360 degree circle. Because when you implement the circular principle in your actions, you move completely freely and unhindered, because every movement always includes all contact points as they lie on a 360-degree circle. The sum of the angles of a circle remains the same, regardless of its size, although the smaller the circular movements, the more favorable it is for our purposes. In the thousands of possibilities, any one of the opponents will always be captured.

Since a circle encompasses a total of 360 degrees, any other shape, no matter how polygonal, would be less favorable in any case, since it must inevitably always have blind spots. As a result, gaps arise in defense, where one is inevitably defeated. Without this principle as a matrix, there can hardly be any effective taijutsu, kenjutsu or jojutsu. If it is possible to acquire koshi-mawashi, everything else will follow naturally.

To illustrate the effect of the koshi-mawashi principle, one can imagine the following: hold a sword horizontally sideways and turn from the center, i.e. koshi. Each angular point of the circle will be full of energy.

This effect can also be shown by a partner exercise from 7hon no kuzushi

This is something that every human being is able to accomplish. Every student has the opportunity to learn aikido with sufficient effort, since everyone is naturally capable of these circular or spherical movements with their 360 degrees.

With this form of movement, you have an unlimited number of hit points on the 360 degree circle, at least one of which inevitably contains the opponent’s hit point location. With the circular or spherical movements (Kyūten), you reliably reach the crucial point. Everything depends on the skill of moving the body with a circular or spherical pattern and able to to generate power to the opponent from each point of circle created by koshi-mawari taisabaki.

An opponent who fixes his attack on only one point only has this one chance. On the other hand, if you trust in the infinite number of angular possibilities, you are definitely in an advantage, because you can generate power from any point of your circle to an opponent’s vulnerable point.

Beyond that, no further considerations or techniques are required. Because of the fact that, in contrast to the opponent attacking with only one possibility, you have this unlimited number of angles, and you are able to master it completely, you can overcome it. Since this can hardly be achieved with rehearsed, fixed and therefore rigid techniques (katachi), it is better to work with the kyūten principle. This in turn is inextricably linked to the term yawara (suppleness).

Kyūten can be considered as a yōso or fundamental principle and is used under different names.

Basic Tomiki Aikido Kata (Basic15 or 17…) can only be considered as an effecient method, when taking in consideration fundamental principles (yōso) and the evolution from katachi to kata. The different waza cannot be considered as techniques, but as an expression of fundamental principles of Budō. By using randori, waza becomes alive. As Tomiki sensei mentioned: we need randori to paint in the eye of the dragon.

Achieving smooth movements must be regarded as one of the most important prerequisites for successful Budō. Jerky, forcefully applied techniques have the disadvantage that each new movement starts from a standstill. The absence of circular or spherical movements needs a forcefully start of a linear movement, which is easily detected by an opponent. Remember, kyūten is a skill for instant power generation and movement. This type of movement cannot be learned solely through the appropriately determined handles and tricks

These rotational and smooth movements are inseparable linked to the concept of yawara (suppleness). Rather, this idea of yawara* (JU in JU-do or JU-jutsu) is the physical expression of an inner attitude, which is often expressed in terms of harmony. Internal tension and aggressiveness would prevent the development of suppleness. As it is free from tension, it represents the most natural of all forms of movement and finds its equivalent in the concept of enten-mukyu**, the endlessly flowing and spherical twists.

*The kanji for yawara and ju in jujutsu is the same (柔). For Tomiki sensei “ju or yawara” is the principle of gentleness and it is similar to “aiki”, which is an explanation of the principle from within. Remember it was Minoru Hirai who introduced the word “Aikido” to make a separate division in Dai Nippon Butokukai. The word “aiki” was used by different Ryuha and it was difficult to bring them under the banner of Kodokan Judo.

**Endless circular movements. Can be considered as a Buddhist concept of Karma. After Buddhism was introduced to Japan, people easily accepted the notion of karmic retribution but not the literal belief of rebirth as animals or lower life forms. Transmigration of the soul focused more on the practical path to liberation.



Physiologically the pelvic area of the human body. It is also related to the lower back and sometimes it is referring to the waist. It is often translated by “hips” and referring to the hip joints although this is not completely correct. See “Koshi or other blog post and do a search with “koshi”.

Koshi-mawari or koshi-mawashi

The difference between the two terms koshi-mawari and koshi-mawashi is a grammatical one and consists in the fact that this is a question of a transitive and an intransitive verb form.

In practical use, the transitive form “koshi mawashi” means that the rotations are deliberately started, while koshi-mawari points to automatic, naturally occurring rotations by koshi.


Some practitioners believe taisabaki is just avoiding an attack. This is only a small part of taisabaki. Basically it means a moving body.

Taisabaki has 3 elements;

  • Ashi-sabaki – concerning the feet and legs
  • Te-sabaki – concerning the hands and arms
  • Koshi-sabaki – concerning the central body, especially the lower part

How to……?

In fact, your training is not about winning or losing a match or a combat. It is about your attitude towards an unknown territory named Budō. In Budō-land are no rules or descriptions how to do a technique. There are only Yōso or fundamental principles. If you cannot see them and understand, you will not be a real Budō-ka (a martial art practitioner). You will rely on brute force and driven by primitive desire to win.

In these blog-posts, there are many indications how to master fundamental principles. If you can integrate them into your martial art practise, I believe you are on the right path of Budō.

Anyway you can have more ideas here