Atemi waza – Tomiki style

Around 1956, Kenji Tomiki introduced a Randori method in Aïkidō. It was an attempt to create a safe but efficient method for sparring along the lines of Kodokan Judō Randori.
Old style jujutsu atemi waza was an attack to the vital points of the human body. Attacking vital points was an action that leads to injury or death.
Kenji Tomiki offered another interpretation of the use of atemi waza. Attacking physiological weaknesses in the body can be carried out with low impact.
The aim of the new method of “atemi waza” is to create “kuzushi” and throw the opponent with the least amount of force.

Basic Kata

The initial attempt at randori techniques can be seen in the 15-hon no kata.

  • Atemi waza (3)
  • Hiji waza (4)
  • Tekubi waza (8)

Originally, Kenji Tomiki introduced 3 atemi waza.

  • Shomen ate or frontal attack
  • Gyaku gamae ate or reverse posture attack
  • Ai gamae ate or regular posture attack

Around 1963, the basic kata for randori was reviewed and 2 more techniques were added to the atemi waza section.

  • Gedan ate or low attack
  • Ushiro ate or attacking the back

The “kata” version of Atemi waza

There is a difference between kata-geiko and randori-geiko. The fundamentals are obviously the same.
During kata-geiko, uke does not resist the technique by using muscular power or footwork. If there is no “kuzushi”, there will be no “throwing”. Without kuzushi, there is only pushing and uke will step back.
Tori performs the movements with martial softness. The emphasis is on the movement of the whole body, if part of the body moves, the whole body is in motion. The footwork is important, since it is the door to the right distance and timing. Tori and uke have to refrain from excessive muscular power.
Both have to develop an understanding of the mechanism of the waza.
Waza is normally translated as technique, but it includes also the setup and other elements like metsuke, zanshin,….

Shomen ate kuzushi

Kuzushi is the result of shomen-uchi at the face of uke.
It is initially not touching the face while executing shomen-uchi.

Randori version

The setup of the randori version is more dynamic than the kata-geiko version. Without kuzushi (the result of the setup) throwing is impossible. The attempt of the pushing can be taken over by the opponent.

During randori, tori uses both hands to throw, but the hand on the chin is the most important.
The power is mostly in randori based on momentum. Uke need a perfect ukemi skill to survive such a throw.

Kata-geiko, kakari-geiko and randori-geiko

Kakari-geiko is an extension of Kata-geiko, and is a training method in which you practice using techniques that match the movements of your opponent. There is an agreement on the manner in which the attack is carried out. Uke can attack with a single attacking method or with multiple attacking methods.
During kakari-geiko, uke is not resisting the technique by using muscular power or footwork. If there is no “kuzushi”, there will be “no throwing”. Without kuzushi, there is only pushing and uke will retreat.

Randori-geiko is a training method that is further developed from Kakari-geiko, in which each other performs techniques in free movement, and practice techniques that can be used in actual combat and can be performed in competitions. 

Sometimes you will find another training method between kakari-geiko and randori-geikorandori-geiko.
Hikitate-geiko is a training method which allow uke to create some resistance. Unfortunately, most of the uke begins with a slight resistance, but after a short period of time, there is a change to randori-geikorandori-geiko with a complete resistance. This is an indication, there is no understanding of the “martial softness” concept.

Basic kata (1989)

Basic kata (2001)

Basic kata (2015)