written and/or compiled by 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.
There are different kinds of attacking movements when confronting an opponent.
Punching, striking, pushing…..
Ridatsu-ho & seigo-ho are skills to deal with grasping attacks. The most basic grasping attack is certainly “grasping the wrist” and is the subject of many sequences in Tomiki Aikido kata. Koryu no kata dai yon has many examples of ridatsu-ho & seigo-ho.
The elbow in Ridatsu-ho and Seigo-ho
When the wrist is grasped, the common reaction is to resist the area of contact. Creating a skill of emptying the wrist will give you the opportunity to use the elbow and create “kuzushi”. The 7-hon-no-kuzushi omote and ura are movements where you use elbow power without touching the opponent with the elbow. In other cases we can use the elbow for pushing or hitting the opponent.
This is an example of an elbow skill in Sumo, Japanese traditional wrestling. It is said Sokaku Takeda, the founder of (Meiji era) Daito Ryu Aikijutsu, was a skillful practitioner in Sumo (Ozeki rank).
We also can see the use of the elbow in traditional Japanese jujutsu. In this example the corresponding hand is put at the waist level to create one body-block, the elbow is used with fullbody circular power against the arm of the opponent.
Tomiki Aikido & Tegatana
Tegatana is a special feature of Tomiki’s Aikido. The origin of the tegatana skill can be found in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu and it is known that Kenji Tomiki asked advice at Maeda sensei, the headmaster of Renshinkan at that time. Maeda was a student of Matsuda sensei who was in turn a student of Sokaku Takeda, the founder of Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu.
The impact of the tegatana on Tomiki Aikido can be clearly seen in many applications of ridatsu-ho & seigo-ho. As an example, the elbow has a “power” role to play to free the wrist from th grip, followed by an atemi or controlling grip.
There are many versions of this document, and some of those versions are included in his books. He and his 1st generation students used the names “judo” or “yawara” depending the targetted practitioners. His publication “Judo Taiso” is famous for the introduction of “aiki” to judo practitioners. The name “aikido” is not used in some versions, but aiki-randori or aiki-techniques are more commonly used. In the document which can be consulted in the beginning of this article, the name aikido is used.
Our interest is going to the concept of creating skills in a structured training scheme as mentioned in the document.
The training course for aikido is divided into 5 levels, aside from the preparatory exercises:
Fundamental movements (kihon dosa) – unsoku-ho, tandoku-undo….
Fundamental techniques (kihon waza) – basic17, basic15,….
The system of breaking away (ridatsu ho)
The system of control (seigyo ho)
The system of randori (randori ho) – kakari geiko, hikitate geiko, randori geiko
Fundamental movements and techniques are already discussed in other articles. Randori and kata are the results of basic training. Ridatsu-hō” & seigo-hō” are concepts not very known by this name, they are incorporated in sotai-renshu and kata.
Ridatsu-hō – breaking away skills
There are many techniques to break away from gripping actions. The skill to escape from a strong grip on the body (wrist, arm, neck,…) is mostly based upon finding the weak angle in the grasping technique. In classical Jujutsu, goshin or self-defense, ridatsu-hō is a basic skill.
Some other examples of ridatsu-hō
Kyokotsu and elbow
The elbow is the movement guide in the skill of breaking away from a grip by an opponent. Use connection between elbow and kyokotsu, the movement is free of local muscle power. In case there is no connection between elbow and kyokotsu, whole body power is not possible. Opponent will also sense your attempt to break away and will use more power.
Seigo-hō, a method of control
The method of control (seigo ho) is a skill to control the opponent by grasping or touching the opponent’s body (wrist, arm, chest,…..). This skill is closely related to ridatsu-hō.
After the escape, tori has to control uke to avoid further actions by uke. Controlling uke gives the opportunity to pin or to throw uke. Eventually atemi can be used to neutralize the opponent.
The skill to gain control is extensively studied during 8 sotai dosa.
It is not always necessary to free yourself(ridatsu-hō) in the literal sense from uke’s grip. Reversing the grip (nigiri gaeshi) is another skill to gain control.