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17-hon no kata – Tekubi-waza

Tegatana no mune

 Tegatana (Japanese for hand sword) is a term that refers to the idea the hand and the arm are in the shape of a Japanese sword.
During training, uke and tori often face each other with their respective tegatana that touch each other. From this position, considered the ideal distance for two unarmed opponents, many balance breaking, striking and throwing techniques can be applied.
The inside of the tegatana is called “tegatana no mune”, and can be used in techniques like tenkai kote gaeshi.

Mawari foot movement

mawari foot movement

This kind of foot movement you will find in tenkai kote hineri or sumi otoshi.
A similar foot movement can be used in tenkai kote gaeshi.

Kote hineri

  • Tori avoid by sideways Tsugi Ashi and contact Uke’s wrist from the side with the free hand (Mune edge)
  • Tori, at the same time, and with the thumb in the palm of the hand, twist Uke’s wrist. This is done by Tori using a diagonal spiral in the Torso.  This action is used to drive Tori’s elbow so that it can then drive Uke’s elbow so that it is above the shoulder line.
  • As Uke’s elbow reaches the peak, Tori reinforce this position by sliding the hand up to the elbow, thumb into Uke’s inner elbow joint.
  • Tori push Uke to the ground, maintaining the wrist lock.
  • Once Uke is under control on the ground, change posture by moving the outside leg forward.

Kote gaeshi

  • Use the same start as in Kote Hineri.
  • Tori change direction once Uke’s elbow approaches the peak.
  • Tori turn from the Torso and step to the side and onto Uke’s weak line. (Don’t step towards Uke,  Don’t pull Uke)
  • Tori slip the hand gripping Uke’s wrist from the outside to the inside.
  • Tori use Hikimawari Ashi footwork and apply the wrist turn in the direction of Uke’s side to create the effect of Kaeshi.
  • Uke’s arm and wrist must have the shape 90° and 90° respectively.  Tori use the thumb and the palm of the hand to implement this.
  • The throw is achieved using a diagonal spiral in the Torso.
  • The preferred method of Ukemi is not to jump or roll around before the throw has happened.
  • Tori maintain the lock on Uke’s wrist and use Hikimawari Ashi foot to finish.

Tenkai kote hineri

  • Tori step to the side and use Hikimawari Ashi footwork.
  • Tori keep Uke’s arm at Chudan level.  Use a diagonal spiral in the Torso to achieve this.
  • Tori’s leading hand grips Uke’s arm above the wrist using skin effect.
  • Tori step and turn Demawari Ashi and apply a twist to Uke’s wrist and bring it down to Uke’s hip. This creates the effect of Hineri in Uke.
  • The lock on Uke’s wrist must be maintained throughout the action.
  • Bring Uke down onto their front to finish.

Tenkai kote gaeshi

  • Tori bring the free hand up and under the Tegatana hand and on the inside of Uke’s Tegatana and sweep the arm down and across.
  • At the same time Tori Tsugi Ashi to the side.
  • Tori, and with a curved step forwards, raise Uke’s arm.
  • This action is a diagonal spiral in the Torso of Tori which create the effect of Kaeshi in Uke.
  • Tori now turn and create Tenkai to reinforce the effect of Kaeshi in Uke.
  • Tori then relax the diagonal spiral stretch to throw
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17-hon no kata – Hiji-waza



When grasping the wrist of Uke it is only grasping the skin and underlying tissue. It is not grasping the bones. Grasping the skin has an effect on the fascia system.


  • Tori use skin effect on Uke’s wrist.
  • Tori using a diagonal spiral in the torso move from the elbow to drive Uke’s elbow up to above their shoulder level.
  • Tori push their thumb into Uke’s inner elbow joint; very slightly release the grip on the wrist to allow Tori to rotate their hand from palm in to palm out.  Re-grip Uke’s wrist.
  • Tori control Uke before bring them down.  Don’t be tempted to push Uke laterally away or use them as a prop.
  • Control Uke on the ground, chest down, Their palm up, wrist below the knee cap, Tori’s palm down, stretching the arm.


  • Start as per Oshi-taoshi.
  • Tori make contact with Uke’s elbow; use Inside Turn action, Mune then Tegatana.
  • Tori Tsugi Ashi forwards so that the hips are alongside Uke’s.
  • Tori stretch and release to throw with rolling foot


  • Tori avoid to the side whilst rotating the upper body in order place the free hand palm up under Uke’s wrist. (Here again the upper and lower body are doing different things)
  • Use Outside Sweep action to start moving Uke’s hand down and across to Tori’s other hand which continues the movement with Inside Sweep action.
  • Tori grip Uke’s elbow and bring Uke down whilst using Hikimawari Ashi footwork, which sweep Uke off their feet. (This is stepping back with a circular foot movement is initiated by turning of the Koshi and Tanden)

Ude-hineri (Ude-garami)

  • Use the same start as in Hikitaoshi.
  • Tori make contact with Uke’s elbow use Outside Turn action, Mune then Tegatana.
  • Tori, with their other hand on the wrist of Uke, use Inside Turn action driven from the turning of the Torso, above the hips.
  • Tori focus the direction of Uke’s hand to the region above their spine.
  • Tori complete the throw which will induce a spiral effect into Uke’s Ukemi.


  • Tori avoid by turning the Torso and grip Uke’s wrist from the underside (Ulna side of the arm).
  • Tori keep the interface of the three arms and Tsugi Ashi to the side and keep Chudan level.
  • Tori then Torso rotate towards Uke and stretch the arm towards Uke, connect with Uke’s arm and release the stretch to apply the lock.
  • Tori turn towards Uke to secure the lock.
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17-hon no kata – Atemi-waza

The integration of our exercises, discussed in this blog, have of course a great influence on the performance of our waza in kata and randori.
Major influences are:

  • stretching the body
  • diagonal tension
  • twisting and untwisting
  • rolling feet
  • and other elements…

Shomen ate

  • Tori stretch the body as the arm is raised as a threat.
  • Attack Uke’s arm as the stretch is released.
  • Tori use gravity effect and step before touching Uke’s chin.
  • Use rolling foot skill as you touch and push Uke.

Ai-gamae ate

  • Avoid in reverse posture along the line of Uke’s feet.
  • Use Inside Turn action on Uke’s upper arm, close to the elbow (Don’t grip).
  • Lightly grip Uke’s skin at the wrist.
  • Use gravity effect and step into regular posture and control Uke before moving the leg and then touching the chin.

Gyaku-gamae ate

  • Avoid in regular posture as Uke’s wrist is lightly gripped (skin effect).
  • Tori stretch the body as the arm is raised as a threat.
  • Attack to the face but lightly land on the chest of Uke.
  • Use skin effect on Uke’s upper body.
  • Gravity effect, Step with rolling foot and tsugi ashi and throw.

Gedan ate

  • Avoid in regular posture as Uke’s wrist is lightly gripped (skin effect).
  • Tori stretch the body as the arm is raised as a threat.
  • Uke closes down the options to an upper body attack by slightly turning and raising their arm.
  • Tori then drop to gedan and form a sword-drawing-like shape with the attacking arm.
  • Use skin effect on Uke’s lower body.
  • Gravity effect, Step with rolling foot and tsugi ashi and throw

Ushiro ate

  • Tori using the Mune action from Inside Turn, place the hand onto Uke’s upper arm.
  • Tori lightly grip the skin of Uke’s wrist and with both hands and using a diagonal spiral in the torso; slightly rotate the arm and Tsugi Ashi to rotate Uke.
  • This is an example of Tori’s upper and lower body being separate as the action is made.
  • Tori then, using a similar movement, Tsugi Ashi sideways across Uke’s back and touch the hands onto Uke’s shoulders.
  • By bringing down the elbows and rotating the hands; rather like rotating a Jo which is situated along the shoulder line.
  • Uke will be fixed in a stretched falling rearwards position.  Tori momentarily keep this before moving back.  Donít be tempted to pull Uke back.

You’ll find the complete Basic 17 here

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Diagonal tension in Uki-waza

Mae-otoshi – Sumi-otoshi – Hiki-otoshi

spiral line012The integration of our bodywork into Uki-waza will generate extra power into the waza. This power is derived from “tenshikei” or the power generated through internal body turning, stretching and releasing. This internal turning follows a diagonal spiral line  or in other words : diagonal tension.

Diagonal tension is one of primary factors for the skill of cutting with a sword. It is Monjuro Morita, a famous kendoka who wrote a book on kendo covering diagonal tension.


Monjuro Morita (1889-1978)

Adapted from Kenji Tokitsu book : Miyamoto Mushashi, Myth & Reality

Morita Monjuro and his attempt to understand Musashi’s Single-Cadence Strike. Monjuro believes that Musashi had perfect handling of the body because he knew how to use the diagonal tensions of the abdomen/thorax.

The tanden and the koshi, located on either side of the body, form one set in practice. Each muscle use of koshi is transmitted to the tanden by stimulating pressure, which activates positively different parts of nervous systems.

Tanden and the musculature of the koshi form a unity, but their roles are not the same. The tanden controls the koshi. The training of koshi is synonymous with the training of the tanden, center of the body, and thus it becomes a training of body and mind … We can say the training of each technique strengthen the muscles of the koshi and the tanden. Which has almost the same effect as to strengthen the tanden practicing zazen. If the practice of Budo remains at a mere technical manipulation, the effect can not be the same. By producing the art of the koshi and tanden, we can strengthen our mind and body.

To hit properly from the tanden and koshi, we must use a perfect structured body and a perfect handling of the sword. This is a gesture that is produced in accordance with the two forces that go diagonally right leg left arm, left leg and right arm.

The perfect handling of the sword is produced by the integration of three elements: the rotation of koshi, diagonal tension produced by this rotation and displacement of the body.

The perfect handling is achieved by integrating the tensions of the body diagonals that cross the legs to the arms. Applying this principle, I discovered that the force spontaneously filled the tanden, and my kendo has been completely transformed.

The Key to Power: Spiral Movement and diagonal tension

Spiral movement is defined as a three-dimensional curve in space around a central axis. A spiral elongates as it turns so it has a built-in expansive quality to it. Spiral movement is a type of movement we naturally and frequently perform throughout the day.

When we turn our body to shake another’s hand, you should feel the spiral not only in your upper body but all the way down to your feet. 
While the entire body should spiral, the upper body (i.e., from the waist up) will turn more than the lower body. This creates a dynamic stretch of the muscles. It is like stretching a rubber band with all the resulting stored potential energy. The separation of the upper and lower body is a major factor in generating power from spiral movements. But keep in mind, the body is functioning as a whole unit.

The separation skill is possible when we can control the lower part of the body. The control can be explained as stretching and releasing the muscles of koshi and tanden.

Contracting muscles can not spiral.

Contracted muscles can only rotate and twist. In contrast, lengthening (particularly lengthening of the whole spine) is what allows the spiral to occur and give the possibility to generate power. “A spiral elongates as it turns so it has a built-in expansive quality to it.”

Maybe you understand now why we have to keep the body in an upright posture. By taking up a curved posture, the tendency is to contract muscle of the torso and no power can be generated from spiral movement and diagonal tension. By adopting an upright posture we can generate power from spiral movements and diagonal tension.

How to apply spiral movement and diagonal tension in Uki-waza

puzzels123-waterval-van-iguazu-2000-stukjes_085143023_thumbStretching and releasing following a diagonal pathway is the key to powerful “otoshi” techniques. Remember not to use muscle contraction during the throw. It is about releasing the stored power in the lengthened muscles.
The power in the throw can be compared with the power of a waterfall.


Mae otoshi

The setup for mae otoshi is creating diagonal tension. By stepping forward the tension can be released and becomes kinetic power.

mae otoshi 001

Sumi otoshi

Sumi otoshi is an almost exaggerated example of “tenshikei”.

sumi otoshi 001

Hiki otoshi

Remark the footwork to improve the diagonal tension. When releasing the tension and stepping back, tenshikei becomes kinetic power.

hiki otoshi 001

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Balanced body frame: Shizentai


Tomiki100yrs 034Tomiki wrote many articles and books about Budo, mostly Judo and Aikido. In his writings, but also in his lectures he stressed a lot “shizentai” mostly translated as “natural posture”.
Shizentai is a posture neither limp or neither rigid. From shizentai we can move in any direction. If someone is pushing we can move away without changing the distance in our relationship with the opponent or partner.
The picture of Kenji Tomiki is sometimes used as “the” example for “shizentai”, but this is not completely correct. Shizentai is all about how your body is behaving during activity and rest. Tomiki’s picture is just one of many examples of shizentai.
Shizentai is a kind of neutral body structure, a balance between a tensed body structure and a slacked body structure.

Balanced body frame

A balanced body frame is not a fixed posture. It is a dynamic structure, and sometimes it balances between a 1-part body frame to a more multipart body frame. Both body structures are in a balanced status depending on the use of the structure in a specified situation.

It is also possible to have a “neutral” body frame, a structure when someone is touching or grabbing you and the opponent just feels your skin.
This kind of body condition is very convenient to hide your intention.

1-part body

1-part body frame

A 1-part body frame is used when we have to increase “momentum” by using more body mass.

Using gravity in a movement is a good example of the use of 1-part body frame.

By stretching up the body, a 1-part body condition is created. When the body is tilted slightly forward, a forward step is needed to keep balance. Momentum can transferred into the strike with the “tegatana”. The attacking arm is a part of the 1-part body frame, the full body weight will increase the momentum in the strike. Of course, the skill of rolling foot and tsugi ashi is needed to keep balance.

shomen ate old

Multi-part body frame

A 1-part body frame is very useful when we seem to have a lot of space to move around, but this is not always possible.

Our body has more possible options for moving and generating power. The skill of “rendo” is based upon using a multi-part body frame.

kyokotsu exercise 10

When the wrist is grabbed and twisted, the different parts of the body will allow the twisting. By allowing the twisting, energy is storing into the twisted body. This energy can be released by moving the different parts in a correct sequence.

TenshikeiThe sequence in a multi-part body frame

It is important to keep the interface of the grasping unchanged. This is only possible when the body has a neutral condition. Opponent just feels the skin of your wrist, but opponent has no access to the rest of your body. You just accept his power which doesn’t interfere with your balance and moving abilities.

The photographs are taken from a documentary:
Hino Budo by Akira Hino
The pictures are taken from Akira Hino’s book:
Don´t Think, Listen to the Body

Keeping the interface

Do not resist or try to modify the situation. If you do, you change the state of the interface (the gripped part), and change is immediately detected by the opponent who will adjust the grip and hold you more firmly. Keep the interface as it is.
The change of the interface is an indication that you’ve used your consciousness to resist intentionally. You may use your consciousness to feel, but never use it to think or plan otherwise it will be detected by the opponent. Keeping the body frame neutral is an important skill for all Budo Aikido practitioners.

Untwist the body by itself

As the twisted body untwist itself by releasing the stored energy, your elbow drops and bends, and your palm turns upwards. You may think it is advantageous to step forward and turn to the antagonist to use the weight of your body for resistance, but you’re advised not to do so. Do not try to move intentionally, for it will be overpowered by the opponent who is in a better position, he’s twisted your arm already. “Keep the interface as it is” is important here as well, for as soon as you try to use your intentional power, the state of the interface changes and the opponent will notice it immediately.

The “real skill” of Shizentai

Shizentai is a dynamic condition of being. There are no unnecessary tensions, there is no slack in the body. All actions are optimal, even during the “rest” action. Of course it takes time to develop such a skill.
Shizentai is a skill useful in all aspects of life and it must be practised until it is a part of your being.

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Undulatory motions

Undulatory locomotion is the type of motion characterized by wave-like movement patterns that act to propel a living body forward. Examples of this type of gait include crawling in snakes, or swimming in the lamprey. Although this is typically the type of gait utilized by limbless animals, some creatures with limbs, such as the salamander, choose to forgo use of their legs in certain environments and exhibit undulatory locomotion.

Human swimmers use undulatory motions similar to fish locomotion to attain high speeds. Due to anatomical limitations, the human swimmer adjust his motion to his limited abilities.

Movements of the human body

The human body can be divided roughly; feet, legs, hips, chest, shoulders, neck, head, arms, hands. By observing this we can study how movement in one body part will affect another. We use our muscles to create movements but by using the weight of our body and gravity laws, we can create an effortless flow of movement.

Schermafbeelding 2018-11-27 om 17.14.16By learning to use gravity, the flow of movement and by separating different body parts we can create multiple kinds of movement. Some of these movements are:

  • Undulation
  • Inverse undulation
  • Eclosion






Undulation and inverse undulation

In undulation the wave of movement starts from the feet, goes through the hips, chest, neck and at last, comes to the head. We can see a small undulation for example when a person starts to walk. The power of movement starts from the ground and is dragged through the whole body. Inverse undulation is the same “wave of movement” as undulation but it starts from the head and goes trough the body until the feet.



Eclosion is a movement of opening and closing. It starts from the ground in a closed position and gradually expands towards the open. The movement starts from the center of the body and moves towards the head, hands and feet. The rhythm is important, and hands and legs should arrive in the open position at the same time. The closing movement is the reverse of the opening movement.

Examples of Undulation, Inverse Undulation or Eclosion


kyokotsu 01

conncet kyokotsu elbow



Schermafbeelding 2018-11-27 om 17.34.00Some of the text is borrowed from:

The moving body by Jacques Lecoq

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The purpose of “kata” training

Many people are aware of kata only as a collection of techniques in a prearranged order, in a solo format or with a partner.
Some Tomiki practitioners believe that a kata is a set of techniques practiced with a partner for teaching the basic principles of various aspects of Tomiki aikido.
The question can be asked : What are the basic principles of Tomiki Aikido?

  1. The principle of natural body (shizentai no ri), which concerns posture. This is a natural, unrestricted posture from which it is possible to attack and defend, adapting to any kind of assault.
  2. The principle of gentleness (ju no ri), which concerns the position of defense. It says, do not oppose the offensive power of any kind of antagonist with force. Rather, render that force ineffective by moving your body out of the way (taisabaki).
  3. The principle of breaking balance (kuzushi no ri), which concerns the position of attack. This says to go and build a chance of winning by taking advantage of the breaking of your opponent’s balance or by adhering to his body.

The words are easy to understand in a conscious way. But is it possible to understand with the body?

When researching the ways of training, we find out there are 2 kinds of training methods to study the principles.

  • The traditional method.
  • The modern or the alternative method.

And what about the randori method?
We can consider randori as an application of the basic principles in a non-fixed situation. But we are discussing a fixed situation or a kata-based situation.

Traditional method

Kata was or is the central training method for all bujutsu because it is the only way bujutsu can be practiced without the practitioners being wounded or killed.
Bujutsu exponents concentrate training time on perfecting the skills that would provide the base from which fighting techniques could arise when needed. This was done through innumerable repetitions of kata, practiced with one partner as “doer” (shidachi) and the other as “receiver” (uchidachi).

Alternative method

‘To prepare for randori (free training with or without resistance), it is important to realise, that functional strength needed to perform a technique or waza, can only be developed through exercises not only focus on major muscle groups but also improve the condition and flexibility of the fascia. Kata training has a huge effect on developing fascia strength and your ability to apply that strength in many diverse directions, while still maintaining your body’s centre and balance.

In today’s sport martial arts, the big trend is power that collides with your opponent. If one remains at that level of power, then that person will have a harder time as he or she grows old. Kata training is an ideal approach  for older practitioners to keep their mind and body injury-free. By exercising the fascia the body becomes more flexible and has the ability to emit tremendous power without damaging the own body by overtension of the major muscle groups.

Kata training is not dull

Practice is not a matter of quantity but quality. If your inside (quality) has not changed, it will be pointed out to you during your training, your kata or randori. There is no positive development in the repetition of meaningless practice. It is necessary to think with the body when you are practicing. The important thing is the time that you have spent in quality practice, and not simply the years that have passed in physical exercise. You have to realize this. This is shugyo (committed practice).
The whole point of kata-training (kihon training included) is to be able to progress from waza (technique) to katachi (basic frame of different waza) and ultimately to kata or your understanding by body and mind of the waza sequences.

If you practise katachi to study “the words of Tomiki Aikido principles”, you are on the wrong road to understanding. You cannot study the words, but you have to study and practise the body-skills behind the principles. Everybody knows the principle of ju, the principle of shizentai, the principle of…..

But not so many people understand the body and mind skills behind the principles. It is only through physical and mental training that the body learns how to handle in a confrontation. The difference between Kyogi Aikido and Budo Aikido becomes non-existing if the body knows, because the body and mind will react with the correct method.

Studying is different from reviewing. Finding the body-skills within kata, this is studying.

Body-skills in kata

Body-skills can be learned through practising exercises focusing on a body movement priciples or Yōso.

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

Technical Visuals

You will find some explantion of body-skill exercises on “Technical Visuals” or in the many articles of this blog. See “content”.

Koryu no kata Dai Yon

Kata can have many versions with the personal interpretations of the performer. Koryu no kata Dai Yon is a kata with many versions.

DaiYon PDF document

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-31 om 16.26.12


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Technical Visuals

Study Group Tomiki Aikido “BLOG” is a growing project which spans many years of research and study. Sometimes it is necessary to create a “condensed” format of technical information instead of the elaborated info of the blog articles. You will find here technical sheets. (under construction).

Technical information on “waza” is the integration of our bodywork study and the Tomiki Aikido Kata. Our bodywork is partly built on Akira Hino Budo Theory.

kyokotsu exercise 02

Kyokotsu & Tenshi

Kyokotsu exercises are important to create full body movement.
Tenshi or rotational exercises are at the source of many Tomiki Aikido waza.

17-hon no kata

Koryu no kata

  • Dai san –

Some of the pictures can be found on

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Full potential power through Tanren


‘Tanren’, or “repetitive slow drilling” is highly regarded as a method of power building. But power building is not the equivalent of power training in the gym. It is about moving the body or bodyparts by using all the parts of the body. Please refer to rendo and the rule of 3.
Slow movement improve the learning of new movement skills by reducing the activation of ingrained motor programs.
Directing a performer’s attention away from the minute details of a movement helps with the learning of a new motor skill.
Power generation is always developed from the legs and feet and transferred and augmented up the pelvis and back to be discharged through the striking surfaces like the fist, palm, forearm, elbow and even the shoulder and head.

Repetition or Drilling…The Master of Budo Aikido!

Is repetition or drilling the same? This question is important to progress in Budo Aikido or other Martial Arts.
Drilling is a technique that consists of repetition of  patterns and structures. Its means there exist already a pattern or structure in your brain. This pattern or structure is created by conscious repeated movements. Drilling is the skill to bring the pattern of structure to a part of the brain for instant use when necessary. This action will be performed by the subconscious mind.

The art of repetition

quote by Akira Hino

You cannot really learn and understand the meaning by copying something over and over just because someone told you that there is a significance in doing so.
There is a fine line there… between a genuine motivation to learn and just an intellectual amusement.
If you think the meaning of repetition is just a piece of knowledge given by somebody else. You will not able to learn anything worthwhile on your own.

How many reps does it take to break a bad habit vs learning the correct way first?

How important is it to learn the CORRECT Budo Aikido movement?
Answer: It takes 3,000-5,000 repetitions to change a bad habit into a correct Budo Aikido movement. Although, if you learn the correct movement right from the start, it only takes 300-500 repetitions to make a fresh habit.
Changing the pattern once ingrained requires more work (it’s estimated that 10 times the initial number of repetitions must be performed in the new way to over-write the existing pattern) than establishing the pattern in the first place. The implications of this are that spending time getting a pattern correct early on saves extra work later if you make changes to a problematic pattern.

Releasing power – Hakkei

Releasing the power (developped by tanren) can be done in an explosive way, but can also be used as a tempered use of power for example during locking or controlling an opponent. In all these cases, the power has an elastic quality and is not produced mainly by contracting the muscles alone. The power is stored and transferred by the fascia and connective tissue which has an elastic quality.

store and release

Fascia  and connective tissue system

The discovery that muscles transfer most of their contractile forces onto fascial sheets rather than the tendon attachments to the skeleton is a first step in understanding the concept of “internal” martial art.
Movements like running, jumping and throwing a stone depend largely on the elastic recoil of the fasciae supporting such ballistic movements. Many martial arts are depending on those movements to become succesfull in a confrontation.

What is fascia?

Simply put, fascia is the body’s connective tissue. It is a head to toe, inside to out, all-encompassing and interwoven system of fibrous connective tissue found throughout the body. Fascia is defined as a sheet or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping, separating, or binding together muscles, organs, and other tissues of the body.

Fascia doesn’t really respond to traditional stretching, as the tissue usually becomes irritated when it is stretched too much. What fascia does need is maintenance. Daily regular movement through a wide range without extensive stretching is likely to maintain the health and flexibility of fascia well into old age. The enemy of fascia is extended bouts of stillness.


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Referee Training

This is a “beginner’s guide” for referees and judges. It is not complete, but it is a starting point for beginners.

Maybe there are some interpretations different.
Most important is the “spirit of refereeing”

Session 7-8 December 2018


The Referees

Enbu – Competition rules

  • 17-hon no kata
  • tanto 17-hon no kata
  • koryu no kata dai san (16)
  • free enbu

Enbu guidelines

The key points of this training was:

  • Posture – Shizentai
  • Eyes – Metsuke
  • Control of the opponent – Tsukuri/Kuzushi/Kake
  • Focus of mind & body – Zanshin

These key points were used as “marks” for judging the performance of Enbu, besides of course the correct waza and the correct order.

Training started with “How to use Flags” after the performance of the competitors.

Next step was how to use the key points during the performance of 17-hon no kata. The idea of how to evaluate “waza” as a referee when performing the techniques.

Some time was spent on questions and answers

Friday 5th October 2018

Session 1 : The role of the Corner Referee


Line up Corner Referees

The 1st training was an introduction to the role of “corner-referee”.
We used tanto strike to create the idea “what is a correct tanto strike”.
Basic information was provided and practised during the training session.
Scoring for waza was not an item for this training.
Some of the participants have some competition experience, and this created a positive feeling amongst the participants.


Organizing and ruling Tomiki Aikido Competition

Aikido related

Tomiki Aikido competition

Our aim is to encourage the use of pure Aikido techniques and the principles of Aikido rather than to submit to competitors natural desire to win at the expenses of showing Tomiki Aikido to have no resemblance to Aikido.

Aikido can be dangerous if applied without control and the competition atmosphere must be kept to a sporting attitude without dampening the enthusiasm of youthful and sometimes not so youthful Aikidoka.

General remarks for developing good competition results

Judges will check sleeve length (minimum 1 fist from own wrist with arm hanging straight down) and trouser lengths not below the ankles as well as cleanliness (body and gi).

Techniques executed with legs being held first will not count, similarly if legs are wrapped round an opponent. But a foot may used to stop the escape so long ass it is not used as a sweep and is kept in contact with the mat.

Techniques executed by means of dragging your opponent down from a static position with superior weight and strength will not count.

Organizers related

Competition officials

  • Tournament Director – overall responsible for the competition event
  • Mat Director – responsible for the events on a mat area
  • Recorders will record the results of the contest on the appropriate sheets
  • Timekeepers & electronic scoreboard – responsible for timing the contest and electronic scoring
  • Referees & Judges

Dress code

Officials are wearing t-shirt or polo-shirt provided by organisers. Trousers are black or dark bleu color.

First aid

Organizers have to provide a first aid team during the complete event.

Mat area

This covers an area of 50 tatami + safety zone

Remark: tatami in European countries are slightly bigger.


Scoring documents, scoring machine, clock, flags (red, white and yellow), red and white tape……

Randori & Enbu

Individual randori events & team randori events

Individual randori events are divided into

  • Womens category
  • Mens category

Team randori events

  • Women category
  • Mens category
  • Mixed category (2 men & 1 woman)

Choosing categories is depending on:

  • How many mat area?
  • Time scheduled?
  • How many competitors?
  • Other practical obstacles

Enbu events

  • 17-hon-no-kata
  • tanto 17-hon-no-kata
  • 16 taijutsu waza koryu no kata dai san – toshutachiwaza
  • free enbu

Mixed event

  • Kongodanteisen – enbu & randori

Individual Randori Events – General Information

  • All competitors must be registered for the event by the closing date stated.
  • Individual contest shall be of 3 minutes duration, with the tanto being exchanged after 1¹/₂ minutes. In the event of 8 points being scored in the first half by one competitor tanto kotae will occur. If 8 points are scored in the second half the contest is automatically ended.
  • For contest to decide where hikiwake would be given, one extension is permitted, this to be two 1-minute halves. (See also decision of contest).

Team Randori events – General Information

  • A match consist of 3 or 5 separate contests between members of each team.
  • Duration of contests as for Individual contests.
  • A substitute player is allowed for a team in the event of injury so long as the substitute player is a member of that team’s club and registered for the global event.
  • An individual can opt to fight for one nominated club if he or she is registered for the event by the closing date stated.
  • If both teams have an equal number of wins the decision is given as follows:
  • The team with the most points wins.
  • If the number of points is equal, the team that has the most “Aikido” points wins.
  • If Aikido points are also equal, an elected representative from each team will play a deciding match. The duration of this will be 2 halves of 1¹/₂ minutes each, superiority by the judge and referees will be awarded for this contest in absence of points and/or penalties.
  • The order in which individuals will fight in a team must be written down and handed to the Tournament Director before the start of the tournament matches and mus be adhered to throughout the tournament.
  • One member of each team shall be named as their representative to fight in decision matches and will be nominated on the fighting order list given to the Tournament Director.

Competition Rules

Referees and judges are not allowed to enter in an event they are judging or refereeing.

Refereeing Team

Each randori contest shall be conducted by 1 Chief Referee and 2 Corner referees, with all three having the same right to judge victory, techniques,……

Where a difference of opinion occurs between the Referees during a contest a discussion will take place to resolve it. However, when a unanimous decision cannot be reached the Chief Referee will decide the issue.

The decision of the Referees Team is final. In case of complains, this has to be solved before “Hantei”

The Chief Referee shall be positioned at the far side of the contest area, opposite the recorders’ table and facing towards it. A the start he will be in the centre of this line and will move laterally in order to view the contest.
 Direction chief referees

The Corner Referees will stand at the two corners opposite the Chief Referee facing him and will move in a L-shaped direction in order to view the contest.

The Corner Referees will hold red and white flags in their hands to correspond to the position on the mat of the red and white player.

 Direction corner referees

Protocol for Refereeing Team

Individual Contest

At the start of the competition the Referee Team for each mat shall walk to the outer edge of the contest area and position themselves facing the recorders’ table.

Al three shall bow in the direction of the table.

The two Corner Referees, in unison, turn inwards towards the Chief referee who shall take a small step backwards – all three officials then bow again together.

At the end of the final contest of the day, on that mat the reverse procedure to the opening procedure will be carried out to formally close the mat.

For the changeover of the Refereeing Teams during an event, the three officials vacating the mat stand in line and bow towards the mat from the edge of the contest area nearest to the recorders table and leave the mat.

The oncoming team will step onto the contest area near the recorders table and walk in a line to the outer edge and perform the opening etiquette.

 referee bowing

Team Events

The refereeing team take up their position first, in a straight line at the far side of the contest area facing the recorders table, and invite the teams to take up their positions on the mat.

Both teams line up on the contest area, approximately 3-4 meters apart and facing ech other. At the Chief Referee’s indication both teams turn and bow in the direction of the table. The 3 Referees are also bowing.

Both teams turn inwards to bow, the Referee Team follows the bowing etiquette described earlier.

The Corner Referees take up their positions and the first two contestants take up their starting places in the center of the contest area, approximately 3 meter apart and facing each other.

 referee and competitors bowing

Handling the tanto

For both Individual and Team contests the Chief Referee shall present the tanto to the competitor wearing the red belt, who will be standing to the Chief Referees right on the contest area.

The Chief Referee shall receive the tanto (generally from the white belt competitor) before the decision has been awarded.

Official Signals

Chief Referee raises one arm high above his head with the palm facing forward – the arm is raised to correspond to the side making the score.
Corner Referees raise appropriate colour flag high above head.

official signals

Waza Ari
Chief Referee shall raise one of his arms tp the side to shoulder height with the palm facing down. (The arm raised should correspond to the side making the score.)
Corner Referees raise appropriate colour flag to their side at shoulder height.

official signals
Chief Referee shall raise one of his arms to the side, palm down, arm straight, at 45° from his body. (The arm raised should correspond to the side making the score.)
Corner Referees raise appropriate colour flag to their side at 45° to their body.
official signals
Hiki Wake
Chief Referee shall raise one hand high in the air and bring it down, thumb-edge uppermost, to the front of his body at waist height.
Corner Referees shall raise both flags high in the air and away from themselves at about 45° to their midline.
official signals
Chief Referee shall raise one hand, palm inwards, above shoulder height towards the winner.
Corner Referees shall raise the appropriate colour flag away from themselves at about 45° to their midline.
official signals

Chief Referee shall raise one arm high above his head with its palm facing inwards.

official signals2

Fujūbun (insufficient)
Corner Referees wave both flags in scissor action several times in front of themselves with hands low.

official signals2

Shido/chui (penalty)
Chief Referee points towards the offending contestant with outstretched arm, index finger extended from clenched fist.

official signals2

Mienai (unsighted)
Corner Referees hold flags crossed in front of their body with hands held low for a short period.

official signals2

Gōgi yōkyu (attention)
To gain the attention of the Chief Referee, Corner Referees shall raise both flags in front of their face and tap them gently.

official signals2
Jogai (stepping out)
Wave the flag of the corresponding contestant up and down at 45° when stepping out of the area 
with 2 feet.
stepping out

Running the Contest

The Chief Referee shall control the contest using the commands of:

  • Hajime (begin)
  • Yame (stop)
  • Soremade (that is all – to end the contest)

The Chief Referee should explain briefly to the competitor the reason for awarding of a penalty.
The Chief Referee will award ippon/waza ari/yuko taking note of the opinion of the Corner Referees and use the other signals as appropriate.
The Corner Referees shall indicate tsukiari by raising the appropriate flag and use the other signals as appropriate

The 5-second rule if applicable.

When Toshu holds Tanto’s knife arm and Tanto braces his empty hand against Toshu while facing each other. The Chief Referee will call Yame after approximately five seconds.

When Toshu holds Tanto’s empty arm and Tanto braces his knife hand against Toshu. The Chief Referee will call Yame after approximately five seconds and give Shido (if applicable) to Toshu.

The Chief Referee must be careful to allow Toshu to persist with balance breaking attempts. Yame should only be called when there is no progress and Tanto is just blocking Toshu’s actions.

Decision of Contest

Please refer to the JAA rulebook for the explanation of the levels for awarding points of the waza. (Ippon, waza-ari and yuko)

Points are awarded as follows:

Positive points

Ippon 4 points
Waza-ari 2 points
Yuko 1 point
Tsuki-ari 1 point

Negative points
To be deducted from a contestant at the end of the contest

Shido 1 point
Chui 2 points

Disqualified competitor

Hansokumake 8 points


The competitor scoring the highest number of points shall be declared the winner.

Where the points are equal the competitor with the most Toshu points shall be declared the winner.

In the case of equal points and Toshu points, the decision will be given by the Chief Referee and the Corner Referees based on superiority, taking into account recognisable differences in skill and effectiveness of techniques and attitude during the contest. (extension is permitted if applicable).

When a contest cannot be continued due to Itamiwake (injury), the Chief Referee gives the right of play to the competitor able to continue if the competitor is able to continue in a reasonable time.

If the match is stopped early on and the uninjured competitor has fewer points than the injured player “hikiwake” is given. If late in the match then the one with the most points is declared the winner. (This depend on the responsibility of the Chief Referee).

If both competitors are injured and unable to continue due to injury, the opponent in the next match is the winner by Fusenkachi.

Where an injury is attributable to the action of a player he will be penalised with Hansokumake.

When a competitor has won a match by Hansokumake but is unable to continue due to injury, the opponent in the next match is the winner by Fusenkachi.


Prohibited Acts

The following are intended as a guide to the awarding of penalties for prohibited acts:


  • The use of techniques and its applications other than those found in the 17-hon no kata.
  • If a competitor intentionally tries to grip the others’ dogi.
  • If Toshu shows no avoidance and attempts to get near Tanto blindly.
  • If Tanto defends against Toshu by means other than tegatana.
  • If Tanto uses tegatana in a dangerous way such as the face, head etc.
  • If when using atemi or tsuki waza a competitor intentionally uses impact.
  • When Tanto drops the knife during the match.
  • If a competitor deliberately tries to go outside the contest area. Tanto is permitted to push the opponent out out the area as a mean of defence, but Toshu must try to stay within the area.
  • If Tanto deliberately escapes Toshu by retreating outside the contest area.
  • When Tanto does not make proper attempts to reach the target area.
  • When Tanto thrusts violently from a close distance.
  • When a competitor makes unnecessary calls, remarks or gestures derogatory to the opponent or Referees during the contest.


  • When Toshu applies techniques when off-balance or in a uncontrolled way or with the use of excessive force such as in wakigatame or maeotoshi.
  • When a competitor continues to apply force after a technique has been effective.
  • If a competitor applies a technique in such a way that ii is not possible for the opponent to do ukemi.

Penalties may be cumulative, or in a more serious instance higher penalties may be given according to the intent and attitude of the offender.

Kata & Enbu Competition

Kata for many people is something totally different from randori or other forms of practice. In reality, Kata is a part of the whole training system of Tomiki Aikido and other traditional Japanese martial arts. The origins of some kata are quite recent although there is some influence of much older traditional kata from different traditional Japanese martial arts.

The purpose of a particular kata can vary just as we can describe kata in different ways.

Find here the most popular definitions of Tomiki Aikido kata.

  • A formal demonstration of pre-arranged techniques.
  • A method of preserving and passing on to future generations.
  • A safe way of practising relatively dangerous techniques.
  • A training method.
  • A method of demonstrating principles or techniques which embody those principles.
  • A demonstration of the depth of knowledge of Tomiki Aikido.
  • A……

In other traditional Japanese martial arts we can find many kata for the same purposes as above. The point to remember is that one kata can be used or described in all of the above ways and therefore the many different interpretations of a particular kata.

Whatever your approach to kata, the basic principles are at the core of each kata and cannot be denied.

The passing on of the principles is the primary job of the Sensei. The teacher cannot pass on every existing techniques even if Sensei is aware of all the techniques from the system. By teaching the principles, Sensei will equip you with the means for finding out much more than just a choreography of techniques.

Unfortunately the present trend is toward learning a sequence of waza rather than just trying to figure out and utilise the basic principles involved. The innate spirit of a kata as well as the principles is intended to be demonstrating and must be known and understood. By practising correctly and thus improving your kata, you will also find that your randori improves and your understanding of Aikido in general is enhanced.

Kata like many Aikido activities is a paired exercise where both parties have to play their role.

Aikido can be translated as the “Way of Harmony” but in general terms that does not mean that Uke must let Tori win particularly if Tori does not deserve to succeed. Harmony in Aikido sense means a blending of roles, uke as attacker and finally the vanquished and Tori the victor.

In kata that means each player must know his role and how it should be played, the performers must also know the place of that role in the overall pattern of the kata.

The person playing the role of Uke must attack swiftly and have the intention to attack. In such a scenario, Tori will understand the truth of an attack and therefore can defend himself in the appropriate manner.

The judging of Kata & Enbu

Basically there are 2 ways for judging kata & enbu

  • The scoring method
  • The flag method

The scoring method

This method was used when kata & enbu competitions were introduced.

A score between 1.0 to 10.0 was given to every pair demonstrated their kata or enbu. The skill of the judges is extremely tested by this judging system.

The flag method

Two pairs are demonstrating their kata and are judged by in 5 judges with red and white flag. When the Chief Judge called “Hantei”, all the judges are raising the flag, red or white. The majority of red or white is winning this bout.

The criteria for judging Kata and Enbu

  • No mistakes in the sequence (if a known kata).
  • Correctness of techniques with convincing attacks and ukemi.
  • Ma-ai, taisabaki, kuzushu, timing, shisei, zanshin….
  • Pace and purpose of the kata reflected in the flow and speed.
  • Whenever possible, techniques to be executed in such a position that the table of officials (Kancho, Shihan and other Officials) can see clearly.
  • Reiho
  • Keeping within the competition area, but making maximum use of the space.
  • If applicable, demonstration within the time limit.

Management of Kata & Enbu contest

The Flag method

Competitors advance to their spot on the contest area. Bowing to the table with Officials after a command by the Chief Judge, they turn to their opponent, Uke to Uke and Tori to Tori. Turning to face the partner.

At he command of the Chief Judge, competitors bow and start their demonstration.

After both pairs finished their demonstratio, Chief Judge called “hantei’, all 5 judges raise red or white flag immediately to determine their choice. Chief Judge calls the flags of the 5 judges. Majority of the flags is called after the command “kachi”.

The bowing sequence is a reverse of the beginning.

Official Signals for Kata & Enbu Event

In case of the flag method


official signals