In this blog post I will try to explain different types or methods to practice Tandoku Undo or the main ways of moving the body and hands picked from Aiki skills, then simplified and abstracted and organized as an exercise course.
The result of this training can be seen in the skills of Nagashi and Hakkei.
Nagashi and Hakkei
These two concepts have already been covered in a separate blog post. Certain explanations are needed to light up a concept of “moving body”.
Nagashi: Within the context of Tomiki Aikido, nagashi is the skill of a flowing movement and its derivative power “hakkei”.
Hakkei: Is a sudden power, generated by using nagashi or flowing movements. Tenshikei and koshi-mawari are integrated components for producing hakkei.
Some advice by Shigeru Uemura, former Shito-Ryu karateka
When we release the muscles, an energy linked to gravitation is released. With the muscular relaxation, the movement is immediate, in a single time.
The moving body
A moving body has 3 main methods to generate force:
- Taïjū no idō – using footwork
- Taïjū no dendō – using body weight
- Tenshikei – diagonal tension
These are fundamental components of budo. By using the concept of “rendo” or “linking movements” flowing movements are created: nagashi
Body weight and using gravity play a substantial role in generating force when using Taïjū no idō and/or Taïjū no dendō.
Hino Sensei (Hino Budo method) states: “Strictly speaking, the movement of the body’s weight is to move by making one’s body a single block. For example, moving forward, or backward, being a solid block.
Posture training and static tandoku undo-tegatana dosa are the main methods to create one solid but flexible body. Next step is to use the flexible but solid block together with a proper footwork by using the skill of Rendo.
Taïjū no idō
Controlling own body during displacement is controlling the force of gravity.
Taïjū no idō is a skill for example to avoid an attack from the opponent. By applying the proper footwork, the distance between tori and uke can be managed in favor of tori. Sometimes the skill of avoiding an incoming attack can be done without displacement of the feet.
Gravity gives weight to the physical body and can be utilized to start displacement during footwork.
The force generated during this displacement is called “Ido ryoku”.
Another skill to generate ido ryoku is tenshikei or diagonal tension.
Taïjū no dendō
Taïjū no dendō or transmission of body weight.
This is a skill to transfer body weight into the opponent without pushing or tensing muscles.
Inoue- sensei from Japan Aikido Association is an expert on this matter.
Putting weight into a movement
If we attack with shomen uchi or shomen tsuki (straight forward attack) we need to put the weight into the attack.
When performing tegatana awase, we also can put weight in the tegatana.
Don’t confuse putting weight into the opponent by a pushing action. Pushing in many cases is performed by using local muscle work. Although this is not a mistake, it is more efficient to use the skill of Taïjū no dendō and/or Taïjū no idō with a flexible body and generating force by performing “nagashi”.
How to put weight into a movement?
To answer this question we can use an exercise from tandoku undo as an example: soto-gaeshi in a slow motion version
Body weight is dropping after the arms start to move down. There is a connection between the arms and the body weight. Gravity is used to drop and not local muscle power. Important is to keep the body vertical, in line with gravity.
If we only bend our knees or only using arm strength, there will be no Taïjū no dendō involved.
Using diagonal tension as a source of force is already mentioned many times in this blog. Please refer to the different articles of Tenshikei.
A famous Budoka, Morita Monjuro wrote an interesting essay about diagonal tension.
The perfect handling of the sword is produced by the integration of three elements:
1. the rotation of koshi (koshi mawari)Morita Monjuro
2. diagonal tension produced by this rotation
3. displacement of the body
Even for Morita Monjuro, a body in motion is needed to produce strength and its application.
An application of rotational force by Senta Yamada
The rotation force is transferred to the uke body using diagonal channels. To get an idea of the paths of power, one may consult the concept of tensegrity. This is called Budo’s case, Jukozo.
Patterns of footwork
Dynamic tandoku undo is based upon different pattern of footwork. These include:
- tsugi ashi
- tsuri ashi
- ayumi ashi
- de mawari
- hiki mawari
Some examples of footwork training methods
In Tomiki Aikido, the exercise unsoku-ho is a very basic footwork pattern and can be adjusted depending on the circumstances. The origin of this exercise can be found in Kodokan Judo.
By integrating Taïjū no idō and Taïjū no dendō into Unsoku-ho, a new way of practising footwork is created. If you like to experiment with unsoku-ho, don’t be afraid to change the fixed pattern. Aikido is a skill to react in different situations and fixed formats has to be avoided when you reach a more advanced level.
Types of tandoku undo
- Static tandoku undo – basic – about postures, body movement and tenshikei. No footwork is involved.
- Dynamic tandoku undo – integration of footwork into postures and creating a moving body.
A number of versions of tandoku undo exist. Mostly we use an adapted version taught by Senta Yamada. The history of Tomiki’s Tandoku Undo is briefly described in my book The secret weapon of Aikido Written 2008/2009 and published 2010, free to download. In this blog, many elements of my book are being discussed in light of my growing experience and research on these subjects.
How to practise Tandoku Undo?
There are a number of ways in which the tandoku undo can be practiced. Mostly Unsoku ho or footwork is practised first, followed by Tegatana dosa. Counting every posture in performance is a perfect format for beginners who are not familiar with the sequence of movements. Advanced practitioners are benefiting more from other types of practice. We talked about it in a previous blog post.
As we began our article with some explanations about the “moving body” and its fundamental elements, we must concentrate on these fundamental elements and integrate them into our practice.
Tegatana dosa without footwork allows you to concentrate more on integrating tenshikei (rotational force). Integration of footwork adds an extra item in the training and the synchronisation of the footwork with the movements of the torso and upper limbs is an extra difficulty to overcome.
Each Tandoku undo exercise may be done as often as desired. The concept of “nagashi” or flowing movements can be incorporated without counting the positions.
Static tandoku undo
In this type of training, there is no footwork. Although a very small turning movement of a foot is used sometimes to create “Chidori ashi and koshi mawari“. Only basic arm movements are used.
- Shomen uchi & shomen tsuki
- Uchi mawashi & soto mawashi
- Uchi gaeshi & soto gaeshi
The names of tegatana movements can be different depending on the use of the tegatana. A more recent version is focused on the use of tegatana as a sword. See also Nagashi kata.
- Shomen no uchikomi/tsukikomi
- Kiri kaeshi
- Maki zuki
- Kesa uchi (not discussed in static tandoku undo)
- Tenkai/tentai no uchikomi (not discussed in static tandoku undo)
Dynamic tandoku undo
- Tegatana – Shomen uchi & shomen tsuki
- Uchi mawashi & Soto mawashi
- Uchi gaeshi & soto gaeshi
- De-mawari Uchi mawashi
- Hiki-mawari Soto mawashi
- Ko mawashi
- O mawashi
The integration of footwork makes this type of solo workout very dynamic, and depending on the speed usage, it becomes a sort of cardio workout.
By using the concept of “ju & go” power, another dimension can be added. Go-power typically uses a penetrating, linear force, whereas ju-power usually uses a circular, flowing force. The original Nagashi kata, an older version of tandoku undo is characterized by flowing movement and generates ju-power. The first exercise shomen uchi & shomen tsuki is an example of go-power, although there are elements of ju power movements included.
In previous articles on tandoku undo tegatana dosa, using chidori ashi is exaggerated for introducing basic mawari koshi. By adding more velocity** to the exercises, the use of chidori ashi becomes only important at certain points of the exercise. Especially when the direction of the movement must be adapted in accordance with the circumstances. Over-focusing on a concept can destroy the effectiveness of a body movement application.
**Velocity is equivalent to a specification of an object’s speed and direction of motion.
Tegatana – Shomen uchi & shomen tsuki
This exercise includes some technical applications besides the fundamental elements like chidori-ashi, koshi-mawari and nagashi.
- A study of postures: jodan, chudan and gedan no kamae
- A study of basic atemi-waza – striking or pushing techniques
Koshi-mawari and tenshikei is also the key to successful application of “hakkei” or explosive immediate power.
The integration of footwork makes this exercise highly dynamic. Footwork is based upon ayumi ashi and tsugi ashi. These kinds of footwork are extensively practised during unsoku-ho. In the beginning, it is preferable to use a slow speed method.
The application of atemi-waza becomes more obvious in the dynamic method. During the static method, the integration of chidori-ashi, koshi-mawari and nagashi is fully developed and the benefit of it will come to the surface.
The skill of “hakkei” or “sudden power” during dynamic performance must be considered as a tool for further development of randori and self-defence applications. Timing in this case is a crucial element and cannot be overlooked.
Uchi mawashi & Soto mawashi
Like the preceding tegatana dosa, several interpretations may be used for practical purposes. By utilizing a more linear approach, Atemi waza or striking techniques are more visible. When using “nagashi”, a flowing flavor is noticeable.
When using footwork, the concept of “hakkei” can be practised and still having flowing movements or nagashi.
Uchi gaeshi & soto gaeshi
Nagashi is the main feature of this tegatana dosa, though certain hakkei elements may be detected.
As for the previous tegatana dosa (nrs1 and 2), a dynamic approach makes the concept “hakkei” more obvious.
De-mawari Uchi mawashi
The main feature in this tegatana dosa is a circular footwork pattern. This is an application of “irimi” using circular footwork.
Hiki-mawari Soto mawashi
The main feature in this tegatana dosa is a circular footwork pattern. This is an application of “ura” using circular footwork and soto mawashi.
Sometimes reference is made to “tentai” or 180° bodyturn. Note that footwork is done after you have sufficiently turned the body.
Big movements are characteristics of this tegatana dosa. It can be performed in a more “atemi waza” format or a “nagashi” format.
Influence of velocity
Speed is not just the execution of the exercise with more speed, but the direction of motion has an important part to play. The 3 basic tegatana dosa, the focal point is straightforward. In older versions of tegatana dosa, the performance includes a moving on the side with a rotating body. This can be seen at the beginning of this post. Senta Yamada performing Uchi mawashi.
A rotating body will increase the power of a body motion if it is made correctly.
Body turns may be made at 90°, 180°, 270° or other angles.
Speed also influences the various levels of impact of the workout on the heart rate zones. This was discussed in Aikido, a Holistic Approach.