Exercises to develop “mata power”

The power generated using “mata” or “kua (Chinese)” is an action that is hard to explain in words. It involves every part of your body. When you have access to someone who can give you the basics, the following exercises are almost self-explanatory.

We will cover 4 exercises

  • Vertical forward (oshi taoshi)
  • Vertical backward (hiki taoshi)
  • Horizontal forward (chudan uchi mawashi/gedan soto mawashi)
  • Horizontal reverse (chudan soto mawashi/gedan uchi mawashi)

Exercise 1 – Vertical forward

The inspiration for this exercise comes from 3 other exercises.

  • Pendulum exercise, explained somewhere else in this blog
  • Ik-kyo undo, practised by many aikido styles
  • Tandoku undo tegatana dosa (shomen uchi/shomen tsuki)

Basically, a vertical movement is performed containing 2 actions

  • Lifting the arms up to deflect an incoming attack to the face
  • Dropping action to throw an opponent of controlling

Many other applications use this kind of movements.

Complete sequence

Exercise 2 – Vertical backward

A reverse circle is used to perform this exercise. The inspiration is found in other famous exercises

  • Rowing exercise used by many aikido styles
  • Hiki taoshi application (see BASIC 17 – Hiki taoshi)

Complete sequence

Exercise 3 – Horizontal (chudan uchi mawashi/gedan soto mawashi)

This exercise include uchi mawashi (chudan) and soto mawashi (gedan)

Please refer to 7-hon no kuzushi or to original style of tegatana dosa tandoku undo.

Complete sequence

Exercise 4 – Horizontal reverse (chudan soto mawashi/gedan uchi mawashi)

This exercise include soto mawashi (chudan) and uchi mawashi (gedan).

Please refer to 7-hon no kuzushi or to original style of tegatana dosa tandoku undo.

Complete sequence

Some footage of the “mata” exercises

Mata 股 (jap) –  Kwa 胯 (chinese)

In judo we often hear the word “mata”, for example in “uchi mata”. Inner thigh throw is one of the spectacular throws of Judo. The hip of Tori is attacking the inner thigh of Uke. Attacking the inner thigh will have an effect the opponent’s koshi/tanden.

The translation of “mata” can be “inner thigh” or “groin”, “crotch”, “femur”……
In our study, reference has to be made to the area around the hip-joint. This explains better the relationship with the chinese word for inner thigh, groin or crotch : kua or kwa when used in martial arts.

3 lines & mata 
from the book written by Akira Hino (2017) Listen to the Body.

Relation between 3 lines of twisting/untwisting and mata or kwa

In a basic format the twisting of the upper body will follow a certain sequence.
1. Turn the shoulder line.
2. Turn the body along the diagonal line.
3. Turn the pelvis line. **
Untwisting follows the reverse sequence.

Twisting the shoulder line creates almost an angle of 90° relative to the pelvis line.

twist and mata

**Turning the pelvis line is only possible when the “mata” or “kwa” is flexible and not tensed up. If you cannot make the groin soft, you will not make the full twisting movement. The hip-joint doesn’t change position, its function is the movement of the femur and/or the tanden and koshi.

Although twisting creates tension, it is not advised to tense the associated muscles. Don’t forget it is a movement and not a contraction of muscles.

During tegatana no godosa, the softening of the mata or kwa can be a learning point. Eventually it will create a pattern in the subconscious.

Essential points to consider are :
-Turning the pelvis line is only possible when the back hip-joint is stable.
-The back hip-joint must have the ability to open and close
-The knees cannot move to the sides