Shionage, O'Sensei said aikido is 90% atemi, and he was right but we can't start there we have to work our way up with aikido basics - shionage is a great exempt of that. Named as a four direction throw shionage takes us out of the range of uke and into their blind side, through the syllabus, weapons and bunkai (application of the kata) to boxing style attacks we start to understand what it means.
A lifetime of study wouldn't do it justice let alone a series of lessons series. But here are some notes from those lessons.
A good beginning is to explore shionage through our schools syllabus and the 5 levels of technique.
Kotai - Its not normally examined in our school as we start with yokomen when it first appears in the grading syllabus. But we can easily explore Kotai (static) level by allowing uke to strike and press against our body, then and only then can we move. (Moving before the strike lands is of course junta technique). With the hand pressing firmly against our shoulder or head we change hanmi and if our position is correct ukase hand naturally falls into our hands not need to even look. Its like magic and if we get it right at static level then under movement the foundation sets us up for good technique.
Juntai - Yokoenuchi shionage under movement, its well ingrained and didn't spend to much time n this here except to ensue that the moon shadow lizard legs is done correctly and at the finish nage is in shikaku body position(the hidden or dead spot behind uke). More than a few weren't so we took the pin to the ground to check that zanshin was present as well as proper positioning
under freestyle technique the requirement for uke to follow and nage lead starts to break down a bit. Nage is now free to draw out an early and thus weaker attack from uke, free to step back further and draw uke into overcommitting. This is the fun and dynamic of ryutai and shionage with its more circular movements lends itself well to exploring this aspects. Nishio sensei talks about this concept of nage initiating the attack in this interview
Starting first with big circles we start with tobokomi (big) movement, demonstrated nicely by Tamura sensei as he leaps in to uke in the latter part of this video. in some senses its a step back from Ryutai level but its just preparing you for a higher level as we now start to shrink the size of the circle. At some point here the circle is too small to step through and so nage doesn't and just returns the circle. The technique starts now to resemble circle kokyunage (but we are thinking in our minds shionage) and leads us nicely in a mental sense to Kontai
This level is all mind extension but for those of us mere mortals that can't quite get there we have to use a bit of body. the technique starts with the hanmi and the circle is a bit of an atom to uke and then let them off the hook and send them on the way with a circle. As we get better at this the atemi is all we need and the 'no=touch' technique variants of yokomenuchi zenpo nage appear if we let uke off the hook and yokomenuchi irimi sakate if we choose to continue the iris.
The danger of course is in striving for Kontai technique too soon and just end up fighting uke, the foundation levels beginning with kotai prevent this.
Next post looks at weapons and shionage
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