Friday, March 5, 2010

The significance of Tori's thumb-up position of the captured hand in Katatedori Ikkyo Omote.

Katatedori Ikkyo Omote
Tory on the left thumbs of
captured hand facing up
Semenyih Dojo. Fri class 5/3/10

"Why tori must keep his thumb up as in palm facing sideway and not to the side as in palm facing down in the beginning of Katatedori Ikkyo Omote ?"

One puzzled student asked me this question during katatedori ikkyo omote exercise on Fri 5/3/10 during the training.

With reference to the Tori on the left hand side of the accompanying photo....

During the execution of the technique beside stepping back with his lead foot Tori has to rotate his captured hand clockwise so that the thumb finally ends pointing downwards towards the floor and the fingers naturally curved backwards. In stepping back his lead foot Tori breaks Uke's body alignment by translation forcing Uke to step forward with his lead foot to compensate for his body tilting forwards. In spinning the captured hand clockwise Tori further breaks Uke's body structure through rotation forcing Uke's body to tilt and rotate side ways. This effect is similar to earthquake where due to the shaking of the ground horizontally buildings tilt sideways and collapse to the ground. Thus in stepping backwards and rotating his captured hand Tori destroys Uke's balance and stability in two directions ie forwards through translation and sideways through rotation.

By keeping the palm facing downwards and the thumb facing the side at the beginning of the exercise Tori can only spin his captured hand a quarter of a circle. By keeping the palm facing sideway and the thumb pointing upwards to the sky like imitating a hand shake form, Tori can spin his hand by half a circle. Thus it is not difficult to see that the thumb-up position induces a bigger range of rotation than the thumb-sideway position which is extremely limiting in scope. The bigger the range of rotation the more Uke's body tilt to the side and the more effort Uke has to exert to restore his instability. In his anxiety to forcefully recover Uke creates tension and stiffness in his body leading to further breakdown of his body alignment

To be effective and almost effortless Aikido techniques have to be executed in a multi-dimensional way and not just limiting to only one. I notice many students rely exclusively on stepping backwards with their lead feet and issue atemis to their partners' faces with their free hands to break Ukes' stability. Thus unaware of the effect of rotating the captured hands they are unable to see the significance of which way the palms are facing at the beginning of the exercise.