“Effective Aikido” by Roy Y. Suenaka Sensei and Christopher Watson

“Many aikido teachers and schools, however, have so misunderstood aikido’s concepts of harmony and spirituality, and its history, that there has been a dilution of attention to technical detail. As a result, aikido technique often becomes so soft, flowing and dependent on cooperation that, when practiced in this manner, it loses its martial effectiveness.

In this series of articles, Roy Suenaka Sensei demonstrates an aikido that is both practical and effective. He also demonstrates many common mistakes that can reduce the effectiveness of technique or leave the defender vulnerable to counters. The first technique shows how a common wrist technique (kote-gaeshi) can be used against an opponent who attacks with a straight middle punch.”

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  1. Great article, it really shows what an effective kote gaeshi tenkan should look like and the proper application of atemi combined with movement that is truly away from the countering free hand.

  2. Stan Zmitrovich says:

    I find this series of photos interesting, because the second photo that illustrates this technique is slightly different from what is portrayed in Suenaka Sensei’s book (pg. 249): In the above illustrations, Suenaka Sensei is in left hanmi for the entire sequence, whereas in his book he is in right hanmi in photo #2. I am left wondering how he was able to get his uke’s right arm so far extended by photo #3; judging by the objects in the background, it looks like he must have taken two full steps backward from his position in photo #2. If that is the case, it seems to my mind’s eye that the uke would have been drawn toward Suenaka Sensei, and not extended away from him, as is shown in photo #3. Has anybody else noticed this?

  3. Hi Stan,

    I just stumbled upon this article and noticed your comment. I have been uke for Sensei Suenaka and I can say that he does not step back. So, there may a difference in what you are seeing in step by step photos and real life? Sensei Suenaka does not post videos of this techinques. However, I was granted permission to post a slide show of him on http://www.aikidooforlando.com. You can see him perform a kote gasehi in the slide show. I hope this is helpful.

    Domo Arigato,
    Sensei Jeremy
    Wadokai Aikido Orlando

  4. Hello again Stan,

    After looking at the photos, I think I understand your question and maybe able to offer some insight. You are wondering how Sensei Suenaka is able to get uke’s arm so far exteneded? The answer has more to do with uke than Sensei Suenaka. Shihan Chad, who is uke in the photos, attacks Sensei Suenaka at full speed and power. As a result, uke moves futher away from Sensei Suenaka. So, it is not that Sensei Suenaka is stepping away, but rather uke is off balance and orbiting out and away from Sensei Suenaka. The bottom line is this, uke’s extension is relative to the amount of energy that uke is offering.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Domo Arigato,
    Sensei Jeremy
    Wadokai Aikido

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