Brian Kagen pick: “A tribute to Kenji Tomiki & Hideo Oba Sensei” by Dr. Ah Loi Lee

“The descriptive names help to focus on the intent of the techniques. Atemi implies a hit or strike but since we are practising aikido (harmony with your opponent) the hitting/slamming/punching is replaced with a controlled contact push/throwing feeling. This is extremely difficult to achieve. Atemi-waza throw someone on their back, either by a frontal, sideways or rear application of technique on uke. Without first controlling uke, by catching their hands, it is extremely difficult to apply technique, especially when they are attacking forwards and if your timing is out obviously with avoidance (tai sabaki), you will meet their incoming power and obviously get stopped in your tracks, unless you are bigger.

Timing the opponent’s footwork is of the essence here. When the opponent’s front foot lands the throw happens at that split second before they can use the other foot to regain balance. Obviously the angle of your attack also matters.

Kansetsu waza are techniques applied to, or use the leverage, of the joints. There are hiji-waza or elbow techniques and tekubi-waza or wrist techniques. If you only remember this point you will come a long way as the techniques teach you how to control the opponent via the elbow joint.”

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