“Leading An Overhead Strike Into A Head Control Technique” by Roy Y. Suenaka Sensei and Christopher Watson

“In this article and in others in the series, Roy Suenaka Sensei demonstrates an undiluted aikido. It is Suenaka Sensei’s earnest desire to show that aikido is more than and the esthetically pleasing, but martially ineffective, art that so many schools practice — that aikido is, by design and when properly practiced, a dynamic and effective method of self-defense.

During this series, the reader will note that counter-strikes (atemi) are often used. Morihei Ueshiba (affectionately referred to as O’Sensei by his students), the founder of aikido, often stressed the importance of distraction and counterstrikes to disorient and distract the attacker’s focus (leading his mind away from his attack).(1)”

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  1. Interesting. I use the upper block – short-rib punch often. Would have thought in this case it would make the following move, entry to the rear, more difficult than spinning around the block to deliver atemi to the neck from the rear (followed by a grab…) Will have to give this some thought.

  2. Gave it a test drive this am. Getting fully to the rear from the high-low combination, a slide, seems harder than from high-high, a spin. High-high could be standard extension practice, or might look like Inoue Sensei’s two hand high sword shomen position.

  3. Maybe there’s a basic principle here, common to navigation: time is distance/distance is time. Or as N.B. Forrest put it about winning, “Get there fustest with the mostest.” Pre-war tai-no-henko was demonstrated one-handed. Post-war, at least Iwama style, it’s two handed. The second hand is right there for any follow-on technique. When I think about it, I’ve often left my unengaged hand idle in the first move of shomen or tsuki irimi nage. In either Suenaka or Inoue’s forms it would already be on the scene.

  4. Great technique! The Aikido world could use more of Suenaka Sensei’s insight!

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