“How to count that actual number of techniques in Aikido,” by Charles Warren

I count the number of techniques in “Budo” to be fewer than 50, but there are so many variations of each it’s hard to calculate. Plus we’ve lost all the leg pins and some of the more obscure arm pins from the normal training repertory.

Numbered (pinning) techniques

Ikkyo – gokkyo (5, 6 if you count “reverse ikkyo” also named by Saito Sensei as a shihonage variation. Both irimi & tenkan versions of each.)

Named techniques (a baker’s dozen)

Irimi nage (MANY variations, at least one old & obscure)
Kokyu nage
(sometimes considered a (very large!) set of koshinage variations)
Ganseki-otoshi (variations include the rarely performed over the shoulder sideways carry-over from Daito-ryu. I’ve had that occur naturally once with a particularly long, lean and strange uke.)
Kotegaeshi (includes reverse kotegaeshi)
Kokyu dosa (suwariwaza kokyuho)

Of course, my naming system is “Iwama style”. Other schools call things differently.


Now common dojo attacks would be front grabs of the wrist, elbow, shoulder, chest, one or two handed (8), plus morote dori. (9).

Straight strikes to the abdomen and face (2).

Overhead strikes, straight and angled (2, 3 if you count backhanded).

Combinations of grabs and strikes are possible but needn’t be counted separately, as they will normally be dealt with as one or the other.

Kicks, arm-pins, and throws

Kicks are certainly possible but notable for their absence from aikido schools. (many basically divide into variations of straight and roundhouse, but not directly relevant because of absence. The arm-pins don’t work. Many of the named throws don’t work. We’ve lost the specific leg pins.)

Rear grabs

Rear grabs are symmetric to front grabs with the substitution of collar for chest. Morote dori is replaced with a grab & strangle combo. Then bear-hug is added (10).

So, here we have, in round numbers, a couple dozen.

So, if we take, say, 18 x 24, that’s 432 (multiplied by variations, multiplied by seated, standing, or seated v. standing, but excluding the few that just don’t work)… Ought to keep somebody busy for a while.

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