Stanley Pranin’s Video Blog — “Fine points of Shihonage”


“Pay special attention to placement of your
hands in order to make Shihonage effective”

In this video, Stanley Pranin offers his views on some particulars of aikido’s Shihonage (four-corner throw). He discusses the generation of mechanical energy to disrupt uke’s balance through positioning, and arm and body movement, atemi, kiai, etc.

shihonage02Next, is a discussion of the positioning of the hands on uke’s arm to execute Shihonage. He proposes that a common hand placement used is ineffective and suggests using the teachings of Morihei Ueshiba and Morihiro Saito as models. Finally, a comparison of some differences in the execution of Shihonage omote and ura are presented.


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  1. Joel Lindstrom says:

    I’m really enjoying your careful explanation of the details of techniques. And I find the background music distracting. I found myself drifting into the snappy beat and losing the thread of what you’re saying. Thanks for all your work.

  2. Stan,

    Thanks for this fantastic video. Thanks especially for the clarification on the method of gripping you employ. I do hope you will continue this educational series in the future. What I like most about your recent technique video series is the emphasis on your source material, and getting to the aikido of Morihei Ueshiba, as you showed with the photograph from “Budo” to reinforce the more effective shihonage grab.

  3. The level of detail was excellent. It is very instructive how the key movements of shihonage are broken down and the video of the hands enlarged. This creates a better picture of what is really happening. My only question is with the Ura variation. In our dojo when we apply this technique we roll of uke’s back. Yet, I noticed that you do not do this. I wonder what would be the reasoning behind the two schools of thought. Your reply is appreciated.

    • Hello, Thank you very much for your feedback. Without seeing what you are doing I’m not sure I have a clear idea of what “rolling off” uke’s back means. What I am doing is pivoting to the outside and bring uke’s hand just slightly to the outside of his shoulder to execute the throw. Is there a video of what you’re doing?

  4. Hi Mr. Pranin, my club practices Shodokan Aikido and I was always taught that instead of using the left hand to go under the grabbing right hand to secure the thumb as you are teaching, we either use the right hand to grab the thumb/wrist area from the beginning or (from your second grip example) slide the right hand down slightly to secure the thumb with the right hand and use the left hand for support from the top. This way we still get the extra twist. What are your views on this?

    I’m relatively inexperienced so if I’m understanding the technique wrong, Shodokan people please correct me. Thanks.

  5. Emmanuel Santiago says:

    In most schools of aikido when one goes under the uke’s arm nage does a 180° ends looking in the opposite direction and pulls down to do shihonage. If uke resists then nage can do a tenkan when pulling down, and the pressure in uke’s arm will pull him down. This may be effective but is very dangerous, and serious harm can be done. But in Toyoda Aikido nage does a 270° and ends looking not in the opposite direction of the uke, but facing the uke’s side, aligning ones’ center with ukes’ center, then nage pulls down and throws uke in the direction of ukes’ opposite arm. This shihonage actually protects the uke, and less harm is done.

    • This is the way it is done in Seidokan as well. The teachers usually say, “turn until you can look in uke’s ear.” The throw is then a drop straight down.

  6. Dear Sensei,

    I don’t think we can choose which side we will enter. It depends totally on our partner. When we start to distinguish between he (she) does this and we will do that we start to hardwire ourselves and loose dynamics of the battle. I am practicing Iwama style (third kyu) and one time asked a Third Degree Aikido holder (same style) to hold me so I can execute Motodori Kokyunage, I told him I’ll use the same technique from Tai-No-Henko and aked him not to let me perform the technique. I am 125 lbs and he is about 190-220 lbs. The technique worked fine. I may be biased here since I have practiced Isshinryu Karate, Uechi Karate and Vietnamese Tai Chi Praying Mantis (Chiu Chuk Kai style). My point is don’t be hardwired and the hand positions or motions are dictated by the stances and body mechanics.
    Thanks for posting and have a good evening.

    Nga Pham

    • The context shown is the basic shihonage. In this case, nage can choose to enter from uke’s blind spot if he can succeed in first taking uke’s balance.

  7. Carlos Escobar says:

    Much more important than the hands is the use of Seika Tanden.

  8. Mochizuki Sensei taught a kata explaining step by step the origin of techniques based on kenjutsu. According to him that is the way Ueshiba Sensei was explaining basic techniques that he had learned from Takeda Sokaku. Mochizuki Sensei preserved it.

    The shihonage grip is the same as you describe.

    Thank you for publishing those Wake-up reminders.

    Patrick Augé

  9. Tks for the video on shiho nage. I practice Dayto ryu aiki-jutsu and we do it just like you explaned. Please keep posting more video. It helps me a lo since I don’t have a sensei anymore.I teach to keep our club going even if I don’t feel qualified


  1. […] he subido un video titulado “apuntes concretos sobre shihonage” tratando de una de las técnicas básicas […]

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