Aug
27

“Someone please explain the logic of this iriminage throw!” by Stanley Pranin

iriminage-throw

“The completion of the throw involves nage “allowing”
uke to stand back up only to be thrown down again.”

Aikido Journal Editor Stanley PraninI have seen the iriminage throw executed this way for most of my aikido career. Using a shomenuchi attack as an example, nage meets uke’s arm and leads him around circularly applying pressure to his neck lowering uke’s body to the position shown in the photo or even lower. The completion of the throw involves nage “allowing” uke to stand back up only to be thrown down again. From there, the ukemi is usually a high fall. This particular iriminage is commonly seen at demonstrations, especially within the Aikikai system.

A few observations and questions:

  • Nage is controlling uke with one hand.
  • Uke must be very skilled and have a fair measure of control over his body to be able to take the fall.
  • Is there any potential for uke to counter using his left hand, for example, by attacking nage’s rear knee or foot?
  • Why does nage allow uke to come back to an upright position before downing him a second time?
  • Is this technique martially sound?
  • Added questions: Did Founder Morihei Ueshiba perform iriminage this way in the prewar or postwar eras?
  • Who popularized this type of iriminage throw and during what time frame?

Your thoughts, please!

———————————-

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Comments

  1. Bob Molerio says:

    If I remember correctly we (Iwama Style folks) rarely did this one. Although I remember having to perform it whenever we visted a Hombu Style dojo. I felt the Uke could always spin out of the technique so I don’t think it’s martially sound.

  2. Joseph Varano says:

    Because done in a real self defense situation, irimi nage is a kill technique. We ALLOW uke to take ukemi. Sugano sensei always said irimi nage was a break neck technique.

    • What is the thinking then in allowing uke to stand up a second time?

      • Can you tell us a little about your background and how you perform this iriminage technique and explain the logic? As to the comment about my mistaken viewpoint, perhaps you can elaborate on this as I’m not good at guessing about your meaning.

  3. I’m agreed with your observation Sensei and I can figure out about the way that this technique is being making is for only demonstration and/or dance purpose. After several years practicing Aikido under Aikikai approach I have realized that.

    I’m not saying that this approach is incorrect, I’m only saying that in a real case, you won’t like to end the technique like this because you are leaving so many options to uke strike back recharged against to you.. and in that sense, you are not making that art of peace.. you are only doing the art of take revenge shall I say…
    :)
    I believe that the student must know about the risks that are involved on this and understand a little bit more when/where shall we do the dance and when is real world. And some dojos doesn’t care about this differentiation and they teach the technique just like your picture. I mean, at least this is my experience over the year practicing Aikido in different countries.

  4. I wonder what happened to you to Stanley, I have followed your work for many years and now … I do not know what has happened to you. You are “analyzing” and trying to explain the techniques of the Art of Peace, and not only that!

    You´re doing from a mistaken point of view. Anyway everyone has their own, but you reach a lot of people and that’s a big responsibility…
    GR

  5. Dear Stanley,

    I appreciate your willingness to question the validity of things practiced as rituals which many take for granted and follow along with. So just the inquiry alone is a step in the right direction in creating a process for evolution.

    Most times this throw starts with menuchi, which allows for such a big kuzushi in the beginning. As a student of Karate, the Aikido menuchi strike appears to be a symbolic strike that has no effectiveness if contact were actually made. It is easy to parry, and do tai sabaki to take the back. The Uke does a weak strike and usually overreaches with no concept to pull back or be prepared for a strike with the other hand or with a kick. This is the first problem.

    Given this kind of attack, it is easy to go behind, and by hooking the neck and turning the uke goes flying almost flat on his/her face. This is why Tori must pause and wait for uke to recover before changing direction and applying iriminage. As you suggest, it is in this point of recovery that uke has many opportunities to counter Tori. However, as the dance is supposed to go, uke allows tori to catch the perfect timing between recovering balance when the second wave of iriminage sweeps uke the other way for a spectacular throw.

    When given the chance to take the back this way, I know that hooking the neck with sabaki is a powerful move. It’s the ability to get in that position that is more an issue with me. Allowing uke to recover and switch directions for iriminage before uke catches their balance is also a manuever that could work, and for demonstration purposes it looks really beautiful.

    In randori, as well, it is possible that this kind of throw could work. However, there is a lot of movement to complete this technique, and from experience usually not enough time to do it before your opponent is already countering you. It becomes more like 2 throws. The first one was a missed throw where uke recovers and it is followed by a second throw. This is a more common occurance.

    This leads me to my final comment that what Aikido needs in its regimen is for the inclusion of randori where there is limited cooperation, and so techniques must work…..or they don’t. It is in this process that refinements can be made, timing and precision polished, and all the rituals, kata and theory can be boiled down into effective techniques when cooperation is out the window, as well as the roles of uke and tori.

    Thank you Stanley for creating this forum for discussion.

    Regards,

    Ken

    • Excellent analysis, Ken! Just what I was looking for! :)

      • Hi Stan,

        What a refreshing blog. I have had (very) limited experience in a couple of arts, one of which was Aikido. My sensei called irimi nage “the twenty year technique” because one continues to perfect it one’s whole life.

        I think Aikido is a beautiful art, and irimi nage is particularly so. But I’ve often wondered just how effective it would be in actual combat with a non-cooperative opponent. I know Aikido is an art of self perfection but it stems from a combat art.

        I really enjoyed Ken’s assessment, and I’m impressed with your humility in posing the question in the first place. I don’t see it as disrespectful to the art at all. Quite the contrary, I agree with Ken that this is the way the art can evolve.

        Keep up the good work,
        Walter

  6. John Hillson says:

    I was not initially taught this technique in the CAF. I had been training for a number of years before I was introduced to this in the USAF.

    I approach this as a henka waza. The initial takedown has much in common with Ushiro Ate. The one hand can put pressure on the neck to break it, or on the lower back like any Eri Dori. Then, Uke is pushed downward with the intention of breaking the skull on the ground, but uke recovers and comes back to standing. As Uke recovers his balance, we enter to overcorrect either from in front or behind.

    I have had people who insisted this didn’t work as there was no reason for them to stand back up. I hit them in the face with my knee, then pushed their face into the mat and stood on this one student after hearing this 1000x.

    If the uke stays bent over but doesn’t hit the ground, the hands switch to kaitenage. Anyone less than good at ukemi (ie people who don’t study Aikido) there should be a head/shoulder/facial injury if the kuzushi is done well.

    The cut is often done straight into uke, so even if the neck has come free uke is going to get their hips displaced.

    As the balance is affected mostly by one hand, there is time to pull cuffs or press a panic button or some other weapon.

    I preferred the tight headlock and step straight on the cut I learned before. It is a source of disappointment that these two variations cannot be combined safely in practice.

  7. My notion of the combat application is that in the simplest version when the timing is just right, tori simply slams uke face first into the ground. If uke recovers balance sufficiently to resist this, tori delivers immediate atemi to the face with the free hand. If uke avoids the hit by standing up forcefully, and throwing his head back or slipping the strike, then the throw proceeds as the demo.

    • I concur. Success on the first stage means face plant or roll out. If you fail to achieve that it is because you didn’t break uke far enough forward and they are resisting backward, so blend with it and take them over.

      I wasn’t taught this way either but it looks darned dramatic. I too have concerns with the intent of the initial attack.

      Uke’s near side hand looks like it is protecting from the forward fall which is disincentive to go for Shite. In Yoshinkan basic technique, we trap that hand so it is not free anyway, we don’t break uke so low (or we would just continue the throw forward), and we atemi to the face on the reversal to arrest the head’s progress and let uke’s hips continue under for the overbalance. But Yoshinkan is rooted in the pre-war aikido as promulgated by Shioda sensei, so that probably hints at your first extra credit question.

    • I think that something that a teacher may have shown an example of something that might happen in a particular circumstance, or to demonstrate a particular principle, gets handed down as THE way to do the technique. Some techniques are difficult to understand because they presume a particularly sophisticated attacker. I think that this version of iriminage is an example of that–the attacker is too sophisticated to fall into the first two traps, and gets caught on a third.

      For another example, a lot of our counters to ushiro kubishimi take advantage of the fact that uke is holding tori’s wrist. Now this is not a very common choke hold on the street, and one might easily wonder why uke is doing this if it is a point of vulnerability. The probable explanation is that there are some extremely effective counters that uke can block if uke has control of the arm, so that this is actually the more difficult attack to deal with. But it also means that students may never learn to defend against the simple rear choke that they might experience if somebody on the street attacks from behind.

  8. Jordan dlh says:

    Hi,

    It seems to me that many techniques (if not all) in the Aikikai system are first and foremost pedagogical elements that show the path to the real, purely martial techniques. Let me explain with your own words for iriminage.

    * Why does nage allow uke to come back to an upright position before downing him a second time?
    I did learned to disallow uke to fully come back, maintaining the balance break, otherwise it could be dangerous for nage. This said, that doesn’t explain the interest in letting uke kind of come back. It seems to me that the answer is in your second point:
    * Uke must be very skilled and have a fair measure of control over his body to be able to take the fall.
    Indeed. And in my opinion, forging uke’s body this way can be very efficient for this purpose. In my opinion again, this is the real reason behind this form.

    This being said, the martiality should not be forgotten. Your first point and the photo above make me think as follow:
    * Nage is controlling uke with one hand.
    Yes, in a way. You could also say that the control lies in the threat of the second hand. This disallows a sound uke to be foolish and at the same time prompt him to come closer where the situation is safer (allowing us to continue the movement). A foolish uke should probably be hit one or two times in order to understand this.

    * Is this technique martially sound?
    This way, martiality is not forgotten; yet it can be understood that the form is martially to complicated and thus, unsound. I share this point of view. However, I think martiality is a second step, the first step being to forge uke’s body (and thus tori’s one, as the roles are exchanged continually).

    * Is there any potential for uke to counter using his left hand, for example, by attacking nage’s rear knee or foot?
    It seems to me that the second step is indicated in nage’s atitude, not allowing uke to recover his stability; thus not allowing him to counter the way you describe, he stays martial. However, the whole “I putyou down, and up and down again” thing is obviously nonsense in a pure martial consideration (as you pointed out).

    These two elements (martial plus uselessly complicated) should lead a curious student to understand that this form, while technically correct (it works), could be improved, throwing uke directly. He should also understand that this could be done safely only with an already forged uke. With an unforged uke, breakage is unavoidable (but that is not what we seek… even if we now know how to do so).

    A student not curious enough, or not enough advanced, will not see that. It seems obvious to me now that this is intended. The two step pedagogy seems exactly made to filter out students not mature enough to learn the pure martial way to do the technique by themself.

    My two cents,

    Jordan

  9. Tim Haffner says:

    Rooted in Universal Principles, Aikido draws upon timeless wisdom. As Socrates wrote, “an unexamined life is not worth living”. For Aikido to truly be a life-enhancing path, the substance, form and activities must be examined in order to truly embody its essence.

    We, as followers of the way, must challenge assumptions and analyze actions to ensure they are done with full consciousness. Aiki is Budo and, as such, must be conducted with that intention. However, intention is not enough, action must be evaluated in terms of results. Results demonstrate the truest intentions.

    Why would a nage seeking to throw an unbalanced opponent grant the opportunity for him to regain a stable position? Perhaps the intention is different than what the observer assumes. Perhaps the results show an intention different from the logic of Budo.

    Fortunately, opportunities for examining actions, intentions and results are available at every turn. The true gift is the freedom to choose based on well-informed consciousness.

  10. That popular form of iriminage can easily be countered with an osotogari or a seoinage since it’s done without kuzushi… Ooops, but it’s not aikido, is it? Shitsurei itashimashita!

    Patrick Augé

  11. Great point Stan, another consideration is what’s preventing uke from rolling away instead of placing the hand down and standing up again.

    There’s a lot of energy generated with this technique and if you can return/use the energy to tori/nage you can launch them, e.g. Yoko Wakare from Kodokan Judo would be a nice fit.

    • Ernst Greiner says:

      Well, if you see it martial, when the attacker stops the attack we can go home, well done!
      In other words, if uke rolls away, attack is over, no technique, whatsoever, is needed anymore. This is simply a complete misunderstanding of uke/nage relationship, imo.

      If uke rolls away what can nage learn?

      Enter with few interfering, tenkan, give space and help uke to go done (not force uke to go down! This is exhausting for uke and nage and hurts, leads to nothing…) uke rolls away yeah… end of story…

      What if uke do not roll away?

      Uke learns that his job is to take his chances for a second attack, he learns that his part is not passive, uke should attack sincerely. Nage can learn timing, lead ukes coming up, redirect in the correct moment, be patient…

      • If the energy that uke has received is sending them toward the floor, why should they put their hand forcefully on the ground (ouch) and bounce back up? That looks more like tori is playing a game of paddle ball with uke.

        You asked, “If uke rolls away what can nage learn?” Tori/nage can learn where they are directing their energy through uke. If that is a direction they don’t wish to go, that’s feedback that they can then use to change it.

        Also, “What if uke does not roll away?” As I indicated in my original post uke can dissipate the energy by rolling away or return the energy to tori/nage as an attack, perhaps with a sutemi waza.

        My personal preference for a technique such as this is to disrupt uke’s posture/balance forward and follow the reaction. If uke wants to stand back up you can use that oscillation to throw them down to the rear.

        I suppose it comes down to intent between trying to choreograph a specific movement and applying kuzushi and following uke’s reaction into a finishing movement (throw/pin/lock).

  12. Tom Baldowski says:

    My thoughts exactly, Pranin Sensei. Although the aikido I practice is deeply rooted within the Aikikai tradition (Christian Tissier sensei’s line to be exact), I have always questioned the logic behind that way of executing iriminage.

    Being a “non-problematic” uke (most of the time) I usually submit to tori’s actions and let myself be put to the ground only to be allowed to stand up again and then thrown. Yet many times I saw an opportunity, an opening to attack tori’s legs pushing him/her to the ground.

    When performing the technique myself I try to keep the uke close to my shoulder during the tenkan movement.

  13. Iriminage sums up in one technique the problems many people have with present day aikido…theatre..dance..choreography….or martial application..when the technique is demonstrated any clear unclouded eye can see where the intent of tori and uke are…stanley you are doing a great job…by simply questioning where the intent or motivation of the demonstration of the technique is..the detailed application of the technique will alter with the.intent or motivation of the tori and uke…theatre…dance…choreography..or dare i say it ,,,,,designer aikido….. a fantastic question to ponder..for those who value the philosophy of budo..bushido..chivalry.. and aikido

  14. Great question… And necessary.

    Nothing of value is threatened in analysis and questioning. We should not be afraid to grapple with these issues as they result always in better technique and budo.

    I wonder if the allowing of uke to regain balance is simply a training “simulation” of a scenario in which uke resisted the Initial throw and therefore regained his upright stance?

    If so- the second throw is a mitigation against that by adding the throw.

    It would be interesting to note if o sensei ever explained this technique or if in fact it was part of his pre or post war training regimen: something no one has offered comment on yet.

    On the other hand- in a multiple attack scenario – is it possible uke is Initially being used to confound the attacks of at least one other (possibly swordsman)? In this case uke wld be useful as a shield / obstacle against another attacker… The shomenuchi is obviously a commited battlefield charge with a sword. Once uke is no longer useful in that split second as a shield (because attackers pivot around him) the 2nd throw takes him out.

    At speed this may be a martially effective strategy? Especially given uke’s desire to resist the first throw and push upward to regain balance.

    From a committed battle field sword charge this technique may be effective since uke’s energy is carrying him forwards and therefore making his resistance or counter very difficult.

    Obviously what the training technique needs to “recreate” is the fully committed charge and strike for this to become apparent…. Otherwise, it is polite choreography.

    Good training technique is to have uke charge to strike with a pool noodle or foam practice sword (safe sub for a katana or baseball bat) and see how tori can firstly evade a fully intended strike, and secondly how the momentum of uke makes the technique work.

    I will try that myself in training.

    Does anyone see a hole in my theory?

    Thank u Pranin sensei for the brilliant questions.

    Peace !!

    Ben

  15. Gregor Erdmann says:

    I always found that doing iriminage this way, far too slow for a multiple attack situation.

    I suspect that a sensei before my time taught it that way and it caught on. I too prefer the Iwama method which makes more sense martially, and teaches more about entry, hip placement, control and timing.

  16. I guess that this kind of Iriminage has the same problem as the one when nage’s arm is pushing uke’s neck. Both styles need cooperation from Uke in order to make it work.

  17. I have heard an explanation for how this iriminage came about, but really don’t know if what I heard is correct. I was told that it comes from Tohei, and that it was meant to make it easier to execute the technique on a much taller uke.

    Does anyone know if this could be true? I think it makes the execution a bit more understandable, even though I too prefer the Iwama style iriminage.

  18. The method of execution iriminage is a promotional. You control uke by pressing a nerve point on his neck, point is in the middle of triangle consisting of shoulder, ear-lobe and collar bone. That way you can control uke with one finger.

  19. Dear Sensei,

    When the uke lost his or her balance, gravity takes over. The force is great (mass, velocity) that makes harder for tori to reverse that force. When uke tries to gain balance the force reverses the direction and it is easier for tori to add more force to accelerate uke’s fall. It is independent to the Aikido style.

    Have a good evening.

    Nga

  20. Did O Sensei do this? Not that I have explicitly seen, but he died before I was born. Some kata have implied variations – as I learned a forward kuzushi in a few different schools (Aikikai and Yoshinkan) this seems connected to older variations. A Ki Society offshoot where I trained refused to both call this Iriminage and to have forward kuzushi, and this is a more recent school. To explicitly exaggerate the forward kuzushi – I assume this is a Kisshomaru Doshu approach?

  21. Atemi is essential to effective technique. Nishio Sensei taught that every technique arises from a series of strikes (or cuts when using the sword). Atemi is not as something we merely “add on” to an existing technique. It is the core of every technique.

    Iriminage is a technique that exemplifies the concept of irimi – entering or penetrating the opponent’s defenses. But some form of irimi is at the beginning of every technique.

    Because aikido is based on the sword we also explain everything in terms of the sword.

    Here I present a 3-minute video from a recent basics class I guest instructed explaining one of the many ways that we do iriminage. I show in detail both atemi and sword relationships (there are corresponding jo forms as well, but I didn’t include them here). Most importantly I resolve any concerns regarding effectiveness because I completely disable the opponent’s ability to do anything including strike, kick or regain his balance – right in the first instant of contact – all without hurting him. The same technique is equally effective against a punch. Apologies for the editing. Much credit to Shoji Nishio and his successor and my teacher, Koji Yoshida Shihan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnqLGNMx9OM

    • Nishio Sensei’s approach to iriminage is unique in aikido and extremely creative. I very much enjoyed your video and am going to feature it in today’s newsletter. Thank you for posting it, Philip.

  22. In Judo, 10th dan people go back to wearing a white belt. It is time when, very advanced, to critically reevaluate our science.

    I love it that Mr Pranin is critically re examining Aikido techniques. There is nothing but benefit from this. Mr Pranin’s questions have
    helped me be more critical and re study my Aikido. But also, a lot of Aikido has degenerated and is not real. I agree with Sensei Pranin. We always criticize others. It is better when we look at ourselves and start improving ourselves instead.

    O Sensei alludes to this when he says that Aikido is victory over our own deficiencies…

  23. It’s great to be inquisitive about aikido technique, but without proper instruction and the appropriate mindset there is always a risk of coming to the wrong conclusions.

    “I can’t understand this approach; it must be rubbish.”

    “This aspect of nage’s movement doesn’t make sense; it must be a dance that’s lost all its martial edge.”

    I think, sadly, that is what’s happening here. Rather than understand that maybe _my_ practice is deficient or that _my_ understanding is imperfect, I’ll just take the easy, ego-centric view that everyone else is wrong. Instead, let us keep a beginner’s humility about it and try to discover the answers (or, in fact, the flaws in the questions) in a healthy way.

    • The approach taken in the above posting is full of logical fallacies.

      I will illustrate with a few quotes; capitalized emphases are mine.

      “It’s great to be inquisitive about aikido technique, but without PROPER instruction and the APPROPRIATE mindset there is always a risk of coming to the wrong conclusions.” – This is an ad hominem argument or a tautology at best.

      “I can’t understand this approach; it must be rubbish.”

      “This aspect of nage’s movement doesn’t make sense; it must be a dance that’s lost all its martial edge.”

      Are these meant to be paraphrasing rather than strawman quotes?

      “I think, SADLY, that is what’s happening here. Rather than understand that maybe _my_ practice is DEFICIENT or that _my_ understanding is IMPERFECT, I’ll just take the easy, EGO-CENTRIC view that everyone else is wrong. Instead, let us keep a beginner’s humility about it and try to discover the answers (or, in fact, the flaws in the questions) in a HEALTHY way.” – More ad hominem arguments topped off with an appeal to nature.

      There are some good responses from other posters that address the specific questions with the technique. In the spirit of, “It’s great to be inquisitive about aikido technique,” do you have any response to Stan’s technical questions in this blog post?

      Also, could you clarify what you mean by proper instruction, appropriate mindset, imperfect understanding, and healthy discovery?

  24. I have learned in the stream of Yasuo Kobayashi Sensei and this Iriminage is not unusual to me. I think there is a misinterpretation when you say: “allow him to stand up again”. After you take Uke off balance, he wishes to return and be erect, Nage, then uses this movement as a way to make Uke fall back (does not necessarily make a high fall). So, the Nage’s elbow accompanies Uke’s chin until he is off balance again, due to his own initiative to stand up.

    Moriteru Ueshiba performs sometimes like this. Of course , there are other Irimi Nage ways.

    Thank you,

    Jose Magal

  25. The thing is, the aikido we train in when performing techniques is a learning aikido, and the techniques are the tools. When used in a realistic, dynamic situation, it becomes all kokyu nage, and there are no techniques anymore. So, trying to perform this irimi so that “it really works” makes no sense anyway. The tools are about being in the right place, getting the sense of distance and timing (ma ai), studying the uke/nage relationship and the movement of the forces and kinetic energy. Have a look at a randori, and the technique disappears, but all the things we learned in studying the techniques help us in a randori situation, or in a real situation. (As a bouncer, I found only two techniques that still worked for me in real situations: ikkyo and sankyo.)

    So, in summary, you can use this irimi nage as a study tool, one of many, but don’t mistake it for anything real.

  26. Pranin Sensei

    I was recently watching a documentary where Saotome sensei was demonstrating this technique.

    Saotome sensei indicated that this originated as a multiple attacker defence – 2 opponents?? – and demonstrated how use becomes a shield against the 2nd attacker.

    He uses uke’s standing up again to shield against the attacker coming from behind.

    His motion and fluidity of it seemed very plausible.

    It made me think of this blog question.

    Peace!!

    Ben

    • I like that explanation. I think it is indeed possible to do this. At the same time, it is possible to do this same thing with uke off balance backward and have better control of him while moving him around circularly as a shield.

  27. I read a simplified explanation once (can’t seem to find it though). the gist of it is this:

    aikido is a martial art (Martial & Art.)

    Like the art of caligraphy and how you write a letter, you ‘write’ the character of the aikido technique in a certain way. and you do the technique in a certain way to complete the ‘letter’.

    From a martial perspective, the concern is mainly for nage to learn connection, blending & leading of the uke, and for the uke to lend his weight and intention, and learn to ‘flow’ with the technique & ukemi.

    Seems that the argument of whether the uke may get back up after the first imbalance if the nage was not there to ‘lift’ him is moot. imho, many ‘dojo’ techniques need to be adjusted for street-use.

  28. sorry, I say certain dojo techniques may look different in real life.

  29. sheila barksdale says:

    One practical reason for allowing uke to stand upright and possibly regain his balance is that maybe you don’t want his body blocking a doorway. It is interesting that the corresponding sword form (Tsume) ends with the ‘attacker forced to submit by pointing the kissaki towards his throat’ , a very compassionate ending . From a book by Dr Michael Russ (a student of Nishio sensei) – ‘Aikido-Toho Iai’ which explains that ‘Tsume means to drive the opponent into a corner. ‘

    I have been to several seminars where ukes have been told to conveniently place his head into nage’s shoulder when teeny tiny women, who seemed otherwise very competent, didn’t have the strength to drag uke’s head into that niche no matter how fast or hard they cut uke’s arm downwards or repositioned their feet.
    Jus’ sayin’ !

  30. I read elsewhere on this site that Aikido waza are about offering opportunities for your opponent to give in. I think (stages of forgiveness was the grand term used).

    In this case, couldn’t the initial atemi be step 1 for an offer of forgiveness, then the face plant step 2, and if he still wants some, then the clothesline would seal the deal?

    I can’t see this technique being useful against an opponent with a weapon, although I don’t know if that is relevant.

    Just my 2 yen’s worth

  31. I have a love-less-than-love relationship with Iriminage. I’ve a little over ten years as a uniformed patrol law enforcement officer. I’ve now been out of law enforcement for nearly 10 years. In my early days of that profession which also marked my introduction to Aikido, I attempted an iriminage on a suspect…with dismal results. Sure, it could have been my skill level (certainly was!). I’d only had police tactics training (much of it inspired by Aikido) and about 2 years regular Aikido time on the mat.

    I began to question the effectiveness of Aikido and in particular iriminage in ‘street combat’ situations. I’ve come to the tentative conclusion that iriminage is a technique for learning about Aikido first and then for those with great skill and luck a technique for the streets.

    Does that diminish the value of iriminage? I don’t think so.

    Does it mean that iriminage as a teaching tool requires an honest uke who is also experienced and able to relax so as to receive the technique? I think so. I don’t think that a technique is ‘invalid’ simply because it is unlikely to be applied effectively in a street/combat encounter.

    There are a number of law enforcement folks and trainers of same who visit Aikido Journal. I welcome their insights into iriminage.

    K

  32. Charlie squire says:

    Hello this is just my limited opinion.

    Aikido works when the mind body and spirit are aligned this can take up to 25 years of practice.

    The technique will not work in a martial situation, if you are only engaged with body and mind.

    Only when the communication of key is introduced, do the techniques become penetrating.

    If you train long enough the techniques transform your being.

    You will not need to use a technique. Your energetic being, your key will transform your opponent and all technique will disappear.

    However, when applied with body mind and spirit with correct misogi and use of meridian points this techniques is deadly and will break your neck.