Aiki ken #1 – Suburi 2

What’s happening with PV? Has he lost his donkey? He goes telling everybody that everything begins with One and here he goes, beginning the seven ken suburi series with the second suburi? What is going on?

The thing is that the second suburi has a big advantage on the first on, we actually know what we do, the is the right hip.
Therefore we adopt Descarts’ good habit whch consists in beginning with the best assured notions and then moving on less certain ones (the 1, 4 and 6 suburi… maybe).

From the position chudan no kamae (step1), the right leg goes behind (step2). This way, the steaps 3 and 4, which correspond to the cut, it can behave as strength leg, like a column transmitting energy.

From the position chudan no kamae (step1), the right leg goes behind (step2). This way, the steaps 3 and 4, which correspond to the cut, it can behave as strength leg, like a column transmitting energy.



We gave to the point B/ the title “end of the cut” because it is essential to understand that from that instant, the cutting phase is over.

The next step (5) only consists in bringing the back leg forward, which is naturally dragged forward by the kinetic energy of the movement born from the rotation's dynamic. That movement forward of the rear part of the body is called Tai no henka.

This is the natural and logical conclusion of the cut as the body adjusts its position forward but we must avoid thinking that the cut is done in this eventual moment when uchi brings his back leg forward. Bringing the leg forward is useless for the cut.

Cutting at the wrong moment, ie bringing the back leg too soon, is a classical and frequent mistake with serious consequences. It deprives uchi of his supporting leg at the very moment when he needs it most, in his rotation dynamic, in the push and right in his cut effort.

Reminding that shiho nage is the empty hand application (tai justu) of showmen uchikomi is commonplace in Aikido and it is unlikely that anyone will contradict me on that point.

But if shomen uchi komi is really – as we showed with the second suburi, a movement coming from the back hip thrown forward and a push on the back leg (which has the function of a strength leg) then O sensei’s cut on shiho nage has to be decoded…

Besides on a martial level:
A/ does not give uke any chance to execute a fall. the movement done this way can be extremely dangerous for uke if it is applied without control. May this be a warning for the practitioners tempted to try these movements without a qualified instructor.

B/ on the contrary allows uke a backward fall or, in some cases, a rotation leading to a forward fall, which is more comfortable and spectacular... because only possible because tori’s movement is wrong.

Isn’t it surprising, given these points, that most practitioners around the world use quasi unanimously the B form, ie with the reverse cut that should be applied ?

― PV, I ‘m afraid you haven’t understood well ! With shiho nage, we are not talking about the second suburi but about the first one of course. Everybody knows that with the first suburi, showmen uchikomi is done from the fornt hip and not the back one.

So here is the objection. “everybody knows…”… of course… that’s what is called an obvious point I guess. But I have kept that childish habit to ask why. Why does the second suburi cut with the right hip and why the first one - despite the fact the feet are symmetrically positioned – also cuts with the right hip? So shomen uchikomi is not done with the left hip? Why?

Since we are at the stage of questionnings, I would like to ask a question to everybody who may think that the B option is the proper form. Let’s imagine that shiho nage is done on uke’s left arm and not on his right arm anymore, which is perfectly possible as we can see on the picture of O sensei by simply reversing it horizontally:

What is the Founder doing here?
The first or the second suburi?

For me who thinks A, it is obviously the second suburi, shomen uchikomi with the right back hip as directing hip.


But for those who think it is B:


1 - It can’t be the first suburi since it is done as everybody knows from the front right hip and since the forward hip is the left one in that case.

2 - It can’t be the second suburi either since the second suburi is done from the rear right hip and that would mean – if we agreed on that interpretation – in the A configuration.

So could it be the first suburi done… on the left side?
So could it be the first suburi done… on the left side?

― Of course PV ! By the way, what is the fourth suburi but the first suburi done once on the right, once on the left?

So if we accept the form B, I would be grateful if someone could tell me which ken suburi O sensei does with that shiho nage on uke’s left arm.

I’ll try to answer that question in the following articles. May I be forgiven if a couple of “obvious evidences” needs to be killed on the way.

The walk “backwards” is beginning here.
At the crossroads of Aikido, we took the wrong direction. We need to come back to this crossing of the four roads. Shiho of course (the four directions) is bringing us back there. How could it be any other way?

Coming back on one’s own steps is not always easy, it is not gratifying but there is no other option for who wants to practice O sensei’s Aikido… at last.

This time around, we are going to try and stay on the right path.

Philippe Voarino, January 2014.

What is Traditional Aikido?

Aikido is not a sport, it is a martial art which laws (takemusu) are in harmony with the laws of the universe. Studying them allows the practitioner to understand his place in the universe. Aikido was born in Iwama, O sensei achieved in that village the synthesis of tai jutsu, aiki ken and aiki jo.

Where to practice Traditional Aikido?

The International Takemusu Aikido Federation (ITAF) brings to the practitioner the structure he needs in order to work as close as possible to the reality O sensei MU defined. The official national representations are the guarantee of a teaching faithful to the Founder's.

The weapons of Aikido, aiki ken and aiki jo

In modern Aikido, weapons are hardly taught, if taught at all. In O sensei's Aikido, on the contrary, aiki ken, aiki jo and tai jutsu are unified and form together a riai, a family of harmonious techniques stemming from one unique principle. Each techniques helps understand all the others.

Aikido, a martial art or an art of peace?

Peace is a balance between a human being and the world around him. The true martial art's goal is not to become stronger than one's opponent but to find in that opponent a way to realize harmony. There is no enemy anymore as such, but an opportunity offered to reach unified ki.
Copyright TAI (Takemusu Aikido Intercontinental)