Baby Steps – Shihonage

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Aikido, Diary
Tags: , , , , ,
Shihōnage technique performed in "half-se...

Shihōnage technique performed in "half-seated" position (hanmi hantachi waza). Photograph taken at Aikido Shinbukan Dojo, Esztergom, Hungary, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Today, after the usual warm up and Shikko, we first practised Iriminage from a grab at both wrists from the front. My biggest failing here is getting too close to the attacker when stepping of the line. This does not allow enough space to pull their head into my shoulder to break their axis.I also had a habit of turning the wrong way, but usually managed to move my foot before dropping uke on it!


We moved on to Shihonage. This proved a bit of an effort too. The fault here was that I couldn’t keep  my balance when turning under uke’s arm. It turned out that my stance is wrong. My stance was too wide and that meant that when pivoting around my planted foot, I was too far away from Uke. I spent some time practising assuming the correct kamae for this technique.


"Hanmi" - Photo Credit: Le Blog de Maryline,

Sensei then demonstrated correct Kamae (posture):

  • Sankaku Ho = 3 Angles (Triangle)
  • Hanmi = Half The Body. Exposes only half bod to attacker. Allows a very high mobility in all directions in space
  • Hitoemi. The hitoemi position opens up the front foot, allowing tori to turn more easily in the direction of the foot. The hips follow the turn, driving power

"Hitoemi" - Photo Credit: Le Blog de Maryline,

I had done shihonage before in Ju Jitsu, but usually muddled through just enough, ending up with a partially effective technique. Now the detailed foot positions are explained, it should be easier. Similarly, I had done iriminage before too, but struggled to make it work. Giving room to break the axis and twisting the shoulder are the missing details. It is definitely the subtleties that make things work in Aikido. I feel I am making slow progress, but that’s good – progress is good. As usual, I did some homework and found a good description of foot positions (in French – fitting for an aide mémoire!).


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