Monday, August 21, 2006


Wakigatame is the Tomiki name for a variant of the traditional aikido technique known as gokyo. We practice three major variants, including the under-the-arm (judo) version, an elbow-to-elbow variation, and the traditional gokyo. The Judo version places tori at a tremendous leverage advantage but it tends to also place tori too close to uke. The elbow-to-elbow and traditional gokyo versions are often superior for self defense purposes in cases when tori wants to stay neutral and avoid force and stay off the ground with uke.

In aikido in general, and particularly in wakigatame, tori does not supply the power to break uke’s arm. Tori simply places an immovable bar against uke’s elbow and walks forward in the direction the arm is pointing. As long as uke moves with tori then the arm can’t be injured but if uke breaks the relationship then he endangers his own arm. If uke stops suddenly then tori’s motion will stretch uke’s arm longitudinally and if uke tries to stand this can break the stretched elbow.
Tori must apply this armbar on the move and continue to move and keep uke extended. Failure to do so will almost certainly result in uke scooping tori with gedanate or sukuinage. I’ve also seen one of my sensei (Usher-san) repeatedly counter this technique with oshitaoshi in randori. Gedanate makes a great backup plan for tori, as does kotegaeshi.


  1. how is countering wakigatame with oshitaoshi even possible?

  2. It probably shouldn't be possible so long as tori gets and keeps kuzushi. When anything is wrong with the kuzushi, uke's free hand can push on the elbow that is slipping over tori's elbow, blocking the wakigatame. This tends not to bust tori, but rather to spoil the wakigatame and leave him open for a counter - but it is still oshitaoshi.


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