Monday, October 23, 2006

Owaza Jupon

Perhaps my most favorite set of techniques in the our aikido syllabus is Owaza Jupon - the "Big Ten." Owaza is required for shodan and nidan rank and several of these techniques are variants of things that were previously introduced, but Owaza is different and in several ways, more "aiki" to me.
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One way that owaza differs from junana is that owaza is a separating motion kata while junana is primarily an entering and sticking together kata. Owaza is based on that instinct to back away from an attack - so instead of trying to overcome that instinct we learn to work with it. Owaza is also traditionally done with faster attacks from uke and slightly delayed reactions from tori - so owaza is very much an exercise of "what if everything goes wrong."
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Owaza introduces several things that are very much characteristic of aikido, though they appear to be mostly missing from earlier kata - guruma motions, iriminage, and sukuinage. Guruma is a motion in which uke is caught on one leg and rotated about a vertical axis. Most of junana is built on extending uke during an otoshi motion to cause a fall like sumiotoshi or kotegaeshi. The addition of the guruma motion in owaza adds a great deal of versatility to the system. Aikinage (iriminage) is one of the three motions that Doshu says are representative of aikido and it appears in two variations as techniques #5 and #9 of owaza. Sukuinage (a.k.a. shizumiotoshi) is also a technique that appears a lot in aiki demonstrations, in which tori ducks and clips uke's legs with his body.
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Lately we have been experimenting with entering into owaza techniques off of a yonkata#2 release and/or ryotedori attacks. This is a fun and interesting practice that ties owaza more explicitly to yonkata and hanasu and the rest of the syllabus.

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