Thursday, January 31, 2008

A helpful handful: 5 ways to iprove your wakigatame

Here are a few hints I hold in my hat when I'm teaching wakigatame. Hope they help y'all too.

  • Wakigatame is really the same thing as gokyo in aikikai – but the basic form that is commonly practiced looks different. In Tomiki and in Judo, the gokyo relationship is called wakigatame. This thing is superficially similar to ikkyo (oshitaoshi) but the hand grip is different (one hand over and one hand under).

  • The first version we were taught was a “look ma, no hands” version in which the wrist is trapped in the crook of the elbow and the upper arm trapped under the other armpit with the elbow turned backwards across tori’s chest. This gives tori a little less control but leaves both hands free to do other things.

  • When you try a variation more similar to the basic gokyo, try to get your hands on his arm (under the wrist and over the elbow) as if you were holding a jo, then maneuver your body in behind your hands and stab his arm forward in the direction his arm is pointing as if his arm were a jo.

  • Try it with both hands on the wrist and your top elbow controlling his elbow. This elbow-to elbow wakigatame is an abrupt submission.

  • If wakigatame goes bad, it tends to lead into kotegaeshi, gyakugamaeate, or gedanate.


  1. Our entry for this is a two-handed butterfly grip. The elbow of the arm closest to uke comes over uke's shoulder, forcing uke to move his face out of the way or get clobbered.

    We then get the arm bar and lock uke in.

    Is ya'll's entry different?

  2. Mostly similar, but if you emphasize the possible elbow strike then you are more likely to pull the wakigatame to you instead of going forward toward it, thus spoiling the offbalance.


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