Called sokumen irimi in aikikai, or perhaps parting wild horse’s mane or slanted flying or single whip in Chinese (i.e. taichi) terminology, gyakugamae is one of the three fundamental forms of atemi taught early in Tomiki aikido. Here are a handful of hints I try to keep in mind in my practice.
- If you do this technique as a strike, you may or may not do enough damage to end the fight but your hand will recoil off his face and you’ll have to find him again to push him down. This is what you see in the stick version of gyakugamaeate in goshinjitsu in judo – a strike, then reacquire the face, lay the hand on, and throw. Instead of striking and recoiling, lay your hand on him and push instead of hitting.
- Drape a bent wrist around the bridge of his nose like a pair of sunglasses and push. This obstructs his vision, is disorienting, and is a good pushing position.
- Be sure to push forward through uke by dropping your center forward onto him. Don’t throw by pushing sideways.
- Try the gyakugamaeate that you see in Gokata – I have found this more generally useful lately. Enter to the inside, as if for shomenate but wrong-side forward, strike the face with the hand nearest uke, and push yourself off of uke to get back to maai.
- Alternates might include pulling the hair backward instead of striking/pushing the face – or perhaps pushing the philtrum under the nose – but this is not as good because you don’t get the startle associated with attacking the eyes.