Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A helpful handful – 5 ways to improve your shihonage

Shihonage (lit. ‘four-directions throw’ or more loosely, ‘all-directions throw’) is the first of the ‘Six Pillars of Aikido' (shihonage, iriminage, kaitennage, kokyunage, osaekomi, ushirowaza). This technique is very common across most martial arts. Here are a handful of hints I’ve found helpful in working on shihonage.
  • Work your way through the name of the thing. Work on finding ways you can throw this thing in every direction.

  • Do it part of the time with only one hand and part of the time with only the other hand – like #6 and #8 in Hanasu no Kata. Practicing this with only one hand makes you move your body thru the right arc or you lose it. Don’t cheat by learning shihonage with the illusion of control afforded by using both hands.

  • If it goes bad toward the beginning, try flowing into maeotoshi or sumiotoshi. If it goes bad toward the end, try flowing into aikinage (A.K.A. iriminage) or ushiroate.

  • We use a crash pad when we practice binding the arm and throwing forward (i.e. hijikime) or when we set it up then step under the arm from the outside to the inside for a floating throw. These are severe falls and represent a severe risk to the shoulder if there is anything wrong with the ukemi.

  • Going back to the name, consider Beth Shibata’s article in which she suggests that it might be more appropriate for learning purposes to call the thing the 'all-directions release' instead of the 'all-directions throw'. How does what you call the thing affect your execution of it?

1 comment:

  1. "How does what you call the thing affect your execution of it? "

    Excellent observation. I myself try to be aware and careful regarding what analogies or terms I use in the class. For instance, we pride ourselves with being able to surge forward in a forward stance. But if I were to call it 'step' people might compare it to a normal step you take while walking - so I now say 'go' for each time I need the students to surge forward.



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