Friday, June 13, 2008

Why not a fusion of aiki and ju?

Dave Chesser asked me the other day, basically, “Since Tomiki aikido is supposed to be a fusion of aikido and judo, why do you not see folks do more judo techniques in Tomiki aikido competitions?” There is a lot going on there, but I think I can address some of it. First, you have to remember that Tomiki aikido is not a fusion of aikido and judo. It is an interpretation of aikido by a man who was a master of judo. So it is sort of aiki from a ju point of view. With that said...
Judo techniques within aikido
There are some ‘judo techniques’ that are also part of the Tomiki aikido system. Going through the basic Tomiki syllabus, you see gedanate (called sukuinage in judo), wakigatame, and sumiotoshi, for example. These techniques are allowed in both competition systems and you see them thrown in competition pretty often in both systems.
Aikido techniques that are not part of judo
Continuing through the Tomiki syllabus there are a lot of throws that do not occur in judo, at least in the context of competition. For instance shomenate (the frontal face strike) and kotegaeshi (wrist twist) and oshitaoshi (the arm push-down). Some of these are easy to explain – the judo guys never found a good, safe way to allow full power, full resistance striking in competition so they disallowed striking, or even touching the face. Early jujitsu competitions were rife with injury, so Kano disallowed all joint manipulation except for the elbow (the most stable joint on the body).
The real mystery here is the absence of oshitaoshi in judo competition. Oshitaoshi is very similar mechanically to wakigatame, which occurs in judo competitions a good bit. Oshitaoshi is not disallowed in judo (it even pops up in judo kata) – it’s just not done in competition... I’d like someone to explain that one to me.
Judo techniques that are not part of aikido
If you take out the several techniques that are in both systems, you find that there are a bunch of judo things that are just not done very often in aikido competition. Things like osotogari, hip throws, most footsweeps. Again, these techniques are (so far as I know) not explicitly disallowed in Tomiki tournaments, but they are just not done.
I’ve touched on this topic before in various articles. Perhaps best in this one, But also in these…


  1. It's interesting that you mention a couple of times "it's just not done" and that make me wonder why not?

    It sounds like there's this invisible line that you're not supposed to cross and questions you aren't supposed to ask. I'm wondering if this is the "don't rock the boat" aspect of Japanese culture.

    Thanks for answering my question about this. I admit I'm a bit disappointed that Tomiki isn't more a blend of the two arts. That idea seems to have some potential.

  2. Yeah. The best way that I can put it is that "it's just not done" but I don't think that it is a cultural/social line that folks refuse to cross.

    part of it could be the techniques sets that the instructors of the two arts traditionally emphasize.

    part could be range considerations. where it is possible and not possible to develope the leverage to express a given technique.

    part could be the presence of the face strike in aiki randori shutting down a lot of opportunities for judo-like stuff.

    part is likely the rulesets of the two competition systems. the guys that deveoped them were geniuses but not perfect. they (i guess) just couldnt figure out how to do fusion randori.

  3. I think it is because people are too much into "styles" still.

    A traditional judo technqiue disaplyed by an aikido ka, God forbid! this is the reaction some people take to things like this. vice a versa to. Not many judo fighters would dare to think of using an aikido technqiue, weather it works or not.

    Its a shame that people still think like this.


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