Monday, June 06, 2011

Uke-centric ukiotoshi

So, a while back I started introducing my kids (the oldest age 10) to nagenokata with a distinct emphasis on  the role of uke.
The first technique of nagenokata is ukiotoshi, the floating drop.  I told them that we were going to call this one, "The Drinking Bird," because that links this move to our nickname for this forward rolling motion (Remember those drinking bird toys that sit on the edge of your glass?)
Uke and tori start slightly outside arm's reach, facing each other and looking at each other.  Uke initiates the motion by reaching in for a lapel grip with his right hand.  Since he is out of reach, he has to step in with his right foot.  Tori takes his grips and fades back with his left leg
Uke and tori take 2 more sliding footsteps (3 steps in all) with uke pushing tori and tori fading back.  On uke's 3rd front footfall, tori kneels slightly to the right with his left retreating knee.
Up to this point this is all pretty standard.  You can get more extensive and better descriptions in books like Otaki & Draeger.  But this is where my uke-centric ukiotoshi diverges.  See, in the Standard Kodokan nagenokata, tori snaps both hands to his left hip as he kneels, pulling uke into a front airfall.  But in this kid's version, tori kneels, and shapes uke properly for a right-sided forward roll.  This basically means placing uke's right hand near the ground and letting uke maintain his lapel grip with his left hand for balance.
From this position, uke is able to easily demonstrate his forward rolling skill, using tori as a spotter for balance.

Works great, and it's a blast to see 8- and 10-year olds doing nagenokata.
[photo courtesy of Seven Morris]

Patrick Parker
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