Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Walk - 8 - uchi mawashi gaeshi

Links to previous articles on The Walk -  - nanameashiwakiashi,  tenkanashi,  shomen tegatanasoto mawashi, uchi mawashi, and uchi-soto gaeshi.
Previously we have discussed the three footwork actions and the 4 pushing actions in The Walk.  Today is the first of the five turning actions (wherein we turn more than 90 degrees during a step - 90 degree turns are covered in the previous work.)
This first turn has been called uchi mawashi gaeshi - the inside sweep&turn...

  • The action of this turn most closely and obviously resembles release #1 - alternately called hon soto hanasu or chudan aigamae in different clubs.
  • This action begins with a drop step and an outward hip turn.  Make sure that the knee and foot are pointing the same direction and working in the same plane by the time that foot is weightbearing.  This is important for knee safety and strength, and it is also probably the most common mistake in this motion.
  • As the body turns, the unbendable arm rises straight up the centerline and does not arc off to the side.  This sort of feels like pushing something upward and stepping under it or wedging your own hand and foot apart as you step your center between them.
  • At the end of the turn, you rise up onto your toes and emphasize the upward push.  This serves a couple of purposes.  First it is a simple momentum/balance check - if your momentum is out of control during the turn and you raise your center like this, you will fall over or have to make an extra step to catch yourself.  Secondly, it illustrates that you cannot lift and turn at the same time - if you are going to lift, you have to make the turn then lift.
  • Interestingly, we were taught to do 4 reps of this turn but only 2 reps of all the others.  I've asked and gotten a couple of different answers about why - perhaps this was to make this turn conform to a regular 8-count like the rest of the kata, perhaps it was some extra practice for some class in the past that was sucking at that movement and the extra reps just became codified in the exercise.  I personally like to think that we do twice as many reps of this movement because it represents release#1, which is the basis of all the releases, which in turn are the basis of all of our aikido.  So, in my mind we do twice as many reps of this exercise because it is the most important turn.

Want to discuss this blog post?

Patrick Parker
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