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100 terrific things to try in Tegatana

The first kata/exercise that we do in aikido is called Tegatana. It is composed of two older exercises called Unsoku and Tandoku undo. It teaches the footwork, arm motions, and whole-body coordination used throughout aikido. Funny thing about this exercise – it only takes a short while – perhaps to yellow or green belt – to feel like you’ve got this thing whipped, but if you ask the most advanced folks in the system what they are working on to improve their skills, they’ll probably tell you tegatana.

Just in case you think you have this thing whipped, here is a list of 100 Terrific Things to Try in Tegatana. The list is certainly not everything that you can learn from the exercise – if you work on it i’m sure you could come up with 100 more (and when you do, please send me a copy!) Some of these are repeats, phrased a little differently because different people understand parts of this thing differenty. If some of the hints don’t make sense, drop me a line and I’ll try to give you a better explanation – or at least a more verbose one.

Probably the best way to work through these hints is repeat the entire kata over and over, trying to incorporate one hint during each repetition. Getting through the whole list just once ought to keep you occupied for a month or two…

1. relax

2. work slower. remember: “fast is slow, slow is fast”

3. balls of feet, heels slightly brushing

4. balls of first two toes only

5. make sure ankles don’t flex outward

6. knees slightly bent

7. heel-toe stance, feet under your hips

8. feet slightly closer than heel-toe and shoulder width

9. head over shoulders over hips over toes

10. rotate on top of hips, not around them

11. raised shoulders = excess tension

12. shoulders down and back, head up

13. small, conservative steps

14. minimize side-to-side rocking

15. minimize fwd-back rocking

16. minimize center rise-fall

17. even when you minimize rocking it is still there

18. there is a ballistic, irreversible part of each step

19. use relaxed arm swing as momentum check

20. natural motion of arms

21. visualize an attack as you sidestep

22. falling – not lunging or pushing

23. pull your weight forward with the front foot

24. tighten inner thighs to bring back foot forward

25. don’t try to raise your center with both legs

26. put your center over one leg then raise it up

27. notice: it is not possible to fall straight forward

28. settle and pause between each step

29. imagine each step as your last

30. lead with the nearest foot (usually)

31. complete recovery step

32. put feet under butt instead of butt over feet

33. step the width of your stance

34. step no more than hip width

35. try to standardize the length of your steps

36. look for heel strikes during too-long steps

37. look for bobble associated with heel strike

38. look for heel lift on large back steps

39. count weight shifts

40. stepping forward/back takes 2 weight shifts

41. turning 90 degrees takes 2 weight shifts

42. turning 180 degrees takes 3 weight shifts

43. hip switch takes 1 weight shift

44. hip switch does not take place evenly balanced

45. the rear leg loads slightly on the hip switch

46. look for extra weight shifts

47. look out for extra shifts when the pattern changes

48. notice how raising the arm to the side loads the opposite foot

49. you can only hip switch about 135 degrees without crossing legs

50. hip switch 180° puts you in classic aiki stance

51. turn hips completely to set up turns

52. use hips to store energy for turns

53. fall off the line during turns

54. stuck-hand-stuck-foot during first turns

55. feeling the inside of the sphere

56. rise onto the balls of feet as a momentum check after the turns

57. wedging the body between the leg and arm

58. hands stay in peripheral vision (“wiggle test”)

59. fingers together to protect them & your partner

60. pull the wrist back before you lift the arm

61. hands centered

62. hands within the box of shoulders and hips

63. off hand stays centered too

64. dead off-hand creates imbalance

65. off hand may mimic power hand

66. arms slightly bent but unbendable

67. same hand same foot

68. only push/pull along the length of a centered, unbendable arm

69. never push/pull sideways

70. eyes, shoulders, hips, feet center on lead hand

71. arms rise and fall with the center

72. don’t raise arms & drop center at same time

73. let your momentum help pick your arms up

74. different contact points for different pushes

75. palms toward face on pulls

76. palms forward on pushes

77. push with palms with fingers pointing up

78. push with forearm with palm facing up

79. push with shoulder with fingers pointing in

80. push near your own face or shoulder level

81. try brushing the feet vs. picking them up

82. try with inhale on body rise and exhale on body drop

83. try with grippy shoes on

84. try with your eyes closed

85. try in a tight crowd of people

86. try large motions vs. small motions

87. try with everyone facing different directions

88. try with someone gently disturbing your moves

89. try to an external count or to your own count

90. try counting “otoshi – guruma” instead of “1-2-3-4…”

91. try grouping the moves into flowing groups of 2-3

92. try as fast and as slow as possible

93. notice how the ground feels under your feet.

94. visualize a thumbtack taped under your heels and little toes

95. visualize everything as a push or pull

96. visualize someone attached to you

97. visualize an iron rod straightening your spine

98. visualize your hips as a fountain that is buoying up under your head

99. visualize your head as a balloon that your body is floating under

100. You can divide any technique or motion using the rule of 3

You might also like:

Thoughts on control in judo

Helpful handful: 5 lessons from judo

How to learn jodo without an uke

Outstanding hizaguruma

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Labels: aikido, aikido principles, judo principles, newaza, relaxation Email This

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