Aikido is often termed by many as “impractical” or “useless in real life”. In reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Aikido does require investment in terms of your time, years and years of it, but it’s something which has the capability of entirely changing your life and turning it into a more successful, happier and more peaceful one.
It also trains you in defending yourself against every sort of danger wherever you are. And because it’s a martial art which is rooted in techniques and not power, it can be executed by anyone of any age. It teaches you how to defend yourself against multiple attackers while making sure you’re hurt in no way.
Without any further talk, here are ten very useful techniques which you can use to defend yourself effectively in any situation. Keep in mind that a martial art form, especially something as vast as Aikido, is much more than a combination of few techniques and only by constant practice over a long period can one master it.
One of the most basic movements in Aikido, this is very easy to learn and can be pretty effective if done right. in situations when there’s some intimidating opponent in front of you who’s stationary, this “side strike to the head” can scare them off or stun them for a while. simply speaking, the fighter strikes the area between the head and the neck of the opponent. a swift and hard strike can even knock out the attacker.
To execute the strike, you move forward with the right foot, all the while keeping your elbow in the forward direction, and perform a knife-hand strike in a diagonal line. you must change the direction of your hips as well to change the direction of the cut, and not just move your arms. Also, you should shift your balance forward towards your right knee, to transfer the power of the movement to your strike.
2. Shōmen-tsuki Kubi-shime
One of the self-defense techniques of Aikido, this is used when the uke tries to punch you from your front side. After successful execution of this technique, you have the uke under a neck lock.
The first step is to redirect the punch and set yourself behind the uke. For this, you enter inside the punch in a half body stance towards the right and use your right hand to redirect the punch towards the further right, turning the uke the other side. Once you get behind the uke, you shift your right hand in front of his neck and hold the inside of the left collar of his/her uniform.
Slide your left hand under his left armpit and bring it to the back of their neck. Keeping your balance on the left foot, turn towards the back and bring your left knee to the ground. This pulls the uke in the backwards and downwards direction, with your right hand pulling in around his/her throat. The locking position, by pulling your right hand inside, is to be brought in by the power of the movement.
This technique, also called elbow lock, can be used to control the opponent at your will by inflicting pain. Between your elbow and chest, you lock the uke‘s arm and moving your hips in a circle, apply power against the joint in the direction it can’t bend, hence controlling the uke. The force to turn your opponent’s arm doesn’t have to be applied, it is a consequence of your hip movement.
For explanation purposes, let’s take the right elbow of the uke which you intend to bend. First, you clutch the right wrist of the uke with your left hand and turn his elbow in the forward direction, and fix it against your chest using your left arm. Your weight should be on your left foot so that your arm is where the center of balance lies.
Turning on your left foot, you bring your right foot to your front right in a circle, which would put pressure on the uke‘s elbow, which you’re holding. As you keep turning, your stance gets wider while your posture gets lower. This results in the uke getting unbalanced and forced to crouch down and you can control him/her further as you desire.
4. Shōmen-tsuki Hiji-ate Kokyū-nage Ni
A throw executed in the face of an opponent coming to punch you from your front, you throw the opponent in the same direction as his/her punch. To avoid the punch, you have to be almost parallel to where the uke is, and have to move in sync with the uke‘s attack.
To execute the technique, you blend with the uke‘s movement, you rotate on your left foot, go in the rear position while moving away from the line of strike of the opponent. Simultaneously, you bring your tegatana to the uke‘s wrist to block him/her and use the movement of your turn to extend his/her arm.
Bringing your left elbow to his/her right elbow, hold his/her wrist with your right hand, shift your left arm under his elbow, and moving ahead with your left foot, turn over your left elbow and throw.
Meaning the “first technique”, Ikkyo is the introduction to the various pinning techniques in Aikido and has several variations. This quick but effective technique brings the uke to the ground by controlling the opponent and also applying pressure on the ulnar nerve found on the wrist.
In this technique, the attacker is first unbalanced by applying pressure on the elbow and shoulder of his/her arm. Swiftly, he/she is pinned to the ground with his hand at an angle of 45° from his/her body, immobilizing their hand, while simultaneously maintaining pressure on their wrist and elbow.
6. Shōmen-uchi Sokumen Irimi-nage
A technique to be used when the opponent tries to strike you from the front, this throw is done by being in complete harmony with the opponent’s body, changing the direction of your hips and using the consequent power to move the opponent around.
When the uke comes forward trying to strike, shift sideways, redirecting the energy, and moving to the inside. Now using your left hand, hold the uke‘s right thumb joint and bring it across your stomach like a cross-cut. Pull the uke forward while doing so, and also at the same time, shift your weight majorly on the right foot while bringing it forward so that it makes a T-shape with the uke‘s toes.
Also, while the uke is being pulled forward, move your left elbow at the base of your opponent’s throat. As your left foot is shifting towards the right hip of the uke, cut down using your left hand and throw. Actually, from the time you begin turning the opponent’s hand, the rest is all done in one swift movement.
Also called “hip throw”, Koshinage is a technique more often used in Judo than Aikido. Aikido students aren’t trained in this technique a lot because of the damage it can cause the attacker, and because of this move’s aggressiveness. Nevertheless, training in this technique means you’ll have a very useful attack up your sleeve.
To pull off this technique, the tori or the defender turns the opponent redirecting their energy, while simultaneously pulling them (not too hard) onto his/her hips. The tori then straightens his/her knees and throws the uke away over and onto his/her back.
During the technique, the tori must bend his/her knees so that it lies below the centre point of the uke. Here, it is important to remember that you do not carry the uke over your hip, but rather trip him/her using the hip as an obstacle.
8. Katate-mochi Kokyū-nage
This is a breath throw technique you can use when an opponent grabs your wrist. In the technique, force is applied on the attacker’s wrist to generate kinetic energy and then use it to complete the throw. It’s called a breath throw because the final throw is completed by applying the breath power of the fighter.
To execute the technique, as the uke comes in to grasp your, say, left hand, make a 180° turn with your rear right leg while balancing yourself primarily with your right foot. This step redirects the opponent’s energy to your advantage. Open up to your left side using the left foot and turn the left hand so that the palm is facing downwards.
Shift your tegatana inside the opponent’s elbow. Now moving forward swiftly using your right hand, take a big step, while also making sure that the opponent has a firm grasp of your wrist, shift your right hand forward and throw the uke. You must not use just your right hand to push and throw, but rather use the whole body by bringing it lower and shifting your weight into the attacker’s arm.
Also called “return-the-wrist” throw, in this technique, you turn over the opponent’s wrists such that their elbow is inwards and you subsequently throw them applying pressure and cutting down on the other hand. The technique has several variants and is generally used when the opponent grabs you or tries to strike you.
To perform the technique, you first hold the uke‘s hand with your little finger over his wrist and thumb over their little finger joint. Next, you move his/her hand away from his body and pull him/her turning their hand over so that it closes over your little finger. You must make sure that neither you move his/her hand over much nor do you pull him/her with too much force. Doing either would render the technique ineffective.
When the uke comes forward, as a result, strike a back-fisted punch with your right hand to their face. Then you slide down your hand towards uke‘s fingers to throw him/her. And afterwards, you have to apply the lock by turning over his/her shoulder and bringing them to a vulnerable position.
10. Tantō-dori Shōmen-uchi Ikkajō Osae
This technique is applied when the opponent strikes upfront with a knife held point-down. After completing the technique successfully, you’d have taken the knife away and have the opponent under control.
As the uke comes forward to strike with a knife in his right hand, you block his hand and redirect it, with both hands in crossing position and their thumbs facing each other, towards the right and turn his hands so that the palm faces the upward direction.
Keeping your balance on the left foot, you turn 180° towards the back and shift the balance to the right foot, bringing the opponent in a vulnerable position. Afterwards, take the knife away after bending their wrist into their armpit.