November 18th, 2014
…and I’m the Dummy.
I’m a black belt in karate, and I recently started studying Aikido.
Two words: culture shock.
When we teach karate, it goes something like: “The attacker tries to punch you in the nose. First, you respond with a head block. Next, you grab his wrist, pull him toward you, and punch to the solar plexus. Third, you…”
Aikido lessons go something like:
- Attacker grabs sensei’s wrist
- Sensei throws attacker across the room
- Sensei says “ikkyo” and indicates we should try.
I, as an Aikido beginner, am left wondering what the heck just happened and what kind of sinus problem “ikkyo” indicates.
My senseis have pointed out that I still need to “learn to see”, so I can understand what’s happening when they demonstrate a technique, and have encouraged me to focus first on watching footwork. That’s beneficial, but hasn’t helped me understand the explanatory terms that are thrown around casually in class that are foreign to even my karate background.
Most Aikido dictionaries I’ve found online are either incomplete, or TOO complete, making it difficult for a newbie to navigate. So, in the interest of simplicity, here’s what I’ve gleaned from 3 months of Aikido:
- uke (oo-kay) - attacker
- nage (nah-gay) - defender
- ikkyo (ee-kyoh) - “first teaching”. A technique that focuses on manipulating the elbow
- nikkyo (nee-kyoh) - “second teaching”. A technique that focuses on manipulating the wrist
- (There seems to be a great deal of overlap between the techniques, so I’m still not 100% clear on what distinguishes them.)
- omote (oh-moh-tay) - forward or front
- ura (oo-rah) - reverse or rear
- hamni (hom-nee) - matched/mirrored stance
- ai hamni (aye hom-nee) - opposite stance
- ukemi (oo-kehm-ee) - rolls or falls
- irimi (ee-ree-mee) - forward slide
- tenkon (ten-kon) - twist and backward slide
- kata tori (kah-tah toe-ree) - shoulder grap
- katate tori (kah-tah-tay toe-ree) - same-side wrist grab (right to left, left to right)
- gyaku te tori (gya-koo tay too-ree) - cross-hand wrist grab, i.e. reaching across the body to grasp opponents same wrist (right to right, left to left)
- morote tori (moe-roe-tay toe-ree) - two hands on one wrist
- ryote tori (ryoh-tay toe-ree) - one hand on each of opponent’s wrists
I hope this can help someone else.