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Learning Shomen-uchi Ikkyo

This is our basic learning method for aikido’s first principle and one of the first techniques required for grading: shomen-uchi ikkyo.

At its most basic level, the tori (defender) practices getting off the initial line of attack and then returning to it in order to take an attacker’s balance.

There are many reference sources for this waza, as well as interpretations as to how it can be adapted to other attacks. The most evident historical application of ikkyo involves tori seizing control of an attacker wielding a katana (Japanese long sword) while being attacked with a shomen-uchi (strike to the forehead). While this may be the origin of the waza, it still serves as a base point for exploring various armed and unarmed attacks, including modern-day adaptations.

The most important thing to consider is that ikkyo is not solely a technique for dealing with an arm. Rather, it is a method of developing the mindset of “piercing” through any attack. The goal is to make a direct connection to uke and render them unable to successfully continue their attack.

In this video we break down the steps and timing required to circumvent the initial attack. Beyond the kihon waza, students learn how to later manipulate the attack line and eventually take uke’s center directly from the attack line.

As always, comments and questions are welcomed below.


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