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Hip Twist

Aikido throws are done by making strong twist of the hips. The hands always stay on a line from the top front of the head, furi kaburu, to the lower abdomen, hara. They can move together as in a sword cut or one hand can move up as the other moves down as in a Jo strike from guard position. Because the hips are making a strong twist the weapon comes down in a slanted line as in Yokomen uchi rather than a shomen uchi. For this reason Aikido throws feel like a Yokomen Uchi strike.

An Aiki sword cut is a slice, not a chop. With Shomen Uchi the sword contacts Uke near the tip of the sword and is pushed forward so that the sword slices from tip to hilt. With Yokomen Uchi the sword contacts Uke near the hilt and slices toward the tip of the sword. This means that Nage starts the cut with the hand near Uke's center and near Nage's head. As the hands cut down and the hips twist the hands follow a circular path to Nage's center as in Uke's Center to Nage's Center.

For a typical throw such as Ikkyo, Nage steps with a hip turn toward Uke and does furi kaburu. Then Nage takes another step and twist the hips doing Yokomen Uchi. Then Nage steps twisting the hips back for a Tsuki. This can be shortened by not taking the steps. Sometimes the vertical movement of the hips is sufficient so that the hand stays at the hara as in a corner drop.

A strong hip twist is also effective in countering someone trying to grab around the body such as a wrestler coming in to grab. This is what we normally do in ushiro but it is important to understand that in addition to its other benefits the twist makes grabs very difficult to secure.

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Last Update 2/10/2008