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Hand Tricks

Opening the Hand

Aikido was designed for unarmed people to take weapons from armed people. This is not a situation one desires to be in but bad things even happen to good people and they have little choice other than death. Aikido has three basic ways of politely asking people to hand over a weapon. These methods find expression in most Aikido techniques.

Wrist Bend

Fig. 1 Start of Release Fig. 2 Wrist Hyperextended Fig. 3 Weapon Released

  1. Fig. 1 shows the wrist folded back on itself far enough to take out the slack. Uke is holding a sparring knife.
  2. In Fig. 2 Nage has folded the wrist further to hyperextend it and cause the fingers to begin to open.
  3. In Fig. 3 Uke is eager to relinquish the practice weapon with little or no struggle.
  4. This method of weapon taking is used in Kote Gaeshi.

Wrist Twist

Fig. 4 Start of Wrist Twist Fig. 5 Twist Hyperextended Fig. 6 Weapon Released

  1. Fig. 4 shows the beginning of the weapon release. Uke's wrist is twisted as far as it will normally go.
  2. In Fig. 5 Nage continues to twist Uke's wrist causing Uke's grip to weaken so that Nage can easily take the knife.
  3. Fig. 6 shows the sparring knife in Nage's hand ready to be used.
  4. The wrist twist is the method of release used in Sankyo. The Wrist Twist and Wrist Bend are both used together in Nikkyo and Shiho Nage.

Hand Crush

Fig. 7 Hand Being Crushed Fig. 8 Weapon being released

  1. Fig. 7 shows the starting position for the hand crush. What is shown is not an actual technique but the principle.
  2. The hand crush involves two elements:

    1. The first is that Uke's thumb and little finger are squeezed together causing the fingers to open. Usually Uke's little finger is pressed against the floor to get enough pressure to effect this.
    2. The second is that the tendon just above Uke's thumb is pressed causing interesting sensations that induce Uke's hand to open. The meridian points LI 4 and LI 5 are also in that area.

  3. Fig. 8 shows Uke's fingers opened allowing Nage to easily withdraw the weapon.
  4. This method of opening the hand is used in one of the two methods of opening the hand in Gokyo. The other method uses the Wrist Bend.

These are not the only ways of asking Uke to release a weapon. Rendering Uke unconscious works pretty well. Breaking the arm also works well. The weapon can be levered against the thumb in a manner similar to that in Grasping, Releasing Reflex. If Nage has a knife it can make using elegant techniques problematic so Nage can just cut off Uke's fingers. It is rather crude but it beats being killed. None of these alternative techniques have the grace and style of the formal Aiki techniques.

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Last Update 3/17/2008