Friday, September 26, 2008

How to Perform a Dai Gokyo in Response to a Shomen Uchi in Aikido

Aikido is a Japanese martial art comprised primarily of throws and joint locks. It was devised by Morihei Ueshiba in the early 1900s as a safer alternative to Jujitsu, which utilizes throws and joint locks that damage, permanently injure, or even kill whoever has been unlucky enough to be subjected to it. Roughly translated, Aikido means, “The Way of The Harmonious Spirit”, and attempts to redirect an attacker’s energy and momentum against himself. For this to work both the attacker and defender must be acting in concert, like a pair of dancers. Typically the defender, known as “nage” is the more experienced of the pair as he/she must read an opponent’s movements and react to the attacker, known as “uke”. Here is a guide detailing how to defend against a “Shomen Uchi”, or Bladed Strike, with a Dai Gokyo, or Arm Stretch. The term Arm Stretch refers to the defender stretching the joints of his opponent’s arm. This technique is used to immobilize an attacker armed with a knife and force him/her to release the weapon.

Things You'll Need:
Practice Space

Practice Knife



Soft Mats to Cushion Falls.

Performing Shomen Uchi-Dai Gokyo
Step 1:
Begin facing your opponent in a natural standing position. As in much of Aikido, you should be spaced at least four feet from your opponent. Your opponent will be holding the knife in a backhanded grip, meaning the blade is pointing downward from the bottom of the fist. The Shomen Uchi strike will be performed by your opponent taking two sharp steps forward while bringing the knife up and out to be held in a manner similar to many of the killers in the B horror films from the 50s. The upper arm will be out to the side horizontally, while the lower arm will be raised vertically. Upon closing the range to you your opponent will drive the knife down at the point where the neck meets the shoulders in a diagonal chopping motion. Of course if you have time to see all this it is far too late to do anything about it. You will have to act before your opponent begins to approach and before he/she brings the knife forward beyond his/her body.

Step 2:
Step forward while your opponent’s knife is still extended mostly out to the side, in the wind up position prior to the strike. Rush forward toward the outstretched arm, not the body. Stop the forward motion of the strike by meeting the arm with the flats of your hands.

Step 3:
Grab the wrist firmly in your right hand, making sure that you invert your hand upon doing so. Both your elbow and thumb should be pointed upward when taking hold of the wrist. From this position you can simply extend your arm out to your right to bring your hand right side up. By doing this you invert your opponent’s arm and force him to turn counterclockwise, somewhere off to your left.

Step 4:
Grip the arm in your left hand at the elbow and turn to your right, walking in a semicircle around your opponent to force him to come with you, extending his body. The back of your opponent’s hand should be facing the ground, the arm at full extension from the right side of the body. While walking forward take up a kneeling position and force the back of the hand as well as the length of the arm flat against the ground to bring your opponent flat on his chest.

Step 5:
Raise your opponent’s upper arm off the ground, fitting the lower arm inward so it stand vertically propping up the right side of the body. The back of the hand should be pressed flat against the ground, kinking the wrist as well as the elbow. Press down on the top of the elbow while pressing the inside of the wrist inward toward the body to exert painful pressure on these joints, causing the hand to spontaneously open. Remove the knife from the palm of the hand, throwing it away or using to finish your opponent.

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