OK so we are into the second half of the beginners course and I feel the pressure of getting everyone through the syllabus for the first belt bearing down on me.

With this in mind, I turned my eye toward drilling the techniques and exercises needed for the first grading. I think I have written about a lot of this before but for those not interested in trawling through the archives here is a quick run down of the techniques we need to have covered by the end of the course. Bear in mind that this is only the thinnest sliver of what constitutes the body of aikido. Also, remember that in truth the techniques and exercises are only a vehicle through which to learn the underlying principles that make aikido tick/work.

Techniques 1 to 5 from the randori no kataThis kata was created to teach the basic techniques that could be used in aikido competition as devised by Professor Tomiki. It is possibly his most important legacy to the aikido world.
1 – Shomen ate [frontal strike] – move inside the attack and push through the face or neck down the weak line. Ensure that the push comes from the legs/hips not the arm.
2 – Aigame ate [natural posture strike] – move outside the attack and push through the face or neck down the weak line (the same weak line as in 1 but from outside the arm). Ensure that the arm that is connecting to the opponent is kept in front/centre so as to ensure that the legs/hips are doing the work not the arm.
3 – Gyakugamae ate [opposite posture strike] – throw by pushing the opposite arm across the opponents chest (above their arm) while trapping their leg with yours. Ensure good connection through the whole body with uke to make the throw work. Uke should get bent backwards.
4 – Gedan ate [low strike] – throw by pushing the arm down into the opponents bladder (below their arm) while trapping their legs with yours. Ensure that your posture is good and upright not bent forward. Uke should be forced to sit backwards rather than bending backwards.
5 – Ushiro ate [rear strike] – throw by moving behind uke, hooking their shoulders with your arms and driving them backwards and down. Use your body weight to effect the throw rather than arm power; this requires good connection.