Aikido Guide

Extra teaching material

On this page, we will publish extra teaching material as a supplement to the 400 videos in the Aikido Guide.

We will start with Ikkyo. Ikkyo actually means "the first teaching" which signifies its importance in Aikido. Four variations of Ikkyo will be shown:

  1. Basic Ikkyo – Irimi sokumen entering to the side of the attacker
  2. Flowing Ikkyo – Tenkan entering in behind the attacker
  3. Flowing Ikkyo – Tenshin entering to the front of the attacker
  4. Advanced Ikkyo – Direct entering to the front of the attacker

All of the variations will be illustrated by clear and simple sword and body movements.


1. Basic Ikkyo illustrated by sword

By Shihan Bjorn Eirik Olsen. Ukemi: Stein-Are Engstad, 4th Dan.


Comment on "basic": There are many opinions about the concept of "basic form" (Kihon) in Aikido. In the Aikido Guide we talk about a "basic way of entering" for each technique. Basic entering should place you in a position where the attacker cannot reach you and cannot easily make a counter attack. This will usually be accomplished by an Irimi sokumen or Uchi kaiten entering to the side of the attacker (depending on the technique you want to do), or by Tenkan taisabaki in behind the attacker. The basic form should also allow you to stop in several key positions during the execution of the technique, making it possible to study your position, control of the attacker, etc.The emphasis in Basic form should be on positioning (footwork), solidity (stable hips) and correctness of technique.


2. Flowing Ikkyo with Tenkan entering

By Shihan Bjorn Eirik Olsen. Ukemi: Stein-Are Engstad, 4th Dan.


This video is the second in a series of four videos showing how to enter into the Aikido technique Ikkyo. When attacked, it is possible to do a flowing movement either behind or to the front of the attacker. In this second video “Flowing Ikkyo with Tenkan entering” there is a circular turning of the body in behind the attacker. This is the safest and most basic way to do a flowing entering against any attack. Moving in behind the attacker, it is still possible to stop and check one’s position, stability, posture, etc. Then, gradually, one can focus more and more on timing while keeping the inner strength and while securing precise hand and body movements. In this way, Tenkan entering can be said to be a stepping stone from basic to flowing applications of any technique.

To do a flowing application of a technique is not the same as doing a basic technique fast. When gradually increasing the “flow”, the form of the technique will naturally change. If the basic form and one’s hip-stability are not well settled before moving into flowing applications, Aikido techniques will lose their martial efficiency.

A common mistake in flowing Tenkan movements is to swing the arms (and feet) in horizontal circles. This will slow down the turning movement of the body, and it will make it difficult to control the distance between oneself and the attacker – and thereby make one vulnerable for counter attacks.  


3. Flowing Ikkyo - Tenshin nagare - Entering to the front of the attacker

By Shihan Bjorn Eirik Olsen. Ukemi: Stein-Are Engstad, 4th Dan.


The flowing Taisabaki to the front of the opponent is given different names by different teachers. Some call it “Irimi tenkan” whileothers call it “Nagare”. Also the general term “Taisabaki” is used in some Dojos. It does not really matter, as long as the movement itself is understood and done properly. Here we call it “Tenshin nagare” wich means to do a “body turning in a flowing manner”.

Entering to the front is very different from entering in behind the attack (as in video 2 above). Placing oneself in the front of the opponent leaves one vulnerable for a second attack. To prevent this, it is important to blend fully with the opponent, not coming to close or too far away from the opponent.

Secondly, it is necessary do an Atemi to control that the opponent cannot do a sudden advance to launch a second punch or kick. This Atemi has to be a Shomen uchi (vertical cut) and not a Youkomen uchi  (diagonal cut). A Yokomen uchi will soon pass the center line between oneself and the opponent, and there will be an opening for the opponent to advance and launch a new attack.

Done properly – with a correct timing and Atemi  –  Tenshin nagare is very effective. In this video it is applied to a Katatedori guakuhanmi attack. It can also be applied to attacks such as Katadori, Munedori, Ryotedori, Shomen uchi, Yokomen uchi and Tsuki. Morover, in this video it is followed up with Ikkyo. However, almost any technique can be applied, such as Iriminage, Shihonage, Kotegaeshi, Koshinage, Kokyuho or Kokynage.


All the videos above could be found on Aikido Guide's YouTube site.