Edge to the Whetstone

A blog of ten thousand hours.

Category: Class Notes

2013-03-10 Kotegaeshi & Kokyunage from a Munetsuki (Middle punch)

Last week’s seminar class covered Kotegaeshi (“Wrist-twisting throw”) from a grab and a punch, and also as a knife defense. The clip below shows some detail about the initial blend, to get the attacker off-balance. It also shows how to use a similar entrance to move into a Kokyunage (“Breath throw”).  I made it to answer a student’s question about how one could do the entrance (and not get hit – an important point!) yet not have uke off-balance.  While it seems there are very few hard-and-fast “rules” around executing technique in Wadokai Aikido, having one’s attacker off-balance is key. The off-balancing (“kuzushi”) may result from a large or small movement, may simply leverage the gift of the attacker’s energy, or may be caused by a distracting strike (“atemi”), but it’s generally there somewhere. In Wadokai Aikido, particularly as Sensei does it, the atemi can be almost invisible (due to the way it flows with, rather than disrupts, the technique), and the kuzushi can be helped along by subtleties that are easily missed.

If you’re a tactile learner, and the description doesn’t help you grasp the concept, you may need to just come to class ;->.

Introduction to Aikido for Karateka


Focus:  Integrate karate striking capabilities with Aikido techniques to enhance scalability & efficiency.


  • Intermediate & advanced Karate students gain a hands-on introduction to Aikido.
  • Learn techniques that enhance student ability & self confidence in situations that are ambiguous or require scalability.
  • Taste Aikido principles in practice, for use in martial arts & in life.

This class will cover applications/use of:

Taiso – Body Movement

Ukemi – Proper falling

Blending with the attacker for maximum efficiency

Integrated atemi (striking) for distraction and to open up tactical possibilities

The approach will differ somewhat from a typical Aikido class. Each lesson, you will practice the taiso you need + the ukemi you need + the atemi you need…for a particular technique variation.


O’Sensei: Founder of Aikido, referred to even by non-aikidoka as “O’Sensei” or “Great Teacher.”  O’Sensei combined traditional sword, spear and bayonet arts with Daito-ryu aikijiu-jitsu to develop fundamental aikido techniques. Profoundly spiritual, O’Sensei declared that “The true nature of budo is in the loving protection of all things,” and that to intentionally or maliciously harm one’s attacker is to harm oneself, all of which is contrary to nature. He was recorded on film performing near-mystical feats of martial prowess.

Sensei Suenaka:  Roy Yukio Suenaka Sensei, founder of Wadokai Aikido, is one of contemporary budo’s most experienced practitioners and best-kept secrets. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Suenaka Sensei’s martial instruction began under his father, Warren Kenji Suenaka, who taught his son budo basics and carefully selected his primary martial tutors. These included such legends as Kodenkan Jiu-jitsu founder Henry Seishiro Okazaki, Kosho-ryu Kempo’s legendary James Masayoshi Mitose, judoka (and later, aikidoka) Yukiso Yamamoto, and celebrated kendoka Shuji Mikami, from whom Suenaka Sensei received a nidan (2nd degree black belt).

Suenaka Sensei began his aikido study upon Koichi Tohei’s 1953 visit to Hawaii, and continued his study directly under Founder Morihei Ueshiba O’Sensei at the Aikikai Hombu for eight years, beginning in 1961. That same year, Suenaka Sensei received an aikido menkyo kaiden (master-level proficiency) teaching certificate from O’Sensei, and became the first person to open a successful aikido dojo in Okinawa. He also commenced eight years of private study with renowned Matsumura Seito and Hakutsuru Shorin-ryu Karate-do Grandmaster Hohan Soken, receiving from him the rank of rokudan (6th degree black belt). In addition, Suenaka Sensei continued his judo and jiu-jitsu education at the Kodoakan under famed Meijin Kazuo Ito, who personally sponsored Suenaka Sensei’s promotion to sandan (3rd degree black belt) in judo and jiu-jitsu.

In 1972, Suenaka Sensei relocated to Charleston, S.C., where he served as Southeastern U.S. director for Koichi Tohei’s International Ki Society until 1975, when Suenaka Sensei resigned to form the American International Ki Development and Philosophical Society (AIKDPS)™. Suenaka Sensei currently teaches Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaku-Ho Wadokai Aikido™ and Matsumura Seito Hakutsuru Shorin-ryu Karate-do. He is author of the best-selling Complete Aikido, and in 2003 celebrated his 50th year of aikido study.


  • Bow: On and off the mat, before beginning to practice with your partner (say: “Onegashimas” – “It is an honor to practice with you”), and when you finish practicing with them (“Domo Arigato” – “Thank you”). Always return a bow politely during class, and otherwise unless there is a very good reason not to. To not return a bow is extremely rude.
  • Excuse me: (“Gomenasai”). Say “excuse me” when you bump into someone or they bump into you.
  • When you feel the pain of a lock, tap yourself with your free hand where your partner can hear it. If neither hand is free, tap with your foot. There is no merit in being injured and unable to practice because you waited too long to tap.
  • When your partner taps, immediately let up on the lock, choke, hold, etc. Your partner is lending you their person for you to practice with so you may improve – respect that courtesy.


As the class will only meet once per week, students will receive the curriculum, vocabulary lists, and things they can practice if they have a little time between classes. Learning this material will help you learn more efficiently and enjoy the class more.

Ryokatatori Kokyunage Ago Tsuki Age

Ryokatatori Kokyunage Ago Tsuki Age

Short clip showing Ago Tsuki Age from a front collar grab. Made to answer a student’s question.

2013-02-06 Week 1: Ushiro Kata Tori Kokyunage – Ago Tsuki Age

Week 1: Ushiro Kata Tori Ago Kokyunage – Tsuki Age
Ushiro: From behind.
Kata: Shoulder
Tori: Grab
Kokyunage: Breath Throw
Ago: Chin
Tsuki: Strike
Age: Upwards

Taiso: Body Movement
Ude Furi Undo: Arm swinging movement
Ude: Arm
Furi: Swing or Shake
Undo: Movement
Dai Ichi: First
Dai Nichi: Second
Choyaku: Step back & turn

Ukemi: Proper falling. Practice slapping lying on mat, hip switch from left to right, back and forth. Ensure arm is slapping the mat palm down, at about a 90 degree angle from the body, elbow gently bent.
Koho Tento: Rear Falling Exercise: Sitting, Kneeling, Standing.

Atemi: Strikes – Elbow to solar plexus, upper cut. Also, grasping the throat, under the chin.

Extra credit: Ryokatatori Ago Tsuki Age (the same technique, executed facing the attacker)
Randori-style practice: Kata tori front or back grabs. Respond with Ago Tsuki Age
Zempo Kaiten (continuous rolling) low rolls

Homework: Practice
Rear Falling (“Downs & Ups”), 3 levels
Ude Furi Undo (Dai Ichi, Dai Nichi): Arm swinging excersize (Taiso) – 2 versions.