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Irimi Tsuki

Technique - Aikido - Beginner - White Belt

Description

Sensei Graham Stewart performing Katate Mochi Irimi TsukiIrimi Tsuki (Front Thrust or Front "Entering" Thrust) is often one of the first techniques taught, although it is not part of the Kihon waza (basic set of introductory techniques) and does not appear on any of the Kyu (grading) test curricula. It makes a good starting technique, though, both because it has broad self-defense application and also because it allows Uke to begin studying the first of the breakfalls: Koho Ukemi (Back breakfalls).

Although superficially reminiscent of a palm-heel strike to the jaw, the technique instead allows Sh'te to begin exploring using gentle contact with a part of Uke's body (in this case the head via cupping the jaw) to unbalance them and send them tumbling.

The two starting techniques are:

  • Katate Mochi (One-wrist grasp) Irimi Tsuki (Entering Thrust) Ichi (#1 - Pulling)
  • Katate Mochi (One-wrist grasp) Irimi Tsuki (Entering Thrust) Ni (#2 - Pushing)
In this technique there are two points of contact with Uke's body: up the arm through the hand being grasped, and down the neck via the chin/head. The hand (low point) is taken down, around and ultimately behind Uke. The head (high point) is taken up and over. Depending on how much energy is needed (or how much one wants to risk Uke's ability to fall safely) this can continue until Uke is well on their way to the ground. This high/low combination is reminiscent of the energy manipulation used in Tenchinage
 
The "hand-to-the-chin" option in Irimi tsuki is an excellent reflex. It brings the hand into the same position used in blocks, in the Metsubishi strikes at the beginning of many Katate mochi (One-wrist grasp), Shomen or Yokomen uchi (Front or side strike) techniques, or for the second (high) gripped hand in Tenchinage. Unlike a direct strike to the face, it tends to slide up the chest under the field of vision, and is therefor hard to block. The effort to block it often produces an awkward, "caught-inside" arm position which Sh'te can easily glom onto, flowing into techniques such as Ikkajo and the like.
 
In the photo below, Kancho Sensei Gozo Shioda demonstrates the more advanced Shomen Tsuki Irimi Tsuki (Front punch Entering Thrust) -- more advanced primarily for Uke, that is, as it requires a jumping back breakfall and very smooth Ukemi to not get hurt!
 

Technique

Katate mochi (One-wrist grasp)

Ichi

  1. Sh'te and Uke face each other two tatami lengths apart.
    • Bow if this is the first time for this technique/pairing.
  2. Both partners come to Kamae.
    • Move together in synchrony
    • By convention right side comes first (historically most swordsmen were right-handed)
  3. Close in the distance to proper ma-ai.
    1. Both Shuffle to produce migi-ai-hanmi (right, same-sided stance)
    2. Both Cross-step to produce hidari-ai-hanmi (left, same-sided stance)
  4. Uke grasps Sh'te's low (back) hand with their front hand and gently pulls.
  5. Sh'te immediately cross-steps to the outside
    • Off the line, with a small pivot at the end to point back across the line
    • Dropping the weight down to a deeper stance, trying to capture Uke's balance
    • Move far enough to capture some of Uke's balance to the side and slightly backwards, but not so far that you break off from the grasp or are unable to reach Uke's chin with the other hand
    • Low (grabbed) hand turns palm downwards
    • High hand moves forward and as it collides with Uke's chest, slides upwards until the palm is cupping Uke's chin
    • Uke should take care to keep the mouth closed in this (and all) Ukemi
  6. Sh'te cross-steps through, throwing Uke
    • Cross-step through under the "arch" created by Uke's extended body
    • Uke does a back breakfall
    • Keep the balance down and captured with the low hand, while the high hand continues to gently carry Uke's chin up and over until accelarated towards the ground
  7. Sh'te maintains zanshin for a moment, then matches Uke's movement as both partners return to face each other in Kamae.

Ni

  1. Sh'te and Uke face each other two tatami lengths apart.
    • Bow if this is the first time for this technique/pairing.
  2. Both partners come to Kamae.
    • Move together in synchrony
    • By convention both come to right side first (see above)
  3. Close in the distance to proper ma-ai.
    1. One shuffles and one cross-steps to produce gyaku-hanmi (opposite side stance)
    2. By convention, Sh'te begins witht the left side
  4. Uke grasps Sh'te's high (front) hand with their front hand and gently pushes.
  5. Sh'te pivots around 95 degrees
    •  As in the basic motion tai no henko ni (95 degree pivot)
    • The palm of Sh'te's grasped hand turns upward, blending the shape of Uke's hand and begining the process of capturing Uke's elbow and lead knee
  6. Sh'te shuffles up and out behing Uke
    • Dropping the weight down to a slightly deeper stance, trying to capture Uke's balance
    • Move far enough to capture some of Uke's balance to the side and slightly backwards
    • The grabbed hand turns back palm downwards
    • High hand moves forward and as it collides with Uke's chest, slides upwards until the palm is cupping Uke's chin
    • Uke should take care to keep the mouth closed in this (and all) Ukemi
  7. Sh'te cross-steps through, throwing Uke
    • Cross-step through under the "arch" created by Uke's extended body
    • Uke does a back breakfall
    • Keep the balance down and captured with the low hand, while the high hand continues to gently carry Uke's chin up and over until accelarated towards the ground
  8. Sh'te maintains zanshin for a moment, then matches Uke's movement as both partners return to face each other in Kamae.

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