Friday, August 7, 2015

Atemi – Japanese Striking

Atemi means striking within various Japanese systems, separate from Okinawan practices. Of course in the end a strike is a strike. But while most of the world associates Japanese striking with karate in Japan there was a entire separate tradition with Japanese arts.
As defined “Atemi strikes are aimed at key areas of the body: nerve endings, arteries running close to bone, organs, sensitive and vulnerable joints like elbows and knees. These strikes can be made with virtually any part of the body, open hand, fist, fingers, elbow, toes, heel, knee, even your head - all are viable tools for attacking an aggressor's key atemi points.”(1.
As Usheiba developed his Akido, prior to WWII, atemi was part of its practice. It was shown in his 1930 book “Budo” (2. His thinking on Aikido eventually took a different direction and it was discontinued from his later practice. When the book was republished by the English speaking Japanese Aikido students, there were instructors, who following Usheiba’s later teachings did not permit their students to study the practice or buy the book. On the other hand those Japanese instructors who studied pre WWII always maintained the practice of Atemi.
I just found this video ‘How to perform Atemi properly in Aikido’

It is interesting in the manner in which the strikes begin the technique.


While I studied quite a bit with Tristan Sutrisno and his father’s pre WWII aikido studies I am far from an expert, more schooled in his basics. But I recognize most of these Aiki Atemi strikes demonstrated in this video. More ever the basics of using them was part of my instruction. But the thrusts to the face and throat were covered.


As was explained to me it is pain (or the impending thought of pain) that is the operating factor in making Aikido work. The use of Atemi is one factor in that process.



Striking was also a component in Judo, though left out of competition Judo


   This is the list of Atemi-Waza techniques and English translations found in the 1994 paperback edition of Kodokan Judo. (3.

Ude-Waza (Arm Strikes)
Ago-oshi (jaw push)
Ryogan-tsuki (strike to both eyes)
Suri-age (forehead thrust)
Tsuki-kake (punch)
Tsukiage (uppercut)
Yoko-uchi (side blow)
Naname-uchi (slanting strike)
Kirioroshi (downward cut)
Ushiro-dori (hold from behind)
Ushiro-ate (rear strike)

Ashi-Ate (Leg Strikes)
Ryote-dori (two hand hold)
Gyakute-dori (reverse two hand hold)
Keage (kick)
Mae-geri (front kick)
Ushiro-geri (rear kick)
Yoko-geri (side kick)
Ashi-fumi (foot stamp)

An example of this is the use of Atemi in the Goshin Jutsu  Kata of Judo.

Something else to think about.


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