Category Archives: 02-Irimi Nage

…irimi nage!!!…


O’Sensei no kuden: Irimi (7)

Irimi-nage – it appears to be very simple, but [you young folk should] try to understand what I had to live through and endure in order to create it…

– – – reported by Tamura Nobuyoshi Shihan,  Aikido, étiquette et transmission  p. 139

…Irimi !!! …


A Journey Through O’Sensei’s Budo – 2: Irimi

Irimi is Ichi-no-Tachi,  swords passing each other.  Leap forward as the opponent inhales;  apply technique with your exhalation…”  – – – O’Sensei

Irimi  lets innumerable techniques emerge depending on its appliance in each situation and it is also here that we find the meaning of Takemusu Aikido  –  a budo that creates.”  – – –  Shoji Nishio  Shihan

On Sunday,  March 1st,  Kimbal Anderson Sensei taught a workshop on Irimi – using paragraph 2 of the 1938 manual Budo as a starting point. Starting with an hour and a half of relaxation work – we explored the aiki-inyo aspects of irimi-nage,  starting with yamabiko-no-michi,  initial entry and unbalancingand ki-musubi by “looking through their eyes.”

Morihiro Saito Shihan wrote:  “Irimi technique…was considered to be a secret technique to escape from multiple attackers. The other name for this is ‘Yama-biko-no-michi’, [the way of the mountain echo]…. As you extend your Ki, the Ki of your opponent will return to you like an echo. However you do not receive your opponent’s Ki because you have instantly moved past him to his rear.”

The quality of movement that this is about is like a drop of water hanging on a leaf in the forest – it reflects everything around it perfectly – it’s not static:  it’s actually circulating – you can see the whole forest in the drop – the tiniest breeze and the droplet falls naturally like an arrow let loose from a bow. Your uke:  their thought, even their ki movement can be just enough – so that their movement, their impulse even, makes the droplet begin its motion: and it drops naturally – it isn’t forceful – and it’s consistent: it just always happens – it’s happening everyday in a rainstorm.

And so as a practitioner: you fill  your body with ki, like the droplet you fill it right up to the brim. It’s not under duress, it’s balanced perfectly, like the raindrop – – – anything that happens, whether it be six people moving around you, or a single uke, and you begin your motion. It appears to the outsider as if you moved first, because you’re moving off their ki:  before their physical bodies even get in motion, they’ve set their ki in motion, created the shape of how they’re coming. They’ve also created all the exits, and all the shikaku, and to see that in a glimpse and move only where it’s open… naturally like that droplet you’ll pass through them.

And that’s the thing of being able to be in the state of consciousness where your body naturally moves. You don’t think consciously “there’s the opening”… you’re  in the correct state of being, like the water droplet, that falls naturally and sinks into the ground through the points of  no resistance. It doesn’t fight its way down to the ground.

So you’re in that state,  they move – on an energy level – in other words the first person thinks to go –  and that  creates the dynamic. Because that person creates where all the others can go:  they have to go around that person’s path… and like the water droplet, you just pass through.  With enough training, in that moment, it’s just crystal clear where the hole is.

And you can not hesitate.

And if you watch pictures of O’Sensei doing that thing, with a group of people, you can see this twisting spiral motion where he’s entering right through that hole. But if you watch their movement, he triggers it by their ki.

…irimi-nage workshop…


“…for me Aikido (I’m now only six months in training) is the path not sought yet chosen. This workshop set my feet more assuredly on that path, both literally and figuratively. To train in such an open-hearted dojo is an extraordinary experience…”
– – ~ Lynn Fraley
“…after a full  hour and a half of stretches, including the sankyo pin, I was so relaxed…you really can just flow round uke like water…”  – – – Peter John StillaidoriTIMsantoPETERsanCROP

On the heart of the hand (ta-na-gokoro)…

paragraph 2: Irimi:  “….thrust the heart of your hand upwards, at a slant, and to the right….”

When we discuss kamae we often don’t look at it on the level of small things, small teachings: but the kamae of the whole body can be reflected in the kamae of the hands.  And so this idea of the hollow of the hands – the heart of the hands [ta-na-gokoro]… as I was instructed, the hollow of the hand has a sense of drawing in the universe, a turning spiral that pulls everything into your own connected center. And the outer part of that spiral – the fingers – return to that shape, so while they’re extending outward, their arc is to draw back into that point in the center of  the palm.

And so just simply holding that sort of energy, one can take correctly: so when the wrist is going to be grabbed, or a jo, or spoon or  whatever else you might be taking,  you connect it to your center, and you lose the separation between yourself and the object.

So we say like in our sword school: “muto“:  there is no sword,  because you have totally joined with it… it is the perfect reflection of your being.

You can do this with any object or any process: you can cook this way, you can act this way… I was showing the actors studying kigaku-ho

read more:

Morihiro Saito Shihan on Irimi-nage and Ki-flow…

Flow of “Ki

…[these exercises] may best be practised in three different ways. The first method may be
called rigid training (SOLID)…


The second method is flexible training (FLEXIBLE) …


The third method is called “flow of Ki“, a training formula which causes your partner’s “ki” to flow out (FLUID).


The Aikido Founder once described this as “training in the gravitation of the universe”. An
illustrious example of this is throwing your partner without coming  into contact with him at all by calling out his “Ki” and linking it with yours. This is made possible by forming a curtain of “Ki” between his hands and yours…



Photo[s] on the right page show… Irimi-nage featuring “flow of Ki” which calls out your partner’s “Ki“.



– – – Morihiro Saito Shihan,  Aikido:  its Heart and Appearance    pp. 124-5





Koichi Tohei Shihan on Irimi-nage and Ki-flow…




Nage should help Uke to go along the direction of his Ki.






When he discovers that he has gone too far and wants to return, let him  return. It is with this lighter feeling that these movements should be performed.

Nage raises the right arm in a curving upward motion. If the right arm is merely pushed back against Uke‘s right arm, there is a collision of two forces and raising the arm becomes very difficult. The right arm should be raised while pouring forth Ki as shown in the diagram [below]


so that Uke‘s right arm  automatically follows and is raised up. Nage‘s Ki must be poured forth along the side of the small finger.

The right arm and the [koshi] must be lowered completely, and when standing up, the arm must be positioned as shown in [2nd photo]. Then Ki is poured forth and Nage stands up.

tohei-iriminage3[3rd photo]: Do not work to throw Uke‘s body. Lead Uke‘s mind  backward, and he will  automatically fall.

The right arm goes up with the finger tips first and encircles Uke‘s neck. Then with the finger tips pointing to the ground, Nage throws Uke as though he were dropping him off his finger tips.

When Nage encircles Uke‘s neck  with his arm, he does not hit his throat with his arm.


If Nage imagines that his rigid arm is round and truly wraps it around Uke‘s neck, he can throw Uke with ease.






After throwing Uke, it will not do for Nage to let Ki out of the body or to let his guard down. He must always imagine that enemies are around and prepare to defend himself against the next attack from any quarter.

– – – Koichi Tohei Shihan,  “Supervised by Morihei Uyeshiba  [O’Sensei]”   Aikido the Arts of Self-Defense,   p. 91

…in the dojo(59) – irimi-nage!…

…in the dojo(60) – irimi nage!…