Tai no henka – “transformation/bewitching of the body”

– the “-KA” shows a standing person next to a fallen person –

This is the “transform their body”,  “change their body”  that we hear so often in the dojo, but it can also mean making a move that transforms one’s own body.  There are two tai no henka in the Budo manual, two in most Yoshinkan training manuals, and five in Kanemoto Sunadomari’s Aikido Densho – and all of them are moves that transform uke’s body. One such move is the classic tai-no-henko, and this move – minus throw – is what is described in paragraph three of Budo.



Tai no henko – “transtorm the body to be facing where it was” 1)

– the “-KO” shows a window in the wall of a house –

In one of his videos,  Michio Hikitsuchi Shihan makes it very clear that “tai no henka” means “transform uke’s body”,  whereas “tai no henko” refers to the familiar pivot move.  In Traditional Aikido vol. 1,  Morihiro Saito Shihan spells “henko” this way, emphasizing the “suddenly be looking in the opposite direction”  –  or even the  “be looking out of your partner’s eyes”  aspect of it.



Tai no henko – “change/modification/alteration of the body”

– the “-KO” shows a striking hand under an altar (meaning “thirdly”) –

This is the modern spelling of the term,  apparently adopted in Tokyo in the late fifties. It appears to signal conformity with the approved dictionary spelling…  but the two kanji together offer a web of possible meanings that might adhere to a martial art with ancient roots, for…

hen4TINY…the older form of  “HEN-“,  as used in the printing of Budo,  shows a complicated pattern of threads tied together around a word (which is to say: like words)  over a striking hand –


1)  not a dictionary compound, which makes it look like a creatively punning compound, common in folk-wisdom and in Omoto-kyo discourse.  The spelling of the second word of Aiki Shinzui is one such.

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