Aikido Rokyu Testing – Part 1

I’m getting ready to do my rokyu (6th kyu) test in aikido, again.  As readers of this journal may know, I’ve had something of a checkered past with my training in aikido.  I’ve loved doing it, but was never really consistent with my training beyond the first year I started doing it back in 1996.

I passed my 6th kyu test the first time I did it, but that was 15 years ago and stopped regular training soon thereafter for some reason.  Although the techniques are familiar, they aren’t in my conscious or muscle memory as well as they should be, so I opted to test again as a way to reinforce my knowledge of them and to become better established in the techniques.  Here are the techniques I will be tested in, with my notes and some links to videos demonstrating them:

Shomen uchi Ikkyo – head strike – elbow pin / omote: intercept – hand to elbow, step in front, push to mat, pull toward you. — ura – intercept – hand to elbow, do tenkan, driving uke to mat.

Shomenuchi – Irimi Nage – head strike – step behind throw / hands up to block/redirect strike, hit to face while stepping behind, hands on shoulders, turn self/uke into opposite arm raised to clothesline them.

Munetsuki Kotegaeshi – stomach punch – wrist pin / take hand while doing tenkan.  Turn to face them while curling wrist up and toward them.

Yokomen uchi Shihonage – neck strike – 4 directions throw / omote – hands up to slide down arm, take uke’s hand, step in front, squat to move hand across my forehead, stand, turn to face them, bow.  ura – hands up to take striking and hit partner’s face. Slide hands down to the attacking hand, pivot behind, and turn, grazing your forehead with their hand, bow.

kokiu tanden ho – seated “breath” throw.

Katate Dori Shihonage – same-side grab – 4 directions throw / omote: step in front, take their attack hand with free hand, lift and turn full circle, bow. ura: tenkan, take their attack hand with free hand, turn, bow.

Shomenuich nikyo – head strike – wrist pin / Like ikkyo, but after pushing elbow toward ear, take wrist and point toward partner.  Place on opposite shoulder with arm on elbow.  As partner raises up, bow slightly, turn tenkan, take them down.  Nikyo pin with arm on elbow.  Lift arm, move in and put knees on either side of shoulder, place pinky of opponent (palm out) in crook of elbow, cross their elbow with free hand, bow toward their head to complete pin.

Kata dori ikkyo – shoulder grab – elbow pin / Slide non-grabbed side arm down partner’s arm to wrist, lift partner’s elbow with grabbed side hand, push toward ear and walk forward or turn) per omote and ura ikkyo).

Kata dori nikyo – shoulder grab – wrist pin / Slide non-grabbed side arm down partner’s arm to wrist, lift partner’s elbow with grabbed side hand, turn wrist toward partner, place on attacked shoulder with free arm on attackers elbow, bow.  Turn tenkan, for take down. Nikyo pin with arm on elbow.  Lift arm, move in and put knees on either side of shoulder, place pinky of opponent (palm out) in crook of elbow, cross their elbow with free hand, bow toward their head to complete pin.

Munetsuki kaitennage – stomach punch – wheel throw / omote – turn offline, catch hand, guide, making long circle forward, skimming ground and around.  Other hand to head, walk forward. ura– exactly the same but tenkan before making the long circle.

Not all of these video examples or my definitions are perfect, mind you.  They are good as general reminders to me of how to do the technique.The terms are difficult because I don’t know much Japanese, but this aikido glossary of terms helped give me a key to what I’m doing based on the foreign names.

While researching good examples of these techniques, I also came across a couple good videos in the basics of ukemi:  attacks and rolling, where I was having some trouble.

How to Do Good Aikido Attacks – YouTube

Aikido Ukemi: Meeting the Mat

Unlike meditation, which is pretty much a static, solitary pursuit, aikido is dynamic and  interactive.  Others will often influence how you attack, or receive the attack for many different reasons.  In this sense there is no fixed way to do a technique with every person since it will change based on your partner’s height, weight, experience in aikido, and experience in life.

More in Part 2 of this article after I have completed the testing.