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Class Notes – Ganseki Nage

January 13, 2012

Ganseki Nage is the basic, foundational throw of Bujinkan taijutsu. There are a number of factors that go into making it an effective technique, including:

1) distance & angle – you want to be in pretty much the same position vis-a-vis your opponent as musha dori. That is, your feet are roughly in line with his feet & you are around one-arm’s-length distance away.

2) timing – the full extension of the throw should come together with the feet arriving at the right position. You can (and should) start the arm movement first to kuzushi the opponent, but don’t complete the arm movement earlier or later than the stepping.

3) details – elbows matter here. As a rough and ready guide for newer practitioners, I teach that you should point your opponent’s elbow up and be able to hit him in the ribs with your elbow. Once you get the hang of it you can make it work in other ways, but this is a simple way to get started with ganseki nage.

Simple exercise – the training partner keeps his/her arm at a hira ichimonji no kamae, and you practice moving into the correct position for the throw but DON’T throw. Just isolate and work on the footwork, arm circling movement and positioning first!

The basic form is actually quite hard for most beginners to get. Ironically, once you give them some context it becomes a lot easier. The three contexts I gave them were:

1) Chi no Kata – after the san-shitan ken strike, use the other arm to ganseki nage the opponent

2) Ka no Kata – after the ura shuto strike, use the other arm to ganseki nage the opponent

3) Koyoku (from Koto Ryu) – do a shikanken (cross) before using the other arm to ganseki nage the opponent.

These variations not only make it easier for a student to learn the throw, (because the opponent has already done most of the hard work of moving into the right position) they also teach the student about recognizing the right opportunities to use the throw. One thing Justyn always warned us about was not to get fixated on using a particular technique. He wanted us to flow, to see what comes naturally out of the moment and situation. Letting students work with variations earlier helps develop this crucial aspect.

Of course there’s no way I can do this technique justice in just one or two lessons. But I believe in letting a technique cook within a student for a while as we work on other stuff. That way when we return to the technique the student will have matured and be able to see even more within this one technique itself. Expect to come back to this technique again in a few months time!


Junjie 俊傑

From → bujinkan

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