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Class Notes – Omote Gyaku

April 18, 2014

The first quarter of the year was spent on striking techniques, namely the sanshin no kata and kosshi kihon sanpo (the three striking waza from the Kihon Happo). This quarter we will be working on some of the locks and throws. The first two lessons of April were spent on ura gyaku. We moved on to omote gyaku this week.

Why did I start with ura gyaku first? In my experience, ura gyaku is easier to start off with. Once you apply the technique correctly, there are only a few ways the opponent can move. And that means it is very simple to bring him to the ground after that. It takes time to get used to the ideal ura gyaku position, where you are the strongest and the opponent will find it difficult to fight his way out. Many people tend to move too much and take their opponents past the sweet spot, and it becomes a lot of unnecessary hassle after that.

Omote gyaku is more complicated. Even if you do it exactly the same way each time with everybody, their bodies will react to it differently, so you will have to do different stuff to bring them down to the ground. I don’t expect people to get everything right within 2-3 lessons per technique, but I do want them to get some progress at least!

Here’s a video of omote gyaku that is relatively close to the version I taught in class.

As I said in class, do not confuse this with kote gaeshi.

If you compare that with what we were doing, you can see that we were trying to 1) avoid the other arm punching us in the face, 2) move the hand away from the hip. 2) is very important because there are people who have trained themselves to be quite immune to the kote gaeshi. You will get punched in the face for your troubles if you try the typical kote gaeshi on them. Our version of omote gyaku is a lot safer!

Of course, the basic version we did in class had a lot of elements for you to watch out for. That’s to be expected. If you had to spend the most time training one version, you should train the version that can morph into other versions most easily. It is easier to leave out stuff from the most difficult version than to add in stuff to simpler versions later on under stress.

Then we moved on to some variations from Koto Ryu

1) Shito

Defense against a nasty choke. Take note: your first move does not defeat your opponent’s attack, in fact it looks useless. When you straighten the opponent’s arms he can easily bend them again to re-apply the choke again, right? What you experienced in class, however, was that 1) it set up the koppo ken to the temple, 2) it caused the opponent to drop his guard so the koppo ken gets through. If your first move is the koppo ken, he can easily deflect it with his elbow (while still keeping the choke on). But if you straighten his elbows first, he will commit himself to moving his elbows down so you can koppo ken him.

That’s one thing I love about Koto Ryu, all the sneaky stuff is built into the kata!

2) Shato 

The punch after the grab can be very strong, depending on how much hip the opponent puts into it. Your block may not be strong enough to work. Doesn’t matter, if you position your arm correctly, his punch powering past your block only helps to slam your koppo ken into his temple harder (poetic justice!).

The kick straightens his arm, moving his hand away from his hip (one of the things we are looking for). Omote gyaku becomes very easy after that!

3) Batsugi 

Again the arm is straightened, and the hand is moved away from the hip, this time through a shako ken to the face. The omote gyaku is done with a diagonal slice with your forearm across his forearm. You don’t need a big movement to make it work, as you discovered in class.


These are not the only variations on omote gyaku around. There are a couple more that I may return to at the final quarter of this year if we get skilled enough to attempt them meaningfully (i.e. you guys actually learn useful stuff and improve instead of standing around in confusion). In the meantime, work on our basic version as much as you can.

See you again at training next week!

俊傑 (Shunketsu)
Bujinkan Ninjutsu



From → bujinkan

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