Koshinage against different attacks. Many more aikido videos on my YouTube Channel.

Videos and Explanations of the Aikido Throwing Technique

Video clip hereAt each heading, click on this symbol to see that video clip.

Koshinage   koshinage

Koshinage, "hip throw", is usually not trained sufficiently in aikido dojos. It is awkward for tori, the defender, and a bit unpleasant for uke, the attacker. So, many dojos do it only to a minimal extent — as little as they can get away with. But to learn it properly you have to do it a lot, at least in the learning phase.

       The ones who really do it a lot are judo practicioners. Also, they have developed trustworthy ways to do it. If you want to learn it well, you do good to study how it's done in judo.

       In aikido, koshinage really is kind of peripheral. I can't remember that I've seen Osensei do a regular koshinage on any of the films I have seen. Please let me know, if I am mistaken. Nishio sensei, who was a high ranking judoka when he started with aikido, told me that he was the one to introduce koshinage at Hombu dojo. He had extremely elgant koshinage. So did his pupil Ichimura sensei. It is their style of koshinage that I have inherited, although certainly not with the same skill.

       In the most sophisticated koshinage, uke hardly touches tori's hip, when falling over it. Still, it's good for tori to learn how to manage the weight of uke on the hip. Otherwise, tori doesn't develop the balance necessary to do koshinage safely.

       Basically, tori stands with the feet together at the moment of the throw. The knees are bent, and the body is leaning to the side. Tori should bend the knees and go down as low as possible — preferably so that the hip is below uke's center. The throw is initiated at the same time as tori goes down. Uke is pulled forward — not downward — and falls over tori's hip because it's in the way.

       Most beginners misunderstand, and lean forward instead of to the side. That's what you should do when you need to carry a heavy load on your back. But in koshinage you don't want to carry uke, but to have uke sort of trip over your hip. Therefore, you need to lean your body to the side, and not forward at all. You can train this by standing close to a wall. Do the throwing movement without your body losing contact with the wall — then you do it correctly.

       Uke is pulled up and forward, in a circular movement that eventually leads to the floor. It's like a wheel. I think you can see what I mean here, especially on the first throw — on the third and fourth second of the video clip. You make a circular turn with your body and your arms. Compared to a wheel, uke is the tire of it, your arms are the spokes, and of course the hub is your center, tanden.

       It is very difficult to learn a koshinage good enough to be trustworthy also against an unwilling uke. The technique is often easy to counter, and to do it you have to put yourself in a vulnerable position. If you don't train it substantially, I would say that you should regard koshinage as an impractical technique. Still, it's good to try it, since it is one of the basic techniques of aikido — though not used that very much by most aikidoka.

       Below are some examples of how I prefer to do koshinage. You should know that there are many ways of doing it, on each attack form. Don't regard my examples as the basic forms, but simply as suggestions.

       The way to do ukemi, the falling, in koshinage is the high one, often called tobikoshi, falling over the hip. It is usually related to as "hard" falling. In judo, this type of ukemi is practiced so much that it becomes very relaxed and natural. This is not always the case in aikido. Many aikido students feel very uncomfortable with doing tobikoshi ukemi, often because they just haven't learned it properly or practiced it enough. My best advice for learning a relaxed tobikoshi ukemi is simpy: do it a lot when you learn it, and it will be fine.

       Sugano sensei told me that he regards the tobikoshi ukemi as something for young people. When you're young, you can do it a lot with no harm, but as you get older it is increasingly detrimental to your body and health. When you pass, say, the age of 30, you should consider this carefully.

       There are different ways of doing tobikoshi ukemi. Some are quite soft — but I think that they demand a special throwing technique as well. The traditional tobikoshi ukemi is quite noisy and distinct. You land heavily on the floor, and you have to hit the tatami hard with your hand to counter some of that force. You also have to learn to fall to the floor in the right body angle, with the right angle and positions of your legs, et cetera.

       The ukemi technique that I would recommend is hard to explain in detail. Unfortunately it's not exactly the same as the one Mathias uses in these video clips. You should land slightly turned to the side and hit the floor with your hand, as Mathias does, for example here. Notice that I hold up his other arm to help him land correctly. I also recommend that you have both legs bent in about the same angle, but distanced so that they don't collide at impact. One foot hits the floor on the side, and the other foot hits the floor with the sole — but none of the knees point straight up. That way, the force of the impact, the "shock wave", doesn't go to the knees. They should point slightly to the side. You should hit the floor with the palm of your hand, right before your body does, and keep your fingers tightly together or they may collide, which can sting quite a bit.

       I'll try to get around to make some video clips on the tobikoshi ukemi I recommend. It takes time to learn, and it's not that comfortable to do — not even when you get good at it.

Video clip link        Notice that the little movie projector in every header is a link to a short video clip, usually about 400 KB in size, where I show how I do the koshinage in question — two times on each video clip. Koshinage is not divided into omote and ura, so there is only one form of it on each attack. Below each header are some of my views and pointers on it. I hope you find it of some interest. In the videos, the attacker is Mathias Hultman from my dojo Enighet in Malmö, Sweden. Behind the camera is Nicklas Wikström from Shirakawa Aikido in Skellefteå.

Stefan Stenudd

Video clip here

Aihanmi katatedori

aihanmi katatedori This koshinage I regard as one of the easiest to learn. Therefore it is good to use as an introduction to koshinage for beginners. Also, it is rather easy for tori to make sure that uke falls safely, by holding up uke's arm at the end of the throw.

       The initial movement is similar to that of ikkyo omote. Make sure to grab uke's wrist firmly, or uke can easily escape the throw. At the moment where you would in ikkyo apply your other hand to uke's upper arm by the elbow, you do instead make an atemi, strike, to uke's face.

       It is commonly stated in aikido that atemi is essential. I don't think so. It is important to learn, mainly because it teaches you how to enter and how to position yourself in relation to uke — but the actual strike, or the threat of it, should not be necessary on an advanced level. So, in the case of koshinage — when you have become skilled with it, you can skip the atemi and go directly from entrance to throw.

       Right after the entrance step, you turn to the side, bring your feet together, and extend uke's arm upward-forward. This extension you continue through the throw. When you learn the throw, it is very important that you really work on this extension, all through the technique. Your koshinage is not likely to work, if you don't extend uke's arm sufficiently upward-forward.

       As you feel uke tipping forward, you bend your knees, and tilt your body to the side, so that you sort of disappear from in front of uke. For a koshinage where you don't have to use much strength, you should be swift in this "disappearance", so that uke is surprised by finding your body no longer in his or her way. It's like a door suddenly opening. If done in good rhythm, that alone makes uke lose balance and tip forward.

       It is important that you bend your knees a lot, and go down deep. You should get your hip lower than uke's center. Otherwise it is difficult to tip uke over it, without using a lot of force. In addition, if you stand high, uke's fall will be unnecessarily high.
       Turn your body and your arms like a wheel, where uke is the tire, your arms are the spokes, and your center, tanden, is the hub. The wheel is turning in the direction uke had in his or her attack. That is, a dirction straight forward for uke.

       Straighten your legs when you feel that uke is passing over your hips. Don't straighten them before uke has passed, or you may get stuck in your techniques because you suddenly have to carry uke's full weight. It is when uke's legs are sliding over your hip that you straighten up, giving them an extra push. You can help in this push with your free arm.

       All through the actual throw, your feet should be together — or at least not very far apart at all. If they are slightly apart at the beginning of the throw, bring them together at the end of it. At that moment you should also raise your back from the leaning position.

       You hold on to uke's arm, and pull it upward at the end of the throw, to help uke fall correctly. This way, you make sure that uke turns around and lands on his or her back. If you let go of uke's hand, there is a risk that uke lands on the face, or tries to stop the fall by extending the arms toward the floor. If so, there is a great risk of injury.

       Also, if you hold on to uke's arm, you can easily follow the throw up with a pinning technique. This is rarely done in aikido training of koshinage, but you benefit from trying it out, now and then.

Video clip here


ryotedori Not all aikido teachers would agree with me, but I regard ryotedori koshinage as good for beginners — not as much for tori as for uke. Since you grab both of uke's arms, you can make sure that uke falls correctly, and not tries to break the fall by extending an arm to the floor, which is very hazardous.

       Observe that you should grab uke's both wrists. Don't trust that uke will hold on to you through the technique. Grabbing one wrist is quite straightforward, but to grab the other you have to make a circular turn with your hand — almost as if you were aiming for a yonkyo grip.

       If you feel the need for an atemi, strike, this is done with your elbow to uke's face. Use the elbow of the arm that had to do the circular turn to get the wrist grip. Be careful not to hit, since that can be very harmful. The elbow is very hard.

       You should extend uke's both arms upward-forward, when doing the throw. And you should hold on to them all through the throw, to make sure that uke falls correctly.

       After the throw, if you want to do a pinning, you release one of your arms and do the pinning on any one of uke's arms — for example the pinning technique that is used in kotegaeshi. An ikkyo pinning should also be possible.

       For additional details on koshinage, see what is written on aihanmi katatedori above.

Video clip here

Katadori menuchi

katadori menuchi Here too, you control uke's both arms all through the throw, like in ryotedori, which makes the fall rather safe even for an inexperienced uke.

       In katadori menuchi, no matter what technique you do, you have to choose the correct arm to do it on — the katadori or the shomenuchi arm. In this koshinage you actually use them both, by bringing them together and locking them, but it has to be done in the proper order: First the shomenuchi arm, then the katadori arm. I don't think that you can do the technique safely if you only control one of the arms.

       You pull down the shomenuchi arm under the katadori arm, grabbing the wrist firmly. The katadori arm you can lock by pushing it to you, or by grabbing the keikogi as I do on this video clip. Don't let go of any arm, until the throw is over.

       Here it is not so easy to extend uke upward-forward, because you hold uke more tightly than in the above techniques. But if you bend your knees and go down low, it is possible to extend uke a little upward and forward. It tends to involve some lifting of uke, though. Not much, but some. Don't try to throw uke downward, or you will easily lose your balance and drop down together with uke.

       If uke still holds on to the katadori grip after the throw, you may find it difficult to do a pinning technique on that arm. Also on the other arm, it can be kind of tricky. If the katadori grip is very strong, your best choice is to release the other arm and go for a nikyo pinning on the katadori arm. Therefore, make it a habit always to do the pinning technique on the katadori arm when uke holds on with it. If uke lets go of the katadori grip in the throw, it is usually easier to access the other arm for a pinning.

       For additional details on koshinage, see what is written on aihanmi katatedori above.

Video clip here

Ushiro ryotedori

ushiro ryotedori Here it may look like uke's both arms are locked, but actually uke is free to let go of the initial katatedori grip, whereas the second arm is being hooked and locked.

       On this video clip I show a koshinage in jutai, soft body, which means to move before uke's attack is completed. In gotai, hard body, where uke is allowed to complete the attack first, you need a slightly different solution.

       Make sure that you lift the arm that uke has grabbed and move it to the other side of your body — otherwise uke can grab your neck when you move in for the throw. The other arm you hook from below by a quick circular movement of you free arm.

       Similar to katadori menuchi above, it is difficult to extend uke upward-forward in this koshinage. You need to bend your knees and go down low, to be able to push uke upward-forward at the throw.

       If you want to do a pinning after the throw, you should be able to do it on either one of uke's arms. Do it on the one that is the easiest to grab. That can differ from time to time, so you should practice both.

       For additional details on koshinage, see what is written on aihanmi katatedori above.

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Stefan Stenudd

Stefan Stenudd

About me
I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both English and Swedish. I'm also an artist, a historian of ideas, and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.