Sunday, April 22, 2012

The big three in Tomiki Aikido

Recently this document was published on Face Book. It is a fascinating paper for you Tomiki lineage historians out there. It was the core curriculum of the tradition at that time.

 I am guessing this paper comes from the Yamada line out of Europe. My other guess is that this dates from the early 1960s. Although these are complete guesses - I do have a pretty good record of Tomiki document guess work so far. I will edit as I learn more information.

The first thing to note is there are three major exercises. The Tandoku - meaning solo exercise. Then there is the Sotai - which is the paired exercises. Then there is the base techniques. At the time of this printing Tomiki Sensei had 20 techniques. Preious to this Tomiki's 15 had been what was practiced. This appears to be an evolutionary bridge between Tomiki's early 15 to the 17. In my mind this demonstrates that the meat and potatoes of the system has long been what I consider the big three - what in America we often call the walk, the releases and the 17.

There is a lot to process on for the Tomiki lineage historian. Notice this is labeled as a Judo kata. Aikido is not mentioned. There has long been talk that Tomiki Sensei had been trying to introduce aiki waza into the Kodokan. While he succeeded in doing that with the Goshin Jitsu kata, perhaps this paper shows his goal for a comphrensive system of aiki for the judo world. Along this same thinking - the old film of Tomiki sensei doing aikido is called Judo Taiso.

 Lots to ponder. Of course these are all just leading up to randori.


  1. That ain't no judo like I've ever seen...

    Great find on the video and interesting snapshot of lineage and history.

  2. From Bieler Sensei,

    From the names, those sotai taiso look to be what we call 3-7 of yon kata. Interesting if it drops the first two "jodan" releases but keeps the ushiro (which is fundamentally a first release). The jodan pair are an expression of aiki-age, which makes them valuable even if they can put you in danger, ie, not behind the arm. I still wonder where our releases 5-8 came from.

    The walking is almost identical. The kata set might even be better for self-defense than the 17, since there were apparently some compromises made for safe competition.

  3. It's interesting to see how these things evolve over time. In some ways it looks so different from what people do now, even at the shodokan.

    By the way, are the releases the same as what we would call the kuzushi waza/go no sen no kuzushi/nage no waza, or are they something slightly different? I wonder if perhaps they are related to a drill that apparently used to be in our curriculum, but got phased out and replaced by the "grab and stabs." It focused on grabbing uke back in all of the various permutations - aikamaekatate/gyakugamaekatate, junte/gyakute ...