Using aiki principles in grappling


This article covers 4 different principles you can use during grappling:

  • Using shizenhontai to maintain good posture.
  • Using aiki to control the hips, and break the do-jime position.
  • Using the shoulder/hip pairing to maintain good balance, whilst passing.
  • Learn how to clear the arm, when you have them in yoko-shiho-gatame

The guard pass

Here is a basic guard pass, we can add aiki to it to make it more efficient.

Guard pass at Wavell Heights dojo

Using tome aiki to pin the hips

A common complaint of beginners when they start grappling is getting really tired arms and forearms. This is generally because your arms, are fighting against their legs, on the horizontal plain. So as Amatsu sensei said “Legs are stronger than arms, use leg power!”, we need to cancel their leg power. We do this by controlling the hips from any lateral movement. Now instead of trying to reverse out by pushing off your arms on the horizontal plain, you pin the hips with aiki, then open your back.

Clearing the legs

When you are clearing the legs, it is important that you are not resting on your shin, you should be more on your outside of your thigh. In the first photo Darren has a good alignment between his hip and shoulder, elbows are in, and he has a good base. In the second photo Darren has bad alignment between his grounded hip and shoulder and can be easily swept.

The video below demonstrates how important good alignment of the shoulder / hip pairing of the external harmonies to create good posture.

This drill is broken into 3 phases:

  • When you are in the guard
  • When you are passing the legs
  • When you are in side control

Using kyoku jime

Kyoku jime (息絞) is locking teki with your breath, in the video below I feel teki’s breath and harmonise with it. As they expand their chest, at the top of the cycle they will then start to breath out. As their breath expels from their body, apply aiki to lock their breath. So I apply aiki sage, as their chest exhales and contracts. The pressure of my weight stops their breathing and allows me easily apply a submission.

Locking teki’s breath with aiki

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