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A grab in Aikido

The purpose of this blog is to become familiar with Aikido terminology.

The definition of a grab is: a sudden quick grasp, a violent seizure of a hand or arm... and in Aikido it can also represents much more, a punch or a kick.

Punches and kicks are studied in Aikido but for a beginner, learning footwork, body position and alignment are easier with a simple grab, and it keeps the student safe.

With a partner, if the left-hand grabs the left hand, or right to right, it is called in Japanese:

Hai-hanmi: same stance.

Or Kosadori: same hand grab.

It is a fundamental form of attack in Aikido.

A second attack could emerge such as a punch to the face. It is important to keep this in mind.

If it is the opposite hand that grabs, then it is called in Japanese:

Gyaku-hanmi: Opposite stance

Or Katatedori: Opposite hand grab.

This fundamental attack is also very common in Aikido, and it can be followed by another attack such as a punch, strike of the knee or a kick. We never know what might happen next.

In the time of the samurai, an attacker might have grabbed the opponent to stop him from drawing his sword or to get close enough to initiate a second attack such as a punch or worse a stab. The most logical and natural grab, in the sword drawing's situation, is probably kosadori.

In a street, an attacker might try to grab to steal a wallet, a bag, or punch, kick whatever he feels necessary to get what he wants.

An attacker is most likely going to grab or punch or kick in the most natural way. We have to keep this in mind. In the streets, they are no fancy moves and there are no rules.

For a punch, we found that Katatedori might be the most natural first attack or grab.

Again, there are no rules in the street so at some point, the student has to understand the difference between the fundamentals learned in the dojo and the street and explore and study all possibilities.

Etiquette and terminology are the easiest part of the training to remember, so I would recommend learning the terminology as soon as possible to help the new student to build confidence.


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