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Kote gaeshi: how to counter it

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Introduction

Given that I've just analysed the application of kote gaeshi (wrist out turn throw/projection/lock) I thought I'd discuss methods of countering it. But before I do that I thought I'd first clarify what kote gaeshi is (in other words, the purpose of this technique).

Lock or throw/projection?

Kote gaeshi is, first and foremost, a wrist lock. If it is performed quickly it can act as a wrist break - particularly if, as I previously mentioned, you put your whole body weight behind the technique and harness your attacker's momentum. When a small joint bears such weight and momentum, the result can be devastating.

The reason kote gaeshi is regarded as a throw or projection is not because it necessarily results in your attacker falling. Indeed, when I apply kote gaeshi to an untrained person, I've noticed that 9 times out of 10 the person will just stand there crying out in pain as the lock is applied. In those cirumstances I have to be careful, as the per…

Kote gaeshi: how to apply it against resistant partners

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Introduction

The humble kote gaeshi - wrist out turn throw/projection/lock - is arguably the most ubiquitous small joint technique seen in traditional martial arts. It is a mainstay of aikido and its parent art, Daito ryu jujutsu. It appears to have been adopted by many karateka as "one of their own" (even though it is often hard to see it in kata). And the technique is certainly common in qin na - the grappling that accompanies many of the traditional Chinese martial arts.

By contrast, the kote gaeshi is hardly, if at all, seen in modern combat sports. In fact, I have been surprised by the number of combat sports practitioners who have said to me over the years that they consider it to be a "fanciful" technique that certainly "won't work in a real fight".

Yet I consider it to be a supremely useful lock - the second most common one that I apply in hard, stand-up sparring (the arm bar being the most common). Why this disparity? I believe it has t…

“Leading” momentum – how realistic is it?

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Introduction

There are a great many “projections” or throws in the traditional martial arts (particularly in aikido) that focus on “leading” the momentum of the opponent – that is to say, continuing and redirecting the momentum of your opponent rather than opposing it.

I have a great admiration for this concept both philosophically and technically. But just how “practical” is it? In other words, what are your chances of “leading” the momentum of an opponent in a real civilian defence scenario?

Before I attempt to answer this question, let me first attempt to explain and describe the art and science of “leading” momentum.

Tai no henko – “body blending” as the essence of leading momentum

The concept behind “leading” is to use your opponent’s momentum against him or her: the harder your opponent tries to attack, the more this is redirected back to him or her.

I love this concept, both philosophically and pragmatically. I have previously discussed my inclination towards Daoist philoso…