NGAExperience® Nihon Goshin Aikido

Attack Line/ Self Defense Line Examples

Observation is One Easy Way to Prepare for Your Sho-Dan Test

By Jonathan Wilson


You don’t need to recreate the wheel ~ you just need to watch and observe what other students have done.


Watch any attack line, and you’ll learn something if you’re watching actively.


  1. Observe how movement makes technique and unbalancing easier, and a lack of movement makes everything harder.
  2. Observe how blocks and initial movements can be changed to break out of ruts.
  3. Observe how crisp everything looks.
  4. Observe how some tests look better than others.  There is the visual indication marker:  “Yep, that looks like a black belt to me.”


One Final Point: When you’re standing on the “X” ~  Don’t over think it!  My experience has been that the more I think about doing a certain technique (or not doing a certain technique, or not getting hit, etc.) the less fluidly I perform whatever it is I was trying to do.  


For me, it generally works best to move first, take uke’s balance, and then perform whatever technique I have available to an unbalanced uke.  I know I’m doing it wrong when I have to apply too much pressure to a technique to get it to work.  This is patently obvious on “timing” techniques like “Slap to the Side of the Head.”  When things are clicking on Slap to the Side of the Head, I am able to lead uke to the mat without measurable effort ~ and barely even making physical contact with uke’s head.


Here are some Attack Line video examples for your consideration.

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Gi’s and Hakamas

Training Weapons

Parallel Aikido History

Your Dojo Pictures Here

Ukemi Central

The Soft Ukemi Revolution

Real Fight Breakdowns

Uke Appears Unhappy ~~~

Change In Your Movement =

Change In Your Technique

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I used the Tenshin Movement to get here ~

Uke’s attack was a backhand strike, which I parried well, stepping back with Tenshin movement to effectively unbalance Uke.... Then I undercut him with an evolved application.   It’s a cross between a Body Block, Pivot Over the Back, Back Breaker, with a little Muggers Throw thrown in for fun.  


While the fall is surprisingly easy, it’s still not a technique you want to bust out on someone with out confidence in their ukemi abilities.  


Before my attack line test, I did this technique on every attacker to make sure they were ready for it.

Related Articles:  

Proper Composure for Every Type of Attacker


The Sho-Dan Rank and its relationship to future training


How to Control the Pace of the Test and Stay Fresh!


Movement Essentials


Handling Weapons


Atemi:  How Much, How Often?


Breaking Out of Ruts ~ Creating Variety


Gun Defenses

These are not tests ~ but they are attack lines executed at an extremely high level of proficiency.

Sensei Hamilton’s Promotion to Ni-Dan (L) and an attack line randori demo by Sensei Carter (R)

Highlights from my Shodan Promotion, and My Sampai, Tim McNeal’s Attack Line Test (R)

Sensei Walter Kopitov (R)

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