NGAExperience® Nihon Goshin Aikido

This Week In Nihon Goshin Aikido ~ #7

April 28, 2014

Greetings Nihon Goshin Aikido Aficionado!

I hope all is well on your area of the giant Easter Egg.

Things are going well here.  The kids are back in school for the final push to the finish, and I find myself with a few minutes to get out the newsletter.  I was an english major in college, so writing is quick and easy work ~ of course it's because I'm so well trained.....  That said, I was never much of an editor or proof reader ~ so if you see a typo, well keep it to yourself.  lol

We got several responses from subscribers on our ukemi and ground fighting notes from the last edition of the newsletter, so it must have been of some interest.  I do appreciate your feedback and thoughts on the matters we discuss ~ so keep commenting.


If you'll remember from last week, we were discussing a guy who calls himself "Sensei Moon."  He runs a dojo in California somewhere.  At any rate, he spends a great deal of time working on teaching rolling as a more "aikido-esque" finish to the breakfall ~ and he rolls early.

In one of his videos, he remarked that someone said, "Wait until I throw you before you roll." ~ to which Sensei Moon replied, "I will if you wait until I hit you before you do your technique."  His thought was that if we're going to get out of the way of the punch we ought to get out of the way of the technique also.  I found the whole notion interesting.

I think there is some merit to getting out of the technique before it can really be applied.  It certainly helps avoid training injuries.  The Come Along Throw for example ~ has such little tolerance for foul ups, and injury is just a hair’s breath away.  If the uke is just a half second late on tapping or rolling, the shoulder will be injured.

When I was a beginner, I really wanted to "feel" the technique, so I'd wait until it got tight to tap.  A few times Nage didn't hear me, so he continued the Come Along movement in spite of my tap ~~~~ this resulted in some stupid injuries that could have been avoided had I simply rolled out of the technique sooner, tapped louder, etc.  Our dojo mantra for new students is:  "Tap Early!  Tap Often!" and we could easily add, "Tap Loudly!"

That said, once I started rolling out of the technique (so fast that it could never even really be applied ~ to try and preserve what was left of both my shoulders), I began to lose the idea for what I was doing as nage with that technique ~ especially when my uke followed my lead and rolled early.

While my understanding of avoiding the technique via good ukemi was improving from yellow to blue to green belts, looking back it seemed that my ability to serve as nage (for the Come Along) trailed in the absence of being able to "deliver a proper tap."

It's certainly something to think about.  Perhaps some open mat time will clear my head on the matter.

Here is a video worth watching on that whole "ukemiwaza before nagewaza or nagewaza before ukemiwaza" debate.

See video on the left, and pay close attention to the rolling counter to the Spin Around @ 2:43 ~~~ the reversal application intrigues me.

Also last week, we were discussing going to the ground.... and an article here:  What To Do When It All Goes South?"

On a related front:  Last Wednesday, I trained at the Irmo, SC dojo with a 3rd kyu in traditional aikido.  He also has about 14 years of training experience with Wing Chun (Bruce Lee's martial art).  His name is Eric, and he's a really great guy.  Anyway, I have been working out with him and another traditional aikido guy since January, but this was his first visit to one of our dojos.  At the end of the class, and even more during the open mat time that followed, I was encouraging him to take his traditional aikido hat off, and strike using some of his Wing Chung strikes.  He told me, "Well Jonathan, I stopped doing that because I was going to get myself thrown in jail if I ever got into a real fight ~ because I could accidentally kill somebody.  That's why I started looking into aikido."

I didn't say it, but I was thinking, "Yeah, sure, whatever, go ahead and try to hit me. Show me what you've got."  Well, after a few attacks, I was thinking, "Holy Cow ~ this guy COULD BE deadly!"

Now these were all controlled attacks, and he was stopping right before the point of impact, and I had my hands up ~ so there was little real danger to either of us.  Everything slowed down at the moment of impact or the application of technique.

I can say that adopting a fighter's stance with both hands up was a necessity because there was never a "single punch" coming in (and standing in a flat position was a distinct disadvantage (aside:  Something I’ve never fully grasped about our system ~ is more of a question:  “Why do we adopt a flat stance posture when you could easily take a more martial position?”  I know the standard answer, eg:  “If you can defend from a neutral stance, you can defend from any stance” ~ but “Why not take a more martial stance when you see the ‘intent’ to attack?  Who would not react when someone is walking up to you?  Why wait for the punch to be thrown before beginning to improve your position ~ when you see it coming?  I don’t know... It would make more sense to me if the attack was coming from a blind spot like my flank or the rear, but if you come at me from the front, I’m going to adopt a defensive posture the second you get within a double arm’s length of me.  I wont be waiting for the actual attack before I blade my stance.”  

Anyway back to Eric.  Every one of his attacks was a strong 3 or 4 strike combination ~ nothing wild either.  These were calculated combinations.  You'd see a jab that came in from a slight angle, then a cross, followed by an elbow, and then another elbow.... All being ticked off in rapid fashion ~~~ we're talking dazzling speed.

On one occasion Sensei Bryan Winfree came over as I secured a Front Wrist Throw, and said, "Good job Jonathan, but you're not moving."  ~~~ lol  He was right.  It was very hard for me to move past the initial entering blend.

Looking back, I think maybe the blending was harder than it should have been because of the lack of follow through to his punches, and I'm not sure if that was a safety feature, or if they just strike from a balanced position (probably a little of both).  At any rate, there was no energy in the attack after it stopped about 2 inches from my nose, etc. and that made blending with the energy difficult ~ as when I did blend, I would find myself too far away to apply technique.  I'd have liked to seen my reactions on video.....

I will say that I had much success with the Front Wrist Throw, and some Pull Downs from the Rear applications ~ but I would often have to wade through 3 or more attacks to finally find that wrist, or forehead.

At one point, I thought, if I were getting picked apart like this on the street (and assuming he didn't have a bunch of friends with him) taking him to the ground would be an instant solution (assuming I like my odds at being better at him on the ground or better yet, that he didn’t know how to grapple at all).  Of course, this is why it pays to study Gracie Jiujutsu ~ which is simply "aikido on the ground."  As someone who has often neglected my grappling skillz, I highly recommend it.


Ask any dan graded NGA'r what their favorite technique to have a picture taken of them doing, and many will say "Scissors Throw."  It seems to be the most common “glam shot” in every dojo, and it’s a very common picture on most NGA websites.  The typical Scissors Throw snapshot definitely makes the web surfer stop and wonder, "How in the world did the guy in the black skirt get there?"  ~~~ as the picture is commonly posted with the nage parallel to the ground and perpendicular to uke.  In many ways it looks like nage is riding a bicycle ~~~~ except the bicycle is rotated 90 degrees out of phase (as if it were rolling across a wall instead of the ground) ~ see picture to the left.

Now it is this technique that we've explored on the website this week; specifically in the Applications side.  As of today, there are 3 videos demonstrating various applications to the Scissors.  One is an MMA fight ~ that results in a Anderson Silva's direct submission.  Another video is from a Judo match in Japan, and the 3rd video is a general discussion about why the Scissors technique has been banned from most judo and JJ competitions.

I never really thought of the Scissors as a dangerous technique, but the clip of the application in the Judo match results in a severely broken leg, and the video about "why it has been banned" has all kinds of cool stories ~ like a guy getting knocked out, etc..

One point of order.  The sound of the leg breaking on the judo video is VERY LOUD, so turn the volume down if the sound of giant celery breaking in half bothers you (because that is exactly what it sounds like).

Now, you're going to have to visit the website to see the clips.  Shameless plug ~ I know.  ;)

Go here:

(You'll see the first video on the left hand side).

By the way, the technique is called Kani Basami” ~ which loosely translates to “Crab Claws."  ~~ kind of a cool bit of visual imagery.

On other fronts ~ and as a reminder:

There is an aikido seminar in Florida that is worth your consideration.  Why Florida?  Well, mostly because none of you guys in the northeast get out in the sun enough. The dates are May 9-10 and the cost is only $30 if you pre-register, or $40 at the door.  It is very affordable.  The location of the seminar is in Tampa, FL (near Raymond James stadium).  The instructor is Mike Jones, an aikikai based aikido practitioner with unbelievable ukemi skills. Soft Ukemi is believed to be the topic.  

I believe soft ukemi to be the next evolution in making aikido fun.  Let's face it, judo breakfalls are only "okay" when they're done perfectly.  This new soft ukemi style (developed by Donovan Waite Shihan) serves a purpose of extending our ability to train ~ and not running off new students who become overwhelmed by the perceptions of the judo breakfall.  Make sure you bring your hakama if you’re dan graded.  You will be expected to wear it.

I hope to attend the Florida seminar with some other students from my dojo ~ I need to work on getting that hall pass.  I foresee that yard work is in my future.  Lots of yard work, and maybe some painting.... lol

Website link is here:

Have You Got A Seminar?  If so, we would like to know so we can advertise it for you.  You can post seminar information here, and it will be added to the website:  

Tell your training buddies about us!  If you like the content of the website, and the idea of increasing the awareness and popularity of Nihon Goshin Aikido, please encourage your friends and training partners to subscribe for the free weekly updates on our subscriber page:  The art can not be spread unless the opportunity to "see it" and "discuss it" is available.  We can all do a better job getting the word out.  I long for the day when we have multiple representatives traveling the globe to introduce our art via seminar every weekend (like the Gracies do with their fighting system).

Further points:  If you see something that is missing on the website, and want to become the solution to the problem you perceive, feel free to submit your articles and videos for publication to the website.  We welcome your input.

Mission & Belief Statement:  We Believe in the growth of the art.  We believe that Nihon Goshin Aikido can not grow unless the art is disseminated widely and discussed thoroughly.  Along those lines, we plan to utilize every prospective medium to accomplish those ends.  We look forward to your help in growing our great art.

Let's meet together on the mat soon,


Jonathan Wilson

Sensei John Carter and me

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Sensei Moon using rolls over breakfalls to assist uke in better countering nage.  Gold Bar waiting for everyone to pick up @ 2:20 - 2:50.

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Glam Shot

~ The Scissors Throw ~

(That’s me, as nage, on my sho-dan test ~~~ Why the poor green belt is having to take ukemi for a purple belt application is a different topic for another day).

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