Tegatana Awase (昭道館合気道).
One of the basic exercises (kihon waza) of Shodokan Aikido, tegatana awase, performed with a partner, is designed is to help students understand and develop awareness, maintenance of distance and physical communication between tori and uke.
Partners face each other; first in right stance with right arm raised in tegatana (hand-blade) posture touching only at a single point at the wrist. There should be no pressure from either partner, i.e. there should only be a light touch at the contact point. The object of the exercise is for one of the partners to initiate movement and the other partner to respond almost simultaneously to maintain connection. Done correctly, uke mirrors the movement of tori effortlessly as if they can read their mind.
Concepts you need to master for good execution of Tegatana Awase
- maai – distance; should remain constant whether moving forwards, backwards or sideways.
- metsuke – maintain eye contact, avoid looking at the hands and maintain all around awareness too.
- tsugiashi – feet slide close to (preferably be in contact with) the ground all the time. They do not cross over each other. The heels stay in line, maintain level posture by bending the knees slightly. The body/head should not bob up and down, but stay at constant height.
- seichusen – centrally aligned hand, body position
- tegatana – (sword hand or hand blade) fingers point up, touching where there is a groove between wrist bone and hand, elbow slightly bent, whilst thumb is fully open, height at about shoulder height, looking at partners eyes, hand contact to be very light.
- mushin mugamae – no pressure on contact point. Partners should move as one, so if one moves forward, the other moves back to maintain light touch contact all the time, without increasing pressure or losing contact. That is the main point of the practice, to develop this harmony, continuous soft touch, so you can react quickly with ido ryoku (power of movement) in technical situations. If you find the pressure increases on the changes, concentrate on your partner not yourself, feel their movement, quickly change as they do and the pressure moments will lessen until there is only ‘touch’.
Tegatana Awase underpins a lot of useful basic principles in Aikido, so it is important not to just go through the motions of the exercise as if it were just part of a warm up. Stay present and fully focussed to garner the full benefit and perform the exercise at a high level.
Shodokan Hombu instructors Shinnosuke Sakai 6th Dan and Jonathan Cameron 6th Dan demonstrating
Other Basic Shodokan Drills include:- (see link below)
Sei-chu-sen no bogyo – simulated attack, pushing onto chest.
Gasho uke – side and knee attacks, defending with praying hands.
Tegatana no bogyo – same as above using one hand.
Shotei awase – pushing practice, focus of power.
Hiriki no yosei – neutralising practice, focus of power on timing point.
Go no sen no kuzushi - eight basic balance breaking techniques
Tegatana - 手刀