Owaza Ju Pon (The Big 10)

It's been a while since I've had the chance to write anything, though it isn't for lack of anything to write about. Just time.

Lately, in Aikido, we've had mostly yudansha and maybe one brown belt, so I thought it might be nice to go over the last half of owaza ju pon, or "the Big 10". Typically, when we do a demonstration for shodan, we go through randori no kata (be it 17 or 23 techniques, depending upon a given point in history) and then the first 5 of the Big 10. I'm not entirely sure why we would only do the first half, but there it is.

Then, when we demonstrate for nidan, we'll show the last half, plus the first 16 techniques of san kata (we've left out koryu dai ichi and ni katas for decades in our former organization, for nebulous reasons). After that, many of might do a demonstration for sandan, but after that the demonstrations for advanced die off. Ultimately, the last half of the Big 10 often gets lost in the shuffle, it seems. You look at it for that one brief period of preparation for nidan, and then never again.

It's been a good refresher, for me, anyway. I like the exploitation of uke's forward momentum and balance by going back as in shiho nage and kote gaeshi. The ushiro ate it brutally fast and efficient. Using ushiro kubi gatame is a particular favorite of mine when dealing with multiple attackers. (Uke becomes a human shield, so when the bad guys are shooting at you, he gets riddled with bullets while you pick them off one by one from a position of relative safety. Because real life is a lot like the movies, as you well know.) And there's something so deceptively simple and yet deviously delicious as a well-timed, unexpected shizumi otoshi (the hapless yelps of surprise from uke's who aren't expecting it outside of kata is priceless).

The problem is, I can't find much on the kata on the old internet (I understand it's not a part of the general Tomiki curriculum). There is, at least, Sensei Strange's video to enjoy!

I just noticed, though, that the way he does ushiro ate here is slightly different then the way I was always shown, but it's exactly like something I've watched a Ueshiba style aikidoka do many times, though it had a different name (naturally), an approach which I really liked and found to work very well. And now that I think about it, this version falls more in line with the idea of continuing the forward momentum of uke like the rest of the techniques in the Big 10. Hmm. Something to think about (Sensei Strange is always giving me wonderful things to think about!)


  1. Hey that guy is awesome!

    Actually I taught myself the big 10. I realize a lot of the mistakes I made now. I should reshoot it some time.


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