Kuden the secret oral teachings of Aikido

In 1974 Saito Sensei wrote in his forward to Volume 3 of his book Traditional Aikido Sword Stick and Body Arts that he had quoted “the words bequeathed by Founder Morihei Ueshiba  which represent the heart of techniques”.

Sensei Derek Minus has asked that these secret oral teachings or Kudan be recorded for those students without access to these invaluable books. First published in 1974 by Minato Research & Publishing Company, Tokyo, the cited page numbers will be from the 12th printing, July 1981.

1. Standing Kokyu-ho or Morote-dori kokyu nage (p.30)

“lower your shoulders, joints, hips and mind”

Saito Sensei in expressing this Kudan would say, lower the kata (shoulder), hiji (elbow), koshi (hip) and kimochi (spirit).

The next two kudan relate to variations on the basic form of standing Kokyu-ho:

2. Kokyu-ho when your wrist has been twisted until the palm is facing upwards (p.32)

“Don’t resist the twisting attempt. Instead, charge your body with centralized energy and move the waist panel of your Hakama into the back of your held hand”

3. Kokyu-ho when your wrist is held upward (p.36)

“Close your hand and charge the thumb with centralized energy”

Saito Sensei next considers the  basic forms of Ikkyo through to Gokyo.

4. Shomun-uchi Dai-Ikkyo Omote waza (p.40)

Saito Sensei reminds us that O Sensei’s teachings on the seated Omote form were to take your partner’s wrist from underneath:

“your thumb touching his pulse”

and to move into and take the pin with

“a spirit surging effusively from the earth and thrusting forward in an endless drive”

5. Shomun-uchi Dai-Ikkyo Ura waza (p.42)

The kudan of the Ura form was:

“to pin the arm of your partner circularly, giving it a shade of a push and a twist”

Saito Sensei then gives the kudan for the standing forms.

6. Shomen-uchi Dai-Ikkyo Ura-waza (p.49)

“Two plus eight equal 10. Four plus six equal 10. Five plus five equal 10″

This, he explains, is the way to meet your partner”s force. Thus a large step by your partner should be equalized by a small step from you.  If this needs further clarity he has given us the  belief  of O Sensei that,  “True Budo knows of no opponent nor an enemy. True Budo aims  to form a wholly integrated entity“. (p.21 vol 3).

7. Shomen-uchi Dai Nikkyo (p.50)

Take the pin, in training, to stimulate uke”s shoulder and elbow by:

“gluing his elbow to your lower abdomen, twist toward the head of your partner”

8. Shomen-uchi Dai Nikkyo Ura waza  (p.52)

Once uke’s hand is pressed against your lapel, twist your hips to:

“bend his arm in the shape of  <, causing his little finger to turn toward his nose”

9. Shome-uchi Dai Sankyo (p.56)

Saito Sensei says that once having taken the sankyo grip,  to apply the impulse producing twist to your partner’s wrist,  it is necessary to

“position yourself side by side with your partner”

10. Shomen-uchi Dai Gokyo Ura waza (p.64)

We are first reminded that the unbreakable rule of Ura waza is to align your toes (or knee) with your partner’s.  Then  to turn your body obliquely:

“like the movement of the billows”

11. Yokemen-uchi Shiho-nage (p.72)

Saito Sensei illustrates the correct hand position with a photograph of  himself holding a boken. This grip is applied to uke’s right hand wrist. (The reverse grip would be true for a left handed attack).  To ignore this arrangement of your hands will block your path, which is akin to the movement of the 5th suburi.  Sensei Derek Minus says “thumb side low” a short hand reminder of the kudan;

“Grasp the wrist of your partner in such a way that the thumb side of his hand is led out in front of you”

12. Hannmi-handachi: Ryote-dori Shiho-nage (p.77)

To take a balanced position and avoid a kick, it is necessary to stand up before turning. Once you have turned, if your partner is too strong for you to take a step without being pulled backwards:

pull back your foot, restructure your balance and take another step forward, thus downing him”

13. Kotegaeshi (p.80)

Saito sensei gives a reminder that your hands must stay in your centre – in front of your navel.

“Kotegaeshi should be performed at a lower height”

14. Kaiten-nage (p.82)

“triangular entry is essential to the Rotary throw”

15. Irimi-nage (p.92)

Saito Sensei has written that the focus must be on your extension. Turning your thumb downward:

tighten your arm like a ring of iron”

16. Hanmi-handachi: Shomen-uchi   Irimi-nage (p.102)

When kneeling, it is as though you are  much shorter than your partner, so this advice should be followed for the technique if standing,

“In taking on a taller person, fold him up prior to the throw”