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Finlay's picture
Style commonalities

as style have prgressed they have become more spcialised in their fields, be it striking, grappling, practical self defense or sport. these specialisation have altered some techniques, created some teachniques and rendered some obsolite.

However we still have the kata/forms to record the original teachniques even if they are not used. if we look at the common movement found in other arts no matter what the origin can we then make the assumtion that those techniques can be found in traditional kata somewhere if we look hard enough.

For example, kotegashi (wrist lock turning the opponents hand to the outside of his body) is maybe most commonly seen in Aikido demosonstrations, but the same lock can be found in ju jitsu, eskrima, krav maga and so on. it stand to reason that such a common movement must be in the forms somewhere.

the same can be said for the cross buttocks throw that iain presents on this website.

are there any other movements that are so common in other styles that must be present in forms?

ky0han's picture

Hi Finlay,

when you take into account that an altercation between two human beings always will look kind of similar, then you recognise that there are no such things as judo throws, aikido locks, karate or boxing punches. As long as you are facing no 6 armed alien that has one extra foot on its back, there is no real difference.

There are throws that are used in judo, aikido, karate or wrestling. There are kicks that are used in Karate, Ju Jutsu and Taekwondo. There are joint locks that are used in Chinna, Aikido, Karate and Ju Jutsu.

So the style per se is just a preference of tactics. Everywhere soldiers used heavy armour in battle, bare handed strikes were pretty much useless. The focus here was to throw him with his heavy armour on the ground. Thats why Ju Jutsu and the medieval european knights focused on throwing. In an environment where armours were no issue the focus was on hitting the opponend with whatever came in handy. 

So to come back to your initial question, you can find pretty much every technique you can imagine from any style in kata. You can find a hip throw called Tai Otoshi in Judo in Bassai Dai or Heian Sandan or shoulder throws like judos Seoi Nage in Heian 5, you can find all forms of arm bars and shoulder locks in every kata. Same goes for any kind of strangle or choke.

Take a look at a technique of your choice and how it is applied and you will find an equivalent move in a kata.

Hope that helps.

Regards Holger

Finlay's picture

yes it does

It was kinda the point i was trying to make, yes there is no such thing as an Aikido lock, but some arts have specialised in such things and other have discarded them.

clouviere's picture

I have found that the hardest part of this process for me has been understanding how to perform the techniques missing.  Yes, it's obvious to anyone that has done the research with an open mind that there is a posture in Passai that can be applied as Tai Otoshi, but unless you can do Tai Otoshi correctly, it's just knowledge and theory without the physical skill.

I have started cross training with Judo, the obvious throwing specialist, and they were quite candid that Tai Otoshi was an intermediate throw...so, it's like the fruit you can't touch.  I respect that, but without that training it's all just academic. 

The hard thing now is to go out to come back in.  Go learn those techniques from the specialist so they can be returned.  Oh, and then coming back and showing those who are still where you were...and watching that look when they say that that is not what that technique is for.  That's a little difficult to get past to.

On an aside, I think that once I started considering moving through techniques or altering my direction and type of movement wihen studying applications...and cupling techniques, some of those things, like Kotegaeshi comes to light.  Consider gedan berai followed by a lower level juji uke with a 180 degree turn in the middle.  Seems pretty darn close to Kotegaeshi.  Sure, I haven't seen those techniques in sequence like that, but if you take Iain's philosiphy, it's easy to see, stringing techniques from different kata together isn't really that far out of bounds.


Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Strategy matters alot here..a wristlock in AIkido is different animal than one in Karate because of it's place and prominence in the strategy of the given style. Also with throws, there is no striking in Judo, and there is a level of entanglement that (in my Judo experience at least this was reinforced) that you don't really want with Karate stuff...this changes it a bit. Even moreso with stu8ff like the shiai combo throws. Yeah it's still the same technique, and it's always worth experiencing how other arts do it, especially to get the tricks that come with specialization...but honestly I am not sure they are the same animal exactly, Karate is put together very different from Judo, so a tai otoshi in Karate kata is contextually different than the Judo throw..though obviously it shares mechanics.

Often what is considered advanced, intermediate is also relative to style, in striking styles throws are often called a more advanced skill, whereas if you look at grappling -centered arts like Jujutsu or Aikido, striking is called an advanced skill.

The reason it matter is that even though you might find tactics crossing over for example Judo and Karate, it's a very bad idea (IMO of course) to try to do Karate as if you are  a Judoka or Aikidoka, etc.

I think the idea of Karate (or anything else) being a "complete" art does not neccesarily mean being jack of all trades, it just means the primary skills are balanced out right by the secondary ones, and the secondary ones support the main ones..

Finlay's picture

yes for sure the strtegy matters. in fact that is something that makes the styles different, some wait for an opening, some create opening, some go with the flow other try to break the flow.

a few examples of techniques that are very common across styles but have different strategies in them

kote gashi

arm bar

cross buttocks throw

leg sweep

i have seen a wrist lock common to a lot of styles (in aikido called nikyo) imagine you are making a breast stroke movement with one arm and your arm is stopped and hand twisted towards your face. (thats about as best an explanation i can come up with) i have seen it in a few style so it would suggest that it can be found in traditional kata some where. just have to find where

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

I think to some degree techniques like you list are pretty much universal, they can be found in anything from Karate to western and eastern swordsmanship systems, to FMA...to whatever else.

 There is one that is taught in most Goju styles as an arm-press type takedown that you reverse into kote gaeshi type movement when they resist..it has it's place but for the life f me I can't fathom it functioning well without the persons attention being drawn to whatever is in their hand. Basically, I think the wrist manipulation stuff probably is much more important in clashes with weapons more than likely...

Weirdly, this technique is not really anywhere in classical Goju kata that i'm aware of, at least not in any overt way.

Here's  a link I found interesting:

Seems like this is probably the original context for these kinds of techniques, and is pretty close to the little koryu Jujutsu tanto stuff I have seen. Outside of the wrist stuff though, you can see a bunch of stuff here that is also in Karate, Jujutsu, whatever else.

 It seems to me that if you look and try to find this in kata, you will be able to find some movement close enough to fit the bill..but isn't it better to study the kata itself, rather than superimpose on it?

Finlay's picture

oh yeah it is better to study the kata

but if you are going to cross train then it is handy if you can find a place in the kata as a reference otherwise you may end up with a bunch of techniques that don't have a root or a connection to what you do. we in my opinion. for example my old TKD invited someone to do a hapkido seminar, for the day we all studied joint manipulation and various locks and had a great time, but afterwards very few remembered anything cos it was never given a base in our system. one or two made the effort to make notes and remember the techniques but still they didn't intergrate them into thier training.

if i can link it to my kata/forms then i can remeber the technique. and alter it slightly to make it more inline with they way my style/school does it.i guess another reason to have a look at other systems and their ideas, is just for extra ideas, with the leaning toward sport in many style alot of people only practice to defend against attacks that their style practice, i.e. TKD people are really good at defending against side kicks, judo people are good are defending against throws. which is great if sport is where you want to go. but if you are looking for a more practical martial art you may want ot look around and then intergrate the techniques you like in to your kata

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Ah I see what you are saying.

My favorite thing about cross training so far other than just learning new stuff (a little Judo, and now a little Jujutsu) has been that it has defined Karate for me a little more clearly, as well as given me a ton of really good tricks to give that extra bit of oomph to throws, make a lock tighter etc..

Anyway watch the link in my previous post and see what you think, part of evaluating where certain tecniques exist is what context they are appropriate in I think..so one might argue that while you can technically "find" something like kote gaeshi in Karate kata, and for sure it's traditionall taught in Karate (for whatever that's worth), there are some concrete reasons that it would be a far less common or useful action in Karate than what we would see in an art primarily about dagger fighting etc.  In my opinion It's worth considering, though we can and do train  locks of this sort..typically they occur far less frequently than the simpler 'primary' stuff one sees in kata.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Zach Zinn wrote:
Seems like this is probably the original context for these kinds of techniques, and is pretty close to the little koryu Jujutsu tanto stuff I have seen. Outside of the wrist stuff though, you can see a bunch of stuff here that is also in Karate, Jujutsu, whatever else.

Not wishing to derail the thread, but I think it’s worthy of a side note that the video – which I found very interesting – exhibits quite a lot of “self-cutting”. If you watch Tori (“the winner”) closely in the clips you can see that on quite a few occasions their actions bring them into direct contact with the enemy’s dagger or their own.  The point that you can see motions with the clip that we would recognise from other arts is certainly very valid, but we can also see faults that we see in plenty of other arts too.

All the best,


Jon Sloan
Jon Sloan's picture

To that point Iain, I wondered when watching the video whether the techniques being presented were a 'one size fits all' approach - in that they were developed in a time when the people using them would most likely be wearing basic armour even off the battlefield - leather or mail on their bodies and probably some form of glove too. So the technqies would fit better and be less self harmful. But, of course, they used the same disarms / kills reagrdless of whether they were wearing armour or not.

Finlay's picture

it is a very interesting video, i have seen quite a few techniques that they use demostrated also by Karate and TKD practioners. apart from the ones that seem to involve grabbing your own blade I would be interested to know the background of the people and of the techniques. i.e. is there historical reference to those techniques being used, in the UK there are some old sword fighting manuals that some people have reproduced. and/or do they have a background in karate or similar arts.

The reaosn i ask this is that knife fighting style and non knife fighting style seem to have a very different way of dealing with disarms and so on. as a quick comparison here is some filipino knife work