by Mark Binder
Koshinage (Hip Throw) is unique among Aikido techniques because it is mostly a matter of body placement. Nage's objective is to lead uke's balance across the hips, into a break fall. Instead of trying to find a particular grip, as in kotegaishi, a koshinage can be initiated from a variety of techniques, including sankyo and ikkyo.
Uke strikes for nage's head. Nage enters into an Ikkyo Omote technique, directing uke's balance up and backwards. Nage controls uke's wrist and elbow.
Instead of directing uke down into Ikkyo with a cut, nage extends uke's elbow up, and places his hips below uke's center of gravity.
Now nage cuts, keeping control of uke's arm, forcing a break fall.
One of the main difficulties in performing a koshinage is uke's fear. Unless uke is comfortable with break falls, chances are that a slowly executed koshinage will fail. Uke will tend to pull back, or collapse. The experience for nage will be like lifting dead weight. Ukes need to be comfortable with being thrown. They can practice keeping their body long, instead of folding themselves over nage's back.
In practice, we frequently "load" uke up. Nage stops the technique with uke settled on the hips. This is good for training, because the pause clearly shows uke's placement on nage's back, and gives uke a chance to feel comfortable.
When performing the technique, however, there is no pause for loading.
A properly executed koshinage is like uke tripping over a rock. It occurs suddenly, and very low. If nage lifts uke too high on the back, too much strength is involved, and there is a chance of nage straining his back.
Bending the knees in koshinage is key. If nage's center is not lower than uke's the technique will not succeed.
Another vital component is the extension of both nage and uke's arms. If nage's arms are collapsed, there will be a good deal of struggling. With good extension, the technique can be very fluid.
- Article written by Mark Binder, Copyright 1997. Photos copyright by Jean Sadlowski. All rights reserved.