01 – Shomenate (Aikido Front Attack)

Aikido Throw #1 of the Randori No Kata

Shomenate - Aikido frontal strike attack.
Shomenate – Aikido frontal strike attack.

The Shomenate aikido throw is a powerful thrust to your opponent’s chin or chest. It looks like, but is not, a punch or a heel-of-the-palm face strike. But it’s a power push, which has the whole mass of your moving body behind it.

The Shomenate throw is timed and done in such a way to hurl your opponent powerfully, flat onto his back.

Although Shomenate is classed as an Atemi Waza (Aikido striking technique), it is done in a way which lifts your opponent’s chin and tilts his head right back.

This is to break your opponent’s balance.

The shomenate Aikido throw can also work just pushing against Uke’s chest; but your body-movement as Tori (the person who executes the throw) has to be spot-on. The push must come from your hips and not just from your arm. Shomenate is sometimes done this way for more safety.

Shomenate is not a punch or a Karate “heel-palm” strike but, to the uninitiated, it superficially looks like a palm-strike. Variations of the Shomenate Aikido throw also work like a head-high tackle, a tackling technique banned as much too dangerous by Australian Rugby League football because it can cause severe neck injury… especially when the recipient tries to resist it.

In Aikido training, we take turns to play defender Tori, (the “goodie”) and play at attacker Uke, (the “baddie”) who gets thrown. And we have enough sense to relax and just do the back breakfall (ukemi) when shomenate is done to us!

Never injure your Aikido training partner with shomenate or any other Aiki technique. It will soon be his turn to do the Aikido technique on you! If you hurt or anger him, you may suffer the consequences!


  • Tori raises his right hand above his head as he slide-steps off the line of attack to the right.
  • Tori is now in T-posture with his right foot pointing directly between Uke’s open legs.
  • Check Uke’s right forarm with your right hand-blade (Tegatana). Do not grasp it, just keep it away from you.
  • Keep both your arms bowed and extended.
  • Drop your right hand-blade slightly and change the angle so it comes up underneath Uke’s chin.
  • Use your fingertips to lift his chin, and do Shomenate by gliding your whole body towards him, keeping the right leg forward at all times. Your left foot must be the back foot at all times.
  • Uke falls onto his back, so he does a proper back breakfall, making sure his head does not hit the floor.

Shomenate is the first of the 17 core techniques in the Randori No Kata of Shodokan Aikido.

There is a strong possibility that the person being thrown could crack his head open on the road or the sidewalk unless he is a skilled martial artist who can breakfall instinctively. The breakfall needs to be first-class, since your training partner or opponent has no time to think about it.

One thought on “01 – Shomenate (Aikido Front Attack)”

  1. Pingback: The Randori no Kata or Junanahon no Kata | Gedanate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *