08 – Hikitaoshi (elbow drag-down throw)

Aikido Throw #8 (of 17), Randori-no-Kata

Hikitaoshi is a Shodokan Aikido technique where you move backwards and pull Uke down on his face.
Hikitaoshi is a Shodokan Aikido technique where you move backwards and pull Uke down on his face.

Hikitaoshi is the second technique of the Junanahon (the Kata of Seventeen) which puts Uke down on his face. Since Uke’s arm is being held and he is pulled down flat, he cannot go into a rolling breakfall to escape injury. Instead, Uke must use his free hand, palm down, and his forearm as a spring to prevent his face from hitting the ground as he skids forward on his belly. Uke must use his neck and shoulder muscles to keep his head back, up and away from the ground. (The same way a rugby league football player slides along the grass to do a touchdown.)

Hikitaoshi is technique number 8 of the 17 basic techniques of Tomiki Aikido. It is also the second of the elbow techniques (Hiji Waza). This is how you do the hikiotoshi Aikido technique.

  • Tori catches Uke’s right wrist to do hikitaoshi, the same way you would hold a baseball bat if batting left-handed. (Right hand is palm down, thumb underneath Uke’s wrist. Left hand is palm-up, Tori’s thumb on top.)
  • Tori twists Uke’s arm in a big circle, clockwise, so it ends palm-up in front of Tori’s belly.
  • Tori steps back at the same time. Uke bends forward as his balance is broken. Tori keeps a tight grip with left hand. Tori releases his right hand and raises it up.
  • Tori brings right hand down gently but firmly on Uke’s elbow, palm down. Tori “glides” backwards to finish the Hikitaoshi throw with a Subi-Ashi movement as Uke slides face-first towards the ground.
  • Uke cushions the hikiotoshi fall on his left hand, keeping it free so he can tap (to signal submission).
  • Tori: finish hikitaoshi by maintaining your grip firmly. Be ready to apply slight pressure to Uke’s elbow, to creats pain, if your opponent/partner tries to get up.
  • Once Uke has tapped to surrender, the technique is over and Uke is allowed to get up again.

In a real self-defense situation, you could wait until the police arrive to take over and put the handcuffs on, or you might just have to break your attacker’s arm and go on your way. I know people who’ve done that. But it’s your decision, and youtake responsibility for it. That’s the real world… Just remember, judges and magistrates in a court of law have little understanding of what consitutes legitimate self-defense in a real-world situation. They know The Law, that’s all. They don’t know what it’s like to be threatened physically, and then have almost certainly never had to defend themselves with just their bare hands.


There is great leverage on Uke’s elbow with this technique, so you must be extremely careful and gentle. Yes I know this is a martial art, but you must not injure your practice partners! Why? Because you will soon run out of training partners, or else they will hurt you. It is extremely easy to cause injury here by accident. You must both test, pressing on each other’s elbows like this so you can feel how much it hurts and understand how easy it is to snap the elbow joint. There is no “give” in that joint. One instant it hurts, the next it can be snapped like a brittle chicken bone. In this face-down on the ground position, Uke’s elbow can be broken by hikitaoshi with just two fingers’ pressure, because the arm is trapped and there is so much leverage against it. He has no leeway whatsoever to move the elbow to safety. THIS IS WHY these techniques should be learned in a class from an experienced and qualified instructor! It is very dangerous for two inexperienced students to try these elbow lock techniques out on each other.

The following video clip from the Sheffield Shodokan Aikido Dojo shows the five elbow techniques (the  Hiji Waza or Tomiki Aikido’s 6 to 10 from the Kata of 17) being performed by two senior students. Hikitaoshi, the elbow drag-down is the 3rd  Hiji Waza technique in this video clip, and the aikidoka do it twice. You can watch the throw between seconds 13 to 30 in this video of all 5 elbow techniques. The last one of the elbow techniques is a hold. It is an elbow-lock called Wakigitami. It is not meant to be a throw.

Hikitaoshi is technique number 8 of the Randori No Kata, the Kata of Seventeen.

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

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