10 – Wakigatame (side control aikido elbow lock/hold)

Aikido Throw #10 (of 17), Randori-no-Kata

Wakigatame, Shodokan Aikido's side elbow lock.
Wakigatame, Shodokan Aikido's side elbow lock.

Wakigatame (Waki-gatame) is the 10th technique of Shodokan Aikido’s basic 17 techniques, the Randori-no-kata, established by Kenji Tomiki Sensei.

This is how you do the Waki-gatame Aikido armlock. Again be very careful, because this aikido arm lock exerts an absolutely awesome amount of pressure on Uke’s (your partner’s) elbow joint.

Wakigatame is a defense to a high attack. Uke’s hand must be headed for your face with this one. You don’t use it if your attacker is punching or stabbing low.

  • Tori catches Uke’s wrist with his cupped palms and arms straight.
  • Tori steps forward, 45 degrees to the right with Tsugi-ashi (swordfighter’s movement).
  • Keeping Uke’s arm straight, releases his right hand and hold Uke’s right wrist with his left hand.
  • Tori rotates Uke’s wrist and arm anti-clockwise, so Uke’s palm faces upwards.
  • This locks Uke’s elbow so he cannot bend it and escape.
  • Tori uses the crook of his bent arm to further catch and lock Uke’s straight arm.
  • Uke finishes the technique by gently swiveling his body anticlockwise (to his left). This places extreme, bone-breaking pressure on Uke’s elbow.

Do this technique GENTLY. You have to practise this time and time again with your training partner so as NOT to damage the person you are doing Wakigatame to. Any clumsy fool can do damage here.

Warning: This technique is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Elbows get snapped if you don’t know what you’re doing. Give your Uke a chance to submit, or you will run out of training partners before you know it.

There is great leverage on Uke’s elbow with this technique, so you must be extremely careful and gentle.

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 must understand how it is easy to snap the elbow joint. It can be broken with just two fingers’ pressure, because Uke’s arm is trapped and you have so much leverage.

Aikido Video: Waki-Gatame (Aikido elbow lock)

While videos from actual competition are often messier than those taken of kata (where the whole martial arts technique is quite choreographed, this neat little clip shows the Waki-gatamae elbow lock being applied to an attacker’s left arm and elbow. Notice that Uke still holds a rubber dagger in his right hand, but he cannot stab with it because his other arm is about to get broken. And in real life, of course it would get broken, wouldn’t it?

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

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