12 – Kotegaeshi (outer wrist throw)

Kotegaeshi, Aikido Throw #12 (of 17), Randori-no-Kata

Kotegaeshi wrist throw
A Kotegaeshi wrist throw can be applied soft or hard, depending on the circumstances.

Personally, I really like the Kotegaeshi wrist throw, because it’s an Aikido throw which can be done gently or hard, depending on the circumstances.

When done gently, the Kotegaeshi aikido technique forces Uke to buckle his knees (from pain on his wrist), and he can be allowed to fall carefully on his back. Thus it is possible to do a kotegaeshi and gently “throw” someone who is merely a nuisance, but not a threat, (like a drunk) without causing any injury whatsoever… No broken arm, no cracked head.

But when Kotegaeshi is done at “full speed”, Uke’s wrist will likely break unless he is quick enough (and has considerable skill) to jump over his own arm as it is twisted. Kotegaeshi at speed is not a beginner’s technique!

Kotegaeshi is technique number 12 of the 17 basic techniques of Tomiki Aikido. It is also the second of the wrist twist techniques (Tebuki Waza).

This is how you do the Kotegaeshi Aikido throw, step by step.

(Instructions here are for the right-handed attack. With all techniques, you must learn to do it from the left side as well.)

  • Uke attacks with the right hand. Tori steps out of the line of Uke’s attack by sliding left and pivoting clockwise.
  • Tori gently and lightly “checks” Uke’s attacking hand with the left hand-blade (tegatana).
  • Tori holds Uke’s right wrist in both hands, so his thumbs are both pressing against the back of Uke’s wrist – below the knuckles. This is a stock standard Kotegaeshi wrist grip.
  • Tori steps in and pivots clockwise back towards Uke.
  • Turn Uke’s wrist so his palm is towards his face, and keep turning to complete kotegaeshi.
  • Slide your left leg away from Uke, maintaining a safe distance, at arm’s length, (so he cannot hit you with his free hand).
  • Uke is allowed to fall on his back (beginner), OR jumps over his own arm in a high-speed kotegaeshi breakfall (advanced students only).
  • Slide your right foot under Uke’s right shoulder.
  • Keep Uke’s arm lifted tightly, and pivot very gently anti-clockwise until Uke submits, by slapping his free hand or foot on the ground.
  • Keep your knee close to Uke’s elbow, so you can break his arm if Uke tries to kick you or attempts to escape.

Once Uke has tapped to “surrender”, the technique is over and he is allowed to get up again.

And what if you’re on the street and this is for real?

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 quietly on your way.

It’s your decision, and you take 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 have almost certainly never had to do it themselves.

NB: I am not advising you what to do. I am just saying that I have known people who had to make these decisions. It’s a judgement call.

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