Irimi Nage is characterized by that dynamic reversal of the motion action of Uke as you return it circularly back to him from above. This technique is referred to generally as Irimi Nage, or “entering throw”.
When you watch a high-ranking aikido practitioner (or Nage) perform projection this technique, it appears to consist of a blurring spin which – as Nage suddenly reverses his original direction – will sweep the feet of Uke from under him, bringing him down to the mat flat on his back almost before he realizes what has happened. Moreover, the entire performance at its best will be marked by the absence of any dynamic discordance, choking pain, or muscular spasms, etc., on the part of Uke.
In every example of a neutralization using Irimi Nage, your initial motion of evasion will bring you into the position of centralization typical of this technique. Observe the details of this position closely. In the illustrated example, your right hand will be leading Uke around your body as you spin in the centre of the action. That hand, depending upon the type of attack being neutralized, may be grasping his extended right arm, simply guiding it from above, or possibly not touching it at all. But your left hand (never in a fist, but with fingers extended) will always be holding his head firmly against your shoulder (the right one here) – firmly, but not harshly or painfully.
Your palm may rest against his left temple (ideally), over his left ear, or along the left side of his neck; in any case this holding should be done in such a manner that your fingers will not gouge or inflict pain, since the intended target is not a particular area of his anatomy, but rather controlling the head to direct and then project the whole body. Your body will spin upon its own vertical axis as you step behind Uke with your left foot, withdrawing your right foot circularly to your right-rear sides illustrated. Your arms-in their respective leading and holding positions will always be in front of you. Consequently, Uke will have to spin orbitally around you, the axis of his upper body tilted in your direction. This will, of course, produce that condition of dynamic unbalance in his condition which is a prerequisite for the proper performance of this technique.
Uke will also be extended dynamically in the desired direction because your central spinning motion will be faster than his outer or peripheral motion as he whirls around you. His head, in direct contact with the spinning axis of the action (your body), will be extended ahead of the rest of his body following circularly behind this, of course, is the reason for the characteristic forward lean of his body in motion.
At the beginning, you may note a tendency to clash frontally against his line of motion, usually with some sort of choking thrust of your biceps across his windpipe. But this will result in a painful interruption of both your motion of reversal going from your right to your left side, and of his extended motion going from your left to your right side. The important point to keep in mind at this stage of projection no. I is that your dynamic reversal is and will remain throughout the technique a leading, guiding motion. It will channel his extension into the only circuit of reversal available: circularly upward, in a smooth arc stretching him further up and out, before returning downward from above behind his arched, extended body to the mat.
The action of your right shoulder (the fulcrum of rotation in this technique), of your elbow (describing the circle of extension and reversal), of your hand (leading and pointing in the desired direction) – all will be of determinant importance in insuring the success of this technique.
But they would all be ineffectual if they were not solidly based upon the continuous, spinning motion of your whole body as it pivots in a condition of dynamic balance stabilized at your centre of gravity, or Centre. The dynamic motivation of the whole projection, its unity, is determined by this abdominal centralization or extension of centralized energy. It is an example of explosive stability which may appear to be a paradox in theory but remains an amazing, still relatively unexplored reality in combat.
Tran Z (author) from Dublin on May 22, 2013:
Thanks! It's one of the most breathtaking (figuratively and literally) movements in the hands of the masters, and so many ways to execute it according to schools. And it's oh-so beautiful to slot in during jiyu waza :)
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on May 22, 2013:
This is one of my favorites. The irimi nage has so many variations and every person has a subtle variotion to it. But the basics will remain the same. With any rotational/directional throws, proper tenkan must be executed. It should be flowing and not mechanical. The use of arms, legs and the whole body is a great testament to the power of ki and how it can be used.
Great job on irimi nage my friend.
Shariful Islam from Bangladesh on April 16, 2013:
Good article. Thanks Sharing this.
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on April 15, 2013:
Engaging piece with good detail; interesting study of motion and body manipulation.