Practice forms

(jap. keiko 稽古, "training")


Ki-aikido is practiced with the following forms, usually in this order:


Kenko taiso



Taigi / Tsuzuki-waza

Randori / Taninzugake

Kenko taiso


Kenko taiso (健康体操), literally "health gymnastics", refers to light warm-up exercises. Compared to ordinary gymnastics, the point is not to force or over-stretch the body. Rather, movements are executed very lightly to isolate different parts of the body. Moreover, one should keep the rhythm by couning aloud, and move the mind with the body.


The original exercise sequence was designed by Tohei, and individual teachers have made some changes to highlight certain points they deem as central (e.g. Yoshigasaki 2020b).



Hitori-waza (一人技), lit. "one person technique", are more directly aikido related solo exercises. Each technique is used in one or several aikido techniques. Again, the "official" sequence has varied over the years.



Kumi-waza (組み技), "technique with partner", is probably the most well-know aikido practice form. Tohei's five principles are applied here:


1) Ki is extending

2) Know your opponent’s mind

3) Respect your opponent’s Ki

4) Put yourself in your opponent’s place

5) Perform with confidence.


Kumi-waza has a direct connection to hitori-waza. the video below shows an application of the depicted hitori-waza (Tohei performs this hitori-waza also in the video above at c. [02:40]).



Taigi (体技), lit. "body technique/art/skill", refers to sets of techniques, which are performed in a sequence. 


Taigi are also called tsuzuki-waza (続技), i.e. "continuous technique".



Randori (乱取り), "seizing the chaos", refers to free attack and free technique.


The exact content of this practice form varies in different martial arts. For example, in judo sparring the opponents try to resist and counter each other's techniques.


Aikido randori is not sparring. Uke's role is to attack continuously without pursuing to execute counter-techniques. On the other hand, tori's task is to make sure not to engage in sparring with uke, but instead, to neutralize the attack and remove uke as swiftly as possible.


In aikido context there are often several attackers, hence the word Taninzu-gake is used (多人数掛け, lit. "in the midst of many people").


In case of several attackers it is especially important not to engage in wrestling with one uke. Instead, the purpose is to get rid of one, and immediately move on to the next uke. Moreover, tori should always keep in mind, where all the opponents are situated. The opponents try to encircle tori, whereas tori should try to order them in line so that they cannot all attack at the same time. 


If taninzu-gake is continued indefinitely, it always ends with the same result. Many attackers can afford to make mistakes, but tori can not. Very likely, tori is subdued immediately after the first misstep or misscalculation, and definitely after the second or third, which is only a matter of time. 


The purpose of aikido randori - especially with several uke - is not to subdue attackers. The point is to find an opening and escape in a controlled way, before being subdued by attackers.


Tohei's hitori-waza in 1962(?).

In fact, any and every aikido technique could and should be practiced as hitori-waza, i.e. without a partner. In this way, you can develop the ability to imagine aikido techniques.


"In order to practise a technique in Aikido, you normally apply it to a Uke. Then you tend to react to what Uke does and cannot perform leading. That is why it is difficult to develop a correct Aikido technique. In order to lead Uke, you have to imagine the future of one second during the technique. The easiest way is to do the technique alone imagining a Uke." (Yoshigasaki 2020a).


The same concept is also present in Taiji, if and when considered as a martial art: mind and body coordination and the imaginative opponent.



Tohei, Koichi (1961) Aikido - The Co-ordination of Mind and Body for Self-defense. London: Souvenir.


Yoshigasaki, Kenjiro (1999-2001) All of Aikido 1-5. Original in VHS. 


Yoshigasaki, Kenjiro (2020a) Aikido Techniques. Toitsu - Ki & Aikido dojo.


Yoshigasaki, Kenjiro (2020b) Aiki Taiso. Toitsu - Ki & Aikido dojo.



Taigi/Tsuzukiwaza links


> Tohei's Taigi list

> Tohei's 29 Taigi video collection

> Taigi 30 by Yoshigasaki in

All of Aikido (1999-2001)

> Yoshigasaki's Tsuzuki-waza list

> Yoshigasaki's Tsuzuki-waza videos from the Vimeo user "michido"



Japanese terms


Aikido related glossaries: 


Wiktionary, the free dictionary


Sayu-nage (filmed by Kimmo Räisänen 2012).

According to Yoshigasaki (2020a), "Tohei-sensei started to put 6 techniques [together], so that students can learn how to deal with several attackers. In real life, we have to do different techniques according to the situation. This way of practice was called 'free techniques' [jap. jiyu-waza]. But it is not easy to do techniques freely, so Tohei-sensei chose one way of attack to each Tsuzuki-waza to make it easy to practice. [Then] we can make many different Tsuzuki-waza if necessary." 


The idea was not these sets to be static and remain unchangeable. Rather, aikido is thought to be evolving and dynamicly changing over times. "We can create many different Tsuzuki-waza and variations of one Tsuzuki-waza" (ibid.). In the hands of different aikidoka, also the forms naturally change. For example, most of Tohei's original taigi include six techniques, whereas Yoshigasaki's usually have seven (see, the links at the bottom of this page).

Sayu-waza (Tohei 1961: 70).

Yonin-gake i.e. randori with four uke (Ähtäri 2012).

6 continuous techniques from the ryotedori

("grip both hands") attack.

Kenko taiso (Yoshigasaki 2020).

Timo Hautoniemi's short taiji form (2020).