Grappling Is Measured In Irimi

“Whoever controls the center, wins.” —Ellis Amdur Grappling is essentially a negotiation for space, space that one person is attempting to occupy to the detriment of the other. Takedowns, throws, pins, strangles, and joint-locks, are really all variants of taking space so that we are in control of it and our opponent is not. In…

Commit Forward (Then Pivot)

If we do not first commit to a relationship, we cannot pivot within that relationship and be taken seriously. In aikido, there are two fundamental concepts of movement. In the most general terms, the first is entering (irimi) and the second is pivoting or flanking (tenkan). Irimi is the act of moving in, on and…

A Willow in a Snowstorm (Jujutsu and the Transcendence of Violence)

Does your jujutsu (jiu-jitsu) propagate violence or transcend it? The Japanese word jujutsu (柔術) is often thought to translate as ‘gentle art.’ Gentle implies a lack of force or lack of strength. Anyone who has ever done any form of jujutsu knows that there is nothing gentle about being thrown, pinned, joint-locked, or choked. In…

Chess and Collar Chokes

“If we are playing chess and I do two moves, but you only do one move, who is going to win? Jiu-jitsu is like chess. I do one move and you do one move, but if I do one move and then you let me do another move, game over.” – Relson Gracie In life,…

Enter First With Your Mind

“Always irimi, even when retreating.” – Budd Yuhasz There are a lot of valuable lessons beneath the surface of Japanese weapon training that translate to empty hand practice. With sword-work in particular, the principle of irmi* becomes especially evident. Irimi, meaning ‘entering body,’ is more than simply the act of entering into an opponent’s physical…