We talk a lot about the contact point in Aikido. It helps both partners to read each other. But a grip is… not just a grip. The key is the palm contact point, at least to my Aikido knowledge up to now. In training, one of my teachers, Birger Sørensen, always emphasizes the palm contact point, even he can also use any part of his body for contacting. But that’s another story.
So, what is a good palm contact point?
Try to grasp your partner’s wrist. Starting with your palm. Then the following order: the little finger, the annulary, the middle finger, and keep your index finger free. You can use your thumb too, firmly not tightly, but do NOT start with your index finger. Take a look at this video from Christian Tissier Shihan. I will use this video again for the Ikkyo technique, but this time, just pay attention in the first few seconds at his index finger, you will see what I mean.
Why should you pay attention to this way of grasping?
Well… for your softness, and of course contacting 🙂 You can try yourself with Ikkyo Undo warming up exercise. How do you grasp your hand? Do it slowly, try to feel the press, which way you are using less power for getting the same effect: grasping your hand starting with the index finger or the little finger? Which way can you read more information?
Another test, still with Ikkyo Undo warming up exercise. Let’s say you are using the right hand to grasp the left hand. Now pay attention to the right wrist when you grasp differently. Which way your right wrist bend more? You want to keep your wrist in the natural position, not too much bending, don’t you 🙂
I have practiced this very slow and tried to feel the contact as much as possible. Myself and with partners. Anytime I want to grasp, I try to use my hand like in the above order. No matter in a static position or a dynamic movement. It helps me to have a better attack to my partner, as a Uke. From a Tori side, it’s much easier to take his / her hand off the grasp, for example in Katatedori Ikkyo technique.
I also had trouble with this kind of grip for few weeks when I started. Because I keep my index finger free, when my partners did techniques quickly, it’s bent reversely. During the training, I didn’t pay much attention. But after that, it hurt. Not much, but I could feel it. So, make an agreement with your partners, again, practice slowly to avoid any injury.