Untai & Ungi

Untai si a class of Taido techniques that includes jumping and lunging movements.

Since they tend to move in a direct path, they are probably the simplest to perform from a mechanical standpoint.

One important point to understand is that untai is characterized technically by vertical displacement – not necessarily by jumping. So a “drop” could just as easily be ungi as a jump. In essence, untai techniques operate by making use of the force of gravity to execute strikes, kicks, and throws.

Doko Go (5) Kai for Untai

Each technique class in Taido is defined by a set of characteristics describing its proper execution, called Doko Go Kai.

Here’s the key points for executing ungi:

  1. Untai gekiro – Become as a wave crashing onto the shore. You should feel as if you are being swept up by a wave and thrown onto your opponent. Use the power of gravity behind your hips to knock your opponent down.
  2. Kihatsu seisoku – Watch out for your back knee or foot. If your opponent can slow or stop your kamae’s back knee, your momentum will be destroyed. Instead, lift the knee high for protection. Then bring it back down quickly.
  3. Soko tottetsu – As your rear foot comes down, strike with your foot on the bones of your opponent’s front foot.
  4. Sansetsu ittai – Your two arms and rear leg should move simultaneously as if they were one joint. This timing is essential for the power of your technique.
  5. Kangen sokketsu – Your target is the kangen, a pressure point just below the navel. This is where the nerves connecting your arms and legs cross. Striking the kangen can break an oncoming attack.

Examples of Untai Techniques (Ungi)

Ungi (Untai techniques) are pretty common in jissen, especially as defensive maneuvers. The following are examples of ungi:

  • Untaizuki (untai no tsuki) – The basic lunge forward to ejizuki punch.
  • Untai keri tsuki – Similar to untaizuki, except that the rear leg kicks shomengeri before coming down into the lunge.
  • Fujogeri – A flying kick to the rear, executed alternately as a side, rear, or ebigeri-like kick in mid-air.
  • Nidangeri – Flying double front kick.
  • Kesageri – Flying side kick.
  • Hienzuki – A jumping punch, or a punch executed during the landing from a jump. Most often used as a counterattack.
  • Oshi kuzushi – A combination of tripping the front leg and pushing the opponent’s body to knock him over.
  • Gyaku ashidori – This is performed by grabbing the opponent’s kicking leg and knocking him down.
taido karate
Untaigeri, courtesy of the Finnish Taido Association‘s Facebook page

Un Hokei

There are two un hokei in Taido:

  • Untai no hokei
  • Unin no hokei

Here’s a reference animation of Untai Hokei created by one of my teachers:

And here’s Unin:

In the US, students practice an older version of Untai no Hokei that resembles Unin.

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