Nagasu is Wado’s cornerstone principle

what is the meaning of nagasu?

Nagasu means flow or current (like a stream).

Practically Nagasu has ‘simply’ 2 meanings or ways to use.

  • One is to parry the attack
  • The other is to let the attack pass your body. 

Funny enough, "inasu" translates into parry, but usually in budo terms we explain Inasu as to dodge or redirect, and nagasu to let pass and parry.

Let's get on the same page first...

Nagasu means to let the attack pass your body.

Simply put, when you are ‘not there’ the attack passes the body.

However, that could be either to escape or to avoid. For karate, avoiding (Kawasu) is more proper as this means that you are within Maai to hit the opponent instantly. 

It's better to be hit slightly than to step to the outside so you can stay close to the opponent.

Nagasu as "parry" is a bit too generic as this may put you off track. Or better verbalised: limited.

You may think about techniques like Nagashi Uke in Kihon Kumite 4 as demonstrated by Sakagami sensei. It is the easiest way to understand Nagashi, but also a limited way.

The reason?

EVERY technique can have Nagasu. Simply rotate your wrist and contact the opponents movement in a 45-ish degree angle and voila: Nagashi.

In the second movement of Kihon Gumite Yonhonme, connect your hand to the opponents attack and then ‘weight’ your Shuto to pull the opponent into the direction of your Nagashi Uke. It means to parry.

nagashi for attack and defense

Nagasu comes with body movenent, it can't exist without it...

...Remember Ten I, Ten Tai and Ten Gi? 

Ten I and Ten Tai together are what makes Ten Gi "Nagasu". In plain English that means that moving your body and twisting your body are what allows you to avoid the attack. What dictates the logic movement of your arms.

Then Ten Gi comes in. 

The following techniques are all applications of Nagasu because you: 

  • Use your body to avoid an attack
  • Turn basic Uke Waza into Nagashi Uke
  • Execute various types of Nagashizuki.

In simple terms, translate and say Nagasu is to let pass or parry is all you need to know. The rest is practise...

BUT: It does not even come close to describing how to use your body. What, When, Why, How. What for... Get ready to dig deeper.

Nagasu is not something you learn overnight. Clearly.

So how can you develop your skill step by step?

Ishikawa sensei shows you various applications and how to build your training ⬇️

Now you've watched Ishikawa sensei's demo... are you warmed up? 

Get ready for more applications!

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applications of nagasu

Sen no sen 

In order to execute it and be successfull you have to be calm inside and a good 'reader' of your opponent. And without fear of walking onto his punch. 

nagashi gyakuzuki soto zeme

There are two kinds of Nagashi Gyakuzuki. This one needs Taisabaki as you know it, and Noru. 

nagashizuki with meotode

Basic Tobikomi-Nagashizuki has the Hikite in front of the chest. The meaning is to be able to block or cover either Jodan or Chudan depending on circumstance. In this case it's Jodan.

meotode nagashizuki with takedown

There is a difference between Kihon and Kumite. One key is to not keep the punch in the extended position. In that sense, Nagashizuki from Ido Kihon is already an application. When dealing with an opponent, it's necessary to understand how you can apply basics and connect one technique to the other.

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