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Throwing Martial Art

Aikido is one of the best known martial arts in the world, both for its signature spinning and throwing techniques and its philosophy of peace and harmony. Is it effective? That’s a matter for debate. Some aikido styles are devoted to ki development over application, while others employ brutal training routines meant to pass on practical skills and inspire an esprit de corps among fellow students. The Yoshinkan school used to train Tokyo’s riot police with a tortuous course designed to earn students a shodan (first degree black belt rank) in just 11 months. Aikido’s name means the Way (do) of Harmony (ai means joining, and ki, a difficult to translate term, could be called “energy”). The aiki name comes from Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu, from which it inherits (and modifies) many core techniques and principles. Like Daito-ryu, aikido emphasizes blending your momentum with the opponent’s redirecting it and following it past the opponent’s intended movement. Aikido uses a distinctive form of footwork to do this that it derives from swordsmanship and to a lesser extent, the spear fighting styles that founder Ueshiba Morihei studied before founding his art. This method includes taisabaki (“body change”) to evade the attack combined with irimi (“entry”) to merge with the opponent’s center. A practitioner (or aikidoka) steps off the line of attack, turning to simultaneously grip, push or strike his opponent from an undefended angle.


Your character is a skilled practitioner of aikido. She knows how to blend with the force of an attack and amplify it to send her enemy sprawling. Dots purchased in this Merit provide access to special combat maneuvers. Each maneuver is a prerequisite for the next. Aikido maneuvers are based on the Brawl Skill and work in conjunction with unarmed combat. (Some aspects of traditional aikido involve a weapon, but they are beyond the specific purview of this Merit).


Fighting Style: Aikido
(• to •••••)Prerequisites: Dexterity ••, Wits •• and Brawl ••


Ukemi (“Receiving;” •): Your character knows how to fall properly and get up quickly. He may stand up from a prone position (but not both) once per turn as a reflexive action, and is considered to have one point of armor against bashing damage caused by falls – but not other sources.
Aiki (“Harmonious Energy;” ••): Your character is skilled enough to defend with a throw by avoiding the attack and seizing his opponent’s balance. If he forgoes his standard Defense, roll Dexterity + Brawl; if the result exceeds the opponent’s damage roll the character suffers no damage and immediately applies a grappling hold or (once he attains the third maneuver) shihonage. He may employ this maneuver against Brawl, Weaponry or close-range Firearms attacks. Drawback: This maneuver constitutes your character’s action for the turn.
Shihonage (“Four Directions Throw;” •••): The character can throw an opponent quickly and forcefully, without getting tangled up in a clinch. Treat a shihonage throw like a standard Brawl strike attack, except that it also knocks the opponent prone up to as many feet away as your Size + Brawl successes in any direction the character prefers.
Renzoku-waza (“Combination Techniques;” ••••): The character can attempt multiple grappling or shihonage attacks per turn, or he can defend with multiple throws using the Aiki maneuver. He may make one additional grapple or shihonage for each point of Dexterity that he has above 2. Each extra action is rolled at a cumulative aikido throwing
Kokyu-ho (“Breath Power;” •••••): Your character’s throws are so strong that he can either throw someone double the usual distance with his shihonage, or inflict lethal damage with it. Drawback: Spend one Willpower point per attack. Note that this Willpower expenditure does not add three dice to the attack.

Additional Systems


  • A well-rounded aikidoka may learn the following additional Fighting Styles: Controls, Light Sword, and Staff Fighting.
  • Fighting Finesse is a common Merit for practitioners who concentrate on aikiken (aikido sword) techniques. These would constitute a compound form of the art.