Thunder Snake (サンダースネイク)


Thundersnake is one of the most popular waza learned and used in wotagei. Thundersnake is almost always performed during the Sabi or occasionally, during the Bridge or C-Melo. It is considered to be the most fundamental sabi waza that all uchishi should be able to perform, alongside Amaterasu, Muramasa and Dragoon Spear. Thundersnake is 32 beats long.

Thundersnake without lights

Starting Stance

Starting from your basic stance, before starting Thundersnake, you should position your body to your right, putting some of your weight into your right leg and bending it while your left leg is straight. Position your hands to the right side of your body with your head facing to the right as well. Note the bend of the knees in the image below.

Starting position of Thundersnake. Red inidicates bend important bend in the knees


For the first two beats of Thundersnake, you will do a horizontal cutting motion across your body with your right arm until your arm is straight and on the other side of your body. You want your head to follow the movement of your arms as well. Simultaneously shift your weight onto your left leg, bending it and straightening your right leg.

For the next two beats, you will bring your left hand up to your right and twirl your hands in a small motion while turning your body back to the right, remember to shift your weight back to your right leg. We are now at the fourth beat.

Big Arm Circles

This is the tricky part. For the next five beats, you will extend your arms to make two circles across your body. Your right arm should be fully extended while making the circle motion. Your left arm should also be straight while slightly bending it when in front of your body. When making the circle motions, you will be “pushing” to the left, making a clockwise motion. Your left leg should be bent to around a 90 degree angle with your right leg fully extended. You should be facing to your left during this whole movement.

Position right before the Big Arm Circles. Red is right arm, green is left arm.

The timing for the circular motions for Thundersnake can be the most tricky for some people. For the first circular motion, the whole motion should take 2 full beats with the subsequent motions taking 1 beat each for a total of four circular motions in five beats. We are now at the ninth beat.

On the fourth circular motion, at the point where both of your hands meet, you want to stop here and wait one beat, make sure your head is now facing where your hands are. We are now at the tenth beat.

After waiting one beat, bring your right hand down to your right foot in one beat, with your left hand following in the next beat. Both of your hands should now be together near your right foot. We are now at the twelfth beat.

Position of arms during the follow through

Big Body Circle

For the next four beats, you want to make the spinning motion that you did at the beginning of Thundersnake with your hands and make a big counterclockwise circular motion with your entire body. We are now at the beat 16.

Snake Thunder

After this, like in Soiya, you want to make big thrusting motions, however this time, you want to also thrust into the middle direction as well, making a total of six thrusts. This part is also considered its own waza, Snake Thunder. We are now at beat 22. After your sixth thrust, similar to the spinning motion in both Soiya and Rosario, you want to make a spinning motion with your arms towards your right for two beats. We are now at beat 24.

In and Out

After your two beat spinning motion, you want to take your right arm and slash across your body towards your left leg in one beat. From here, you take your left arm and cross it with your right arm and pull them towards your body, pulling your body back at the same time. You want to repeat this one more time. We are now at beat 28.

Movement of arms during In and Out

Romance Keihou (aka. RO - MA - N - SU)

After you pull your arms back into your body for a second time, you want to ready your stance to go into Romance which has your left arm extended and angled up with your right arm bent making a clockwise circular motion near your waist. You also want to bend your body very slightly to your right.

Romance Keihou positioning

Note the slight bend in the knee, as well as the direction of the motion of the arm.

Important Points

  • During your first slash into Thundersnake, you want your arm fully extended and sweeping in front of you in a fast and powerful motion. Also, try to have this slash as horizontal as possible. This makes the slash look nice and crisp with cyalume.
  • When going into the big arm circle motions, try to put a lot of power into the first swing. This gives the first swing a nice fast to slow speed contrast that makes the circles look nice with lights.

When all put together, Thundersnake will look similar to the video below.

Thundersnake with lights


Continuing with the Sabi waza, we will be looking at Amaterasu.