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I find it increasingly difficult to make progress when I practice with ukes who do not attack honestly. You know the old joke about how an aikidoka attacks? He says "grab my arm!" There's some truth in that joke.
I am not talking here about beginners. For them a strong attack will be confusing and will only make them freeze up. But higher kyus and yudansha should practice techniques against commited attacks. It's hard to explain what sort of an attack is "commited": it's not a crazy person jumping on top of you, and it's not an idiot that blindly walks into a technique even if the technique is badly executed. A commited attack has several components.
The attacker must honestly have the wish to execute the attack. Often I get ukes who stop their attack as soon as anything unexpected happens. You can try it on your uke: if the attack is a hand grab and at the last moment you unexpectedly withdraw your hand a little, what does your uke do? Do they chase the hand, and if so, do they chase it in an intelligent way? Or do they change the attack to a strike? Or do they just stand there thinking "oh, was it four times already"? I don't think anyone in the street will trade places with you after they kicked you four times.
Another way to test uke's intent is for nage to unexpectedly do nothing. Ukes intent is revealed. If he stops, he did not really want to attack. If he partially executes the technique on himself (not an uncommon situation) he was anticipating you
This is my first blog post on the forum, so perhaps I should write a couple of sentences about myself. I have parcticed aikido for 14 years, I am a nidan, and I regularly teach in our dojo. So I am just another beginner
It's enlighthning to read the blogs written by beginners because they show me how they think. This post is really a reaction to a number of posts by people who have practiced for less than a year and who like to talk in terms of "sensei's favorite ukes" and "sensei's correcting students".
While it is impossible not to prefer some students over others, one should not judge sensei's preferences based on who he talks to or calls up during class. When I leave a student alone that is almost always because he is doing fine (which is not the same as doing perfectly), not because I dislike him. The worst thing I can do is to interrupt someone who is learning well by himself. And I call up ukes according to their abilities and characteristics. If I want to show that sankyo is effective, I'll call up a strong guy who cannot take pain. If I want to show to a short person how to do a technique, I'll call up the tallest person available, and vice versa. And for spectacular throwing around I'll call up someone who will take it easily and will immediately get up for more, with the characteristic expression on their face that says "That was fun but where am I?"
I used to think I corrected students when I showed them various points of technique. But nowadays I ex