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xuzen
03-22-2006, 10:53 PM
Hello all,

This is an observation I notice, not sure if it is widespread or not, but please do contribute.

Many people be them aikido practitioners or not, tend to associate aikido with being defensive. However, aikido practice is a two people practice, one take on the role of shite (the defender), the other as uke (the aggressor)

As such, with all the newbies, our training are geared towards defensive in nature, e.g, avoidance, blending, etc etc. Even our technical repertoire seem to be defensive in nature albeit superficially. With this is mind, my dojo lacks people who can really be a good uke, people who can give sincere "I am gonna rearrange your face, punk" type attack. In my dojo only a handful can do the job of a good uke and they all tend to be yudanshas. The rest of the practitioners are wuss when it comes to giving an honest attack.

My grouse is this: Are we too caught up with aikido being a defensive art mindset? Again, looking back at history, many of M. Ueshiba students were already accomplished MArtist in their own right before joining Kobukan. They know what a real attack is. Sadly in my practice, I have lack of people with such abilities.

So my question is, are new students getting too caught up trying to do the techniques and too little attention is being put to make students a better uke? IMO, being good uke is not just being good at ukemi, it also encompasses the ability to give hard committed attacks for shite to work with.

Boon.

Thalib
03-23-2006, 01:54 AM
It is neither defensive nor offensive

xuzen
03-23-2006, 02:55 AM
Sorry, I had difficulty expressing myself with this. Let me rephrase my question again.

In your opinion and experience, are aikido practitioners thinking too much on how to become a good tori whilst neglecting on how to better themselves as uke.

In this context, a good uke is not limited to just taking good ukemi, but also the ability to give sincere and committed attacks.

Your thoughts please. Thank you.

Bridge
03-23-2006, 03:00 AM
As a low kyu grade with other MA training, I am capable of giving a proper committed attack. (That said, I reckon anyone without any training can give fully committed attack if they really wanted to, even if it may not look "good".) I've got absolutely no problem attacking someone properly if I know they can handle it...

Unfortunately, my ukemi does't match my standard of attack, so it's not always practical.

It's OK to attack full pelt for the guys I train with on a regular basis as they know what my ukemi is like. With people who are new to me, I'm a bit wary with because, if I attack full pelt, they may well do the technique good and proper, and I won't be able to do the ukemi.

Don't know about the people you train with but it could be fear of biting off more than you chew?

At my dojo, I think we have only had a few occasions when we've gone through what the attacks are and practice them. And that was going up and down in lines.

Doesn't seem to have stunted the development of the senior grades though. The Ukemi bit, just seems to have come with years of practice with them.

eyrie
03-23-2006, 04:13 AM
That's a bit of an odd observation, coming from a Yoshi-Ogre(tm) .... :D

Ronin007
03-23-2006, 05:02 AM
Hi,

The comment made about Ukemi made me think.
When I first started Aikido it wasnt the attack that made me nervous it was the fall at the end, in turn, made my attack became more sloopy, now i dont i always feel :hypno: after ukemi my attacks, i feel/hope are slightly more meaningful.

Any Thoughts ?

ruthmc
03-23-2006, 05:54 AM
my dojo lacks people who can really be a good uke, people who can give sincere "I am gonna rearrange your face, punk" type attack. In my dojo only a handful can do the job of a good uke and they all tend to be yudanshas. The rest of the practitioners are wuss when it comes to giving an honest attack.

So my question is, are new students getting too caught up trying to do the techniques and too little attention is being put to make students a better uke?
Yes :D

But there is also the fear of making firm friends with the floor, as mentioned previously. And some people have to get over a lifetime of conditioning that it is bad to try to hit someone else..

I'm strongly in favour of teaching ukemi skills to beginners at a much higher standard than is currently fashionable.

Put simply, Aikido works very well against a true attack. It doesn't work against a wussy or inconsistent attack. So I think we do ourselves a great disservice as tori when we don't train our uke to attack properly.

A true attack needn't be hard and fast, so there's no problem in using this to help to develop your ukemi skills. It takes sensitivity and common sense on both sides, just as learning to throw and pin does :)

The other problem that most uke encounter is that of the nervous tori. Most people are unaware of how much time they have to avoid an incoming strike because they have never played with this and pushed those boundaries. I have discovered two important things by exploring this: 1) You always have more than enough time and 2) Getting hit hard isn't that big a deal. It's fear of the unknown that you are dealing with, not fear of being struck.

So go push on those boundaries people!

:D :D :D

Ruth

Dirk Hanss
03-23-2006, 06:12 AM
In our dojo, we have now extra "atemi lessons", with tsuki, uchi, geri, and blocks. The focus is less to learn about the vital points, but to know how to attack and to know how to apply proper counterstrikes.

It is easily said, "if uke does not move properly, I would beat him down", but that is not easily done. And even with more than 6 years experience in karate, there are new interesting aspects for me.

Our sensei saw the idea in Washington, D.C. at A.S.U., and as long as most students had good experience in other MA, he was fine. Now with a group of new real beginners, he thought it is really necessary.

In many dojo, who emphasize the "peaceful character" of the art, I have seen poor attack skills on a lower rank level and even in some higher yudansha levels, while it seems, that most aikidoka have to learn it from a certain level. There could be good arguments for learning the attacks late, but not to do not learn them at all.

And there are schools or styles, where the attacks are always part of the training.

Just my 2cts.

Dirk

dbotari
03-23-2006, 08:01 AM
Hi Boon,

As a fellow yoshinkan practitioner I find your comments quite appropriate to the situation in many dojos. In particular, the dojo at which I practice has only a few people able and willing to give committed attacks. The reason, as mentioned by a few in this thread, is that most people as uke don't want to take hard falls or difficult ukemi. They would rather go through the motions and do a nice roll or flip out of a non-committed attack. The problem as I see it is that without a committed attack from uke as shite I find it difficult to work on proper ma, maai, and kushushi. If uke won't give a committed attack then there s often times no energy to capture and redirect leaving shite the only option to muscle the technique.

In summary I believe the lack of committed attacks from uke in large part are a result of uke's inability or unwillingness to do proper and necessary breakfalls. :(

I'm sure i will be flamed so I am not putting on my flame retardant suit. :D

Thanks for the post. I've been thinking about this for a while now.

Dan Botari

SeiserL
03-23-2006, 08:18 AM
In your opinion and experience, are aikido practitioners thinking too much on how to become a good tori whilst neglecting on how to better themselves as uke. In this context, a good uke is not limited to just taking good ukemi, but also the ability to give sincere and committed attacks.
IMHO, yes.

Dirk Hanss
03-23-2006, 08:31 AM
About bad breakfalls:
One could try to do fully committed attacks but not in full speed. That could help a lot. Of course, if you are sleeping, the attack cannot be committed, but if you just reduce speed to your level of ukemi or self confidence, both parts can learn much.

What does it mean, aikido does not work on ...

I'd say, this belongs to the other threads. Do you really mean: " if you want to attack an aikidoka, do it sloppy an wussy, so he cannot respond?"

If you want to learn a specific technique, you need an appropriate attack - because you are learning. If the attack does not offer energy, you have to be careful with using it, maybe you have to change the technique, which you are encouraged to in jiyu waza and randori, but not in kihon waza the same way. And if you are very good, you could get even the wussy uke to move in a way, that you can do exactly the required technique. Of course, I cannot ;) But I can change from omote to ura or vice versa and I can change from shihonage to kotegaeshi, if uke does not give the right power or direction. Of cours in kihon waza, my sensei allows me o do it once or twice, but not the whole session :eek:

Another 2 cts


Dirk

George S. Ledyard
03-23-2006, 08:40 AM
Ushiro Kenji Sensei attended the Rocky Mountain Summer Camp as a guest instructor last year (he returns this year as well). In an interview with Stan Pranin at the camp he was asked, from the standpoint of an outsider (he is an extremely advanced karate instructor), what the single most important thing would be that would raise the level of Aikido generally. He didn't hesitate at all when he replied that we needed to make our attacks better.

Ruth's statement about Aikido attacks being "committed" but not needing to be fast or hard is true from the standpoint of training a beginner but it isn't true at all in the sense of daily practice for someone who wants to attain some level of expertise in the art.

Most people doing Aikido simply have no real intention to strike their partners. This lack of intention changes the energy of an attack completely. In Aikido people are not beaten by the physical strike itself, they ar beaten by the column of force that is in front of the strike. You don't need to be hit by a strike to know it carries alot of energy; we all posess the ability to read how much energy an incoming object has. It is the collapse of the Aikido practitioner's energy field, his ability to maintain his forward intention and the corresponding shift to an attempt to "escape" from an incoming attack, albeit in the form of some Aikido movement, that is one ofthe most serious issues for many Aikido practitioners.

If people are not used to training with people whjo can strike fast and hard, with real intention, they can develop a completely false sense of what they know. The "entry" is the single most important element in Aikido.If you can't get in, you can't do your technique, period. You can know hundreds of techniques and not be able to do any of them.

The fact is that most people don't want to train this way. They much prefer to come to the dojo and have an enjoyable time. Getting your forearms bruised, occasionally getting hit, simply isn't most people's idea of a good time. Most people come to the dojo because it is interesting stuff and the folks are great to hang with. So they cruise along in their training and don't deal with this issue. You can find plenty of Nidan and Sanda level folks (someplaces even higher) who cannot perform their techniques when attacked with real intensity.

We generally start people off slow and gentle in Aikido. The problem is, when do we stop being nice and start to give them something closer to real energy? Do we start at Shodan? For someone who has been training for five or more years, that's a bit of a shock... So maybe we should start sooner. When you finally get down to it, you need to start right away when people begin their training. Sure, the faint hearted leave, but they would have left anyway once things started to get a bit scary. Being able to step right to the center of an incoming attack is central to the ability to do all Aikido technique. There is simply no point in going through the motions without any semblence of real intention. People just end up thinking they know something they don't.

Dirk Hanss
03-23-2006, 08:46 AM
IMHO, yes.
Lynn, I wonder, why?

In our rather young dojo, I am as 3rd kyu the dojo sempai. Usually we are three guys, with enough experiencce in aikido and other martial arts to be chosen as uke for sensei and usually in the same order.

But sometimes sensei chooses my for being uke for good attacks and the ability to take breakfalls, not for my good shite/tori techniques.

So if someone wants to have the honour to learn from sensei more often, he should work on his ukemi (including attack). And maybe if a sensei has the humble opinion that his students have a lack in playing the role of uke, it is his/her task to motivate them.

Well, probably you were talking of aikidoka in general and not about your students.

But it is a point every instructor - in a dojo or on a seminar - should think about.

I just once witnessed how Saotome Sensei treated a 6th dan, when the attack was just a bit sloppy or uke did not protect himself properly on a seminar in France. And all most of the several hundreds of participants changed their behaviour - a little bit and at least for this week.

Regards Dirk

Qatana
03-23-2006, 09:14 AM
Somebody in this thread seperated "attack" from "ukemi". AFAIK< the attack is as much ukemi as the falling down.
I learned to give a committed attack from a 74 year old famale sandan. You just Do Not hit an old lady! Even know ing I couodn't possibly hit her, I was still attacking the air near her instead of really trying to hit her.So she laughed at me...
Three years later I am told my falling down skills have vastly improved, but apparently my attacking skills are so bad that sensei made me do jiyuwaza with a nidan for a long, long time the other day for the amusement of the rest of the dojo...
I thnk part of my sloppiness in my attacks could be cured by regular weapons practice. I can do bokken cuts all day but if I'm not doing them properly this is going to translate into my attack. But we have no weapons class...so now I am at least asking our "basics" teacher to include attacking practice into his class.

SeiserL
03-23-2006, 09:14 AM
Lynn, I wonder, why?
I couldn't agree more with Ledyard Sensei's comments. Excellent and to the point.

IMHO, because Aikido was developed with people who already knew how to attack from other martial arts, it was not necessary to include it in the original curriculum.

Now, however, that isn't the case. People start in Aikido with no background and still don't get the proper training.

Now, seeing and admitting the problem, gives us all the opportunity to find a solution; train with honest and genuine intent and intensity in all you do, in and outside the dojo.

cck
03-23-2006, 09:46 AM
I would have to repeat the comments on overcoming what ever it is that makes me not want to actually hit anyone. I once really connected with nage's head and it took me months to feel comfortable doing shomenuchi again. I know that a committed attack makes a huge difference but it is a real challenge to deliver it. There's a trust issue in there somewhere, I expect - the more I get to work with the people in my class, the more comfortable I am going for them because I know they will move and that I can generally take the resulting ukemi. But with some, there is uncertainty and something else, which is then fully displayed in the interaction; a side effect of practice is anticipation, what you expect from various people. Personal relationships and all the stuff you pick up on subconsciously enter into the equation and that's hard to get rid of. I find that I do a lot of pretending sometimes.

I do not have much of an eye for openings, which makes it difficult to be flexible in both attack and response. This is likely a result of not actually wanting to hit anyone - I can make myself deliver a strike, but then I am done. I have to actively and intellectually learn to keep up the attack even after the strike is delivered; it is not something that comes naturally. So again, pretense can get me part of the way there.

In our dojo we do work on this. We also work on eliciting attacks from uke - being an aggressive nage, if you will. We do hear "well, in the real world, no, people would not do this, but in order to practice..." Every once in a blue moon we'll throw in motivation (for kata menuchi, for instance): "Take that, you SOB!" (a rather unusual form of kiai, I gather). Again, pretense or role playing. That said, no, we do not have sessions where we exclusively focus on attacks (or at least I have not been to one).

Michael O'Brien
03-23-2006, 01:36 PM
I agree many do not give a committed and for many it is because they either don't know how, are afraid of hurting their partner, or both (IMHO).

Fortunately coming from a MA background I knew how to give a solid attack and my Sensei makes me do it. When I first started training I wasn't sure if we were actually supposed to throw the attack with the intention of making contact. After a couple of Shomen strikes whizzed down cutting the air 3" or so in front of Sensei's face and he stood there not moving I asked "Is there something wrong with my attack?" and he answered "Yes, you aren't hitting me. If you don't hit me then I have no reason to defend myself." That cleared it up for me.

With students who can't handle a full speed shomen or tsuki I'll attack fully committed to make solid contact at about half speed or whatever they are capable of blending with. The occasional shomen to the forehead or punch to the chest is good encouragement to get offline. LOL

MaryKaye
03-23-2006, 01:43 PM
I was practicing with one of the yudansha the other night, and he left me such a big opening that even I could see it, so I punched him softly in the stomach. He finished throwing me, and stood over me on the floor shaking his finger at me. In a loud voice, clearly heard all over the dojo:

"You ought to be able to hit me harder than that!"

This was not quite what I was expecting, so it was a useful reminder.

Mary Kaye

Charlie
03-23-2006, 02:38 PM
This sounds like the return of a wonderful thread that is full of many outstanding points...

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8205

well worth the re-read in my opinion.

Charles

xuzen
03-23-2006, 08:12 PM
Wow, I thought I had a difficult time expressing my views when I try to form this thread, but the quality of responses here are very good. Thank you all. I will need some time to read and digest the opinions.

One comment made by G. Ledyard struck me.... "When do we stop being nice?". George-sama, I like this question very much. Thank you.

To the rest of the responders, I will read your post again and answer or offer my opinions where appropriate after I have formulated my responses.

NagaBaba
03-23-2006, 09:05 PM
Are we not aggressive enough?
Aikido folks are not aggressive at all. We are mollified, timid, shy and are afraid to face even small aggression, no way to really hit somebody. If in the dojo will enter even a bit aggressive person, and sensei (by mistake LOL )will permit him to practice, 99% aikidoka will quit tatami immediately crying loudly.........1% will run to hide behind sensei’s hakama…….

Nobody will practice with aggressive person. There is no way to teach aikidoka how to be aggressive, no hope at all.

xuzen
03-24-2006, 12:34 AM
It is neither defensive nor offensive
I think so too.
That's a bit of an odd observation, coming from a Yoshi-Ogre(tm)
Not all Ogre are the same, unfortunately... sigh.
But there is also the fear of making firm friends with the floor, as mentioned previously. And some people have to get over a lifetime of conditioning that it is bad to try to hit someone else..
It took me a long time to overcome this fear too, but now that I got over this fear, I feel my aikido play (especially randori) becomes more meaningful and enjoyable.
Put simply, Aikido works very well against a true attack. It doesn't work against a wussy or inconsistent attack. So I think we do ourselves a great disservice as tori when we don't train our uke to attack properly.
How then, Ruth do me make aikido work against wussy attacks? In my practice... we attack them first (e.g., atemi) and then execute the technique. Is this how it is done in your dojo?
true attack needn't be hard and fast, so there's no problem in using this to help to develop your ukemi skills. It takes sensitivity and common sense on both sides, just as learning to throw and pin does :)
Agree, we can always start slow and progress with increasing intensity, but we must always start somewhere.
The other problem that most uke encounter is that of the nervous tori. ...<snip>... It's fear of the unknown that you are dealing with, not fear of being struck.
I personally think after hitting tori a few times, they get accustomed to it and we can go on and up the intensity. But of course, we must always remember, not to purposely (with malicious intent) hit tori.
In our dojo, we have now extra "atemi lessons", with tsuki, uchi, geri, and blocks. The focus is less to learn about the vital points, but to know how to attack and to know how to apply proper counter-strikes.
We tried to have such class, but with limited success. So, sensei in his infinite wisdom, ask us to hit each other with shinai to build up striking power. The kids love it a lot, it is such fun to see kids beating each other with shinai and defending it with shinai. I am impress at how fast they learn on their own the concept of power, maai, evasion and timing when fighting each other with the shinai. Another way he said to build up our strike is to slam the mat hard with our palm each time we take ukemi. In a short time, one of our teenager ex-wussy student, became one of our hardest hitter around.
Our sensei saw the idea in Washington, D.C. at A.S.U., and as long as most students had good experience in other MA, he was fine. Now with a group of new real beginners, he thought it is really necessary.
I think Osensei was lucky back then.... he had hard hitters like Shioda, Mochizuki, Tomiki et al to give him realistic attack to work with. Not all of us are so lucky.
As a fellow yoshinkan practitioner I find your comments quite appropriate to the situation in many dojos. In particular, the dojo at which I practice has only a few people able and willing to give committed attacks. ...<snip>...In summary I believe the lack of committed attacks from uke in large part are a result of uke's inability or unwillingness to do proper and necessary break-falls.
I see the problem is everywhere... like I mentioned earlier, these practitioners do not know what they are missing from training if the do not go full heartedly.

To George-sama, once again let me tell you how meaningful your post is, in particular the phrase... "When do we stop being nice to each other".

Also, you mention entry. Let me share something wonderful which happen in my recent training. I was leading the class one night and I wanted to show shomen uchi ikkajo ichi (irimi version) osae. I asked a fellow yudansha to be my uke while I become the tori. My uke was already launching his attack midway when I was distracted by a newbie asking me a question. Without looking at my uke, I just automatically raised my arms in the classic Yoshinkan Hiriki no yosei ichi movement and moved instinctively using the shumatsu dosa ichi movement. What happen next was brilliant... Uke face planted even though I only moved slightly. I think the newbies were very impressed. I was impressed myself and was impress by how well my uke gave me a sincere attack
In our rather young dojo, I am as 3rd kyu the dojo sempai. Usually we are three guys, with enough experience in aikido and other martial arts to be chosen as uke for sensei and usually in the same order.
But sometimes sensei chooses my for being uke for good attacks and the ability to take break-falls, not for my good shite/tori techniques.
Speaking of being uke, I love to take ukemi from my sensei. His throws are done with focused power; they are crisp, sharp and to the point. Although to the outsider, it may look like it hurts, actually it does not. The falls are really very invigorating, actually.

The type of ukemi which I hate to take are from not so noobie players. They try to throw you but these noobs tend to have a lack of confidence, they will try to hold back, waver, be indecisive, stumble, fumble which makes it even more dangerous for uke to take ukemi. They are a danger to me and themselves.

IMHO, because Aikido was developed with people who already knew how to attack from other martial arts, it was not necessary to include it in the original curriculum.
It is so true... but the new breed of students are so different from the times of Osensei. I did not learn how to attack properly until many many years later on.

This sounds like the return of a wonderful thread that is full of many outstanding points...
So sorry Charlie if my points have been covered. I was not one of the follower on that particular thread.

Aikido folks are not aggressive at all. We are mollified, timid, shy and are afraid to face even small aggression, no way to really hit somebody. If in the dojo will enter even a bit aggressive person, and sensei (by mistake LOL )will permit him to practice, 99% aikidoka will quit tatami immediately crying loudly.........1% will run to hide behind sensei's hakama…….
Nobody will practice with aggressive person. There is no way to teach aikidoka how to be aggressive, no hope at all.
You are being silly... go to the corner of the dojo and do 1000 ken suburi on each hands, followed by another 1000 jo tsuki. That will make you aggressive.... :D :D :D

p/s: We have a senior visiting practitioner who would visit us once in a while. He is a master of Kansetsu-waza. His locks are very jujutsu'esque and like NagaBaba said.... many of our students tap very enthusiastically and very quickly. I am also one of them. I will also very enthusiastically run and hide behind sensei's hakama. Many students are very afraid to attend his class. Aiki-jutsu is no fun at all.... :uch: :uch: :uch:

Thank you all once again for replying.

ChrisHein
03-24-2006, 01:19 AM
Well I don't know if aggression is what we are lacking, or need more of. Less fear might be what we really need. Not just fear of physical injury and pain, but also the fear that our ego might take a beating. Few Aikidoka want to practice against resistance, few are willing to try their technique out for real and see if they can really throw a white belt uke, or if it's just their hakama that's doing all the work. We've all been in several situations where we didn't want to embarrass a high ranking Aikidoka, so we would just jump in the air and make his technique look beautiful. Many of our egos couldn't take seeing our technique fail, so we don't try, and we don't ask uke to give us a hard time.

Another problem is that Aikido seems to be a one sided practice, there is one guy who only attacks, and one guy who does all the throwing and controlling, it's hard to consistently give a big "committed" attack when you are just walking in to be thrown. Many times in randori you will eagerly walk into something that you would never fall for in real life, it can breed sloppiness. Even as you progress, and you learn how to give huge committed attacks and move around the energy (once you've learned how to avoid even the biggest set up), we still end up rolling away, or jumping in the air because we are all committed to someone falling down at the end of the technique. I've seen many a high ranking instructor get truly mad when they encounter a crafty uke who won't take the fall, we're programed to fall and if someone doesn't fall they must not be doing Aikido.

My resolution of coarse (as with my resolution to everything Aikido) is to look at Aikido as a weapon practice, and not an unarmed one. There will be no more problems with "wussy attacks", bad uke's, or one sided egocentric practice.

-Chris Hein

kaishaku
03-24-2006, 03:13 AM
I was usually a pretty vigorous uke when training with competent nages. In fact at some point I took great pleasure in it since it was my only opportunity to be aggressive within aikido training.

In a similar vein to Chris' post that's sitting on top of this one, although I often felt sufficiently controlled, there were some points as uke that I wanted to try to wrestle out of things, but I felt it would be discouraged. (Actually, I once put my instructor in a juji gatame armbar during a demonstration....)

Anyhow, I think I would have appreciated practice against uncooperative uke. More randori maybe.

ruthmc
03-24-2006, 05:51 AM
How then, Ruth do me make aikido work against wussy attacks? In my practice... we attack them first (e.g., atemi) and then execute the technique. Is this how it is done in your dojo?
Hi Boon,

I have absolutely no idea how to do Aikido with wussy attacks! Sure I can muscle in and throw, but that's not Aikido IMHO. So I will say that I can do techniques against wussy attacks, but I cannot do Aikido.

A wussy attack has no intention to hit, therefore no conflict can arise from the encounter unless I (as tori) intend to attack uke instead. Aikido could then occur if uke defends himself against my attack.. But then we have reversed the roles and I end up always being uke. Aikido is the resolution of conflict - so no conflict, no Aikido necessary :)

Perhaps this is why we all end up muscling the techniques, because as tori we have to provide the energy that uke is lacking :(

Thoughts anyone?

Ruth

DH
03-24-2006, 06:53 AM
Xu

In my Dojo I teach everyone first to be an aggressive attacker. Using power from every angle.
Next how to NOT take Ukemi from a failed attack but rather to neutralize an opponents counter and re-set to attack again at full speed using power from every angle.
Then...body training to NOT be throwable, lockable or chokable, but to stand and neutralize an attackers energy.
Last?
To take Ukemi in the off chance it could be needed and to do so as a means to throw or take the opponent out.
Never…NEVER to just “take” anything from someone as a protective means.
A Persons ability to throw any of my men without their consent is very small. The chance to get set up and played in a fight is there but the means and methods are different.Therefore their “need” for ukemi is negligible to begin with.
This “Learn to take ukemi for safety” is largely B.S. ! Did I just say that? Why Yes I did.

If you watch fighters fight the need for ukemi is very, very small. Why?
Body dynamics. When you are in attack mode-full on attack mode-your body should be in a relaxed/held tension that protects itself. Were a person to train according to percentages of actuality their time in Ukemi training would be far less.
You are in fact training your body to lose and to protect something that does not need to be protected that way in a real fight. In other words, the dynamics of a trained attacking body preserves itself as well, if not better, as a trained losing body.
Example:
Choosing to “take” Ukemi from Kotegeishi is perfectly ridiculous as no one should ever be able to twist your wrist that way to begin with. My men could offer you their arms and they would just stand there as you tried every manner of lock that you know. Your efforts would amount to nothing and at anytime during your attempts they could throw “you” with your efforts.
Now……what were they doing to you while you were trying to lock them?
They were training Ukemi.

What about training to simply stand there and not be throwable? Or lockable. Isn’t that the ultimate Aikido goal? Isn’t that what Ueshiba’s goal was through his Daito ryu training- to neutralize every attack without having to attack back?
If Aikidoka stopped “taking” and fought back it would change the art forever.

Cheers
Dan

Dirk Hanss
03-24-2006, 08:11 AM
What about training to simply stand there and not be throwable? Or lockable. Isn’t that the ultimate Aikido goal?
Hi dan, if you could also add unhittable, I'ld say YES ;)

Dirk

roosvelt
03-24-2006, 08:20 AM
What about training to simply stand there and not be throwable? Or lockable. Isn’t that the ultimate Aikido goal? Isn’t that what Ueshiba’s goal was through his Daito ryu training- to neutralize every attack without having to attack back?



True.

But it's nage's turn to simply stand there and not be throwable. Uke will get his turn next round.




If Aikidoka stopped “taking” and fought back it would change the art forever.

Cheers
Dan


True too.

But it's a different training method, for example tai chi push hand.

In most Aikido dojo, the clear definition of nage and uke. The uke helps nage to learn his technique. The uke increase his attack and resistance according to nage's ability. If the uke gives 100% at very beginning, the nage will not be able to do any technique for years.

In body lifting, you start bench at 50 lbs then 100 lbs, 150 lbs .. until you reach 500 lbs. If you start from 500 lbs, you can't lift it. If you keeping trying the 500 lbs for years only. You still can't do it because you don't have a chance to work on you muscle. If you start from light weight and progress to heavy, you have a good chance to get the 500 lbs.

Is Aikido a good training method. I don't know.

But I do think there is a real problem in Aikido. Not want to point fingers, it may brush a few egos. But there is the sad reality. Someone who can't move a resistant uke and complain he's a jerk and deserves a knee to the fork, then boats one handles the serious attach the best. Someone who can't move a visiting instructor who put a real resistance, now complains there's lack of aggressive uke.

Now it seems to me some Aikido dojo is built on top of lies. If my technique doesn't work, the uke doesn't know how to attach correctly. All the beginners are chided into a 5 lbs dumb bell. The sempai who can only handle 5 lbs think there's all to it. They progress from lift 5 lbs to toss the 5 lbs, from sempai to sensei, from toss 5 lbs to juggle multiple 5 lbs, from sensei to shihan. It prompt some bad ass low kyu aikidoda to say that he can beat a few shihan into pulp. I doubt if he can. But it shows the level of aikidoda that he's encountered.

ruthmc
03-24-2006, 08:35 AM
But I do think there is a real problem in Aikido. Not want to point fingers, it may brush a few egos. But there is the sad reality. Someone who can't move a resistant uke and complain he's a jerk and deserves a knee to the fork, then boats one handles the serious attach the best. Someone who can't move a visiting instructor who put a real resistance, now complains there's lack of aggressive uke.
Hi Roosvelt,

There is a difference in my experience between a resistant uke and somebody making an intentional attack. The intentional attacker will strike or throw you if you do nothing. The resistant uke will simply use his strength and continuously switch his direction of energy to hold you in place. Resistance is not a true attack.

YMMV.

If somebody wants to hit me or throw me, I'll move and redirect that energy, otherwise I'll come off worst. If somebody just wants to hold my wrists all day, there's no real intent to harm me, so Aikido doesn't come into it in that case :)

Ruth

roosvelt
03-24-2006, 09:29 AM
If somebody wants to hit me or throw me, I'll move and redirect that energy, otherwise I'll come off worst. If somebody just wants to hold my wrists all day, there's no real intent to harm me, so Aikido doesn't come into it in that case :)

Ruth

So what's the koky-dosai about? Isn't it a basics in Aikido?

akiy
03-24-2006, 09:36 AM
So what's the koky-dosai about? Isn't it a basics in Aikido?
I'm curious -- what is your intent as uke during kokyu dosa?

-- Jun

roosvelt
03-24-2006, 09:40 AM
I'm curious -- what is your intent as uke during kokyu dosa?

-- Jun


Try to pin the nage to the mat.

akiy
03-24-2006, 09:43 AM
Try to pin the nage to the mat.
Interesting. Oftentimes, my intent is to throw nage as uke...

-- Jun

ChrisHein
03-24-2006, 10:57 AM
Dan,
It sounds like you have an interesting school, is it an Aikido school? I believe Aikidoka need to add resistance to their training, but lack of good ukemi skills is not the way to go about it.


Choosing to “take” Ukemi from Kotegeishi is perfectly ridiculous as no one should ever be able to twist your wrist that way to begin with.

I have seen Kotegeishi used several times in amateur MMA and Submissions Wrestling, and it worked fine, no big jump in the air granted, but it brought a man down. I don't know if you need to "teach" students to be "unlockable" or "unthrowable" as much as you just need to teach them good locks and throws, then let them work them on each other, once you do this, seems like they will have to learn ukemi, because one of them IS going to end up bringing the other one down.

-Chris Hein

DH
03-24-2006, 01:43 PM
Hi Chris
Judo to Aikido to Daito ryu and Koryu.
But everything incorporated into MMA! Everywhere, and all the time- looong before it got popular.

General Discussion points
Kokyu Dosa is an exercise and a type of foundational training that can lead to a group of skills to establish a body and frame that will make wrist lock types of attack all but impossible to establish on a person as well as adding an enhanced stability, balance and flow that makes getting thrown very difficult as well. From there you have to go deeper in your body skills training -sans technique-as a study all its own. Once you begin down that road it is addicting, and for many, life changing. And "specific" arts tend to loose their flavour very, very fast.
Anyway as for wrist locks I find I must dissagree in that you DO NOT see them working in any serious percentages among truly able guys. Shoulder and arm bars like the Kimura and crosses and Traingle chokes are different but even they get harder to apply with experienced men as well. What I am saying is not new-although other than Rob and Akuzawa, Tim Cartmell and myself I don't know of many who are trying these internal body skills in MMA work.
But put that aside for a moment.

The idea of aggression is one thing- the reality another.
Wanting to be, or to "have" more agression in an attack is laudable. But the training is not just physical, it really has to be mental as well. The road there is to fight in one form or another. I honestly don't know any other way. There is Dojo, sport, and trained agression and then true violent aggression. I do believe that those who have faced certain things in life have a different take on aggression and the de-escalation of it-as well as being responsive or non-responsive by choice. You can usually tell it in a man. But in lue of having the experience of real danger or having to risk real danger; sport and free style is probably the best all around "tool" to get measurable results in each person.
Using force-on-force in a friendly ramped up model still requires someone who can deliver and challenge the statis quo of a fixed art or way. That gets difficult as you need someone who knows how to "undo" what you do. And all of it can get difficult to do in a fixed style dojo, with a teachers approval and with safe and sane people.
There really isn't anything that needs to be said though. At this point most people see through the veil of half-baked and attacks by those with little or no skills. They get it. It's up to the individual to find those willing to explore and to envigorate their arts.

Back to the resisting model: I don't see anything wrong with getting someone to fight you with something other than Aikido technique, and to do so in a slow build-up of power to aid the nage into working on increasing their foundational strength. In fact the best way to "learn" speed and technique-in-speed is to go slow any way. That said, why not work it with gradual power increases for mutual benefit?

Cheers
Dan




Once

ChrisHein
03-24-2006, 06:14 PM
Funny you mention Tim Cartmell, he's one of the guys I've seen do Kotegeishi for real first hand. The reason you don't often see wrist locks working (besides the fact that few systems train them), is because in an unarmed fight there is no reason to lock some ones wrist, when you could be choking them, knocking them out or braking a larger appendage. However if they have something in their hand that you don't want them to be able to hold anymore braking or locking a wrist is a good option. Also mastering the movements of "locking a wrist" enables you to escape more readily when someone grabs your wrist, threatening to brake it may make them let go, allowing you to use your weapon.

Yes resistance is key, if you don't have resistance you will not grow as a person. Resistance is what makes your mind expand, your muscles grow, your speed quicken, and your technique develop. However resistance out of context, will not develop the techniques of Aikido, but will in fact develop something new all together, not that this would be wrong, just not Aikido. If you want to develop your Aikido technique using resistance, you must first understand why you would use the techniques of Aikido in the first place. If you go about training in an unarmed practice you will find the techniques of Aikido rarely come up. Finding a challenging partner shouldn't be difficult (well unless you are some kind of super athlete), as long as you and your Dojo mates train in the same fashion and regularly, you should all be on pretty much the same level and be able to give each other a challenge.

-Chris Hein

xuzen
03-24-2006, 11:31 PM
Hi Boon,
I have absolutely no idea how to do Aikido with wussy attacks! Sure I can muscle in and throw, but that's not Aikido IMHO. So I will say that I can do techniques against wussy attacks, but I cannot do Aikido.
A wussy attack has no intention to hit, therefore no conflict can arise from the encounter unless I (as tori) intend to attack uke instead. Aikido could then occur if uke defends himself against my attack.. But then we have reversed the roles and I end up always being uke. Aikido is the resolution of conflict - so no conflict, no Aikido necessary :)

Perhaps this is a catch 22 situation, if uke do not give you the energy to work with, you cannot do aikido. If you capitalize on the wussy attack by being the uke yourself, you don't do aikido. Thanks and that is why I need to constantly remind myself not to be too dogmatic on what is aikido and what is not.

Perhaps this is why we all end up muscling the techniques, because as tori we have to provide the energy that uke is lacking :( Thoughts anyone? Ruth
Reminds me of yesterday judo training, I was randori 'ing with a another judoka when he sweeps me with Osoto Gari and I felt that he actually puts all his power into the sweep, sacrificing his balance. All I did was just perform a casual back fall, still clinging on to his dogi and reverse the Osoto Gari with a sacrifice throw followed by a newaza pin, which he surrendered when he could not reverse/escape it. (Hey, I am new to this newaza stuff, so kindly bear with me if I am a little on cloud nine, OK?)

This is one of the many reasons on why we should not muscle a technique where possible, it just open up to reversal if one is not careful. It is better to let the technique happen naturally.

This "Learn to take ukemi for safety" is largely B.S. ! Did I just say that? Why Yes I did
Err... rather radical thinking no? Personally I primarily learn how take ukemi for safety reason, more so now as I also do Judo. I would not expect a noobie sans ukemi skill to just go on to the mat and randori freely.

...<snip>... Someone who can't move a visiting instructor who put a real resistance, now complains there's lack of aggressive uke.
Hmmm, Roosvelt no ego brush here, sir. But Ruth in post #29 first paragraph quite answer it. I agree the above issue is quite irrelevant to this thread.

To further chime in and to put it into relevant context...desiring an uke who sincerely gives a committed attack which offers me the necessary energy to practice/master a technique with versus a relatively bigger size uke holding you tightly and not budging and when you decide to do something about it, he chided you for not doing "his aikido" properly is an entirely different issue/argument altogether.

There really isn't anything that needs to be said though. At this point most people see through the veil of half-baked and attacks by those with little or no skills. They get it. It's up to the individual to find those willing to explore and to invigorate their arts.
Thanks Dan, you put it nicely there. But make no mistake about it, I still can get very good uke in my dojo, but I guess maybe I am a little adventurous now, and currently wishes to seek and explore things outside my aikido comfort zone to invigorate my martial journey. This could be one of the reason I started this thread I guess.

Thank you all for participating in this thread.

Nick Simpson
03-27-2006, 02:56 AM
Great thread :)

In your opinion and experience, are aikido practitioners thinking too much on how to become a good tori whilst neglecting on how to better themselves as uke. In this context, a good uke is not limited to just taking good ukemi, but also the ability to give sincere and committed attacks.

I agree with this. Of course not everyone does it, but alot of people do. If your not gonna hit each other then wheres the stress/danger/pressure? Im not advocating hitting a noob on their first lesson, but, I try to hit all my sempai and instructors and some of my kohai. Once to my embarrassment broke my girlfriends nose with shomen uchi (on the mat) and I've done Steve Mullens cartlidge no end of good with jodan tsuki :p

Nick Pagnucco
03-27-2006, 10:13 AM
Body dynamics. When you are in attack mode-full on attack mode-your body should be in a relaxed/held tension that protects itself. Were a person to train according to percentages of actuality their time in Ukemi training would be far less.
You are in fact training your body to lose and to protect something that does not need to be protected that way in a real fight. In other words, the dynamics of a trained attacking body preserves itself as well, if not better, as a trained losing body.


Dan,

I was curious if you had read Ellis Amdur's piece on ukemi over on aikido journal:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=846

The quick summary is that good ukemi is conditioning exercise & also puts uke in a good position for counters, beyond any commentary on 'safety.'

As a guy who happily admits to being pretty 'green', I was curious if you find his opinion compatible with your's or different.

roosvelt
03-28-2006, 03:06 PM
Hmmm, Roosvelt no ego brush here, sir. But Ruth in post #29 first paragraph quite answer it. I agree the above issue is quite irrelevant to this thread.



It's very relevant. The bigger problem I see is "advanced skill" building on top of shaky foundation.



To further chime in and to put it into relevant context...desiring an uke who sincerely gives a committed attack which offers me the necessary energy to practice/master a technique with versus a relatively bigger size uke holding you tightly and not budging and when you decide to do something about it, he chided you for not doing "his aikido" properly is an entirely different issue/argument altogether.



The static hold is the basic building block for the more advanced practice. If one doesn't know the basic, static version, how can one perform any dynamic version?

Lyle Bogin
03-28-2006, 03:35 PM
Sincere "attacks" are important, but not to be confused with really being attacked.

Michael O'Brien
03-28-2006, 04:50 PM
The static hold is the basic building block for the more advanced practice. If one doesn't know the basic, static version, how can one perform any dynamic version?
It is my understanding that the staic hold does serve as a good basis for first learning the technique, yes.

However, it is just supposed to be that, a hold. Not a two handed death grip where uke is trying to crush your wrists and not allow you to move if he outweighs you but 75 pounds.

The reality of Aikido (again from my understanding and training) is that the technique starts when uke first moves to strike/grab/etc or when you first feel contact when uke is behind you. In that sense your technique is dynamic and not designed for you to learn to move a 280 pound uke from a static hold position when you let him grab both your wrists in his bear paws. If you are doing technique properly he should never be able to grab you in the first place to hold you in place.

In a static training environment the responsibility of uke is to offer sincere resistance to allow nage to find the technique, not to try and shut the technique down. Shutting the technique down goes against the entire Aikido training philosophy.

*throws .02 in the bucket*

xuzen
03-28-2006, 09:10 PM
It's very relevant. The bigger problem I see is "advanced skill" building on top of shaky foundation. The static hold is the basic building block for the more advanced practice. If one doesn't know the basic, static version, how can one perform any dynamic version?

Roosvelt, I used to think of the same like you previously. I wanted to be strong in the techniques and able to do the technique as it is... pure and undiluted. I was an idealist back then. To me, it was black or white and there was never shades of grey in between.

Sir, not anymore. My current view is such... static kihon waza is only a learning tool. I'd learn it, forget it, move on and don't dwell too much into it.

The reality of Aikido (again from my understanding and training) is that the technique starts when uke first moves to strike/grab/etc or when you first feel contact when uke is behind you. In that sense your technique is dynamic and not designed for you to learn to move a 280 pound uke from a static hold position when you let him grab both your wrists in his bear paws. If you are doing technique properly he should never be able to grab you in the first place to hold you in place.
Thanks Mike, you said it very well here, thanks for saving me the trouble of typing something similar. Roosvelt, I think you think too highly of kihon waza. It is OK, so did I. My current view is such that randori and free style training (e.g. jiyu waza) gives better insight into a technique more than static kihon waza.

I will also ask my sensei again about his view regarding kihon vs randori training again, but I am sure I heard him said before that randori is a better/more efficient way to learn a technique. Roosvelt, I will ask him again this weekend when I attend his class. To be honest, I have actually forget about that particular episode until you brought it up again here.

p/s Just for triviality, I also wonder why that same visiting instructor refused to participate in jiyu waza with me. He humbly bowed and sit out the remaining of the class while the rest of the class throw each other silly. My bet is that his grip of death will not be so effective when I am not confined / restricted by the kihon waza.

DH
03-29-2006, 06:08 AM
Dan,

I was curious if you had read Ellis Amdur's piece on ukemi over on aikido journal:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=846

The quick summary is that good ukemi is conditioning exercise & also puts uke in a good position for counters, beyond any commentary on 'safety.'

As a guy who happily admits to being pretty 'green', I was curious if you find his opinion compatible with your's or different.Hi

I think you missed my point. As well, taking Ukemi as a means to place oneself in a superior position is a broad ranged commentary stated equally well from the gentlest aiki-bunny to the most capable MMA guy. I know which view I would demonstrate personally and I am not so sure I can convey it in words.

My view is that we learn Ukemi skills and master them- I am quite comfortable with mine-but then to train in such a way that they are not needed nor used except when cooperating to help the other guy. There is a body dynamic that is set up for "taking" Ukemi There is quite another for never taking ukemi but essentially countering everything, protecting yourself, and causing damage. As an example: Some may say -Instead of taking a kote gaeshi - take kotegaeshi and kick while going over. I am talking about a totally different dynamic than that.One that does not involve "going over" in the first place. Instead having a different mindset altogether, similar to what you see in a freestyle MMA bout.

Consider this.... Most experienced fighters encounter more violence and dangerous techniques in their daily training then you will encounter in your average dojo of any kind-yet their responses to punches, kicks, locks etc. do not include anything even remotely resembling Aikido’s ukemi. So how can that be?
Ukemi training -whether we like it or not -has a profound effect on how your body and mind will react in a confrontation. It should reflect your stability and "internal" thinking in response.
I once saw senior students of a VERY well known Aikido teacher taking Ukemi by springing on their hands and feet. The plausibility factor was that they could move and react better than landing on their backs. It took everything in me not to leap on their backs and do a rear naked choke (what we do when we get wrestlers in who train to not let their shoulder land) or Drop kick them in the head or sides. The reason it exists as an Ukemi is that in that dojo? They do not kick in the head or mount and do rear naked chokes.
Another is responses I have seen to cross lapel chokes in Daito ryu. Cross lapel chokes –from the front-should not exist as a technique on the planet earth against the human frame. When done to me I just say thank you and head butt, upper cut or knee the guy. As a technique it has survived due to agreed rules and responses.
Whether folks can see it or not there is a tacit body dynamic of “giving up” in taking Ukemi that is far different from an inherent body dynamic of fighting back. Things that may seem plausible to you in the dojo as an “x” art guy many times are pure fantasy and would quickly and expediently be dealt when all bets are off.
In closing I would suggest to you that many MMA guys could enter in and play with many Traditional guys all the day long with out ever once “taking” an Ukemi that even remotely resembles…well…Ukemi. And they would not be hurt or harmed from the lack.
Where does that leave the arts? They train in agreed rules and limits and largely improbable…. probabilities.


I am not suggesting that anyone give up or be difficult in a dojo. Just that they see the arts for all that they are. Then go cooperate and have fun.
Cheers
Dan

Nick Pagnucco
03-29-2006, 08:51 AM
I think you missed my point. As well, taking Ukemi as a means to place oneself in a superior position is a broad ranged commentary stated equally well from the gentlest aiki-bunny to the most capable MMA guy. I know which view I would demonstrate personally and I am not so sure I can convey it in words.


Oh, I am quite sure I missed your point :)
Thats why I posted a link to an article I think I understand, and asked you to elaborate a bit.

And now I think I understand your point of view better. Thanks for the reply; its important food for thought for me.

Kevin Leavitt
03-29-2006, 11:44 AM
Xu wrote:

Perhaps this is a catch 22 situation, if uke do not give you the energy to work with, you cannot do aikido. If you capitalize on the wussy attack by being the uke yourself, you don't do aikido. Thanks and that is why I need to constantly remind myself not to be too dogmatic on what is aikido and what is not.

This basically sums up my thoughts on the situation! Thanks Xu

If a guy resist and stands there. I usually just stand there at look at him as well! No threat, nothing coming at you...why do you want to try and make chicken salad (okay tofu salad, I'm a vegetarian :))

We all get in our minds when we start training what we percieve as the outcome of a situation should be. Usually it is to do exactly what sensei told us to do. However, when we encounter a different set of variables than what sensei was working with, and we try and replicate the exact same response...well we get frustrated trying to beat a round peg into a square hole! This is not aikido!

aikido is developing the wisdom to skillful apply the right things at the right time!

Kevin Leavitt
03-29-2006, 11:52 AM
Good post Dan (#44) generally I agree with your comments.

I would only add that the reasons for training in aikido are much different than training for MMA and for a real Combative environment.

While there are skills that exist in each art that certainly can be crossed over and applied, and like you said a MMA guy could take ukemi all day long from an aikido guy is correct. The hard part would be getting them to actually engage or agree upon the engagement to...oh say, the clinch as they philosophically and strategically approach the situation different.

I think what I would caution people against in aikido is trying to turn it into something it was never designed to be. Comparing it to MMA, or approaching aikido from a fully resistant paradigm is pointless and defeats the reasons for studying aikido. It does not, as I believe you are pointing out, invalidiate the art, or cause it to be ineffective.

DH
03-30-2006, 09:49 PM
Kevin

I would caution back that the one remaining constant in Aikido is that there is no constant in Aikido.

What you make of it, and what you do; is yours. It is my view that once Ueshiba mastered the internal aspects of Daito ryu he realized he no longer needed to fight...back- he could neutralize and stop anything coming his way.

I believe that the essence of Ueshiba's Aikido-the true power- is actually missing from Aikido.
There is only one way to get there. Internal training that does NOT take Ukemi. It is the first step to real mastery...AND creating a means and method to HIS realization of being able to nuetralize everything, and not have to harm in return.
The rest...just feeds the machine.

cheers
Dan

Kevin Leavitt
03-31-2006, 07:09 AM
The one constant in aikido is what the founder was very clear about...the endstate/goal of aikido, which was not to allow people to achieve and understand peace and harmony on an inter/intrapersonal level.

It was not about the attacks, techniques, or defeating uke.

He gave us a basic methodology that worked for him, many feel that it also works for them.

We might interpret things slightly different and emphasize different aspects.

However, once we stop focusing on the endstate and goal, well, we are no longer doing what the founder defined as aikido. You can call it whatever you like, but it is not aikido.

Sine we are communicating on the internet, it is hard say if you and I would differ and it may just be symantics, but I tend to think a little more broadly about things. I would wouldn't get even as technical as you to say "the goal is to NOT take ukemi". Certainly a part of it, but I think it is even more general in nature than that. Ukemi may or may not be involved depending on the situation.

I'd say as long as the outcome of a situation is understanding, peace, or harmony...or some sort of mutual reconcilation takes place...then it is irrelevant if ukemi, strikes, bullets, or what not are involved.

I think we all get too far in the weeds on the subject and focus on the little things and don't see the big picture some times. Losing sight of this, we start getting lost in the art and then have to define, label, quantify, validate, and measure ourselves by the physical skills that we have defined as "aikido".

I think you and I would agree it seems on most things and Yes, I think that a big part is missing in many people's aikido, however, there are just as many out there that understand it too!

Saji Jamakin
04-05-2006, 03:31 PM
Yes :D

But there is also the fear of making firm friends with the floor, as mentioned previously. And some people have to get over a lifetime of conditioning that it is bad to try to hit someone else..

I'm strongly in favour of teaching ukemi skills to beginners at a much higher standard than is currently fashionable.

Put simply, Aikido works very well against a true attack. It doesn't work against a wussy or inconsistent attack. So I think we do ourselves a great disservice as tori when we don't train our uke to attack properly.

A true attack needn't be hard and fast, so there's no problem in using this to help to develop your ukemi skills. It takes sensitivity and common sense on both sides, just as learning to throw and pin does :)

The other problem that most uke encounter is that of the nervous tori. Most people are unaware of how much time they have to avoid an incoming strike because they have never played with this and pushed those boundaries. I have discovered two important things by exploring this: 1) You always have more than enough time and 2) Getting hit hard isn't that big a deal. It's fear of the unknown that you are dealing with, not fear of being struck.

So go push on those boundaries people!

:D :D :D

Ruth

I Agree!

DH
04-06-2006, 02:58 PM
Put simply, Aikido works very well against a true attack. It doesn't work against a wussy or inconsistent attack. So I think we do ourselves a great disservice as tori when we don't train our uke to attack properly.

Hhmmm....Actually I think the definition of true attack in your example above should more properly be defined as a true (albeit limited) "Aikido" type attack... It is simply not realistic to think any other way. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The same would apply to many other single arts.

In my small way I was suggesting thinking outside the box to a broader view, one that would function within the Aikido paradigm and without. And in so doing, both train, strengthen and preserve the body-dynamic to a use that would not need to "take" ukemi as a means to remain safe. There are better ways to accomplish that goal of safety all while attacking the source or simply stopping it .....as a choice.
Honestly, I think what I am pointing to is beyond what many who toil away in an art have the ability to "see." I mean no disrespect nor a suggested elitism-but rather a superior way to function in our own bodies.

Further, it is my contention that what I am saying leads to the very heart of Ueshiba's "true Aikido" as an ideal- more than all the Aikido Ukemi ever "taken" in the world.... ever did.

Cheers
Dan

DH
04-06-2006, 03:35 PM
Edit timed out

I also meant to address your comment about Aikido not working against a wusy attack.
Aikido should just be.
It is not dependant upon the intent of others.
It should not be dependant upon what is offered -then you can be played.
Nor something dedicated -then you can be feinted and set-up.
Nor on a direct attack-what if you need to come to the aid of another being attacked.
But to be able to defend and stop or to sieze, control, counter, or stop irrespective of any energy or lack thereof.
My "Aikido" is not to be locked, nor thrown, nor choked, nor grabbed. But to lock, and throw and choke or grabb.
No man and no thing is unstoppable or immovable. But there is an incredible "gap" in the different approaches we may choose to express our intent and ability to stand.

Dan

Perry Bell
04-06-2006, 06:45 PM
Hi Boon,

As a fellow yoshinkan practitioner I find your comments quite appropriate to the situation in many dojos. In particular, the dojo at which I practice has only a few people able and willing to give committed attacks. The reason, as mentioned by a few in this thread, is that most people as uke don't want to take hard falls or difficult ukemi. They would rather go through the motions and do a nice roll or flip out of a non-committed attack. The problem as I see it is that without a committed attack from uke as shite I find it difficult to work on proper ma, maai, and kushushi. If uke won't give a committed attack then there s often times no energy to capture and redirect leaving shite the only option to muscle the technique.

In summary I believe the lack of committed attacks from uke in large part are a result of uke's inability or unwillingness to do proper and necessary breakfalls. :(

I'm sure i will be flamed so I am not putting on my flame retardant suit. :D

Thanks for the post. I've been thinking about this for a while now.

Dan Botari

Hey Dan,

Here comes the flame, got your suit on, only kidding buddy don't stress your point of view is yours, ;) we can either agree or dis agree not criticize.

Would it not be good if we can learn from the weaker attacks, because the attacks we might get on the street so to speak might not be as good as we might get in the dojo, in that way our defense can work either way with out throwing off our own balance. As the teacher in my class sometimes with the higher students I purposely do poor quality technique to throw the student off and see the reaction, so they can learn not all will be as we expect it to be.

Take care, suit off now

Perry :)

ruthmc
04-07-2006, 06:13 AM
Aikido should just be.
It is not dependant upon the intent of others.
It should not be dependant upon what is offered -then you can be played.
Nor something dedicated -then you can be feinted and set-up.
Nor on a direct attack-what if you need to come to the aid of another being attacked.
But to be able to defend and stop or to sieze, control, counter, or stop irrespective of any energy or lack thereof.
My "Aikido" is not to be locked, nor thrown, nor choked, nor grabbed. But to lock, and throw and choke or grabb.
No man and no thing is unstoppable or immovable. But there is an incredible "gap" in the different approaches we may choose to express our intent and ability to stand.
Hi Dan,

I've been thinking about this and have concluded that I need to revise my earlier post somewhat :)

I would say that the Aikido I have been taught up to now does not work against wussy or inconsistent attacks. I believe this is a major flaw in my training so far, which I am now addressing.

How to add power to a wussy attack without muscling?

How to blend with an inconsistent attack without fighting?

Not at all easy. But hopefully one day it will be my Aikido :)

Ruth

Kevin Leavitt
04-07-2006, 12:17 PM
I think with wussy attacks (at least my experiences) in the dojo, we want so hard to replicate what the instructor or sensei is doing that we really end up ignoring the attack as presented and move as we see sensei move. I get frustrated when it does not work and things go wrong!

What I think is happening is that we don't respond appropriately to the attack and then convey on uke that is is "his problem" for having a wussy attack. Ego working at it's finest!

The problem is our problem. we really should be workng to respond apprporiately to what is presented regardless of what sensei wanted to see, not willing it to be what we want it to be.

We simply need to accept that this happens and "let go" and move on. Hopefully sensei comes around and fixes the situation. I bet though many times he just lets it be, knowing that you have bigger things you need to work on without saying anything!

Aikido does work against wussy attacks, it just may not work the way our limited minds think that it should!

MaryKaye
04-07-2006, 02:45 PM
One of my teachers, in response to many complaints "uke isn't giving me anything to work with," has started to take such situations and analyze them. Often uke is convinced he's going to be thrown in a particular direction and is trying not to give that opportunity to nage. Nage can then try to feel what other direction would be better, and go with the flow.

I've been demo uke for some of this. Whoah, that's one way to keep uke on her toes! I was thinking smug thoughts about my ability to resist one moment, and the next I was upside down in midair....

The problem is, as my teachers have also been saying, that if nage is told to work on technique X and uke gives an attack for which X is not a sensible reply, nage is stuck. So uke has a responsibility to give an attack appropriate for the technique to be trained, and save off-kilter attacks for practice where nage has permission to improvise.

I remember watching a couple of black-belt students at a dojo I was visiting. The rest of the pairs were doing kaitenage, turn and about, trying to get it right. The two yudansha were too, at a slightly higher speed, except that about one throw in ten would be something completely different--the attack didn't quite recommend kaitenage to them, so they improvised. Looked like fun! I think that kind of training is where "aikido versus a wussy attack" can really be learned.

Mary Kaye

James Davis
04-07-2006, 04:43 PM
One of my teachers, in response to many complaints "uke isn't giving me anything to work with," has started to take such situations and analyze them. Often uke is convinced he's going to be thrown in a particular direction and is trying not to give that opportunity to nage. Nage can then try to feel what other direction would be better, and go with the flow.

I've been demo uke for some of this. Whoah, that's one way to keep uke on her toes! I was thinking smug thoughts about my ability to resist one moment, and the next I was upside down in midair....

The problem is, as my teachers have also been saying, that if nage is told to work on technique X and uke gives an attack for which X is not a sensible reply, nage is stuck. So uke has a responsibility to give an attack appropriate for the technique to be trained, and save off-kilter attacks for practice where nage has permission to improvise.

I remember watching a couple of black-belt students at a dojo I was visiting. The rest of the pairs were doing kaitenage, turn and about, trying to get it right. The two yudansha were too, at a slightly higher speed, except that about one throw in ten would be something completely different--the attack didn't quite recommend kaitenage to them, so they improvised. Looked like fun! I think that kind of training is where "aikido versus a wussy attack" can really be learned.

Mary Kaye
In my dojo, we have some pretty tricky uke too. :) Our sensei allows us to flow wherever we need to as long as the requested technique is the end result. (performing nikyo to lower uke before performing ikyo, for example.) When Sensei told us that this was allowed, it made our aikido more imaginative and fun. (not to mention improved our ukemi!) :)

DH
04-07-2006, 06:05 PM
Here you will find some fairly typcial jujutsu. Although it looks like randori it isn't. Notice all the "throw" moments. At the instant of Kuzushi the Uke "takes" ukemi. Watch his body essentially give up and go....into..... the throw position-even to the point of "taking" the arm bar. No one.....no one.... fights this way. They just cooperatively train this way. Unless and untill you do otherwise you are actually training to lose

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2YcAlpFs1E&search=judo

Now compare that to all of the MMA bouts you may find in various other venues where the one thrown is constantly re-vectoring and maneuvering for a new position. You will quickly note that in this maneauvering or change-their bodies remain protected due to the re-attack postioning instead of the giving up and "taking" the throw position. The change -changes their body lines and brings them into a greater opportunity for a cohesive power return postion.

There are many ways to be safe and attacking back is at the top of the list. It changes your body dynamic. Think it through, then try it. There is something valuable to be seen in training this way when you get the chance. You don't have to do it in the Dojo. Get some friends.....get private mat time and get ....better.

Cheers
Dan

Qatana
04-07-2006, 07:00 PM
[QUOTE=. No one.....no one.... fights this way. They just cooperatively train this way.[/QUOTE]

That's right, no one fights this way. But I thought we were talking about aikido. This IS how you do aikido.

DH
04-08-2006, 08:20 AM
That's right, no one fights this way.
Hhmmm.....To your first admission and agreement with me- "That no one fights this way."
Since you now acknowledge what you would face were you to have to use it against trained aggression, your next statement .........
But I thought we were talking about aikido.
This IS how you do aikido.
is that of a self damming admission-whether it is realized or not. And I suspect to the great sadness of the one who started it all.

It is not the heart of Aikido. Not what it was nor what it was meant to be. At its very heart Aikido was not to lose; to be immovable, to thwart every attempt and control without causing harm. This type of ..practice is a corruption of that goal.

No sooner did he leave the main dojo did the corruption begin. What was going on that caused Ueshiba to enter the dojo of Kissomaru and Tohei and say "This is not my Aikido."

In the fullness of time what Aikido is now ..........is Kissamaru's


Dan

Qatana
04-08-2006, 09:37 AM
This implies an assumption that My motives for training are the same as yours.
Your aikido is not my aikido.

DH
04-09-2006, 05:31 PM
Deleted see below

DH
04-09-2006, 05:34 PM
Agreed

Though I think it is fair to say we are both here discussing issues greater than us as individuals.

To the greater topic- both views apply..though I reluctantly add that mine was the more clearly defined, and if understood, can be expressed and thus -practiced-in a myriad of ways.

Thanks for the reply all the same.
Dan

Bridge
04-10-2006, 02:08 AM
Something occured to me during a karate class last Thursday.

We were doing some paired work for the first time in ages. I attacked (chudan tsuki) my partner with the usual commitment (possibly less than) I have in aikido practice. Only for my partner to be taken aback by the intent of the attack, enough to make him stop and make some comment (and get hit).

So...

Karate types do DO wussy attacks sometimes. And Aikido people don't always.

Karate people do DO the ukemi (as in let their arm be blocked). And I've received more bruises in aikido from messed up "blending".

What do you make of that????

Nick Pagnucco
04-10-2006, 09:44 AM
Karate types do DO wussy attacks sometimes. And Aikido people don't always.

Karate people do DO the ukemi (as in let their arm be blocked). And I've received more bruises in aikido from messed up "blending".

What do you make of that????

Well, I'm hardly an expert (having never done karate & being quite marginal at aikido), but...

From what I imagine (and please correct me if I'm wrong), karate requires less blending & leading for its techniques. Therefore, a relatively weak attack in karate wouldn't create the same kind of frustration as we see in this thread. A lot of this thread's complaints about a wussy attack seem to be based on the idea that if there's no momentum, its harder to 'do aikido' because there's nothing to work with and turn back against uke.



Now, with that being said, I have some problems with the term 'wussy attack,' the way its being used here. I'm still trying to decide what I think about a lot of what Dan Harden has said, but I definitely agree with him that 'good' aikido should not require someone else to make the attack first and in a strongly committed way. There have been threads here that have talked about the value of being pre-emptive, for example. Now, that being said, making a strong, committed attack IMHO is a good thing to practice with, because (at least for me) its helpful to 'feel' what a technique tries to do.

Secondly, I think we need to spend some time differentiating between a wussy attack, a committed attack, and an attack with all of uke's momentum & weight behind it. The first is a wet noodle, and the last is what we as aikidoka just love to play with. But the second one is interesting, and something we dont (at least in my dojo) play around with that much. A boxer can throw a real jab, but they are very careful to not over-extend him or herself, for example. I have little idea how to deal with #2 in an effective way, though I think it'd be a good thing for me to figure out eventually.

eyrie
04-10-2006, 05:03 PM
I think the level of intensity of an attack should be commensurate with (and slightly above) the other person's ability to respond appropriately. Uke is learning how to control their attack accuracy and intensity appropriately.

I share Dan's point of view, but I'm of the opinion that taking ukemi is primarily a learning tool for tori, only insofar as to allow tori to learn how to effect a throw. As tori becomes more proficient, then the role of uke is to step up the attack level of intensity and variety such that they are not taking ukemi for ukemi's sake, but to provide tori with an appropriate learning experience.

While the delineation between tori and uke are necessary for learning purposes, in training and practice reality, the delineation needs to be blurred, with roles reversed as the situation dictates, and as much as the level of player's abilities allows.

DH
04-10-2006, 10:08 PM
hmmm...
I just spent 4 hours training with 3 CMA guys. Countless attempts to throw, countless punches thrown many attempts at locks. No throw worked -not one. No lock was even marginally successful. Thus...no one had to "take" Ukemi of any kind.
So...following the thinking I am openly challenging or questioning here....... was nothing learned?

Honestly I think that this "idea" many have is so ingrained that they are missing a fundamental core concept of where their training can go and ideally what it can mean.

Since I am questioning I have to say I applaud the civility and the open exchange with everyone.

Cheers
Dan

eyrie
04-11-2006, 03:40 AM
Sorry, Dan, I was in a hurry before and neglected to mention that I actually agree with you from the point of view of not "taking" ukemi. The ultimate in ukemi - literally receiving with the body - is "fudo-myo" - being unmovable, unthrowable and unlockable - in which you're still "taking" ukemi, just not "doing" the ukemi.

The point of "doing" ukemi of course is merely learning to do "something" - which I think would be "th3 r34l" aikido... eventually. And since there are various stages of learning, I'm sure you would agree that it would be rather inappropriate, not to mention frustrating, for a "beginner" to engage in a stalemate (or losing) encounter with someone more advanced who doesn't need to "do" ukemi.

Otherwise, we might as well just be doing....um... "karate"... to achieve the same goal, quicker. ;)

Perry Bell
04-11-2006, 07:33 PM
Well, I'm hardly an expert (having never done karate & being quite marginal at aikido), but...

From what I imagine (and please correct me if I'm wrong), karate requires less blending & leading for its techniques. Therefore, a relatively weak attack in karate wouldn't create the same kind of frustration as we see in this thread. A lot of this thread's complaints about a wussy attack seem to be based on the idea that if there's no momentum, its harder to 'do aikido' because there's nothing to work with and turn back against uke.



Now, with that being said, I have some problems with the term 'wussy attack,' the way its being used here. I'm still trying to decide what I think about a lot of what Dan Harden has said, but I definitely agree with him that 'good' aikido should not require someone else to make the attack first and in a strongly committed way. There have been threads here that have talked about the value of being pre-emptive, for example. Now, that being said, making a strong, committed attack IMHO is a good thing to practice with, because (at least for me) its helpful to 'feel' what a technique tries to do.

Secondly, I think we need to spend some time differentiating between a wussy attack, a committed attack, and an attack with all of uke's momentum & weight behind it. The first is a wet noodle, and the last is what we as aikidoka just love to play with. But the second one is interesting, and something we don't (at least in my dojo) play around with that much. A boxer can throw a real jab, but they are very careful to not over-extend him or herself, for example. I have little idea how to deal with #2 in an effective way, though I think it'd be a good thing for me to figure out eventually.



Hi Nicholas,

I am a Karate instructor, and have been training for 30 years, just so you know I am coming from a point of knowledge.

In karate there is plenty of blending, there might be schools around the world where the instructors do not understand enough about what they teach and the bio mechanics of movement, that they only teach the hardness of karate where you just block and punch or kick, I practice a style called Shitoryu in Australia, and it combines both hard and soft techniques, hard ones where you can stop someone in their tracks, and softer ones where you can blend with the attack and take control of the fight, much in the same way we do in Aikido.

So really it all comes back to the understanding of the teacher ( instructor ) .

Take care

Perry :)

xuzen
07-16-2006, 10:45 PM
Hi all,

Some thoughts about this issue...

Now that I also do judo, there is something I would like to share with all, with regards to aggresiveness:

The females judokas that are in my dojo can really teach me a thing or two about being aggresive. NB: My judo dojo is a competitive centric dojo.

Teenage girls who normally are so demure suddenly becomes like a tigress in randori. They grab, push, they wring your dogi and you can actually feel there aggression and their competitive nature.

It is a far cry from how my aikido dojo girls react, who are usually demure and just as demure even on the mats.

It is just interesting to observe another aspect of human emotion so closely.

Boon.