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actoman
04-21-2006, 09:09 AM
All,

I was training in the dojo the other day and we working on jo-waza.I am currenly Orange Belt level. When I attacked a senior black belt , I grabbed the jo, he attempted to perform a technique, the one that resembles Shihonage.

I didnt work, so I was honest and didnt fall. He tried again, and everything he tried simply was not making me fall. So finally he took me down with an Iriminage.

The next day, I walked into the dojo early and Our head Sensei approached me and told me that 'my control' was not there and that the senior student was upset with me.

I have not approached the student nor tried to explain away what I beleived was simply being a good uke against a non-working technique. I think he'd appreciate my honesty and it would only make him better in the long run.

Thoughts? :rolleyes:

SeiserL
04-21-2006, 09:12 AM
I would have appreciated you honest response by not taking the fall. My deepest compliments.

Brian Vickery
04-21-2006, 09:26 AM
All,

I(t) didnt work, so I was honest and didnt fall. He tried again, and everything he tried simply was not making me fall.... Thoughts? :rolleyes:

Hi Andy,

Hey, you can't fix something if you don't know it's broken! He should be THANKING you instead of being pissed at you!

Just let it go, his ego will heal without you having to stroke it!

Keep the honesty in your training!

Qatana
04-21-2006, 09:30 AM
I have lots of moments like that. I can very easily retain my balance in iriminage and sometimes just walk out of it. If my sempai, who outweighs me by at least 80 pounds can't make me fall, then it is his problem. But it might be a good idea to try to re-create the problem and have your sensei watch.
When this happened with sensei( also a foot taller and 90 pounds heavier) I got to experience yonkyo without warning. That made me fall!

nathansnow
04-21-2006, 09:36 AM
That's how you learn.... MISTAKES!!
If he doesn't know he's making one, he'll never do it right.
Keep doing what your doing!!

JMCavazos
04-21-2006, 09:52 AM
He shouldn't be mad at you.... He should be mad at himself....
I would not have fallen for a black belt ... maybe a kyu, but not a dan....

Nick P.
04-21-2006, 09:53 AM
Agreed with all the above. But....

How much would you learn if all your partners ever did was foil your attempt at completing a technique? Think you would ever get it "right"? I don't think I would.

Granted there is a difference between not being able to complete a techniqe and crying to my Sensei that so-and-so wouldn't play nice. As to what you should do next, just ingore the incident and train.

Amelia Smith
04-21-2006, 10:08 AM
On other threads, people have discussed the fact that if you know what technique is coming, it's pretty easy to resist. So, as uke, you need to keep an open mind, and not clamp down against that particular technique. I personally find it helpful to do the first few repetitions of the technique fairly lightly, to learn or refamiliarize myself (and whoever I'm working with) with the general outline of the technique.

If your partner is having difficulty with a technique when you resist, they have a couple of options. One is to ask you to lighten up for a bit as they learn this technique. The other, probably more appropriate for a senior dan rank (although it depends on the school, I guess) is to slow down and figure out how to make it work. Even senior dan rank people occasionally come across an unfamiliar technique, or have an "off" day.

Restist, ok, but also communicate!

Dennis Good
04-21-2006, 10:26 AM
Unfortunately I don't know the full details of the situation. Just because someone has a dan rank does not mean they are not learning something new themselves or taking your experience into account. If the tempo of the technique was slow while he was trying to learn the movement or even to work on the fine points of his technique, or to protect his Uke from a possibly nasty fall it is very easy to resist. a technique to the point of complete failure and that could be considered rude, even if it is not intended that way. However if you were working at a more vigorous pace and both people are competent at the technique in question and he is simply complaining because he sucks, he should grow up and learn from the experience. That is the sort of thing that needs to be communicated between partners ahead of time. That way both people have the same expectations.

happysod
04-21-2006, 11:15 AM
If possible, find another dojo (or learn the compliant splatt quickly, sound effects optional) - if you have dan grades who are unable to either
a) accept they need to work on their technique or
b) don't take the time to explain why the attack you were using was inappropriate for the practice then
c) (the big one for me) compound that by getting the head instructor to "have a quiet word" you have a potentially interesting yet probably pathetic time ahead of you.

Eric Webber
04-21-2006, 11:31 AM
Do you consider this situation a problem for you? - do something to rectify it.

Is the problem someone else's? - let them work it out, or help them work it out, but don't carry the burden for them, it's not healthy for either of you.

In either case, learn what you can from it and grow. Hopefully they will, too.

Train honestly.

wmreed
04-21-2006, 11:40 AM
The majority of the posts in this thread comment on how the senior student should have behaved, but I'm curious about something that I didn't notice anyone else asking: What was your _sensei's_ take on the matter? Did he reprimand you? Question you about the incident? Encourage you to discuss things with the senior student? Offer guidance on what he expects from you in the future?

More than the senior student's behavior, which I have seen from students and senseis all over, I wonder about how the head of the dojo views the situation.

I am also curious as to your attitude while the senior was trying to make the throw work. Was your choice of reaction one which came across as competitive? As curious? As confused? As helpful? If you were conscious that the senior student was becoming frustrated, did you change how you were reacting?

In my observations, the _way_ in which uke resists makes a big difference to nage's ability to use the resistance as helpful feedback.

It is my personal view (and I KNOW they'll be many that disagree with me) that uke's job is not to resist OR to be compliant; uke's job is to make nage do the best that they can.


Just my 2Ę (maybe 4Ę),

WMReed


All,

I was training in the dojo the other day and we working on jo-waza.I am currenly Orange Belt level. When I attacked a senior black belt , I grabbed the jo, he attempted to perform a technique, the one that resembles Shihonage.

I didnt work, so I was honest and didnt fall. He tried again, and everything he tried simply was not making me fall. So finally he took me down with an Iriminage.

The next day, I walked into the dojo early and Our head Sensei approached me and told me that 'my control' was not there and that the senior student was upset with me.

I have not approached the student nor tried to explain away what I beleived was simply being a good uke against a non-working technique. I think he'd appreciate my honesty and it would only make him better in the long run.

Thoughts? :rolleyes:

Robert Rumpf
04-21-2006, 01:16 PM
How many times did you stop his technique in a row in the same fashion? Just once or more than once?

Rob

Jose Garrido
04-21-2006, 01:20 PM
There are a lot of things to consider here. Let's look at some of them.
1...Did you purposely resist the technique because you knew what was coming?
2...Did your sempai allow you to clamp on hard prior to attempting the technique?
3...What was the reaction of both of you when the technique did not work?
4...Why did the sempai complain to the sensei about you?
5...Does the sempai usually complain about ukes?
6...Do people usually complain about you?
7...Do kohai frequently complain about this sempai?

I can go on and on, but the main thought here is that without actually witnessing the event it is very difficult to comment on it, simply because we all perceive things differently.

I would just let it ride and try to answer the questions that I wrote above as honestly as possible.

Aikido should teach among many things tolerance. Please continue your training in good faith. As an old saying goes"...and this to shall pass".

Jose' Garrido

Michael O'Brien
04-21-2006, 02:19 PM
Something that struck me as I read through the posts as well that wasn't mentioned:

What happened when you changed positions and he attacked you? Did he shut down your ability to perform the technique as well?

It may help shed some insight into if this was co-operative training that didn't work or was turning into a competitive grudge match?

roosvelt
04-21-2006, 04:09 PM
There are a lot of things to consider here. Let's look at some of them.
1...Did you purposely resist the technique because you knew what was coming?
2...Did your sempai allow you to clamp on hard prior to attempting the technique?
3...What was the reaction of both of you when the technique did not work?
4...Why did the sempai complain to the sensei about you?
5...Does the sempai usually complain about ukes?
6...Do people usually complain about you?
7...Do kohai frequently complain about this sempai?



Why did you think the original poster should answer any of these questions?

The black belt should be able to handle the situation correctly, either verbally instruct the uke to coopertate, or physically make him , regardless the original poster, a brown belt, behaviour.

The "black belt" should mean something. If a black belt Aidikoka can't cope with a uke in a nonconfrotational situation, I wonder what his "aikido" good for.

Michael O'Brien
04-21-2006, 05:00 PM
Why did you think the original poster should answer any of these questions?

The black belt should be able to handle the situation correctly, either verbally instruct the uke to coopertate, or physically make him , regardless the original poster, a brown belt, behaviour.

The "black belt" should mean something. If a black belt Aidikoka can't cope with a uke in a nonconfrotational situation, I wonder what his "aikido" good for.

My initial reaction would be because careful analysis of any situation normally reveals that there is plenty of blame to go around.
i.e. "It takes two to tango."

Yes, the senior student could have perhaps, and should have perhaps, handled the situation better. However, maybe if the uke had been more sincere in his attack there would have never been a situation that needed to be handled?

Maybe there is a reason the student felt the need to go to the instructor rather than handle it directly? Remember, we are seeing only one side of the situation.

Also, traditionally achieving the rank of "black belt" is the point where you truly "begin to learn" not the "end all be all" super enlightened martial arts god that it is made out to be in America on TV and in movies.

A black belt had a situation, for whatever reason, he felt he couldn't handle. He took it to his instructor. There are definitely worse ways he could have handled it.

wmreed
04-21-2006, 06:17 PM
The black belt should be able to handle the situation correctly, either verbally instruct the uke to coopertate, or physically make him , regardless the original poster, a brown belt, behaviour.
Based on the information provided, we have no evidence as to what the black belt student did. He very likely did all of these things. I think the questions give those of us who have been asked for our thoughts a better picture of what happened in this situation, without accusing anyone of anything.

The "black belt" should mean something. If a black belt Aidikoka can't cope with a uke in a nonconfrotational situation, I wonder what his "aikido" good for.

I didn't hear anything about the class that implied the yudansha couldn't cope with the situation. We're not even sure what he actually said to the head sensei. Perhaps he asked sensei for guidance in the situation and the sensei decided of his own accord to step in.

The whole decision of who was to blame is pointless, in my opinion, because we haven't heard the whole story. I've worked with enough students to know that there's some important information we're missing.

I AM NOT accusing actoman of purposely leaving out details, but it would help if he clarified some things.

I would still be interested in knowing what the Sensei felt that actoman should have done. We were never told.

wmreed
04-21-2006, 06:27 PM
(By the way actoman, is this the same instructor that you were frustrated with several months ago because he wasn't calling you about private lessons when you wanted him to? Did you guys resolve things or did you have to find a new dojo?)

ccain85
04-21-2006, 06:59 PM
Agreed with all the above. But....

How much would you learn if all your partners ever did was foil your attempt at completing a technique? Think you would ever get it "right"? I don't think I would.

.


i agree completely. this happens a lot in our dojo with some of the new people who let themselves think they are "better" than some because we older students ARE being nice.

Ketsan
04-21-2006, 07:02 PM
I got kneed in the face by an instructor for not falling over on utchi kaiten. Well not so much falling over, but not going down far enough cuz frankly he didn't cut forward enough or in anyway break my balance. Anywho, I was sorta half bent over and there was a pause in the technique, then out the corner of my eye I saw movement, looked towards it and got a knee in the teeth and was angrily informed that "I can make you go down if I want".
I've not been back to HQ dojo since, although I'll have to go back at some point because "I need to be seen" apparently. Other wise they'll just automatically fail you on gradings for lack of dedication.

Jory Boling
04-21-2006, 07:09 PM
I was uke during a technique involving atemi that needed to be aimed directly into my line of sight. if the nage is off just a hair, uke's brain won't perceive it as a threat and it won't work. my nage's atemi was offline so i didn't go down. it had just happened and before i got a chance to "help" my nage, the senior sempai walked by and lightly scolded me for not doing my part as a "good" uke: "Sometimes, the better part of valor is taking ukemi." it wasn't a big deal, and my guess is that it's happened to most of us at some point or another during our early (and later) years. of course, my nage or the other sempai didn't tell Sensei who then had a word with me in locker room, either. if both parties are sincere and honest in their training, it shouldn't be a problem.

mickeygelum
04-21-2006, 08:21 PM
At your level, I think that I would welcome the opportunity to learn shihonage break falls...at a relaxed pace. The last thing that I would expect is to learn the breakfall at half or full speed.

My opinion only, a black belt could not effectively perform any technique that would result a breakfall....I would find somewhere else to train.....or I would be thankful that the black belt had enough restraint and fortitude to continue working with me.

Nick P.
04-21-2006, 08:33 PM
Why did you think the original poster should answer any of these questions?

The black belt should be able to handle the situation correctly, either verbally instruct the uke to coopertate, or physically make him , regardless the original poster, a brown belt, behaviour.

The "black belt" should mean something. If a black belt Aidikoka can't cope with a uke in a nonconfrotational situation, I wonder what his "aikido" good for.

With respect, we'll see how you feel when you reach that promised land.

Pauliina Lievonen
04-22-2006, 04:32 AM
I got to say, I agree with Roosvelt on this, at least based on the little information we have from the original poster. Note that he did give "verbally instruct the uke to cooperate" as an option.

kvaak
Pauliina

dps
04-22-2006, 10:27 AM
I was taught that during practice when you are Uke you were suppose to be practicing your breakfalls and rolls. The Sensei was the one to judge if Nage was doing the technique right.

Dirk Hanss
04-23-2006, 03:31 PM
I was taught that during practice when you are Uke you were suppose to be practicing your breakfalls and rolls. The Sensei was the one to judge if Nage was doing the technique right.
That is totally true - for beginners.
It is awful, when I uke jumps or rolls before I have done anything - how to hell shall I learn to do the technique correctly? I hate this.

There are hundreds of reasons, why a technique might not work - and if there is a huge difference in grading, it is always the fault of the higher graded aikidoka.

Honestly - uke might stand or move in a way to make the desired technique impossible. Then nage can
1) show him what is wrong
2) tell him how to do it right
3) change the technique.
So maybe that nage did iriminage was a valid solution. I alsways thought, yudansha should have ways to change better, at least, if they have several tries - but I have not been there, so I cannot judge.

To me it sounds rather strange, that a yudansha is not tell his uke , what uke did wrong, but complains at the chief instructor. I can understand, if the chief instructor tells his student, that his behaviour was incorrect, but only after hearing both sides and not without telling him what he did wrong and why it was wrong.

Well even if I do not understand the reason, there might be a good one. A simple but stupid idea is, that your chief instructor wanted to teach you a non-combat aikido lesson. Th original poster of this thread had been attacked and he thinks it was an unfair attack. So now he has to react. He can wait for his "bad nage" somewher in the night and beat him down - might work, might not, but it is not good aikido. He might leave the dojo, where he was treated badly. He might find a better one, but at this stage it does not look like good aikido- it could be the ultimate choice in the end, however.
He might go to the chief instructor and tell him: " Sensei, I still do not understand my mistake. can you teach me how to fall correctly, if I do not feel, I should." That might not be a good reaction for an aikido master, but for an aikido student.

He might find his own solution. I will probably not be perfect, but it will be a step on his path of Aiki.

just my 1.5 cts.


Dirk

dps
04-23-2006, 05:34 PM
That is totally true - for beginners.

This is totally true all the time no matter how long you have practiced Aikido.
If you were not told by your sensei to instruct or not ask by your nage or uke for help, then your job as nage is to practice your technique and as uke is to practice your fall or roll. Your sensei is responsible for determination if a technique is right or not and is the one to correct mistakes.

Shipley
04-23-2006, 06:10 PM
Interesting. I tell my students that their job as uke is to continually move to a position of better advantage. Sometimes that is falling, sometimes that is the obvious punch, sometimes that is kaeishi (sp?), sometimes it is even running away. It is almost never standing like a lump though. If an uke that I am training with falls without me throwing him or her I ask if I am doing the technique to quickly for them to be comfortable. I'd rather do it slow and right than quickly and have uke fall spontaneously.

My two bits anyhow,

Paul

wmreed
04-23-2006, 06:49 PM
After further thought, I'd like to amend my "definition" of an uke's job from my previous post.

Uke has two crucial roles (not rolls, pardon the pun):
1) To protect themselves from injury.
2) To make nage do the best that they can -- which might be to fall, or might be to resist, it might be to stand like a lump. It depends on the level of nage, and the aspect of the technique that sensei has asked student to focus on.

To ONLY frustrate nage is improper, to frustrate them and them communicate why they are not falling MAY be proper, to seek harmony in practice is USUALLY (ALWAYS?) proper.

MOHO,

Bill

Rupert Atkinson
04-23-2006, 06:53 PM
All,

I didn't work, so I was honest and didn't fall. He tried again, and everything he tried simply was not making me fall. So finally he took me down with an Iriminage.



All too common, unfortunately. Worse, in return he will likely refuse to fall for you - lest you appear better than him - and will resist your technique by all means possible to show you that you can't do it either. Viscous circle to nowhere. At least, however, eventually, he took you down with another technique ... like ... what is so wrong with 'change' as a viable concept? (Except that he should have done it immediately, in my opinion).

Upyu
04-23-2006, 07:10 PM
(To the original poster)
The fact that your teacher even thought to chastise you for what happened is pretty indicative of his level, (having not even met the guy).
I know it sounds harsh, but you might want to reevaluate where you're training.

mathewjgano
04-23-2006, 10:49 PM
The next day, I walked into the dojo early and Our head Sensei approached me and told me that 'my control' was not there and that the senior student was upset with me.

I'm not saying that this is the best approach, but any time someone is upset with me I appologize for the misunderstanding and try to work on figuring it out with the person directly. If what you described was all that was said (ie-"control" issues), I'd ask for more details. Sometimes, though, the answer isn't always readily apparent and you just have to keep on keepin' on and eventually, with diligence, it will likely work itself out. Still, regardless of the technique itself, I think it's important to foster a working relationship with the people we train with...it makes training more fun and productive.

I have not approached the student nor tried to explain away what I beleived was simply being a good uke against a non-working technique. I think he'd appreciate my honesty and it would only make him better in the long run.
The only thing i can say to this is remember that you both likely feel you were being as honest as possible in that sitution. In that vein, you probably both feel equally that the other should appreciate the honest intention of making one another better in the long run.
Gambatte!
Matthew

PeterR
04-24-2006, 02:16 AM
What can I say but time and place. The level of resistance uke is required to put out depends on what is being worked on.

Its easy for beginners (and even more advanced visitors) to miss what's obvious to everyone else.

Hanna B
04-24-2006, 03:00 AM
I didnt work, so I was honest and didnt fall. He tried again, and everything he tried simply was not making me fall. So finally he took me down with an Iriminage.

This is a very common and often recommended way of dealing with an uke who makes it difficult to perform a certain technique. Most commonly are people who resist kokyonage and just will not be led forward - they can easily be led backwards instead. If you are making another technique easy to perform, you are not resisting in a good way. This is something that takes quite a while to learn, though. Resisting in good ways is difficult.


The next day, I walked into the dojo early and Our head Sensei approached me and told me that 'my control' was not there and that the senior student was upset with me.


Hopefully, in a couple of years your senior student will be able to do the same thing without being upset with you since you probably acted in good faith - or simply ask you too loosen up a bit, since he is searching for the way to do it.

Dirk Hanss
04-24-2006, 03:21 AM
This is totally true all the time no matter how long you have practiced Aikido.
If you were not told by your sensei to instruct or not ask by your nage or uke for help, then your job as nage is to practice your technique and as uke is to practice your fall or roll. Your sensei is responsible for determination if a technique is right or not and is the one to correct mistakes.
Fine, David
that is the rule in your dojo. I accept this, when I am a guest, but as regular student, I would probably change dojo. I'ld rather go with Paul Shipley's explanation.

But for me, it is much more of interest, how one deal with this situation. probably Andy orwig should have done his ukemi (taken the technique). But if there is no one to tell him, what, why, and why he should fall, he is probably not able to do it right the next time. Just "Your role is to fall" is somewhat frustrating.


Kind regards


Dirk

Hanna B
04-24-2006, 03:25 AM
I was taught that during practice when you are Uke you were suppose to be practicing your breakfalls and rolls.
This varies in different dojos and training styles. I would say that when you are uke, you are supposed to be practicing your uke role - which includes breakfalls and rolls, but contains more than that.

Josh Reyer
04-24-2006, 03:42 AM
I'm with Dirk, Paul, and Hanna here. In my dojo if we don't resist techniques, the sensei is unhappy. That's not to say we jam techniques. But we have to fall because nage did something effective: took our balance, took our center.

I once used my height and strength advantage and didn't fall for a female sempai. She didn't get upset, she just tried to figure out what she was doing wrong. Sensei was pleased. He came over, gave her a few pointers, and after that...ouch. Everyone was happy. She got a technique to work against a larger, stronger, resisting opponent, and I got to practice effective ukemi against effective technique.

Amir Krause
04-24-2006, 04:55 AM
While I find the Sensei reaction quite peculiar. Personally, I feel we are only getting a small part of the whole picture.

I would like to point that your description of the situation does not clarify if the failure of the shodan to throw you in the "pre-designed" technique was his or your fault. Being a good Uke is vary difficult, sometimes just the knowledge of the intended technique is enough for a person to change the attack in a way that invalidates the specific technique. A new Shodan might not be able to realize this yet and could get very frustrated since sometimes the differences are very subtle, and I can write this from experience at both ends of this rope.

The purpose of Uke in our dojo is to help one study and improve. This would mean correcting the technique while falling for a Yudansha acting as Uke for a beginner. Honest reaction to the acts of Tori/Shidachi is considered a correct response for a non beginner Uke - sowing him the directions of force he is applying and assisting him to correct them. Resistance based on force or changes to the situation are normally discouraged - this way is not helpful for either to learn. When practicing with advanced Yudansha, we adjust to the purpose of the practice: if we are exploring a technique, we will try our best to give an honest neutral reaction, we could pressure test a technique and then Tori/Shidachi would have to be very exact, and may find any hole left open. Being a good Uke with and advanced Tori/Shidachi should also mean doing your best to hit Tori/Shidachi in your attack given specific instruction from Sensei and a proficient (non beginner) Tori/Shidachi . Resistance based on force or changes to the situation are normally discouraged - this way is not helpful for either to learn.

Amir

Hanna B
04-24-2006, 06:27 AM
I'm with Dirk, Paul, and Hanna here. In my dojo if we don't resist techniques, the sensei is unhappy.

You understood me partly right. I have trained in dojos where resistance is the training method, and in dojos where resistance is a big no-no. In either way, uke's role is more to me than just taking the fall. In the case where the training method partly relies on the uke resisting, ukes role certainly is more than falling and resisting. It often takes more time to understand that, though, than in the non-resisting training method.

dps
04-24-2006, 06:59 AM
In the dojo there is an authority structure ( chain of command) with the sensei at the top. Sensei's dojo, sensei's rules. Sensei determines how the students interact during practice. Resistance, no resistance, little resistance, alot of resistance is up to how sensei wants it. If you practice under a different sensei you practice under different rules. If you can not figure out the rules, ask. If you want to learn bad enough you will follow the rules. If you do not like the rules, don't practice with that sensei.

Practically speaking, if your in a fight the person attacking you may not to do a perfect Aikido
technique, if he knows Aikido at all. You are not going to know what is coming at you. In your daily life you may need to take a fall because you accidently trip, fall of a ladder or have your nine year old daughter trip you at the roller skating rink while you are helping her skate.
You need to know how to fall so you do not hurt yourself or somebody else. Where else are you going to practice this but in the safe environment of the dojo with the help of your fellow students?
If nage does not do the technique right, learn how to take a fall from that imperfect technique.
What you learn as uke is just as important as what you learn as nage.

Best regards Dirk. I wish I could Uke for you.

Josh Reyer
04-24-2006, 07:32 AM
You understood me partly right.

No, I understood you completely. I was merely using my dojo as an example of a dojo where uke's job was not to merely practice their ukemi. I was not extrapolating that to any other dojo.

Dirk Hanss
04-24-2006, 07:33 AM
Thank you David,
you could do a lot of Ukemi from imperfect or even improper technique. And I promise you, I will even fall for you ;)

I - nearly - fully agree with this post, we could discuss this in depth, but for this thread I am more concerned about a sempai (senior yudansha), who seems not to be able to tell or show his kohai, what was wrong and how to improve, but complains about this kohai to the chief instructor after training. And why the Sensei fulminates against Andy, seemingly without explaining explaining the case in detail.

Best regards

Dirk

actoman
04-24-2006, 07:37 AM
I agree with all of you.

The sempai (Dan student who is Nidan), and pretty good at that, simply didn't have me to get me off balance. I relaxed (more than usual) and that made me feel stronger and actually a bit 'immovable'. I told him during the technique that 'he didnt' have me', just to be helpful, and I heard an earfull the next time I got to class from Sensei (head instructor).

If he'd had my balance I surely would have fallen, but he didnt. I don't want to be unrealistic or dishonest to myself and just fall.

By the way Rob, nope, not the same instructor, different dojo too. I like it other than this incident

Dirk Hanss
04-24-2006, 08:14 AM
I relaxed (more than usual) and that made me feel stronger and actually a bit 'immovable'. I told him during the technique that 'he didnt' have me', just to be helpful, and I heard an earfull the next time I got to class from Sensei (head instructor).


Hi Andy, here is a hint about what could be your fault. If you relexed, you probably did not attack, but waited relaxed for nage's action. If you did not attack, nage could not respond to an attack, but had to attack by himself. Unbalance you by redirecting your power is much easier than unbalancing you from a stable stance using nage's own power. I thought a nidan should be able to handle that, but at least he should be able to tell you, what was wrong.

All the best

Dirk

actoman
04-24-2006, 08:51 AM
He stopped me good, and my forward motion, but once he was attempting to take control, he 'lost' me.

I dunno, I'll try to talk to him.

Amir Krause
04-24-2006, 08:57 AM
In the dojo there is an authority structure ( chain of command) with the sensei at the top. Sensei's dojo, sensei's rules. Sensei determines how the students interact during practice. Resistance, no resistance, little resistance, alot of resistance is up to how sensei wants it. If you practice under a different sensei you practice under different rules. If you can not figure out the rules, ask. If you want to learn bad enough you will follow the rules. If you do not like the rules, don't practice with that sensei.


Could not agree with the above.


Practically speaking, if your in a fight the person attacking you may not to do a perfect Aikido
technique, if he knows Aikido at all. You are not going to know what is coming at you. In your daily life you may need to take a fall because you accidently trip, fall of a ladder or have your nine year old daughter trip you at the roller skating rink while you are helping her skate.
You need to know how to fall so you do not hurt yourself or somebody else. Where else are you going to practice this but in the safe environment of the dojo with the help of your fellow students?
If nage does not do the technique right, learn how to take a fall from that imperfect technique.
What you learn as uke is just as important as what you learn as nage.



I also agree with the needs you present here, and the conclusion that falling should be learned in the Dojo. But this does not mean that being Uke should normally equal breakfall/rolling practice. One should practice the latter, but not at the expense of being a good Uke in paired exercises.
As for falling from imperfect techniques, this would happen anyhow, during technique practice (if Uke fell from a technique, it does not make t perfect), during Randori practice and during dedicated practice for falling (we train this separately when we feel the need).


Amir

nathansnow
04-24-2006, 08:57 AM
This is totally true all the time no matter how long you have practiced Aikido.
If you were not told by your sensei to instruct or not ask by your nage or uke for help, then your job as nage is to practice your technique and as uke is to practice your fall or roll. Your sensei is responsible for determination if a technique is right or not and is the one to correct mistakes.
I would have to disagree with you on this David. At some point during your training, you need to learn to adapt to an uncooperative uke. The first technique you try in a real situation may not work and you have to develop the creativity to blend into something else. When 2 higher ranking students practice together, they need to be looking for holes in the technique and ways to get out of it. They shouldn't be a total jerk about it, but rather test the boundries. This helps nage refine their technique and to learn how to change the technique when certain breakdowns occur.

Upyu
04-24-2006, 08:07 PM
This is a very common and often recommended way of dealing with an uke who makes it difficult to perform a certain technique. Most commonly are people who resist kokyonage and just will not be led forward - they can easily be led backwards instead. If you are making another technique easy to perform, you are not resisting in a good way. This is something that takes quite a while to learn, though. Resisting in good ways is difficult.


To get the most out of training, it might be worth it to look into not taking the "easy" way out and changing the vector to effect the technique. Rather if its difficult to perform the technique because they're clamping down, try and feel why its hard to effect the technique in that direction. There's a common principal of power generation that allows you to effect a technique regardless of what direction the vector of force is coming in ;)
If you want to effectively make that "principal" your own, then I think that entails that you practice in the direction that makes it the "least" easy to effect the technique :)

And if one of your partner whines and moans about it, well his loss really :D

dps
04-25-2006, 02:29 AM
All,
I am currenly Orange Belt level. When I attacked a senior black belt:

Why does an orange belt practice with a black belt?

Hanna B
04-25-2006, 02:54 AM
Why does an orange belt practice with a black belt?
All dojos I have been in mix levels on the tatami.

Hanna B
04-25-2006, 02:57 AM
To get the most out of training, it might be worth it to look into not taking the "easy" way out and changing the vector to effect the technique. Rather if its difficult to perform the technique because they're clamping down, try and feel why its hard to effect the technique in that direction.

What I will say now is very different from the views that some of you have. I am aware of that.

Trying to perform technique that someone else is clamping down on is good for experienced people. Having pre-dan people trying to do that easily makes them all tense up and make little progress.

Yes, this is one way of structuring training. There are others.

dps
04-25-2006, 03:14 AM
Trying to perform technique that someone else is clamping down on is good for experienced people. Having pre-dan people trying to do that easily makes them all tense up and make little progress.

.

Should the orange belt uke not tell the black belt nage( either verbally or physically) that his technique is wrong?

Hanna B
04-25-2006, 03:32 AM
Should the orange belt uke not tell the black belt nage( either verbally or physically) that his technique is wrong?
Our opinions differs as to whether the ability to shut a technique down proves that it is wrong. There is quite a bit written on that subject on the thread already.

Dennis Good
04-25-2006, 07:50 AM
I believe that part of Uke's responsibility is to give feedback and as they gain experience they can give more precise feedback. Sensei cannot see everything at all times and it also causes people to think critically about the technique which will cause an understanding of the technique not just regurgitation. It is not a challenge to the teachers authority to give constructive criticism to your partner as long as it is done in an appropriate manner. The problem is that some people need to learn to leave there ego's at the door. I myself love when someone I'm working with gives me feedback to improve my technique.

Dirk Hanss
04-25-2006, 10:04 AM
Why does an orange belt practice with a black belt?
That one is easy: he wants to learn. But why did this sandan accepted the orange belt as partner?

Dirk Hanss
04-25-2006, 10:14 AM
Should the orange belt uke not tell the black belt nage( either verbally or physically) that his technique is wrong?
He should not try to tell him, that his technique is wrong, in our dojo. We have a strict sempai kohai hierarchie. Just imagine a dojo, where orange belts tell sandan "You have to put your foot here ", or "You have to put the pin this way", while they just did not realse that advanced students are told to train at their level and mostly have to or at least are allowed to practise variations.

He should just move as he feels and as he has learnt. it is the sandan's task to understand that he has a problem with the technique and probably not with this uke. And if uke makes a mistake, the sandan has to tell him (verbally or preferred technically), what uke did wrong.

All the best Dirk

Qatana
04-25-2006, 12:00 PM
In my dojo, kohai DO help sempai when they are able to. I will take correction from my kohai because sometimes they have more skill and experience than I do,even though I might have the higher ranking.Also, most of them are bigger than I am and I am grateful for any hints they can give me about "getting" them.At least I also have the satisfaction of knowing that sometimes my sempai cannot "get" me.and I actually enjoy having technique switched on me-if I know what the attack is sometimes I do find myself taking a fall I really didn't need to, but if nage switches technique on my I Must be open and ready to respond differently.
Why do Yudansha train with Mudansha? To learn, to teach & to train.Or, because they are there.

Dirk Hanss
04-25-2006, 02:04 PM
Why do Yudansha train with Mudansha? To learn, to teach & to train.Or, because they are there.
Yes Jo,
this would be my answer, too - in general. That's why I asked for THIS sandan, who after failing in applying a techniques runs to the chief instructor and wines about that ugly orange belt - I do not want to judge, I said only, how it looks like after only hearing one side's aspect.

About kohai-sempai communication, it is fine, if it works at your dojo. I guess there are limits, though. And between 4th kyu and 3rd dan there is a lot difference in experience and hopefully skills.

The other reason, why my sensei introduced that strict rule is, that he doesn't want to have too much chat on the mat, he wants his students practise. It is not really lived that strict. One grade higher or lower is seen by us students as equally graded, and from acceptance point of view, effective skills are more important than formal grade.

Cheers Dirk

Suwariwazaman
04-25-2006, 03:40 PM
Personally I like to trian with a sempai, that way I can learn more. I still believe in communication between senior students, and lower rank students. This ensures your learning it correctly. I knoe not always, but I do believe the senior students can learn from the beginner, because they were once a beginner. I had 1 one time opportunity to talk to Yamada Sensei at a seminar he came to. He was the best. He took his time with me, even if it was for just a moment, and showed me where to step. We were doing an iriminage technique. And my partner was a student from Charlotte Aikikai, or New Jersey, cant remember, but he was also very patient, understanding. I think I had been doing Aikido at that time for about a year. I was sort of a newbie, in retrospect. Still am! :)

Brian Vickery
04-25-2006, 05:22 PM
But why did this sandan accepted the orange belt as partner?

...working with newbies is the ultimate test in your skill level! If you don't do the technique properly, they just stand there! They don't know that they're supposed to fall! But at the same time, you must temper the technique so as not to harm them, but still execute the technique! It's the best way to continue to hone your skills!

...the other side of the coin is taking ukemi for a newby!!! ..and that's the really scary side! ...you never know what they're going to do since they're not sure what they're doing ...it keeps your ukemi skills fine tuned!

...training with mudansha keeps you honest!

actoman
04-25-2006, 07:06 PM
We were all in line formation attacking the waiting Nidan one at a time. Once I had the Jo, he couldn;t fell me. I was not trying to be a hardass, and I know how to breakfall pretty well, so he had nothing to do but the technique, and I don't stand there, I move with the technique.

Honesty is the best policy no?

dps
04-25-2006, 08:51 PM
We were all in line formation attacking the waiting Nidan one at a time.
How did the blackbelt do when the other students in line? Was he able to do the technique against them?

Amir Krause
04-26-2006, 02:10 AM
We were all in line formation attacking the waiting Nidan one at a time. Once I had the Jo, he couldn;t fell me. I was not trying to be a hardass, and I know how to breakfall pretty well, so he had nothing to do but the technique, and I don't stand there, I move with the technique.

Honesty is the best policy no?

Without being there, it is impossible to know. Looking at the sub-text of your message, I have a feeling I could identify with the sensei first mentioned. You seem to brag of your ability to nullify a technique. Hence, you let your own ego sneak in, instead of being an honest Uke.

Before you feel so well with yourself, I would like to ask you a few leading questions:

1. Did you know in advance the technique to be executed?
If you did, it is very likely you changed your attack to ease your movement afterwards, and moving with the technique becomes much easier.

2. What is this Nidan concept of your Ukemi capabilities?
More then once I gave up on doing a technique on someone because I was not certain he could take it. At least not at the speed his attack required of me. This is twice as true when I realize they alter the attack in a way that forestalls the planned technique but opens them wide for another. Obviously, if I believe in the others Ukemi, I will let loose and do my best.

4. Did you execute the Attack correctly?
A common problem with beginners is their lack of confidence in their attack. In order of being certain they will not have an accident, they do not really attack- either they attack a slightly different target (ahead of me, to my side, etc.) or they stop their attack just before it should hit. This is even more often when attacking with weapons. These changes may seem minor to you, but stopping the attack before it should hit significantly changes the body dynamics and timing for Aikido techniques. An advance student is likely to realize what is going on, and given the type of training you wrote about (multiple attackers line), simply let you be without caring (I know I have done this more then once).

4. How realistic was the scenario ?
One should remember that when someone is attacking you in a realistic manner with a weapon, even at 2/3 speed, variable timing and mae prior to a free attack, success rates of 50% are very nice. The sharp blade weapons (Tanto/knife, Sword/Ken, short sword/ Wakizashi/Kodachi) are more difficult then the blunt ones (Jo, Rokshaku). And, unless Uke is very skilled, it is often easier to ace longer weapons then shorter ones, because when using a longer

Amir

Hanna B
04-26-2006, 03:44 AM
We were all in line formation attacking the waiting Nidan one at a time. Once I had the Jo, he couldn;t fell me. I was not trying to be a hardass, and I know how to breakfall pretty well, so he had nothing to do but the technique, and I don't stand there, I move with the technique.

Honesty is the best policy no?

I suggest you ask your teacher what the point of this kind of exercise is, and what optimal uke behaviour in this context looks like. Maybe he will suggest a slightly different attitude compared to paired practise, maybe not.

Dirk Hanss
04-26-2006, 05:02 AM
We were all in line formation attacking the waiting Nidan one at a time. Once I had the Jo, he couldn;t fell me. I was not trying to be a hardass, and I know how to breakfall pretty well, so he had nothing to do but the technique, and I don't stand there, I move with the technique.

Honesty is the best policy no?

Whenever I did such an exercise, it was mostly a pure ukemi exercise, i.e. the jo was used to support your ukemi, not to enforce it. I guess, he should have told you. In this case you did not only stop the nidan from doing the technique, but also the whole row, waiting for doing their part.

In one to one practice, you probably were right - in some dojo.

Dirk

wmreed
04-26-2006, 05:22 AM
I'll ask these questions again, because I can't find the answers in this thread:

What was it that your sensei actually said to you? What did he tell you that you should have done? What specifically was it that he was upset about?

Hanna B
04-26-2006, 06:35 AM
Whenever I did such an exercise, it was mostly a pure ukemi exercise, i.e. the jo was used to support your ukemi, not to enforce it.
For tori, I have seen that kind of training as training in handling stress. Compared with several attackers who come from whatever angle they choose, in this exercise focus can be put primarily on timing and on... well, handling stress. I am sure it can be done with many different purposes, though.

I agree it sounds like the instructor could be more clear about what it is he wants and does not want in such an exercise.

Dirk Hanss
04-26-2006, 07:20 AM
For tori, I have seen that kind of training as training in handling stress.

potentially, Hanna - but does it match to a (nidan) tori trying several times a technique, before iriminage Andy? He might got messed up in that stress situation, but then he should not claim anyone other's fault at all, should he?


Dirk

actoman
04-26-2006, 09:42 AM
:disgust: Without being there, it is impossible to know. Looking at the sub-text of your message, I have a feeling I could identify with the sensei first mentioned. You seem to brag of your ability to nullify a technique. Hence, you let your own ego sneak in, instead of being an honest Uke.

Before you feel so well with yourself, I would like to ask you a few leading questions:

1. Did you know in advance the technique to be executed?
If you did, it is very likely you changed your attack to ease your movement afterwards, and moving with the technique becomes much easier.

2. What is this Nidan concept of your Ukemi capabilities?
More then once I gave up on doing a technique on someone because I was not certain he could take it. At least not at the speed his attack required of me. This is twice as true when I realize they alter the attack in a way that forestalls the planned technique but opens them wide for another. Obviously, if I believe in the others Ukemi, I will let loose and do my best.

4. Did you execute the Attack correctly?
A common problem with beginners is their lack of confidence in their attack. In order of being certain they will not have an accident, they do not really attack- either they attack a slightly different target (ahead of me, to my side, etc.) or they stop their attack just before it should hit. This is even more often when attacking with weapons. These changes may seem minor to you, but stopping the attack before it should hit significantly changes the body dynamics and timing for Aikido techniques. An advance student is likely to realize what is going on, and given the type of training you wrote about (multiple attackers line), simply let you be without caring (I know I have done this more then once).

4. How realistic was the scenario ?
One should remember that when someone is attacking you in a realistic manner with a weapon, even at 2/3 speed, variable timing and mae prior to a free attack, success rates of 50% are very nice. The sharp blade weapons (Tanto/knife, Sword/Ken, short sword/ Wakizashi/Kodachi) are more difficult then the blunt ones (Jo, Rokshaku). And, unless Uke is very skilled, it is often easier to ace longer weapons then shorter ones, because when using a longer

Amir

Well, first of all, I don't think so 'well' of myself as you put it, and I am in no way an egotist. I am there to learn aikido, that is all. I was not 'trying' to do anything and no he didnt know the technique he was about to use, nor did I. I consider my Ukemi skills to be above par as I can take hard breakfalls and roll out of techniques.

I don't believe myself to be anything other than a good uke at times and a bad at others. I didnt want to just 'fall' and make him believe it was easy. If he is a Dan rank he should have had me no problem. I moved with his attempts to fell me, and he couldnt get me, that is all.

So he felled me with an Iriminage, which did work. I dunno, I've seen other ukes do the same and he had trouble with some of the others too, but not many. I dunno.

dps
04-26-2006, 10:55 AM
Hi Andy,

When I am practicing with another student I see a rank to rank relationship, a nage to uke relationship and a student to student relationship.
How do I treat a higher rank partner vs a lower rank partner?
What is my role as nage or uke?
How can I help my partner without interfering with his or my learning.

I find it difficult sometimes to mesh or integrate these three together.

akiy
04-26-2006, 10:59 AM
Hi folks,

Here is a really good article on the subject of the importance of choosing partners of different experience levels written by Chiba sensei that touches on some of the subjects discussed in this thread:

http://www.aikidoonline.com/Archives/1998/oct/f_tkc_1098.html

-- Jun

Lyle Bogin
04-28-2006, 07:05 AM
My favorite kind of uke is a new student who has experience in other martial arts. They have yet to train their instincts to their newly adopted style, but they can take a fall and tell the difference between convincing and unconvincing techniques. If they smile when you slam them, they'll make a fine future uke indeed!

Personally, I rarely block anyone's technique, preferring to skip right to the communication part. It keeps things nice and safe. Sort of a "that was good but this could be better" approach rather than a "absolutely not, do this" approach.

justin
04-28-2006, 07:57 AM
[QUOTE=Lyle Bogin]My favorite kind of uke is a new student who has experience in other martial arts. They have yet to train their instincts to their newly adopted style, but they can take a fall and tell the difference between convincing and unconvincing techniques. If they smile when you slam them, they'll make a fine future uke indeed!



thats a very fine line to draw i come from 10 years of wado karate and find it tricky to know when to fall and when not to without either being a push over or being seen as awkward which isnt my intention at all, so please cut us some slack its very new and complicated for the first year or two,I am heading into my second year and only now starting to get the hang of it.

but hell its fun.

jonreading
04-28-2006, 11:28 AM
Uke waza skill is underappreciated in many respects. Often, we set up micro environments and train with the conclusion of the technique a "fall;" if we do not achieve the "fall" we feel the technique is complete, which can be humbling. However, aikido works because communication (musubi) between partners exists to illustrate the proper response from our partners; if the proper response is to fall, then the question should be "why is my partner not understanding what I want him/her to do?"

That said, the only occasion I usually approach a student to correct falling for their partner is when technique is applied correctly and uke is clearly absorbing pain and not responding to the technique; I stop this situation because of the danger of damaging an unresponsive uke. Many of us have held out from nikyo or kotegashi one second too long and experienced that pain/damage first-hand... :)

NagaBaba
04-28-2006, 01:34 PM
I'm very surprise by this discussion. By his nature as Budo, aikido techniques must be efficient, particularly in case when black belt execute it on a beginner. There is no excuse for him. As for reaction of Head instructor it is quite ridiculous. In my opinion it is McDojo, no worth even to discuss on this forum.
Aikido dojo it is martial environment, not healthy practice for bored housewives. Teacher that doesnít understand it must be avoided at all price. Many ppl hide his ignorance about nature of aikido and inefficiency of techniques behind hierarchical structure of the dojo, and using his ďauthorityĒ to reprimand and put down honest students.

Austin Power
04-28-2006, 04:28 PM
As a "newbie" to the art and after reading this thread there seems to be some conflicts of opinions (what a forums for but hey).
Surely when practising either as tori ar uke you need to know the technique is valid and works. Personally i prefer to be hit at full speed with most techniques as actually having the technique applied correctly as uke provides a very valuable learning experience, i really don't think itsa all about ukemi.
As for the instructor bleating well surely he should have asked the relevant questions, of why the technique wasn't working and corrected it.
I do have some personal experience of this, although i wasn't admonished for it. Sankyo and Nikkyo just do not work on me at all and this was discovered when i was uke for sensai too. Rather than get flustered or have a go he simply modified the technique to make it work, then explained that in the event of it happening this is what you do.
I suppose i could have been dishonest and taken a knee for it but what was the point, due to being honest i learned a variation that may well serve me if i ever meet another freak like me :D

Unfortunately the downside of this is i now have a line of dan grades every time i train trying to apply either nikkyo or sankyo.

David Yap
04-30-2006, 06:45 AM
Aikido dojo it is martial environment, not healthy practice for bored housewives. Teacher that doesn't understand it must be avoided at all price. Many ppl hide his ignorance about nature of aikido and inefficiency of techniques behind hierarchical structure of the dojo, and using his "authority" to reprimand and put down honest students.

Hi all,

All few years ago I did step into such a dojo. I observed that he (the instructor) didn't really understand the principles of kuzushi. When he got me off-balanced he wouldn't execute the technique. Unlike his regular students who would stay off-balance till he execute the techniques, by reflex I would regain my balance. Especially so if for a moment nothing was going to happen. Most times he could put me on the mat after a couple of tenkan, more than that, I would received nasty bruises on arms from his emotional charged pinches. I could have easy put him down but the aikido community here is rather small and it would mean the end of my aikido training. After three months, I decided that I wasn't going to learn anything from him, I moved on with no regret.

My advice is - if you are not happy with the instructor who is primarily responsible for your aikido development - move on, this is your own investment, the time and the money.

Best training

David Y

Mark Freeman
04-30-2006, 11:06 AM
Aikido dojo it is martial environment, not healthy practice for bored housewives. Teacher that doesn't understand it must be avoided at all price.

Doesn't sound like O Sensei's desire for aikido to be for everyone.
Is aikido only for those who want to explore the 'martial' side of the art?
There seems to be a fair amount of 'machismo' even in aikido. What is wrong with a housewife bored or otherwise wanting to practice aikido for the undoubted health benefits to both mind and body?
Or is aikido only for the young and fit who can take serious 'hard training?

just a few questions propted by the quote above.

regards,
Mark

Hanna B
04-30-2006, 11:08 AM
mark, do not feed The Unpronouncable One. :rolleyes:

wmreed
04-30-2006, 01:31 PM
mark, do not feed The Unpronouncable One. :rolleyes:
LOL!

NagaBaba
04-30-2006, 03:02 PM
mark, do not feed The Unpronouncable One. :rolleyes:
Thank you Hanna, I love you too :D

Doesn't sound like O Sensei's desire for aikido to be for everyone.
Is aikido only for those who want to explore the 'martial' side of the art?
There seems to be a fair amount of 'machismo' even in aikido. What is wrong with a housewife bored or otherwise wanting to practice aikido for the undoubted health benefits to both mind and body?
Or is aikido only for the young and fit who can take serious 'hard training?

just a few questions propted by the quote above.
Of course, aikido is for everyone, I'm the best exemple of that ;)
Only thing is, one can't separate aikido on "martial" side and some other less precised sides. It has nothing to do with machismo. You must precisly know what you want to practice.
If someone want healthy gymnastic, why sign up for aikido? :confused: :eek: :crazy: There are very many gym around with nice, young,sexy and very competent instructors, you will have a lot of health benefits to both mind and body :p

Mary Eastland
04-30-2006, 04:59 PM
For some people Aikido has nothing to do with fighing. It is about blending and reconciliation.

Whenever this is brought up, the New Age label comes out but whatever. One can't tell what happens at another's dojo. I love what we do. Fighting is so boring ....I love Aikido because of it's complexity......

I'll practice my Aikido and you practice yours.

Mary

Hanna B
04-30-2006, 07:32 PM
How about taking that discussion in another thread? I do believe the subject of this one is a specific situation, experienced by one specific aikido student.

dps
04-30-2006, 08:07 PM
I love Aikido because of it's complexity......


Mary

Is Aikido more complicated than other martial arts? I have a blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do and it was not as complicated as learning Aikido.

NagaBaba
04-30-2006, 09:32 PM
Fighting is so boring ...
Mary
I understand that you've been fighting regulary, so it became boring?

Back to the topic -- "martial" aspect of aikido it is not exactly fighting ;) And ppl who reject uke resistance, or idea that technique can fail because of this resistance are not doing aikido anymore.

I do believe the subject of this one is a specific situation, experienced by one specific aikido student.
This specific situation is excellent illustration of quite common mechanism that happens in many aikido dojo.

Amir Krause
05-01-2006, 03:36 AM
This specific situation is excellent illustration of quite common mechanism that happens in many aikido dojo.

The problem is that without seeing the situation, we can not say which one of two possible mechanism was at work:

* Bad Uke - knowing the technique in advance and nullifying it in a non realistic manner, and/or during a specific type of training that should be more cooperative.

* Bad Tori and worse response from the Sensei later - Expecting success regardless of the quality of execution, and always putting the blame of failure on Uke Ego.

Both possibilities exist here, and reality could even include some combination. After reading the first post, I was quite certain the situation corresponded more to the second, but the later post changed my mind towards the first.

Personally, the environment I train in typically tends towards applying too much Resistance (a matter of the common Israeli mindset, when thinking of S.D. compared to the Japanese, every beginner has to show he can resist the technique in the first few lessons, and we tend to keep something of this later on).
It took me several years to realize that cooperative training does have an advantage at developing important aspects of Aikido, provided it is done in the right amount (there is such a thing as too much, in both cases). My solution is that even when I cooperate as Uke to a newer student, I would still point the mistakes and openings to him, and if he does not understand, I will show him. When I practice i try to select my Uke so I would be able to train the element I wish for in that practice - Resistance, or softness (selecting one of the ladies who are significantly lighter then me and trying to feel every slight movement and respond correctly to it).


Amir

Hanna B
05-01-2006, 05:40 AM
For tori, I have seen that kind of training as training in handling stress.

potentially, Hanna - but does it match to a (nidan) tori trying several times a technique, before iriminage Andy?

I never said the aim of this training type in this particular dojo necessarily matches my experiences. On the contrary, I advised the original poster to ask his teacher what in his opinion is the purpose of this kind of training. All the parties involved could have gotten it all wrong, or not. I was just trying to say: check with your teacher what uke attitude he wants in this kind of training.

NagaBaba
05-01-2006, 09:01 PM
* Bad Uke - knowing the technique in advance and nullifying it in a non realistic manner, and/or during a specific type of training that should be more cooperative.

Amir
Hi Amir,
Such concept as 'bad uke' simply doesn't exist. It is only cheap excuse to bad technique. And to preserve the illusions about own 'perfect' aikido. So ego can grow quietly.

I can understand when uke helps (in very limited way) to other beginner. But it is certainly not a case when nage is black belt.

Amir Krause
05-02-2006, 01:52 AM
Hi Amir,
Such concept as 'bad uke' simply doesn't exist. It is only cheap excuse to bad technique. And to preserve the illusions about own 'perfect' aikido. So ego can grow quietly.

I can understand when uke helps (in very limited way) to other beginner. But it is certainly not a case when nage is black belt.

I disagree. Bad Uke does exist in a training environment:
Most of the Aikido practice is Kata practice:
When we practice a particular technique, Uke is supposed to attack in a certain way, and Tori is expected to use one particular timing point, move to a prespecified direction and perform a specific technique.


Now, suppose Uke decided that instead of Shomen, he will attack you with a low-kick. Could Tori practice the same response?
The above is a large-scale example of the principle. But it holds true in much smaller situations as well. Another simple example would be a hand grab: it could be neutral, pull or push, each of these requires a different response. The hand grab can also respond to your actions and try to oppose any direction of force or neutralize any attempt you try to do, one may decide he wishes to practice at the latter way, but slowly, and then, if Uke responds very fast compared to Tori, despite the agreement, he would nullify the exercise. Another more subtle case of "bad Uke" is very common among beginners - in Yokomen, they attack with no force at all, just throwing the hand, limp, in such a way that when the hand is deflected the body is not affected and Kuzushi in irimi techniques(such as sumi otoshi - throwing the corner) is almost impossible. True, this type of attack would have been acceptable for advanced practice with a knife, but it would not have done any damage in most other situations. Thus, when one practices Yokomen he would not necessarily wish to practice this situation.

Practicing Kata allows us to concentrate on few elements of the equation and improve them. For this purpose, we superficially recreate a specific situation - placement, attack, directions of force, intentions. We then repeat the same situation lots of times, without variation from Uke side, as Tori tries to improve his responses. This type of repetition is done as a training tool, and should never be confused with a fight.

One should vary the rules for the Kata practice. A simple example we just did on Sunday was moving from a single Uke, attacking from the front, to multiple Uke attacking at their own will, from any direction. The attack and the intention of Uke stay the same, the technique Tori is required to perform is also fixed. Yet the Kata has changed, and several more variables enter the practice:
Even only the varying directions and times force better focus to identify the attack and "situational awareness", the Tai-Sabaki is more difficult, since one has to adjust the direction. Several people attacking means each of them is slightly different - different reach, different weight, different speeds etc. Again making the execution more difficult. And then, there is the pressure that rises in us as we know multiple people will attack us, even from behind, and try to smack us on the head.
This is an example of a simple change in the Kata, that makes Tori role much harder. Yet, given this change, had one of the Uke changed his attack, or decided to try and nullify Tori technique by softening all of a sudden, he would have violated this Kata and be a bad Uke.

In Korindo Aikido, we consider Kata practice as just one of the foundations of the practice. We practice with full variations in another type of exercise, which is just as important - Randori. Randori levels vary, from something that resembles the above Kata, to full blown fight at variable speeds. The common way we practice Randori among non beginners, is both sides attack, defend and counter at will. Thus, during such practice, Uke may actively try and evade the technique and then counter (with a technique or a secondary attack) or distance himself (if he feels in disadvantage). Even in this form, there are things that are discouraged and considered "Bad Uke" such as deceptions. Obviously, those same things are considered legitimate tactics Randori practice of slightly higher level.

There is a difference between practicing M.A. in a structured manner, bringing each element in it's own time. And throwing a person into a stormy sea to learn and swim. "Bad Uke" is equivalent to the latter.

If you wish to claim that a Black Belt student should have been sensitive enough to realize the changes a specific Uke is employing after several rounds. I would agree that he should, but admit that in some cases this is not so simple, and in some other cases, such as group practice, one may not wish to disrupt the whole group for this.


Amir

David Yap
05-02-2006, 04:01 AM
Hi Amir,

Hi Amir,
Such concept as 'bad uke' simply doesn't exist. It is only cheap excuse to bad technique. And to preserve the illusions about own 'perfect' aikido. So ego can grow quietly.

I can understand when uke helps (in very limited way) to other beginner. But it is certainly not a case when nage is black belt.

I disagree. Bad Uke does exist in a training environment

I do agree with you that bad uke does exist in a training environment and I also agree with Nagababa that the concept of "bad uke" is a cheap excuse for a badly executed technique.

Regardless whether the nage is a mudansha or yudansha, most times he/she would not be able to move if the uke has the physical strength and intention to lockup the nage. However, the nage could read the intention of the uke the moment the grip is applied. Besides the application of an atemi or a kick, the nage should put him/herself in the right state of mind to feel and execute the technique at the precise moment. To find the path of least resistance, the nage must offer even lesser or zero resistance.

I believe that Nagababa's advice is at a black belt level we should train to a level that a "bad uke" concept doesn't exist anymore. If an ikkyo technique is called for, then you simply execute an ikkyo technique despite the strongest resistance from the uke. To polish ourselves in the art, we do need these "bad" uke.

Best training.

David Y

happysod
05-02-2006, 05:06 AM
If an ikkyo technique is called for, then you simply execute an ikkyo technique despite the strongest resistance from the uke. Although I happily agree with your intent as regards training, focusing on a particular technique to the exclusion of all else no matter what shape/resistance you're presented can be detrimental as this idea can creep into randori.

I'm not (nor often believe I will reach) at the stage that one technique will work under all circumstances, especially with an aware uke. So I'd probably just change the technique to one which fits the circumstances better.

However, I'm still fully with the "complaining about a kyu grades attack to your instructor is being a wuss" - there was no aggression or damage mentioned in the incident, just a hurt ego. I've got kyu grades that cause me no end of trouble, bless their little cotton zori, and I like them for it (well, most of the time)

David Yap
05-02-2006, 06:01 AM
[QUOTE=Ian Hurst]Although I happily agree with your intent as regards training, focusing on a particular technique to the exclusion of all else no matter what shape/resistance you're presented can be detrimental as this idea can creep into randori.

I'm not (nor often believe I will reach) at the stage that one technique will work under all circumstances, especially with an aware uke. So I'd probably just change the technique to one which fits the circumstances better. QUOTE]

Hi Ian,

I only use "ikkyo" as an example. One should focus on polishing all the basic techniques in kata with the appropriate partners at appropriate levels. Ikkyo (the first teaching) is a good example. It trains one on the basic essential movements of aikido - irimi.& tenkan. If one cannot master irimi and tenkan movements, then one can forget about the randori.

Best training.

David Y

Nick Simpson
05-02-2006, 09:06 AM
The poster ddint say anything about resisting, just that he honestly didnt feel like he needed to fall. Taking him on his word, whats wrong with that? Nothing.

If my technique isnt working I want to be told about it. Constructively. If Someone is shutting my technique down/countering it on purpose then my technique is still failing, I need to either make it work (if I can), or realise what the problem within my execution of the technique is (and therefore learn from it and adjust, thanking the honest uke) or, if I have no other means and/or the uke is giving an non committal/inappropiate/locked out attack, henka waza and or atemi are another option.

Throwing a strop isnt a good answer. Perhaps telling the instructor is a valid option if you think it is required (i.e. better for sensei to correct someone than you) but if it's some sort of self serving ego repair than forget it. Ignore the black belt and train with other students instead. Perhaps ask your sensei what he meant when he told you these things.

Steve Mullen
05-02-2006, 10:17 AM
Im with Mr Simpson on that one, it annoys me more when people just fall over, when you haven't had time to do anything, "duffy diving" as Sensei Riley calls it. I think it can be more counterproductive than resisting.

When Uki resists they are risking an injury, so tori must be even more carefull, but it also gives tori a chance to see how they can make a technique work without just wrentching uki's arm ot of the socket. Having said that tho, needlessly resisting can be a pain in the arse when you just want a good session.

Qatana
05-02-2006, 10:28 AM
Yeah, my teacher gives me a much harder time for falling when I don't need to rather than not falling when I don't need to.

Mark Freeman
05-02-2006, 12:50 PM
Making 'honest' ukemi is easier said than done, until you are very self aware of your mind/body, it is possible to be 'resisting' even if you don't think you are. Good ukemi demands focus and flexibility, the ability to go were you are being led with 'non-resistance'. If the aikido is good this will lead to a neccessary escape, if the aikido is faulty, the ukemi will follow the fault to its conclusion, often some sort of 'lock - up', the only way out of this is to return to good aikido, problem solved.
If I practice with a lower grade, I will make adjustments for them, giving them a) either enough leeway to allow the exercise to reach it's conclusion, therfore giving them the experience of the complete shape of the exercise taken to it's conclusion. or b) follow enough to point out the spot that they need to focus on to make improvements. If I gave them too much of an attack / ukemi they would not learn to be anything other than frustrated.
If I practice with a higher grade, I don't give them any leeway, if they come up against a problem highlighted by my following it is up to them to seek instruction from the teacher, so that they do not keep repeating the same mistakes.

The situation at the head of the thread cannot be solved by anyone but the sensei of that dojo, he has to 'see' the problem taking place to know what to advise. Word of mouth about who did what and how regarding complex mind body movements inherent in aikido are almost certain to be 'faulty'

Even 'seeing' the problem as a sensei is not as accurate as 'feeling'.

just a few thoughts,

regards
Mark

Ken McGrew
05-03-2006, 11:51 AM
This discussion is really a discussion about the Nage/Uke relationship and proper Ukemi. Whether the student should have fallen or not depends on the circumstances that we did not experience ourselves and the expectations of the school and style where the student trains.

Having said this, I can only address the question from my understanding of Ukemi that I obtained from my instructors and from their teacher Saotome Sensei. When I read comments that black belts should be able to make a technique work by forcing it if necessary, or that Uke should resist in order to show Nage what isn't working, then we aren't discussing anything I recognize as Aikido.

Uke and Nage engage in a simulation of combat. Both are holding back. Both should move as if it were an all-out attack, even though it is slower than that for training, even if it is static, they should move as if there were momentum in Uke's body. In a real attack, and in proper Ukemi, there is little opportunity to resist or brace. I am not suggesting that Uke fall down for no reason, that is something else. Nage should not force anything. Nage should ride the wave of Uke's body momentum, allowing Uke's motion to continue, but shaping it towards a resolution that is safe for Nage and, if possible, merciful towards Uke.

If this does not fit your understanding of Aikido I would encourage you to look again at the video footage of O'Sensei (after WWII), Doshu, and 2nd Doshu. Pay special attention to the practice of the students who you can sometimes see in the background or who are sometimes the focus of the footage. Do you see ANY resistance in their Ukemi? Do you see any forcing of the technique?

Saotome Sensei has addressed these questions in two of his videos, The Principles of Aikido and Oyo Henka. The narration from the Principles video sums up his understanding of the Nage/Uke relationship:

"The old conception of Aikido which Saotome Sensei views as tragic has to do with crushing, destroying an enemy... O'Sensei abandoned this conception of the art... Often when practicing Ikyo students will struggle against one another. Nage... will sometimes grab Uke's arm and Uke will sometimes brace and resist. According to Saotome Sensei such struggles reveal arrogance and ignorance. As the stud of the old concept of Aikido reveals, once the Ikyo movement has begn both participants enter a fluid martial arts situation in which the outcome is undetermined. In this situation Uke may be completely open to elbom breaking strikes, punches, kicks and so on. Those who struggle or brace in Ikyo have forgotten the art's original martial purpose."

As O'Sensei stated, "Aikido is the art of non-resistance."

Ken McGrew

Keith R Lee
05-03-2006, 12:14 PM
For some people Aikido has nothing to do with fighing. It is about blending and reconciliation.

Whenever this is brought up, the New Age label comes out but whatever. One can't tell what happens at another's dojo. I love what we do. Fighting is so boring ....I love Aikido because of it's complexity......

I'll practice my Aikido and you practice yours.

Mary

Yes, yes. Because fighting is such a straight forward affair with no techniques, strategies, or principles... :rolleyes:

Josh Reyer
05-03-2006, 01:19 PM
Having said this, I can only address the question from my understanding of Ukemi that I obtained from my instructors and from their teacher Saotome Sensei. When I read comments that black belts should be able to make a technique work by forcing it if necessary, or that Uke should resist in order to show Nage what isn't working, then we aren't discussing anything I recognize as Aikido.

(snip)

As O'Sensei stated, "Aikido is the art of non-resistance."


I'm sure you would recognize it. What we're talking about is not resisting strength-against-strength, but uke maintaining structural integrity until nage takes it.

To make it a linguistic point, Ueshiba never actually said "non-resistance". Being Japanese, he said 無抵抗, muteikou, which is often translated as "non-resistance", since it's made up of two elements 無 mu, meaning "none" and 抵抗 teikou, meaning "resistance".

While we having been using the English term "resistance" in the discussion, the seeming Japanese equivalent would actually not show up in a same discussion in Japanese. My instructor, when instructing in us in how to be proper uke, never says "抵抗しろ!" (Teikou shiro!) "Resist!" Teikou, in this context, would be the same as when we say "bracing" or "jamming" a technique in English; digging in the feet, pulling back on one's arm and center, denying nage the proper energy he needs to execute the kata. Rather, in my dojo the words used to express the kind of "resistance" we are talking about in this thread are 頑張る ganbaru, "to hang with it, do one's best" or 粘る nebaru, "to persevere, to stick with it". Really, the most common phrase is "勝手に落ちるな!" (Katte ni ochiru na!) "Don't fall on your own!" Katte has a nuance of doing something selfishly or unilaterally.

So, really, what we have here is something of a blurry line caused by translation. Ideally (in my "resistance" dojo, as well as I'm sure, your dojo), what you have is a connection, each participant knowing themselves and their centers, and that of their partners very well. Uke knows when nage has him, and when he doesn't, and the same goes for nage.

Ron Tisdale
05-03-2006, 01:42 PM
Excellent post Josh. Thanks!
Best,
Ron

m.kops
05-03-2006, 02:40 PM
I am new to Aikido, and recently when partnered with a Black belt, she felt I was falling too easily! I accepted her instruction and did my best to stay with the technique. It did not make me feel badly. I was happy for the input. I am intrigued by the black belts I meet who do the technique very slowly to find where your actual balance point (or that is my interpretation) exists. That said, I have also had a practice or two with higher ranked aikidoka who frustrated me because they were not sensitive to my level and worked me faster than I would have liked. The question is how do you blend with this situation and what is YOUR lesson in this? Something to think about. In one of my rough practices mentioned above, I have decided that I will let go next time instead of trying so hard to be a "good" uke. It was mentioned in a seminar I recently attended that that is an option of your attacker. In the other rough situation, I had two practices where I told the person they were going too fast for me. The second time I suggested that I bow out and allow him to practice with a black belt who was in a threesome near by. It was intense! I learned from seeing them work, and my partner finally got that he was too much (quick) for me. He said he would adjust in future. I would appreciate any comments on this. :ai: :ki: :do:

NagaBaba
05-03-2006, 04:34 PM
That said, I have also had a practice or two with higher ranked aikidoka who frustrated me because they were not sensitive to my level and worked me faster than I would have liked.
Your personal preferences are disabled in the dojo. Nobody cares what you like or not. This is a place for martial art practice and not restaurant where you can chose your prefered food.
I
The question is how do you blend with this situation and what is YOUR lesson in this?
Yu must move faster to be able to match speed of technique. This is your most important duty on the tatami.

Something to think about. In one of my rough practices mentioned above, I have decided that I will let go next time instead of trying so hard to be a "good" uke. It was mentioned in a seminar I recently attended that that is an option of your attacker. In the other rough situation, I had two practices where I told the person they were going too fast for me. The second time I suggested that I bow out and allow him to practice with a black belt who was in a threesome near by. It was intense! I learned from seeing them work, and my partner finally got that he was too much (quick) for me. He said he would adjust in future. I would appreciate any comments on this. :ai: :ki: :do:
you must learn how to receive the techniques in safe way. this is your homework to do after every class with some help from dojo mates. I think you have 2-3 months to do it, after that advanced ppl will not want to practice with you.
They can't all their life slow down normal rythme of practice only because you 'don't like' move faster.You as uke in 99% must take care about your own safety.

NagaBaba
05-03-2006, 04:47 PM
I disagree. Bad Uke does exist in a training environment:
Most of the Aikido practice is Kata practice:
When we practice a particular technique, Uke is supposed to attack in a certain way, and Tori is expected to use one particular timing point, move to a prespecified direction and perform a specific technique.

Amir
You see, this is you personal interpretation. If we say ok to your approach every aikidoka will have his own interpretation and structured training will be impossible.
And many lazy folks will use interpretation to justifie their lazyiness and aikido will be watered down again and again.

It must be one simple rule that we can apply in any dojo in any situation, and this rule must push practice at higher level, indepedently of someone's will.

I think that a rule ' there is no bad uke or bad attack' will do a work.

Ken McGrew
05-03-2006, 06:24 PM
I'm sure you would recognize it. What we're talking about is not resisting strength-against-strength, but uke maintaining structural integrity until nage takes it.

No, this is not simply a difference in language. Many of the people posting in this discussion talk about forcing Uke. Even your language here about Nage taking Uke's structural integrity reflects a different understanding of Ukemi and the relationship between Uke and Nage than what I have been taught. We don't force Uke or take from Uke. We don't impose, generally speaking, but lead, follow, and shape. In fact, we don't think in terms of Kata but Katache (sp?), a distinction made by Ikeda Sensei.

Uke's structural integrity is compromised by the act of attacking, both spiritually and physically. To truly attack is to become vulnerable, at least momentarilly. To attack someone you must go to them, and this intention can be used to lead the attacker outside of his balance. Once unbalanced, if the motion is continued, there is no opportunity to resist. If resistance is encountered or if something doesn't go as intended, it is always possible to change (either inside the technique or to a different technique, or no technique). I think too often it is the lack of a true attack that gives Uke the opportunity to live in the egotistic delusion of resistance.

I think my earlier post and my quotations of Saotome speak for themselves. More importantly, I think Saotome's books and videos address this issue very well. Again I would say watch the post WWII videos of O'Sensei and his students as well as the videos of both Doshu (the first Doshu has a great basics video that discusses the circular and blending nature of Aikido). If your Ukemi and the relationship between Uke and Nage do not look like that of the students on these videos, then I would suggest that this is something to think about. Who can say that these students did not have proper Ukemi with O'Sensei, or either Doshu, standing next to them and allowing them to be video recorded?

Ken McGrew

Michael O'Brien
05-03-2006, 07:56 PM
I am new to Aikido, and recently when partnered with a Black belt, she felt I was falling too easily! I accepted her instruction and did my best to stay with the technique. It did not make me feel badly. I was happy for the input. I am intrigued by the black belts I meet who do the technique very slowly to find where your actual balance point (or that is my interpretation) exists. That said, I have also had a practice or two with higher ranked aikidoka who frustrated me because they were not sensitive to my level and worked me faster than I would have liked. The question is how do you blend with this situation and what is YOUR lesson in this? Something to think about. In one of my rough practices mentioned above, I have decided that I will let go next time instead of trying so hard to be a "good" uke. It was mentioned in a seminar I recently attended that that is an option of your attacker. In the other rough situation, I had two practices where I told the person they were going too fast for me. The second time I suggested that I bow out and allow him to practice with a black belt who was in a threesome near by. It was intense! I learned from seeing them work, and my partner finally got that he was too much (quick) for me. He said he would adjust in future. I would appreciate any comments on this. :ai: :ki: :do:

Martha,

I would say you handled the situation quite well; Most people develop fairly good ukemi skills relatively quickly and that will allow you to train harder and faster with the more advanced students in your dojo. When you attack give a committed attack at the speed you are comfortable training at; Your partner should meet your attack and blend with it at the same speed and follow through with the technique. It is always good if you are comfortable with the partner you are training with to train just a hair above your comfort level which will enable you to improve even faster. For instance, when I take ukemi for my Sensei I will go anywhere from 75%-90% of an all out attack. I know he can blend with me all out and I know that I can take good ukemi with him throwing me in a manner I don't get hurt. With most other people in our dojo I gear that back down to 60%-80%, and with beginners learning techniques I crank it back to about 25%.

Keep training and before you know it you will have improved quite a bit. Then maybe it will be your turn to take it easy on someone. :)

Michael O'Brien
05-03-2006, 08:03 PM
[QUOTE=Ken McGrewUke's structural integrity is compromised by the act of attacking, both spiritually and physically. To truly attack is to become vulnerable, at least momentarilly. To attack someone you must go to them, and this intention can be used to lead the attacker outside of his balance. Once unbalanced, if the motion is continued, there is no opportunity to resist. If resistance is encountered or if something doesn't go as intended, it is always possible to change (either inside the technique or to a different technique, or no technique). I think too often it is the lack of a true attack that gives Uke the opportunity to live in the egotistic delusion of resistance.
[/QUOTE]
Ken,
Having read the posts from you and Josh I think it is still more a difference in language than anything else. If you have a good uke their structural integrity is not compromised by the attack. For those of us that have trained in other arts we can throw any variety of attacks and will not be unbalanced in the least, so if you don't "take" my balance, or center, then you will not execute a successful technique and will either be hit or reversed if possible. If when the initial attack is made you do succeed in taking my balance/center, then yes you will lead me as long as you maintain control of my balance/center. If you lose it then you have left an opening again for me to either re-initiate an attack or go for a reversal.

David Yap
05-03-2006, 10:48 PM
Hi guys,

Adding to the excellent post from Joshua, here is an article by David Alexander sensei regarding productive and counter-productive use of resistance in aikido training http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/articlea2.htm

Enjoy.

David Y

Josh Reyer
05-04-2006, 03:43 AM
No, this is not simply a difference in language. Many of the people posting in this discussion talk about forcing Uke. Even your language here about Nage taking Uke's structural integrity reflects a different understanding of Ukemi and the relationship between Uke and Nage than what I have been taught. We don't force Uke or take from Uke. We don't impose, generally speaking, but lead, follow, and shape. In fact, we don't think in terms of Kata but Katache (sp?), a distinction made by Ikeda Sensei.

Katachi*. I know what katachi is, and it changes nothing that I'm saying. It is by the resistance (to continue to use an imprecise concept) that nage learns and perfects the katachi.

Uke's structural integrity is compromised by the act of attacking, both spiritually and physically.

Oh, if only that were true.

To truly attack is to become vulnerable, at least momentarilly. To attack someone you must go to them, and this intention can be used to lead the attacker outside of his balance.

Ah, I say "take uke's structural integrity", you say "lead the attacker outside his balance". We are talking about the same thing.

Once unbalanced, if the motion is continued, there is no opportunity to resist.

"Once unbalanced".

If resistance is encountered or if something doesn't go as intended, it is always possible to change (either inside the technique or to a different technique, or no technique). I think too often it is the lack of a true attack that gives Uke the opportunity to live in the egotistic delusion of resistance.

The resistance we are talking about is simply not egotistical. Nor is it a delusion. If nage tries to apply a technique without leading me outside my balance, the technique won't work. I won't fall. I'm not not-falling because it makes me feel better about myself; I actually want my partner to feel good because he's doing aikido. I'm not falling because nage has not created the proper katachi.

Likewise, when I do a katatori, moretetori, ryotetori etc. technique, I grasp strongly, with strong balance and structure. I don't do this because it makes me feel powerful. Standing around in a mini tug-of-war, pushing and pulling with all my strength? How boring! How tiring! I grasp strongly because (among other things), nage then knows exactly where my strength is, and exactly where my weakness is. I lead him to lead me off balance. And thus, as nage, I "listen" to what uke's body is telling me, and let him lead me to where I can lead him off balance.

Sounds terribly collusive, doesn't it? But it's all using "resisitance"!

*Linguisitic explanation.

Kata 型 - A standard model form of movements in sports, martial arts, and dance. In different contexts, often written with the kanji 形.

Katachi 形 - A shape or form. Hence, a kata as a whole has a certain katachi, but of course there are smaller katachi inside the kata, e.g., shape of the hands, footwork.

Amir Krause
05-04-2006, 05:49 AM
You see, this is you personal interpretation. If we say ok to your approach every aikidoka will have his own interpretation and structured training will be impossible.
And many lazy folks will use interpretation to justifie their lazyiness and aikido will be watered down again and again.

It must be one simple rule that we can apply in any dojo in any situation, and this rule must push practice at higher level, indepedently of someone's will.

I think that a rule ' there is no bad uke or bad attack' will do a work.

Szczepan
Could you explain your claims to me?
Why do you think: structured training will be impossible.
if people understood their technical training as Kata?
How would you be able to have a structured practice if when asked to practice one situation, your Uke will decide to change it on his own?

The interpretation I wrote was not invented by me,it is the way I understand the teaching of my Sensei and Shihan (see the section below on Kata: http://www.freewebz.com/aikido/lecture/unit5.htm ). Our approach is that even free practice is something one should learn to do, see the phases of kyoshu(randori): http://www.freewebz.com/aikido/lecture/unit6.htm and http://www.freewebz.com/aikido/lecture/unit7.htm

[Shono Shihan is one of Korindo Aikido Shihans. He started his M.A. practice with several Koryu styles in which he studied Buki. And came to korindo Aikido only later in his studied.]

I am not advocating that Uke fall regardless of Tori excution. That is just another form of being a bad Uke in my vocabulry. You can try and describe it in other ways, but it is simply the second side of the same coin.

Amir
(for lack of time, I did not spell check this time, I apologize)



Amir


Amir

Ron Tisdale
05-04-2006, 08:02 AM
Hi Ken, Josh has stated my concerns about the ideas expressed in your post very well, so I won't repeat them. You have much more experience with Ikeda Sensei than I, but I have to wonder what he meant by the statement "you have to take it" when describing off-balancing uke at a seminar I attended. Two seminars actually...he used that specific phrase while responding to a katatetori attack. Now admitedly, I do come from a pre-war style of aikido...which does affect the way I see and hear things. But I don't remember Ikeda Sensei saying that the attack is somehow inherrently off-balance. He spoke of taking uke's balance. And the importance of doing this regardless of the experience of the uke (in terms of other martial arts).

Hi Amir and Szczepan,

Somehow I think there has to be a happy medium in your discussion. While I'm not much for hard and fast rules (except that everyone should be able to go to work the next day after training), I agree that we shouldn't water down the training too much as well. But in context, Amir's statements come from a style of aikido that I don't think many people would claim is watered down...at all.

Best,
Ron

Best,
Ron

Dirk Hanss
05-04-2006, 08:28 AM
You see, this is you personal interpretation. If we say ok to your approach every aikidoka will have his own interpretation and structured training will be impossible.
And many lazy folks will use interpretation to justifie their lazyiness and aikido will be watered down again and again.

It must be one simple rule that we can apply in any dojo in any situation, and this rule must push practice at higher level, indepedently of someone's will.

I think that a rule ' there is no bad uke or bad attack' will do a work.

I like your clear approach, Nagababa, 'though I do not agree in details.
I guess, it was Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who installed acceptance of "just-for-fun"-aikidoka. Yes, there are other possiblities to stay or get fit, but is aikido an invalid option? I would not blame any of them. Any I would never get bored, if I would train in every training a few time with those and a few times with beginners, I have to take care about. Maybe some of them get incended and change to "real martial training", i.e. go further on the way.
Would I allow them to test for higher kyu or dan grades? Probably not. Would I allow them to visit advanced or high-speed classes? Probably not. How about good aikidoka being injured or just growing old?

Where I totally agree, is, when you blame ppl for claiming aikido is just about slow-fox-dancing at all or 1st kyu and yudansche being ask for doing high speed 3.1 jiyu waza and after each attack the new uke is bowing and asking "are you ready for the next step?" (totally exaggerated - I have never experienced this), or nidan blaming 4th kyu for not falling (when not thrown). "The dojo is our battle-field" claimed a shihan once in a seminar - and probably not only this one - and probably not only once. You have to get martial proudness and attitude and your task is to survive - not to ask for not getting killed.

Kind regards Dirk
___________________________
.....longing for your next visit to Frankfurt-Hoechst :)

Nick Simpson
05-04-2006, 08:50 AM
Uke didnt have to fall down. I dont have a problem with that. What interests me is that the 'BB' in question thought that he should have. Now, Im no expert but after a little while you tend to know when your technique isnt working/what your doing wrong...

Keith R Lee
05-04-2006, 09:24 AM
Just a head's up. Grab a cup of coffee (or a pint!) or print this one out or something. Sheesh, I got carried away.

We don't force Uke or take from Uke. We don't impose, generally speaking, but lead, follow, and shape.

Uke's structural integrity is compromised by the act of attacking, both spiritually and physically. To truly attack is to become vulnerable, at least momentarilly. To attack someone you must go to them, and this intention can be used to lead the attacker outside of his balance. Once unbalanced, if the motion is continued, there is no opportunity to resist. If resistance is encountered or if something doesn't go as intended, it is always possible to change (either inside the technique or to a different technique, or no technique). I think too often it is the lack of a true attack that gives Uke the opportunity to live in the egotistic delusion of resistance.

I understand what you are describing conceptually and intellectually. I also think that Aikido, when it is practiced as Budo, a means of cultivations of the self, should have attaining this level of technique as one of its primary goals. However.

"We don't force Uke or take from Uke. We don't impose, generally speaking, but lead, follow, and shape."
and
"Uke's structural integrity is compromised by the act of attacking, both spiritually and physically. To truly attack is to become vulnerable, at least momentarilly. To attack someone you must go to them, and this intention can be used to lead the attacker outside of his balance. Once unbalanced, if the motion is continued, there is no opportunity to resist."

I have issues with these two statements. Hypothetically I would agree with them, however I think actual application of techniques in this fashion is incredibley difficult. Very, very, very few people achieve this level of technique I think, not that we shouldn't all try to obtain it. To me, the level of technique you are describing exists at the li level. Considering that most people who join Aikido dojos will never move much past the shu level and even fewer onto the ha level, I think obtaining this level of technique is out of reach for the vast majority of people. That being said, considering the limited nature of attacks in Aikido and "aikido speed/intensity" of attacks found in many dojos (everyone knows what I mean when I say this) I could see where someone might falsely believe thay have attained this level of technique (not implying you Ken, just making a general statement).

Aikido attacks are very limited in their composition. I realize many would argue they are designed to be "generalized" attacks in order to simulate a wider variety of attack possibilities. However, the attacks in Aikido remain very simplistic. Attacks in Aikido do not deal with kicks, knees, elbows, the clinch, groundwork, shoots, takedowns, and a myriad of other attacks. Sure there are a few dojos that train with some of these attacks, Mits Yamashita sensei's and our own David Valadez and Kevin Leavitt here on Aikiweb come to mind, but they are in the vast minority. Most Aikido dojos practice with basic hand strikes and grabs only, which does not prepare one at all for actually dealing with attacks. There is also the intensity/speed issue I mentioned earlier. I think most people who have been around Aikido for years and have traveled to many dojos are aware of the lack of intensity/speed in many dojos. Furthermore, I've rarely seen Aikido dojos deal with combinations of attacks. What happens when someone feints/jabs 3-4 times high and low, making limited contact but pushing you out of balance before delivering a haymaker? I don't think Aikido, as it is practiced by many, and especially in the manner Ken describes, prepares people for these types of attack. Instead I think it produces a false confidence within themselves, as well as not preparing them to actually be able to physically apply the techniques in real life situations (perhaps not even apply the principles of AIkido mentally or emotionally in non-physical encounters).

Practicing in such a cooperative environment also leads to such a false sense of security. For instance you state: "Once unbalanced, if the motion is continued, there is no opportunity to resist." I think that most of the multi-art practitioners on the board would disagree with you here. I absolutely agree that when Aikido practitioners act as shite that it should be their responsibility to comprise uke's ability to resist and to minimize the window of opportunity for uke to resist. However, in a cooperative environment, how is one ever sure that this is being accomplished? Furthermore, in the majority of dojos I have vistied in the States and abroad (I'm using Yoshinkan terminology here as it is my base but I have visited a wide variety of Aikido dojos outside of the Yoshinkan system), once shite takes uke to the ground, ukes tend to just passively lay there. I know in the Yoshinkan we focus on a consistent application of control through the throw and during the transition to the osae, but it is a difficult task even with years of practice. It also assumes that the uke is just going to lay there. it is much more plausible that someone would immediately begin to fight and resist and attempt to get up. Not to mention what would happen if the person being attacked had even a passing familiarity with groundwork. I realize that the general counter argument to this line of thought is henkawaza and kaeshiwaza. However, what is the likelihood of someone responding to an aikido technique being applied to them with another Aikido technique?!? Very low I would imagine. And if it did occur I imagine both parties would laugh and head out to the pub for a pint!

I suppose what makes me uneasy with the type of training you are describing is not the training itself. Ideally, I think it should be the ultimate goal for all of us. However, I think by practicing solely in this fashion it actually inhibits us from reaching the actual level that we are attempting to emulate. Perhaps it is just my bias of being in the Yoshinkan, but I don't see how it is possible to attain the level of control of uke that Ken describes with out actually knowing, like empirical first-hand knowledge knowing, that one can apply the techniques to an uke regardless of whether the uke cooperates or not. Just accepting that techniques work in the fashion as to explained to us by our teachers, just because "they say so," does not constitute a good enough reason to me to have faith in the techniques I have learned.

Assuredly, everyone needs to take time, a long time, in learning about techniques and the timing, movement, and distance that goes into applying them in a cooperative environment. This is the only way to learn. There are drills (kata) in every MA from Aikido to Karate to BJJ. However, never moving out of the zone of cooperative practice never provides one with actual first-hand knowledge of how the techniques work in a "live" environment. Instead, one merely develops hypothetical outcomes for conflict situations. Sure, the techniques are presented to you as theory by your instructors, but unless we as students never actually put them to the test, they instead remain only hypotheses to us. I am using the "classical" definition of theory here: "a proposed description, explanation, or model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena ( in our case, applying technique in a conflict situation), capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation." How often do members of the Aikido population put their techniques to the test?

If we look back at the "good old days" of Ueshiba sensei's dojo, it would seem rather often. Shioda sensei was notorious for going out and testing his technique, as were many other deshi of the day. If it worked for them it should work for us right? I don't think so. I'm sure most of us have participated, or heard of the game where a dozen or more people gather together in a circle. The first person whispers a 3-4 sentence story to their right, and people continue to repeat what they heard around the circle. Invariably by the time the last person hears the story and repeats what they heard aloud, it barely resemble what the first person originally said. Amplify that over decades, generations of instructors (good and bad), cultural misunderstandings and mistranslations, and the sheer volume of material included in Aikido and it is amazing we're all on the same page about kamae! :)

How are we supposed to have real, empirical understanding of the techniques that have been passed on to us without testing them? Not in a egotistic, or combative manner but in terms of trying to better each other in a cooperative spirit! This occurs in many styles of MAs! I have been to Karate dojos where, during sparring the practitioners look like they are trying to take each other's head off! However, as soon as they are finished, they laugh, smile, and give each other a rough hug. They are just as good of friends as two Aikido students and competition has done them no worse for wear. In fact they are helping make each other's technique better. The same thing occurs at the Sambo club at which I train. We drill (kata!) for 1-2 hours and then roll for another hour. There is no malice between us when we roll. While we are both attempting to submit one another, we are both cognizant that through this type of practice we are actually helping one another grow. Certainly it is more difficult to maintain this type of constructive attitude in a competitive environment where it is easy for egos to expand, but that is not to say it does not happen!

Without an element of truly putting oneself on the line, creating an element of risk in training, I think the possibility of growth remains very limited. When we risk nothing in training, there is little impetus for us to push ourselves past our comfort zones. If one always practices at a comfortable pace, takes easy falls, cooperates, etc. then, I personally, do not see how growth can occur. Growth could certainly not take place for me at that pace. I think everyone is aware of the type of risk I am speaking of as well. I would hope everyone remembers their first breakfall, and how it felt before they did it. Or the first time they partnered up with a very senior student, or took uke from their sensei, or a visiting shihan. There is an apprehension there, a sense of risking ourselves before we step into those situations. Yet, somehow, we overcome. Having this type of feeling, I like to term it as "risk," propels us into new levels of our training, and should help us grow wider and deeper in our martial understanding. Also in terms of "ego," are we sure that it is not the ego that is holding some of us back from testing out techniques in a "live" environment? In Aikido there is always a set outcome when one is shite, in "live" training there is no such guarantee. Can we be sure it is not the ego in ourselves as Aikido practitioners, as our technique "always" works (we were told so!), that is keeping us from stepping outside of our comfort zone and discovering how techniques work for ourselves? Could we not handle the bruising to our ego when our techniques do not work?

Is this type of training not what Shioda sensei and others have spoken of as shugyo? Truly austere training? Pushing oneself to the limit in order to develop as robustly as we possibly can? Again, I appreciate the level of technique that Ken is describing. I believe it possibly to be the level of technique that the likes of Ueshiba sensei and Shioda sensei had later in their lives. However I think it is a fallacy for us to attempt and move directly to that level of training! These people who came before us spent many years paying their dues with very hard (austere) levels of training. In a sense, they went through the entire alphabet, before reaching their goal, Z. The level of technique and training Ken describes to me is at the X-Y-Z level. Yet if we start at X-Y-Z, we might understand those last letters, but do we really know the whole alphabet? To go even deeper, do we know the history of the alphabet? Its roots and origins? How did it develop and why? Should we not attempt to gain this same type of insight and understanding in our Aikido?

Even moving outside of the physical realm of conflict, does this type of practice Ken describes help us apply the principles of Aikido to the rest of our lives if it the only way in which we have practiced it? I would imagine most of us have been in non-physical conflict situations where things did not come at us smoothly, in a pre-ordained fashion, and barely struggled with us as we dealt with them? Conflicts sometimes come at us this way, but they also sneak up from behind and blind-side us. then while we're down conflict's three buddies, Problems, Trouble, and Stress, come up and dog-pile on top of us. I think practicing with higher levels of shugyo and resistance in a "live" environment helps prepare us better for these types of situations. The come-at-you-fast-and-unpredictable types of conflict that we sometimes in encounter throughout our lives. If we only practice blending slowly and cooperatively in Aikido can we really assume we can blend with non-physical conflicts in our lives that do not come at us the same way? I don't know.

And of course, all this is far outside the bounds of a beginner student in my mind. Perhaps even for most students. But should we not expect his level of training and technique out of our upper-most seniors and our instructors? Do they not need to have as large a breadth of experience as possible in order to deal, not only with conflict situations, but also to better relate the teachings to as wide a variety of people as possible? Also, is it really necessary to answer these types of questions I have asked throughout this post if we intend to only practice Aikido as budo, purely as a means of cultivation of the self? Maybe not. Should we expect this level of depth and experience out of our instructors? I think so. I'm truly fortunate in that I think I have found instructors in Aikido and Sambo that are at this level of training.

I too would like to eventually have my own dojo some day and the thoughts and questions I have expressed here often come to my mind. They are part of what drove me to look outside of Aikido; to find some of the answers to these questions.

Lastly, Ken, please do not take this as an attack on your post or methods of training. I really appreciated your post! It helped coalesce a lot of thoughts that have been jumbling about my head and think about the nature of my training. Cheers to everyone who reads this monster!

All the best,

Ron Tisdale
05-04-2006, 10:15 AM
Thanks for that Keith!

Best,
Ron

Ken McGrew
05-04-2006, 10:35 AM
Anyone who reads this discussion and does not think we are describing real differences in Ukemi needs to get out more often. These are not linguistic differences. The word "resistance" is not the wrong word to use. Saotome Sensei has an entire video called Oyo Henka in which he uses the word resistance, and he speaks Japanese quite well. It may not be what your Sensei thinks, but I am not misquoting. Ikeda Sensei used the word katachi to describe something more spontaneous, dynamic, and evolving than kata. We have weapons kata, but our approach to Aikido is not kata, but katachi.


Anyone who read my quotation of Saotome Sensei knows that I am only repeating what he teaches. That is to be expected when I am a student in his organization. I also think he is right.

My statement about the attacker being vulnerable as a result of the attack comes, in part, from 1st Doshu's principles video.

I would differ strongly with the idea that we should force Aikido technique initially and then someday perhaps learn to blend and lead at the higher levels I am describing. You get to the higher levels by practicing a simulation of actual combat. We practice this way all the time. Students start to get good at capturing motion and effortless power in only a few years. I've seen Saotome Sensei do amazing things, many of which I can't do yet, but I've also been directly taught by him as to how to begin to get good at his higher level Aikido. Let me quote, "no force, no violent." This is stated in Saotome's Principles video, that Aikido practice is simulated combat, a cooperative practice. Again, I would ask everyone to dig out their videos of O'Sensei, both Doshu, and look particularly at their students. Do you see ANY resistance? No, you will not. O'Sensei allowed these videos to be made so we would be able to see for ourselves how to train Aikido.

There are people on this board who practice a pre-war style. That's fine. O'Sensei changed Aikido for reasons that he thought were valid. They don't want to change with him, so that is their business. I'm glad they are preserving this earlier art. To me it's like living history. It is not anything I am interested in practicing, however. But when people who practice a post-war style use resistance, I think they are not doing what O'Sensei wanted. A very good book to look at is Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere.

Regarding Ikeda Sensei, what I think people heard him say, which I heard him say again this weekend, is "break their balance." At any rate, Ikeda is Saotome's student also. He does not contradict Saotome. Sometimes Ikeda will ask people to grab strong, but this is an exercise, not proper Ukemi. For example, this weekend he told the partner of one of my students, "No, for this excercise, don't do good ukemi, instead be strong."

The quotes from Saotome are clear. If people don't train like he would have us train that is their business, so long as they are not in his organization. But as the former head instructer at Hombu, and as a person who has been especially dedicated to continuing what O'Sensei started, I think people should consider what he has to say. We all think our instructors hung the moon, and that is how it should be. My ability to follow Saotome's instruction is not blind, however. I look for myself at the historical footage, and I find confirmation of what he claims.

Ken McGrew

Josh Reyer
05-04-2006, 11:47 AM
I look for myself at the historical footage, and I find confirmation of what he claims.


Footage of demonstrations, not training, by the founder of the art.

And FWIW, I myself practice a post-war style.

Josh Reyer
05-04-2006, 11:55 AM
Anyone who reads this discussion and does not think we are describing real differences in Ukemi needs to get out more often.

Incidently, at the very worst we can agree to disagree, but throwing around statements like above and referring to resistance as "egotistical delusion" is not the very best way to make friends.

David Yap
05-04-2006, 12:31 PM
Hi Ken,
snip...
Again, I would ask everyone to dig out their videos of O'Sensei, both Doshu, and look particularly at their students. Do you see ANY resistance? No, you will not. O'Sensei allowed these videos to be made so we would be able to see for ourselves how to train Aikido...snip

Has it occurred to you that there were nothing for the students to "resist" in the first place? Both O Sensei and 1st Doshu were operating at much higher plane - "absolute" aiki, perhaps . Just repeating your quote, "no force, no violent".

I don't see in the posts here that anyone was advocating nage should force aikido techniques initially and and then someday perhaps learn to blend and lead at the higher levels you were describing. It is natural for a beginner to do just that (muscle through a technique) and it is also natural for him or her to progressively lose the need of using force once he/she observes and feels that the instructors and/or sempai can effortlessly do the techniques despite strong resistance from the uke. I believe you have went through this phase at the beginning :D

There are people on this board who practice a pre-war style. That's fine. O'Sensei changed Aikido for reasons that he thought were valid. They don't want to change with him, so that is their business. I'm glad they are preserving this earlier art. To me it's like living history. It is not anything I am interested in practicing, however. But when people who practice a post-war style use resistance, I think they are not doing what O'Sensei wanted.

I believe the late Morihiro Saito shihan's style of aikido is not much different with the pre-war style of aikido and he was a post-war deshi of O Sensei and he was the longest serving deshi. Saito sensei was practically sharing the same compound and sharing the same meals with O Sensei over a span of 23 years. Are you implying that Morihiro Saito shihan was not doing or teaching what O'Sensei wanted? Gozo Shioda shihan also stayed 3 years in Iwama with O Sensei after the war. He had O Sensei's blessings to start his own organisation and dojo. He, too, did not do or teach what O Sensei wanted?

:( :eek: :rolleyes:

David Y

DonMagee
05-04-2006, 01:40 PM
I'm not sure if this has been said. I wanted to post this 3 days ago, but my account was not verified yet.

My teacher has told us many times this one saying. "The Uke is never wrong"

I'll leave it to you guys to figure out what he means.

Don

giriasis
05-04-2006, 02:01 PM
I'm not sure if this has been said. I wanted to post this 3 days ago, but my account was not verified yet.

My teacher has told us many times this one saying. "The Uke is never wrong"

I'll leave it to you guys to figure out what he means.

Don

Why don't you tell us what you think he means. I actually disagree with this to a certain extent. The Uke can be wrong at times especially when they lock out and put themselves in a more vulnerable position. But at the same times it can be fun to work with people who do that as long as you are skilled enough to not get frustrated and they have good enough ukemi where they will not get hurt.

DonMagee
05-04-2006, 02:25 PM
Why don't you tell us what you think he means. I actually disagree with this to a certain extent. The Uke can be wrong at times especially when they lock out and put themselves in a more vulnerable position. But at the same times it can be fun to work with people who do that as long as you are skilled enough to not get frustrated and they have good enough ukemi where they will not get hurt.


Well, I never really gave it much thought. I would guess that he means you should learn to blend with uke no matter what he gives you. I would also say he means for you to not be so stuck on a technique. If uke resists or is unaffected by your technique it is up to you to change what you are doing, not the uke. Uke's feedback is a important part of the leanring process. If you can't learn to blend and lead your uke as the situation changes then you are just doing choreographed dancing. But that is just what his quote means to me.

Dirk Hanss
05-04-2006, 04:13 PM
Again, I would ask everyone to dig out their videos of O'Sensei, both Doshu, and look particularly at their students. Do you see ANY resistance? No, you will not. O'Sensei allowed these videos to be made so we would be able to see for ourselves how to train Aikido.
Honestly, Ken, my knowledge of the English knowledge is not sufficient to detect, what you want to tell us.

Saotome Sensei stated several times: "Resistance is natural reaction of uke and you should never blame uke for being resistant", while he also requires Uke not to stop nage's technique, just because he knows, which technique is requested to be performed.

He tells his students to punch or kick uke, if he does not protect himself (Aikido and the Harmony of Nature), while he insists, that his kind of training is not sparring. And I never understood "no force, no violence" as an order not to attack seriously or not to perform effective techniques.

He also tells us (same book) that he tried to attack O Sensei as hard as he could - even when O Sensei was already weak from cancer a short time before his passing, but I could not find any story, where he stated "I fell, because I felt that I was expected to fall".

Yes, I was told that as uke, if I do not see a chance to continue the attack, I should evade by ukemi, but only in explicit "dancing exercises", to get the moves more fluid, I was told to perform ukemi on my own, when the right time has come in the movement.

As far as I cannot find resistance in O Sensei's demonstrations, it seems to me, that uke had no chance to insist, as the technique was just perfect. I might be wrong. So maybe someone can find a statement from O Sensei's uke or just ask some of those, who are still out there. I cannot judge on both following doshu or other demonstrations, some seem to want demonstrations to look perfect, but there are different ways to do that. Some just constrain themselves to a small set of techniques they can perform well, some only use uke, they know very good and can forecast their reaction.

So maybe you can explain a bit better, how you think, we should train. Coming back to the initial topic of this thread: assuming the story told in the beginning was exactly as written here, who do you think was wrong, the 4th kyu uke or the nidan nage?

Cheers Dirk (only 3rd kyu, though)

Michael O'Brien
05-04-2006, 05:32 PM
He tells his students to punch or kick uke, if he does not protect himself (Aikido and the Harmony of Nature), while he insists, that his kind of training is not sparring. And I never understood "no force, no violence" as an order not to attack seriously or not to perform effective techniques.

He also tells us (same book) that he tried to attack O Sensei as hard as he could - even when O Sensei was already weak from cancer a short time before his passing, but I could not find any story, where he stated "I fell, because I felt that I was expected to fall".

Another good quote from that book (there are a bunch but I don't have access to them all right now) is when Satome Sensei states "He laughed at our determined attempts to hold him."

A determined attempt to hold someone is about as much resistance as I can think of?

Ken McGrew
05-04-2006, 06:54 PM
There IS footage of students training under O'Sensei, training with each other, and not making a demonstration. There is also a good deal of footage of students of Doshu and 2nd Doshu training. At the beginning of 1st Doshu's Principles video there is footage of students training with very cooperative Ukemi. 2nd Doshu recently was featured in a show on the Discovery Channel about martial arts. Some American students were interviewed and videod while training. They had very cooperative Ukemi.

If you look at the quote I gave earlier from Saotome's Principles video, it is clear that he believes O'Sensei made a break from the earlier version of Aikido. This changed Nage and Uke practice. In fact, O'Sensei described this change in terms that could be considered an "enlightenment experience." If you train in a style where you are expected to resist, then you should do what is expected of you. If you prefer this resistance training, that's fine for you as well. This is not what Saotome teaches and it is not what he says O'Sensei taught him.

I am not trying to correct other people who follow what their instructor tells them to do. In particular I think my comments have no relevance to people who train a pre-war style. If you study a style where you are expected to resist, then I do not think you are being arrogant. If you study in ASU or a similar style, and yet you resist (unless Sensei has specifically told you to resist), then I think you are being arrogant. Many times I have studied with strong men who seem intent on massaging their egos by demonstrating their ability to prevent Nage from practicing the technique that Sensei has shown, when the technique requires movement from Uke (Irimi Nage is a good example), and yet Nage is not allowed to poke their eyes out. In answering whether the young man should have fallen down, I must do so within the context of certain expecations of Ukemi, that do vary from style to style.

But if you practice a post-war style, and especially if you belong to ASU, I think you should consider what I am saying. I am explaining the Nage and Uke relationship as I understand it, and am making arguments and pointing to evidence that supports these arguments. I went to a training with Saotome Sensei with a focus on teaching where he made very clear his expecations and told us from now on to practice and teach what he had shown us. That's what I am trying to do.

As I stated earlier, Uke should not simply fall down for no reason. But Uke should not resist either. Read the quote in the earlier post. It is rather straightforward. Look at the videos of O'Sensei's student, and the students of both Doshu. See for yourself if there is any resistace. Attacking hard is not resistance. This is the point. We never attack truly and Nage never responds completely. If we did people could die. Because it is not a "real" situtation, we must simulate a real situation. This is a quote from Saotome Sensei's Principles video. It is "simulated combat." When people attack completely there is momentum in their body. This makes it very easy to lead them. To simulate a true attack when training slower than full speed, you must follow as if you had momentum in your body. Too often we practice by asking Uke to grab our wrist. They clamp down with weight and strength. Then we try to move them. This is not real. This is not martial. This is at best an exercise. If it were real we would break their nose, break their knee, and then they would fall down in a very cooperative manner.

Those of you who study a different style than I do have no obligation, and perhaps no interest, in what the head of my organization or my teachers say. That's fine. Those who do care what he might have to teach you, I will leave you with my favorite quote from Saotome that I memorized at a seminar in Chicago, I love to feel powerful too, but I realize that "the more gentle I am, the more powerful I am." When Sensei throws people, and so more if it is a more martial application, it does not feel like force, or leverage, it feels light as a feather, and yet you can't stop yourself from falling. It is not fake. It is perfect connection. To get that good, he says, you must practice in the cooperative manner I have described.

Ken McGrew

Mark Freeman
05-04-2006, 07:20 PM
Good post Ken,

I don't have any affiliation to your organisation, have not seen Saotome Sensei in action. However, everything that you wrote makes perfect sense to me.
My own lineage comes via my own teachers extensive time with his major influences Kenshiro Abbe Sensei and later Tohei Sensei. The approch to ukemi you outline above is common to us. Your quoteWhen Sensei throws people, and so more if it is a more martial application, it does not feel like force, or leverage, it feels light as a feather, and yet you can't stop yourself from falling. It is not fake. It is perfect connection. To get that good, he says, you must practice in the cooperative manner I have described. surely encompasses all postwar aikido?

I happen to agree that it is definitely not fake, but not everyone seems to feel the same. :(

regards,
Mark

Dirk Hanss
05-04-2006, 07:36 PM
Thank you Ken,
this is somewhat better explaining, but still I have to recall everything I have seen on seminars and videos, read in books and told by people, who studies under Saotome Sensei to get an idea, what you might mean exactly, and yet I am not sure, if we are talking about the same Mitsugi Saotome.
We are not member of ASU and the most important reason is, that ASU is not willing to cover Europe. So I guess you know him better than me.

I totally agree about your view on nage - and yes in some context co-operative is right as well as non-resistent and simulated combat - and yes, the truth is somewhere between dancing and killing.
Sometimes your explanation sounds like "choreography of simulated combat" and I am not sure, if Saotome would even accept the wording "ASU or similar style" as he always laughed about styles - or even neglected the existence of styles in true aikido.

If I am very lucky I might have another chance to talk to him this summer in France. I'd be very curious about his comments.

All the best

Dirk

Josh Reyer
05-04-2006, 08:33 PM
Here is an article written by George Ledyard, longtime student of Saotome sensei. It's very relevant to this topic, and the first section on static practice is exactly what I am talking about. It also goes into flowing practice, committment, counters, and other key aspects of ukemi.

The Nature of Ukemi (http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2004_10.html)

Michael O'Brien
05-04-2006, 10:19 PM
Here is an article written by George Ledyard, longtime student of Saotome sensei. It's very relevant to this topic, and the first section on static practice is exactly what I am talking about. It also goes into flowing practice, committment, counters, and other key aspects of ukemi.

The Nature of Ukemi (http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/gledyard/2004_10.html)
A good article Josh, thanks for sharing.

Also I managed in between issues at work to dig up a few more quotes from Mitsugi Satome Sensei from Aikido and the Harmony of Nature:

"As in training by giving ever-increasing resistance, it takes many years to discover"

Then about 3 paragraphs down he states:

"If you are always training softly, immersed in water, you will never be stressed enough to discoer your strength. You will lose reality, you will lose the fire, and you will lose the Way."

Then in his training section on tenkan:

"When you try tenkan from a very strong grab, you will at first be unable to move. As you continue to try, your instincts of defense will start to evolve."

I think that is enough for now.

Dirk Hanss
05-05-2006, 03:54 AM
Thanks Josh,

and thanks to George for this excellent article. Yes that is my understanding of non-resistant and co-operative uke. He has to play his role, but it is never (there are exceptions, as mentioned) his task to help nage performing a technique, that would not work otherwise.

Now, if someone is interested in, we could start discussing, what might be a good reaction, if your uke is not doing his job well.

Kind regards


Dirk

Michael O'Brien
05-05-2006, 11:43 AM
Now, if someone is interested in, we could start discussing, what might be a good reaction, if your uke is not doing his job well.

Kind regards


Dirk
Good atemi? :p :D ;) :)

Ron Tisdale
05-05-2006, 12:20 PM
This discussion is getting to some real meat.

I know you were partly joking Michael, but if I take the atemi suggestion seriously, I'd have to say that in keiko that allows more resistance, atemi is a short cut of sorts...especially if it is atemi that does not land, atemi that your partner always blocks, atemi that shite can use but uke cannot...

Basically, reliance on atemi in the kind of training I think we are discussing can be a weakness. It can cover up a host of problems that will only get worked out if you DON'T rely on atemi to solve them. Which is not to say that atemi is bad, or incorrect, or shouldn't be trained, or shouldn't be integrated into regular practice. It's just that in a more free form, resistant type of training, a reliance upon atemi has issues.

Best,
Ron

Dirk Hanss
05-05-2006, 03:21 PM
Good atemi? :p :D ;) :)
Yes, one solution, not harmful, but rather showing, why uke cannot do it this way. He has to protect himself, maybe and in the end very often, by rolling.


Dirk

m.kops
05-05-2006, 04:14 PM
Your personal preferences are disabled in the dojo. Nobody cares what you like or not. This is a place for martial art practice and not restaurant where you can chose your prefered food.

Yu must move faster to be able to match speed of technique. This is your most important duty on the tatami.

you must learn how to receive the techniques in safe way. this is your homework to do after every class with some help from dojo mates. I think you have 2-3 months to do it, after that advanced ppl will not want to practice with you.
They can't all their life slow down normal rythme of practice only because you 'don't like' move faster.You as uke in 99% must take care about your own safety.
Thanks for your reply. I think you may have misunderstood some of what I wrote. In my dojo, it is emphasized that the sempai has a responsibility to the less experienced student and someone who chooses a new student should not practice at a level that will potentially hurt that person. I have practiced with 3rd Dan who have moved very slowly in their practice. Speed doesn't make you superior.

Qatana
05-05-2006, 04:29 PM
Martha, don't wory about what ANybody says you Must do or learn or be training for. The only thing you must do is show up.

NagaBaba
05-05-2006, 09:56 PM
Thanks for your reply. I think you may have misunderstood some of what I wrote. In my dojo, it is emphasized that the sempai has a responsibility to the less experienced student and someone who chooses a new student should not practice at a level that will potentially hurt that person. I have practiced with 3rd Dan who have moved very slowly in their practice. Speed doesn't make you superior.
I understood you very well, don't worry.
In aikido there is no competition (Ok, ok we are not talking here about Tomiki fighters) so there is not question at all who is superior. We are talking here about your duty as a beginner, not to slow down progress of advanced folks, and in the same time, how you can survive safely normal rythme of training.
It is your job to adapt yourself to this rythme. That is my advice.

Mark Freeman
05-06-2006, 07:23 AM
Your personal preferences are disabled in the dojo. Nobody cares what you like or not. This is a place for martial art practice and not restaurant where you can chose your prefered food.

Yu must move faster to be able to match speed of technique. This is your most important duty on the tatami.

you must learn how to receive the techniques in safe way. this is your homework to do after every class with some help from dojo mates. I think you have 2-3 months to do it, after that advanced ppl will not want to practice with you.
They can't all their life slow down normal rythme of practice only because you 'don't like' move faster.You as uke in 99% must take care about your own safety.

I come from a completely different perspective to this. As far as my practiced goes, it is not up to uke to speed up to match the speed of nage. It is the duty of nage to blend with uke, if nage is going too fast for uke then where is aiki??
If advanced people do not want to practice with someone because they haven't reached some percieved level of ukemi so that they wont get hurt when techniques are applied is for me, egotistical nonesense. Where is their desire to help someone on the path, where is their practice of control, where is their leading by example, where is their humility? I could go on.
It is nage's job to take care of uke. Of course uke has responsibility to look after themselves, but if they are with a more advanced student, the responsibility lies with the one with greater experience.
Normal rhythm of practice is not fixed, it changes and adapts, otherwise it becomes 'stuck'.

Obviously aikido is done in many different ways.

regards,
Mark

Ken McGrew
05-11-2006, 12:39 AM
I think it is a mistake to quote something from Saotome Sensei in order to refute other quotes from him. I did not "make up" the narration in his videos nor my experiences with him. Those who question what I am saying should buy and watch the Oyo Henka video. He does not contradict himself. English is simply not his native language. You have to listen carefully.

There is a difference between excercises (perhaps training with a strong grab on occaasion) and Ukemi, which he believes should be flowing and cooperative; as his Principles video says, simulated combat. There is a difference between a strong grab and resistant ukemi after the grab. In Chicago in November Kevin Choate Sensei made a clear distinction between "technique" training and "static training." I don't like this distinction mystelf, as not all static training is resistant training, but the basic point I think should be clear, that there is resistance and then there is cooperative ukemi.

I've spent a lot of time at Saotome's seminars, trained since 1993 with two of his senior students, and have attended his teaching oriented training at his private dojo (where he told us to teach flowing and cooperative Ukemi, but to change techniques when confronted with resistance). People like to do what they are used to doing, but that doesn't mean that what they are doing will ever get them to his level of Aikido.

If you watch Saotome's videos you can see his Aikido for yourself. If you go to a seminar you will never see him tell the students present to grab in a resistant manner. But more than this, as a matter of martial application, when and how does one's hand get grabbed in the first place? It just makes no sense. It's an excercise. I don't stand around waiting for people to grab my writst. If they do manage to grab my wrist, it would be because they were charging in toward me and therefore would have too much momentum to be resistant. In the hypothetical, if an attacker grabbed my wrist, I'd break his nose. (As an aside, raising the arm will not stop a real strike either, which will only drive your own hand into your nose). It just makes no sense all this grabbing and resisting. If you grab my wrist and do not follow, you make it easy for me to break my hand free, and strike you with a back fist. Following is your protection.

Aikido is about capturing the attacker's energy, blending, and redirecting. You get good at that by creating a situation where you can practice it. Think of Irimi Nage. The first ura and blend brings Uke down. The second ura and throw happens only because and if Uke continues her attack. Saotome's style of Irimi Nage really emphasises blending because he turns and turns rather than stepping back and stepping in. If you practice trying to resist as Uke after the initial attack, you are merely asking Nage to kick or hit you, and taking advantage of the fact that you have not fully attacked nor Nage fully thrown, and in general are wasting your time and your partner's time as well.

It's good to have these conversations. In the end people can think and do what they want. Students under Saotome, however, in my opinion, have an obligation to try to do what he wants them to do. He is famous for getting angry at seminars when students aren't training the way he wants. Given language barriers I think many students never understand what he is looking for. I'm trying to articulate this to the best of my ability.

Ken McGrew

Dirk Hanss
05-11-2006, 03:40 AM
Thank you Ken,
I guess, That is more or less exactly, what we are told.

In my own simple words it says:
As uke you should not try to spoil the exercise, as you you what comes, but you should try to do a serious attack and protect yourself - that's why you follow (continue your attack or try not to show nage your back) and take ukemi (protect by escape and try to get a second chance). But you should not just simply follow any movement - or even anticipate - just because nage expects you to do.

As nage you should never blame uke for resistant application, but change your technique instantaneously. You can simulate a punch or kick (low level), you can do another technique like tenkan instead of irimi, kotegaeshi instead of iriminage, etc. (medium level) or you can just change posture a little bit to redirect uke in a way you can do exactly the technique, you are expected to do (high level). If uke does not understand the message, you can tell him afterwards verbally. If you cannot do either of them, either uke is senior and wants to teach you something - you might ask, what, or uke is not experienced enough, but you aren't either, so you know, what you have to work on - Yes, you can ask him to support you in this exercise, as you are too junior to find a solution. If he is just an idiot, you need to look for another partner, but this should never happen, if you are nidan and your uke ranked significantly lower.

Hopefully I did not misinterpret you or Saotome. What I am told and have understood at his seminar, he always tell, that blaming uke for not being relaxed or any other excuse for not doing the technique, is not the martial attitude, an aikidoka (yudansha) should show.

Kind regards Dirk

Mark Freeman
05-11-2006, 05:17 AM
Following is your protection.

Absolutely!! Good post Ken.

It would also make a great bumper sticker ;)

regards,
Mark

roosvelt
05-11-2006, 09:50 AM
Absolutely!! Good post Ken.

It would also make a great bumper sticker ;)

regards,
Mark

If you can count the hair on his ass, you're following too closely.

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2006, 03:18 PM
Likewise, if you can pick the hairs off of someone else's....

Best,
Ron

Mark Freeman
05-11-2006, 06:10 PM
Likewise, if you can pick the hairs off of someone else's....

Best,
Ron

Come on chaps, this is all getting a bit to close for comfort ;)

cheers
Mark

David Orange
05-16-2006, 07:58 PM
...as a matter of martial application, when and how does one's hand get grabbed in the first place? It just makes no sense. It's an excercise. I don't stand around waiting for people to grab my writst.

That's a good question. It is addressed on the Aikido Journal blog in this post:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=1985

In particular, concerning the origin of wrist-grab attacks in aikido:

One famous aiki master addressed the mystery of why the training includes so much practice against the wrist grab. Itís argued that men donít fight that way and that we are unlikely to be grabbed by the wrist in a fight. This master said that the wrist grab comes from an opponentís trying to prevent you from drawing your sword. Well, maybe he was hiding something there. Itís true that if someone grabs your wrist, you can effect aiki age by reaching across your body and turning your hand as if to draw a sword. But I think the mystery of aiki training for wrist grabs is simple: it comes from a parentís taking a child by the wrist. That was where I think the old masters saw the genius of a genki toddler for escaping. A healthy baby, before much social conditioning, has a healthy spirit and a will to do his own business. His human nervous system naturally uses both kiai and aiki to get what he wants and neutralize the strength of people much larger than himself. Imagine if your aikido were effective against someone five times your size. That is effective aiki and babies have it. Of course, it is limited, just like a sprout coming up from the ground. But it is effective and reliable enough for a jujutsu master to base a revolutionary fighting method on it.

Think of the young girl whose kidnapping in Florida was caught on video. The attack was a classic same-side single-hand wrist grab. That video could easily have shown the girl throwing the attacker with shiho nage or yonkyo. Neither is too difficult for an eleven-year-old girl. I taught both techniques to both my daughters before they were ten. Iíve taught them to many children before they were ten. Not that I would ever want them to need it. But you simply spin around in either direction from the same-side grip and you get one technique or the other. It may be just effective enough for the intended victim to escape.

Iíve met numerous young women who reflexively twist and turn out of a wrist grab, but they tend to be awkward, without basic organization and with extra movement and self interference that comes from all their social conditioning, inhibiting much of their true spirit and sense of self. Real aiki is pure economy in relation to another human beingís presence and actions. So most people believe this must have been figured out and calculated, organized and formed outside the human mind and body, then pressure-cooked painfully into the individual. But I have observed many examples of toddlers in action, displaying pure aiki movement without awkward or extraneous effort.

If they do manage to grab my wrist, it would be because they were charging in toward me and therefore would have too much momentum to be resistant.

An experienced real world attacker won't over commit. Or at least, we really shouldn't assume that he will.

In the hypothetical, if an attacker grabbed my wrist, I'd break his nose. (As an aside, raising the arm will not stop a real strike either, which will only drive your own hand into your nose). It just makes no sense all this grabbing and resisting. If you grab my wrist and do not follow, you make it easy for me to break my hand free, and strike you with a back fist. Following is your protection.

How is that different from pre-war aikido? Would you elaborate on the distinction? To me, pre-war aikido is just that kind of pragmatism plus severe training in the actual techniques to do what you describe. Where do you draw the distinction?

Aikido is about capturing the attacker's energy, blending, and redirecting. You get good at that by creating a situation where you can practice it. ...If you practice trying to resist as Uke after the initial attack, you are merely asking Nage to kick or hit you, and taking advantage of the fact that you have not fully attacked nor Nage fully thrown, and in general are wasting your time and your partner's time as well.

Aren't they both wasting each other's time?

The fundamental truth is that if uke attacks well, he can only resist if nage makes a mistake. "Not falling" is far from "resisting." Sometimes not-falling results from the body's involuntary reflex responses. But those reflexes can only respond if uke "feels" nage's action. If nage acts correctly, uke either will not feel it, or the technique will trigger his reflexive response in such a way that he throws himself. But if uke can "balk," even involuntarily, nage is simply failing to do aikido.

It's good to have these conversations. In the end people can think and do what they want. Students under Saotome, however, in my opinion, have an obligation to try to do what he wants them to do.

Well, we've seen examples in earlier posts where Saotome sensei says opposite things. That's the trouble with big teachers. They're always saying something different because they're always talking about "right now," commenting on what someone is doing before their eyes. The fact that he said something almost opposite on another occasion doesn't mean he refutes himself, but that, most likely, the context in which he was speaking was very differently similar.

Everyone knows the story of the blind men describing an elephant. Aikidoka aren't blind, but they're all trying to describe a hundred-year long dragon, each looking at different parts. It looks very different at every turn of its body, but the essence is the same, from the tip of the nose to the teeth, the front claws, the body, the rear claws and tail.

Because one doesn't recognize what he sees as aikido does not mean that it isn't aikido. It may just be a different part of the dragon.

Best wishes.

topan tantudo
06-14-2006, 01:21 AM
Aikido is more than just practices. it is way of life. if your senpai got mad because he cannot control his "way of life" it would be better to find another way of life. If he cannot centralize his KI, his heart, and his mind, so he is not and Aikidoka.

just a point of view.

Freerefill
01-23-2007, 05:47 PM
This discussion reminds me of one of my dojo mates. He's a small guy with some background in martial arts, and really a nice and generous person. I started my training with him and enjoy it very much, as he's a very small person and I'm very large, thus I learn to do what my sensei keeps telling me: bend my knees.

He was kind enough to take ukemi for my 6th kyu test. The test went well in the eyes of my sensei, but in my heart I knew I was lacking. I know I was putting my feet in (roughly) the right place, pointing certain parts of my body in certain locations, moving my hands where close to where they should go, all those other things. But I never felt the connection. What stands out in my mind is iriminage. I simply cannot grasp that technique, but it's worse with him because he falls as soon as I start turning back toward him. He is very generous in his ukemi; he'll go where he's supposed to go for the technique. But how can I tell if I'm connecting to him, if I'm harmonizing with him, if the results of my actions are the same no matter what my actions are?

On the other side, when training with my senpai, I always always ALWAYS find them exploring and experimenting. If the technique isn't being performed, either due to their lacking ability or their ukes resistance, they tug and twist this way and that until they feel a connection and can get uke off balance, and thus can perform the technique. They learn and explore, even if it's something like ikkyo, which they've been doing for 6 years. Even my Sensei does that, when she's been doing it for 25. Resistance is welcome in our dojo, so long as it's backed up by good judgement. Sensei often tells us to attack at your own speed, because nage (or since most of us are at the same level and there are only two senpai, this applies to the senpai) will perform the technique at the speed that you're attacking. If you can't take super fast ukemi, don't perform a screaming dash-in shomenuchi.

When there is resistance, it always (or usually, 9 times out of 10) ends the same way: senpai or Sensei find the path of least resistance, take it, and show uke what happens when they're stubborn. But what's amazing with all of this is that everyone is having fun! I honestly laugh my ass off when I stubbornly resist Sensei and she flips me onto my back faster than I can blink. She does NOT consider resistance a bad thing. She encourages it as long as it's warrented and safe. Everyone in our dojo likes a bit of resistance here and there because they aren't trying to get perfect footwork, they're trying to feel the connection, to get their uke off balance. Everyone enjoys the results of senpai or Sensei giving them a hands-on demonstration of the results of years and years of hard work: even stubborn ukes find their place on the mat.

And just to take this point further, we are an ASU affilitated dojo. I don't know what "style" of Aikido we train in, post war or pre war or all that. I just know that when my uke is a rag doll, I learn nothing. When my uke is a brick, I learn that I know nothing (always a welcome lesson in humility... I'll never get tired of it). When my uke is using good judgement and giving me good feedback (senpai or kohai), I learn much about the technique.

Resistance has its place, but I believe it must come with a side of judgement and a side of communication.

Keith R Lee
01-23-2007, 05:55 PM
Zombie thread! Rise from your grave...

Freerefill
01-23-2007, 06:01 PM
Sorry! I guess I neglected to look at the dates.. I've been browsing the forum for a while and I suppose I just lost track of where I was browsing. Gomennasai!

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c332/Freerefill/Funny/threadnecro.jpg

stelios
01-24-2007, 03:31 AM
In similar situations, esp. when I am uke for my Sensei when he is demonstrateing a technique and I am doing crap, one might expect him to become furious. On the contrary, based upon a conversation we once had, he said that everytime I am making a mistake as uke (deliberately or not) he is learning of new ways to cope with the new situation.
One should most of the times be grateful to uke whilst they make mistakes as it is a means of learning our incapabilities or potential capabilities that we never knew we had.
Just a thought...

DonMagee
01-24-2007, 07:34 AM
I know this is old, but yet another good place to post this vid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jf3Gc2a0_8

Its a good reason why at least once in a while you should resist your partner. Just not while the instructor is giving a demo to the class.

It also shows a modern day wrist grab at 1 minute into the video.

Keith R Lee
01-24-2007, 11:43 AM
Yeah, I saw that vid over on the UG at mma.tv awhile ago.

I think the old guy should have spent a little more time sparring and less time waving his hands around theatrically.

Kevin Leavitt
01-24-2007, 02:10 PM
Sorry guys...i love ya...but I think I am going to scream if I see that video posted one more time! It is all over the place!

Keith, ya know the thread I am waiting for! I check every day hoping it will once again rise from the dead!

DonMagee
01-24-2007, 02:18 PM
Its a funny video, what is not to love. Something inside me love reality checks. I don't care if its politics, martial arts, work, etc.

Ron Tisdale
01-24-2007, 02:53 PM
Ah, the thread that may not be named...lest it reappear and drag us all down screaming and thrashing into the void... :D

Best,
Ron (said in my best Yul Brenner voice)

mwible
01-24-2007, 07:25 PM
in my dojo, u kind of go with the technique while judging your nage's level, so i go with it most of the time, unless my nage tells me not to fall unless he REALLY makes me fall. so i dont if that helps but THERE YOU GO!!!
in aiki
-morgan

Cady Goldfield
01-24-2007, 07:30 PM
Sorry guys...i love ya...but I think I am going to scream if I see that video posted one more time! It is all over the place!


Okay, maybe you need to see this video instead. :D
http://www.sweeptheleg.com/

George S. Ledyard
01-25-2007, 09:43 AM
I think it is a mistake to quote something from Saotome Sensei in order to refute other quotes from him. I did not "make up" the narration in his videos nor my experiences with him. Those who question what I am saying should buy and watch the Oyo Henka video. He does not contradict himself. English is simply not his native language. You have to listen carefully.
People should pay attention to this issue. It's not just the language barrier with Sensei. Often what he describing are two almost antagonistic aspects of a given principle. It is quite possible, at different times, to get quite different messages about the same topic. Its a tension of opposites which creates a balance. People need to be careful not to take one or the other position as valid but to see that its the balance of the two that Sensei is trying to get his stufdents to understand.


I've spent a lot of time at Saotome's seminars, trained since 1993 with two of his senior students, and have attended his teaching oriented training at his private dojo (where he told us to teach flowing and cooperative Ukemi, but to change techniques when confronted with resistance). People like to do what they are used to doing, but that doesn't mean that what they are doing will ever get them to his level of Aikido.

You have to be very careful with Sensei. You can look at what he says, you can see how he teaches, but you also need to look at the result. Has he been able to pass on what he knows? Ikeda Sensei is the only one of his students who is functioning at a similar high level. There are a very small number of Rokudan level folks who are starting to get it. But there are many folks who have been and are currently traiing in ways that will not, in my own opinion, result in an understanding of what Sensei is doing.

I think that Sensei was so worried about his students not falling into the trap of what he saw Aikido becoming that he let us train too physically for too long. He used to go out to the West Coast for a week or two to teach and would come back abolustely incensed by what he saw. he'd say "Aikido is not Flamingo Dancing... they are destroying the spirit of Aikido". For weeks after his return our classes were apt to look a lot like karate classes; hard and with lots of atemi.

One thing you can say about Sensei's students, you can't get any of them to back off from an attack. They don't collapse their energy field just because an attack is strong. But in my opinion Sensei let us train that way for too long. The folks who are stuck trying to be strong never get what he is doing. Twenty years of training in a rigid and resistant manner will not result in an understanding of aiki.

If you watch Saotome's videos you can see his Aikido for yourself. If you go to a seminar you will never see him tell the students present to grab in a resistant manner.

This isn't, strictly speaking, true and I think that is the source of a lot of misunderstanding... Sensei has frequently asked his uke to try to stop him. Being the largest of his students, I was frequently that uke. Since he has already mastered the principles, he likes to "show off" for the students that my resistance is pretty much irrelevant. But too many folks took those demos as a sign that they should be training with each other that way. The absolute last thing you want to do in your training is to imprint tension into the interaction. 50% of your training time is in the role of uke. If you spend half your time being rigid and immoveable and then think that your body will make the jump to fluid, relaxed, and sensitive when you do the nage role, you will be sadly disappointed. Your body will simply be confused.

But more than this, as a matter of martial application, when and how does one's hand get grabbed in the first place? It just makes no sense. It's an exercise. I don't stand around waiting for people to grab my wrist. If they do manage to grab my wrist, it would be because they were charging in toward me and therefore would have too much momentum to be resistant. In the hypothetical, if an attacker grabbed my wrist, I'd break his nose. (As an aside, raising the arm will not stop a real strike either, which will only drive your own hand into your nose). It just makes no sense all this grabbing and resisting. If you grab my wrist and do not follow, you make it easy for me to break my hand free, and strike you with a back fist. Following is your protection.

While I don't actually disagree with what your point is, I think that this description needs a bit of clarification. As I have pointed out before, I do not believe that Aikido is an empty hand martial art. It is primarily about weapons. The grabbing attacks we do are largely about a) trying to take a weapon from the opponent, usually a sword from his obi; b) restricting his ability to access the weapon or c) restraining an armed opponent while another cuts or stabs him. No one grabs an opponent's wrists the way we do in empty hand fighting.

So these grabs are essentially connection exercises. We do every type of grab imaginable to practice connection with the partner. One you have an understanding of how to take that grab and use the energy of the grab to move the partner, you can actually use the identical principles in the attack. The grab is not some attempt to show the opponent that he cannot move you... whoever heard of anything that stupid in a fight. The grab is a way to take the other's center.

Once you understand this, you start to realize why it is absolutely crucial to understand that the technique starts before the grab (or strike) happens. Kuroiwa Sensei once said to me that people do not understand what the grab is. It is an offensive technique. If the attacker really gets that grab, he has you.

Aikido is about capturing the attacker's energy, blending, and redirecting.

Actually, it goes both ways. The skilled attack is about capturing the opponent's energy and giving it direction and the skilled defense is doing the same thing to him before he can do it to you. The whole uke nage dichotomy is artificial so folks can train. No one goes into a fight thinking he's the uke.

You get good at that by creating a situation where you can practice it. Think of Irimi Nage. The first ura and blend brings Uke down. The second ura and throw happens only because and if Uke continues her attack. Saotome's style of Irimi Nage really emphasizes blending because he turns and turns rather than stepping back and stepping in. If you practice trying to resist as Uke after the initial attack, you are merely asking Nage to kick or hit you, and taking advantage of the fact that you have not fully attacked nor Nage fully thrown, and in general are wasting your time and your partner's time as well.

It's ok to practice that way... you just have to have the proper arrangement with the partner. In a real martial interaction, an opponent will seldom totally commit unless he is sure he has a finishing blow. Hence feints or uncommitted attacks like a jab. If you are striving for martial competence in your Aikido, you need to have some experience practicing with partners who try to do this to you. You need to develop the sensitivity to react instantly to resistance on the part of the partner with the proper atemi rather than by tightening up and putting more force into the technique. If you do that, the partner will be forced to stay fluid as well because he must protect his openings. Not every body wants to train this way. Many folks take offense at being bopped by their partner. So you have to have a partner that wants to train in this manner. But it is ok to do so. In the sense of Aikido as self defense, you might be called on to defend oneself against an attacker who has no training whatever. This attacker may do all of the things we teach our students NOT to do. You have to practice against that type of attack as well as against an opponent who is highly trained and reacts more intelligently if you can be said to be functional from a self defense standpoint.

It's good to have these conversations. In the end people can think and do what they want. Students under Saotome, however, in my opinion, have an obligation to try to do what he wants them to do. He is famous for getting angry at seminars when students aren't training the way he wants. Given language barriers I think many students never understand what he is looking for. I'm trying to articulate this to the best of my ability.
Ken McGrew

You are right that many folks do not understand what he is asking for. They latch on what they hear him say that fits their own predisposition. Normally, in training what one most needs to do is work on the aspect of the art which fits your predisposition the least. The strong ferocious folks need to relax and try being mellow and the timid, not so physical folks need to hit someone. Whatever it is that makes one uncomfortable, that should be what one works on hardest.

Cady Goldfield
01-25-2007, 10:23 AM
I'd go into a rant about how aikido shouldn't be about training to fall down, but Dan Harden is a lot better at that than I am. ;)

Alec Corper
01-25-2007, 10:39 AM
The best thing about this resurrected thread is the video "Sweep the leg"
thanks , Cady!

Cady Goldfield
01-25-2007, 10:55 AM
My pleasure. Isn't it amazing that Ralph Macchio (cameo appearance at the end) still looks 16 -- and he's 45!!! Billy Zabka looks pretty good at 41, too. He was 19 when the first Karate Kid movie was made. Macchio was 23 at that time (1984-85). They got most of the main/supporting cast to appear in the music video, though, unfortunately, Pat Morita (Miyagi) died in 2005.

Eddie Heinzelman
01-31-2007, 04:39 PM
Maybe we're all being very good aikidoka by not actually beating this horse to it's death (ha,ha)

Jane
03-20-2007, 04:03 PM
In my first weeks at the dojo, I'd get to work with a sempai who's always so contracted: he hardens his body all the time. When I'd be supposed to move forward, he'd be pushing me away, saying something like I should "force the technique in".
I was really frustrated. My sensei told me that when a partner did that, I shoud change the technique to take him off-guard.
What I've learned from these experiences is that a good uke shouldn't try to humiliate his partner by preventing him from studying the technique, nor be too obedient: I've been kicked by sensei's wife for "falling without obligation"!
Aikido is about ki flow, not brute force so, at least during pratice, none should have to use strenght to complete the techniques.
And as for, what's the yudansha's technique's worth on the street, there are some things to remember: the attaquant won't know what nage is about to do and unless nage makes a mistake, well, he should be able to handle the situation.
ciao!

ikkitosennomusha
04-11-2007, 08:19 PM
I agree with the comments made by Lynn and David Yapp. Sticking to the original problem, I too have faced this on numerous occasions.

When I first began the study of aikido, I knew nothing, as all of us. I quickly learned that aikido is not a strength contest. The techniques do not require a great deal of strength and the use of it is a measure of error. However, I also knew that the principle only went so far. I knew I could, if I wanted, force my way out of some things if I wanted but from previous martial experience, I also knew that the purpose of taking ukemi is to learn how the technique works and how to fall out of it safely. So, fighting the technique of nage to a point is not product and can be considered as horse play.

How I view and handle this situation in practice is, when sensei is giving demonstration, he is trying to teach, NOT PERFORM. So, be cooperative in getting the instruction across. There is a difference is instructing and performing. When in group practice, you have to gauge the skill of the partner. If you know someone is not as skilled as you, the don't resist as if it were you being nage. Let down your guard a bit and assit in making the technique smooth. Resisting with prejudice against someone inexperienced will not help the nage learn and could lead to an accident or injurry.

However, when you are uke for a capable nage, by all means make it real. In times past, even for sensei, I would roll out of things and allow the technique to progress when obviously I could have resisted. Knowing, that I am unusually strong, I was aware that resisting to the point of showing up sensei was both unfair and disrespectful. So, I resisted enough to give him a good work out but I did not go overboard and appear that we were in a cock-fighting contest. Also, strength works if you know what is comming and know how to deal with it. The average strong person on the street will not know what hit them. So bear in mind, when performing uke responsibilities, attack with the mind of someone on the street that has no knowledge of aikido but fall out of the technique as an aikidoka. Did I sound confusing?

Alec Corper
04-12-2007, 03:31 AM
Nice post Brad, sensible and simple. Pretty much covers my attitude when training and when teaching. If people don't get this they don't understand how to practice. Even thai boxers can spar gently, (read carefully, not soft) saving themselves for the real fights. I have kick boxers and bouncers in my dojo, if they attack full out whilst I'm trying to explain, with half my mind on the students, I'd get creamed, or at best, have to resort to something un "aiki" ;-) to handle it.

Tony Wagstaffe
04-12-2007, 04:10 AM
Go to another dojo where they don't expect you to fall down just to make them feel and look good.... Gives you some idea as to their true level and ability does is not?........ In my mind you did right!!
Tony

Alec Corper
04-12-2007, 04:26 AM
Actually Tony, I don't think it gives a measure of ability,all instructors techniques are off sometimes, we are all human, but if an instructor gets mad because you didn't fall, it gives a measure of their immaturity and the size of their ego. I have never found much correlation in aikido between these two. I have trained with some shihans that would definitely punish you for not falling when they were demonstrating. I, personally, won't lend my body to someone elses ego trip of how tough and skilled they are. In the staged dynamic in which most aikido is practiced (including most of what passes as aikido randori) the give and take of changing partners tends to take the edge off the risk of incurring enmity from an instructor. I don't take falls if not necessary, but, equally, bracing yourself against kotaegaeshi with your body twisted and your head 6 inches from the mat is not all that martial either.

Tony Wagstaffe
04-12-2007, 02:59 PM
Well Alec... I beg to differ, I dont expect my uke's to take a fall if my waza are not effective.... I really don't hold much with people that insist that you have to do that.... to me it's not neccessary if you have good control over his/her balance, they will fall anyway! To me the problem with most aikido that I see today seems to lack any real attempt at balance breaking..... But then coming from a Shodokan/Tomiki background we tend to see it in another way....:) ;)
Tony

Alec Corper
04-12-2007, 03:55 PM
Nah Tony, coming from a Shodokan background you just think you think differently;-)

Tony Wagstaffe
04-13-2007, 12:46 PM
Think whatever way you wish old son..... Those that know me know me... those that don't doesn't really matter does it.:cool:
Take care Alec
Tony

gdandscompserv
04-13-2007, 05:05 PM
As I have pointed out before, I do not believe that Aikido is an empty hand martial art. It is primarily about weapons.
Interestingly, that is not what I was taught.

ikkitosennomusha
04-13-2007, 07:22 PM
Perhaps I shouldn't comment on this but, the statement made by George that "Aikido is primarily about weapons" or some such (not in those words), is true and not true.

It is true in the sense that alot of aikido techniques were derived from weapons training/techniques. Aikdo also deals with weapons on a variety of platforms.

It is not true in the sense weapons are the main study of aikido. In general it would be erronrous to categorize the study of aikido as one thing in particular and if one had to, it would not be weapons training but more alond the lines achieving harmony through aiki.

So, take what I say as a grain of salt because I am really not sure what was meant. It would be best to have more clarification on what was meant before we speculate any further.

Pierre Kewcharoen
10-26-2007, 11:18 AM
What are we in? Kindegarten or something? If the technique doesnt work, then it doesn't work which means there is something wrong. Have your sensei look at the technique being performed and from there he or she can make the assumption of who right. Sounds like to me, that black belt wants to give you the fingerpoke of doom.

MM
10-26-2007, 12:19 PM
What are we in? Kindegarten or something? If the technique doesnt work, then it doesn't work which means there is something wrong. Have your sensei look at the technique being performed and from there he or she can make the assumption of who right. Sounds like to me, that black belt wants to give you the fingerpoke of doom.

You do realize this thread started a year and a half ago? :)

Pierre Kewcharoen
10-26-2007, 12:38 PM
Yep but Im bored at work so there :D

Lonin
10-28-2007, 01:57 AM
Hi,
you are luckier than I am, I got kicked out of the dojo cos I fell in the wrong direction ( maybe 20 degrees off) after nage tried the second time.
The chief instructor went ballistic and would not even listen to my explaination.
Quite a few "my way or the highway" instructors around.

David Yap
10-28-2007, 08:05 AM
Hi,
you are luckier than I am, I got kicked out of the dojo cos I fell in the wrong direction ( maybe 20 degrees off) after nage tried the second time.
The chief instructor went ballistic and would not even listen to my explaination.
Quite a few "my way or the highway" instructors around.

Hi Loh,

Deja vu. Heard this story before. Probably from Astro on Demand channel.

Ossu

David Y

lewpearson
11-13-2007, 07:12 PM
For me resistance sometimes needs to be negotiated. When you are just learning the form, foot/hand work you don't want an uke who is looking to escape or frustrate. Other times I ask my uke to resists, look for weak points, etc. Other times, depending on your level, it is random, spontaneous and used to keep you on your toes (dojo-itus). Just depends.

xuzen
11-13-2007, 09:09 PM
Hi,
you are luckier than I am, I got kicked out of the dojo cos I fell in the wrong direction ( maybe 20 degrees off) after nage tried the second time.
The chief instructor went ballistic and would not even listen to my explaination.
Quite a few "my way or the highway" instructors around.

You just do not understand....

Your direction of the fall must be at exactly North 35.56 degrees East at exactly 12.06.45 pm in order to align with the Earth Meridian and Chi. No wonder your sensei chased you out of the dojo.. You did not conform to Feng Shui principles.

For foreign friends who did not get it... the above post was Boon's poor attempt at injecting HUMOUR. I' ll go some push up or something.

Boon.

David Yap
11-14-2007, 01:20 AM
Hi,
you are luckier than I am, I got kicked out of the dojo cos I fell in the wrong direction ( maybe 20 degrees off) after nage tried the second time.
The chief instructor went ballistic and would not even listen to my explaination.
Quite a few "my way or the highway" instructors around.

Hi Loh,

I'm 100 Plus (%) sure that you were from a Yoshinkan dojo and the nage could be a kin of the chief instructor.:D

So, which highway are you on now?:p Look out for some billboards on aikido!!

Regards

David Y

Mary Turner
11-18-2007, 07:31 PM
It sounds like the black belt wasn't ready to receive information from you- I have found that some people get really over-concerned with rank and won't take instruction from someone they consider less-experienced.

Good information can come from everyone you train with, IMO, and you need to listen even if it is painful.

Nikopol
11-18-2007, 08:50 PM
Of course it is preferable to communicate with your instructor, rather than stir up sentiments in a forum. Keep in mind that the uke must do the technique with the Nage. That is Aiki. Uke moving in the wrong direction is as bad as nage moving in the wrong direction.

And consider that by not co-operating you are opening up to an injury, possibly a break or a dislocation. Then your nage will be appear to be responsible.

There is a possibility that your nage is an unhinged control freak.
But remember, your first kyu test proceeds with ukemi. It is assumed that by that point you understand what is expected of you.

gdandscompserv
11-19-2007, 05:41 PM
Of course it is preferable to communicate with your instructor, rather than stir up sentiments in a forum.
But where's the fun in that? I want my forum entertainment, and I want it now!:D

Mato-san
12-05-2007, 09:31 AM
Hi Andy,

Hey, you can't fix something if you don't know it's broken! He should be THANKING you instead of being pissed at you!

Just let it go, his ego will heal without you having to stroke it!

Keep the honesty in your training!

AMEN
without the honesty in training you have nothing but social aikido

Lonin
12-06-2007, 04:30 AM
"Your direction of the fall must be at exactly North 35.56 degrees East at exactly 12.06.45 pm in order to align with the Earth Meridian and Chi. No wonder your sensei chased you out of the dojo.. You did not conform to Feng Shui principles." XuZen wroye

That might just be it and I would have apologised if he had said exactly that before showing me the highway.

Joseph Madden
12-13-2007, 01:58 PM
He should thank you for being honest and continue to work on his jo-kata. Black belts sometimes colour the mind.

James Sawers
05-01-2012, 01:43 AM
Simple: Kohai is always wrong. Accept it and move on.

In Good Practice...

Jim

www.nothing-works.com

:circle:

Chris Li
05-01-2012, 03:00 AM
Simple: Kohai is always wrong. Accept it and move on.

In Good Practice...

Jim

www.nothing-works.com

:circle:

Sadao Yoshioka used to say..."Uke is never wrong". I tend to agree.

Best,

Chris

akiy
05-01-2012, 10:52 AM
Quick (temporary) post to let folks know that I've split off the posts on resurrecting old threads to here:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21273

-- Jun

Phil Van Treese
05-01-2012, 02:02 PM
I wouldn't worry about that jerk being mad at you because you didn't fall. Wow!!! If a "black belt" can't throw a lower ranking belt, then there is something wrong----NOT with your honesty but with his "skill", which doesn't sound too good to me. Had that happened in my dojo, I'd have run that "black belt" all the way to the West Coast and let him stay there. You did the right thing. Blow it off and continue to train.

roadtoad
05-01-2012, 02:45 PM
I've got a great technique for you, its from kung-fu, and If your instructor is reading this, it'll give it all away.
The instructor is holding one end of the jo, and pushes the other end in your hands, which you grab, and pull on. After doing a tug of war for a while, to set him up, you let go of the jo, and, with one hand, you whip throw your end around the instructors neck, The jo is now wrapped around his neck, with him still holding on to one end of it. You step forward, grab the jo, hanging backwards around his neck, and using your other hand/arm, as well, execute an irimi -type throw on him.
Works like a charm against someone who's not ready for it.
But, be careful with it. they might kick you out of the dojo for embarrasing the instructor

Rob Watson
05-01-2012, 03:12 PM
I'd have run that "black belt" all the way to the West Coast and let him stay there.

Just so long as they pay their dues on time then keep 'em coming. Otherwise please don't send them here.

Lyle Laizure
05-02-2012, 03:43 AM
He shouldn't be mad at you.... He should be mad at himself....
I would not have fallen for a black belt ... maybe a kyu, but not a dan....

Assuredly I say that he is mad with himself, just projecting his anger elsewhere.

Lyle Laizure
05-02-2012, 03:55 AM
Wow!!! If a "black belt" can't throw a lower ranking belt, then there is something wrong----NOT with your honesty but with his "skill", which doesn't sound too good to me.

I think we should all be honest, the "belt" no matter the color doesn't do the throwing.

The original post provides very little insight into what was going on. But based on the poster's level (orange belt) could it also be that the senior chose not to "force" the technique for fear of injuring a less experienced partner?

Our head Sensei approached me and told me that 'my control' was not there and that the senior student was upset with me.

This sounds less like a student that is waiting for a solid technique and more like a student that is providing too much resistance for safety concerns.