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nodmines
05-16-2006, 03:17 PM
When I train in a different dojo, I frequently get paired up with an uke who will try to resist the technique to the extent that I am not able to execute the technique without using unnecessary force. I am not sure if they are trying to do a sincere ukemi or just being plain rude. I usually execute techniques without too much tension but when confronted with a "tanker uke", I feel like I don't have much choice but to tense up and use a little bit of force just to seize their center.

My understanding of good ukemi is being able to give sufficient resistance to the nage to accomplish the technique and not to totally prevent the nage from completely executing it. After all, aikido is not a strength contest. Moreover, if nage is expected to blend with uke, is uke not expected to "blend" as well rather than resist? Any comment or violent reaction will be appreciated.

Robert Rumpf
05-16-2006, 03:31 PM
I suggest that you get accustomed to such ukes.

You need to learn to either let your technique fail gracefully, or to do techniques so that resistance doesn't affect the outcome, or to swap techniques into something that your partner is not expecting (or that their resistance provides the opening for), or to use atemi to disrupt their resistance. Maybe there are other options too...

I agree with your instincts, in that I find that applying more force (and sometimes speed) is counterproductive when I try to improve a particular technique.

I'm pretty surprised that you haven't run into this issue before, but I'm sure it will by no means be the last time this happens.

Good luck,
Rob

nodmines
05-16-2006, 03:49 PM
Thanks for your comment Rob. I think instructors should also emphasize good ukemi when demonstrating a technique. My observation is that some senseis give more weight to showing how to be a good nage and less on good ukemi. This should minimize the problem on bad ukes.

MaryKaye
05-16-2006, 03:51 PM
You could look at this as an opportunity to patiently work on relaxation. Eventually you may be able to get through that way, but if you respond to resistance with force you aren't learning how.

Or, especially if you are working on a technique that's new to you, you could consider saying bluntly "Please don't resist so hard this time, I need to feel what this technique is like when it's working."

My teachers say that if uke knows what technique to expect, and nage is not allowed to change technique, nage may not be able to overcome uke's resistance; but this is unfair on uke's part, as the situation is stacked in his favor. You'll need to consider your own dojo culture to find the best way around this. Sometimes asking for a more committed attack is a better path than asking for less resistance. Stonewall resistance often involves an attack that was not committed in the first place.

I get regularly chewed out for being the uke in your story, and on examination, I'm often withholding energy from the attack so that I don't let nage compromise my balance. An uke who is doing this benefits, in my opinion, from hearing complaints about it.

Mary Kaye

Robert Rumpf
05-16-2006, 03:54 PM
Thanks for your comment Rob. I think instructors should also emphasize good ukemi when demonstrating a technique. My observation is that some senseis give more weight to showing how to be a good nage and less on good ukemi. This should minimize the problem on bad ukes.

I agree completely. There is also the problem most students don't even do what they're taught. I know I don't, even when I try.

Good luck,
Rob

nodmines
05-16-2006, 04:44 PM
Or, especially if you are working on a technique that's new to you, you could consider saying bluntly "Please don't resist so hard this time, I need to feel what this technique is like when it's working."

I'll try to be more vocal next time. I'm sure we all agree that aikido practice is a give and take proposition. If uke prevents the nage from getting a feel of the technique, I believe learning stops at that point, unless we're trying to learn a different martial art.

akiy
05-16-2006, 04:50 PM
Hi Arnold,

If I were in such a situation at a different dojo than where I usually train where I was having true difficulties in practicing what was presented, I may call over the instructor and ask politely how I should go about handling such an uke.

Different dojo (or, heck, the same dojo on different days) may ask for different motivations for uke, perhaps for the sake of working on a different aspect/approach of/to aikido. So, when I go to a different dojo, I try to see what sort of approach they're taking to training and do my best to understand their context and to try to learn from their approach. What one dojo may judge to be "bad" may, in fact, be the modus operandi for another dojo, due to the fact that they're working on something different from what I am used to at my "home" dojo; what I consider "good ukemi" where I currently train may very well not be what they consider "good," after all.

I do understand that having someone holding on strongly may be frustrating, though. I've certainly had to work with such!

Just my thoughts.

-- Jun

Lyle Bogin
05-16-2006, 05:01 PM
I try to talk my way out of it if I get stuck. Usually by asking for corrections. All of a sudden, my technique lives on!

Lan Powers
05-16-2006, 05:20 PM
Funny the differance between terms even.....I use the term "tanker uke" to be the guy who dives for the ground without you actually affecting their balance or getting to the point where youare actually in control of the interaction.....I:E: Tanking

I call the uke's you have described "lumps".:)
FWIW
Lan

nodmines
05-16-2006, 05:43 PM
Hi Arnold,

If I were in such a situation at a different dojo than where I usually train where I was having true difficulties in practicing what was presented, I may call over the instructor and ask politely how I should go about handling such an uke.

Different dojo (or, heck, the same dojo on different days) may ask for different motivations for uke, perhaps for the sake of working on a different aspect/approach of/to aikido. So, when I go to a different dojo, I try to see what sort of approach they're taking to training and do my best to understand their context and to try to learn from their approach. What one dojo may judge to be "bad" may, in fact, be the modus operandi for another dojo, due to the fact that they're working on something different from what I am used to at my "home" dojo; what I consider "good ukemi" where I currently train may very well not be what they consider "good," after all.

I do understand that having someone holding on strongly may be frustrating, though. I've certainly had to work with such!

Just my thoughts.

-- Jun

Jun, thanks for your advice. It's funny but it is usually the newbies or the juniors who do it. From my experience, the sempais are more flexible in their ukemi. Maybe they are more aware of the fact that aikido techniques are dangerous when coupled with force, so they are more compliant in ukemi.

nodmines
05-16-2006, 05:48 PM
Funny the differance between terms even.....I use the term "tanker uke" to be the guy who dives for the ground without you actually affecting their balance or getting to the point where youare actually in control of the interaction.....I:E: Tanking

I call the uke's you have described "lumps".:)
FWIW
Lan

I called them "tank" because they make themselves heavy when you start applying the technique. Some call it "sinking their center". Simply put, they resist!

Qatana
05-16-2006, 06:08 PM
Newbies will naturally resist technique, even ones who are "good" followers. They have to learn how to relax into the technique, their bodies will tense up just because this is all new to them. Many of them *think* they have to resist. So when you are not only working in an unfamiliar dojo, these beginners are working with an unknown partner, and possibly cannot help that they are freezing out your technique.

odudog
05-16-2006, 07:23 PM
Interesting that this would come up now. I was having this same discussion with a friend of mine via email who is a sandan. He used to visit other dojos during his kyu periods and ran into this a lot so now he doesn't visit any dojos anymore. I think that the uke is being incorrect by doing this, for in my opinion, if it was a truly sincere attack, I would have never have let uke get a hold of me in that manner for as soon as he touched me, my hand would already be moving so he would never be able to get his body or grip set and as weak as I am this is very crucial to my techniques so I concentrate on using my speed a lot. Also, would he like it if I started to apply a lot of atemi just to get him to loosen up? There is one guy in my dojo who is like this. He was working with another guy who was just as big if not bigger than him and the second guy started to apply a lot of atemi or apply the locks more aggressively than was needed. The "tank" got mad. Can you believe this? And just for my 2 cents worth, uke setting his body before the technique is not considered ukemi. Ukemi means to receive with the body and uke is receiving anything with his body if he prevents me from practicing the technique.

xuzen
05-17-2006, 01:02 AM
I used to think of such problem as well previously. Again kata practice is just a reenactment of a supposed response, it is not real battle, so a word to the "tanker uke";, lighten up, as it is not a life and death struggle.

In kata practice tori and uke already know what each other are doing. If uke is actively resisting and expect tori to go through the technique forcefully, then he is not really helping.

As an Tori, you are to learn the movement and hopefully, after doing sufficient enough of times, the technique gets into your muscle memory. As for uke, your job is allow/help tori to practice/perfect the said technique through you.

Nowadays, in my own practice if an uke decide to be a 'tanker', I let him be, I just do what I have to... if I can't do it properly, so be it. In my mind, I am clear that kata practice is just kata, should not be taken as the end all and be all.

How do I know then, whether my aikido works or not with resistant uke? I invite them for a round of randori/ jiyu waza afterwards. It is much more difficult to resist and be 'tanker uke' when you do not know what your tori will be doing next, and where your tori can change to other more appropriate techniques when he deem more appropriate.

Parctice hard, have fun.

batemanb
05-17-2006, 01:23 AM
I usually execute techniques without too much tension but when confronted with a "tanker uke", I feel like I don't have much choice but to tense up and use a little bit of force just to seize their center.

How about relaxing more, then use your body more to affect his posture, rather than trying to use more force (which I interpret as muscle).

There's already been some good suggestions here, asking the instructor where you're gouing wrong is always a good one. It may be that they have a particular uke to check out visitors, I wouldn't worry about it though, use it to your advantage as a learning tool, oh, and relax more and use your body not your muscle ;).

rgds

Bryan

philipsmith
05-17-2006, 02:49 AM
maybe the uke just doesn'y get it in the sense that he (its almost always a he) feels that Aikido is only worthwhile if it can be performed against full resistance.

I've come across this attitude several times and really the only way to deal with it is to make effective technique, ideally in an extremely relaxed manner. Usually understanding eventually follows.

crbateman
05-17-2006, 03:06 AM
You will always encounter ukes who provide different levels of resistance. Part of the "blending" nature of Aikido requires that you, as nage, align yourself with the level of energy being expended by uke, and coordinate yourself accordingly. Most ukes, as they gain experience, will better understand the give/take nature of this practice, and will modulate themselves to neither give in too easily (by throwing themselves without nage's execution of proper technique) nor resist too much (by not giving a committed and realistic attack or by mandating that nage use excessive force). Training is practice for uke (as much, if not more than nage) and it takes time to develop the necessary skills and finesse. It's important that uke takes this responsibility seriously, and with as much intent and joy and energy as does nage. Some learn fast, and others never learn. That is the nature of people.

Richard Langridge
05-17-2006, 06:14 AM
I agree with this. In my first 2 months of training I was very tense as uke. I thought it wasn't that much of a problem because I was supposed to be giving nage resistance. However, as soon as I learned to relax a bit, I suddenly realised how much there was to learn from feeling through a technique as uke. I still need to work on my problem of tensing up, but the more I relax the more I learn.

Dennis Good
05-17-2006, 06:47 AM
While everything said here is definitely true many times, I'm going to play devils advocate here for a second. It is possible that where you usually practice, the uke's are too compliant. It is hard to tell without seeing and feeling the technique. I always try to uke for my students to feel the technique because that will allow me to feel where the problems are. Most of the time it is in the initial kuzushi or a pause after the initial kuzushi. Both will allow the uke to settle their weight and regain their balance. Just something to keep in mind.

ruthmc
05-17-2006, 07:07 AM
My thinking on this one has changed a bit recently :)

Nowadays I feel that as nage it is part of my job to ensure that I encourage uke to attack me. If uke simply clamps and holds, there's no attack, so I have to change that situation to my advantage by encouraging uke to attack.

It can be done sublty or overtly, depending upon the level of understanding of the uke in question ;)

Sometimes I wonder just how deep and subtle this art can get :D

Ruth

Mark Freeman
05-17-2006, 07:44 AM
Sometimes I wonder just how deep and subtle this art can get :D

Ruth

Very very deep and very very subtle ;)

Approaches to dealing with resistance definitely changes over time and greater understanding.

If uke offers resistance it only has an effect if there is something to resist against. If the resistant uke meets no corresponding resistance from nage, what can he do?

Ruth is right, if uke just 'camps down' on a grab there is no attack to deal with. Stop, smile, :D and wait for some movement, then lead them to a mutually agreeable conclusion ;)
If you can be a split second ahead of uke, they either continue to 'reach' for the disappearing target or they stand with a handfull of air.
Lead uke's mind, their body will follow ;)

It is not easy to be completely non resistant, it takes alot of practice and focus on overcoming deeply ingrained habits.

Aikido is practiced by beginners in one way, by intermediates in another, and yet a different way by the very experienced.

Some things cannot be fully understood until you reach the next level. And even then there is always more to discover.

Only when you can be completely non resistant can you have the freedom to apply resistance 'as needed'

My aim is to be simultaneously like rock and water, not there quite yet, but a good reason to get me into the dojo.

Just a few thoughts,

regards,
Mark

nodmines
05-23-2006, 12:04 PM
This happened to me last night during kokyu dosa. My partner heavily clamped and held both of my wrist against my knees. I tried to lift my arms but was unsuccesful, so instead of forcing my way out of it, I entered and did morote tori sayu nage on him. He was surprised when I shifted to a different technique. I didn't want deviating from the usual form of kokyu dosa but I felt changing the technique to sayu nage was necessary to show my partner that by clamping me down, I was able to find an opening.

Aiki LV
05-23-2006, 04:53 PM
When I've had these experiences I try to analyze where the person is coming from based upon subtle clues. People have different ukemi just as they have differences when being nage. Many times peoples body language reveals a lot. This is just me, but I find it is usually one of four reasons.... (1) They are afraid or unsure of their falling capability and hold back for fear of not being able to safely negotiate the ground. (2) They are inexperienced and don't know the role of uke is to give an honest 100% attack. (3) Something is off with your own movement, timing, technique, etc. (4) The person acting as uke knows what you are going to do because they are experienced and blocks you on purpose to be a jerk. People with some type of ego problem or power issues seem to be the biggest offenders in this category from my experience. These are just my thoughts on the subject from my limited experience, they might or might not help. Good luck and Happy training.

rtist
05-23-2006, 08:29 PM
Perhaps I'm not fully understanding the initial question. What is the problem training with an uke that resists? It has been my experience that when I can't get a technique to work it is MY fault not uke's. I must find a way to make it work. When there is a struggle you have already lost. To me this is the real cool part about aikido - finding the way (and trying not to break a sweat doing it).

Amir Krause
05-24-2006, 01:43 AM
As strange as it might seem, Reading this post, I wish to return to a previous discussion and support the opinion I disagreed with:
Such concept as 'bad uke' simply doesn't exist see: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10191&page=4&pp=25&highlight=role


if nage is expected to blend with uke, is uke not expected to "blend" as well rather than resist
Once you start blaming Uke for not blending with you, and expect him to assist you in performing the Kata, you should think of the above quite. Aikido is a martial art, and Tori should learn to create the harmony and opening.

In general, I would have agreed with the concept proposed by Jun. When you are practicing a Kata, you should follow the intentions of the teacher for this particular Kata. One of the most memorable practices I had was with a substitute teacher (senior student of my teacher) who encouraged our aggressiveness throughout half the practice, then asked us to practice semi randori - evading and countering an attacker freely, all of us responded in this exercise in hard and aggressive manner, and were then reprimanded for not using Aikido. As an advanced student (today) I keep this lesson in memory and often ask my Uke to be harsher and interfere with my technique, when he does, I try to relax and do a better, softer technique.

One could get into a situation in which he can not do anything. Obviously, in such a situation we do not learn nor improve. There is no shame in admitting this and asking Uke to lower the wall for a while and letting you learn. But, if this is the case, you should know it was your inadequacy and not Uke.

Amir

P.S.
you could also take a look at:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10291&highlight=role

Ron Tisdale
05-24-2006, 07:27 AM
Hi Amir,

One could get into a situation in which he can not do anything. Obviously, in such a situation we do not learn nor improve. There is no shame in admitting this and asking Uke to lower the wall for a while and letting you learn. But, if this is the case, you should know it was your inadequacy and not Uke.

Then didn't you just learn your limitations? We're always learning something...about ourselves, our partner, the waza...something. By the way...I admire the way you recognized the validity of Mr. S's opinion in some situations. As a blanket rule...it tends to fail, but in general, it has it's purposes.

Hi Arnold,

There are ways to deal with someone clamping down while your hands are on your knees, within the kokyu ho dosa paradigm. I'm sure your instructor or someone in your dojo can show you...but at the same time, changing things up doesn't hurt either.

Best,
Ron

Amir Krause
05-24-2006, 08:16 AM
Hi Ron

Hi Amir,

Then didn't you just learn your limitations?


You learn of your limitation on the first failure group. Does it matter if you will continue failing after the tenth time or so ?

My Sensei once compared it to fitness practice. The best way to develop the muscles is by letting them do something. we would not start lifting weights with 100Kg weight we can't move, even if we do wish to push that weight later on.
Once one recognizes his limitations, he should start working on improving. This should be based on actual work, not on pushing immovable walls. In the meanwhile, we also gain a lesson in modesty and honesty - admitting our own failure and asking to make it easier for us.

As for recognizing the validity of Mr. S's opinion ("no such thing as bad Uke") in some situations. I thought I was doing this even while I claimed it is not always true. As I wrote then, there is such a thing as bad Uke, but Tori should leave this to Sensei to determine while Tori concentrates on his own failures. Once one starts complaining on Uke behavior making him unsuccessful, one goes on a slippery slope to encouraging impractical and ineffective approaches.

Amir

Ron Tisdale
05-24-2006, 08:18 AM
Nice post....

Best,
Ron

djalley
05-24-2006, 09:23 AM
This has been discussed a few times before. I know that in my dojo we learn the move by step-by-step instruction, then a couple times once-through the whole thing, then we're given 5-10 minutes to experiment within.

During the step-by-step, when you're just learning the move and its mechanics, there is absolutely no excuse for Uke to be resisting Shite. You are learning the move. Contrary to the statement "There is no such thing as a bad Uke", there IS indeed such a thing, it's the clown that doesn't allow Shite to learn at this most basic level.

During the once-through, when you know the steps, you're getting the idea of how the move flows from one point to another. Again, it is Uke's job to go along with it here, as Shite is still learning.

During the experimentation/practice phase, it is up to Shite to perform the move and attempt to perform it correctly. Depending on Shite's experience, Uke can offer some resistance, especially resistance that Shite would likely encounter on the street or against an uncooperative opponent..

As for the whole "There's No Such Thing as a Bad Uke", I wholeheartedly disagree. The Uke that does not give energy, resists the technique in the learning phase, or does not allow a lesser experienced Shite to experience the technique is a Bad Uke. Shite and Uke are partners exploring the technique for the purpose of learning. Uke is not an opponent of Shite, he is a co-student.

Now, during freestyle, where Uke is free to make any attack on Shite, there is no such thing as a bad Uke. But if it's a randori where you're only doing wrist grabs, and an Uke does a front strike... BAD UKE!

Lastly, please note the distinction between Uke as a training partner, and the concept of an opponent. They are very different.

Don

jonreading
05-24-2006, 10:26 AM
Aikido is a proven martial art that, when applied correctly, successfully controls your opponent (partner); Sensei usually reinforces this concept by demonstrating technique prior to training. So what does this mean?
Have confidence that the technique works; you may not be able to perform it correctly yet, but the technique is sound.
"It's not you, it's me." When in doubt, first look internally for the source of the problem before pointing fingers at others. Lots of things can affect the outcome of a technique and you are one of those things.
"What am I not communicating to my partner?" Uke should respond to nage's actions. If your partner is unaware of suki, or steadfastly ignoring atemi, or simply restricting their energy to neutralize a situation, you need to be prepaired to address those issues.

There is no such thing as a "bad uke"; there is dumb ukemi and there is false ukemi, but not bad uke waza. Part of the challenge of aikido is learning how to do aikido even when your partner doesn't know how to do aikido...

fullerfury
05-24-2006, 10:54 AM
There is no such thing as a bad Uke, however there is certainly such thing as a foolish Uke.

My experience has lead me to believe the following truths: ( at least true today and subject to change tomorrow) :

I am either seeking an opening or closing my openings. If the former, I am fulfilling the role of nage and if the latter I am uke.

If I am standing still waiting for my partner to "do something" to me, then I am open and probably endangering myself in my training (unless I really trust this someone). Ukemi is about closing your opening and finding a safe place.

When an uke blocks me out, the safest place to be is in a centered state, or well balanced state. If I can find this place, the "Tanker" uke will have to adjust to continue blocking me out, producing an opening or break connection.

Man of Aiki
05-24-2006, 09:15 PM
If a beginner who doesn't know better, go easy.

If it's an intermediate or advanced student who should know about attacking honestly, then I see no reason why you shouldn't shift around, power your way through, or even use a different technique.

I have trained with all kinds of ukes and every now and then you encounter one who gives you a dishonest attack.

If a shomenuchi to the head responed to by ikkyo is called for, and before he's even finished the strike he's dropping his knees and bracing his arms and shoulder to resist the technique, that is not an honest attack.

If a kotegaeshi in response to a wrist grab is called for, and even as you begin turning he's either let go on purpose or pulled sharply on your hand to try to unbalance you as you turn, that is not an honest attack.

You see, the uke knows what's coming. He knows what technique you are going to do (unless this is randori). If he decided to make you look bad by not attacking honestly, it's quite easy for him to do that.

Besides the ukes who's striking attacks never even come close to making contact, the only other kind of uke I hate training with are the ones who try to get cute by demonstrating that 'you can't do that technique to me'.

How hard is it to mess up the other guy's practice of ikkyo if you slide your hand off to the side and aren't really trying to come in on him in the first place? Or you start the strike and then drop your center and harden yourself before you even make contact, focusing more on not being moved than on striking.

Well it's not hard at all to thwart the other guy's technique. You know what technique is coming. You know how he expects you to attack. So if you deviate from that you can make a point by embarassing the other person.

I am not here pointing out how an INSTRUCTOR might do this to make a point while teaching someone waza. I am talking about students doing this to each other when they are supposed to be helping one another learn the techniques.

I had one guy I trained with that would absolutely refuse to strike hard in an ikkyo. Sometime he wouldn't even get halfway through the shomenuchi movement before he stopped his arm well in front of my head and dropped his center, bent his knees and tried to turn to stone.

Now when I attacked him for his ikkyo training, I never had the bad manners to do what he did to me. I really did try to strike him in the forehad like I was supposed to, fully committing to my shomenuchi. Because I was attacking him honestly, he was able to show off his 'good' Aikido by doing ikkyo on me properly. My arm was flexible at the moment he entered in because I was really trying to strike him with it.

Then everybody got to see my 'bad' Aikido as I had to FORCE him over and over again to go down. His arm was NOT flexible, he was hardening it and fighting to keep it straight, giving up on the strike well in advance of my entering in.

He constantly fought to look good while doing technique, and constantly fought to make others look bad while he was receiving technique from them.

Now my Sensei knew exactly what was going on and this guy got talked to about his attitude. In the end, he left for college somewhere else and became someone else's problem.

Now if you are faced with an uke doing this sort of thing, talk to him about it first, then bring it to your Sensei if the matter is not resolved.

Someone who is not attacking honestly during waza is wasting your time, and your time is valuable.

Man of Aiki
05-24-2006, 09:21 PM
No such thing as a bad uke? Then you've been lucky you've never encountered one of those individuals who seem to live for showing off their powerful aikido while doing technique and then do everything in their power to make everyone else look bad when they have to receive technique from them.

I've met at 3 people like that, and I've only taken Aikido for 5 years.

Amir Krause
05-25-2006, 05:20 AM
"It's not you, it's me."

This is the main point that made me think of the "there is no bad Uke" statement. Any who read the threads I linked, could have read I strongly argued against this statement and gave both reasons and examples for bad behavior of Uke.

But, when I read this thread. I found too many people who started blaming Uke for something that is likely to be their own failure. This was the main reason behind Mr S. above statement. Once Uke can be wrong, some may blame him rather then examine how could they improve their own application to work against such an Uke.

Personally, I have corrected and shown people how they should react as a good Uke for certain technique Kata practice. But, I only did this when my main role with the person is the role of Sempai. The job of correcting another is reserved for your Sensei and Sempai, not for the person who is currently practicing.


From this point of view, of my awareness to both sides of the equation. I come and try to decide on my opinion with regard to some situation, I can not see it, I can not feel it (often, trying to correct things in the dojo, I would replace one or both practitioners and feel for my self), all I can do is read your post, and responses.
When I read of a person who (as it seems to me) brags of his ability to block techniques as Uke, I will reach one opinion.
When I read of someone who has a problem as Tori, I may reach another.
In this thread, Tori complained Uke made him work to apply the technique, and gave such resistance that he had to tense and apply force he did not think was necessary. This was not a beginner, rather an advanced student (going to other dojo and used to succeed without force). Therefore, in this type of case, I would say Tori should look at himself. This is not a situation of Uke being so much more advanced, big and strong that he totally paralyzes Tori, this is mealy working well against resistance. When faced with a problem there, you should acknowledge it and try to improve your own performance: learn to move even more smoothly, examine the angles you move with, harmonize your body and hands, etc. until your technique becomes better.

Amir

maeukemi
05-25-2006, 06:04 AM
Last night we did a ki-excercise Sensei called "Taking off the coat."
Uke wraps both of nage's arms up behind their back and leans over nage's shoulders. If you force, struggle, *hold your breath* :o as I was doing at first, you can't escape no matter what. Too much resistance.

If on the other hand, you relax and breathe, (almost no resistance) you will be able to escape, no matter how hard uke holds, or what height/weight they are .


That's what "overexuberent" ukes are for. Move into their center, you have no chance. Move into yours, and you can do whatever needs doing.

It's really good training!

johanlook
05-25-2006, 11:40 PM
I've definitely met ukes that I consider "bad". The ones that disregard the sensei's instructions come to mind.

As far as "tankers" go, my favorite are the ones that do everything in their power to resist you, then rejoice in telling you exactly how it should be done, then all of a sudden doing it there way they turn into the "leaping fish" uke, jump over their own arm, get up looking at you as if to say " see? if you do it my way, I can't resist!" Just because someone can resist you doesn't mean that they can do the technique much better.

There is such a thing IMO as constructive resistance. Working at a pace that challenges but doesn't completely neutralise the training effectiveness of the nage.

This year because I get some sort of perverse ego satisfaction out it I make it a point that if anyone resists me with all their might, I do the same to them. Given, I'm on friendly terms with everyone at my dojo, so they usually realise that I'm just diggin them right back at em and we get on to training in what I would consider a more constructive way.

Man of Aiki
05-26-2006, 06:58 PM
Usually this tanking thing comes up when someone has not been able to let go of their ego.

Nage is 'Winner' - I will look strong and courageous and in control when I am Nage!

Uke is 'Loser' - I do not want to be a loser!! The only way I will 'go' with your technique is if you do it perfectly! Uh-uh, that is a sloppy ikkyo! I ain't going down and you can't make me! I'm a winner, not a loser!!

The one guy that gave me the most problems did very well when he was executing techniques on others. But when it came time for him to be thrown and taken down all of a sudden he had a big problem with the way everyone else was doing Aikido.

Face it, if you're near brown-belt level or above and you get an attitude problem you can pretty much thwart just about any Aikido technique someone tries on you. Not in randori, but the class waza time, when you are supposed to be taking turns being uke and nage.

You know how you thwart a shiho-nake in response to a shomenuchi attack? The nage is supposed to take your arm down and around, unbalancing you before he pivots under your arm.

Well you know how that technique works. So let's not attack honestly then, let's brace ourselves as we are striking, fighting to keep our hand high and our weight back (yeah, I know, that results in a tissue-paper soft strike, but remember the goal here is not to really help the other person train, it's our ego-building exercise to show everyone else 'I can't be thrown' and 'this other guy doesn't know what he's doing') so Nage can't unbalance us.

Then when he tries to pivot under our arm we simply yank it away from him.

Sound like fun?

One guy I trained with certainly thought so. He did it to me about 12 times over the span of 6 months.

Nothing kills the spirit of training faster than giving a partner an honest attack, really trying to step in and hit him in the temple with your shomenuchi strike, and watching him take your honest attack and expertly perform shiho-nage on you, dropping you to floor; and then when it's his turn he hardly puts his arm out there, keeps it way high, and keeps his weight back because he's determined not to be unbalanced and then pulls his arm strongly out of your grasp.

A few times to make my point to this gentleman I didn't even move as he attacked with his 'shomenuchi' and just stood there and watched it pass about a foot and a half in front of my face, over the height of my head. He was so focused on keeping that arm up and stiff he kept missing me by more than a foot even when I didn't move.

No such thing as a bad uke? That's the same thing as saying no one ever practiced Aikido with an immature attitude. You know it's happened.

Now it's rare, but throwing out pat phrases that goes against people's experience over the years doesn't foster discussion.

Man of Aiki
05-26-2006, 07:03 PM
Amir, I would say in the cases where the Uke is attacking correctly and honestly, the Nage is just incorrectly doing the technique, you are very correct.

I have seen the other kind of this thing, where some guy is doing the technique incorrectly but he thinks Uke must be doing something sneaky or wrong to be able to resist it.

Now that IS a lot more common in the dojo than the guy that gets an ego problem and decides he's not going to co-operate with other people doing Aikido on him.

Suru
05-27-2006, 04:34 PM
At the end of class, we would form a circle around a nage, then attack one by one. Nage would switch after each student had attacked. Sensei couldn't make it that day, so the sempai taught the class. He attacked a Tae Kwon Do black belt and, just for fun, prevented the TKD nage from performing the throw. Sempai had quite a bit of physical strength, as did nage. Realizing he couldn't throw Sempai, nage executed a lightning-quick roundhouse to the top of Sempai's head, almost hitting him but not. I didn't know a foot could get that high; it was beautiful. This reminded me of my struggles with my big brother. His grip is so strong that I couldn't even get my hand around for nikkyo. When he comes back from Vegas, after gambling away the deed to his house, I'm going to try what Saotome Shihan probably might try...just drink a beer and irimi nage his ass. Improvisation was crucial to O'Sensei's technique, so I would thank that occasional "tank" for letting you practice spontaneously.

Drew

p00kiethebear
05-29-2006, 01:48 PM
I usually execute techniques without too much tension but when confronted with a "tanker uke", I feel like I don't have much choice but to tense up and use a little bit of force just to seize their center

Punch him in the face to make him move, THEN take his center.

Man of Aiki
05-29-2006, 05:45 PM
As far as "tankers" go, my favorite are the ones that do everything in their power to resist you, then rejoice in telling you exactly how it should be done, then all of a sudden doing it there way they turn into the "leaping fish" uke, jump over their own arm, get up looking at you as if to say " see? if you do it my way, I can't resist!" Just because someone can resist you doesn't mean that they can do the technique much better.

I've seen that too, Johan.

One guy I've talked about here was a brown belt; even when training with white belt beginners he was always resisting when being uke for them. He had the belief that even as a white belt, unless you did the technique PERFECTLY to his satisfaction, he wasn't going down no matter what you did.

I mean come on, it's the white belt's first week, why would you refuse to go down to their ikkyo?

I trained with and alongside this fellow for two years. Nobody liked practicing with him, even the Dan rank students.

And as Johan points out, after you try a technique with him, and it 'doesn't work', he's more than happy to start showing you everything you did wrong.

I figured out what he was doing after about 3 weeks of training with him.

Say we're doing Tsuki Ikkyo Omote (high punch to the face variation). I started as Uke, he was Nage and for about 15 times he had no problem controlling my strike and taking me down for the pin.

Then it was my turn. The very first time, he does the dropping his center/hardening his arm thing I talked about in an earlier post. He's shaking his head even before I'm halfway through. Apparently, I didn't interept his arm at exactly the right angle he wanted me to. So as far as he's concerned, the technique is over at that point.

"Here's what you're doing wrong!" he tells me, showing how I should have my shoulders 'rigid' and squared towards him.

So we go again. Now he sees something else he doesn't like. Once again, halfway through, he stops and yanks his arm back.

"No no, that's not right! See, it doesn't work when you do it wrong like that!" Now he's talking about the angle I moved his arm into after I intercepted it. I get another lecture. By this time, the other students in the class have done the technique 5 or 6 times. I'm on my second aborted attempt.

Never mind this guy is not an instructor and that the Sensei showed us the technique with no rigid shoulder posture like this guy is telling me to use.

Just to get along to go along, I do it the way he shows me.

Wow, magically the guy suddenly is on the floor even before I get to the point where I'm ready to draw his arm down my center.

We fall into the routine for 10-12 more repetitions, and by the 4th one he doesn't even notice I'm no longer using his 'rigid shoulder' thing.

Yet I'm having no trouble taking him down at all. What a.........SURPRISE.

This went on for two years every time we paired together. He resists, he shows me what I'm doing 'wrong', I do it his way....and he practically dives to the mat.

It never seemed to occur to him that I trained with every other student there, including the Dan ranks, without ever constantly getting 'stuck' like I did with him.

I also noticed he never dared do that with the Sensei or the Dan students, just the browns and the lower ranked students. They were the only ones who constantly got stuck in their techniques training with this guy.

As I mentioned before, unless you were doing a technique perfectly to his satisfaction, he didn't just resist, he didn't even let you get half or one quarter of the way through the technique before he was drawing back and giving you a lecture.

It got to where I ended up training with this guy alot the last few months he was with us because nobody else wanted to put up with his bs attacks.

Near the end I developed that habit of not even moving when he gave me his 'strike', watching his hand sail by not even close to me.

He knew he was on a short leash by then from Sensei, so he would mumble an apology and then really try to hit me like he was supposed to be doing.

I haven't seen this guy in 4 years, so I can only hope that wherever he trains now he matured in his behavior and let go of the ego that was holding him back.

Jerry Miller
05-30-2006, 01:04 AM
There is a guy like that in our dojo. Well at least for me. :D