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David Orange
06-01-2006, 05:43 PM
I find something very disturbing in modern aikido. It's the idea that the uke (not the opponent, but the training partner) must be unresistant and, if he is not, he is to be punished. On various boards, I've read all kinds of comments about "What I do" if uke resists. "I'll just break his knee," one guy said. I've read of people slamming ukes around for resisting, hard atemi, etc. And in going around to many dojos, I've taken some nasty shots delivered in the middle of a technique when I wasn't resisting at all.

I find this dishonorable and a perversion of the idea that "in aikido there is no resistance."

To me, "There is no resistance in aikido" means that NAGE never resists anything UKE does.

The other way around, it's like practicing archery with an assistant who rushes the target around to where your arrow is going.

It's like practicing marksmanship with a machine that automatically places the target where your bullet is going to be.

An uke who always falls no matter what slovenly, unrealistic "technique" we apply is just lying to us. And if we require that he lie to us, we're lying to ourselves. And that seems to be common in modern aikido. I guess that's why there are so many discussions about whether aikido "really works" and whether it really is a "martial art." People have lied to each other so much, they do not know anymore.

My teacher, Minoru Mochizuki sensei, an uchi deshi to Morihei Ueshiba before the war, always said "Truth can only be built on truth."

That, for me, is the North Star of training and attitude. And what that means is that the uke MUST be realistic both in attack and in response to the aikido efforts of the nage or it isn't real aikido.

That means that uke must NOT throw himself physically off balance. I spent a lot of years training in judo, karate and sword and I do NOT go off balance when delivering an attack. Not easily. Of course, Murai sensei would laugh at that statement. One of Mochizuki sensei's earliest students (now judan, head of seifukai), he is about 4 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing no more than about 90 pounds. He could always throw me with the lightest touch. Lots of my American training partners said I resisted too much, but tiny Murai sensei said "You fall too easily."

Well, I couldn't help it. Whatever I did against him led me to the floor very quickly. I could never feel anything to resist in his technique. And if I did feel something and resisted it, it took me to the floor. That's the way aikido should be.

The actual definition of aiki is attacking the "ura" of uke's kiai attack (omote).

The "omote" of a kiai attack is pure strength and immovable balance. Facing that kiai, you can hardly beat it, but that is only true of the "front" of that form--the omote. Going around to the back or side of the kiai attack, you find weakness and unbalance. So aiki is employing the ura of a kiai attack. Kiai/aiki. They're opposite sides of the coin.

But this tells us that nage and uke cannot BOTH be "doing aikido" because aiki ONLY EXISTS AS THE URA OF KIAI. If the attacker does not have kiai, the defender does not have aiki.

Also, think about it: aikido is an art of self-defense. The attacker is not "defending." He is "attacking". So what he's doing is NOT aikido. NAGE does aikido and uke does kiai.

Besides a lot of aikido, I've done a lot of dancing in my time. I used to really enjoy Cajun dances, waltzes and square dances. In all these, the essence of the movement is balancing weight and momentum. What makes aikido different from dance? It's that our partner is not cooperating. If the partner cooperates too much in aikido, it becomes bad dance. In good dance, one never throws his partner to the ground.

Well, even being on the mat together is "co-operating," but anyway, uke should not cooperate more than an archery target. He shouldn't rush to make himself fall down just because nage flicks his hand. And he should NOT throw himself stupidly into his attacks because only an idiot does that and you don't even have to defend against someone that stupid.

For aikido training to be meaningful (for it to be even good misogi), uke must at least deliver a meaningfully shaped attack with speed, focus, a definite target and good balance. If you really want to know if your aikido will work as self defense, a friendly karate man is a good person to know. He won't throw himself off balance with his attack and unless you really do good aiki, you won't get him off balance by your own efforts, either. Same for an experienced judo man.

But no one seems to want a realistic uke at all. Realistic ukes seem to be both feared and hated to the point that any time some people miss a technique, they blame it on uke's "resisting" and their thoughts turn to slamming, striking or in some way punishing uke. And that is just wrong.

Thanks to the heavily resistant training I underwent, (uke resisting--not nage), I learned to not resist the resistant uke, but to change techniques or the direction of my ongoing technique. And if he resists that, I switch to something else. Uke can resist me very heavily before I get the sense that I need do anything remotely forceful or violent. I can remain in aiki far past the point where uke resists very heavily. If I strike, it's focused and never contacts more than very lightly. This was the way Mochizuki sensei taught and the randori in his dojo was just incredible. It was scary and awe-inspiring, but it was powerfully beautiful. I've never seen such randori anywhere else.

Someone among these discussions said sometimes we just have to have the grace to admit that we blew a technique and start over. I think that's the best attitude to have.

Uke is our partner and we will also serve as uke for him (or we should). When uke "resists," it may be an involuntary nervous system response. Such responses are there for our survival and it would be foolish to condition them out of ourselves or out of our partners. If our aiki techniques are causing such involuntary resistance, it's bad technique and, invariably, we find that it is nage who is resisting and not uke.

I know that in this modern age, it is very common to teach uke to throw himself off balance with his attack and never resist nage's technique. But if he CAN resist nage's technique, it's NAGE's mistake--not uke's. Rather than having an evil, punishing attitude toward uke, we need to look closely at ourselves.

Best wishes.

David

kaishaku
06-01-2006, 05:50 PM
I think that resistance definitely has its place within any training.

I'm also a big fan of lots of freestyle/jiyuwaza/randori. I'll learn 10 new things from 10 seconds of randori.

David Orange
06-01-2006, 05:55 PM
[QUOTE=Keith Krajewski]I think that resistance definitely has its place within any training.[QUOTE]

I think it's wrong to resist to the point that people get frustrated and quit. You shouldn't resist so much that they never experience success in the technique, but once they have the general idea, the only way to make it more accurate and realistic is to resist their technique when it breaks down.

Thanks for the reply.

David

kaishaku
06-01-2006, 07:05 PM
I think it's wrong to resist to the point that people get frustrated and quit.

Oh, of course. No one should want to be "100% resistance all the time guy."

MikeLogan
06-01-2006, 08:44 PM
With the addendum added in your second post, David, you offer good thoughts. Uke should remain in a visco-elastic state of mind and body, not jelly, not rock. Nage should be like wise, not resistant to what an opponent wants, but welcoming it as something to work with.

Thanks!

michael.

Rocky Izumi
06-01-2006, 08:51 PM
As I have gotten better, I have often found lazy practitioners who have given up trying to improve their practice to rely too much on atemi. I should know, I was one of those lazy people. However, take the atemi with thanks for it is good practice in toughening up the body and learning how to minimise the effect of an atemi for the martial part of your practice. It is also a very good opportunity to practice your kaeshiwaza and henkawaza. For instance, go from morotetori on the first arm to a morotetori on the second striking arm as they do the atemi. Just don't do that too often or your instructor will become upset at your disrupting the class.

Oh, by the way, if you take ukemi for many Shihan and proceed to throw yourself, you will be reprimanded at the least, or injured at the worst. This is especially true if they are doing henkawaza and you don't keep your balance when they are changing to the second technique.

I often do an atemi on people who don't resist strongly enough and fall too easily. If they are so easy to throw, why do a technique at all? Just hit them and get it over with. No need for Aikido.

Rock

David Orange
06-01-2006, 10:19 PM
I often do an atemi on people who don't resist strongly enough and fall too easily. If they are so easy to throw, why do a technique at all? Just hit them and get it over with. No need for Aikido.

If that's what they're doing, I just brush them off.

As for atemi to facilitate technique, I never hit anyone with any force of contact, but with a lot of force of intent. Having a long karate history, I can stop with that hair's breadth of contact, but it's enough to make uke move.

And along that line, I have experienced a good bit of the toughening effect of being struck, but in general in aikido, I think it's bad to actually hit the partner. Especially if he is training sincerely and not fighting the technique.

For instance, I once attended a big mainstream aikido seminar where the nonresisting peaceful soft style was emphasized. One guy from just such a group was practicing with me and when I allowed him to do what we call tembin nage (uke's arm twisted outward, nage's inside arm passing under uke's elbow), he snapped hard up under my elbow. For no reason. One thing kept me from being injured: ukemi developed in resistant training.

This is part of what I mean, also, by "punishing" uke. Either taking out failure on him or taking advantage of his non-resistance to gratuitously hurt him.

Another example: I used to know a fellow who would do techniques twice. Sankyo, for instance. He would apply the technique and let off when uke tapped out. Then when uke was relaxing, he would do the technique again, gratuitously, when they had let down their guard after tapping. I saw some people get really angry at him about this. He was always smug. Several people could have returned the favor, but everyone was always too polite. Sometimes, people like that, you just have to stop associating with them at all.

Aikido really is a pretty good model of karma. We will get out of life as we do unto others.

Thanks for the reply.

David

DonMagee
06-01-2006, 11:18 PM
Great Posts David. I agree with you.

Erick Mead
06-02-2006, 12:38 AM
To me, "There is no resistance in aikido" means that NAGE never resists anything UKE does. I was taught that "Uke is never wrong."
But no one seems to want a realistic uke at all. Realistic ukes seem to be both feared and hated to the point that any time some people miss a technique, they blame it on uke's "resisting" and their thoughts turn to slamming, striking or in some way punishing uke. And that is just wrong. Uke does need to modulate the attack to the scale of nage's ability, i.e. -- when working slowly, continue energy in the natural curve, just slower. Taking "advantage" of the expanded timescale for learnig kihon techniques in practice is simply poor traing, for both uke and nage.
I know that in this modern age, it is very common to teach uke to throw himself off balance with his attack and never resist nage's technique. But if he CAN resist nage's technique, it's NAGE's mistake--not uke's. Rather than having an evil, punishing attitude toward uke, we need to look closely at ourselves. I pray the former is not true, as it is not true fo our dojo. The latter is very true.
As for atemi to facilitate technique, I never hit anyone with any force of contact, but with a lot of force of intent. ... but in general in aikido, I think it's bad to actually hit the partner. Especially if he is training sincerely and not fighting the technique. I don't now that i agree about Atemi as a toguhening exercise, but I feel that knowing where they are and always looking for them puts attention where it should be -- at my partner's center.

I find that a good <Tap> into openings that nage or uke leaves in attack/technique helps him/her to close up those suki. Just telling him about an opeining misses the point. That only communicates to his conscious mind. Tapping the ribs talks to the "monkey-brain" in the back of the skulll, and the lesson is far less likely to need repeating, not becasue of its severity ( it shouldn't hurt him, just get his attention) but because it is direct communication ot apart of the brain not mediated by intellect.

Atemi restablishes a connection that is about to be lost, which is the looseness (m i.e. - disconnection) you are describing in the whole practice movement that permits room for "resistance." Resistance developing means that your connection to the partner is becoming non-existent.

Atemi, even just implied, tightens things up. A good example, if you have the limp fish-grip uke for katatedori techniques, simply look him in the eye, tell him what you can reach and grab below belt level, and extend your hand. The grip becomes suddenly -- very real.

Osae waza -- pins and controls nikkyo, sankyo etc. are also about maintaining connection (and insurance on that connection, in place of a means to reestablish it). Osae waza signal to uke's center to move with you; they are not for causing mere pain-compliance. Pain compliance simply doesn't work on drunks druggees or even just a completely sober guy worked up into a really good adrenaline rage.

I think that resistance definitely has its place within any training. I don't. If I do not respond to the signals to move that nage is giving me I am not learning good ukewaza. I am not protecting myself. On the other hand, if nage gves me an opening, I will take the offered ukemi to avoid injury -- and hit him or throw him as I do it. A proper kaeshi waza is not resisting the partner's tehcnique or attack but applying aiki and becoming part of it to make it your own.

Cordially,
Erick Mead

xuzen
06-02-2006, 03:50 AM
Ah! Back to the topic of resistant uke.

There is a very blurr line between a constructive resistant uke and a non-constructive uke. You resist too hard and you are labelled an a@@hole. You do not resist hard enough, you are labelled a limp fish. Sometimes your resistant level is the same, but partnering with different uke, you will be labelled as such anyway. It seems no matter what we do, uke seems to be always wrong. It does seem that uke must be a psychic and able to read the mind of the tori to match the level of intensity.

In many aikido school, kata or waza practice is the most common method form of learning a technique. Please remember that a waza/kata is just a tool for learning, you are not there to shiai or win medals. Just do the technique and take the opportunity to learn. Waza is not the place to compete or to be seen as place to test your technique ala "t3h str33t" effectiveness.

Randori or jiyu-waza is the place for testing your "str33t effectiveness". This is also the place where uke is allowed to come to attack in any form he wishes or those determined by the sensei, this is the place where tori is allowed to transition, atemi, etc to work on their fighting skills.

My advise to potential uke is there will be time to test "str33t effectiveness" but waza / kata practice is not the place nor time to do that.

My advise to tori is if you are looking to hone your fighting skill, do randori or jiyu waza and do lots of it.

xuzen
06-02-2006, 03:56 AM
I do notice that in tachi-dori and jo-dori exercise, the problems of resistant uke is not so great... anyone else notice this phenomenon?

I can't point my finger at it, but it seems to me, when a weapon comes into play, both tori and uke suddenly becomes more cooperative for fear of injury and tend not to be so gung-ho. Is my observation accurate?

Thoughts and opinion anyone?

Boon.

happysod
06-02-2006, 05:31 AM
becomes more cooperative for fear of injury and tend not to be so gung-ho to an extent I agree, but I think it more emphasizes the degree of trust between two training partners - certainly with people I trust there's less difference between with weapons and without. However, I'd happily admit that live blades certainly remove my normal attempts to win at any cost or be a sneaky bugger when attacking.

With regards to Dave's original comments - nice to read I'm not the only one who gets fed up of atemi and force being used because the skill just isn't there. I do get bored of the "just hit them in the nuts" brigade, haven't they ever heard of movement or disengaging?

Mark Freeman
06-02-2006, 06:24 AM
As for atemi to facilitate technique, I never hit anyone with any force of contact, but with a lot of force of intent. Having a long karate history, I can stop with that hair's breadth of contact, but it's enough to make uke move.

I agree with a well executed atemi it is enough to move uke's mind, the body will inevitably react, therefore allowing progress towards the desired conclusion. Which in the case of aikido is to throw or immobilise.

This whole question of what is 'good' or 'bad' ukemi in regards to resistance, seems like a discussion that will engage aikidoka for a long time to come.

Good aikido surely looks for the path of least resistance, so if resistance is present, nage does not go against the resistance but with it. This it seems is not the easiest of skills to develop, as naturally people want to fight fire with fire rather than water.

I know that in this modern age, it is very common to teach uke to throw himself off balance with his attack and never resist nage's technique. But if he CAN resist nage's technique, it's NAGE's mistake--not uke's. Rather than having an evil, punishing attitude toward uke, we need to look closely at ourselves.

I am unaware of this common trend that David speaks about. Although I train in a 'soft' co-operative environment, throwing oneself is positively frowned upon. The other day on the mat with my teacher he was watching some practice ( high grade ), he started looking around the dojo and asked the uke if he knew what he was looking for, the uke seemed confused, sensei said - "I am looking for the film crew, as you look like you are auditioning for a film" :D

I do agree that if uke follows nage's technique with non resistance, if the technique is 'wrong' uke's non resistant following will show up the point that it all 'locks up'. I will often use this as a basis of finding out when I can't obviously 'see' what is going wrong with a students practice.

There is no need for an evil punishing attitude towards uke or for that matter nage if something is not right. Both roles are a practice in the priciples of aikido. Both roles take time, practice, and focussed intent to improve. Having said that different teachers obviously have their own background and agendas to work from, and how they make ukemi themselves is their desired approach.

For me the 'art' of ukemi is an honest search for the truth in the technique, you can't find the truth with a closed mind, you have to be free and open to explore the extremities of what is and isn't in the movement.

I sometimes get my students to be fully resistant for demonstration purposes to show that it is possible ( and often even easier ) to overcome such resistance. It is also quite 'tricky' for the uke as their own relaxed co ordination is diminished when they create the tension of 'resistance', thereby making it harder for them to escape without 'pain'. Then we go back to non- resistant training ;)

Just a few thoughts,

regards,

Mark

Rocky Izumi
06-02-2006, 07:32 AM
[QUOTE=David Orange]If that's what they're doing, I just brush them off.

. . . .

And along that line, I have experienced a good bit of the toughening effect of being struck, but in general in aikido, I think it's bad to actually hit the partner. Especially if he is training sincerely and not fighting the technique.

/QUOTE]

Hey, so I am evil. evileyes (That is the best I could do for an evil grin.)
You good guys need someone like me to be evil so that you can be good. All that two sides thing / ying-yang / etc. :D

Honestly, I guess I would just do as the locals since I am a visitor in the local. It isn't my dojo so I would not place my values on their practice but just practice as they do. If they like hard resistance and lots of atemi, fine. If they like hard resistance and no atemi or force but good technique, even better. If they like no resistance and flowing technique, fine. Their dojo, their rules, and their way of doing techniques. If I visit, I am there to learn their way of doing things without valuation, not to impose my values on my training with them since that would not allow me to learn what that teacher is trying to teach. Of course, I tend to push the envelope, even in their own ways. :rolleyes:

It would be the same at a seminar. If someone goes past the bounds of the seminar, it is your duty to inform them of their faux pas so that junior students don't get injured. As a Shidoin, it was even my formal job to do so. I have been sent to "inform" practitioners, even those of a higher rank, of their faux pas. The rule of the "informing" I have been told, is "no talking". You teach them by doing to them what they are doing to others, only harder. If they still don't understand, do it even harder until they get the message or leave the mat, voluntarily or involuntarily, or until the Shihan-dai calls this dog off.

In my dojo, my rules. Hard resistance but not so much as to be injured. Enough to stop even me if I don't do it right. Students never know wether I am going to demonstrate an ineffective way or effective way so they have to give me the same amount of resistance all the time. I don't like throwing atemi too much since it slows down my movement a bit and distracts from my flow at times. Also, I have found it a crutch for my bad execution. Less I rely on atemi, more I have been able to improve my techniques and more I have discovered the correct applications of the principles. The discoveries that lead from not being able to do a technique have been so exciting that it keeps my enthusiasm for Aikido going a long time. I keep remembering the line about the only way to learn is by making mistakes, if you never make mistakes, you never learn. So, I force my students to force me to make mistakes.

Rock

DaveS
06-02-2006, 08:12 AM
In my limited experience, I've found that heavy resistance against a senoir student or (particularly) sensei when they're trying to do a particular technique results in them changing technique and direction to move with your resistance, and you just end up getting thrown a lot harder and in a direction that you weren't expecting, which isn't too pleasant. Resisting hard against a junior student just stops them doing the technique and learning something - it seems to be quite easy to resist a technique if you know exactly what's coming and know that nage (eg me) doesn't know how to flow into a different technique and isn't perfect on the initial technique.

But there seems to be a fine line between making it hard to learn by resisting too much and making it hard to learn by throwing yourself across the room every time nage looks at you.

Dirk Hanss
06-02-2006, 12:32 PM
We often change between "dancing" and "resistant" uke. Dancing is needed to keep nage soft or make him softer and more perceptive. The purpose of the "resistant training" is less to check if it works, but to check, if nage is still soft and perceptive - and thus the technique works. It works also the hard way, but that is not the intension of our training. Well there are also some exercises to ensure that we can change to the hard way, in case we need.

But first I like to rename some expressions. Uke should never be punished, but taught.
Example 1: "You'd better try not to keep your arm straight. It might spell this technique, but I can break your elbow easily" without any word - just show, what you could do.
Example 2 (better solution): "If you do this, I might not be able to do the shihonage, which I was told to, but I can easily change to kotegaeshi" again without any spoken word.
Example 3 (even better): "You try to stop my move? Oh it is easy to follow your intention a little bit, redirect it, change my position or angle to you just a little bit and do exactly, what I wanted to do".
Well it is a lie, it is absolutely not easy, but if a good aikidoka does it to you it looks so easy and natural, that you cannot believe, it was difficult - until you try.

And Uke should not really be resistant or non-resistant, he should be protective. That means his intent should not be to spoil your technique - which is easy to most nage, when you know, what he is told to do, and hist intent should not be to just do a stupid technique and unbalance himself on purpose. He should do a required technique in a way, that he is protected as good as possible against any counter-attack, which could include the technique to be trained, but should not based specifically on knowing, which technique should come.

The level of course depends on the skills of nage and uke and the purpose of the lesson.

Protective means also to escape greater harm. So if uke does not see a chance to continue the attack, he is allowed to roll out. He does not need to wait for pain, when it necessarily would come.

I have seen exaggeration on the last point.
"I know nikyo hurts, so I go down, before you take my wrist"
"I know you could kill me so I roll out before the attack started", which is a good idea in real life, but how can we do practice, then?
"If the technique would be done properly, I had to roll, so I roll, even though your technique would never work at all"

The the first two excuses are far away so that nobody would accept this, but I have seen them. The last one is close to border, depending how you read it. On my level, we still do it in a way "I feel, that the technique is at its end, so I roll for you. I guess, I had other choices, but at least I felt the direction and according to your level, there is nothing I need to correct now. Either it is sensei's task or I 'll do that later, probably in a few weeks."

My uke even do that for me, especially in kokyunage, but you could use this phrase probably for all my techniques ;)

This is my humble opinion - not really humble, as I think of myself as a great aikidoka - at least in theory. But I am always humble enough to accept corrections on the mat and in the web. Even if they sometimes hurt and feel like punishment.


All the best

Dirk

pezalinski
06-02-2006, 05:29 PM
I've recently had an eye-opening in regards to resistance (as uke) during techniques, and I'd like to share: Uke aren't punished by good technique, they punish themselves. And, IMHO:

evileyes "Resistance is Futile (for Beginners)."

Beginners need not apply... resistance. Unless they have a good henkawaza ready. And henkawaza is properly understood to be advanced technique... so, again, beginners need not apply...henkawaza ;)

As a training partner, especially working with beginners, my objective should be to help the other person to learn the technique be practiced. Sometimes by modeling modeling the proper ukemi, so that they can model the proper technique -- and this method may require that I resist ineffective technique by guiding it where it should go. Again, IMHO.

In honest practice, with advanced students, I should NOT be anticipating, but attacking and then reacting... Hankewaza and/or ukemi happens as a result. And if the resistance occurred, it should be of the passive type -- either I was not being lead effectively, or I was being lead too fast for my comfort.

Resistance is a two-edged sword, that cuts both ways. Resistance can allow you to save yourself from a horrible technique (two meanings, yup), and resistance can cause uke to further the scope of their resulting injury due to the escalation caused in part by nage's reaction to resistance. Both situations should be discouraged, especially for beginners.

Of the two types of resistance (active and passive), I am of the following opinions in regards to basic aikido practice:

1) If a technique is properly executed, active resistance causes more pain and possible injury for uke: Examples: nikyo, sankyo, hiji-gimi, or most any properly executed lock. Why condition your ukemi reactions to encourage self-destruction?

2) Passive resistance is what happens when uke doesn't move fast enough to take proper ukemi, or when nage is not properly executing the technique. As uke, this means you're not moving because you are not being lead, or you are slowing down the execution of technique to CYA and reach the mat with minimal damage. Either reason is fine, as long as you recognize that it is educational -- for you and/or nage. Try to harmonize so that there is no passive resistance in the blend of the technique... discourage the opportunity for the resistance to occur.

3) In regards to dynamic aikido technique, active resistance on the part of uke is counter-productive (yes, I see the pun): Aikido practice usually occurs at less-than-realistic-attack-speed... when things are moving slowly, it is possible for uke to (a) anticipate, (b) recognize what the technique is trying to accomplish and (c) have time to apply some form of counter-intent. As the speed picks up, the opportunity for uke to resist shortens drastically, even with anticipation and recognition acting in concert -- to actively resist a technique requires that you know what the technique is trying to accomplish. And it becomes even more dangerous for uke at full-out, balls-to-the-wall attack speeds, and is even less likely to occur without resulting in injury.

Ride the edge, yes, but not to the point of self-destruction. Henkawaza is not resistance, per se, in my book -- it is finding a weakness in a technique and exploiting it -- riding the edge of the sword until you can grasp the handle and use the sword. Beginners are still trying to see the point, let alone the edge, and they haven't yet realized they can grasp the handle; they shouldn't be encouraged to do so except under very controlled conditions.

Rocky Izumi
06-02-2006, 05:45 PM
1) If a technique is properly executed, active resistance causes more pain and possible injury for uke: Examples: nikyo, sankyo, hiji-gimi, or most any properly executed lock. Why condition your ukemi reactions to encourage self-destruction?


In order to learn to do the correct kaeshiwaza, Peter. To learn proper kaeshiwaza, you need to let Nage take you to your absolute limits before you begin the kaeshiwaza. To do that, you have to attain greater flexibility and greater resistance strength. Remember Tohei Akira Sensei telling us to not begin resisting the Kokyu-dosa until Nage just about had us tipped over, then to resist as hard as we could? Waiting till that point increased our flexibility and strength at the limits of our abilities. Resisting earlier was just a waste of energy for Uke because you weren't really developing yourself. Likewise, you should be resisting the Nikkyo just at the point where Nage has you in a good Nikkyo and is starting to drive you to the ground, then start the resistance against the pain, so that you can do the Sutemi-waza or the Kokyu-nage Kaeshiwaza.

Rock

Dirk Hanss
06-03-2006, 04:22 AM
@Peter Zalinski:
thanks Peter,
to me it sems that you said mostly the same, I wanted to point out. Probably you found better and more precise explanation - and of course higher competence.

Cheers

Dirk

L. Camejo
06-03-2006, 06:18 AM
In a lot of the above posts I get the impression of resistance by using force (muscular etc.) that the Nage/Tori can detect easily.

What about resistance through relaxation and adaptation to everything the Nage does? In this way while resisting, your resistance does not give anything away to be used by Nage, making for a very interesting experience imo.

Hi Rock, I hope all is well in Barbados.

LC:ai::ki:

Rocky Izumi
06-03-2006, 06:33 AM
Hi Larry,

That's what I call a situation that does not require the use of Aikido. :)

Or one in which you compete about who has the best joining and leading. :-0 Kind of like kaeshiwaza, eh? (my Canadianism showing here.)

Going well. Hope to be by there soon to play with you and Kendo Eddy.

Rock

L. Camejo
06-03-2006, 07:59 PM
HI Rock,

Yeah kaeshiwaza is a good example of what I was talking about. When we do empty handed freeplay where 2 individuals (there is not really an Uke and Tori in this case) are equally attempting techniques, it aids in not utilising too much muscular force to resist a technique but instead move with it, constantly adapting and using the changes in motion to assist your own technique.

I spoke to Kendo Eddy a few days ago and he mentioned speaking with you. He's eager to get in some Kendo when you're here next. Of course my dojo door is always open to you. Maybe we can get Eddy to do some Aiki and I can try out some Kendo.:)

I'm happy things are going well with you and your training.

LC:ai::ki:

Niko_Brekalo
06-03-2006, 09:30 PM
a good uke is the best for beginners. an experienced uke will know when the technique feels right, if the nage doesnt understand the technique, the uke will keep the nage with him during the technique. eventually the nage will figure things out by learning to keep with the flow, maybe not fully at first, but uke will let nage know what feels right and what does not.

Rocky Izumi
06-07-2006, 12:24 PM
Yeah kaeshiwaza is a good example of what I was talking about. When we do empty handed freeplay where 2 individuals (there is not really an Uke and Tori in this case) are equally attempting techniques, it aids in not utilising too much muscular force to resist a technique but instead move with it, constantly adapting and using the changes in motion to assist your own technique.

And when it works, boy, you punish uke!
Well, you have the fundamentals of Kendo there too. And, I suppose, of all combat. Instant adaptation of planned execution.

Rock

David Orange
06-07-2006, 04:43 PM
In order to learn to do the correct kaeshiwaza, Peter. To learn proper kaeshiwaza, you need to let Nage take you to your absolute limits before you begin the kaeshiwaza. To do that, you have to attain greater flexibility and greater resistance strength. Remember Tohei Akira Sensei telling us to not begin resisting the Kokyu-dosa until Nage just about had us tipped over, then to resist as hard as we could? Waiting till that point increased our flexibility and strength at the limits of our abilities. Resisting earlier was just a waste of energy for Uke because you weren't really developing yourself. Likewise, you should be resisting the Nikkyo just at the point where Nage has you in a good Nikkyo and is starting to drive you to the ground, then start the resistance against the pain, so that you can do the Sutemi-waza or the Kokyu-nage Kaeshiwaza.


Rocky,

I'm drawing a blank on the sutemi escape from nikkyo. That is what you mean, isn't it? I can't picture how it would work. Does Tohei Akira sensei teach sutemi waza?

Thanks,

David

Ron Tisdale
06-09-2006, 09:40 AM
One kaeshi-waza for nikkyo was taught to me from someone once associated with the ki society. As shite applies the nikkyo, you can pivot and cut shite's leg with the free hand and throw them. You also have the option of doing the judo tomoe (?) nage, foot in the stomach throw there. If shite leans forward even a little, it can be easy to off balance them with good movement. The ones that are hard to reverse apply the nikkyo without sacrificing posture or balance...the pressure comes entirely from the hips, with no or little shoulder involved.

Best,
Ron

aikigirl10
06-09-2006, 09:47 AM
[QUOTE=Keith Krajewski]I think that resistance definitely has its place within any training.[QUOTE]

I think it's wrong to resist to the point that people get frustrated and quit. You shouldn't resist so much that they never experience success in the technique, but once they have the general idea, the only way to make it more accurate and realistic is to resist their technique when it breaks down.

Thanks for the reply.

David

Well, idk what aikido dojo you go to, and i'm not saying there is/was anything wrong with it, but personally in our dojo we do practice resistance.

Like you said, we don't do it to the point where people get frustrated but we do practice it.

And then there are other times where we don't practice it. I think not practicing it allows nage to get a feel for the technique and then later on resistance can be applied after nage has the hang of things.

But anyway, i just thought i'd let you know of a counter-example

Robert Rumpf
06-09-2006, 12:15 PM
To me, "There is no resistance in aikido" means that NAGE never resists anything UKE does.

You're advocating the path of least resistance to uke's actions.

I'm sure that many people would agree with this, but it comes at the cost of learning to stimulate uke behavior. This means that uke (in your model) dictates the terms of the encounter. There are many situations where you don't want this to happen, and this is reflected in the types of training that I've seen where nage attacks.

Still, I'm sure that many in Aikido would agree with you that nage is mainly supposed to be receptive, and lets assume that this is a good attitude for training. I like this attitude a lot when trying to learn jiyu-waza and randori, where nage is able to just respond to uke in the way that uke's attack dictates.

It's great mentality and what "real" aikido might look like.. but randori and jiyu-waza are not typically all, or indeed most, of the training that I have experienced in any dojo - and with good reason.

Its very hard to train that type of training well without it devolving into wrestling or at least people ignoring technique until all practitioners are at least somewhat skilled..

For the most part in class, I find myself practicing kata, and I am attempting to work on the fine details of the movements and timing of a given principle by practicing the kata as demonstrated by my instructor. If I end up outside the kata, I tend to try not to go far.

That's if I have an experienced partner.

If my partner is inexperienced, I'm just trying to get them to put their feet into roughly the correct positions and to follow along without hurting me or them, all without micromanaging or contradicting the instructor.

To put it simply, I'm trying to help the novice to learn the kata so that they can later get rid of the kata or at least study it more thoroughly..

Its often unclear what my partners are trying to do...

Ideally, in order to be consistent with what you're advocating (and what could be "real") and to allow for precision practice and learning in a kata environment, uke should attack precisely and repeatably in a way that provokes the response that the instructor is trying to emphasize in the kata practice, while pretending that they don't know what you're going to do in response to their attack..

Well, I've never had an uke who was able to do that.

Most of the time, I get attacked shomenuchi in a way that lends itself to sankyo or koshinage, and I am told to do ikkyo by the kata and the instructor. Or I get attacked shomenuchi and I'm told to do ikkyo, but the attack is specifically designed to prevent ikkyo because uke knows it is coming. This happens even more often with pain-compliance techniques and that type of teaching - one of the chief reasons to avoid pain-compliance.

Sometimes, the instructor comes along to help when I can't get the kata to function and, surprise surprise, uke's attack and attitude changes as (a) his partner is different (b) he is more aware as it is the instructor (c) he believes the instructor will make the technique work. The instructor looks at me and is puzzled as to why I can't get the kata to work, but the attack, to me looks completely different.. :uch:

I suspect most ukes are not able to be precise and repeatable. This could be, in part, because they are not trained to be so consistent - I know that I am not so trained. I've considered taking karate so that at least I could punch consistently.. but I haven't. It could also be that such a precise attack would be seen as being "staged" and therefore uke believes it is useless.

One of the pleasures of being a shodan is that your instructors tell you to polish your technique and work on the fine details and your ukes decide that in order to "help" you as a shodan, they need to be more resistant and more anticipatory of their response... I don't need resistance in kata to sort out details; I need consistency..

That, and a hell of a lot of jiyu-waza and randori (at the appropriate time). That said, they'd better be able to take the ukemi if they want to leave things open-ended.

I think there is a danger in too much jiyu-waza as well - people tend to play to their strengths. Kata presumably makes you exercise every muscle.

In any case, getting an attack that naturally leads to one thing, where that thing is not what is in the kata at all, is the cause of much of the frustration that you see on these forums directed towards uke..

Like most things in life, negative reinforcement is often the most easy and most counterproductive any difficulty. Its hard to learn to do otherwise, but its often wasted too because communication is a too way street.

the only way to make it more accurate and realistic is to resist their technique when it breaks down.

I very strongly disagree that this is the only way.

A technique, an argument, a piece of software, a relationship, or whatever system you choose that is constructed by you (with or without other participants), that is flawed (and they all are) has flaws that are self-evident to an accurate and perceptive observer who is trying to exploit such flaws.

Becoming such an observer (learning how to attack your own technique) is, I believe, one of the potential ways in which martial practice can be brought effectively outside the dojo.

By uke pointing those flaws out gratuitously, uke is robbing me of my ability to grow perception of my technique failures on my own. Failure of my technique is written in uke's body at any given moment if I know how to read it.

In addition, awareness of a flaw doesn't necessarily mean that you know how to fix it. Beyond that, knowing how to fix a flaw doesn't mean that you actually can fix it, repeatedly, over a variety of ukes and intensities. Those are all different steps that need to be made, and they require patience from uke with respect to nage's limited progress and capabilities.

I'm constantly aware of how broken my technique in kata is. If I thought that my kata was effective at all, I'd be wasting my time practicing it because I'd have nothing to learn from the kata.

Another pitfall: as soon as uke starts to get into the position of judging technique and pointing out flaws, then when a flaw doesn't come up, the nage naturally assumes the technique was well done. This is where Aikidoka become arrogant about their technical abilities.

Rob

Rocky Izumi
06-09-2006, 12:29 PM
I tend to find that the best way to make sure I am doing the correct Kata is for Uke to attack strongly enough to hurt me with their strikes or put on full resistance when attacking with a grab. Without a strong, committed and resistant attack, I can do things that are not good Kata and get away with it. When the attack is serious, I have to do good Kata or the technique doesn't work.

For me, the Kata is the demonstration of the principles and the principles are there to ensure that the Kata works. If a novice is trying a technique and you allow the novice to complete the technique even though they are not doing the correct Kata, you may keep them from being frustrated but you are also helping them learn bad Kata. If the novice is getting frustrated, it is not up to the Uke to lighten up but for the Sensei to deal with the problematic Kata. As long as Uke is not trying to stop Nage by switching the attack or their balance all the time, the novice Nage should be able to learn the correct Kata.

On the other hand, that may be why we have so few students in our Dojo and lose so many after a couple weeks/months. :)

Rock

Amir Krause
06-11-2006, 07:38 AM
I'll put is simply:

Uke role is very complex, being a good Uke is not trivial

Uke main role is too give the proper feedback for Nage. However, while doing this, Uke is also learning himself. Even if we constrict ourselves to the main role - the feedback, one should notice it should has several characteristics that sometimes conflict:
* Realistic
* Educational
* Safe

When practicing Kata \ Waza (pre-defined attack and techniques) giving a realistic feedback is not simple by itself. Uke knows the response, and many tend to slowly adjust the attack to make Nage job more difficult. I have seen more then one person who has done this unaware.

Making the feedback educational is also not simple. People learn optimally when their fail rate is around 1 in 4. If a person only fails, he will not learn anything, if he only succeeds, he will learn nothing either. Further, one can only absorb that many corrections in a given time period.

Uke should also keep himself safe, and prevent injury. Thus, one could not wait until a technique is executed in full force and speed to examine it. One has to respond in a scaled down version reduced speed and force.

Combining these together and adjusting the feedback for each person one is practicing with is an art by itself, at least as complex as being Nage.


Since being a good Uke is such a difficult task, there is no point in punishing those who fail it, after all, if you look closely enough, you will find none of us is a perfect Uke. This does not preclude educating a person through physical means, which could prove instrumental for some people.

On another issue:

Randori or jiyu-waza is the place for testing your "str33t effectiveness". This is also the place where uke is allowed to come to attack in any form he wishes or those determined by the sensei, this is the place where tori is allowed to transition, atemi, etc to work on their fighting skills.
.
This raises a thing my teacher keeps pumping into our heads in every other practice: Randori is not a simulated fight, Randori is another means of learning. In a street fight, it is the end results that is important either you live in health or :(. On the other hand in Randori, the way you get to the situation of the technique is the important thing, forcing your partner down is counter-productive.
True, Randori is much more open for spontaneity, but this does not make it a fight.


Amir

David Orange
06-12-2006, 11:18 PM
David Orange wrote:
To me, "There is no resistance in aikido" means that NAGE never resists anything UKE does.


You're advocating the path of least resistance to uke's actions...This means that uke (in your model) dictates the terms of the encounter.

No. It means he dictates how he steps into the manhole. The aikidoka is supposed to control the terms of the encounter. And that's from a sword perspective.

Still, I'm sure that many in Aikido would agree with you that nage is mainly supposed to be receptive, and lets assume that this is a good attitude for training.

You may misunderstand my point on this. I'm referring to the situation I've found where everyone assumes that "there is no resistance in aikido," it means on UKE's part. Uke is never supposed to resist. I say that's backward. Uke can do what he wants. Nage turns it back on him. We let him choose his approach, but we should already have turned the terrain to our advantage. We should already have disadvantaged him by where we stand, etc. But when he attacks, we should tailor our response to his movement so finely that he can feel nothing to resist in our movement. If he does feel something to resist, and feels the natural impulse to resist it, he may. Nage will realize that he has lost the lead.

And the title of this thread points to that moment: when uke responds, perhaps involuntarily, to a weak point or failure of lead in Nage's technique.

There was talk in another thread of smashing uke in the face with a powerful backfist, or breaking his knee with a shattering kick. Why? For not falling down, no matter what nage does.

So I'm not saying that Nage must always be a teddy bear, but we shouldn't punish people physically for failing to be hypnotized by our astonishing technique. Uke is our training partner. And that brings up another side of this: what goes around comes around. It's bad to punish uke because soon we will be his uke. Do we want him to break our nose or our knee?

And it should be clear that both Nage and Uke are not "doing" aikido simultaneously. Of course, they're training in aikido together, but only Nage is using aiki. Uke must use kiai or Nage cannot even develop aiki. Aiki is the ura of kiai. So without kiai, there is nothing for aiki to be the ura of.

For aiki to develop, uke must begin with kiai and as nage's aiki becomes clearer and stronger, so must uke's kiai. As nage's aiki technique becomes cleaner, sharper and better timed, uke's kiai technique must become sharp, clear and powerful. And nage's aiki will become finer and stronger. So I should say that Nage always does aiki and Uke always does kiai. So it's important for him to resist if he can. We have had a pretty good discussion on this point in the "tricky uke" thread in this forum.

I like this attitude a lot when trying to learn jiyu-waza and randori, where nage is able to just respond to uke in the way that uke's attack dictates... but randori and jiyu-waza are not typically all, or indeed most, of the training that I have experienced in any dojo - and with good reason.

Its very hard to train that type of training well without it devolving into wrestling or at least people ignoring technique until all practitioners are at least somewhat skilled..

I'm refering to levels where all practitioners are very skilled.

For the most part in class, I find myself practicing kata, and I am attempting to work on the fine details of the movements and timing of a given principle by practicing the kata as demonstrated by my instructor. If I end up outside the kata, I tend to try not to go far.

By "kata", do you mean a practice technique or a formal kata? I know that my teacher used many formal kata, but when practicing technique, we called it waza or kihon waza practice. We only called it kata when it was a paired demonstration form.

If my partner is inexperienced, I'm just trying to get them to put their feet into roughly the correct positions and to follow along without hurting me or them, all without micromanaging or contradicting the instructor... trying to help the novice to learn the kata...

I guess I should be clear that I'm mainly referring to black belts with several years' experience. Beginners are always an issue at a dojo, but that is almost a side issue. How to learn to move the body can be a trying issue but I'm referring to development at the level of art.

Ideally, in order to be consistent with what you're advocating (and what could be "real") and to allow for precision practice and learning in a kata environment, uke should attack precisely and repeatably in a way that provokes the response that the instructor is trying to emphasize in the kata practice, while pretending that they don't know what you're going to do in response to their attack..

Well, I've never had an uke who was able to do that.

I think that makes it complicated. If uke has good falling skills, he can make the attacks and maintain the katachi of the attack to allow himself to be thrown. But where I trained, "good falling skills" means that you can safely fall from being thrown when you don't expect it. Many places I've seen define "good falling skills" as being able to fall down spectacularly when Nage did nothing to cause it.

So the root of aikido training is an uke who can attack with strong kiai and fall well to protect himself from pretty much any throw or pin. He gives the Nage a good strong attack and if nage does his technique correctly, he will not be able to stand. If Nage makes a mistake, this kind of uke will not move. And it would also be unwise to try to punish such a person for not falling, both on the level of pure karma and for the fact that he won't be easy to hurt. And you just might make him counterattack, which, if he has good kiai attacks, might be something Nage would regret.

In Japan, uke would attack and if you didn't instantly throw him with a clean technique, he might punch again, or kick or sweep your feet or grab your hand and do kote gaeshi--whatever you leave open. That often did devolve into ground work, but every aikidoka should know that any encounter could end up with both people on the ground. Rather than punish uke, we have to sharpen our technique against his resistance--not forbid him to resist us. When you do that, the strong people fade out and weak people run the show and, lacking strength and experience, they create a self-contained world of consensu reality which is not healthy.

Most of the time, I get attacked shomenuchi in a way that lends itself to sankyo or koshinage, and I am told to do ikkyo by the kata and the instructor. Or I get attacked shomenuchi and I'm told to do ikkyo, but the attack is specifically designed to prevent ikkyo because uke knows it is coming. This happens even more often with pain-compliance techniques and that type of teaching - one of the chief reasons to avoid pain-compliance.

Well, that's where it gets tricky to say that we have to train cooperatively. Cooperation is as you described it a few lines up--uke presents a strong, precise attack and leaves himself available to be thrown. And as your aiki grows, he tightens up little by little until you are able to deal with a deadly attack using non-resistant aiki that will wrap him up without his knowing how it happened.

Sometimes, the instructor comes along to help when I can't get the kata to function and, surprise surprise, uke's attack and attitude changes as (a) his partner is different (b) he is more aware as it is the instructor (c) he believes the instructor will make the technique work.

Sounds like it's not good behavior from uke. That's wasted training time for both of you. What do you suppose stimulates that kind of attitude in the uke?

I suspect most ukes are not able to be precise and repeatable. This could be, in part, because they are not trained to be so consistent - I know that I am not so trained. I've considered taking karate so that at least I could punch consistently.. but I haven't. It could also be that such a precise attack would be seen as being "staged" and therefore uke believes it is useless.

Well, a good, single karate attack is excellent for training in technique. Uke can deliver a very powerful and meaningful technique with "CONTROL" that an untrained uke cannot match. To me, clean punches, kicks, head butts, elbow and knee techniques are half the necessary basics for uke. The other half are excellent rolling and flat-falling skills in every direction and for a wide range of throws and joint locks. In Japan, we had several sacrifice techniques that ended with uke taking a full flat fall with Nage applying a full neck choke at the same moment. It really takes that kind of falling ability to train with masters and that is really the only way to find aikido at the level of art.



Yes, to practice set techniques, the attack should be precisely repeated. Uke should enter with good balance, speed, focus and power and should not throw himself off balance in the process. As Nage, you must cause him to lose his balance by moving your body in time and in harmony with his attack, while redirecting his attack into a throw or joint lock.

As I mentioned the tough training in Japan, the surprising thing about it was that the techniques were always very clean and the Nages NEVER hurt me. When they were uke, if my aiki failed, they would immediately follow into follow-up attacks, but, while the fighting would get fierce, it was NEVER injurious and none of those teachers ever hit me with a "dirty" shot.

So at shodan, you should appreciate the resistant uke and learn to make your aikido finer with his resistance.

[quote]In any case, getting an attack that naturally leads to one thing, where that thing is not what is in the kata at all, is the cause of much of the frustration that you see on these forums directed towards uke..

Well, again, that's not cooperative training. That's like he's trying to express something else and that is bad practice. He's wasting his time.

Well, depending on why he does it, he may be wasting his time. If he simply is too grossly uncoordinated to attack with consistency, it may be that your group just needs to work on specific training in attacks. Anyone who knows basic karate can give you the specific form you want to practice on and it's easier to practice when the uke is precise. But if we think that karate men are just brutes, we fail to learn about kiai and so our aiki fails to form up.

A technique, an argument, a piece of software, a relationship, or whatever system you choose that is constructed by you (with or without other participants), that is flawed (and they all are) has flaws that are self-evident to an accurate and perceptive observer who is trying to exploit such flaws.

Becoming such an observer (learning how to attack your own technique) is, I believe, one of the potential ways in which martial practice can be brought effectively outside the dojo.

Yes. That is one of the major functions of budo training.

By uke pointing those flaws out gratuitously, uke is robbing me of my ability to grow perception of my technique failures on my own.

Unless you're talking about someone who tries to foul up your basic technique practice by "resisting" your technique, uke should respond naturally to what he feels or senses of your technique. Some resistance is involuntary, coming from irreplaceable nervous system reactions that it would be foolish to try to eliminate from our systems. Without such natural response (or by using an uke who has trained himself to be unnatural), how would you ever know that you have technical flaws? Uke speeds that process for you. That's fully half of budo. Rocks become smooth and round by tumbling together for a long, long time. Without other boulders colliding with it, how long would it take a rough boulder to become round?

It would never happen.

My ni-en dama for tonight.

Best wishes,

David

David Orange
06-12-2006, 11:27 PM
I tend to find that the best way to make sure I am doing the correct Kata is for Uke to attack strongly enough to hurt me with their strikes or put on full resistance when attacking with a grab. Without a strong, committed and resistant attack, I can do things that are not good Kata and get away with it. When the attack is serious, I have to do good Kata or the technique doesn't work.

Sounds like good training to me. When I read Rob's comments more closely, I realized that he is describing a kind of uke who does not have precise attacks. It sounds like they don't prescribe an exact technique. There's no way to practice effectively without good attacks--not general gestures with the hands.

For me, the Kata is the demonstration of the principles and the principles are there to ensure that the Kata works.

I have come to believe that kata are taken directly from nature--from how people naturally move and do things. The particular movements in a kata are included because they are good examples of the principles the kata is trying to teach. And I'm not talking about kihon waza training, but about formal, paired kata like those in judo and yoseikan aikido, with or without weapons.

If a novice is trying a technique and you allow the novice to complete the technique even though they are not doing the correct Kata, you may keep them from being frustrated but you are also helping them learn bad Kata.

Well, they do have to go through very rough and general stages to assimilate a kata. And as formal teaching presentations, formal kata contain virtually no resistance at all. If you mean practice of techniques, then the basic kata form of that should be quickly assimilated and shaped up through a senior uke's judicious resistance when they go off the way.

If the novice is getting frustrated, it is not up to the Uke to lighten up but for the Sensei to deal with the problematic Kata. As long as Uke is not trying to stop Nage by switching the attack or their balance all the time, the novice Nage should be able to learn the correct Kata.

YES.

On the other hand, that may be why we have so few students in our Dojo and lose so many after a couple weeks/months. :)

and YES.

Thanks.

David

Dirk Hanss
06-13-2006, 03:17 AM
If a novice is trying a technique and you allow the novice to complete the technique even though they are not doing the correct Kata, you may keep them from being frustrated but you are also helping them learn bad Kata.

I mostly agree, but to play the devil's advocate:
As I was told no one (living) aikidoka can do a correct (perfect) ikkyo, it seems as if a strong uke would never fall in your dojo, right?

The major reason to take ukemi voluntarily (if the technique is done sufficiently good for the level of nage)is that many novices tend to use force, if the technique does not work, and if they are strong enough, it works, though rather badly. So the next time,they use more force. And thus some create strong techniques, that only work, until uke is stronger.

Regards

Dirk

aikigirl10
06-13-2006, 10:01 PM
The major reason to take ukemi voluntarily (if the technique is done sufficiently good for the level of nage)is that many novices tend to use force, if the technique does not work, and if they are strong enough, it works, though rather badly. So the next time,they use more force. And thus some create strong techniques, that only work, until uke is stronger.


That's a great point and very well said.

Rocky Izumi
06-15-2006, 09:08 AM
I mostly agree, but to play the devil's advocate:
As I was told no one (living) aikidoka can do a correct (perfect) ikkyo, it seems as if a strong uke would never fall in your dojo, right?

The major reason to take ukemi voluntarily (if the technique is done sufficiently good for the level of nage)is that many novices tend to use force, if the technique does not work, and if they are strong enough, it works, though rather badly. So the next time,they use more force. And thus some create strong techniques, that only work, until uke is stronger.

Regards

Dirk

I think you just made my point. :)

Yes, if they are strong enough and nage has poor enough technique, uke never goes down. However, the argument for a strong uke is better technique and the higher ranked students, with better technique have never had a student who simply kept them from doing an Ikkyo using only power. That is the very reason we do Ikkyo rather than Hiji-osae. Hiji-osae relies too much on strength versus strength.

Yes, we have had people with whom even some of the senior (Yonkyu) students have had trouble. They get into trouble because the students, when faced with an inordinately strong Uke, try to overcome the situation with increased shoulder power of their own. So, I have to go in re-show correct technique and how to overcome upper body strength with leg strength and gentleness and flowing. I usually don't let the senior students use an Atemi or Harai or Keri to get out of a difficult situation but force them to work at doing the technique until they resolve the problem in other ways. Atemi, Harai, or Keri is just too simple a way to resolve the problem and doesn't force the students into the point of frustration they need to change the way they think (become enlightened).

Frustration and confusion are necessary precursors to true learning (enlightenment). That is why we have Zen Koans. They are there to induce confusion and frustration to help you break down the walls in your mind. Likewise, I am here to induce confusion and frustration in the students so that they will be able to learn their Aikido. :confused:

Actually, for the last month, I have had to be going over Shomen-uchi Ikkyo again showing them how to do it using hip power as in Kihon-waza and how to do it using body position (Hanmi) as in higher leve Ikkyo. Usually by the time students are testing for Sankyu, I expect them to be doing Ikkyo using the Hanmi or Ken style of body position rather than the power / jo / Kihon style of body position. I guess this applies to all the techniques that the students demonstrate during their Sankyu test for me.

As for David's comments, David, I am using Kata in it general form of "form" rather than prescribed "Kata" as in Judo or Karate Kata. This fits with the perspective of Kata as the form and Waza as the application (of course, with a few added implications that cannot be fully satisfied using the terms "form" and "application").

Rock

Erick Mead
06-15-2006, 11:18 AM
As for David's comments, David, I am using Kata in it general form of "form" rather than prescribed "Kata" as in Judo or Karate Kata. This fits with the perspective of Kata as the form and Waza as the application (of course, with a few added implications that cannot be fully satisfied using the terms "form" and "application").
Rock The usage of "kata" I have found confusing precisely because we do use explicit jo kata, and kumijo and kumitachi are often described in that way. "Kata" is a term whose usage varies very widely, in this regard, in my experience.

I have been taught to distinguish (at least) four degrees of latitude in single partner taijutsu practice.

1) kihon -- basic, static, linear form of prescribed attack and technique ( the "formal" demonstration) "1-2-3"

2) ki no nagare -- the dynamic blending manner of performing prescribed attack and prescribed technique -- not necessasairly limited in speed or orientation. "1-2-3" becomes "1"

3) henkawaza -- prescribed attack with a certain (or any) number techniques allowed based on the aiki or uke reaction at the moment of contact (e.g -- five kokyunage techniques from Shomenuchi, any four techniques from munetsuki) Some do formalize certain henkawaza progressions, e.g. -- initial intent to do shomenuchi ikkyo becoming iriminage, kokyunage, kotegaeshi, etc.

4) jiyuwaza -- any of a number (sometimes given) of attacks and number of techniques performed without any given order of performance -- i.e -- three techniques each continuous to munetsuki, shomenuchi and katadori. (after which -- collapse in heap) :crazy:

Jiyuwaza can be more or less structured depending on instructor's preference

Randori can take any of the last three forms.

These are obviously broad generalizations, but that's about right in the most generally applicable usage from what I have gleaned from my sojourns through various USAF, ASU, and Iwama affiliated dojos.

Local practice may differ substantially.

Cordially.
Erick Mead

Rocky Izumi
06-15-2006, 05:01 PM
Erick,

I would say that perhaps you are being a little too restrictive in your usage of a number of the terms. Taijutsu goes beyond the Waza and sometimes much less depending on who is using it. Like you mentioned in the term Kata, we have much latitude in how these words are used and the format in which they are used or the sentence in which they are used. For instance, the term Kihon will describe different things when used at different levels of practice/Keiko. What is your basic practice and what is my basic practice will differ if we differ in rank and principles being practiced. Depending on how we practice Ki-no-nagare, there may be no attack or attacker. It could also be Henka-waza practice or Kaeshi-waza practice which always be done using Ki-no-nagare. I would say that the term Ki-no-nagare should be used more for the principle than for a form of Keiko.

I would also differentiate between Jiyu-waza and Randori with Jiyu-waza being the Keiko and Ran-dori being the state in which you practice. It is much like you can do Henka-waza practice during the execution of Tanto-dori.

I guess the usage of these terms have become a little more restrictive these days to avoid confusion but I kind of like the old ways a bit. If you become a little too restrictive in how you use these words, it will confuse you even more with the broader usage by the Shihan when discussing things outside of the Dojo or with people from different Dojos.

I'm really not an expert in these things but I know that when translating into English for some of the Shihan, I have found that their usage of these terms is a little less restrictive and I have to be careful to try and clarify when turned into English so I use the terms myself, a little more restrictively, when doing those translations during seminars. On the other hand, I could be doing the translations all wrong. Oops! :)

Rock

Erick Mead
06-16-2006, 12:26 AM
I'm really not an expert in these things but I know that when translating into English for some of the Shihan, I have found that their usage of these terms is a little less restrictive ...
Rock Everything is a little less restrictive for the shihan I have seen. :D

I don't necessarily disagree with your points -- Japanese is inherently less categorical than English or any Western tongue, but by the same token, Western speakers tend to categorize in their own usages, warranted or not.

As long as we don't mistake the pointing finger for the moon ...

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Rocky Izumi
06-16-2006, 05:57 AM
Very much agreed Erick. Hey, you're pretty close to us, why not take an AA flight down here some time for some R&R and Aikido?

Rock

Erick Mead
06-16-2006, 08:53 AM
Very much agreed Erick. Hey, you're pretty close to us, why not take an AA flight down here some time for some R&R and Aikido?
Rock Actually, Pensacola is nearer to Little Rock, Arkansas than it is to Miami. But persuade my good Yankee wife to leave go of my wallet, and I'll take you up.

One caveat -- I am constitutionally incapable of understanding cricket.

A Canadian a Brit, two Aussies and Pakistani could not explain cricket to this West Florida boy. (Sounds like the beginning of a bar joke ...)

The only thing I could grasp is that it involves something about a wicket, an off-leg and a stump.

Sheesh, I mean -- I love playing with the wooden sticks, but I never could imagine why one would play a ballgame with a shinken ...

Cordially,
Erick Mead

Ron Tisdale
06-16-2006, 09:53 AM
:) good one! I though it WAS a bar joke...

Best,
Ron

Mark Freeman
06-16-2006, 12:02 PM
The only thing I could grasp is that it involves something about a wicket, an off-leg and a stump.

Erick,

perhaps your international friends neglected to tell you about the 'silly mid off' and what a 'googley' is, I'm sure it would have been much clearer then! :D

I'm an englishman and I don't understand cricket at all.... :crazy:

regards,

Mark
p.s. if you go down to Barbados you will need to brush up your 'dominoes' those guys can really play! ;)

Rocky Izumi
06-16-2006, 11:01 PM
Erick,

perhaps your international friends neglected to tell you about the 'silly mid off' and what a 'googley' is, I'm sure it would have been much clearer then! :D

I'm an englishman and I don't understand cricket at all.... :crazy:

regards,

Mark
p.s. if you go down to Barbados you will need to brush up your 'dominoes' those guys can really play! ;)

It's all about sitting in the hot sun, drinking cold beer, and standing up and cheering when everyone else does, much like baseball. The rest is inconsequential.

And draughts or what we call checkers.

For those of you coming down to Barbados for the Cricket World Cup 2007, don't forget your Do-gi. Send an email and practice with us.

The beer is excellent and so is the rum. Both are relatively cheap.

Rock

L. Camejo
06-17-2006, 12:36 AM
This sounds like fun.

As long as folks don't go confusing a leg-break with an off-break and a straight drive with a cover drive to mid-on (or is that mid-off??) everything should be fine.:D

Oh yeah and always beware of that guy fielding at silly point.:)

The best common factor in most Caribbean sports is as Rocky rightly said:

It's all about sitting in the hot sun, drinking cold beer, and standing up and cheering when everyone else does...

Rock: Spoke to Kendo Eddy this week. He came to watch a class of mine. Sounds like you really wowed him with your Aiki-ken and Aikido training.

Regards.

LC:ai::ki:

Mark Freeman
06-17-2006, 04:43 AM
It's all about sitting in the hot sun, drinking cold beer, and standing up and cheering when everyone else does, much like baseball. The rest is inconsequential.

Now, this aspect of cricket I can fully comprehend :D

David Orange
06-22-2006, 07:25 PM
Well, anyway, I just wanted to ramble a bit more on punishing the uke. I don't recall many onfield cricket fights (though the bat would make quite a weapon), but sports generally do devolve into a lot injury to the "partner." The understated theme of much of modern entertainment sports is literally to damage the other player or team to the point that they cannot continue. Which is why I found the Gracie fights of the early 90s very interesting. At least there it was submission at the loser's discretion. In football, you never know when another player is out to paralyze you or permanently wreck your knee.

Maybe this is a lot of what has carried over in Western translation of aikido. In Japan, in Mochizuki sensei's dojo, even though there was effective resistance at high speeds about fifty percent of the time, I very rarely saw anything get harsh. It was always a draining, grueling grind, with most of the randori being sequence sutemi waza, often ending in a choke. And failed techniques meant counter attacks and grappling on the floor to submission or choke-out. But people didn't get mad out there (very, very rarely).

And in this, it was, in a way, like little league baseball. Those guys had been doing that heavy aikido together for many long years under a unique master. Why? Because he lived just up the street from them. They went there when they were young. They went to him just like we go to to Grandmaster Pete. He was the one who was there. People in Shizuoka did not know there was a really huge meijin living among them. Really? They would say. We didn't know that. But impressive people from around the world came to bow to him and learn from him.

And among his hometown students, he had developed some real tigers, who met these trained martial artists from around the world and bested them on the mat, time after time. And I mean always. It wasn't competition, but it was close to it.

Still, there was a difference. It was not competition. We weren't there to win or lose. We were there to find out the truth and participate in the polishing of ourselves in that grinding process.

But people did not get injured in all that. I don't mean "never" injured, but I found that most injuries come more from your own daily life than they do from good, intense aikido training. It's the way you think about yourself as you go through life, how you shape your body into the specific form of "you" that governs how you learn and "do" aikido, which determines whether you get injured.

However, a punishing nage is a danger to society. UNLESS the attacker actually attempts to injure you, you really have no right actually to strike him. And to strike in vital points outside actual self defense is foolhardy. To experiment with such strikes is to gamble with the partner's life, which is to gamble with your own freedom. Oh, yes. It's also to gamble with making a stronger person angry as well as giving him a legitimate right to respond with self-defense technique and actually DO to us what we TRIED to do to him. So it's also gambling with your own life. There is no right to strike anyone who isn't really trying to hurt you and you're better off developing aiki instead of striking him.

999,999 times out of a million, my experience at the old Shizuoka hombu was camaradarie and intense training. People didn't get mad on the mat. Seniors might express some displeasure toward a junior's behavior--usually peripheral to training--and the shihans could be rather explicit with that, but the training was sort of like stepping into a grinding machine. Everything was smooth and continuous, going round and round. Attacks came down like hammers swung by workmen: people didn't throw themselves off balance. It was work, not abstract symbollism. And though they had all trained together in the same thing with the same teacher for a long time, the people who were out there were each individuals. There was no trouble telling them all apart. Each was his own self-possessed artist. And it was a tiger-like art, so if you missed your aiki technique, they would be all over you like tigers. And they would play with you just savagely enough to let you progress. They played with you like older-brother tigers, teaching you how to be a full-grown tiger. And you had to really push them to make them lose their cool.

Tezuka, for instance. Tezuka Akira Sensei, one of the ones who got menkyo kaiden from Mochizuki Sensei. One night, I saw him warming up for class, doing the wrist bending stretch, when he looked oddly at something on the floor a few feet away. He didn't realize I was watching him. He went over to a makiwara post that came up through the dojo's wooden floor. There was an eight-foot banana bag, about 250 lbs of sand, lashed to the front of the makiwara post. As if he were kicking someone in the shin, Tezuka Sensei kicked the banana bag at its base and the makiwara post broke off at floor level. He was a small person. I will never forget it.

Washizu Sensei was like a fighter pilot who would sutemi rings around you. Kenmotsu Sensei was a farmer who cultivated people's inner feeling for aikido as if they were his garden.

So there were hours of strong, precise attacks, lots of clean, effortless aikido, with all kinds of weapons practice, attacks from all directions. If you did it right, the aikido really did work effortlessly. If you missed, you had to struggle to submission one way or the other, but people didn't go around hitting each other in vital points. That's where I think western aikido may have picked up some mistaken attitudes from sports. If we think that budo is even something like a sport, it's bound to breed some violence, which is not the purpose of aikido. I think "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a bit dangerous for aikido because some people are self-destructive, even though they belong to well-respected organizations and have recognition from those organizations. And they act destructively toward their training partners.

When it comes to aikido, maybe we should say, "Regardless of what you want for yourself, do RIGHT to others."

Masakatsu agatsu.

Twenty years ago, right about this time of the summer, Murai Kyoichi Sensei was teaching us kenjutsu. He taught us suburi and said, "When you strike, see your worst enemy there and strike with the real intention to kill him."

So we practiced hundreds of suburi and I thought about what Murai Sensei had said. And I thought, "Let's see, now." "Who is my worst enemy?"

CUT! CUT! CUT! CUT!

Well, I could think of some terrible people, and even some who might have deserved to be split with a samurai sword, but I couldn't think of anyone I'd really cut with a sword. I did not have a single enemy that bad that I could think of.

CUT! CUT! CUT! CUT!

And then I thought about who it was that was always getting me into trouble. It was really myself. And it was not without Christian sentiments that I thereafter saw myself where my bokken struck. I always struck to kill.

So we should really always be glad if uke is a little bit troublesome. We should not punish him for being honest. The answer lies in our own technique and resistance by nage against uke, which is backward aikido.

Thanks for all the comments!

David

Ron Tisdale
06-23-2006, 08:26 AM
Thank you for that post David.

Best,
Ron