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DH
11-25-2006, 06:39 PM
Charlie
Gotts run so I'll be breig and get back tonight

Yes I am cleraly stating that the ukemi of judo and jujutsu and aikijujutsu and Aikido as commonly taught is wrong. Yes.

If you are allowed.... ask someone to fight instead of train with you.
Try attacking your opponent on the way down or over.
Try retainging retained pressures in your body where you bounce and keep the tensions more inside
Try taking them into a guard on the way down
When they lock you, absorb it, and head-butt them or kick them in the nuts.
Yes Charlie I can and do advocate training to be exceedingly dangerous when you are about to lose your balance.
This notion of these -wahoo- techniques being soooo dangerous you cannot take Ukemi is largely B.S. perpitrated on men with little skill to begin with.
Cheers
Dan

Mike Sigman
11-25-2006, 07:31 PM
This notion of these -wahoo- techniques being soooo dangerous you cannot take Ukemi is largely B.S. perpitrated on men with little skill to begin with. Fie on all those men with little skill!

Maybe you need to get around some people with real skill, Dan, because I know quite a few that'll have you on your butt in a blink. I remember Chen Xiao Wang doing a vertical ikkyo technique on me, so fast I couldn't react, that sent me straight up into the air (all 225 pounds of me) and then he flipped me over and brought me straight into the concrete of my garage floor.

All these tangents about ukemi are great, but I thought the original topic was more along the lines of ukemi approaches, not how "Real Men" (tm) don't need to worry about it. ;)

Mike

Cady Goldfield
11-25-2006, 07:47 PM
Of course, Dan's strategem is not in keeping with the aikido philosophy and agenda, being that aikido is interpreted as being a non-combative art form. If aikido were to adopt combat in place of letting oneself be thrown, it would be counter to its design, as well as the tradition of uke and tori cooperating to make a technique come together.

Then again, it does sort of render moot the hard-slapping-the-ground issue. Except when one is slipping on ice or being thrown off a horse. ;)

Mike Sigman
11-25-2006, 09:32 PM
Of course, Dan's strategem is not in keeping with the aikido philosophy and agenda, being that aikido is interpreted as being a non-combative art form. I see. :p Dan has trained you well.

Cady Goldfield
11-25-2006, 09:38 PM
You consider aikido to be a combat art?

DH
11-25-2006, 11:42 PM
Fie on all those men with little skill!

Maybe you need to get around some people with real skill, Dan, because I know quite a few that'll have you on your butt in a blink. I remember Chen Xiao Wang doing a vertical ikkyo technique on me, so fast I couldn't react, that sent me straight up into the air (all 225 pounds of me) and then he flipped me over and brought me straight into the concrete of my garage floor.

All these tangents about ukemi are great, but I thought the original topic was more along the lines of ukemi approaches, not how "Real Men" (tm) don't need to worry about it. ;)

Mike
I've no trouble with that Mike. Can't wait to feel it or see it to believe it. And more than happy to find it as well. And opinions be damned mine included. Just have to see it tried on a few guys I coud bring to the party.

Back to the topic though....I was specifically discussing the arts -I- outlined.....and -their- methods of the giving up all to save your own skin....ukemi. All in light of the JMA's supposed and oft quoted "oh so deadly techniques" you cannot receive them.

That is before -you- changed the subject to include the CMA.

And FWIW high end CMA at that. Care to see a number of mid level CMA players try that stick on mid level MMA guys not doing push hands but fighting and then run some statisitcs?

My argument stands on it own. Most men don't train to fully resist, don't train to fight back and don't even know what the hell it means when applied to their own arts because they don't train to specifically and in detail take aspart and deconstruct their own arts techniques in the first place. And further still they don't cross train. I had a lengthy discussion of this with a Koryu teacher who is out trying to fix it in Aikido. The only way to do so is to train to take it apart. NOT COOPERATE.
I don't see many of the throws, nor the principles in application to throw in the JMA as being all that "deadly" against a trained fighter, fighting back at full speed and intent. Then again, neither do most other guys in the MMA. Which is why they won't train standard JMA arts. For the most part.... they don't work on someone prepared for them. And with that, where do you see men taking "ukemi" in the ring against all out attacks and throws? They are more concerned with defeating the opponent.
Which brings me back to my first statement about training in methods to fully resist.

Cheers
Dan

DH
11-26-2006, 12:09 AM
Just wanted to be clear we were discussing two different topics within one. And while I appreciate the dig..."real men(tm)" have nothing to do with it. Neither does bravado. It is a training methodology that is ever increasingly being tried, tested, and proved. Trained, active resistence and set-ups, feints, and staccato attacks, along with detailed methods to take apart known arts apllied techniques was always the best way to test. It is hardly knew or innovative.
The complications involved with safety (yes it is a difficult balance) has warped our sense of what is real and what is at least real potential. And men are doing it without getting "wrecked" and damaged.

No bravado, or testosterone laden wannabes need apply. Its just more hard work. And that would go equally well for cooperative play junkies who enjoy "energy exchange."

Dan

Jim Sorrentino
11-26-2006, 07:20 PM
Hello Cady,Of course, Dan's strategem is not in keeping with the aikido philosophy and agenda, being that aikido is interpreted as being a non-combative art form. If aikido were to adopt combat in place of letting oneself be thrown, it would be counter to its design, as well as the tradition of uke and tori cooperating to make a technique come together.That's not true of the "aikido philosophy and agenda", and more importantly, the aikido practice, that I pursue. Based on my experience with them, neither Saotome-, nor Ikeda-, nor Ushiro-sensei interpret aikido as a "non-combative art form". E.J. Harrison offers a good description of aikido as I study it: "Nevertheless I am aware that like karate aikido is considered almost solely as a fighting art, whereas nowadays the votaries of Kodokan judo are prone to lay much more stress upon judo as a high-class sport. In aikido there are no competitions. Grades are conferred upon the recipient on the basis of knowledge of techniques, style, and speed. These always correspond to real value in actual combat and to very great efficacy." ("The Fighting Spirit of Japan", Chapter 7, "Karate and Aikido", 1955; Overlook Press 1982 ed.)

Ikeda-sensei was in Boston a couple of weeks ago. Did you, Dan, or any of Dan's other students attend?

As far as ukemi goes, I have found Ellis Amdur's approach, as outlined in his video, "Ukemi from the Ground Up", to work well. It complements, without contradiction, what I have learned through ukemi for Saotome- and Ikeda-sensei, as well as others. Cooperation is not the same as collusion (which I abhor in myself and others) --- and I don't slap the ground unless I choose to do so.

See you (and Dan, I hope) on the mat eventually ---

Jim

Cady Goldfield
11-26-2006, 07:54 PM
Jim, do you -- as Dan describes -- ask someone to fight instead of train with you.
Try attacking your opponent on the way down or over.
Try retainging retained pressures in your body where you bounce and keep the tensions more inside
Try taking them into a guard on the way down
When they lock you, absorb it, and head-butt them or kick them in the nuts.?

If so, that's great because it means you aren't just taking ukemi (whether rolling out or slapping mats!). It's possible to train this way with control and without wrecking each other.

I've just yet to see an aikido dojo that trains this way.

Here's the description of aikido posted on Ikeda's dojo website:

Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of self-cultivation and improvement. Aikido has no tournaments, competitions, contests, or "sparring." Instead, all aikido techniques are learned cooperatively at a pace commensurate with the abilities of each trainee. According to the founder, the goal of aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of the negative characteristics which inhabit one's own mind and inhibit its functioning.

I still have my doubts about aikido being in any way a "system of combat." Especially when the description goes on to state that there is no "sparring" or way to test one's skill. Without actual combative practice, one never can cultivate the responses and proactive conditioning necessary to make one's skills practical and applicable in combat.

Cooperation does not make for adversarial conditions that emulate real-life confrontation. "Sparring" or at least stepped-up attacks -- hands-on application of technique under unpredictable conditions and stresses -- is crucial to conditioning. Furthermore, practioners must let themselves be confronted with increasing levels of aggression, beyond their present ability to handle it. Like weight-lifting, you have to "break down tissue to rebuild as something stronger."

If you want to condition for combat, you must train actively for it. Cooperative "exchange of energy" isn't going to cut it. This is something I have observed and practiced for 30 years, and for two decades before I met Dan. It's just basic combat sense.

DH
11-26-2006, 08:37 PM
Jim Writes
These always correspond to real value in actual combat and to very great efficacy

Jim
I'm pretty sure you and Cady.....are using a different definition of combatives. To be clear, when she said "combatives" I think she meant different things then you are prepared to discuss as normal in your regular training. Not saying good or bad- just methods and approaches.
For instance when Is the last time you punched someone square in the face in your dojo? Or even tried in a repeated fashion without let up when they were trying to enter-in.
Heck when was the last time you sincerely ....tried....to punch someone in the mouth for trying to joint lock you?

And since it is the standard shtick and written about and discussed "that aikido techniques are too dangerous not to take ukemi and can kill." Just what do you think you posses as a skill set that would cause me much "danger" at all were I to fight you?
I see guys go at it all the time in a very fast paced fashion with marginal injuries and none of it involves ukemi as done in AIkido. And the intent is far more dangerous then Aikido

For me "practicing ukemi is an entire discipline of recieving you while fighting. Not, let me be clear, ...NOT.....practicing falling down.
I'm not going to get into it on the net but there is a dynamic in the body, that changes you when you are not giving in but fighting back. It has to do with the effect of intent on the frame and connection. You will neither act the same or be perceived the same. And though I have heard many teachers blather about ukemi I've not heard many at all talk about what Intent and framing does to deconstruct the attack of the attacker.
Ukemi as I've seen it from 8th dans is for Martial arts dupes.

Rolls and breakfalls and such I show and make sure men have it, but that is about 5% of Ukemi. You practice to get them and burn them in. Then spend the rest of your days making dam sure it doesn't happen. There are a plethera of ways to receive, that do not Ever have breakfallin and rolling anywhere in the scheme of things. And most of which involve breaking the legs, kneeing, headbutting, and knocking out the other guy.
thats....uhm...combat effiiency.


On top of all of that there is a very detailed practice of receiving in a different way. Ways which men learn overtime with me. The real skills. But thats a whole different topic then ukemi.

And Ellis? I've spent some time in detailed discusions with Ellis about his ideas of Ukemi. I think you may be confusing his ideas for better "Aikido Ukemi" as opposed to his ideas for actual fighting.



Dan

Rupert Atkinson
11-26-2006, 09:24 PM
For me "practicing ukemi is an entire discipline of recieving you while fighting. Not, let me be clear, ...NOT.....practicing falling down.
Dan

This sounds quite right to me. In Aikido we learn to love ukemi, maybe moving too much in the wrong direction. In Judo you never see pretty ukemi, but people do not get hurt even though they fall with twice the force, often with thrower landing on top to squish you down more. In an Aikido sense though, I separate it thus: Rolling around after the warm up is not ukemi, it is just rolling about. It only becomes ukemi if someone throws you. But if you decide or allow yourself to be thrown, that is not ukemi either. So, as Dan implies, it is only genuine ukemi if you don't intend to fall, i.e. you resist/fight/refuse to give in, and are thrown. However, I do think the Aikido type of ukemi as a give and take 'play' is of value to learning.

Kevin Wilbanks
11-26-2006, 09:28 PM
And Ellis? I've spent some time in detailed discusions with Ellis about his ideas of Ukemi. I think you may be confusing his ideas for better "Aikido Ukemi" as opposed to his ideas for actual fighting.



Dan

The original question of this thread quoted you, but it was about slap falling in Aikido practice. It was about whether slapping is more dangerous than not slapping, not whether slapping is silly because you should instead be tearing nage's throat out with your teeth on the way down.

The ideas you are presenting here sound sensible, if one is training for the purpose of becoming some kind of ultimate street warrior who can maim or kill trained fighters of whatever type. The problem is that I don't think this is the goal or purpose of the vast majority of Aikidoists. Aikido is a traditional martial art, the ultimate goals of which have been stated by O'Sensei and many disciples, usually similar to the quote from Ikeda's website, none of which sound like the kind of military training program you suggest.

Moreover, the style of "ukemi" you are advocating is simply not the way Aikido is practiced at most any place I've ever heard of, including O'Sensei's own dojo. What you are saying seems mostly irrelevant what most people here were trying to discuss.

I personally find the nuances of the falling technique aspect of Aikido to be the most fun and interesting part of the art. The training you describe does not sound interesting to me. As far as practicality goes, as others have reported, the aspect of ukemi that you are attempting to deride has saved me from several injurious falls in the past 12 years, whereas I have never been anywhere near a street fight.

Mike Sigman
11-26-2006, 09:29 PM
This sounds quite right to me. In Aikido we learn to love ukemi, maybe moving too much in the wrong direction. In Judo you never see pretty ukemi, but people do not get hurt even though they fall with twice the force, often with thrower landing on top to squish you down more. In an Aikido sense though, I separate it thus: Rolling around after the warm up is not ukemi, it is just rolling about. It only becomes ukemi if someone throws you. But if you decide or allow yourself to be thrown, that is not ukemi either. So, as Dan implies, it is only genuine ukemi if you don't intend to fall, i.e. you resist/fight/refuse to give in, and are thrown. However, I do think the Aikido type of ukemi as a give and take 'play' is of value to learning. I dunno... maybe that competition judo I did in the Marines was just pansy stuff, but there were many times where we practiced blocking and countering, etc., when we weren't perfecting specific throws. And "pretty ukemi".... maybe there's a mixup about what "ukemi" means, but it means more than just rolling. Yes, there are people who concentrate on "spiffy ukemi" who wouldn't know "martial" if it handed them a business card, but this broad brush about what "people in Aikido" do, is fairly offensive, IMO.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

DH
11-26-2006, 09:30 PM
However, I do think the Aikido type of ukemi as a give and take 'play' is of value to learning.

Learning .......what?
Instead of saying ....Aikido.

Seriusly think about what you are learning....to...do....both Consciously and unconsciously....on both sides of the equation.

As opposed to what other options?

Cheers
Dan

DH
11-26-2006, 09:36 PM
[/i]Yes, there are people who concentrate on "spiffy ukemi" who wouldn't know "martial" if it handed them a business card, but this broad brush about what "people in Aikido" do, is fairly offensive, IMO.[/i]


But it not Just aikido..Its the martial art shtick. The three card monty game of "I do this you, do that. But no hitting, no kicking,

Take away most of the rules and make it rougher and it still is safe. There was really nothing to fear. It's still fun- as thousands of guys are finding out all over the world in MMA.

Dan

Rupert Atkinson
11-26-2006, 09:48 PM
Maybe sutemi-waza is the result of what happens when you are falling, but don't really want to - one Judo teacher I had always told us never to take sutemi-waza as a choice. Actually, I really like sutemi-waza ...

Ellis Amdur
11-26-2006, 10:24 PM
Well, since my name came up. Hi guys. "Ukemi" means "receiving body" - not falling. Properly speaking, the uke role in traditional martial arts, whether jujutsu or kenjutsu, was done by the senior. His/her movements were to template skills in the tori (taker). To do this, s/he had to be able to counter what the junior did - whatever that was. So the uke loses by choice because he is "winning" throughout the kata. (The dilemma is that it is sometimes easy for the uke-teacher to manage the student. It is harder to manage them in a way that templates the exact lines they need to follow to actually improve. The teacher, in real ukemi, must be mindful of what the student needs to learn in each moment of the kata, even as s/he is keeping both parties (reasonably) safe and yet at the very edge of danger.
Aikido makes this type of practice a lot harder to accomplish because the practice is reciprocal.
Even in my "aikido ukemi," though, what I teach is that ukemi is all about counters - sutemi, reversals, and atemi. In its ideal, it should look like mat work on one's feet - without a tug of war or slap boxing, one should be able to go long passages without either leaving their feet. In this sense, with enough skill, when one "finally" takes a "fall" that doesn't go into a reversal, it would be the equivalent of tapping out when on the ground. The common type of aikido - the so-called cooperative style holds little interest for me, and in my role as consultant with the Itten Dojo, I've been trying to eliminate that.
So, on the one hand, I would say that my ideas on ukemi are congruent with Dan's (and therefore with Jimmy as well, as he likes my stuff), BUT there is a circumscription on methods of attack and defense within the classical aikido corpus - which I hew to when teaching aikido - which drastically limits how universal one's ukemi (countering/atemi/ skills) become.
BUT, this might be obviated with the proper training of "internal" skills - my theory is that Ueshiba was quite comfortable circumscribing things in the first place not because that he picked the most "moral//peaceful/harmonious/un-evil" techniqes (whatever the heck all that is), but because he believed that the techniques he finally established were sufficient when training "internally," to accomplish all he felt was needed. In addition, I believe that Ueshiba, pre-war,taught in a way that ukemi itself was a means of learning internal skills (Shioda describes Inoue continuing nikkyo long after he and Shirata were frantically tapping - I think this was all about teaching the redirection of forces through the body). Post-war?????
Best

Charlie
11-26-2006, 10:52 PM
Dan, if the whole "too dangerous" aspect is directed at my comment please be aware that I chose my words carefully for just the reasons that you present. Notice that I said some of the techniques not all of them and that I also added the caveat of "to their full potential". The potential of lethality is always present at the core level of some of the techniques that comprise Aikido.

I added these parameters because:
1. I am not saying all Aikido techniques fall into this category of lethality and
2. By no means am I suggesting that the techniques applied in any ole manner will further lead to this outcome.

I think it is fairly well documented that some/most of the techniques that comprise the technical make-up of Aikido are a derivative of Jujitsu forms. Many of these techniques at their core components are designed to be used against a soldier who may wearing some type of body armor or some other type of protection. Many of these techniques [if applied to their full potential] are designed to drive the combatant's skull right into the very battlefield itself.

However, whoever wants to use these techniques has to be able to perform them in this manner under certain duress and "not so perfect conditions" that is where there individual training formats come into play. Which manner is "more" correct or "more" efficient at reaching these means was debated back then and it continues until now.

Anyway, when you get to the sum of your commentary, you provide us with little golden nugget that you do in fact teach falls and rolling and that you consider these skills not to be the complete package of what you constitute good Ukemi skills. I hear you - this is all I was saying as well.

I am not advocating falling for the sake of falling or to position myself better for Nage or to even sacrifice position to "save my skin". All though that remains an option left open if need be just as one may sacrifice position by jumping guard.

Either way, most of the quality instructors in the world will usually state that to be truly proficient as Nage you have to master being uke and is precisely why I was trying to link comments made by you, Ellis and others. To me, many of the points made are all part of the same thinking just coming from different angles.

I can right off the top of my head think of a fight where a MMA fighter may have benefited from the low level skill of learning to fall and protect your head when I think back to a the Matt Hughes fight where he won the belt by knockout over Carlos Newton [both grapplers]. Matt didn't knock him out with a devastating blow with the fists but instead by almost being chocked out by Newton when Newton jumped his guard and caught him in a flying triangle. Newton was knocked out when Hughes started to collapse from being chocked out and bounced Newton's head of the canvas when he dropped him. If Newton had only remembered to tuck his chin he may have retained his belt.

Yes Cady, that is one way to practice falling there are others as well. To say that this is the only way seems to me to be quite limited in its approach. After all Ukemi needs to remain adaptive.

Cheers,

Charlie

DH
11-26-2006, 11:37 PM
Kevin

Lets not swing the pendulum to the end. What I was discussing has not to do with "biting him on the way down and being a crazed streetfighter." That's your own ideas rising. I remember talking about being more effecient once in fighting application and a guy said if he was worried about eiffiency he'd get a bomb. Can we see a middle ground?
True Ukemi is not falling down. As I said before it first comes from a fighting intent and not a receiving intent. and it is the intent that changes what your body is doing.
On an increasingly level once you learn to roll and breakfall that skill is there. So you fall off your horse , you fall off your bike, you fall down the stairs whatever. You got it.

That..has little to do with the martial arts. If you want to stop there and practice that for the rest of your life ...great. Don't read on

For the rest of us who choose to do martial arts there are measured goals that can and should increase incrementally.
The first and least of which is this falling down stuff.
This is actually a complex stubject that takes a chapter in a book to properly address.

But in simple external format consider the relationships with joint locks. You are spending time learning them. You are spending time learning to receive them without injury. Just simply learning to relax the body while in pain and under duress and to redirect the force...in you...to re-aquire and attack back is the better ukemi then taking a fall. The way you see locks done with this idea that you somehow then need to take ukemi gainst this thing they are doing to your arm to connect to your body is ridiculous. The ukemi as a response to it is now being wired into you. It simply isn't true and there are ways to train to nuetralize the locks and hide your center that should be given MORE time than learning to be a door mat for safety sake that should never come.There are better ways to learn to absorb and prevent these locks and in so doing? Make you a better martial artist.
Why is there no serious vested interest in teaching your students to incrementally stop you dead in your tracks?

The same goes for hip throws and absorptions of leg techniques -which really -in combination- are the superior ways to external throwing mechanics. Learning to use the energy coming at you to alter their path and leave you standing and them falling is where you need to be headed. Not learning to fall down at an off balance attempt. If you watch Ueshiba in video tell me where he needs to fall to learn? Tell me why you need to fall to learn?
If you watch Mifune's Aiki-judo, tell me where he needed to fall to learn? Shioda? Sagawa?
There is another way, a better way. It just doesn't fit in with a big structured school scenario. At a point in time you need to get on your own and rethink or at least start to think about what all the shtcik is really about.
Why isn't there just as much if not more time spent in teaching students to nuetralize all throws and stay standing there against all attempts. And taught to do so by a teacher willing to teach his students to stop him dead in his tracks? Then increasing the levels
And what it will do for you is to build a better structure and ....if you are truly concerned about safety and balance in life..it is a better structure to PREVENT falling down. So you learned to fall and roll, then you progressed to learning to relax, listen and absorb and redirect energy that resutls in you standing and them failing, then progressed into disrupting serious attempts to off-balanced you by those who can do so agressively. Inversely the guy applying is learning to feel active resistence in application with the startling disruption og getting hit hard and taking force while offering it. up to and including getting hit hard in the body and legs. Learning to get hit and to be relaxed and absrob and keep coming is ideal for ukemi.
From there if you like martial arts you learn to deliver punishment in many forms while maintaining everything you learned in the first three types of "receiving."
If the health aspects have merits in the discussion, it is by far the healthiest way to think about living free in the world and maintaining a zero, held balance and structure in any venue; working, with loads, animals, balancing in any venue and not surprisingly in fighting.
Away from all that there is body conditioning that surpasses all of the above which comes from another, concurrent type of solo, then resistance training.
That Mark is just the ukemi side of things. Rewiring the body to be fluid and move freely and not to lock up and isolate so locks and many throws become much more diffcult as your center is your and is hidden. As I said it first comes from a fighting intent and not a receiving intent. In a fighting sense, I haven't even raised the issue of fighting back yet.

In the fullness of time Men who train this way -even incrementally-(and there are more and more) -will always stand against those who train to fall and cooperate. It is just the way of it.
You might consider there are different ways to train.
But I'll settle for you reducing me to
a A. ruffian who bites people. ;)
b. Who doesn't train safely

Cheers
Dan

Thomas Campbell
11-26-2006, 11:55 PM
[snip]But I'll settle for you reducing me to a ruffian who bites people. ;)
Cheers
Dan

Do you take a bite on your way down? :cool:

Seriously, though . . . in jujutsu training for falling, we worked not only to be able to absorb the impact of hard surface falls, but also to go for good position to escape or counter-attack--after landing. Going for the opponent while still in the air . . . well that's going to take presence of mind and well-honed technique, without removing the necessity to deal with the ground rapidly approaching. In the event that you are swept or thrown, especially if taken by surprise in the street (it's happened to me), it's going to take a high level of skill to respond with anything more than an instinctive protective fall response. Seems a worthwhile aspiration for training.

DH
11-27-2006, 12:07 AM
Thomas...not you too?


Still can't get folks to talk about any thing else but falling down. Training to fall makes the fear of falling deeply ingrained

Lets see.......yes.....we.....all.....fall......down....

Yes.....we....train....to.....fall.....down.....

Ok... NOW you have the rest of your life to think of some better ways to -not fall down- in the first place. To absorb incoming force so it cannot throw you...and ...kick the crap out of the guy trying do so.

Maybe you also might want to consider how many times you've seen guys try to throw men and failed to do so. Go think about it And make them fail more.

Ok... now all together


"What are you saying. What happens if I fall? Do you mean you don't trian to fall? I was thankful for ukemi I fell off a sidewalk once in the rain.....

I give up

Kevin Wilbanks
11-27-2006, 12:12 AM
Kevin

Lets not swing the pendulum to the end. What I was discussing has not to do with "biting him on the way down and being a crazed streetfighter." That's your own ideas rising. ...

In the fullness of time Men who train this way -even incrementally-(and there are more and more) -will always stand against those who train to fall and cooperate. It is just the way of it.
But I'll settle for you reducing me to a ruffian who bites people. ;)
Cheers
Dan

I don't think biting is much of a leap from specifics you cited - particularly head-butting, groin kicks, dragging them down into the guard. This stuff all sounds like good ass-kicking but nothing like standard Aikido training.

As for the rest, I still don't understand where you are coming from. What you are describing sounds like some kind of attempt to become invincible and god-like. Fighting aside, it doesn't sound to me like a healthy model of 'living free in the world', it sounds like some kind of compulsion or obsession with excellence. like extreme ambition applied to martial arts.

If that's your thing, make plenty of videos and perhaps I'll enjoy watching them. People who have such drives often accomplish impressive things. I like watching a Michael Jordan or a Muhammad Ali. I might even derive a little inspiration from their (or your) example, but I wouldn't want to be them. Any such figure that I have ever studied had an unhappy and unpleasant life by my standards, and seemed to be ultimately estranged from their friends, family and lovers. Obsession and egotism are expensive.

Personally, I like to take it easy and enjoy life. What drive I have toward excellence and recognition I channel into sculpting. For me Aikido is a different sort of endeavor. I have ambition for neither rank nor ass-kicking capability. I prefer to keep my ego out of it as much as possible. I am trying to approach it more in the vein of it doing me, as opposed to me doing it, and I am enjoying it much more than I ever did when I was all tangled up in trying to prove or accomplish something. As such, I find myself most interested in working on the craft of soft falling at this time. Maybe this will all change later. My reasons for doing Aikido and my perception of the benefits I derive from it have changed many times over the years.

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-27-2006, 12:35 AM
Little anecdote from my dojo. Abe Seiseki sensei doesn't do big throws. And it finally dawned on me that really, there isn't a particular need to actually throw. So he does an almost invisible movement, which takes center, and that is it. From there, anything else goes. People stand there waiting to be bodily thrown. But that's not the purpose of the exercise. Response is. He wants the other to do something once the center is taken: drop down and attack his leg, or otherwise respond, getting back center while continuing the attack. He asks people to do ushiro ukemi once they have responded, but the ukemi is up to the person, just practice in rolling, massage of the joints, the skin, overall loosening up. Not the result of the "technique".

Rupert Atkinson
11-27-2006, 03:47 AM
In Takeda-ryu I was once told by a senior that you should fall down in posture. Their ukemi is not like that of Aikido. Some people did it like in Aikido, soft and flexible, but he had called me to one side aksing me to try a new way ...

NagaBaba
11-27-2006, 08:47 AM
Why isn't there just as much if not more time spent in teaching students to nuetralize all throws and stay standing there against all attempts. And taught to do so by a teacher willing to teach his students to stop him dead in his tracks? Then increasing the levels

And what it will do for you is to build a better structure and ....if you are truly concerned about safety and balance in life..it is a better structure to PREVENT falling down.

Dan
Hi Dan,
You don't practice aikido, do you? But still lecturing what aikidoka should and shouldn't do.....this is really pretentious. You have zero credibility.

Ppl who try to neutralize all throws become simply stiff and rigid. Aikido is about developing strong, flexible body that can generate power by focus and coordination all its elements. Rolling forward and backward is one of important tools in this process. It develops also special spirit of non-resistance in the moment of contact. This way of practice let student understand useless of competition, and change behavior of nage in the way, that attacker can't find any point that would use as a base to make a counter. That is a teaching of O sensei, he never taught how to neutralize throws, zero power and such strange concepts. He developed methodology that is adapted to aikido goals.

I believe that aikidoka are not interested to prove any superiority, so I agree that nobody can throw you, you can bit up all aikidoka in the world, particularly with weapons, aikido is useless for street fighting, and your teaching methods are the best.

Now you can quietly go to UFC, K1 or other more appropriate MMA activities, where ppl trying to prove it by fighting with each other. That will be perfect place for you.
cheers

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-27-2006, 09:22 AM
It's just a discussion, no-one is being forced to follow one path or another. People who wish, have the information coming at them that they might never have seen were it not for this forum. Others can ignore it. I don't think it is a good idea to try and stifle this discussion, partly because in any case the person posting (in this case you) is also making blatant assumptions about what aikido is.

Mike Sigman
11-27-2006, 09:52 AM
Little anecdote from my dojo. Abe Seiseki sensei doesn't do big throws. And it finally dawned on me that really, there isn't a particular need to actually throw. So he does an almost invisible movement, which takes center, and that is it. From there, anything else goes. People stand there waiting to be bodily thrown. But that's not the purpose of the exercise. Response is. He wants the other to do something once the center is taken: drop down and attack his leg, or otherwise respond, getting back center while continuing the attack. He asks people to do ushiro ukemi once they have responded, but the ukemi is up to the person, just practice in rolling, massage of the joints, the skin, overall loosening up. Not the result of the "technique".


Duke Mu of Chin said to Po Lo: 'You are now advanced in years. Is there any member of your family whom I could employ to look for horses in your stead?' Po Lo replied: 'A good horse can be picked out by its general build and appearance. But the superlative horse - one that raises no dust and leaves no tracks - is something evanescent and fleeting, elusive as thin air. The talents of my sons lie on a lower plane altogether; they call tell a good horse when they see one, but they cannot tell a superlative horse. I have a friend, however, one Chin-fang Kao, a hawker of fuel and vegetables, who in things appertaining to horses is nowise my inferior. Pray see him.'
Duke Mu did so, and subsequently dispatched him on the quest for a steed. Three months later, lie returned with the news that lie had found one. 'It is now in Shach'iu,' he added.' What kind of a horse is it?'asked the Duke. 'Oh, it is a dun-colored mare,' was the reply. However, someone being sent to fetch it, the annual turned out to be a coal-black stallion! Much displeased, the Duke sent for Po Lo. 'That friend of yours,' lie said, 'whom I commissioned to look for a horse, has made a fine mess of it. Why, lie cannot even distinguish a beast's color or sex! What oil earth can he know about horses?' Po Lo heaved a sigh of satisfaction. 'Has he really got as far as that?' he cried. 'Ah, then he is worth ten thousand of me put together. There is no comparison between us. What Kao keeps in view is the spiritual mechanism. hi making sure of the essential, he forgets the homely details; intent on the inward qualities, lie loses sight of the external. He sees what he wants to see, and not what he does not want to see. He looks at the things he ought to look at, and neglects those that need not be looked at. So clever a judge of horses is Kao, that lie has it in him to judge something better than horses.'
When the horse arrived, it turned out indeed to be a superlative animal.

from J.D. Salinger: "Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters"

Jim Sorrentino
11-27-2006, 10:27 AM
Hello Cady,Jim, do you -- as Dan describes -- ask someone to fight instead of train with you.
Try attacking your opponent on the way down or over.
Try retainging retained pressures in your body where you bounce and keep the tensions more inside
Try taking them into a guard on the way down
When they lock you, absorb it, and head-butt them or kick them in the nuts.?

If so, that's great because it means you aren't just taking ukemi (whether rolling out or slapping mats!). It's possible to train this way with control and without wrecking each other.

I've just yet to see an aikido dojo that trains this way.Well, please come on over the next time you're in the DC area. In my dojo, we do try attacking our partners on the way down or over, if they present an opening to do so. We do the same thing with taking them into a guard (or some other kaeshi-waza) if the opening is there.

What do you (and Dan) mean by "retaining retained pressures in your body where you bounce and keep the tensions more inside"? If you mean "absorbing an attempted lock and using the power from the partner doing the locking" to exploit an opening, yes, we do that, too.

As far as head-butting and groin-kicking, we stay aware of those potential openings and avoid offering them. (As an aside, Mike Lasky, our dojo's technical adviser, trained occasionally with the late Terry Dobson. Dobson used to throw a back-fist at the crotch of anyone who did irimi-nage on him and failed to step through. We avoid presenting that opening.) If someone attempts to lock me or freeze my technique and I see an opening, I will attack it.
Here's the description of aikido posted on Ikeda's dojo website:

Aikido is not primarily a system of combat, but rather a means of self-cultivation and improvement. Aikido has no tournaments, competitions, contests, or "sparring." Instead, all aikido techniques are learned cooperatively at a pace commensurate with the abilities of each trainee. According to the founder, the goal of aikido is not the defeat of others, but the defeat of the negative characteristics which inhabit one's own mind and inhibit its functioning.But have you visited his dojo, or taken any classes with him? And if you attended a seminar at which he taught, did you get a chance to put your hands on him? I expect more from you than, "I saw it on the web." ;)
I still have my doubts about aikido being in any way a "system of combat." Especially when the description goes on to state that there is no "sparring" or way to test one's skill. Without actual combative practice, one never can cultivate the responses and proactive conditioning necessary to make one's skills practical and applicable in combat.

Cooperation does not make for adversarial conditions that emulate real-life confrontation. "Sparring" or at least stepped-up attacks -- hands-on application of technique under unpredictable conditions and stresses -- is crucial to conditioning. Furthermore, practioners must let themselves be confronted with increasing levels of aggression, beyond their present ability to handle it. Like weight-lifting, you have to "break down tissue to rebuild as something stronger."

If you want to condition for combat, you must train actively for it. Cooperative "exchange of energy" isn't going to cut it. This is something I have observed and practiced for 30 years, and for two decades before I met Dan. It's just basic combat sense.Well, this brings me back to your (and Dan's) first question: do I "ask someone to fight instead of train with [me]". Leaving aside your "cooperative 'exchange of energy'" straw-man, my answer is no, I don't. When you ask someone to fight, that's the beginning of a duel. I would rather prepare for an ambush. I do not deny that competition is one tool that we may use to prepare for combat --- but it is one way, not the way.

The following is from a letter from Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite, to Michael Harries, another senior firearms instructor. It is quite applicable to the question of the value of sparring.

Back in the Dark Ages, when we began practical pistol competition, we did not know what we were up against. How should we have known, with no precedent to teach us?

As you and I have both discovered, the problems in putting the art together may not be insurmountable, but they are dreadfully daunting.

A. Well-conducted competition is the only path to excellence in the combat arts. This concept is beyond the military, the police or any public program. The question is not whether a certain number of people can be brought up to a certain level, but just how high that level can be placed. This can only be determined by individual competition.

B. Competition, however, brings out the worst in people, who, in general, do not seek excellence, but rather recognition. Excellence and recognition can only be brought into coincidence by an authoritarian program conducted by a person or persons in whom the principles of the exercise are exemplified.

These two discoveries conflict with each other, as we found out right away, and our efforts failed, both nationally and internationally.

In my opinion, the practice and teaching methods of aikido (as I have experienced them) recognize this conflict, and seek to produce proficiency and excellence in the practitioner by choosing a third path which transcends either solo kata or competition against another, by directing the competitive urge into a contest with oneself. The proficient aikidoka must excel in the role of uke as well as nage. This goes directly against the desire to win (by mastering a game ) that sparring inevitably inculcates (see Discovery B above).

You and I have trained in martial arts for about the same time. I began with Uechi-ryu karate-do in 1977 (with Bob Galeone), and continued with aikido in 1984 (with Saotome-sensei). I've also taken firearms courses at Gunsite, and with John Farnam and John Pepper as well. I am willing to match my understanding of "basic combat sense" with yours. Incidentally, I spent most of the summer of 1981 in Okinawa practicing Uechi-ryu. One evening after class, one of the instructors showed me a letter from a senior American Uechi-ryu teacher. The Okinawan instructor said to me, "This man tells everyone he has been training for twenty years. As far as we in Okinawa are concerned, he has been training one year, twenty times!" My interest in this discussion (despite the contempt you and Dan often display for aikido) is to make sure that the Okinawan teacher's comment never applies to me --- I'm sure you understand.

Jim

DaveS
11-27-2006, 10:50 AM
Ppl who try to neutralize all throws become simply stiff and rigid. Aikido is about developing strong, flexible body that can generate power by focus and coordination all its elements. Rolling forward and backward is one of important tools in this process. It develops also special spirit of non-resistance in the moment of contact. This way of practice let student understand useless of competition,
It's funny you should say that, because I was about to mention that one of the skills that comes to the fore in shodokan randori (both competitive and semi-cooperative) is neutralizing an attempted throw by being soft and moving with the applied force, relaxing, bending, twisting and redirecting in such a way that you stay on posture. Playing with an experienced nage (which I'm not - I'm picking this up from experience of being thrown not of throwing), becoming stiff and rigid will only help you for a very limited amount of time - about as long as it takes them to adapt their technique to move with your resistance rather than against it.

On the other hand, when something comes on that's too good to slip out of, you quickly learn the value of good breakfalls too...

Oh, and a side question coming from one of Dan's comments - what are the rules in shiai bouts regarding grabbing onto nage (or tanto, I suppose, if they're going for a throw) while they throw so that if their balance is bad they fall over too? Is it rewarded because it's considered a legitimate way of encouraging people to stay on posture while they throw or penalised as being against the spirit of the thing?

James Davis
11-27-2006, 10:53 AM
"Television commercial"?????? You're just a puppy. When I was a kid, if we wanted a drink of water, we had to make our own by combining Hydrogen and Oxygen.
Must have hurt like all get out! :uch:

Jim Sorrentino
11-27-2006, 11:19 AM
Hi Dan,Jim Writes
These always correspond to real value in actual combat and to very great efficacy Just to be clear, I was quoting E.J. Harrison's comments on the usefulness of aikido in chapter seven of "The Fighting Spirit of Japan". And yes, I have re-read the chapter about Harrison's encounters with aiki. I look forward to discussing it with you at a future date, as long as we're not going engage in an ear-pulling match. ;)
Jim
I'm pretty sure you and Cady.....are using a different definition of combatives. To be clear, when she said "combatives" I think she meant different things then you are prepared to discuss as normal in your regular training. Not saying good or bad- just methods and approaches.
For instance when Is the last time you punched someone square in the face in your dojo? Or even tried in a repeated fashion without let up when they were trying to enter-in.
Heck when was the last time you sincerely ....tried....to punch someone in the mouth for trying to joint lock you?Saturday, November 25 --- but my partner (a senior law enforcement officer, much tougher than I) blocked my attempt.
And since it is the standard shtick and written about and discussed "that aikido techniques are too dangerous not to take ukemi and can kill." Just what do you think you posses as a skill set that would cause me much "danger" at all were I to fight you?That's not my shtick, as those who know me will tell you. As for my "skill set", I'd rely on surprise and ruthlessness, given that you outweigh me by around 60 pounds, and have far more experience in the combative sports arena than I. ;)
For me "practicing ukemi is an entire discipline of recieving you while fighting. Not, let me be clear, ...NOT.....practicing falling down.
I'm not going to get into it on the net but there is a dynamic in the body, that changes you when you are not giving in but fighting back. It has to do with the effect of intent on the frame and connection. You will neither act the same or be perceived the same. I agree with you. In my practice, ukemi is active, not passive, and is more concerned with the potential for achieving reversals than "falling safely".
And though I have heard many teachers blather about ukemi I've not heard many at all talk about what Intent and framing does to deconstruct the attack of the attacker.
Ukemi as I've seen it from 8th dans is for Martial arts dupes.Maybe you need to see (and feel) a few more eighth dan. Or if you can deign to lower yourself :), a seventh dan like Ikeda-sensei, or a couple of sixth dan in my neck of the woods. By the way, it's comments like that one that make you so lovable. ;)
Rolls and breakfalls and such I show and make sure men have it, but that is about 5% of Ukemi. You practice to get them and burn them in. Then spend the rest of your days making dam sure it doesn't happen.But since nobody is infallible, it's nice to know you've got that five percent, isn't it?
And Ellis? I've spent some time in detailed discusions with Ellis about his ideas of Ukemi. I think you may be confusing his ideas for better "Aikido Ukemi" as opposed to his ideas for actual fighting.Ellis has answered you to my satisfaction. :) (Thanks, Ellis!)

See you on the mat eventually, I hope!

Jim

G DiPierro
11-27-2006, 12:08 PM
Ukemi as I've seen it from 8th dans is for Martial arts dupes.

Maybe you need to see (and feel) a few more eighth dan. Or if you can deign to lower yourself , a seventh dan like Ikeda-sensei, or a couple of sixth dan in my neck of the woods. By the way, it's comments like that one that make you so lovable.

Jim, I've taken ukemi for nearly a half-dozen Aikikai 8-dans and I generally agree with his statement. My opinion is that all but one of these teachers expect and require their ukes to "give" them the technique. In other words, if I were to realisitically attack them rather than just letting them take control of my center, they could not throw me. I don't know Dan, but based on his posts, I'd guess that if they can't throw me, they probably can't throw him either.

Giancarlo DiPierro

Thomas Campbell
11-27-2006, 12:51 PM
Thomas...not you too?


[snip]

I give up

Don't give up, Dan. I'm sorry if my meaning wasn't clear. What I intended to say is that in my own jujutsu training we did in fact focus primarily on the fall: first surviving the impact, then working for position to escape or counterattack after the throw. The idea of attacking the thrower on the way down was not something I encountered in that practice.

As far as not being thrown in the first place, sure we played around with footwork and avoiding the set-up for the throw. But we didn't actively cultivate the sorts of internal body skill you and others have written about in this context. My coach was pretty skilled, but back then for me it was more blind repetition and haphazard experimentation, not systematic exploration.

So I've had my eyes opened to a couple of important (and for me, new) considerations by this thread. Thanks.

DH
11-27-2006, 01:28 PM
Hi Tom
We'll have to wait till we get together to hash it out. I still want to keep it with just a the few who will do the work. The ideas are complex and the training painful and difficult. I have a couple of Aikido guys trying it here now and I'm meeting two more next week. Their trying to figure out how they can use it in Aikido and not be considered uncooperative or jerks in the dojo. I'll leave that up to them to work it in to their training styles as they see fit.
Some readers here are reducing it to street fighting and biting (of all things) because its all they can see..Its the same with internal skills and telling someone they can be pracitcally unlockable or throwable if they train a different way. They never trained that way so they can't see that either. The ukemi that is not taking ukemi is a measured training regimen and alot of work to change the way you receive force and what you do with it. What folks see as the HEART of it- strikes and such- aren't at all. They are "add-ons"...which have little to do with the intent of body conditioning and mental training in dealing with force and actively attacking. Anyway you can look at Systema and though yu will see a different body mechanic a similar idea of not being willing to go over and not collapsing structure but hitting and moving around force is still there. The attacking while going over was not my point at all. Its a very small part. Anyway, just about the whole idea of it being UFC fighting as key is backward and a crude understanding of the idea i was presenting. The body training... and creating that body... is key.

Cheers
Dan

DH
11-27-2006, 01:54 PM
deleate double post

Thomas Campbell
11-27-2006, 02:15 PM
Hi Tom
[snip]The ideas are complex and the training painful and difficult. I have a couple of Aikido guys trying it here now and I'm meeting two more next week. Their trying to figure out how they can use it in Aikido and not be considered uncooperative or jerks in the dojo. I'll leave that up to them to work it in to their training styles as they see fit.
Some readers here are reducing it to street fighting and biting (of all things) because its all they can see..Its the same with internal skills[snip]alot of work to change the way you receive force and what you do with it. What folks see as the HEART of it- strikes and such- aren't at all. They are "add-ons"...which have little to do with the intent of body conditioning and mental training in dealing with force and actively attacking.
[snip] The attacking while going over was not my point at all. Its a very small part. Anyway, just about the whole idea of it being UFC fighting as key is backward and a crude understanding of the idea i was presenting. The body training... and creating that body... is key.

Cheers
Dan

Not to minimize the physical effort and pain, but it seems like the primary beginning change in training is mental . . . in the sense of a paradigm shift. That sets up the motivation and framework for understanding the body conditioning and training.

Not easy. It's good that aikidoka working from your point of view are left to integrate/incorporate their insights and physical training into how they practice and teach aikido. It will be interesting to see how it goes (and best of luck to them).

Michael Douglas
11-27-2006, 02:17 PM
Great thread.
I didn't even know I'd started one.

They all look amazingly the same.
And slapping the mat in breakfalls. :D
Or maybe you just do the softer style that gently rolls along
Or maybe not.
I'm sure yours is different.;)
Dan
Yes.


We learn to slap because it gets the body into a safer position when landing. It supposedly also distributes the force when landing. Again, this is a safety tactic so that a student doesn't end up landing on their head and/or neck.
Mark can you explain with a couple of technique examples how the slapping or intention to slap gets one into a safer position falling than if one doesn't slap. Thanks.

"Real Men" (tm) don't need to worry about it. ;)
Funny.


Why is there no serious vested interest in teaching your students to incrementally stop you dead in your tracks?
Gold. I'd like some pointers on how to INCREMENTALLY train better stuff. I use the word 'stuff' to avoid words like 'resistance', 'balance', 'ukemi', etc even though I kinda mean them.

Dennis Hooker
11-27-2006, 02:46 PM
You consider aikido to be a combat art?


Hay Cady you cutie I don't.

Of course I don't agree that most of the other crap out there is combat art either. Folks agreeing to interact within cretin parameters. For combat give me a gun, I am highly qualified in that area. Short of that I agree to operate within parameters just like everyone else. I hate Aikido that is some kind of bastardized jujitsu with make-believe winners and losers. Folks don't know what they are doing or why they are doing it and it makes for a very weak ass art. It also gives a since of self worth that is greatly out of proportion with reality. Just so folks see me as an equal optometry prick I don't think much of those arts that offer pain as a badge of skill either. I don't believe pain makes you stronger. If it did I would be one strong dude. Pain hurts and if it is unnecessary hurt it is worse than useless it is destructive. No pain no gain is bullshit, it leads to joint replacement in later life.

Oh and as for slapping the ground or concrete or any other hard surface it is a bad idea. Use the soles of you foot if you can and hopefully you will be wearing a shoe. Baring that I hang on and hope when he lands on me I don't break any more ribs like in the judo days.

Dennis (a self made man, a product of unskilled labor) Hooker

Jim Sorrentino
11-27-2006, 02:58 PM
Giancarlo,Yes, I have taken ukemi for [Saotome-sensei]. Once. He did not have a good experience, and declined to try it again.I forgot to ask, when and where do you claim that this occurred?

Jim

Dennis Hooker
11-27-2006, 03:07 PM
Giancarlo,I forgot to ask, when and where do you claim that this occurred?

Jim

It doesnít matter Jim. For this guy to say this it is obvious to me he demonstrated a total lack of skill (or he is lying) and Sensei, being the gentleman he is, did not wish to hurt him or cause him more embarrassment. That is why he would not use him a second time.

Cady Goldfield
11-27-2006, 04:58 PM
Hay Cady you cutie I don't.

Of course I don't agree that most of the other crap out there is combat art either. Folks agreeing to interact within cretin parameters. For combat give me a gun, I am highly qualified in that area. Short of that I agree to operate within parameters just like everyone else. I hate Aikido that is some kind of bastardized jujitsu with make-believe winners and losers. Folks don't know what they are doing or why they are doing it and it makes for a very weak ass art. It also gives a since of self worth that is greatly out of proportion with reality. Just so folks see me as an equal optometry prick I don't think much of those arts that offer pain as a badge of skill either. I don't believe pain makes you stronger. If it did I would be one strong dude. Pain hurts and if it is unnecessary hurt it is worse than useless it is destructive. No pain no gain is bullshit, it leads to joint replacement in later life.

Oh and as for slapping the ground or concrete or any other hard surface it is a bad idea. Use the soles of you foot if you can and hopefully you will be wearing a shoe. Baring that I hang on and hope when he lands on me I don't break any more ribs like in the judo days.

Dennis (a self made man, a product of unskilled labor) Hooker

Hey, Dennis (no slacker in the "cutie" department yourself). I would expect a commonsense reply like that from you, because you actually have undergone the proverbial Martial Arts Baptism by Fire, unlike some of the young pups who aren't housebroken yet around here. They'll learn, I hope. Maybe by the time they're 40 or 50. :D

I agree about the pain thing, if that pain is accompanied by damage. There is painful training without damage, believe it or not, and sometimes you have to feel it to know how the technique is being done. But training with painful damage... such as slapping hard surfaces or plunging fists into hot sand... because one thinks it "toughens" them, is completely useless and stoopid.

James Davis
11-27-2006, 05:06 PM
Jim, I've taken ukemi for nearly a half-dozen Aikikai 8-dans and I generally agree with his statement. My opinion is that all but one of these teachers expect and require their ukes to "give" them the technique. In other words, if I were to realisitically attack them rather than just letting them take control of my center, they could not throw me. I don't know Dan, but based on his posts, I'd guess that if they can't throw me, they probably can't throw him either.

Giancarlo DiPierro
You're expected to give up your center because it is a class, not a fight. I've had students that liked to tussle around and resist being thrown, and I could still throw them... eventually. In the time that we moved around and fought for leverage, my class learned nothing. By making it not about "winning or losing" and practicing his fall, the class saw what the technique was supposed to look like. On star trek, they say resistance is futile. My students would probably say that resistance is boring!

If you train the dog to drop the ball so that it can be thrown again, the fetch game goes more smoothly. If you wrest the ball from the dog's mouth, it won't prove anything to the dog; It just becomes part of the game. ;)

Mike Sigman
11-27-2006, 05:49 PM
Of course I don't agree that most of the other crap out there is combat art either. Folks agreeing to interact within cretin parameters. For combat give me a gun, I am highly qualified in that area. Short of that I agree to operate within parameters just like everyone else. I hate Aikido that is some kind of bastardized jujitsu with make-believe winners and losersHi Dennis:

I pretty much agree with you and usually I don't comment in the "Bad Boys" posts, but this time I'm going to make an exception. All the really bad boys I've known over the years tend to keep their mouths shut about how "unbad" someone else might be ... because it might get you killed if you misjudged and real bad boys know that. So when I see someone talking about "real fighting" and how others don't do it, I tend to just shrug it off. I figure they haven't seen enough dead people and don't know better.

FWIW

Mike

Cady Goldfield
11-27-2006, 08:06 PM
But, there is training that comes close to the level of stress and pressure you'd face in a life-or-death situation. The oldest of arts were developed as disciplines for killing, maiming and/or forcibly controlling. In order to stay true to those arts and to preserve their integrity, those who preserve those arts must train in the methods. They have no intention of ever killing or harming anyone with them, yet they must do what must be done to keep the system's integrity.

When one is training "to speed" in such things, the adrenaline and feeling of "floating in the grace zone" where motion and time seem to telescope out of their normal bounds, feels just like what you feel "in real life" confrontations (which I have experienced and can compare).

It has nothing to do with "We Bad," but "we must train to instill."

Mike Sigman
11-27-2006, 08:09 PM
The real bad guys don't talk so much, Cady.

Cady Goldfield
11-27-2006, 08:22 PM
You'd be surprised, Mike. Some of the real bad guys do not fit the stereotypical mold of real bad guys.

Hey, wasn't this supposed to be a thread about ground slapping? Boy, we have a hard time staying on topic. :p

xuzen
11-27-2006, 09:37 PM
SLAP mat hard = Old Wives' Tale
Simple studies in exercise physiology may reveal the falacity of the belief that slapping things, plunging hands into sand, and all that stuff does anything other than kill nerves so you can't feel pain from the damage you are doing.
Hmmm... I can understand your reasoning wrt plunging hands into sand, but slapping of mats equals to harming forearms? Come on.. I don't buy into it. Last I check, my forearm nerves are still functioning within physiological limits, thank you.

If slapping mats equals harming forearms, by now Judo nagewaza would have been banned by the medical fraternity.

But then again, people do weird stuff with their diets, and take herbs whose shape looks like a human liver, in the belief that an herb "shaped like a liver" must somehow do things to strengthen a liver! This is superstition, not knowledge.

Yeah, silly people. My granny used to tell me to take pig's brain double broilled with eggs to make me smarter... I refuse to take them, because it taste horrible (yuck) and not to mention how this dish will screw up your body cholesterol levels.

Boon.

G DiPierro
11-28-2006, 01:02 AM
Jim,

I°«m not sure how my relationship with Kanai-sensei has anything to do with this discussion or the question of whether I could stop the technique of any other shihan. But I guess all you have left in this debate is argument ad hominem. Not surprising, really, since you tried to do the same thing to Dan, and in almost the same exact way.

But since you are again belaboring this issue of rank and affiliation as you did with Dan, let me say now for the record, since for some reason it is not obvious despite the fact that I make no statements suggesting any rank or formal affiliation whatsoever on my website, that I make no claim of rank from Kanai-sensei nor do I make any claim of formal affiliation to him or to any organization to which he belonged. So that there is absolutely no confusion on this point, let me also say here that I do not currently teach or practice his characteristic °»style°… of aikido at my dojo.

As for not taking ukemi for him, I can assure you that the irony of the fact that I have physically felt the technique of every other direct student of the founder that I have trained with but never that of Kanai-sensei is not lost on me. However, he was very selective about who he used for uke. At one seminar I attended I recall that he used only one uke for the entire seminar, and it was his senior North American student, now also a shihan and 7-dan. He also did not go around demonstrating the technique on other students like many teachers do. So make of that what you will.

If you want to know when and where the incident with Saotome happened, ask around the ASU. People saw it. Although I°«m sure they remember it much differently than I did since, for ASU people (like Dennis Hooker), it couldn°«t possibly be true that anyone actually stopped Saotome°«s technique. Obviously I must be lying or the reason he couldn°«t throw me was that °»he didn°«t want to hurt me.°… Sure. If you really want to know what happened, why don°«t you just ask Saotome himself? He is your teacher, right?

Let°«s face it, the real issue here is that if you believe that nobody can stop Saotome°«s (or anyone else°«s) technique then you obviously don°«t train with any kind of real resistance. Those who do know that having your technique stopped is not uncommon and is actually not that big of a deal anyway. However, most teachers, even at the 8-dan level, do not train with real resistance, and as a result, they are wholly unprepared for it when they get it. It should be no surprise then that the ukemi their students are trained to take is not realistic, which was the original point that Dan made and which I agreed with.

But, Jim, I suppose it°«s better to keep bringing the discussion back to matters that have no bearing whatsoever on that issue, like who my iaido teacher is, since that way maybe nobody will realize that all of these things that Dan and other people are saying are true.

Best regards,
Giancarlo DiPierro

raul rodrigo
11-28-2006, 02:21 AM
Giancarlo:

So assuming for the moment you were able to stop a technique by Saotome shihan, what does that make you? Ninth dan?

xuzen
11-28-2006, 03:59 AM
Speaking of stopping a technique on a teacher, no biggie. My aikido teacher says, there is no shame in changing the technique to deal with the everchanging circumstances. He would simply just henka to a different technique.

Boon.

raul rodrigo
11-28-2006, 04:11 AM
Speaking of stopping a technique on a teacher, no biggie. My aikido teacher says, there is no shame in changing the technique to deal with the everchanging circumstances. He would simply just henka to a different technique. Boon.

Exactly. Any uke can stop a technique that he knows is coming. And any nage with any skill just changes the technique to take the advantage of the suki opened up by the uke's resistance. For someone to crow that he was able to stop Saotome from doing a technique, he would have to be pretty clueless about exactly what is going on. For a shihan to not call on such an uke again is not necessarily a sign of that uke's superior skills. It could just be a sign that the shihan realizes there is no point in trying to teach a class with an uke suffering from ego problems. An Aikikai Hombu instructor, 6th dan, made this exact same point in a recent seminar I attended. And trust me, he had no trouble flattening anyone there who was trying to resist (me included). He just didn't see the point in engaging in a contest when he was there to teach.

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-28-2006, 06:42 AM
Raul, in principle I agree with you that if you know it is coming you can make life hard for the other guy. But there are 2 provisos: 1) you and he both use the correct body mechanics, and 2) you are fairly close in skill level. For 1) it doesn't matter how strong you might be or how well you know the technique is coming, you won't be able to stop it if the other uses better body mechanics than you do. For 2) if you use same body mechanics (right or wrong) life is tough - now, if both are using (or attempting to use) the right mechanics, then the extra work is very good for both of you. I would not say changing the technique is necessary, since the preparation for it (kuzushi) is pretty much invisible. But if that kuzushi fails (see points above) then some gross body motion might be needed to get back one's own structural integrity and "try again". Mostly I've found lately a matter of opening up joints again that started to close (or collapse).

To make a point about slapping or not: I've found that keeping joints open, and noticing this, during the fall, makes the whole fall softer than anything a forced "round shape" could do so far. Slapping in this same manner from the body results in something like an atemi to the ground which of course sends back energy into the body to say the feet or at least hara, but does not "relax" the arms so that the fingers get whipped onto the mat or concrete. I've experimented with this quite happily on concrete and tarmac and if the focus is not on slapping with the palm of the hand but in the same manner as an extended arm for kokyu-ho or aiki-age, powered by say the lower back rather than the shoulder or the momentum of the throw, there does not seem to be any damage and energy can be played with.

raul rodrigo
11-28-2006, 06:49 AM
Gernot, you're right. My only addition is I'm still trying to understand what the "correct body mechanics" really is, and it will take me several more years to get anywhere.

As for slapping: over the past couple of years we've been consciously removing it from our practice because, yes, an arm extended in a kokyu manner is more effective and softer.

Aran Bright
11-28-2006, 06:51 AM
What do you mean about opening up your joints? Say for example the elbow, do you mean to straighten if bent or extending along the length of the arm?

Dennis Hooker
11-28-2006, 07:49 AM
Jim,


If you want to know when and where the incident with Saotome happened, ask around the ASU. People saw it. Although I°«m sure they remember it much differently than I did since, for ASU people (like Dennis Hooker), it couldn°«t possibly be true that anyone actually stopped Saotome°«s technique. Obviously I must be lying or the reason he couldn°«t throw me was that °»he didn°«t want to hurt me.°… Sure. If you really want to know what happened, why don°«t you just ask Saotome himself? He is your teacher, right?


Best regards,
Giancarlo DiPierro

I will be with Saotome Sensei in a few weeks but I would not ask him. You made the blatant statement so we are asking you. I can state from personal experience sometimes when teaching a seminar I get an unfriendly uke or someone that thinks he has the right stuff. I got a couple of choices; 1, Go ahead and do the technique and to hell with safety 2, muddle through trying not to hurt the guy or 3 three just walk away. Usually the jerk has seen me do the technique on someone else so it is very easy to counter even if in a clumsy way. What would you expect a Shihan like Saotome to do? Hurt you? In my 40 or so years of Aikido I have been on the mat with every Shihan in America living and dead since the 1960s and in my experience they only hurt their own students to teach a needed lesson. There would be no value or point in forcing the issue. Liar might have been a wrong word. Delusional and inexperienced might have been better words.

cguzik
11-28-2006, 09:12 AM
This has been an interesting thread. A couple of points came to mind that I'd like to add:

Regarding stopping a teacher at a seminar - I will be the first to admit that I have trouble listening at the same time I am talking. I think this is the case for most people. When I go to a seminar, I am there to listen and learn. And most of the time, the teacher has something in particular they are trying to teach. If I choose to resist in order to test the teacher (even if my motivation in doing so is for example to learn how the teacher deals with my resistance - which is a perfectly valid motive), I communicate to the teacher and everyone else present that my topic of choice (e.g., how does this teacher deal with my resistance) takes precedence over what the teacher is trying to show. This is arrogant and disrespectful behavior. There is a time and place for testing yourself with the help of your teacher - which may take the form of resisting your teacher. But that time and place is not in a public seminar where they are trying to teach something else.

Furthermore, this directly relates to what it means to execute appropriate ukemi. Appropriate ukemi is exactly what is required to bring about an interaction that exhibits the lesson at hand. That lesson is chosen by the teacher. It is the student's job to observe what the teacher is doing and attempt to discern what and how they should be practicing in order to learn what the teacher is teaching. The most difficult job of being uke for the teacher when they demonstrate is to adapt to what they are trying to show and move appropriately, without presumption and still staying safe in a martially valid way. This is something that I know I am not very good at. I admire those who can pull it off.

Now, sometimes the lesson at hand is how to use structure, mechanics, breath, movement, ... to neutralize resistance. Sometimes the lesson at hand is adapting in randori. Sometimes it is to learn why the technique nage is supposed to be doing (based on what the teacher showed) is appropriate based on what uke does. This may take some trial and error, but this is a different kind of testing on uke's part - and nage must be actively involved.

As for slapping, if the purpose of the slap is to distribute the force of the fall, it would seem better to slap with the whole body... as long as the body maintains a structure that can distribute the force safely without centralizing the impact into one vulnerable area. That said - slapping does not increase the force of the impact either. The only way for that to happen would be for slapping to somehow change the mass of the falling body or the acceleration of gravity. But it does localize the force rather than distribute it. I think there are ways to make contact with the arm softly - before the whole body hits - and begin the distribution of force earlier, which is what the soft breakfalls do.

Best,

Chris

Dennis Hooker
11-28-2006, 09:31 AM
Well said Chris.

[QUOTE=Chris Guzik]This has been an interesting thread. A couple of points came to mind that I'd like to add:

heathererandolph
11-28-2006, 09:35 AM
I agree with what you said. Although it sometimes bothers me when a student seems very obedient during demonstration then when I go to throw that person during practice they seem just the opposite! I think"what happened?" I don't really want students to be nice just for the sake of demonstration. It's good to feel that the technique is being effective. Some uke seem to specialize in being difficult. Being difficult has it's time and place, but for some students I think it might hinder their learning experience to be difficult because it takes the focus off of their own learning and puts it onto their partner.

DonMagee
11-28-2006, 09:44 AM
This seems to be a concern only to arts that do not have sparing. In judo or bjj. If the instructor is using me for a demo, I am going to go along with his instruction and attempt to make him look good doing it. If I question his instruction, there is sparing time to get with him and see what he is all about. Judo and BJJ instructors that are above getting on the mat and throwing and tapping their students (unless they are age or injury limited) are not really worth my time.

Is this a common problem in the tomiki branch of aikido where they do have a means to test their teachers ability? I would have to guess probably not.

G DiPierro
11-28-2006, 09:54 AM
OK fine, I didn°«t want to go into details but obviously people are all imagining this happened in whatever way fits their assumptions. So here°«s what actually happened. About 15 minutes into the first class of a seminar, Saotome sees that my partners are having difficulty with the technique (another issue entirely), and walks over to me extending his hands for ryotetori. I had, of course, never taken ukemi for him before in the other times I had trained with him.

I gave him my standard grab that I would give a shihan in such a case. I°«m not trying to resist him, per se, at this point, but I°«m also not just giving him my center. I want to see what he°«s got, but I have no need to show him up in front of his students either. They are paying to see him teach, not to see me shut him down, so I°«m going to let him throw me if actually does something that would move my center, which should not be too hard for someone at his level. This is what I would do with almost any teacher on the first attack.

However, after I grabbed him, but before he actually tried to move me, he looks down at my hands, looks back up at me, and says °»grab strong.°… I took that as an invitation to try to shut him down, and as challenge to do so. Remember, he had not tried to move me yet but was already asking for more resistance. OK, you got it.

This was not a case of simply knowing what was coming. He tried the first technique, and when that didn°«t go, tried about 4 or 5 more other ones (it°«s oyo henka, or freestyle, at this point), which also didn°«t work, then finally tried a judo-style sutemi waza where we both ended up on the ground, and he neither threw me or ended up with superior ground position there. At that point he was obviously getting quite frustrated with what was happening, but he had already laid down the gauntlet, so we had to play this out to the end, and he, of course, had to save face by eventually throwing me. So we stand up again and reset, he tries another 4 or 5 unsuccessful attempts to throw me, then finally gets off a clean throw, walks away, and doesn°«t try to throw me again the rest of the seminar.

Keep in mind that at no point was I trying to counter or throw him. I just gave my strongest grab, as he had asked for, in which I actively grounded all of his attempts to control my center. Yes, he finally got off a throw, but he had plenty of time and essentially I had already proved my point by then (which was: don°«t ask someone, and particularly me, for more resistance when you don°«t yet know how much you are getting), and so naturally I was already starting to ease up. We couldn't go on all day like that, and I know that I have to let him save face and eventually throw me here as well since that°«s how things are done with Japanese teachers.

After class I talked to him a bit and he told me that I was °»very strong.°… Certainly he didn°«t mean in a raw physical sense, since I don°«t weigh much more than 150 and haven°«t done any weight training in over a decade. So what°«s the point of all of this? Simply that Saotome does not train with resistance, nor do his students make any real attempts to resist him, and he was unprepared to deal with someone who does. This is par for the course for the Aikikai teachers I have trained with, including many other 8-dans. Does this make me °»better°… than him? Not necessarily, but I think it makes my training methodology better than his. He°«s got about 40 years of practice on me, but I°«m pretty sure that given the way I train, I°«ll be better than he is today in another 40 years, and probably in much less time than that.

Dennis Hooker
11-28-2006, 10:01 AM
Hello Don. At my dojo I encourage the judo, karate and Aikido folks to mix it up on occasion. It is by no means required but occasionally folks just need to see where they are really at. It is done in a friendly manner and sometimes the Aikido folk get the awaking they need to assist their further development

This seems to be a concern only to arts that do not have sparing.
Is this a common problem in the tomiki branch of aikido where they do have a means to test their teachers ability? I would have to guess probably not.

Dennis Hooker
11-28-2006, 10:18 AM
I will speak with him about this at first opportunity and if he confirms it an apology will be in order from me.

OK fine, I didn°«t want to go into details but obviously people are all imagining this happened in whatever way fits their assumptions. So here°«s what actually happened. About 15 minutes into the first class of a seminar, Saotome sees that my partners are having difficulty with the technique (another issue entirely), and walks over to me extending his hands for ryotetori. I had, of course, never taken ukemi for him before in the other times I had trained with him.

I gave him my standard grab that I would give a shihan in such a case. I°«m not trying to resist him, per se, at this point, but I°«m also not just giving him my center. I want to see what he°«s got, but I have no need to show him up in front of his students either. They are paying to see him teach, not to see me shut him down, so I°«m going to let him throw me if actually does something that would move my center, which should not be too hard for someone at his level. This is what I would do with almost any teacher on the first attack.

However, after I grabbed him, but before he actually tried to move me, he looks down at my hands, looks back up at me, and says °»grab strong.°… I took that as an invitation to try to shut him down, and as challenge to do so. Remember, he had not tried to move me yet but was already asking for more resistance. OK, you got it.

This was not a case of simply knowing what was coming. He tried the first technique, and when that didn°«t go, tried about 4 or 5 more other ones (it°«s oyo henka, or freestyle, at this point), which also didn°«t work, then finally tried a judo-style sutemi waza where we both ended up on the ground, and he neither threw me or ended up with superior ground position there. At that point he was obviously getting quite frustrated with what was happening, but he had already laid down the gauntlet, so we had to play this out to the end, and he, of course, had to save face by eventually throwing me. So we stand up again and reset, he tries another 4 or 5 unsuccessful attempts to throw me, then finally gets off a clean throw, walks away, and doesn°«t try to throw me again the rest of the seminar.

Keep in mind that at no point was I trying to counter or throw him. I just gave my strongest grab, as he had asked for, in which I actively grounded all of his attempts to control my center. Yes, he finally got off a throw, but he had plenty of time and essentially I had already proved my point by then (which was: don°«t ask someone, and particularly me, for more resistance when you don°«t yet know how much you are getting), and so naturally I was already starting to ease up. We couldn't go on all day like that, and I know that I have to let him save face and eventually throw me here as well since that°«s how things are done with Japanese teachers.

After class I talked to him a bit and he told me that I was °»very strong.°… Certainly he didn°«t mean in a raw physical sense, since I don°«t weigh much more than 150 and haven°«t done any weight training in over a decade. So what°«s the point of all of this? Simply that Saotome does not train with resistance, nor do his students make any real attempts to resist him, and he was unprepared to deal with someone who does. This is par for the course for the Aikikai teachers I have trained with, including many other 8-dans. Does this make me °»better°… than him? Not necessarily, but I think it makes my training methodology better than his. He°«s got about 40 years of practice on me, but I°«m pretty sure that given the way I train, I°«ll be better than he is today in another 40 years, and probably in much less time than that.

Mike Sigman
11-28-2006, 10:27 AM
It's a good story (true, skewed, etc., I don't care), but it makes a point that I've tried to make before. Limiting yourself to "throws" pretty much puts you in a too-limited-response position. I think I can probably stop most people from moving either themselves or me if we limit it to them trying to get a throw-technique in. If we open it up to other responses (say, including some of the sharper, more sudden percussive responses a la Shioda or using good atemi), I wouldn't make the bet. I know that if all bets are open, no one can hold me like that and they'd be foolish to try.

So yes, given where I know someone is going to limit their responses to attempting to throw me (even someone who has some jin skills, although the top-level guys are a different story), I can stop them. Not that I think it would show much more than given a known set of constraints I can mess up a demonstration-level technique. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Dennis Hooker
11-28-2006, 10:38 AM
It's a good story (true, skewed, etc., I don't care), but it makes a point that I've tried to make before. Limiting yourself to "throws" pretty much puts you in a too-limited-response position.
Mike


Hi Mike, I can't speak for other teachers but Saotome Sensei and the ASU instructors by no means are limited to throws. We hit and even kick. Ya some folks just can;t deal with that. However to hit or kick someone who is unaware of their openings proves little. We use strikes to hurt or destroy - to enter the mind through the body - or to enter the body through the mind. Some people are never aware of these openings and do not move to close them so making the technique next to impossible. A strike is in about 99 percent of the stuff we do even if it is not an overt strike but a subtle one relaying on intent rather than impact.

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-28-2006, 11:10 AM
I've started a new thread under Training on opening the joints (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=160082) since there were some questions (Posts #94 and #95), and anyway I think it's interesting, and separate from this discussion.

Thomas Campbell
11-28-2006, 11:14 AM
[snip]Well, you insulted my teacher's reputation with your spurious claim. [snip]

I don't think it would be accurate to call Mr. DiPierro's claim spurious without first checking with Mr. Saotome about his recollection (if any) of the exchange.

Robert Rumpf
11-28-2006, 11:15 AM
OK fine, I didn°«t want to go into details but obviously people are all imagining this happened in whatever way fits their assumptions. So here°«s what actually happened. About 15 minutes into the first class of a seminar, Saotome sees that my partners are having difficulty with the technique (another issue entirely), and walks over to me extending his hands for ryotetori. I had, of course, never taken ukemi for him before in the other times I had trained with him.

I gave him my standard grab that I would give a shihan in such a case. I°«m not trying to resist him, per se, at this point, but I°«m also not just giving him my center. I want to see what he°«s got, but I have no need to show him up in front of his students either. They are paying to see him teach, not to see me shut him down, so I°«m going to let him throw me if actually does something that would move my center, which should not be too hard for someone at his level. This is what I would do with almost any teacher on the first attack.

However, after I grabbed him, but before he actually tried to move me, he looks down at my hands, looks back up at me, and says °»grab strong.°… I took that as an invitation to try to shut him down, and as challenge to do so. Remember, he had not tried to move me yet but was already asking for more resistance. OK, you got it.

This was not a case of simply knowing what was coming. He tried the first technique, and when that didn°«t go, tried about 4 or 5 more other ones (it°«s oyo henka, or freestyle, at this point), which also didn°«t work, then finally tried a judo-style sutemi waza where we both ended up on the ground, and he neither threw me or ended up with superior ground position there. At that point he was obviously getting quite frustrated with what was happening, but he had already laid down the gauntlet, so we had to play this out to the end, and he, of course, had to save face by eventually throwing me. So we stand up again and reset, he tries another 4 or 5 unsuccessful attempts to throw me, then finally gets off a clean throw, walks away, and doesn°«t try to throw me again the rest of the seminar.

Keep in mind that at no point was I trying to counter or throw him. I just gave my strongest grab, as he had asked for, in which I actively grounded all of his attempts to control my center. Yes, he finally got off a throw, but he had plenty of time and essentially I had already proved my point by then (which was: don°«t ask someone, and particularly me, for more resistance when you don°«t yet know how much you are getting), and so naturally I was already starting to ease up. We couldn't go on all day like that, and I know that I have to let him save face and eventually throw me here as well since that°«s how things are done with Japanese teachers.

After class I talked to him a bit and he told me that I was °»very strong.°… Certainly he didn°«t mean in a raw physical sense, since I don°«t weigh much more than 150 and haven°«t done any weight training in over a decade. So what°«s the point of all of this? Simply that Saotome does not train with resistance, nor do his students make any real attempts to resist him, and he was unprepared to deal with someone who does. This is par for the course for the Aikikai teachers I have trained with, including many other 8-dans. Does this make me °»better°… than him? Not necessarily, but I think it makes my training methodology better than his. He°«s got about 40 years of practice on me, but I°«m pretty sure that given the way I train, I°«ll be better than he is today in another 40 years, and probably in much less time than that.

You should start giving seminars. Ohio is pretty centrally located.

Typically, when I've been told to "grab strong" that means that I should attack with an actual martial goal, or at the least to attack with a consistent and tenable connection, not with my goal being the countering of any movement away from the grabbed position, while ignoring the rest of nage's assets and my surroundings.

Did you actually try to attack Saotome-sensei, or just attack his technique? You're lucky he didn't kick you in the nuts, head butt you, or worse.

For what's it worth, I had exactly this same experience with a 1st kyu at my first dojo when I was maybe a 5th kyu during practice of kokyu tanden ho. I completely stopped his movement using pure stength. I felt SO proud of myself. It was only after class when it dawned on me what an idiot I was being and how useless of a partner I was.

This realization was reinforced when (at about the same point in my training) I shut down a shodan who was attempting to do ryotetori tenchinage. I grabbed lightly, and every time he would try to move, I'd force us back to that central position. He got extremely frustrated with me, but I thought I was just being a good uke.

He pointed out how vulnerable I was, how pointless his attempts at tenchinage would be with me being in my position and given my actions, how I was not helping him to learn, and how non-productive I was being in general. There were a lot of other things he could have said, that I know now, and maybe some other things he could have done to continue the scenario and I would not have learned the lesson I did.

I have since resolved to do better.

I'm very grateful to those seniors for being polite enough not to hurt me, and for not holding my rudeness and stupidity against me, and I try to remember that gratitude every time I am on the receiving end of this phase that practitioners inevitably go through.

There seems to always be a danger though for a practitioner to not grow out of this phase, to be stuck in this negation mode. I see that idea echoed in Harden's comments about becoming unthrowable, although I don't think that's at all what he really means. I think he means being unbeatable in sparring (or rolling, or whatever), and after all, sparring is just a game, and becoming unbeatable is a goal in learning a game.

This same idea of negation is what, I believe, is captured in that first koan in the Mumonkan, at least from what I can gather. The mistake people make is that they neglect the idea of the second.

Rob

Cady Goldfield
11-28-2006, 11:21 AM
Shouldn't one be able to effect a throw from a committed hand grab in aikido, by just connecting with the grabber? Or do you have to hit or kick to loosen the grab, first?

Robert Rumpf
11-28-2006, 12:04 PM
Shouldn't one be able to effect a throw from a committed hand grab in aikido, by just connecting with the grabber? Or do you have to hit or kick to loosen the grab, first?

That is why I said this (regarding my experiences with some prior sempai):

There were a lot of other things he could have said, that I know now, and maybe some other things he could have done to continue the scenario and I would not have learned the lesson I did.

The hit that I mentioned is not to loosen the grab, but to shatter or change the nature of the connection. A rude word would have done as well, most likely, and I've seen others do it with a glance, a tickle, or a bite. I suppose you could also do it via "body skills" or I'd most likely do it by inducing movement.

But, that's not the point that I was trying to make.

I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened between DiPierro and Saotome-sensei.. nor do I really care. Saotome-sensei needs no defense from the likes of me - the man is a phenomena, and if I could do Aikido 1/100th as well as him, than I would have nothing to fear on any mat. I was just relating experiences similar to the post, and what I've gained from it.

Rob

Fred Little
11-28-2006, 12:05 PM
Shouldn't one be able to effect a throw from a committed hand grab in aikido, by just connecting with the grabber? Or do you have to hit or kick to loosen the grab, first?

Cady,

It's a good question. But I'd back up one step and ask:

"What is a committed hand grab?"

Committed to what?

If the commitment is solely to holding nage off at a particular range, there is no commitment to attack and atemi is off the table, I think that's judo.

Matsumura Yoshio Sensei used to tell me to resist and hold him in place. Then he'd flip me like a pancake -- as lightly as you please -- and tell me that I he wanted me to firm up and resist more.

Admittedly, he had me grab at the collar and the elbow, so the shorter ma-ai gave him a little bit more to work with than simply ryotedori, but it was a different paradigm than typical aikido practice.

Perspective on the assumptions built in to the paradigms is one of the reasons I've long advocated supplemental training in judo at one point or another.

My .02

FL

DonMagee
11-28-2006, 12:22 PM
Hmm, a commited grab. It has not been in my personal experience that one grabs with the intent of just holding on. They usually grab with the intent to pull you closer, control a part of your body while they move, or to push you away. So in my mind, having someone grab you then stand there while you work a technique is really counter productive to real life. You should either intercept the grab before it happens, or once grabbed the uke should begin to pull you or push you, or move in a natural fashion to continue the attack. The grab itself is only a small part of a single committed attack. It is a setup for an attack, but not an attack itself.

For example, a judo guy does not simply grab you, he sucks you in, there is a constant pushing and pulling. A man on the street does not just hold your hand and look at you. He has a purpose for his grab. Maybe he is going to hit you with the other hand, maybe he is trying to clinch, etc.

So I guess my point is that a grab is not a commited attack (with the possible exception of grabbing to prevent a weapon being drawn, which at the range most grabs in aikido happen is not really realistic either). A grab should be part of another entire attack. If someone grabbed my hand strongly and stood there, I have no reason to use aikido. I am in no danger, there is no threat, and I could simply strike him to get him to move or let go. If a guy grabbed my hand strongly, pulled hard to bring me into his oncomming right fist, that is a committed attack, and one that requires me to act.

Dennis Hooker
11-28-2006, 12:29 PM
Shouldn't one be able to effect a throw from a committed hand grab in aikido, by just connecting with the grabber? Or do you have to hit or kick to loosen the grab, first?


Absolutely Cady! One should always be in a position to strike or kick but one does not always needed to do so. It is called the dead angle or ShiShikaku (sp?) and as uke attacks one should always move there leaving uke vulnerable by the sheer nature of the attack.

Kevin Wilbanks
11-28-2006, 12:44 PM
Hmm, a commited grab. It has not been in my personal experience that one grabs with the intent of just holding on. They usually grab with the intent to pull you closer, control a part of your body while they move, or to push you away. So in my mind, having someone grab you then stand there while you work a technique is really counter productive to real life. You should either intercept the grab before it happens, or once grabbed the uke should begin to pull you or push you, or move in a natural fashion to continue the attack. The grab itself is only a small part of a single committed attack. It is a setup for an attack, but not an attack itself.

For example, a judo guy does not simply grab you, he sucks you in, there is a constant pushing and pulling. A man on the street does not just hold your hand and look at you. He has a purpose for his grab. Maybe he is going to hit you with the other hand, maybe he is trying to clinch, etc.

So I guess my point is that a grab is not a commited attack (with the possible exception of grabbing to prevent a weapon being drawn, which at the range most grabs in aikido happen is not really realistic either). A grab should be part of another entire attack. If someone grabbed my hand strongly and stood there, I have no reason to use aikido. I am in no danger, there is no threat, and I could simply strike him to get him to move or let go. If a guy grabbed my hand strongly, pulled hard to bring me into his oncomming right fist, that is a committed attack, and one that requires me to act.

Well-written, Don.

Cady Goldfield
11-28-2006, 01:36 PM
Thanks for the input, Rob, Fred, Don and Dennis. By "committed," I mean, is the person putting strength in their arms and hands as they grab, with their body in it, too? It's not just a limp-armed, limp-handed clasp, is it? I'm thinking that if they are stepping forward, reaching and grabbing to pull or even to shove you, there should be some energy in their action, yes?

If yes, do you try to capture that incoming energy and use it?

odudog
11-28-2006, 02:15 PM
....However, after I grabbed him, but before he actually tried to move me, he looks down at my hands, looks back up at me, and says °»grab strong.°… I took that as an invitation to try to shut him down, and as challenge to do so. Remember, he had not tried to move me yet but was already asking for more resistance. OK, you got it.....

You mistook his words. He only said to grab strong and said nothing about trying to resist him. You must have given him a very limp grab initially. I tell new people to grab strong as well. When I do this, I'm asking only for the hand muscles to tighten up so that I can actually feel some connection there. When you resist, you also tighten up the muscles in the forearm and biceps. One can grab strong and yet still have the rest of their arm be relaxed, I do this all the time.

billybob
11-28-2006, 02:32 PM
Others more worthy have responded to Giancarlo DiPierro. Sir, I would simply add that before you assume you have acheived legendary status you consider that perhaps Saotome Sensei had a bad day. Believe me I'm being extraordinarily generous.

My current Shihan said "You can't do anything to me from here".
This was twenty years ago and being a punk I crushed through his ikyo and threw him in koshi nage. He kicked me in the face. Our relationship has improved slightly since then. My point is that however good my koshinage was or becomes - Messores Sensei is a finer martial artist than I will ever be. I've become smart enough not to make him prove it anymore.

David

DonMagee
11-28-2006, 02:38 PM
Others more worthy have responded to Giancarlo DiPierro. Sir, I would simply add that before you assume you have acheived legendary status you consider that perhaps Saotome Sensei had a bad day. Believe me I'm being extraordinarily generous.

My current Shihan said "You can't do anything to me from here".
This was twenty years ago and being a punk I crushed through his ikyo and threw him in koshi nage. He kicked me in the face. Our relationship has improved slightly since then. My point is that however good my koshinage was or becomes - Messores Sensei is a finer martial artist than I will ever be. I've become smart enough not to make him prove it anymore.

David

You can tell i'm young because I would concider someone saying "You can't do anything to me from here" a challenge LOL. I try not to talk in absolutes like that.

NagaBaba
11-28-2006, 02:44 PM
So in my mind, having someone grab you then stand there while you work a technique is really counter productive to real life.
I don't think that in aikido dojo we are trying to imitate or even get closer to real life situation . It is rather kind of labo, where in artificial environment we have a chance to study.

I regularly practice this sort of grabs that was described in this particular situation. Such attack has nothing to do with proving the superiority. It is simply static modeling of first moment of contact -- I'd say 'frozen' first half a second of contact. Of course, as you and Cady wrote, just before that moment there is something happened that can be added/used, but as we are in labo, we can also study it as separate set up.

Good news are -- yes, knowing well body mechanics, it is always possible to do given technique, even against experienced attacker that trying shut up your technique or even countering actively.

Bad news are -- one must practice it very often and with positive spirit because it is very frustrating activity.

You may ask question we should we set up such artificial environment? -- well, first, such study will discover the most efficient movement, vectors and leverages, that allow efficiently redirect in very slowly speed the attack done by stronger and more experienced attacker. Repeating such exercise will allow incorporate it to the body so after, with increasing speed, one will do it without even bothering about such triviality. Yes, after the while, it become trivial and not worth greater attention situation. Then one can move to more sophisticated skills.

But some pedagogical systems prefer to shortcut it, or replace it by kicks or atemi, and the results are real disaster.

Jim Sorrentino
11-28-2006, 02:45 PM
Hello Tom,I don't think it would be accurate to call Mr. DiPierro's claim spurious without first checking with Mr. Saotome about his recollection (if any) of the exchange.I started training with Saotome-sensei in 1984, when I was a nidan in Uechi-ryu karate-do. I have taken ukemi for him many times since then. I met Giancarlo when he came to a Winter Camp at the DC dojo several years ago, and I practiced with him a few times during the camp. Having put my hands on both of them, I am quite satisfied that Giancarlo's story is spurious.

Giancarlo's purpose in spreading this story seems similar to the bio on his website identifying himself as a student of Kanai-sensei, despite the fact that he never took ukemi or received any rank from Kanai-sensei. It's a pathetic attempt to inflate his reputation by associating himself, no matter how tentatively, with someone who is genuinely skilled.

Jim

Ron Tisdale
11-28-2006, 03:01 PM
Yikes!

Ain't this a seperate thread?

B,
R

Dennis Hooker
11-28-2006, 03:02 PM
I totally agree with Sorrentino Sensei and I will discuss this with Saotome Shihan. The principal reason is to let him and every other senior ASU instructor know this message has gone out over an international forum. I had opportunities to train with Saotome Shihan one on one and I was free to do what ever I wanted to try. I have seen Saotome Shihan handle a 6" 8" 276 pound football player who did not have cooperation on his mind. I have seen him deal with the big and the bad without much effort on his part and no give on their part. There was a reason a lot of us went over to him when he came to America. We had been with the Shihans that were here and we saw in him something different. We do not take slights to him easily but we don't defend him either. He needs no defending by us. We do however take exception at insolent comments.

Fred Little
11-28-2006, 03:05 PM
Thanks for the input, Rob, Fred, Don and Dennis. By "committed," I mean, is the person putting strength in their arms and hands as they grab, with their body in it, too? It's not just a limp-armed, limp-handed clasp, is it? I'm thinking that if they are stepping forward, reaching and grabbing to pull or even to shove you, there should be some energy in their action, yes?

If yes, do you try to capture that incoming energy and use it?

Yes! Cady, that's exactly what I mean when I say "committed."

My category of "uncommitted" includes both "limp-armed, limp-handed" and something that isn't limp, but has no pull or shove or attempt to attack in any way.

And while I find working with those "uncommitted" grabs difficult and rewarding, the nature of the experiment is very, very different from one involving a "committed" attack.

If two partners are working in different paradigms, the result is pretty useless for all concerned, which is why I think instructors need to be much clearer about what they expect from "uke's" attacks than is typically the case.

Best,

FL

G DiPierro
11-28-2006, 03:10 PM
We do however take exception at insolent comments.

As do I. I'll refrain from further comment on such posts until we have Saotome's side of the story.

ChrisMoses
11-28-2006, 03:41 PM
Hmm, a commited grab. It has not been in my personal experience that one grabs with the intent of just holding on. They usually grab with the intent to pull you closer, control a part of your body while they move, or to push you away. So in my mind, having someone grab you then stand there while you work a technique is really counter productive to real life. [snip]

So I guess my point is that a grab is not a commited attack (with the possible exception of grabbing to prevent a weapon being drawn, which at the range most grabs in aikido happen is not really realistic either). A grab should be part of another entire attack. If someone grabbed my hand strongly and stood there, I have no reason to use aikido. I am in no danger, there is no threat, and I could simply strike him to get him to move or let go. If a guy grabbed my hand strongly, pulled hard to bring me into his oncomming right fist, that is a committed attack, and one that requires me to act.

I think this is an area of much confusion in Aikido circles. What exactly makes a grab an attack and what responses are beneficial to ones study? First I would assert that there should be a difference in intent between a static grab and one done from motion. If one is training from a static position, I believe the grab should be done such that it both limits nageís ability to move freely and at least attempts to touch nageís center/core. This kind of grab offers nage an environment to explore the structural aspects of the technique that I believe are foundational to any kind of dynamic waza. This kind of grab can also be traced back to nihon jujutsuís roots, where most grabs were done to limit ones ability to deploy a weapon. The challenge then for nage is to be able to find a way to move freely without opening themselves up to a further attack by uke. This scenario is common to many various lines of jujutsu and sogo bugei. If youíd like a good example watch the kaeshiwaza that Toby Threadgill performed at the first AikiExpo. Uke grabs to keep Toby from drawing his sword -> kansetsu or nagewaza performed by nage -> sword is drawn and a finishing blow is struck. This progression is also clear in older pictures of Aikido and Daito Ryu. Note how in all of the Noma dojo photos, OSensei has one hand raised in preparation for a finishing move at the end of each set.

I would agree however that when one moves to more dynamic attacks that the grab should be part of some greater strategy. Your judo example is good, I used to struggle when teaching futarigake/randori to get people to understand that stiff arming nage and then just resisting being thrown wasnít really in keeping with what that exercise had to teach.

I think many of us in aikido gloss over the first (static) phase but even when it is practiced, itís often done in an overly cooperative fashion. This leads to sloppy techniques that rely too heavily on timing and strength rather than developing specific internal structure in nage and greater depth of understanding as to the mechanics of throwing.

I would like to point out though how much I hate the ďatemi get out of jailĒ card. If youíre practicing slowly or from static and canít throw someone, itís often a golden opportunity to study how that technique really works *structurally*. Kicking or punching uke to soften them up is used way too often to cover up sloppy technique. The way I look at it, if Iím attacking you, Iím touching your center. If you canít throw me, and Iím still touching your center through my grab, I already won that encounter, so the fact that Iím not just dumping you means that Iím offering you the opportunity to study whatís going on. In the time it takes for you to get frustrated and finally try some atemi, I could have finished the encounter. Iím also not opposed to atemi, almost all of the stuff we do includes some form of atemi, but itís a lot different than what Iíve seen at most Aikido dojos.

Finally, these comments are specifically NOT directed at the described encounter with Saotome Sensei. I wasnít there and donít know all of the parties in question, so please donít read any of these comments as applying there.

billybob
11-28-2006, 03:43 PM
It would be a pity if that were the final word. Dan Harden was talking earlier about 'never give up, never surrender' ukemi, and the thread is titled 'non compliant ukemi'.

May I ask how one harnesses the ki power of the opponent if one is being aggressive? I began to learn 'judo' when I became spontaneous and started 'inventing' throws - of course the instructor had a name for each one. More importantly, I was able to roll off the back of an attacker, find my feet while still moving with their momentum and use their throw to throw them. This was AFTER a thorough grounding in traditional breakfall ukemi. If you train people to 'fight fight fight' how can they relax and absorb their opponent's ki?

David

Cady Goldfield
11-28-2006, 04:05 PM
That is a great question, David. I hope Dan sees it and responds. :)

Don't confuse "fighting" with "stiff and rigid." The more relaxed you are, but with focused intent ("relaxed tension" -- the way in which you are distributing internal weight, muscle tension and other factors) the better you move and the more access you have to your and your opponent's energy. You can effect this state whether you are receiving an attack or initiating it -- being the aggressor.

When being the aggressor, you just...enter and control. There are points of entry for this on the human body, and at any given moment of contact you are entering and seizing control through those points.

George S. Ledyard
11-28-2006, 04:46 PM
I had opportunities to train with Saotome Shihan one on one and I was free to do what ever I wanted to try. I have seen Saotome Shihan handle a 6" 8" 276 pound football player who did not have cooperation on his mind. I have seen him deal with the big and the bad without much effort on his part and no give on their part.
Hi Dennis,
For thirty years I have had the great fortune to attack Saotome Sensei... grabbing striking, whatever. On static technique he encouraged me to try and stop him. I have given it my all. As you know, I am about 2 1/2 times his size in terms of mass. I have never come close to "stopping" him. I counted it as a big victory if I even was able to force him to make even some small adjustment; usually he just did the technique like I wasn't even there. Ikeda Sensei, who has the strongest grabbing attack I have ever felt, can't stop him. So I don't think we have to worry much about claims from some guy none of us even recognize.

Almost all of us who teach have had the experience of having someone with an attitude try and show us up. I am happy to have someone grab me as hard as they can and if the exercise is a static technique they are welcome to test me out. But it should be done with the right attitude; the desire to learn. Someone wants to make it a contest, I am not interested. I'll ignore them after that. You can usually tell when people are messing with you rather than sincerely wishing to feel the technique.

paulb
11-28-2006, 08:21 PM
Ukemi in Aikido is almost always over-compliant is it not?

crbateman
11-28-2006, 08:51 PM
Ukemi in Aikido is almost always over-compliant is it not?Don't forget that ukemi are useful from another perspective... They are designed as defensive techniques, to help uke avoid injury to himself, keep himself oriented, and return to an effective posture as quickly as practical. They aren't just about making nage look good. I can recall stories about people using their ukemi to self-rescue from falls down stairs, off streetcars, etc. It's good to be somewhat resistive for the benefit of nage, but not too resistive.

eyrie
11-28-2006, 09:45 PM
There are several facets to ukemi, self-preservation being of the lowest order of skill and importance. I would like to emphasize the following part of Chris's excellent post here:
The way I look at it, if I'm attacking you, I'm touching your center. If you can't throw me, and I'm still touching your center through my grab, I already won that encounter, so the fact that I'm not just dumping you means that I'm offering you the opportunity to study what's going on.

... and add that the role of Uke in facilitating a conducive shared learning experience is paramount, and that falling over to protect yourself or being a fall dummy is on the "low-end" of the scale that you'd wanna be at.

Mark Freeman
11-29-2006, 06:25 AM
Ukemi in Aikido is almost always over-compliant is it not?

Too general a statement for me, and 'over' compliant too open to misinterpretation.

For me, the aspect of ukemi that has opened up the richest vein to mine is the 'following'. This is where I feel the 'art' of aikido lies. To truely follow, one must be fully co-ordinated, light on your feet, quick, focused, aware, flexible and commited. When this happens, you are either easy to throw ( if aiki is present ) or virtually impossible to throw ( if it isn't ).

I don't know how much relative attention other aikidoka pay to this aspect, some I'm sure may be more but many I guess would be less. I do not at present cross train, but I have had students from other styles come and train with me, and while they recognise the shapes and names of the exercises, they don't seem to focus on the following as much as I have been trained to do.

In the early stages of training, most ukemi is neccessarily compliant, even over compliant, we have to learn the shapes, we have to learn how to follow, we have to become co-ordinated, we have to learn how to stay safe.

If I am demonstrating and want to show the relative merits of co-ordination against resistance, it is an easy task to get uke to clamp down hard, thereby creating tension, and thereby lose their co-ordination, it's not difficult to move someone, if your co-ordination is superior to theirs, as George Ledyard pointed out above.

My guess is that Dan would be clamping down 'soft' and therefore would be a bugger to move ;)

regards,

Mark

Dennis Hooker
11-29-2006, 08:18 AM
qq

Mike Sigman
11-29-2006, 11:19 AM
Hmm, a commited grab. It has not been in my personal experience that one grabs with the intent of just holding on. They usually grab with the intent to pull you closer, control a part of your body while they move, or to push you away. So in my mind, having someone grab you then stand there while you work a technique is really counter productive to real life. You should either intercept the grab before it happens, or once grabbed the uke should begin to pull you or push you, or move in a natural fashion to continue the attack. The grab itself is only a small part of a single committed attack. It is a setup for an attack, but not an attack itself. I agree with Don on this. I think what Dan, Giancarlo, and perhaps Cady by extension, are hinting at is the ability to screw with someone by various degrees of grounding-out and "neutralizing" the opponent's moves. It's a cute trick to someone who doesn't know the trick, but it's essentially just a variant of Tohei's "ki demonstrations" where he stands there against a push. It's certainly a useable factor in combat practice (and it should commonly be in Aikido... obviously it's not).... but it's not more than a first step in basic jin/kokyu practice. Used against someone with equally good skills or against some fairly strong guy who doesn't want to play silly games, it won't do much more than momentarily stymie the technique. In other words, like so many other things, it's useful as heck, but it doesn't guarantee anything.

FWIW

Mike

billybob
11-29-2006, 11:50 AM
I had a friend who was studying aikido and judo. After two years of aikido he was at judo training. He remarked to me near the end of class that "none of these guys can throw me."

Unimpressed, I replied "but have you thrown any of them?"

It seemed kind of 'cheating' to block throws and not be interested in taking the other's center. That's not 'the game' we play in judo randori.

I told this story to a judo master about twelve years ago. He used it as a possible explanation for why I was unsuccessful in the business world. Hmmm.

david

bratzo_barrena
11-29-2006, 12:28 PM
I'd like to comment about ressisting a technique.
As many have said here, resisting a technique that you know is coming, is very easy if you are as phisically strong or stronger than the person performing the technique. If you can overpower him/her making a specific pre-stablished technique is imposible. You can stop Any shihan, master, great super master, o'sensei and god. There's nothing special about it.
And that's true not only to aikido but any martial art or combative sport.
For example, a boxer tells you in advance he's gonna throw a cross to your jaw, so you expect the punch and you block it. Well there's nothing spectacular abouit it, you knew it was coming. This doesn't make you any better or boxing not useful. Or a BJJ that tells you he's gonna try an armbar and you just overpower the technique before it successfully performed. Any one strong enough can do that. That doesn mean BJJ is useless.
Obviously when two people agree to a specific technique is to train, learn proper mechanics, not to challange or compete, just train proper movement. So from this point of view it's silly and even unproductive to stop a technique by any means, using muscle strengh or changing the agreed conditions of the practice.
Now, don't misunderstan me, this doesn't mean that uke should give a weak attack or be passive and be compliant or even worst, just throw him/herself to the mat or into the lock. That's not good for tori's improvement either, because if uke just goes to the ground byhim/herself or just doesn't generate any force with which to work, tori wont be able to train proper mechanics either.
So Uke should give a strong, committed, attack and limit the attack to what is need for the technique to happen. If tori uses good mechanis technique is gonna happen, if tori doesn't have good mechanics then uke must keep his/her balanced and strong posture, but without changing the agreed condition of the practice.

If uke just resist an agreed technique and agreed conditions by rearenging his position, or re-structuring his body in such a way that he/she can overpower a technique, tori should change the technique, applly a strong atemi or use his/her own non-agreed way to weaken uke's structure. If uke "cheats", Tori should "cheat" too

Now if the aikidoka is not requiered to do an specific technique, so you're working against someone who wants to defeat you (just in a friendly challange, or competition, or a fight, or any reason) then the aikidoka should not "try to do a technique", aikidoka should let the most appropiate technique "to happen" under the conditions present at that specific moment.
For example (a simplistic one though), if someone grabs you with the right hand from the collar and pulls, stretching his arm, for aikidoka to try to do nikkyo would be unuppropriate, the coditions are set better for Rokkyo, Hijikime(?) (I'm not good with names) I mean an arm bar on the extended elbow.
Now from the same initial attack, if this attacker tried also to puch you in the face with the left hand, he would need to bend his right elbow the get closer to the target, in this moment, the attacker himself created the condition for nikkyo to happen.
I think is importat to realice that an Aikidoka doesn't try to do a technique, but aikido techniques "happen by themselves" due to specific condition created by the attacker. The aikidoist is just "a tool" or "an instrument" for the techniques to happen.
Nothing mystical, ethereal, supernatural, or hidden magical forces or anything like that though. Only correct body mechanis and physics.

DonMagee
11-29-2006, 12:56 PM
I'd like to comment about ressisting a technique.
As many have said here, resisting a technique that you know is coming, is very easy if you are as phisically strong or stronger than the person performing the technique. If you can overpower him/her making a specific pre-stablished technique is imposible. You can stop Any shihan, master, great super master, o'sensei and god. There's nothing special about it.
And that's true not only to aikido but any martial art or combative sport.
For example, a boxer tells you in advance he's gonna throw a cross to your jaw, so you expect the punch and you block it. Well there's nothing spectacular abouit it, you knew it was coming. This doesn't make you any better or boxing not useful. Or a BJJ that tells you he's gonna try an armbar and you just overpower the technique before it successfully performed. Any one strong enough can do that. That doesn mean BJJ is useless.
Obviously when two people agree to a specific technique is to train, learn proper mechanics, not to challange or compete, just train proper movement. So from this point of view it's silly and even unproductive to stop a technique by any means, using muscle strengh or changing the agreed conditions of the practice.
Now, don't misunderstan me, this doesn't mean that uke should give a weak attack or be passive and be compliant or even worst, just throw him/herself to the mat or into the lock. That's not good for tori's improvement either, because if uke just goes to the ground byhim/herself or just doesn't generate any force with which to work, tori wont be able to train proper mechanics either.
So Uke should give a strong, committed, attack and limit the attack to what is need for the technique to happen. If tori uses good mechanis technique is gonna happen, if tori doesn't have good mechanics then uke must keep his/her balanced and strong posture, but without changing the agreed condition of the practice.

If uke just resist an agreed technique and agreed conditions by rearenging his position, or re-structuring his body in such a way that he/she can overpower a technique, tori should change the technique, applly a strong atemi or use his/her own non-agreed way to weaken uke's structure. If uke "cheats", Tori should "cheat" too

Now if the aikidoka is not requiered to do an specific technique, so you're working against someone who wants to defeat you (just in a friendly challange, or competition, or a fight, or any reason) then the aikidoka should not "try to do a technique", aikidoka should let the most appropiate technique "to happen" under the conditions present at that specific moment.
For example (a simplistic one though), if someone grabs you with the right hand from the collar and pulls, stretching his arm, for aikidoka to try to do nikkyo would be unuppropriate, the coditions are set better for Rokkyo, Hijikime(?) (I'm not good with names) I mean an arm bar on the extended elbow.
Now from the same initial attack, if this attacker tried also to puch you in the face with the left hand, he would need to bend his right elbow the get closer to the target, in this moment, the attacker himself created the condition for nikkyo to happen.
I think is importat to realice that an Aikidoka doesn't try to do a technique, but aikido techniques "happen by themselves" due to specific condition created by the attacker. The aikidoist is just "a tool" or "an instrument" for the techniques to happen.
Nothing mystical, ethereal, supernatural, or hidden magical forces or anything like that though. Only correct body mechanis and physics.

The very best guys I've ever got to play with on the mat where good enough that they could tell me what was coming and there was still nothing I could do about it. But otherwise I mostly agree.

pezalinski
11-29-2006, 01:27 PM
A "non-compliant ukemi" is an interesting turn of words. I'd term it as "in-your-face" ukemi, which is not to be engaged by the slow or the uncommitted -- find the opening, and continue the attack; the technique is pr oven effective or not by the results it generates. The caveat, of course, is not to commit to any ukemi you don't expect to be able to walk away from uninjured.

Sometimes resistance is not futile, just down-right stupid -- by resisting, you may be setting yourself up for something worse. (Been there, done that; probably still cleaning off the tape marks from the injuries received the last time.)

Sometimes, it's just a way of saying that you don't think the technique is being executed in an effective way; you're saying, "that's not working -- try something else." You have to be training with someone who agrees to have this kind of conversation, and understands it as a tool for self improvement; Otherwise, you're just being an A*&*ole to someone who doesn't yet have a clue as to what you are doing. (Been there, too.)

"Fully resist", to me, means, continue the attack(s) until either you win or you lose -- define those terms how you will. It is difficult to "fully resist" while also fully defending oneself -- a catch 22 that only matters if the person you are resisting is also completely responding to your resistance... Ah, the joy of high-level harmonization.

We practice mutual awareness training at my dojo -- though we don't call it that, we just call it "training." And we don't play this way with everyone -- it's a judgment call between the players, what it means is this:
we practice the techniques that are being taught
in the way they are being taught,
and if we see an opening in the response or technique where an atemi is possible, or a different style of ukemi that might allow for a reversal, we might go for it. It turns training into a non-verbal conversation about the technique.

"Touch is hit; hit is kill" is something Shihan Akira Tohei used to say, implying that if your opponent can touch you, he can hit you, and if he can hit you, he can kill you. It really heightens the awareness when someone taps your body during a technique with their free hand, and you visualize the knife they could have had....

:ai: :ki: :do:

Cady Goldfield
11-29-2006, 04:28 PM
I agree with Don on this. I think what Dan, Giancarlo, and perhaps Cady by extension, are hinting at is the ability to screw with someone by various degrees of grounding-out and "neutralizing" the opponent's moves. It's a cute trick to someone who doesn't know the trick, but it's essentially just a variant of Tohei's "ki demonstrations" where he stands there against a push. It's certainly a useable factor in combat practice (and it should commonly be in Aikido... obviously it's not).... but it's not more than a first step in basic jin/kokyu practice. Used against someone with equally good skills or against some fairly strong guy who doesn't want to play silly games, it won't do much more than momentarily stymie the technique. In other words, like so many other things, it's useful as heck, but it doesn't guarantee anything.
Mike

Mike, it's not "screwing with someone" nor "grounding out" or "neutralizing" his moves. It's actually seizing control of his body through his own entry points. In fact, it's not a trick, but a major principle of the methodology. Once you have that kind of control, the line between "attacker" and "defender" fades away. An opponent's attack becomes a gift.

It has nothing to do with strength. Tiny guys can totally take over a man twice their size. I'm a 5'6" woman and have controlled men over 230 lbs and 6'+. Sokaku Takeda said that his art could "be done by women and elderly people," and the reason why is that softness and controlled tension overcome brute strength and size.

The more relaxed and "soft" you are, the better you can feel the inner workings of your opponent and take control over them. Being rigid and stiff, tensing up, neutralizes that ability.

Breathe deep, relax and feel your internal mechanics, then "share them" with your opponent. Instead of steering or dancing around him and letting all his energy bleed away, go *into* him.

Mike Sigman
11-29-2006, 04:51 PM
Mike, it's not "screwing with someone" nor "grounding out" or "neutralizing" his moves. It's actually seizing control of his body through his own entry points. In fact, it's not a trick, but a major principle of the methodology. Once you have that kind of control, the line between "attacker" and "defender" fades away. An opponent's attack becomes a gift.Cady, let me explain something as clearly as I can. You and I touch... you *cannot* "seize control of my body". I promise you. At best you can apply some jin variations to me and respond to my forces. If you are better at it than someone else, you can "aiki" them. If they are better than you, you can find your own knowledge and abilities negated and used against you. That is not "seizing control" of the body. It may be a big deal in methodology to you, but it doesn't present much of a mystery, except to people who can't do it. What you've got at the moment is a transitory situation where not that many people can do it. That's changing. What are you going to do against a 6' 230-lb guy like me that can do the same thing and probably knows variations you've never thought of? See? It becomes a matter of "who knows the trick", not "taking over the opponent", when you look at it like that. I.e, who can "screw with" the other guy better. ;)

Mike

Cady Goldfield
11-29-2006, 05:00 PM
Hm. Let me explain something now. I can "touch" you and immediately tap into your mechanics. If you make a movement toward me to touch, punch, grab, shove, strike, I can latch into it and immediately tap into your mechanics. I mean, I have bad days sometimes when I can't even get control over my cowlick, but over the years of training my success rate gets better and better. Dan is quite a bit more advanced than I am, so his good days are at about 99.99% Although some days he has cowlick problems too. :)

Mike Sigman
11-29-2006, 05:39 PM
Hm. Let me explain something now. I can "touch" you and immediately tap into your mechanics. Cady, I can tell from the deeds you and Dan post that you're probably the greatest, etc., but 2 points:

(1.) I said you couldn't control my body, as you claimed, but maybe that was just a semantic error which you're too shy to admit to.

(2.) I'll be happy to bet you any amount of money you want that you can't "tap into my mechanics" because I doubt you have the skill or experience to do it. You name the amount; make it light on yourself.

I think Aikidoists would benefit greatly from getting a handle on the mechanics, but the full-blown mechanics are extensive and you can't get to the full-blown mechanics if you're limited by rudimentary body skills. It's part of the great debate between the "internal" and "external" proponents... nothing new. But the point I'd make is that I really don't think Aikidoists are going to be served by people who only hint at the basic skills through boasts of what they can do. Granted, I think Dan is stepping up a little more to the plate than he was before, but there's always room to improve and to help everyone else.


Regards,

Mike Sigman

Cady Goldfield
11-29-2006, 05:57 PM
Well, I have to admit that I probably can't control your bladder for you. But nobody's perfect. :D

Seriously, Mike, I didn't mean to imply "we bad," only that the art teaches these connections. It has taken me years to "get" what little I have, but the soundness of the mechanics exists and is in the curriculum of what we study.

Mike Sigman
11-29-2006, 06:08 PM
Really... no joke. If you think you can touch me, grab me, etc., and can control me, it would be interesting to see. I'm willing to bet you anything you want to bet that you can't do it.

In fact, I'll bet that if that's sort of thing was all I wanted to focus on, I could teach most people to defeat your attempts easily in a weekend. However, there's more to this stuff and to Aikido particularly than just a few jin tricks. Knowing how to do these things is kewl and getting some aspects of internal strengths is necessary to do Aikido... but Aikido is more than just the common "secret strength". Aikido and many other Asian arts, without internal strength, is not correct... I completely agree; Internal strength without knowing Aikido, though, is not enough either. Same with Daito Ryu, Okinawan Karate, Bagua, Shaolin Long Fist, Taiji, and many other arts. Just playing "gotcha" with some basic knowledge of jin mechanics is a little on the childish side because it's an edge that can evaporate over a weekend.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Cady Goldfield
11-29-2006, 06:20 PM
It's been surmised that Ueshiba had this set of mechanics, having trained extensively with Sokaku Takeda. (If you haven't read Stanley Pranin's book on Daito-ryu:Conversations with the Daito-ryu Masters", I recommend it.) The puzzle is why he did not make it part of the aikido curriculum.

But the mechanics themselves seem to go way back before the Japanese arts. Before I started what I'm doing, I got to experience some Chinese arts in which this stuff was evidently well ensconsed. I've always believed that China was the root and source, and that Japan adapted the concepts into its own fighting arts much later.

Mike Sigman
11-29-2006, 06:33 PM
It's been surmised that Ueshiba had this set of mechanics, having trained extensively with Sokaku Takeda. (If you haven't read Stanley Pranin's book on Daito-ryu:Conversations with the Daito-ryu Masters", I recommend it.) The puzzle is why he did not make it part of the aikido curriculum.Hi Cady:

I don't know precisely which approach Takeda used, but it's only part of a number of ways to approach these things. I somehow doubt that you or Dan really know exactly what approach Takeda used for training, either, to be honest. As I said, the sort of jin controls you're talking about are nice (and I consider them a positive step forward in the conversations), but there's more to it than that.

As far as I can tell, Ueshiba actually showed enough so that some of the deshi caught the hint, bolstered their understanding with outside stuff, etc., but he didn't "not tell everybody"... he simply didn't tell everybody and only told a few. If I were to go look at most Daito Ryu here in the US, I'll bet that my understanding of the mechanics is beyond the teachers... should I then weigh them down with personal brags about how much I know and how little they know??????? Not my style.

Your presumptions about who knows what could turn around very quickly, depending on what you know, Cady. Keep looking and quit talking so much. ;) Maybe even discuss things so that everyone benefits rather than blowing-out like a cat to show everyone how big you are.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Cady Goldfield
11-29-2006, 06:43 PM
LOL. I'll keep that in mind, Mike. :p

Rupert Atkinson
11-29-2006, 10:08 PM
A real challenge! I was wondering when it would happen. If I were living nearby Mike I would have been to check him out ages ago. I have always been keen to visit those with skill. Sometimes I have been satisfied and have learned a lot, often, it has been a total waste of my time. Mike, if I were near you I'd already be there, if you were good I'd be with you, if not I'd have long since left. You certainly have a lot to say so I'd love to test you - in a friendly kind of way - because I really want to learn. So, if anyone is near Mike, go and test him out and report the results!!! Just keep it friendly ...

Cady, I can tell from the deeds you and Dan post that you're probably the greatest, etc., but 2 points:
(1.) I said you couldn't control my body, as you claimed, but maybe that was just a semantic error which you're too shy to admit to.
(2.) I'll be happy to bet you any amount of money you want that you can't "tap into my mechanics" because I doubt you have the skill or experience to do it. You name the amount; make it light on yourself.
I think Aikidoists would benefit greatly from getting a handle on the mechanics, but the full-blown mechanics are extensive and you can't get to the full-blown mechanics if you're limited by rudimentary body skills. It's part of the great debate between the "internal" and "external" proponents... nothing new. But the point I'd make is that I really don't think Aikidoists are going to be served by people who only hint at the basic skills through boasts of what they can do. Granted, I think Dan is stepping up a little more to the plate than he was before, but there's always room to improve and to help everyone else.
Regards,
Mike Sigman

And...

Really... no joke. If you think you can touch me, grab me, etc., and can control me, it would be interesting to see. I'm willing to bet you anything you want to bet that you can't do it.
In fact, I'll bet that if that's sort of thing was all I wanted to focus on, I could teach most people to defeat your attempts easily in a weekend. However, there's more to this stuff and to Aikido particularly than just a few jin tricks. Knowing how to do these things is kewl and getting some aspects of internal strengths is necessary to do Aikido... but Aikido is more than just the common "secret strength". Aikido and many other Asian arts, without internal strength, is not correct... I completely agree; Internal strength without knowing Aikido, though, is not enough either. Same with Daito Ryu, Okinawan Karate, Bagua, Shaolin Long Fist, Taiji, and many other arts. Just playing "gotcha" with some basic knowledge of jin mechanics is a little on the childish side because it's an edge that can evaporate over a weekend.
Regards,
Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
11-29-2006, 10:31 PM
If I were living nearby Mike I would have been to check him out ages ago. I have always been keen to visit those with skill. I will seize control of your body, Rupert, and make you walk... I'll make you talk... I'll make you crawwwwwl on your belly like a reptile!!!! Oops... Wrong schtick. You know what this ki stuff does to yo little punkin haid if you're not careful!!! ;)Mike, if I were near you I'd already be there, if you were good I'd be with you, if not I'd have long since left. You certainly have a lot to say so I'd love to test you - in a friendly kind of way - because I really want to learn. So, if anyone is near Mike, go and test him out and report the results!!! Just keep it friendly ... Yeah, well... I'm not all that good. Just a middlin' amateur. I know some really big dogs and when I compare what I can do to what they can do, all the brag leaves in a hurry. But if you get a chance, pop on by. I enjoy comparing notes and technical chatter.

Best.

Mike

Ecosamurai
11-30-2006, 09:21 AM
I can state from personal experience sometimes when teaching a seminar I get an unfriendly uke or someone that thinks he has the right stuff. I got a couple of choices; 1, Go ahead and do the technique and to hell with safety 2, muddle through trying not to hurt the guy or 3 three just walk away. Usually the jerk has seen me do the technique on someone else so it is very easy to counter even if in a clumsy way.

While I have never taught a seminar, nor have I anything like the sort of experience of Dennis Sensei, and I am not Saotome Shihan nor do I play him on TV, I'd like to add something.

In regular general practice I encourage some of my students to resist me in a productive way so I can learn to improve my technique. That said I would regard someone who was my uke while demonstrating as being a bit uncouth to say the least if they decided to just shut everything down and try to become a black-hole in the tatami. Demonstration of a technique needs to be clear in order for students to follow whats going on to their advantage.

When being a demonstration uke for my teacher I rarely offer any resistance unless I know it is what he would want and expect, I can usually tell when he needs this because I've been his student for the last 10 years. If I've ever had any doubt as to the effectiveness of a particular aikido technique I have usually said (during the course of normal practice NOT while up in front of the class as his uke) something like 'Sensei, what if they held you a bit more like this? Wouldn't that be more difficult?'. The response is invariably something like: 'Yes, so don't let them hold you like that or if they do then do someithing like this...'

If someone were to get up in front of a large class and as a guest were invited to be my teachers uke and then decided to try to massage their own ego by resisting as much as possible then I would think less of them. I also usually look forward to seeing Sensei flatten them by changing the technique to something else they weren't expecting.

Resisting a given technique may be easy when you know whats coming. Resisting aikido makes a mess of the uke.

Mike

ChrisMoses
11-30-2006, 10:14 AM
When being a demonstration uke for my teacher I rarely offer any resistance unless I know it is what he would want and expect, I can usually tell when he needs this because I've been his student for the last 10 years. If I've ever had any doubt as to the effectiveness of a particular aikido technique I have usually said (during the course of normal practice NOT while up in front of the class as his uke) something like 'Sensei, what if they held you a bit more like this? Wouldn't that be more difficult?'. The response is invariably something like: 'Yes, so don't let them hold you like that or if they do then do someithing like this...'

If someone were to get up in front of a large class and as a guest were invited to be my teachers uke and then decided to try to massage their own ego by resisting as much as possible then I would think less of them. I also usually look forward to seeing Sensei flatten them by changing the technique to something else they weren't expecting.

Resisting a given technique may be easy when you know whats coming. Resisting aikido makes a mess of the uke.

Mike

Here's my problem with that. If Sensei is going to demonstrate a scenario with nearly no resistance, then this is how it should be practiced throughout the dojo. A former training partner of mine would do exactly as you describe when taking demonstration ukemi for my former Sensei, then once you bowed into him for keiko, would proceed to attack completely differently with full resistance and no momentum. I believe that if a technique is designed to be done with someone resisting, then it should be demonstrated as such and then practiced the same way. It's absurd for a room full of students to be attempting to reproduce what was displayed with a cooperative uke with resistant ones, the techniques will not work the same. Where I train now, we're often criticized for not being difficult enough when taking ukemi during demonstrations, and if anything I resist MORE when demonstrating with my teacher than with the other students, after all, it's my time to feel what's actually happening.

Ecosamurai
11-30-2006, 10:27 AM
Here's my problem with that. If Sensei is going to demonstrate a scenario with nearly no resistance, then this is how it should be practiced throughout the dojo.

Er, at what point did I say that wasn't how it was done? If we're supposed to resist then when the teacher demonstrates he says so, if we're not he doesn't. That's how my teacher teaches and that's how I do too.

Perhaps I wasn't being crystal clear, but I thought it was obvious that resistance needs to spelled out as to when it is and isn't appropriate for the very reason you stated.

Mike

DonMagee
11-30-2006, 10:30 AM
I would hope all techniques are intended to be done with resistance. I mean, people resist things they dont want to happen to them.

However, you should start with no resistance, then over the course of a few minutes add resistance. Its ridiculous to try to learn a brand new technique with resistance. Start compliant, get the movement down. After a couple minutes, start to resist, increase resistance, add counters, etc.

Ecosamurai
11-30-2006, 11:02 AM
I would hope all techniques are intended to be done with resistance. I mean, people resist things they dont want to happen to them.

However, you should start with no resistance, then over the course of a few minutes add resistance. Its ridiculous to try to learn a brand new technique with resistance. Start compliant, get the movement down. After a couple minutes, start to resist, increase resistance, add counters, etc.

Pretty much the structure of our syllabus, first few kyu grades there's little resistance and its static painting by numbers sort of aikido, next few kyu grades more dynamic movement and more resistance when appropriate. Dan grades, watch out for the unlooked for thump if you leave yourself open and don't expect uke to be too cooperative :crazy:

Mike

ChrisMoses
11-30-2006, 11:02 AM
When being a demonstration uke for my teacher I rarely offer any resistance unless I know it is what he would want and expect,


Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but I read this as saying that you rarely offer resistance during demonstrations with your teacher unless he's doing something special that would require resistance. Oui? Non?

Ecosamurai
11-30-2006, 11:07 AM
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but I read this as saying that you rarely offer resistance during demonstrations with your teacher unless he's doing something special that would require resistance. Oui? Non?

Pretty much yeah, depends on the situation, the class, who is present etc... I'm always cooperative when I'm a demonstration uke unless I know he wants me not to be. However sometimes cooperation involves resistance too :)

M

jonreading
11-30-2006, 11:49 AM
Ukemi should first be about learning to protect suki from exposure and your body from injury. Once you learn to do these things, you may then learn from the role of uke, ukemi being part of that role. Too often I see students training for 6-12 months that can't take sutemi or advanced ukemi. Students need to learn ukewaza skills in tandem with nagewaza skills to open their eyes about why ukewaza is important and how ukewaza applies to training. Bad ukemi is bad aikido, period.

Once basic ukemi skills exist, you may advance to the "non-compliant" uke. However, I have never seen a yudansha worth his salt that wasn't comfortable dealing with non-compliant uke. Of course, I have never seen a yudansha worth her salt that wasn't a good uke either.

billybob
11-30-2006, 11:55 AM
Don Magee said I would hope all techniques are intended to be done with resistance. I mean, people resist things they dont want to happen to them.

Rather than simple resistance, there was a 'trick' mentioned earlier in the thread. It is done by using the 'whole body' to thwart a force being applied by another - by isolating or separating them from their 'whole body'. If you haven't felt this from someone it's pretty cool. The 'unbendabe arm' is an example and training tool. However, just shutting down your training partner doesn't lend itself to learning anything.

I'm still hoping Dan Harden will comment.

david

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-30-2006, 12:13 PM
Seems to me the idea of cooperative training in a kata sense (and demo from teacher) is to show the ideal of what the technique flow is like when balance breaking works (and this part is invisible anyway). So, IF the teacher can control the student perfectly at any and all times, he could not care much about how resistant the student is - but he also needs to show how the other party should act/react, so the uke has to at least learn to move (and in many cases fall) in a way commensurate with what a trained person might do, rather than a not very well trained stiff and strong person might do. If the teacher cannot for one or other reason completely control uke, then presuming they have some idea of the ideal of the technique (i.e., they know how to break the balance, but cannot get their body to do that reliably yet against a particular uke or at all times during a technique) then cooperation has to be agreed on to show the technique. depending on the class makeup and personality of the teacher, it doesn't have to be like that, but in most cases a hierarchy is pretty much defined.

DonMagee
11-30-2006, 12:31 PM
When I say resistance, I do not mean you try to stop a technique. I mean you try to finish what your goal was in the first place. If my goal was to strike you, I throw my strike, attempt to retract my arm just like I would in real life and throw more strikes. All while moving in an intelligent manner, attempting to defend myself from attack (ie. not standing there with an exposed face so I can stop him from breaking my wrist grab, but realizing he could punch me in the face and taking measures to prevent that such as moving away from his free hand.) What I'm talking about is having a goal as uke other than taking the fall.

I don't want a to just grab a wrist, or throw a punch and leave it out there. I want to be alive. This requires a goal, such as attempting to strike your partner, or attempting to take him down with a clinch. This kind of drill allows me to repeatedly attack while he works his technique. Once either of us reaches our goal, we can reset. I find this kind of resistance training most valuable. I spend a lot of my time in bjj doing drills like this. I might start with my partner already in side control. My goal is to escape, his goal is to improve position or submit me. We reset back to side control when either of these two things happens. This allows for isolation with real movements and reactions.

You can't start there however, you need to have technique instruction first. Basically I'm talking about the I-Method

* Introduce: Demonstrate and explain the material being taught, let them drill it to get a basic understanding and put it static reps. (Traditional uke/tori relationship with no resistance beyond giving a proper single committed attack)
* Isolate: Work on the material in isolation, usually with drills or restricted sparring with progressively increasing resistance/difficulty. (Still uke/tori relationship, only this time uke is activly perusing a goal such as taking down tori, or striking, etc. This means uke will do more then the single committed attack, he will respond to the tori and attempt to stall his progress within the rules set down in the drill.)
* Intregrate: Have the students incorporate the material into their whole game, usually in free rolling/sparring. (Just what it says, playtime with randori, free sparing, whatever you want to call it. There is no real uke/tori relationship here. Just two or more people trying their best to subdue each other and thwart each other.

I believe that this progression is what adds authenticity to your training. It is important to have all three. I don't belive it is important to spend all your time equally in all three, just make sure time is spent in all three. For example, in bjj most of our time is spent in the thrid part, almost no time is spent in the first part. In judo, most of our time is spent in the first and second part, with very little time spent on the 3rd part (My instructor prefers drills and uchikomi over randori). Because we at some point each class do all 3 parts, we understand what is involved in actually doing what we are training to do. If you skip one of the three parts, or just do one of the three parts, you are losing authenticity and doing yourself a grave injustice in your training.

I'd like to refer you to this link (http://www.bullshido.net/modules.php?name=Reviews&file=viewarticle&id=250) for a little more detailed info on the I-method. I really think this is the goal of a good uke. To be compliant when needed and feel what is happening. To resist within a subsection of the technique when needed to allow the tori to learn how to deal with an alive attacker. And finally to attempt to become tori himself by countering and throwing his partner.

When an instructor is demonstrating a technique, he is usually at step one in the I-method. Resisting him takes you automatically to step two and gives no one any benefit. I think it is pointless to resist in a demo unless the instructor asks otherwise. However during drilling, all three phases need to play their course.

ChrisMoses
11-30-2006, 12:51 PM
When I say resistance, I do not mean you try to stop a technique. I mean you try to finish what your goal was in the first place.

Agreed.

You can't start there however, you need to have technique instruction first. Basically I'm talking about the I-Method

Toby Threadgill has talked about the three types of training in TSYR as kata, oyowaza and randori. He basically described what you're calling the i-method. I would argue that (at least in western Aikido) most people train almost exclusively in a grey area between kata and oyowaza. But that's a whole Ďnother can o-wormsÖ


When an instructor is demonstrating a technique, he is usually at step one in the I-method. Resisting him takes you automatically to step two and gives no one any benefit. I think it is pointless to resist in a demo unless the instructor asks otherwise. However during drilling, all three phases need to play their course.

I would disagree here. By your own definition above, resistance isn't simply stopping a technique, but rather offering martial meaning to the attack. By that definition, I would say that resistance was critical in the kata phase of learning because without it, you are too far removed from any kind of lesson that will translate into oyowaza or randori. While kata is obviously cooperative, in that both parties are doing specific arranged movements, for the kata to have vitality and life there must be resistance otherwise the kata has no real meaning. As you mentioned above, resistance isn't messing with someone or trying to block their every movement, it's attempting to insert truth into an artificial event.

billybob
11-30-2006, 12:55 PM
As you mentioned above, resistance isn't messing with someone or trying to block their every movement, it's attempting to insert truth into an artificial event. - Christian Moses.

Ah, Christian, I believe you have stated the theme of the thread. Also, the theme of P. Goldsbury's column this month, of much discussion and debate between aikidoka and other martial artists. Dare I quote and old villain and ask "What is truth?" - snicker

david

Ellis Amdur
11-30-2006, 03:50 PM
Apropos all of that, and the subject of this thread: I just had a long conversatsion with Hal Sharp, one of the grand old men of American judo, who trained in Japan for the first half ofl the 1950's - and who has released a set of archival videos from that period through Rising Sun Videos. He was a member of the Kodokan kenkyusei - rip snorting, rugged young men whose only criteria of interest in the martial arts was what worked. When the elderly teachers drpped by to teach kata, they sighed and went along with it out of respect alone. Mr. Sharp said that one day Tomiki sensei came by and said he was going to show them something called aikido. Everybody sighed - "more kata." Mr. Sharp notes that Tomiki had wrist bones as big as golf balls. (HINT folks - bone density increases with torsion and winding of the muscles that puts torsion on the bones). Some people do this in solo training - is there anything in aikido, properly trained, that could provide an opportunity to develop this?
Tomiki stood up in front of the young guys, held out one hand in a "tegatana" and challenged one young guy to do whatever he liked to move him. NOTE: Not the unbendable arm, with the wrist resting on the other's shoulder, but just the arm out there. In other words, lock it, tug it, use it for leverage, whatever. Tomiki was unmovable. Then, with his one hand, he made a twisting movement and the guy, per Mr. Sharp when flying through the air yelling in pain. In other words, he either maintained the kokyu/jin/ground - whatever you guys want to call it - and in movement either locked him with one hand or caught him in just the right place. Mr. Sharp continued - "Every one of us wanted to have a try at him, but we all ended up in a heap the same way. Then Tomiki sensei said, 'This is too hard for you guys, and he sat down in a chair and did the same thing.' At the end, we all wanted to learn some aikido!"
A couple of points - Tomiki sensei, per Ohba sensei, his disciple, was ordinarily very reticent to show such stuff - but against these guys, he was quite able.
Next - how did he develop it. I mentioned this above - and either nobody noticed, or nobody who did chose to roll with it. " In addition, I believe that Ueshiba, pre-war,taught in a way that ukemi itself was a means of learning internal skills (Shioda describes Inoue continuing nikkyo long after he and Shirata were frantically tapping - I think this was all about teaching the redirection of forces through the body). Post-war?????"
In short, pre-war aikido was NOT about stepping out of the way and redirection of forces through the air.
So, aikido guys who are mad at Dan and Mike for keep mentioning this stuff, and Eric, who keeps trying to turn this into some kind of trigenometry that I can't make head or tail of. Guess you can be mad at Tomiki sensei for considering this his aikido as well. What a shame that he - and others - either didn't teach it, or nobody cared enough to notice.

Best

Cady Goldfield
11-30-2006, 04:05 PM
It ties in with the idea that the only way you can really learn the internal aspects of the arts, is to have them done to you; to take ukemi for them. And for a teacher to analyze what his student is doing wrong (or right), he must take ukemi for his student. It is a process that must be felt.

It's no mystery why some of the guys who had "stuff" never used the same uke twice for a principle-demonstrating technique at seminars, when they didn't want to give away their "secrets." The more uke gets to feel what you're doing, the better chance he has of figuring it out and doing it.

From all accounts of Ueshiba, he apparently was cagey about giving away what he knew of the deeper aspects of Daito-ryu. He would demonstrate "amazing feats," but his students (at least the post-WWII contingent) could never duplicate them nor figure out how their teacher was doing them.

Mike Sigman
11-30-2006, 04:14 PM
Tomiki stood up in front of the young guys, held out one hand in a "tegatana" and challenged one young guy to do whatever he liked to move him. NOTE: Not the unbendable arm, with the wrist resting on the other's shoulder, but just the arm out there. In other words, lock it, tug it, use it for leverage, whatever. Tomiki was unmovable. My, my. That's a pretty standard demonstration for "six directions power", BTW. Frankly, I'm beginning to get the feeling that there were a number of sources to this stuff floating around and Daito Ryu was only one source for Ueshiba and some of the others. I suspect that the higher-level guys probably discussed more amongst themselves, trading at a minimum stories of what they'd heard and seen, than we're aware of.

It appears now that Kano had more of this stuff (more of this keeps coming out nowadays) and so Tomiki's source could have been Kano, as well. Ueshiba certainly knew how to train for six-directions power because he demonstrated the jo-trick and he did a version of the same trick of "can't move my arm" using his bokken. So that could have been a source for Tomiki, too.

Well, it's only taken, what,... a half-century?... for people to start getting a clue about an important hound to chase. ;)

Best.

Mike

bratzo_barrena
11-30-2006, 04:17 PM
How can O'sensei keep a secret by showing it?
If he show an "amazing feat" then is not secret anymore.
and the principles and mechanins of this "secret technique" are there, and he's showing them!!!
Maybe it's not that he kept them secret, but the specatators didn't "really see or understood" what he was showing.

Cady Goldfield
11-30-2006, 04:37 PM
snipped I'm beginning to get the feeling that there were a number of sources to this stuff floating around and Daito Ryu was only one source for Ueshiba and some of the others. I suspect that the higher-level guys probably discussed more amongst themselves, trading at a minimum stories of what they'd heard and seen, than we're aware of.

It appears now that Kano had more of this stuff (more of this keeps coming out nowadays) and so Tomiki's source could have been Kano, as well. Ueshiba certainly knew how to train for six-directions power because he demonstrated the jo-trick and he did a version of the same trick of "can't move my arm" using his bokken. So that could have been a source for Tomiki, too.

Well, it's only taken, what,... a half-century?... for people to start getting a clue about an important hound to chase. ;)


It's been long known that Daito-ryu isn't the only Japanese art with aiki (or whatever you want to call it). It was part and parcel to a number of koryu jujutsu and even some sword systems. "Aiki" was just considered to be one of a number of elements within an art. Takeda himself didn't pluck it out of thin air, but "inherited" the principles from much older systems.

Too bad so much is lost to history. It would be fascinating to be able to turn up these origins, but likely most of the good stories died with the people who lived them.

Ecosamurai
11-30-2006, 05:15 PM
NOTE: Not the unbendable arm, with the wrist resting on the other's shoulder, but just the arm out there. In other words, lock it, tug it, use it for leverage, whatever. Tomiki was unmovable.

Not that I particularly want to split hairs but I think it may be important in this case. Unbendable arm as I've been taught it doesn't involve uke's arm being placed on nage's shoulder (unless you want to impress people at a demo or something perhaps). The hand should be in front of uke and not near nage's shoulder. If you place the hand on nage's shoulder then you actually make the test easier (nage of in this instance being the one who applies the test, sorry should've mentioned that).

The test gets easier because at higher levels of the unbendable arm test you begin to realise that weight underside becomes important, a common beginners response is to keep the elbow from being bent but to have their arm wobble all over the place in the doing thereof. Once you understand that weight underside will stop this then you start to see that nage putting a your hand on your should actually makes keeping your weight underside a lot easier as you can rely on their weight in addition to your own.

I believe this is relevant to this discussion because when you think about it, the only way to really learn that is to have someone really try as hard as they can to bend your arm in spite of anything you may do. In other words the very test itself is 'resistance' in some form as mentioned in this thread. Learning to resist their force and maintain an unbendable (and eventually also an immovable) arm is at least the way in which I have learned to do this most fundamental of coordination exercises, Tohei Sensei used to say "No unbendable arm, no aikido".

Regards

Mike Haft


PS - Incidentally my sensei (a 7th Dan ki-aikido teacher) has wrists thick enough that I have in the past sometimes had trouble holding on to them while I'm uke. One of his more 'evil overlord' exercises he developed for us to help strengthen our wrists should we choose to do so, was to take a short length of dowel with a hole in the middle, a string with a weight attached to that tied to the dowel and a hand on either side of the dowel, and repeatedly twist the dowel so that the weight on the string is raised and lowered.

eyrie
11-30-2006, 06:13 PM
One of his more 'evil overlord' exercises he developed for us to help strengthen our wrists should we choose to do so, was to take a short length of dowel with a hole in the middle, a string with a weight attached to that tied to the dowel and a hand on either side of the dowel, and repeatedly twist the dowel so that the weight on the string is raised and lowered.

It's called a Makiage Kigu - from Goju Karate's hojo undo. Standard "gong li" exercise. ;)

ChrisMoses
11-30-2006, 06:19 PM
Not that I particularly want to split hairs but I think it may be important in this case. Unbendable arm as I've been taught it doesn't involve uke's arm being placed on nage's shoulder

I don't think it really matters, since Ellis is saying it's NOT unbendable arm, but rather, "go ahead and move me..." as in the whole body. At least as I read it.

crbateman
11-30-2006, 06:36 PM
Too bad so much is lost to history. It would be fascinating to be able to turn up these origins, but likely most of the good stories died with the people who lived them.
And still others are dying around us today. Everybody, please... Get your teachers to write...

Cady Goldfield
11-30-2006, 06:55 PM
How can O'sensei keep a secret by showing it?
If he show an "amazing feat" then is not secret anymore.
and the principles and mechanins of this "secret technique" are there, and he's showing them!!!
Maybe it's not that he kept them secret, but the specatators didn't "really see or understood" what he was showing.

Because what you see with your eyes never tells the whole story, Bratzo. A trained eye can detect what is being done because the viewer recognizes the body response he is seeing, and knows that it is the result of a certain manipulation or series of actions.

But to someone who doesn't know, they see only "O-sensei moves, and uke falls down BOOM!"

Again, this is why internal principles have to be felt to be learned. You can't really intellectually break them down before your body intuitively feels and commits them to neuro-muscular memory.

Ecosamurai
11-30-2006, 07:00 PM
I don't think it really matters, since Ellis is saying it's NOT unbendable arm, but rather, "go ahead and move me..." as in the whole body. At least as I read it.

Yes, but I added what I did because Ellis's description of Tomiki's "go ahead and move me" is unbendable arm, at least done at a more advanced level anyway. I mentioned it because Ellis made a comment which differentiated it from unbendable arm.

Mike

Ecosamurai
11-30-2006, 07:04 PM
It's called a Makiage Kigu - from Goju Karate's hojo undo. Standard "gong li" exercise. ;)

Possibly, I know my teacher has done a lot of karate in the past. FWIW, I've never attributed the size of his wrists with that exercise, I've done it and known others who have done similar stuff from a weightlifters perspective and I never thought that this sort of exercise would acheive that. Although I've never really investigated that properly.

Nice to know it has a name somewhere though :)

Mike

bratzo_barrena
11-30-2006, 07:18 PM
[QUOTE=Cady Goldfield]Because what you see with your eyes never tells the whole story, Bratzo. A trained eye can detect what is being done because the viewer recognizes the body response he is seeing, and knows that it is the result of a certain manipulation or series of actions.

But to someone who doesn't know, they see only "O-sensei moves, and uke falls down BOOM!" ]


Cady,
One thing is to keep something secret, another thing is that what you show can only be seen in all it's extent by trained eyes. But if you're SHOWING it, then it's not secret.
Obviously someone without training only sees a BOOM!, uke down,
that's why a lot of training is important. But that doesn't mean it's being kept secret.
Aikido, or any other physical activity for that matter, can't be learned, understood or master in it's deepest principles or mechanics just by looking at a demonstration. Constant, hard training is the basis for that understanding.
So one thing is to keep a secret, another is that the observers are not ready to understand what is being shown. With training maybe someday they will understand, maybe not. BUT IT'S BEING SHOWN. Even if it's not being explained with words, it's being explainen in the movements itself.
Therefore, it's not that o'sensei kept secret details in what he showed (maybe he kept secret things that he never show publicly, to anyone, or he taught "secrets to special students, we don't know... because it's secret), but anything he showed publicly cannot be considered a secret.

Cady Goldfield
11-30-2006, 07:55 PM
A lot of things are "hidden in plain sight," so are not secrets revealed. IMO, for anyone who can see them and figure 'em out through sweat equity, power to 'em.

DH
11-30-2006, 08:06 PM
Quote-Mark Murry
To borrow a phrase from Amdur, it really is hidden in plain sight. But you'd need to be a genius to actually know how to read it and pick up the internal stuff on your own.....


I just loved Mark's comment.
Train it...burn it in.....teach your body through solo work..... yeah.
Pick it up by yourself......without being shown.......aint gonna happen

Rupert Atkinson
11-30-2006, 08:49 PM
I just loved Mark's comment.
Train it...burn it in.....teach your body through solo work..... yeah.
Pick it up by yourself......without being shown.......aint gonna happen

I have seen a few that can do stuff, and they have tried to teach it, but no one can pick it up. So, even if you are shown directly, you are still going to have to discover it for yourself.

Gernot Hassenpflug
11-30-2006, 09:31 PM
Getting your teachers to write? What naivety! Unless they're Westerners of course...
The idea of a book in the East is something that stokes a student's interest so that he goes to look for the author or dojo to learn what has been hinted at - a book never ever includes useful descriptions, as a matter of tradition all over the East. I only found this out recently, and have it in writing to boot LOL

Ian Thake
12-01-2006, 07:10 AM
The idea of a book in the East is something that stokes a student's interest so that he goes to look for the author or dojo to learn what has been hinted at - a book never ever includes useful descriptions, as a matter of tradition all over the East. I only found this out recently, and have it in writing to boot LOLAaargh! :crazy:

Cue the sound of a very large and heavy penny dropping for me...

billybob
12-01-2006, 07:42 AM
Dan Harden just loved Mark's comment. Train it...burn it in.....teach your body through solo work..... yeah.

Dan, Ellis Amdur suggested we were upset that you are bringing this stuff up. Nope. Exhortations to excellence are welcome. Saying we, and our finest practitioners have no clue is perhaps unfair.

When I started to apply the principals of judo, at the ripe age of 16, I started 'inventing' throws. My Sensei knew them and named them of course. I was just beginning to 'catch on' and move spontaneously, and correctly. I asked Sensei and the senior students about my new understanding - "Why didn't you teach me this first?"

Sensei replied - "How would we do that?"
------------

I was seriously injured at age 19, but I started to perceive things in slow motion when I was 17. I thought I had learned the ultimate secret. John C. visited from another dojo. I pushed him during randori - and watched and felt him clean my clock - in slow motion. Why? - He was a more experienced practitioner. My supple body, and heightened awareness were not enough to best a more highly trained judoka.

These stories are food for discussion. And sharing them encourages me to face how painful training is for me now. Thanks my friends, for letting me share.

David

CNYMike
12-02-2006, 01:00 AM
Charlie
Gotts run so I'll be breig and get back tonight

Yes I am cleraly stating that the ukemi of judo and jujutsu and aikijujutsu and Aikido as commonly taught is wrong. Yes.


Tucking your head so it doesn't bounce on the floor/ground when you fall is "wrong"? Funny, it came in very handy when I slipped and fell one time after walking my dog; if I hadn't instinctively tucked my chin against my chest, my neck would have slammed onto the sliding door's track, right where it meets my skull. Not something I want to experience.

On the other hand, one time my dad slipped and fell on ice and hit his head. He lay there for who knows how many minutes. My mom credited that injury with sending his alcoholism into overdrive which made my high school years a living hell.

Maybe that "wrong" ukemi waza has a good idea behind it after all.


..... I can and do advocate training to be exceedingly dangerous when you are about to lose your balance ....

Do you think that an MMA fighter who throws caution to the wind and gets the living )&%^ beaten out of him in training will be any condition for the ring -- or, for that matter, the street?

The whole idea is SAFETY. It's the same reason why people who train boxers wear focus mitts, instead of having fighters hit them in the head. The latter might be more realistic, but it is hell on the trainer.

Upyu
12-02-2006, 01:54 AM
Tucking your head so it doesn't bounce on the floor/ground when you fall is "wrong"? Funny, it came in very handy when I slipped and fell one time after walking my dog; if I hadn't instinctively tucked my chin against my chest, my neck would have slammed onto the sliding door's track, right where it meets my skull.

I think he's referring to taking Ukemi for "Ukemi's sake," which is a pretty elementary interpretation of Ukemi.
Most places place a distinction between throwing, and taking ukemi. In reality, it's all based on the same body skill. So if you're being taught Ukemi sans the concept that its based on Kokyu skills, then sure in a way it's "wrong." This doesn't mean it won't "work" to some degree in the real world though, it's just not the original body skill that was trying to be imparted.

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-02-2006, 03:46 AM
The disconnect between what different students thnik of as the point of ukemi is striking, and confusing. I've found an interesting chapter in Kuroda's book where he discusses ukemi (the rolls and falls). As a start, he points out some that equates I think to what Rob states above. Jujutsu differs from Judo in that the falls are not there to protect the body. The opponent is always a sword, and the speed of the body (here refers to the skills, not speed in usual sense) must be equivalent.

There's mention of an exercise that menkyo-kaiden holders used to do: how many forward rolls on one tatami before you come to the end of it? He recounts being told 18 was a good starting number, his grandfather used to manage 36 happily even in his later years. Kuroda says he tried (he was in his late 20s by then) and after about half a month of trying he could get down to using half a tatami for one roll :-) He then started to notice how his left roll got smaller and smaller, while his right one remained large (he is right handed). Slowly but surely he started to grasp the body training required for these rolls is the same as the rest of jujutsu and sword arts. Now he too can do dozens of forward rolls within the length of one tatami.

His words: jujutsu rolls are done voluntarily, not as some body protection (that drops the skill down to the level of a sport), and form a kata just like other exercises with and without the sword.

That was pretty interesting to me, hope it rings some bells here with people who've seen or heard similar or can relate to this in some way.

CNYMike
12-02-2006, 02:36 PM
I think he's referring to taking Ukemi for "Ukemi's sake," which is a pretty elementary interpretation of Ukemi.

Maybe, but he also made a blanket statement about ukemi from all JMA, not just Aikido. I'd agree ukemi waza are not just "body protection," but I'd argue that is a very important part of it because someone who is going to spend an the better part of an hour of working on techniques will want to leave the mat the way they got on it -- walking, without any broken bones or damaged muscles if you can help it. Proper ukemi, regardless of whether it's "voluntary," is a big part of that.

DH
12-02-2006, 02:57 PM
If you are reffering to me Mike that isn't what I said at all.
In simple terms I said
Learn Ukemi. Then...........
1. Train Aikido....strike, and move while retaining your center within yourself. "Take Ukemi" only when someone takes your center.
2. Find a MMA friend have them stand outside and pick you apart and set you up and then learn how..... to take that center using your art. If you fight/train with them you will find all manner of ways not to need ukemi as is typlically seen-even while falling. And active resistence changes the way your body reacts. A small example will be falling into a guard instead of ....just falling backward. There are any number of ways that "active resistence" changes the body dynamic of a thorw attempt and/ora fall.
3. Find someone with good internal skills. Try to ....find...their center to throw them... while they toss you about.
4. Learn internal skills.
5. Learn internal skills and MMA skills.

Last
Stay in Aikido while you do all of the above. Write in when you get to point #4 and #5 when no one can throw you anymore, or at least finds it damn difficult. By then your thoughts on Ukemi may have changed.

Cheers and have fun
Dan

DonMagee
12-02-2006, 06:53 PM
I actually have to be very conscious of what i'm doing in aikido when I take ukemi. In judo and bjj sparing I will hold on for dear life and take the thrower with me 9 times out of 10. He will be in my guard, or half guard, I'll have his back, etc. In aikido I have to remember not to reach out and latch on, but rather gracefully escape. I have the same problem taking a fall in a judo throw line. I just love to hold on, wrap my legs around and see where it goes.

Bronson
12-02-2006, 08:47 PM
I just love to hold on, wrap my legs around and see where it goes.

Ahhh, high-school memories... ;) :eek:

Bronson

Charlie
12-02-2006, 08:54 PM
Ha...

DonMagee
12-02-2006, 09:52 PM
Ahhh, high-school memories... ;) :eek:

Bronson


And that is what I want on my tombstone.

Mike Sigman
12-02-2006, 10:06 PM
And that is what I want on my tombstone.What I want on mine is "I told 'em I was sick!"

crbateman
12-02-2006, 11:55 PM
I want mine to say:

Dig me up QUICK! I'm NOT dead!

http://www.websmileys.com/sm/happy/1016.gif

Cady Goldfield
12-03-2006, 08:48 AM
I want: I was the last one standing. on mine.
:D

CNYMike
12-03-2006, 11:47 AM
If you are reffering to me Mike that isn't what I said at all.


Mea culpa; I hate being misquoted, too.


In simple terms I said
Learn Ukemi. Then...........
1. Train Aikido....strike, and move while retaining your center within yourself. "Take Ukemi" only when someone takes your center.


I'd think that would be a more advanced form of practice. I don't like the idea of not letting people throw me "because they'll resist in real life" because the person on the other end might be more inclined to get frustrated for not letting you see the technique first. I learned this the hard way. But I do know more advanced people offer "selective resistance" for lack of a better way to put it. Another can of worms, I know.


2. Find a MMA friend have them stand outside and pick you apart and set you up and then learn how..... to take that center using your art. If you fight/train with them you will find all manner of ways not to need ukemi as is typlically seen-even while falling. And active resistence changes the way your body reacts. A small example will be falling into a guard instead of ....just falling backward. There are any number of ways that "active resistence" changes the body dynamic of a thorw attempt and/ora fall.
3. Find someone with good internal skills. Try to ....find...their center to throw them... while they toss you about.
4. Learn internal skills.
5. Learn internal skills and MMA skills.

Last
Stay in Aikido while you do all of the above. Write in when you get to point #4 and #5 when no one can throw you anymore, or at least finds it damn difficult. By then your thoughts on Ukemi may have changed.

Cheers and have fun
Dan

2-5 might be easier said than done for most people; statisitcally, there are fewer MMA people than Aikido people (AFAIK), and now well the two groups mix is open for debate, although I understand there are Aikido dojos that offer BJJ, and Aikido people who crosstrain in BJJ, Thai Boxing, etc.

Even then, my propject for the foreseeable future is compartmentalization -- in Aikido, do Aikido; in Jun Fan, do Jun Fan; in Kali, do Kali, and so forth. Ok, so there have been some exercises in Kali where I tride Aikido and noted my partner's respsnes, but for the most part I'm working on keeping everything separat if only to avoid that feeling that my head is going to explode.

And even then, why would I wnat to change my perception of ukemi? There's a time and a place for everything -- sometimes you may want to hang on and drag the person down, but other times you may just want to roll out and get a way. It's better to have more options, not less IMHO.

CNYMike
12-03-2006, 11:49 AM
I actually have to be very conscious of what i'm doing in aikido when I take ukemi. In judo and bjj sparing I will hold on for dear life and take the thrower with me 9 times out of 10. He will be in my guard, or half guard, I'll have his back, etc. In aikido I have to remember not to reach out and latch on, but rather gracefully escape. I have the same problem taking a fall in a judo throw line. I just love to hold on, wrap my legs around and see where it goes.

Compartmentalization is tricky; I'm working on it myself and easier said than done. But doable.

DH
12-03-2006, 12:19 PM
And even then, why would I want to change my perception of ukemi? There's a time and a place for everything -- sometimes you may want to hang on and drag the person down, but other times you may just want to roll out and get a way. It's better to have more options, not less IMHO.
Hi Mike
I am keying in on this since it is the fundemantal missunderstanding with what I am dicsussing.
Internal aside...just talking external now.......

What do you think would happen were anyone in aikido try aikido technique on Randy Coutour? Renzo Gracie? How about Chuck Lidell?
What do you think their chances of needing anything even remotely resembling Japanese ukemi would be?
Why?
Lets talk about the roles of two fighters with no one taking Ukemi. Now its training on a different level. No one is taking ukemi for the other guy to work on his stuff. You walk in with your stuff ...and try it out. With full resistence....training......still not talking about fighting, or internals.....just the use of external skills. The use of full resistence changes your body dynamic in such a way that you are actually are safer then in taking a fall. Further it greatly reduces the need for that type of fall as most of the techniques that create breakalls and pratfalls and rolls donlt actuall work on advanced traine fighters in the first place.
Its why most JMA style skills fail in the MMA. Trained bodies in full resistence do not "act" the way a trained uke does in a dojo. As a result far fewer things work and the uke-mi looks different.

You will see here that most people are so wired and so "stuck" in well-trained, well indoctrinated Japanese Sensei driven thinking that they find it hard to even consider the options.
Its why most of us who were wrestling,free fighting and screwing around in the 70's and 80's had so much fun tuning martial artists. They were owned, because they were so brain washed into a set response that in there ignorance they thought was resistence training. In truth it was just more conditioned respsonse training.
The UFC and Pride was just more in-your-face. If you think your stuff works come try it.
Now almost no one wants or needs to go that far. So lewts not swing the pendulum that far.
Where can us normal folk go......that is in between and safe(er).

It is a very reasonable argument. To which I get such jewels as
"Ukemi helped me fall off a bike" as replies.

Box......Directions
"Insert one martial artist."


And all of that is different then the internal stuff we have been discussing
Cheers
Dan

Pauliina Lievonen
12-03-2006, 01:35 PM
Staying on "external" for a while longer (since that's all I can talk about anyway) :) After class a couple times, I've tried "let's both try to throw each other" with a couple different dojomates. I dare say we weren't resisting each other directly in the way people object to, at least not too crudely, since we were actually trying to do an aikido technique on each other at the same time. :p The resulting "ukemi" was much more something like one of us sinking to one knee maybe... apart from very occasionally one of us catching the other so cleanly that we'd fall very suddenly. But that didn't happen very often.

kvaak
Pauliina

CNYMike
12-03-2006, 09:05 PM
What do you think would happen were anyone in aikido try aikido technique on Randy Coutour? Renzo Gracie? How about Chuck Lidell?
What do you think their chances of needing anything even remotely resembling Japanese ukemi would be?
Why?
Lets talk about the roles of two fighters with no one taking Ukemi. Now its training on a different level. No one is taking ukemi for the other guy to work on his stuff. You walk in with your stuff ...and try it out. With full resistence....training......still not talking about fighting, or internals.....just the use of external skills. The use of full resistence changes your body dynamic in such a way that you are actually are safer then in taking a fall. Further it greatly reduces the need for that type of fall as most of the techniques that create breakalls and pratfalls and rolls donlt actuall work on advanced traine fighters in the first place.



Well, even though there's an MMA school near me (http://www.cnymma.com/), I don't know how they train so I don't know how they do or don't do things. Yes, I've caught the odd ep of Ultimate fighter, but that's the end product, not where these guys start. I have seen the local grappler types do roles, but obviously, they are used differently than in JMA classes. I still remember the Ericl Paulson seminar in 1999 where he used a dive roll to counter having your leg caught; you come out of the roll with the other person already in some kind of lock. (If that doesn't sit well with you, by all means, get in touch with Sensei Eric and tell him that yourself; I'm sure he'd love to roll with you.)

As I said -- though maybe not all that clearly -- that I keep an eye out for what, if anything, from Aikido "pops out" in my non-Aikido classes and what happens when I try them on people who don't know Aikido ukemi; I've already noted some things. If you hang out around here on Aikiweb long enough, you learn that either (a) Aikido can handle absolutely anything thrown at it and you don't have to cross-train; or (b) it's good to do but useless in afight and you should train in other arts for that. I figure reality is between those two extremes; figuring out where exactly is a long-term project in the back of my mind. But I've seen posts from people who say they do mixes like Aikido, BJJ, and Thai Boxing, so they would have an idea already.

That's on the "technique" level, but in any martial art there is another level at the same time, the "system" level. I am personally concerned with learning the specific systems I'm studying, not just the techniques. So in Aikido, do Aikido; in Kali, do Kali. If I were to take up MMA, I'd do things the way they tell me to do them, even if it's not the way Aikido does things. Likewise, on the subject of resistance, it depends on what the internal logic of a given system says. If a system says to muscle through regardless, you do that. But if it says you want to find the path of least resistance, and switch to something else when you meet it, do that. Why would that be a good idea? Because you might be overpowered, so trying to power through a chosen move might not be all that smart, would it?

Sifu Dan Inosanto is famous for saying no one art has all the answers but everything has something to offer. I personally believe that learning the reasons why things are done a certain way is as important as how they are done. There are reasons why Aikido does thing a certain way, why Thai Boxing does things its way, and so forth. How would straight Aikikai Aikido work against hardcore MMA fighters in the Octagon? I don't know. Frankly, I don't care.

Nothing is wrong or right, just different. I hear what your'e saying, but there's more than one way to skin a cat. JMA and MMA both have valid things to offer; one should be open to everything IMO.



Its why most JMA style skills fail in the MMA. Trained bodies in full resistence do not "act" the way a trained uke does in a dojo. As a result far fewer things work and the uke-mi looks different.


And yet MMA has its roots in JMA: BJJ is actually a version of Judo which, like Aikido, came out of jujitsu. There must be something there that worked if it survived through to MMA, if not all of it! ;)

Upyu
12-03-2006, 09:16 PM
Maybe, but he also made a blanket statement about ukemi from all JMA, not just Aikido. I'd agree ukemi waza are not just "body protection," but I'd argue that is a very important part of it because someone who is going to spend an the better part of an hour of working on techniques will want to leave the mat the way they got on it -- walking, without any broken bones or damaged muscles if you can help it. Proper ukemi, regardless of whether it's "voluntary," is a big part of that.

Actually the real question that needs to be asked is...
who spends the better part of an hour working on Ukemi? ;)

Answer: Only the students that do exactly what they're told.
Generally the students that "get ahead" break away from the mold and realize where the real meat of the training is and do that instead, while the rest are on the matt tumbling and working on "technique."

Besides, if you train and instill proper bodyskills you won't have to worry about "broken bones or damaged muscles." The bodyskill will take care of you all on its own ;)

DonMagee
12-03-2006, 09:54 PM
Well, even though
And yet MMA has its roots in JMA: BJJ is actually a version of Judo which, like Aikido, came out of jujitsu. There must be something there that worked if it survived through to MMA, if not all of it! ;)

The difference between JMA and MMA is simple. It is the same difference between Judo and other JMA arts. Training in the manner that bjj/judo/boxing/etc trains is what makes their arts effective. The techniques exist in many arts, it's the training methods that do not.

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 08:02 AM
What do you think would happen were anyone in aikido try aikido technique on Randy Coutour? Renzo Gracie? How about Chuck Lidell?

What would happen if you tried your techniques on these people?

Dan, what's your record in MMA competition?

What're the MMA records of your students?

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 08:54 AM
What would happen if you tried your techniques on these people?

Dan, what's your record in MMA competition?

What're the MMA records of your students?

The reason I'm asking these questions is this: your answers to these questions are probably not all that different than mine, but I'd never presume to think that I would be capable of such things without a full-time professional commitment, without making my life revolve around my training, and without getting a much broader and more thorough set of instruction. So why should these names be dropped and these challenges be implied?

It dilutes the nature of the points you are making, which are, I believe, valid, or at the very least, interesting.

Rob

DH
12-04-2006, 09:09 AM
Forget the name dropping. It just makes a clearer picture to frame a conversation. The idea was to look at a different way to not receive and to attack and what that does to make the body postionally safer both in attack and in defense.
Its not challenging except to consider that -there- the same type of ukemi is not used. The type of techniques used there are the same we train and the approach to ukemi is totally different than in Aikido so its a worthwhile look. And no, I don't fight professionally either.
The points were about how that .......type......of resistence would change the ukemi. Its a very simple question. It has a more complex answer as to how it changes the reactions of an attacking body though.
Its not a challenge position. Its an exploritory one. Do you suppose Systema takes that type of ukemi either? Or that is needed as much?
These are worthwhile, non challenging questions to approach.
How do -you- suppose full resistence and an MMA format would change both the type of ukemi and the need for it? And of the value in gradually upping the resistence as an ...adjunct... to training?
And to even make it fun to do so. Thousands of guys train safely in it every week.
Dan

cguzik
12-04-2006, 09:37 AM
Dan,

Please check your private messages when you have a moment.

Chris

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 09:40 AM
How do -you- suppose full resistence and an MMA format would change both the type of ukemi and the need for it? And of the value in gradually upping the resistence as an adjunct to training?

I approach resistance by changing techniques.

I don't know much about the MMA format, nor am I interested in that, currently - no time at the moment. As for the rest the resistance question, I work on it through trying to improve my freestyle skill and randori, and less on trying to make a technique happen.

1) I keep track of the openings I perceive in my opponents technique and my own as I take ukemi and as I do technique, and work on trying to close them - regardless of whether or not uke exploits them. If I see some sort of clever response from uke or nage to openings, I'll try to absorb that. I also try to absorb what the instructor is teaching, and think about what they are trying to communicate.

Typically before or after class....

2a) I ask ukes that I trust to shut me down or take advantage of the openings as applicable, to work on specific points.

2b) I ask ukes that I trust to attack me in whichever way they feel like it, and I do what I can to them.

2c) I ask ukes that I trust to work with me on a specific point from class, or my issues with it.

I often don't ask the freestyle ukes to actively shut down my techniques, although some do anyway. Usually, their bodies (and mine) tell me when my techniques aren't working. I work to rectify the openings I see, or note them for later. Usually, the one resisting the technique from happening is myself, by trying to impose some other technique on the situation, and I try to stop myself from resisting whatever uke is asking for.

Sometimes I may specify that uke attacks me multiple times in sequence, or something like that, but usually there is just much different resistance to a spontaneous technique since the technique hasn't been defined - and I try to react or respond to what uke does when I act, and make it so that the technique is more seamless and without strength so that uke can't respond with resistance in a way that compromises the technique.

To me, going to Aikido class is a lot like going to a lecture was in school - it gives me things to think about, and points that I need to work on and consider, and even a partner to play with those ideas on, but the broader learning and integration into my general technique happens before and after class.

As for the usefulness of ukemi - almost all of my awareness of openings on uke or nage I owe to the practice of ukemi, so often I'll also just practice that after class. I'll grab an uke (this one doesn't have to be so trusted) and take ukemi for them to try to understand what they are doing and what works and doesn't, as well as to work on my general skills and reactions.

Rob

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 10:20 AM
Mea culpa; I hate being misquoted, too.

I'd think that would be a more advanced form of practice. I don't like the idea of not letting people throw me "because they'll resist in real life" because the person on the other end might be more inclined to get frustrated for not letting you see the technique first.

Actually, what Dan said, was to only fall "when someone takes your center." That's an entirely reasonable criteria and should be a given in Aikido practice. The problem as I see it is that so few people understand how to do that or what it actually feels like that they have no reference point. A few months back I was corresponding to an online acquaintance who was taking a break from Aikido to do some judo. I asked if he'd had the opportunity to do any aikido with his old group since starting judo. He had. His comment was that after only a couple months of judo, what used to feel like heavy-resistance training in aikido now felt like completely volunteering ones center and balance. That's a bummer.

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 11:25 AM
Actually, what Dan said, was to only fall "when someone takes your center." That's an entirely reasonable criteria and should be a given in Aikido practice. The problem as I see it is that so few people understand how to do that or what it actually feels like that they have no reference point. A few months back I was corresponding to an online acquaintance who was taking a break from Aikido to do some judo. I asked if he'd had the opportunity to do any aikido with his old group since starting judo. He had. His comment was that after only a couple months of judo, what used to feel like heavy-resistance training in aikido now felt like completely volunteering ones center and balance. That's a bummer.

I think Dan has said much more than that.

How about falling when you're vulnerable to an atemi? Should I wait until the atemi connects before I take ukemi? Even better, should I only take ukemi if they are capable of landing a punch that I consider threatening? That is all very uke/nage dependent, and while I know some of that with my partners, I know none of that with strangers. Mood also affects their responses - who can read mood without practice?

Someone doesn't have to physically control my center to make me lose my center.

It is like timing - I am always moving too early or too late, and the cues for both are many and subtle, but they are both errors with separate hazards associated with them. Choosing to only ever make the one error instead of the other is a mistake in the long term, as much as it is a short term tactic and learning tool.

Rob

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 12:12 PM
I think Dan has said much more than that.

How about falling when you're vulnerable to an atemi? Should I wait until the atemi connects before I take ukemi? Even better, should I only take ukemi if they are capable of landing a punch that I consider threatening? That is all very uke/nage dependent, and while I know some of that with my partners, I know none of that with strangers. Mood also affects their responses - who can read mood without practice?

Someone doesn't have to physically control my center to make me lose my center.

It is like timing - I am always moving too early or too late, and the cues for both are many and subtle, but they are both errors with separate hazards associated with them. Choosing to only ever make the one error instead of the other is a mistake in the long term, as much as it is a short term tactic and learning tool.

Rob

Well, the short answer to "How about falling when you're vulnerable to an atemi?" is: No you shouldn't. Atemi in aiki arts should be used to *set up a throw* but if you're falling when you might get hit, you are (in my mind) doing it wrong and a party to behavioural conditioning. I really hate how atemi is used by most circles of Aikido, but I've ranted enough on the "get out of jail card" use of atemi. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the kihon versions of no throw in aikido include an atemi to effect a throw. Shouldn't we then be able to accomplish the most basic of throws then without the threat of atemi to coerce our uke to fall for us? If your aikido is being used just to set up atemi, your time would be better served learning karate's one-steps. However, even then, nearly all of the one-steps that I have seen from various arts use atemi to position the attacker, limit their movements and then (if the one-step involves a throw or takedown) tori moves in with some kind of leg sweep or hip displacement. Now if an art specializes in striking and developing power behind their strikes, why wouldn't they just use atemi to throw the person? Because strikes don't thow people.

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 12:25 PM
Well, the short answer to "How about falling when you're vulnerable to an atemi?" is: No you shouldn't.

Well, then all of my past X number of years of Aikido training contradict your past Y number of years of Aikido training.

It wouldn't be the first time that I've met someone in Aikido whose art is different than mine. At least I know where you stand.

To me, an atemi is first and foremost the option of a fatal attack. Often, there is an assumption of a weapon. I take that danger seriously, and so I react to it. I don't rely on the force of my personality and center to override the attack.

Because strikes don't thow people.

We agree on this one - which is why learning and practicing ukemi is important.

Ukemi is taken (in this case) to move oneself to a better position and to regain control of one's center, so I throw myself to avoid being punched in the face, and presumably to end up in a better position where I can continue the attack or escape. Hence the emphasis on rolls, since Aikido people are more comfortable with standing technique than wrestling.

Rob

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 12:52 PM
I'll comment more..

a party to behavioural conditioning

That's the goal, as far as what I'm trying to learn at the moment (in all seriousness). I regularly try to behaviorally condition myself, to a greater or lessor degree. That is what training is about, I think - you need to catch those 6 diseases before you can cure them.

I condition myself to take all attacks seriously, so that if I get a serious attack, I am ready for. I also try to condition myself not anticipate nage's responses as uke, and so to act as though I don't know what is going to happen. Similar reasons.

To the extent that my training fails, it fails in these areas. Part of it is pity, and part of it is laziness...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the kihon versions of no throw in aikido include an atemi to effect a throw.

Than I certainly don't know what you mean by kihon waza. The way I was taught Aikido, the atemi are implied, and to the extent that they are not visible in technique at any given instant, it is because the uke realizes that they are available and acts accordingly. On all of the tests I've ever taken, participated and seen (and tests are a good gauge of what the policy is), there have been extensive use of atemi.

Shouldn't we then be able to accomplish the most basic of throws then without the threat of atemi to coerce our uke to fall for us?

It is a martial art. There are two means of motivating people: carrots and sticks. Aikido offers both (and maybe a third), but you can't get far without both when the relationship begins adversarially.

Uke doesn't fall for me, uke falls for himself. It is a tactic, not a surrender.

If your aikido is being used just to set up atemi, your time would be better served learning karate's one-steps.

Yeah, I've considered that. If I actually was interested in self-defense, I would probably do that in order to strengthen my responses in case uke doesn't do what's good for them. Maybe I will do this in the future, but it does work against some of my other goals.

Rob

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 01:13 PM
To me, an atemi is first and foremost the option of a fatal attack. Often, there is an assumption of a weapon. I take that danger seriously, and so I react to it. I don't rely on the force of my personality and center to override the attack.
So the logical conclusion of this is that each technique builds to a lethal attack. If this is the case, why go through all of the subtle joint manipulations if you're just setting up to lethally hit/cut someone?




Ukemi is taken (in this case) to move oneself to a better position and to regain control of one's center, so I throw myself to avoid being punched in the face, and presumably to end up in a better position where I can continue the attack or escape. Hence the emphasis on rolls, since Aikido people are more comfortable with standing technique than wrestling.

Rob

Why then do we not see boxers falling down to avoid punches? If falling down is a better tactic then getting hit why don't more boxers and UFC guys do this as a matter of course?

Finally something else to consider. When would it be acceptable for uke to strike nage? If nage is blundering a technique, can uke just strike them, and if they can should nage submit to this vulnerability and fall down? My experience is that in most dojos, it would be considered completely unacceptable for uke to punch nage *after their one initial attack*. If uke is not allowed to strike nage when they are vulnerable but nage is allowed to simply imply a strike to uke and expect uke to fall you have created a very one sided environment which leads to a very inflated sense of nage's ability.

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 01:16 PM
I'll comment more..


Me too.


Than I certainly don't know what you mean by kihon waza. The way I was taught Aikido, the atemi are implied, and to the extent that they are not visible in technique at any given instant, it is because the uke realizes that they are available and acts accordingly. On all of the tests I've ever taken, participated and seen (and tests are a good gauge of what the policy is), there have been extensive use of atemi.


I'll lay out some basic kihon and you let me know how atemi accomplishes them:

Shomenuchi ikkyo
Shomenuchi nikyo
Shomenuchi sankyo
Munetsuki kaitennage
munetsuki kotegaeshi
yokomenuchi shihonage

Certainly there are variations where one could strike, but I would argue that if you are in correct positioning for the kihon version of these techniques you are not in a good position to deliver atemi at the point where a throw or takedown should occur.

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 01:27 PM
So the logical conclusion of this is that each technique builds to a lethal attack. If this is the case, why go through all of the subtle joint manipulations if you're just setting up to lethally hit/cut someone?

Didn't you just answer your own question? We manipulate joints to set the person up for a lethal cut or hit. That said, the person has the option to take the hit or take ukemi.

Because you're trying to reach a mutually amicable solution. But yes, if I didn't care about that, or if I really felt threatened, than that would be what would happen.

Besides, its not like the technique "builds toward" a lethal attack - those are available if you know how throughout.

Why then do we not see boxers falling down to avoid punches? If falling down is a better tactic then getting hit why don't more boxers and UFC guys do this as a matter of course?

And here again we see the effects of competition on martial training. Competition - useful for building skills at games, but beyond that..

Why don't we see UFC fighters diving into traffic (or at least in front of bicycles) to train their toughness? Oh wait.. we see NFL players in fights all the time since they have been trained to only react in that way to adversity. Why don't we just tell our SOs that they look fat when they ask? :) There are some openings which require withdrawal and regrouping.

Not everything in life can be powered through. The most dangerous adversaries are interested in destruction, not one-ups-man-ship.

Finally something else to consider. When would it be acceptable for uke to strike nage? If nage is blundering a technique, can uke just strike them, and if they can should nage submit to this vulnerability and fall down?

In freestyle practice in all of the places where I have trained, this can and does happen often. All of this is mitigated by the fact that to the extent that atemi is provided, less is needed as the person who receives it respects it.

But yeah, I've hit people fairly hard and often as uke or nage.

In class, I would consider this type of thing to be bad form, as it gets in the way of learning what the instructor is demonstrating - unless the instructor is demonstrating this.

Yes, we do techniques from nage attacking uke.

Rob

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 01:45 PM
I'm not even sure that we're even talking about the same martial art.. Aikido technique is a buffet of atemi.

Perhaps I should defer to my seniors on this one.. Nah, why stop now :)


Shomenuchi ikkyo
Shomenuchi nikyo
Shomenuchi sankyo

All lend themselves to atemi at the kneecap, kidneys, and head, as they are available. Sometimes also the lower back if uke is especially dumb. A knee in the face or the groin when uke's balance is broken, or stepping on their legs, knees, etc. Stepping onto the elbow, in addition, with some of these if the person tries to rise.


Munetsuki kaitennage

A punch of the face - uke moves his face and so the arm goes by the head instead. Kidney shot, knee in the face. As usual, back of the leg and side of the knee.


munetsuki kotegaeshi


Elbow, kidney, side of the knee, face, elbow, groin, knee, kick...


yokomenuchi shihonage

Face, side of the face, wrist.

I'm not sure how else to answer your questions.. and I've left out a bunch, too.

Rob

Alfonso
12-04-2006, 01:54 PM
this discussion is interesting but I think the temptation to make absolute statements is not helping.
In my training Ukemi is not an absolute; it is an aspect that gets developed over time. I spent a lot of time learning how to fall safely, then a lot of time how not to fall; how much to cooperate with who and when is also part of all of this.

Besides being fun, rolling on the ground has a conditioning aspect to it. How much of the same body skill you use in doing a one arm high diving roll, and in doing "unbendable arm". How long does it take a beginner to be able to do one arm rolls. Take that further; how much ukemi in aikido ends up stretching uke, twisting uke's limbs, slapping uke's body around on the floor propelled by gravity, etc.
In another conversation a while ago, someone mentioned how thinking "ukemi mode" helped them understand this connecting the body that comes up in discussion.

In my book Ukemi is always cooperative by definition. Sometimes we agree to resist, but that's cooperation too. The distinction of Nage and Uke, takes place in a coooperative environment. On a fight the roles don't exist.

Atemi wise; I think you're saying that you can use Atemi to facilitate a throw; not that the throw is effected by an Atemi. I think it's pretty obvious that if you're in a position to throw, you could Strike instead (with very different results)

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 02:03 PM
I'm not even sure that we're even talking about the same martial art.. Aikido technique is a buffet of atemi.

Perhaps I should defer to my seniors on this one.. Nah, why stop now :)



All lend themselves to atemi at the kneecap, kidneys, and head, as they are available. Sometimes also the lower back if uke is especially dumb. A knee in the face or the groin when uke's balance is broken, or stepping on their legs, knees, etc. Stepping onto the elbow, in addition, with some of these if the person tries to rise.



A punch of the face - uke moves his face and so the arm goes by the head instead. Kidney shot, knee in the face. As usual, back of the leg and side of the knee.



Elbow, kidney, side of the knee, face, elbow, groin, knee, kick...



Face, side of the face, wrist.

I'm not sure how else to answer your questions.. and I've left out a bunch, too.

Rob

Those all sound like oyowaza, you consider then to the the kihon of the movements? It's my assertion that atemi within the context of aikido should be part of the greater movement and not something added in. The examples you have listed do not accomplish the throws and techniques I mentioned, but rather serve as options intstead of the technique. Perhaps you don't understand what kihon means, I thought that was a pretty common and basic concept however. To me, kihon should express the essence of the technique. So how is nikyo best expressed with a kick to the kneecap? How does it exist within the basic form of nikyo, and if it is integral to the movement, why is it not practices as the kihon form of the movement?

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 02:06 PM
Those all sound like oyowaza, you consider then to the the kihon of the movements? It's my assertion that atemi within the context of aikido should be part of the greater movement and not something added in. The examples you have listed do not accomplish the throws and techniques I mentioned, but rather serve as options intstead of the technique. Perhaps you don't understand what kihon means, I thought that was a pretty common and basic concept however. To me, kihon should express the essence of the technique. So how is nikyo best expressed with a kick to the kneecap? How does it exist within the basic form of nikyo, and if it is integral to the movement, why is it not practices as the kihon form of the movement?

Atemi leads to kusushi. Kusushi is present throughout kihon waza. The means of achieving kusushi is dependent on uke, but the principle is the same regardless.

As such, atemi are either necessary or an option depending on the choices and skills of both parties, but kusushi is necessary.

Rob

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 02:12 PM
Didn't you just answer your own question? We manipulate joints to set the person up for a lethal cut or hit. That said, the person has the option to take the hit or take ukemi.

Because you're trying to reach a mutually amicable solution. But yes, if I didn't care about that, or if I really felt threatened, than that would be what would happen.

Besides, its not like the technique "builds toward" a lethal attack - those are available if you know how throughout.


Again, I'm talking about kihon here, and I was asking how the atemi accomplished the throw, not how kansetsu waza could be used to position for atemiwaza.


And here again we see the effects of competition on martial training. Competition - useful for building skills at games, but beyond that..

I would recommend trying to do a basic aikido throw agains a kyu level judoka and see how well that theory holds up.



Not everything in life can be powered through. The most dangerous adversaries are interested in destruction, not one-ups-man-ship.

Ok, back it up there. I'm not the one advocating muscular one upmanship here. YOU are the one saying that if uke doesn't do what you want you strike them. That's not my assertion at all, but rather that aikido, when done well, has enough control over the situation to perform the technique to completion. In Aikido, like Daito Ryu, the lethal finishing blow takes place after the throw or takedown/lockup, not while both parties are standing. This can be seen in the hand raised in preparation for a strike in DR and the old Noma dojo photos.

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 02:14 PM
Atemi leads to kusushi. Kusushi is present throughout kihon waza. The means of achieving kusushi is dependent on uke, but the principle is the same regardless.

As such, atemi are either necessary or an option depending on the choices and skills of both parties, but kusushi is necessary.

Rob

Right, I covered this, atemi happens first to get kuzushi. If you get kuzushi and then give it back, you've blown the technique and should look at what you did wrong. If you're trying to get kuzushi at the end of a technique, again I believe you did it wrong. This is what OSensei meant by defeating the opponent at the moment of contact.

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 02:24 PM
Again, I'm talking about kihon here, and I was asking how the atemi accomplished the throw, not how kansetsu waza could be used to position for atemiwaza.

I don't know what kansetsu waza is.

I would recommend trying to do a basic aikido throw agains a kyu level judoka and see how well that theory holds up.

I'd be stupid to try to do grapple and throw style Aikido on a Judoka. That set of competition that they do is geared towards making them superior at exactly those areas of technique - its THEIR game, not ours. Here is where an atemi, a weapon, or friends would serve.

Presuming I knew how to hit effectively, of course, which I don't.

That would be the equivalent of me trying to hit a karateka. That set of competition that they do is geared towards making them superior at exactly those areas of technique - its THEIR game, not ours. Here is where a joint lock, a weapon, or friends would serve.

Ok, back it up there. I'm not the one advocating muscular one upmanship here. YOU are the one saying that if uke doesn't do what you want you strike them. That's not my assertion at all, but rather that aikido, when done well, has enough control over the situation to perform the technique to completion. In Aikido, like Daito Ryu, the lethal finishing blow takes place after the throw or takedown/lockup, not while both parties are standing. This can be seen in the hand raised in preparation for a strike in DR and the old Noma dojo photos.

No, I'm saying that you want to be able to strike them, not that you have to or should. While I'd strike a grappler, I'd be stupid to strike someone who know how to take a punch such as a boxer, except for the purposes of distraction.

In Aikido, like Daito Ryu, the lethal finishing blow takes place after the throw or takedown/lockup, not while both parties are standing.

Again, not my experience.

Rob

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 02:26 PM
Right, I covered this, atemi happens first to get kuzushi. If you get kuzushi and then give it back, you've blown the technique and should look at what you did wrong. If you're trying to get kuzushi at the end of a technique, again I believe you did it wrong. This is what OSensei meant by defeating the opponent at the moment of contact.

Unfortunately, it is much harder to look for what I did right in a technique that what I did wrong - yet, I persevere.

Unfortunately, the concept of a do-over has not been implemented yet in tests, free-style, or encounters, and so I pick up the pieces of my broken techniques as I find them.

However, as long as I have "aiki, kusushi, and shisei" (to rob Doran-sensei), I feel like I am doing Aikido.

Rob

cguzik
12-04-2006, 02:36 PM
Chris,

I think this comes down to simply a difference in assumptions about what is being trained. In training kihon for throws, it sounds like you are suggesting people should work on the basic mechanics of the throws with an uke who will provide a strong body to facilitate this kind of training.

I think Robert is refering to training in which uke is practicing moving to avoid being cut, which leads to a more active type of ukemi in which the tori may never get the chance to work on the body structure aspects of the throw, because uke is moving in front of their movement.

I don't think either of these methods is inappropriate. In fact, I think we need both kinds of training. However, if two people are training together with these two different ideas, one or both is going to get frustrated and not learn much.

In my experience, kihon waza means both parties are aware of the interplay of the suki and uke does move actively based on closing their openings, but not so far ahead of tori that tori does actually get to work on the body position and mechanics.

None of this addresses Cady's original concern that once uke begins to fall (no matter how actively or involuntarily), that they just take a big pretty fall and slap the mat rather than hanging on and affecting sutemi. In most aikido dojo that I have practiced in, sutemi is not practiced unless that's what the instructor demonstrated. That said, in some places, I have noticed that the uke are paying much more attention to those opportunities (even if not acted on) than in others.

Chris

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 02:37 PM
I don't know what kansetsu waza is.
Joint locks/manipulations. Most of aikido's curriculum would be considered kansetsu waza.



I'd be stupid to try to do grapple and throw style Aikido on a Judoka. That set of competition that they do is geared towards making them superior at exactly those areas of technique - its THEIR game, not ours. Here is where an atemi, a weapon, or friends would serve.

Presuming I knew how to hit effectively, of course, which I don't.

So, what makes the difference between the competition based arts (like judo) and aikido is that in aikido we can use weapons and atemi to accomplish something. But then immediately you state that you're not good at hitting effectively. So, what then are you working on? I realize this is kind of rhetorical, but you should really think about the dichotomy of what you're stating here.




Again, not my experience.

Rob

I don't really care what your own experience is, I'm drawing from sources that are fundamental to anyone studying aikido, that's why I chose those particular examples.

You still haven't explained my earlier questions about how the strikes you mentioned serve to exist within the basic form of the techniques, are you just going to gloss over that part?

Ellis Amdur
12-04-2006, 02:38 PM
Robert - you wrote: " I'd be stupid to try to do grapple and throw style Aikido on a Judoka. That set of competition that they do is geared towards making them superior at exactly those areas of technique - its THEIR game, not ours. Here is where an atemi, a weapon, or friends would serve."
But Robert, in a story I posted, very recently on one of these threads, a high ranking judo practitioner described Tomiki simply sticking out his hand and defying high ranking judoka to even move him, using anything they liked. And he, at a moment of his choosing, then threw them with the one hand that they were working. So, why shouldn't an aikidoka be able to win at judo's game?
BTW - a little more fuel - read Shioda's account of his brothel fight, where he decided to see if aikido atemi worked (!!!!! - somebody must have taught him). HE simply slapped down with both hands (sounds like xingyi pi chuan to me) and broke the kicking leg of his attacker.

Best

Best

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 02:48 PM
Robert - you wrote: " I'd be stupid to try to do grapple and throw style Aikido on a Judoka. That set of competition that they do is geared towards making them superior at exactly those areas of technique - its THEIR game, not ours. Here is where an atemi, a weapon, or friends would serve."
But Robert, in a story I posted, very recently on one of these threads, a high ranking judo practitioner described Tomiki simply sticking out his hand and defying high ranking judoka to even move him, using anything they liked. And he, at a moment of his choosing, then threw them with the one hand that they were working. So, why shouldn't an aikidoka be able to win at judo's game?
BTW - a little more fuel - read Shioda's account of his brothel fight, where he decided to see if aikido atemi worked (!!!!! - somebody must have taught him). HE simply slapped down with both hands (sounds like xingyi pi chuan to me) and broke the kicking leg of his attacker.

Best

Best

I'm not sure that what I would/could do should in any way reflect on Aikidoka, least of all someone like Tomiki (or for that matter, on my instructors).

Presumably a good Aikidoka could win if he used tools the Judoka did not know (as Tomiki did) or was just massively more skillful - I was talking about my personal skills as a rank amateur without professional aspirations.

There again, you've got the Judoka being pitted against (in this case) a set of skills outside of his realm of knowledge (at least, if Sigman is right, and I think he is, that this is just another toolbox).

If the Judoka had those internal skills, who could say what would have happened? Perhaps someone like Dan or Sigman could have set Tomiki straight. If I recall correctly, Tomiki was also a Judoka, and so knew exactly what they were likely to do.

As soon as I get to the point where I am as good as Tomiki, than I too will take on Judoka... :D Since that won't happen in this lifetime, all the Judoka in the world can breathe a sigh of relief.. lol

With respect to the point on Aikido atemi - its the same as above - Shioda knew how to hit a lot better than I ever will, as do many Aikido people, but they didn't necessarily learn it on an Aikido mat, and they don't necessarily pass it on.

There is only so much time and effort for training and learning, and I'm other things before I am a martial artist.

Rob

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 02:49 PM
But Robert, in a story I posted, very recently on one of these threads, a high ranking judo practitioner described Tomiki simply sticking out his hand and defying high ranking judoka to even move him, using anything they liked. And he, at a moment of his choosing, then threw them with the one hand that they were working. So, why shouldn't an aikidoka be able to win at judo's game?


Not to mention how many of the pre-war uchideshi were already accomplished judoka. After being tossed about at will (I've read no accounts of them being defeated by atemi, to impress a judoka, you'd need to beat them at their game, not skirt the rules) many signed up to learn the art. Have we simply lost this level of skill?

Alfonso
12-04-2006, 02:54 PM
I hear you guys, but..Tomiki, Shioda.. could you chose another "average joe" for an example? How do you know that their level of skill doesn't exist anymore? Some of the current shihans were judoka as well. My own teacher was an overall badass (and ranked in judo as well) before coming into Aikido; what gives?

DH
12-04-2006, 03:10 PM
Robert
After reading much of your posting now. I'd say the only thing holding you back..........is you.
Were I you, I'd take on judoka tonight and MMA and anything else I could find.
If "falling down" is your response to an atemi (as you'd presume it is a lethal technque -your quote) Then I can't offer you much advice. I guess its a wonder how all the boxers and all the MMA guys get hit over and over and keep coming......to win.
The entire sum of these recent posts of yours are the perfect tailor made examples of not only physically tuned "conditioned response" But a mental pre-conditioned response as well. Perfect... to a fair-thee-well. Thank you.

As I said many times- people trained this way cannot even begin to see the options.

We don't really have anything to say to each other. There is no way I can talk to you about these things. Good luck and try to stretch to see things Like Chris and Ellis were saying.

Chris writes
Why wouldn't they just use atemi to throw the person?..........
Because strikes don't throw people.
That was great Chris.

Dan

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 03:11 PM
I hear you guys, but..Tomiki, Shioda.. could you chose another "average joe" for an example? How do you know that their level of skill doesn't exist anymore? Some of the current shihans were judoka as well. My own teacher was an overall badass (and ranked in judo as well) before coming into Aikido; what gives?

As far as my comments go, it was rhetorical. If there's the assertion that aikido can't work on a judoka, and it used to, are we left to assume that something has been lost from the art. Or (here's what I was getting at) are we using the crutch of behavioural conditioning and atemi to make up for sloppy technique that doesn't in fact take balance or work in what I would consider an honest way?

Michael Douglas
12-04-2006, 03:13 PM
Robert (Rumpf) as uke I don't think you should throw yourself to the ground to avoid an atemi which might or might not be lethal. I do concede that lots of aikidoka train this way.
It's commonly the stuff of aikido demonstrations and to me looks rather silly. Is there an alternative which is still OK in your dojo training?

DonMagee
12-04-2006, 03:19 PM
And here again we see the effects of competition on martial training. Competition - useful for building skills at games, but beyond that..


How much time have you spent in competition based martial arts? You are so quick to dismiss sport based training as invalid.

It's funny, I was just reading an article that applies directly to this

http://www.straightblastgym.com/newbook.htm

I also think it's funny that people just assume sports guys can't use weapons, bring friends, or do any of the other stuff they talk about. What is the difference between what I train to do and japanese jiujitsu? My training method. Nothing more, I learn the same techniques. I throw kicks, punches, throws, submissions, chokes, etc. Oddly though, by putting on gloves and fighting, I lose the ablity to pick up a bottle, gouge eyes or develop body skills? This has never made any sense to me.

It's like this whole ukemi argument. Why learn to take ukemi? Because in order to learn how to throw, someone has to throw you. And in order to be thrown again, you have to land without injury. Once you get past that, you are free to change ukemi. I don't slap when I fall, I don't take ukemi. I'm thrown, and I do my best to learn how to not be thrown and how to land in a way that makes my life a little better and improves the chance I wont be killed on the ground. That sounds like good ukemi to me.

I find the argument silly. What if someone has a sword? What if someone has a gun? What if someone stands on one foot with a banana and a mackerel?

Stop trying to play chess with fighting. It will never work, for every scenario you can think up, I can think up one to beat you, and you can think up one to beat that one. For example, you train to not grapple the judo guy. How would you deal with a judo guy with a sword? How about 5 judo guys and one has a knife and one has a bucket? How would I deal with 27 aikidoka using their hakama's as bull whips?

Just learn how to fall and not get hurt, so your partner can throw you again and get better at throwing. Then learn how to not be thrown. And finally learn how to safely move out of the way. These are all equally valuable skills.

Thomas Campbell
12-04-2006, 03:23 PM
[snip]What if someone stands on one foot with a banana and a mackerel?

[snip]

I don't practice for this contingency :eek: . I'm going to have to go back and re-evaluate my entire approach to training.

Alfonso
12-04-2006, 03:24 PM
[QUOTE=are we using the crutch of behavioural conditioning and atemi to make up for sloppy technique that doesn't in fact take balance or work in what I would consider an honest way?[/QUOTE]

I think those are very big potholes in anyone's Aikido career; I think the same could apply in regards to the passive agressive mindset, arrogance or delusions of invulnerability.

IIRC Ikeda sensei said in his last seminar that we should welcome the opportunity to find out how to make things work. And he also explicitly and repeatedly said that in Aikido , this means you must learn how to "change your inside" to do it. When I got the chance to grab him he showed how visually it looked the same; an attempt to move me, and successfully moving me (the same posture , the same grab, very different outcome)

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 03:26 PM
After reading much of your posting now. I'd say the only thing holding you back..........is you.

Holding me back from... what? I'm happy with almost everything in my life, and when I am unhappy with something, I change it. Perhaps I'm like an animal that has been caged too long.. lol

Were I you, I'd take on judoka tonight and MMA and anything else I could find. If "falling down" is your response to an atemi (as you'd presume it is a lethal technque -your quote) Then I can't offer you much advice. I guess its a wonder how all the boxers and all the MMA guys get hit over and over and keep coming......to win.

The entire sum of these recent posts of yours are the perfect tailor made examples of not only physically tuned "conditioned response" But a mental pre-conditioned response as well. Perfect... to a fair-thee-well. Thank you.

As I said many times- people trained this way cannot even begin to see the options.

We don't really have anything to say to each other. There is no way I can talk to you about these things. Good luck and try to stretch to see things Like Chris and Ellis were saying.


But you're not me, Dan.

I appreciate the sentiment, and I appreciate your concern on my behalf, but I assure you that my participation on this thread / forum is not just to get your advice.. which I don't believe I have even asked for.

I don't think, and have never thought, that the internet would be a place to learn what you seek to teach. I've merely been interested in participating in the discussion.

Rob

CNYMike
12-04-2006, 03:36 PM
Actually the real question that needs to be asked is...
who spends the better part of an hour working on Ukemi? ;)


Given that (A) Aikidoists spend haf the class being uke for someone else, and therefore are by definition workin on ukemi waza; and (B) the worldwide population of Aikidoists is estimated at around 1.5 million, the answer would seem to be "A lof of people." :p

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 03:38 PM
How much time have you spent in competition based martial arts? You are so quick to dismiss sport based training as invalid.

It's funny, I was just reading an article that applies directly to this

http://www.straightblastgym.com/newbook.htm

I also think it's funny that people just assume sports guys can't use weapons, bring friends, or do any of the other stuff they talk about.

I was not trying imply that competition doesn't breed effectiveness, just that it tends to limit ones viewpoint to things relevant to the competition.

Of course they can, but are they taught to do such things in their sports class? Does a boxer also learn how to use a knife?

Perhaps if they want to be a fighter, but such an exercise is not part of boxing class. It is the choice of an individual, not a curriculum.

How much sword work do Judoka do? Does that make what they do "invalid?" No.

Rob

CNYMike
12-04-2006, 03:43 PM
The difference between JMA and MMA is simple. It is the same difference between Judo and other JMA arts. Training in the manner that bjj/judo/boxing/etc trains is what makes their arts effective .....

Except that the idea that JMA training methods are ineffective has a very big hole in it: People had trained that way for hundreds of years, and if the methods hadn't worked, people would have got killed. Ever see a kenjutusu class? All they do is two-man kata. That's the way they were training back in the day when people wore swords on their hips and fought duels. If it didn't work, people would have died. Period.

Furthermore, if MMA methods were the only effective ones, don't you think that's all there ever would have been? No one woul every debate TMA v. MMA because MMA would be TMA -- there never would have been anything else. Yet there was.

So maybe those traning methods have something going for them after all.

DonMagee
12-04-2006, 03:43 PM
Of course they can, but are they taught to do such things in their sports class? Does a boxer also learn how to use a knife?

Perhaps if they want to be a fighter, but such an exercise in not part of boxing class. It is the choice of an individual, not a curriculum.

How much sword work do Judoka do? Does that make what they do "invalid?" No.

Rob

So by admission, your art does not train you to deal with one on one unarmed combat?

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 03:43 PM
Great


It's like this whole ukemi argument. Why learn to take ukemi? Because in order to learn how to throw, someone has to throw you. And in order to be thrown again, you have to land without injury. Once you get past that, you are free to change ukemi. I don't slap when I fall, I don't take ukemi. I'm thrown, and I do my best to learn how to not be thrown and how to land in a way that makes my life a little better and improves the chance I wont be killed on the ground. That sounds like good ukemi to me.


Last week I was playing with some aikido friends who study sword with me. One asked if we could work on some koshinage. I showed o-goshi as what I consider to be the basic koshinage and then how depending on circumstances, that could move into uki-goshi, harai-goshi, makikomi or any number of other variations that the kodokan has laid out as individual techniques. The first time I did harai-goshi on him it came on really fast and he didn't get a chance to get ready. He was fine, never even got a chance to slap out, but he was fine. He sat up (a bit dazed) and started talking about how odd the experience was because (to paraphrase), "in aikido I always have to throw myself, you know I can pick when I fall and how I'm going to fall. But that just happened and I lost all control over myself." Yup, that's what they're all supposed to feel like folks, but too many of us have forgotten or have never experienced that kind of thing. The old guard of Aikido were almost all experienced judoka and would have known what that feeling was like. The fact that they signed on upon first contact tells me that what was going on then had the same effect on them as they were used to feeling.

What if someone stands on one foot with a banana and a mackerel?

There are some circumstances that I've accepted that I will never have the skills to face... :D

Gernot Hassenpflug
12-04-2006, 03:44 PM
Kuroda Testsuzan writes about jujutsu being responses to weapons, and that this explains the responses, techniques and the ukemi. The same skills are used in other arts when facing somes one without a weapon, and he says there's nothing wrong with applying them in a non-weapon scenario: but then the movements are no longer jujutsu (or iaido or other sword-related arts). Thus, no, one does not have to fall when threatened by an atemi, but the nature of the responses and techniques that one is carrying out is traditionally determined by the presence of a sword - if that idea is removed then although there is all manner of practical usefulness, the responses are no longer jujutsu, or aikido for that matter. This is the same teaching Abe Seiseki gives, and other top teachers I have met (sorry, no names apart from my current aikido teacher). So boxing, judo, MMA are all good for testing certain basic skill sets, but one's response is not correct in an aikido/jujutsu sense if one does not respond in the manner compliant with a sword, even if the basci skills used in the response are the same.

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 03:48 PM
Of course they can, but are they taught to do such things in their sports class? Does a boxer also learn how to use a knife?

Perhaps if they want to be a fighter, but such an exercise is not part of boxing class. It is the choice of an individual, not a curriculum.

How much sword work do Judoka do? Does that make what they do "invalid?" No.

Rob

So how much time do most people in aikido spend on a heavy bag or learning anthing more complicated with a knife than, "this is the pointy end, put it in the bad man's belly.."? The anser is not much at all. However all of the skills developed by someone learning to jab and punch effectively woule translate over to holding a knife. As a 'sword-guy' I'd say that most aikido peeps don't do much sword either.

CNYMike
12-04-2006, 03:51 PM
Forget the name dropping. It just makes a clearer picture to frame a conversation. The idea was to look at a different way to not receive and to attack and what that does to make the body postionally safer both in attack and in defense.
Its not challenging except to consider that -there- the same type of ukemi is not used. The type of techniques used there are the same we train and the approach to ukemi is totally different than in Aikido so its a worthwhile look. And no, I don't fight professionally either.
The points were about how that .......type......of resistence would change the ukemi. Its a very simple question. It has a more complex answer as to how it changes the reactions of an attacking body though.
Its not a challenge position. Its an exploritory one. Do you suppose Systema takes that type of ukemi either? Or that is needed as much?
These are worthwhile, non challenging questions to approach.
How do -you- suppose full resistence and an MMA format would change both the type of ukemi and the need for it? And of the value in gradually upping the resistence as an ...adjunct... to training?
And to even make it fun to do so. Thousands of guys train safely in it every week.
Dan

It's all worth a look -- that's my point, the JMA Ukemi waza and the MMA methodology both. I am not, and have not, been arguing one over the other; I am saying both are good.

You're right, thousands of people -- many of whom don't want to compete, just train for fitness or self defense -- do MMA every day wihout getting hurt. That' true. But thousands of people do Aikido every day wihtout getting hurt. Who's right or wrong? I think it's all good; if somene has both methods under their belts, they'll learn whe there's a time and place for one or the other.

Of course, there's another issue of whether one can change Aikido radically and still call it Aikido; I don't think so, because one is breaking one's obligation to pass down the system. You have to be careful with that sort of thing. But doing Aikido and cross-training in MMA, hey, go for it!

Ron Tisdale
12-04-2006, 03:53 PM
It's all good if you understand the CONTEXT that it operates in. If you confuse the aikido context for a MMA match...you are going to be hurting, or looking silly.

As to whether the changes take what you do away from aikido...I don't know for sure, but I think if you take aikido back to what it used to be, that's a good thing...

Best,
Ron

CNYMike
12-04-2006, 03:55 PM
Actually, what Dan said, was to only fall "when someone takes your center." That's an entirely reasonable criteria and should be a given in Aikido practice. The problem as I see it is that so few people understand how to do that or what it actually feels like that they have no reference point ....

Sounds to me more like an sensitivity issue since uke and nage both have to be aware of nage having uke's center. If they're not there, they're not there yet. <shrug>

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 03:57 PM
Except that the idea that JMA training methods are ineffective has a very big hole in it: People had trained that way for hundreds of years, and if the methods hadn't worked, people would have got killed. Ever see a kenjutusu class? All they do is two-man kata. That's the way they were training back in the day when people wore swords on their hips and fought duels. If it didn't work, people would have died. Period.



ERRRR, sorry. Kenjutsu contain(s/ed) a lot more than simply two man kata. The exercises that led to the freestyle training of modern kendo have very old roots in several ryu-ha. Ono-ha Itto ryu's freestyle paired practice proved so popular that its offspring (modern kendo) went on to eclipse the parent art. Even beyond that, paired kata can be extremely vibrant and dangerous training grounds. Ellis, Dave Lowry and others have written some excellent articles about the dynamics of correctly practiced kata and the practice of fluidly transitioning from one kata to the next in a dynamic un-rehearsed fasion. The very static kata based teaching systems were formalized during periods of peace, when teachers needed to make a living.

CNYMike
12-04-2006, 03:58 PM
It's all good if you understand the CONTEXT that it operates in. If you confuse the aikido context for a MMA match...you are going to be hurting, or looking silly.


Agreed -- as I said, there's a time and place, ie, context.


As to whether the changes take what you do away from aikido...I don't know for sure, but I think if you take aikido back to what it used to be, that's a good thing...

If anybody really knows what that was. People can say anything and get away with it in the MMA world because it is difficult/impossible to double-check some of it.

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 03:59 PM
So by admission, your art does not train you to deal with one on one unarmed combat?

My art doesn't even teach me how to keep my shoe laces tied.

And yet, I persevere.

I think I could handle the mackerel though - I like sushi.

Rob

CNYMike
12-04-2006, 04:00 PM
ERRRR, sorry. Kenjutsu contain(s/ed) a lot more than simply two man kata. The exercises that led to the freestyle training of modern kendo have very old roots in several ryu-ha. Ono-ha Itto ryu's freestyle paired practice proved so popular that its offspring (modern kendo) went on to eclipse the parent art. Even beyond that, paired kata can be extremely vibrant and dangerous training grounds. Ellis, Dave Lowry and others have written some excellent articles about the dynamics of correctly practiced kata and the practice of fluidly transitioning from one kata to the next in a dynamic un-rehearsed fasion. The very static kata based teaching systems were formalized during periods of peace, when teachers needed to make a living.

Ok.

Cady Goldfield
12-04-2006, 04:06 PM
My art doesn't even teach me how to keep my shoe laces tied.


That would explain why everyone trains barefoot. :p

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 04:10 PM
That would explain why everyone trains barefoot. :p

Perhaps that's where I get my shihan in putting my foot in my mouth from.

DonMagee
12-04-2006, 04:12 PM
My art taught me how to tape my hands and feet. It comes in handy in the winter.

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 04:14 PM
My art taught me how to tape my hands and feet. It comes in handy in the winter.

We have heated floors.

Robert Rumpf
12-04-2006, 04:22 PM
Kuroda Testsuzan writes about jujutsu being responses to weapons, and that this explains the responses, techniques and the ukemi. The same skills are used in other arts when facing somes one without a weapon, and he says there's nothing wrong with applying them in a non-weapon scenario: but then the movements are no longer jujutsu (or iaido or other sword-related arts). Thus, no, one does not have to fall when threatened by an atemi, but the nature of the responses and techniques that one is carrying out is traditionally determined by the presence of a sword - if that idea is removed then although there is all manner of practical usefulness, the responses are no longer jujutsu, or aikido for that matter. This is the same teaching Abe Seiseki gives, and other top teachers I have met (sorry, no names apart from my current aikido teacher). So boxing, judo, MMA are all good for testing certain basic skill sets, but one's response is not correct in an aikido/jujutsu sense if one does not respond in the manner compliant with a sword, even if the basci skills used in the response are the same.

One other thing: I think I've been pretty clear in terms of advocating taking ukemi - but that does NOT mean that you have to fall in response to someone gesturing towards your face (unless you want to train your reflexes). If I said such a thing than it was poor wording on my part.

The reaction could be as simple as a sideways or backwards movement, or a movement underneath, but a reaction must me made (in my opinion) that respects the intent of the attack (and removes one from the threatened region of the attack) and that is what I've been taught is ukemi.

The fact that this can and sometimes does result in a fall doesn't mean that it always needs to or should.

Learning principle is great, and to the extent that it allows people to step outside themselves - great. However, I'm not sure that competition helps with that intrinsically more than non-competitive practice. I would expect that competition would help you to polish the techniques used to win in the competition.

However, that's another thread, and one in which I am not really that interested in.

Rob

ChrisMoses
12-04-2006, 04:26 PM
So, looking back on my posts, I find that I'm being a bit too contrarian without offering much. I'll offer some context that I believe some of the MMA'ers are trying to get at and that is being misunderstood by some of the aikidoka. I've alluded to some of it already, but not in very clear terms.

When people write things like, "I never take ukemi, I am thrown.", "Don't fall down unless someone has your center," or "Hold on until the bitter end..." I don't believe any of them are talking about going to ground work with every throw that is ever attempted. They/we are talking about an understanding in how 'true' a throw feels, that is very hard to find if you've never really tried not to be thrown. In aikido, there's really kind of one training methodology (if you ignore Tomiki style anyway). To my mind, it's all done in a grey area between kata and oyowaza. Some schools are more like kata (say the Yoshinkan) while others tend to be more like oyowaza (ASU for example, and yes I'm painting fleas with wide brush). In judo (and many other jujutsu) you have different kinds of training that help to educate you from different angles. The level of resistance that a judoka gives during uchikomi is different than they would if they were really working on the same throw and still again different from how it would be in randori. However, they all exist to teach the same stuff. Even in something like uchikomi, there is room for partners to give physical feedback about if nage is setting up correctly. This understanding of what is right is enhanced by actually practicing the throw with some static resistance. What static resistance is fair and reasonable is educated by freestyle randori where you learn what kinds of resistance lead that that kind of throw and (possibly most importantly) just how extremely difficult it is to really throw someone cleanly. I know even when I'm feeling pretty good and throwing pretty consistently doing kata style judo, when I move to randori with the same person it just gets really difficult to get anything off at all. But even in classtime randori, when someone gets you and you feel that honesty about the encounter, you go. You don't struggle to the point on injury with every technique you ever do. But you do start to learn what it really feels like when someone truly gets you and you're going down before you have time to react. That awareness filters down into every aspect of your training. Then when someone says, "I don't fall, I'm thrown." you nod your head and say, "Yeah, I really know what that means." in a way that you didn't before.

Rupert Atkinson
12-04-2006, 05:21 PM
You view things the same way I do. I should add that, if you are good at ukemi, when they finally 'get you' as in Judo, it comes as no big surprise - indeed, it is that surprise that often causes injury. Simply, as you are being thrown you just blend in and accept it, while, of course - if Judo - work to make as BAD an 'ukemi' as possible (on the surface - the way it looks) so that they don't get ippon, or, craft it into a counter, or, work to protect youself against groundwork before you even hit the floor. It's all ukemi - being on the ball, so to speak.


When people write things like, "I never take ukemi, I am thrown.", "Don't fall down unless someone has your center," or "Hold on until the bitter end..." I don't believe any of them are talking about going to ground work with every throw that is ever attempted. They/we are talking about an understanding in how 'true' a throw feels, that is very hard to find if you've never really tried not to be thrown. In aikido, there's really kind of one training methodology (if you ignore Tomiki style anyway). To my mind, it's all done in a grey area between kata and oyowaza. Some schools are more like kata (say the Yoshinkan) while others tend to be more like oyowaza (ASU for example, and yes I'm painting fleas with wide brush). In judo (and many other jujutsu) you have different kinds of training that help to educate you from different angles. The level of resistance that a judoka gives during uchikomi is different than they would if they were really working on the same throw and still again different from how it would be in randori. However, they all exist to teach the same stuff. Even in something like uchikomi, there is room for partners to give physical feedback about if nage is setting up correctly. This understanding of what is right is enhanced by actually practicing the throw with some static resistance. What static resistance is fair and reasonable is educated by freestyle randori where you learn what kinds of resistance lead that that kind of throw and (possibly most importantly) just how extremely difficult it is to really throw someone cleanly. I know even when I'm feeling pretty good and throwing pretty consistently doing kata style judo, when I move to randori with the same person it just gets really difficult to get anything off at all. But even in classtime randori, when someone gets you and you feel that honesty about the encounter, you go. You don't struggle to the point on injury with every technique you ever do. But you do start to learn what it really feels like when someone truly gets you and you're going down before you have time to react. That awareness filters down into every aspect of your training. Then when someone says, "I don't fall, I'm thrown." you nod your head and say, "Yeah, I really know what that means." in a way that you didn't before.

Pauliina Lievonen
12-05-2006, 04:36 AM
But you do start to learn what it really feels like when someone truly gets you and you're going down before you have time to react. That awareness filters down into every aspect of your training.

It really spoils training with people who don't really get you, too. Once you get hooked on that feeling, it's sooo dissapointing to "take ukemi"...

kvaak
Pauliina

DH
12-05-2006, 07:30 AM
Thank you for the series of replies from those who get various things I was discussing. Particularly the later posts.
I had no intention of starting a new thread on it. But since Jun did so- I felt responsible to follow it a bit.

I'll remind those who question the intent that I have three Aikidoka coming tonight and two more who now train with me regularly. And they take it back to -their-Aikido.
And to those with unkind thoughts who questioned and were rude in other threads...no money exchanges hands. I don't charge a penny.

Let me be the first to say happy holidays to everyone
Cheers
Dan
P.S. Keep doing those solo exercises

billybob
12-05-2006, 07:56 AM
Hi Dan,

I wasn't trying to be rude - I was trying to trap you into falling over your own words. "Forum as randori".

I can really dig what Christian said about good koshinage and (the joy) of realizing you had better prepare for ukemi because your feet have left the ground. I bring this with me to every aikido class. My teachers leave me be, and I don't throw every time as I'm pretty injured.

BUT, by 'non compliant' Dan do you mean 'live' ???

I'll take this opportunity to level my own trouble with aikido - when you train in technique that people know is coming it's easy for them to stop the technique they know you have to use. Christian brilliantly stated 'how hard it is to throw someone cleanly in koshinage' BUT, and here is that joy part again - if people get a little resistive - they've given you the way to throw them. Try picking up a sack of rice - if the rice begins to shift in the bag you'll tear your back out. If it stays put, you can pick up even a fifty pound bag.

When uke braces against say ikyo - he has nicely given him or herself to me as a lever. I need merely to match my body, or my throw to their 'gift'. I trust this is clear as mud.

Love you guys, and Dan - fall into one of my traps please - it's the holidays! :)

david

billybob
12-05-2006, 09:48 AM
Cady,

Sutemi is bread and butter for me. It hurts to stand sometimes - so I harness uke's energy and fall with them as much as I can get away with in class. What did you think about using the bag of rice analogy to describe internal concepts, and my tacit suggestion that throwing really only works if there is some resistance?

dave

Cady Goldfield
12-05-2006, 09:49 AM
Oops, you're quick, Dave. :D Sorry I yanked that post! (I was going to re-word). I do think the sack-o'-rice concept is too passive, but being utterly relaxed is (seemingly paradoxically) crucial. You make an internal shift to direct tori's balance and weight; it's not random dead weight. You also would be using your arms and legs to wrap and torque tori in preparation for where you want him to land and in what position.

I don't see this as resistance -- but "pro-active harmony." ;)

ChrisMoses
12-05-2006, 10:43 AM
BUT, by 'non compliant' Dan do you mean 'live' ???

I'm not Dan, but I wouldn't equate those terms. It may be used differently where you train, but in the aikido schools that I have trained, being 'live' as uke generally meant being sprung to take a fall, and being very responsive to nage's movements. This isn't what I'm talking about. It's more that there is no difference initially between uke and nage. Uke and nage are both solid, both hunting for the other's center and both (at least mentally) trying to stay standing. This is different than uke being aware and being encouraged to 'find the line' of the throw. Personally, when I'm taking ukemi I look for the places where I could resist if we were in a freestyle encounter. Those places are where I would be able to start getting kuzushi on nage. When those gaps form, you can (if you know how to feel them) become suddenly very difficult to move, this feedback lets nage know that they have lost you, dropped their connection to your center or allowed you to shift your feet and regain your balance.

I'll take this opportunity to level my own trouble with aikido - when you train in technique that people know is coming it's easy for them to stop the technique they know you have to use. Christian brilliantly stated 'how hard it is to throw someone cleanly in koshinage' BUT, and here is that joy part again - if people get a little resistive - they've given you the way to throw them. Try picking up a sack of rice - if the rice begins to shift in the bag you'll tear your back out. If it stays put, you can pick up even a fifty pound bag.


I agree and disagree. I too hate when people take advantage of the structure of class to become difficult to throw. Often this is done at the expense of martial validity, and almost always makes it very difficult for their partner to acutally study what was being presented. This is both a symptom of being stuck in that grey area between kata and oyowaza and of the passive agressive mindset that is so pervasive in Western aikido (IMHO). This kind of training would simply not be tolerated in traditional jujutsu or judo for that matter. I stopped by my old aikido dojo this weekend for a special class (they just opened a new space) and one of the nidans there did exactly what you described. We were doing munetsuki kotegaeshi, but for whatever reason he would roll his arm completely over and bend forward at the waist at the end of his strike. He was literally putting himself in the perfect setup for hijiosae, arm straight, elbow pointed straight up and bent forward. This was in response to a gentle touch on the forearm. Occasionally I would just lift my arms and drop him in hijiosae, but it didn't matter, he just kept doing it. If I was still a teacher there, I would have either pulled him off the mat or injured him right then and there (let's just say it's not a new trick or one I hadn't talked to him about before). That kind of crap just isn't tolerated in most other circles of MA. Where I train now, you would be asked to leave. In some schools, that kind of thing would get sorted out in randori (judo def. not aikido def.).

Now for the disagree part. Being a little resistive does not make you easier to throw if you know what you're doing. This is one of the myths that continues to live in aikido because of the lack of any kind of freestyle training (again, IMHO). If you know how to resist (and you learn that by learing how to attack) you can become very hard to throw and do so in a martially valid, non-passive way. It exists, it's out there, it's not really that hard. That's one thing I really like about the push-out exercise that I've been doing since visiting the Aunkai. It shows you very quickly that these skills are there and that it's very possible to build them. (there's a lot more to the exercise, but that's how I find it most relates to this particular topic).

billybob
12-05-2006, 10:51 AM
I think we are all being pretty eager to disagree with each other. Thanks for clarifying what you feel is meant by 'non compliant'.

I think this debate will go on. I was told by a Sandan I respect very much that we can 'go farther' meaning engage in more risky training in aikido Because we cooperate. Learning how to cooperate in that way must be tough.

dave

Thomas Campbell
12-05-2006, 12:57 PM
[snip]
Lets get off this "cutting trees" stuff. It really isn't a strong point. I shouldn't have brought it up. Its more swordsmith stuff for me.

The martial art internal aspects are my own interests. So is spear work, that is a related but a separate topic. Still its tough to get folk to offer anything interesting.
Why did Ueshiba and Takeda do so much spear work?
Why did takeda and Kodo do jo work?

For technique?
Or for power?

Dan

hi Dan,

I wasn't trying to side-track the discussion, just making the point that the cutting-silk scenario seems more dependent on the quality of the swordblade's edge than it does on the internal body skill of the wielder. But I don't have much experience with the sword, in particular Japanese sword work. I'd be interested in hearing about differences and commonalities in the use of sword and spear to train internal body skill.

What aspects of internal martial arts are trained by sword work? What aspects are trained by spear or staff work?

I train with staff ("gun" in Mandarin, similar to the Japanese "bo") and with the long pole. I understand, in a very general way, the relation of that training with dantien (tanden) coordination, breathing and whole-body power. I can also see how the same training informs technique.

I don't train with sword. At the risk of stating the obvious, from what I've seen of aiki-ken and the kenjutsu of other schools, the movement and usage seem very different from spear and staff (including jo).

The "natural" movement (or movement learned and embodied so well it becomes natural) of sword and spear/staff seem very different. Does emphasizing sword over jo suburi, for example, make a difference in empty-hand technique? Does a particular emphasis affect how internal body connection is cultivated and trained?

Ellis Amdur's historical inquiry into the course of Ueshiba Morihei's personal development in weapons work is interesting. I wonder how people training today with both sword and spear/staff find the weapons training with respect to its usefulness in building internal body skill.

CNYMike
12-05-2006, 05:11 PM
..... Still can't get folks to talk about any thing else but falling down. Training to fall makes the fear of falling deeply ingrained


How do you figure? My experience was just the opposite. Before I started Kali in 1997, I definitely was afraid of falling. Being thrown, and in turn, learning breakfalls helped me through that. Aikido is more of the same.

Furthermore, it's worth noting that some non-Aikido people have noted Aikido for ukemi waza that is safe for training, in particular the orward roll -- by going diagonally over the back, Aikido's forward Ukemi protects the head, as a opposed to a tumble which, while appropriate in some situations, carries with it the risk of you landing on your neck.


Ok... NOW you have the rest of your life to think of some better ways to -not fall down- in the first place .....

Like when O Sensei was "immovable"? Covered.


"What are you saying. What happens if I fall? Do you mean you don't trian to fall? I was thankful for ukemi I fell off a sidewalk once in the rain.....

I still remember the time my dad, who for whateve reason had gone out to walk the dog on icey condiitons with just loafers on, slipped on the ice and hit his head. Our dog came running back in; I can see Dad lying there in our driveway as clearly as I can see the computer screen in front of me as I type this. I don't know how long he lay there, only that it was for some time.

So when someone says ukemi waza saved their lives, I can understand that. If you want to poo-poo it and continue to rant about how people shouldn't train that way, by all means, do so. But head injuries are nothing to sneeze at -- potentially fatal, in fact -- so having a skill that can protect you from them is not a bad thing.

Nick Simpson
12-06-2006, 12:45 PM
The "natural" movement (or movement learned and embodied so well it becomes natural) of sword and spear/staff seem very different. Does emphasizing sword over jo suburi, for example, make a difference in empty-hand technique? Does a particular emphasis affect how internal body connection is cultivated and trained?

Ellis Amdur's historical inquiry into the course of Ueshiba Morihei's personal development in weapons work is interesting. I wonder how people training today with both sword and spear/staff find the weapons training with respect to its usefulness in building internal body skill.

My low-level insights lead me to believe that practising the sword improves more linear movement, cutting action in ikkyo etc. Jo seems to be more about larger, circular movements (irimi-tenkan) and kokyu power, so perhaps it helps cultivate more 'internal' skills?. I prefer the sword, but im learning to enjoy the jo these days (I used to have an intense dislike for it). Both of them help with movement and timing at the least.

Some people have said I practise very 'directly'/ in a linear fashion, others say that I like tenkan and big projections, both come from weapons work practise I spose, it's all about the blending/condensing of the two to create a decent whole, imo.

Michael Neal
12-07-2006, 01:19 PM
For example, a judo guy does not simply grab you, he sucks you in, there is a constant pushing and pulling. A man on the street does not just hold your hand and look at you. He has a purpose for his grab. Maybe he is going to hit you with the other hand, maybe he is trying to clinch, etc.

Yes, i don't find it very impressive that somebody could shut down a technique by just being a stiff zombie. In Judo you get penalized for that in competition because it is just stupid. In a self defense situation if someone just stood in front of me and resisted my throw I would kick them in the nuts or deck them because they would be an easy target, I wouldn't even have to use Judo.