PDA

View Full Version : Resistance


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Nafis Zahir
03-09-2008, 10:10 AM
Do you think that resistance in Aikido training, when you are the uke, is sometimes a good thing? I don't mean as a way to show someone that you can resist, but as a means to show the person proper technique or to use their hips more. I do this from time to time, and more so with senior students. So far, I have been thanked for "helping" the person correct what they were doing wrong. Maybe that's because I'm in my own dojo. At seminars, where you train with people you don't know, not everyone is as receptive to this kind of training. Keep in mind that I don't do it every single time, but rather once or twice so that the person can see it, feel it, and then continue to work on it throughout their training. What are your thoughts on this?

Stefan Stenudd
03-09-2008, 11:24 AM
I think that some resistance can be one way of practicing aikido. But it is important not to resist the particular technique practiced at the moment - because that is almost pointless, and an aiki mood would really be for tori to immediately switch to another technique.

But uke can be sort of generally resistant - not just yield to whatever tori is doing. Still, this kind of practice can easily lead to nobody learning anything at all, so it has to be done with moderation.

Another way of polishing one's techniques is in kaeshiwaza, countering techniques. A properly done aikido technique should really not be possible to counter - but that's easier said than done :)

John Matsushima
03-09-2008, 12:17 PM
I think that offering resistance as uke is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing. However what I see as a problem is the attitude of "helping them to see what they are doing wrong". This way of thinking is very egotistical, arrogant and can hinder growth and learning. Reflecting on my past experiences when I attempted to "correct or help" tori, I see now that it was I who did not understand what they were trying to do. Even people who are kohai may see small details in techniques and a lack of vision coupled with arrogance can be harmful. In my experience as tori, the biggest obstacles to my learning has been all the teaching.

Mr. Stefan commented:
"But it is important not to resist the particular technique practiced at the moment - because that is almost pointless, and an aiki mood would really be for tori to immediately switch to another technique."

I don't agree with that. I think that if uke resists and tori switches to another technique then tori is missing a chance for growth and learning by avoiding the problem.

You also stated that "Another way of polishing one's techniques is in kaeshiwaza, countering techniques. A properly done aikido technique should really not be possible to counter - but that's easier said than done."

I completely agree that a properly done aikido technique cannot be countered, and that a good way of polishing one's techniques can be through the use of kaeshiwaza. However, the attacker must still provide the initial attack with resistance. If he just remains passive and waits to counter tori's technique, then isn't he in fact...tori?

crbateman
03-09-2008, 12:24 PM
I think a lot would depend on one's definition of "resistance". I generally do not throw myself, as I think it is important for my training partner to know when and if his/her technique, in fact, works. I think too much training is done with overly-compliant ukes, which perpetuates the notion that any technique is good enough, or the idea (to outsiders) that Aikido is hokey and/or ineffective.

Understand that not throwing oneself is entirely different than trying not to be thrown.

Stefan Stenudd
03-09-2008, 02:57 PM
I think that if uke resists and tori switches to another technique then tori is missing a chance for growth and learning by avoiding the problem.
I was probably unclear. What I regard as rather pointless resistance is when uke knows that tori should do a specific technique, and resists that particular technique forcefully, in a way that is contrary to how an attacker would or should behave.

For example, both ikkyo and shihonage involve bringing uke's arm up. Some uke resist it by pulling their arm down with great strength and commitment - even before the aikido technique reaches the moment when to lift uke's arm. In such a case, tori should not fight this force, but join it, which would lead to another technique - and that technique, agreeing with the direction of uke's force, is a piece of cake.

To me, that is quite meaningless. Also, by such behavior uke is actually weakening him- or herself, by committing to resist a certain technique and thereby becoming extremely vulnerable to other techniques.

Am I making sense?

Nafis Zahir
03-09-2008, 03:41 PM
I think a lot would depend on one's definition of "resistance". I generally do not throw myself, as I think it is important for my training partner to know when and if his/her technique, in fact, works. I think too much training is done with overly-compliant ukes, which perpetuates the notion that any technique is good enough, or the idea (to outsiders) that Aikido is hokey and/or ineffective.

Understand that not throwing oneself is entirely different than trying not to be thrown.

This is an excellent point. I don't resist to be egotistical. but I do it so that my partner can make some good corrections. I do that because I see too many senior yudansha, who have developed bad habits over the years. I'm sure many of them did because they just didn't care. But others did because they were never shown, and the expectation of them eventually realizing what was wrong is what has held them back. I might also note that I generally do this with students who are approaching the black belt level so that they have good habits that they continue to work on, as I also do.

HarlieG
03-09-2008, 04:08 PM
I'm also not keen on the word 'resistance'. I learned early on that if you hunker down with muscle to prove a point to nage, it is a quick path to getting injured. I've seen it happen all the time....uke starts 'resisting' and nage, because they can't figure anything else out to do, puts all their weight, muscle into achieving the desired end....and ouch...it is all fun and games until someone gets hurt!

(I was at a seminar once and was in a line where a high level yudansha tried to prove a point to a much larger, but less knowledgable white belt....and the yudansha almost lost his arm for his effort. Honestly, it made me laugh because the same white belt had just thrown me...and I could see he was nervous...and I could see he really didn't get the technique...and it wasn't really the place to try to correct him, so I just let him lead me where he would....the yudansha was so mad and came to the back of the line and ask me "did he hurt you too?" I said "No, but I'm just a girl." :~) )

To be honest, I find that varying the speed of the attack (maybe a little faster, maybe a little slower) does wonders for freeing up nage's mind (and muscle). Works a lot better than 'resistance'. And, it makes sure that I'm doing my job as uke...keeping an attack that is true to the technique being taught....

DG

Aiki1
03-09-2008, 05:21 PM
In the Aikido that I teach, resistance is imperative in training, because if Uke can indeed resist a technique, Aiki was not accomplished, and that feedback needs to be given. By the time a technique is "applied", or "realized", if Uke has their balance and control over their own ability to resist and/or manifest a counter etc., something that was supposed to occur, did not.Technique is the simple result and resolution of a successful process. That is Aikido.

This is at a certain level of training, to be sure. But without knowledge of that kind of process, Nage is simply "doing something to Uke" and that is jujutsu, not AIkido. For me, anyway.

Michael Hackett
03-09-2008, 06:13 PM
This would be a great place for George Ledyard Sensei to chime in. I had the privilege of training with him at the Aiki Expo '05. We were doing kata dori sumi otoshi and I simply wasn't getting it. Ledyard Sensei was like trying to push a Buick! He was, by deftinition, resisting me. After a couple of tries, he corrected what I was doing and then dropped like a rock. Obviously he could have countered anything I was doing, but he gently resisted my technique and then showed me how it was supposed to work. I was grateful to him and remain so. Maybe he can explain if, when and how resistance can be a good training tool.

Aiki1
03-09-2008, 06:44 PM
Being aware of kinesthetic sensitivity, connection (musubi), position (tsukuri), and loss of balance (kuzushi) allows Nage to find "the path of no resistance" inspite of whatever Uke is doing.

For me, that is proper Aikido, coupled with what we term Kinesthetic Invisibility. It is the ability to move with Uke and connect in such a way as to take away all feeling that "something is being done to them." Without that feeling present, there is nothing to resist, nothing to counter. Resistance on Uke's part is imperative, because that's the only way Nage will know if what they are doing is real, and the path of no resistance has been actually found.

L. Camejo
03-09-2008, 08:35 PM
I think these are two very good posts.
In the Aikido that I teach, resistance is imperative in training, because if Uke can indeed resist a technique, Aiki was not accomplished, and that feedback needs to be given. By the time a technique is "applied", or "realized", if Uke has their balance and control over their own ability to resist and/or manifest a counter etc., something that was supposed to occur, did not.Technique is the simple result and resolution of a successful process. That is Aikido.

Being aware of kinesthetic sensitivity, connection (musubi), position (tsukuri), and loss of balance (kuzushi) allows Nage to find "the path of no resistance" inspite of whatever Uke is doing.

For me, that is proper Aikido, coupled with what we term Kinesthetic Invisibility. It is the ability to move with Uke and connect in such a way as to take away all feeling that "something is being done to them." Without that feeling present, there is nothing to resist, nothing to counter. Resistance on Uke's part is imperative, because that's the only way Nage will know if what they are doing is real, and the path of no resistance has been actually found.In our method, resistance is both necessary and imperative towards ones development and understanding. In our dojo I differentiate between "tense" resistance that is merely muscling to stop Uke's movement as well as another type of resistance that is more "relaxed" and based upon adapting to your partner's movement and using that movement to execute successful kaeshiwaza.

Imho both are helpful, but it is important for students to understand the purpose of each type and where it can be applied as a learning tool. Muscling down, though often dangerous when in an actual fight, is still quite a common reaction to a technique or movement that is "detected" (iow Kinesthetic Invisibility was not achieved).

Imho part of Aiki waza study involves how the joints and muscles interoperate and align and waza should teach how one utilizes natural mechanisms in the physical structure to execute kuzushi and kake, even if Uke attempts tense muscular resistance. When one muscles down there are 2 options, go in the direction of the resistance and execute a different waza, or use the resistance as a means of finding the correct pathways and rotations required to have the initial waza work as it should.

In the case of resistance through relaxation or adaptation, one attempts to cancel his partner's waza and execute his own by joining with his partner's motion and creating/exploiting flaws in movement or execution. Many may not call this "resistance" but it is, in that one does not simply allow the waza to be executed unless it is correct and truly takes the balance of ones partner.

The only difference here is while the former is resistance by tension, the latter is resistance by adaptation or correct relaxation.

Just my 2 cents.

Lyle Bogin
03-09-2008, 08:36 PM
My policy as uke is to resist to assist. Fighting in an art with a reciprocal format isn't all that helpful.

Aikibu
03-09-2008, 08:55 PM
Just as importantly...Let's not forget about speed and surprise...In my experiance I think it is critical how to learn to execute Waza/Randori at full speed...

Timing is everything...A step too slow or too fast and you can forget about executing or blending with Uke...

Surprise in Randori in a small sense helps build Martial Awareness
and you learn not to think but to act appropriately dispite the desire to "seize up"

William Hazen

John Matsushima
03-09-2008, 09:51 PM
Yes, there are many different levels of resistance, but who is to say what is the "right" way of resisting? Everyone resists differently, and by practicing with many different types of resistance we can learn many aspects of the technique in different ways. Therefore, if we attempt to "teach" tori with our resistance and instructing him on how to go about executing the technique, all we are doing is teaching him how to deal with someone who is exactly like me. (What are the odds of that?) All to many times in my experience, I have "taught" an inexperienced tori how to do the technique properly, practiced it over and over again with them while giving a good amount of resistance, only to watch them get stopped easily but the next uke. Why? Because the next uke's resistance is not the same as mine. So, I say that if you are not the teacher, then you shouldn't be teaching. The uke's "role" is simply to attack the tori. Period. And an attack without any resistance is not an attack.

An important aspect in dealing with attacks is acceptance; accepting that this is what I have to deal with, and accepting my own ability and limitations.
Now, as was mentioned, if go to do an ikkyo or shihonage and someone stops me by pulling down with strength and commitment, and I cannot do the technique, then the real fact of the matter is that I lack in the ability and know-how to deal with this type of resistance. We can't go blaming uke every time we get stopped. It would be better to ask for help, do a little introspection, or keep practicing until we can transform our techniques and ourselves.

I think there are two main types of resistance. The first type is where the person A seeks to do harm to person B and will resist any means of defense. This is the type that we seem to be speaking of, which consists of many levels of strength, speed, direction, force, etc.
The second type is when person A withdraws an attack, or has not even committed to any attack at all and resists person B's technique by attempting to escape, withdraw, becoming immovable, etc. This type of resistance will stop any Aikido technique every time unless person B is forceful and applies the technique with strength. Many times this occurs when a technique is dead, or when uke is hesitant, or when uke is egotistical and sees himself and the defender, the winner in a "you can't get me" mindset. If this type of situation is encountered, then I find it best to become yielding, and give up. My "failure" to execute a technique on someone of this nature actually results in a mutual win, which is the way of Aikido.

DonMagee
03-09-2008, 10:54 PM
Like anything there are time and places to resist. Honest resistance should just be a meaningful attempt to achieve your goal, whatever that goal is. In a drill context, this could me a single forceful attack. In a free form context, this could mean a single goal (I want you to punch me in the chest, I don't care how you get this done).

It is easy to stonewall a technique when you know it is being applied. So free form resistance is not a good idea there. Just make a good committed attack and allow your partner to do his technique. In judo, we would call this a throw line or uchi komi. When I fill in for the instructor, I have students do this, one will push the other will turn and throw. For the uke to resists the turn and throw would hurt the point of the drill. However, later, we might do a free form practice where we allow uke to resist. One person's job is to throw, the other person's job is to fight the grips off and stop the throw (at a varying level of resistance) Of course we take it a step even further to randori where the job of both partners is to throw each other. In bjj, we might train an armbar or sweep, then drill it with resistance. If you only drilled the armbar then told the uke not to allow the armbar, the nage would never get it. So instead we make the goal less restricted. The goal of the nage is to sweep or submit, and the goal of the uke is to maintain a top position of dominance. Again with varying levels of resistance. These are just a few examples of the many types and levels of resistance training we do.

I have seen no reason why these types of drills can not be applied to aikido. The aikido classes I have taken have chosen not to go this route. In the training I have had, the job of the uke was to throw a strike or attempt a grab with a varying level of intensity. At this point you would try to follow the lead of the nage and receive ukemi. This ment at advanced levels, if nage was not leading you stood there and looked at him. At lower levels, you are always expected to take the fall (kyu ranks should focus on the ukemi we are told). However, their is a odd duality that undermines the training (I feel). This stems from a desire that I can't quite relate to. I am often told that if I ever wanted to 'test' the instructor by hitting him, that I can choose to do so and then I can 'face the consequences' of my actions and better be prepared for a 'real response', then at the same time, I am told to throw a committed attack. It only seems logical then that I am either to throw a real attack and be injured, or a fake attack with no threat to the nage. You can see the confusion here. This had not existed in my combat sport training. If I am told to punch my partner in the face in kickboxing, then they expect me to really try to hit him. In bjj, if I am told my job is to take my partner down and his job is to stop me, then I am to do my best to take him down. I am not to throw a half assed double leg and let him work a defense. The time for that is understood during the introduction phase where I am told to go in slowly and let him do the technique, then I am told to resist, finally I am told to take him down.

This is a problem that has plagued my aikido training. Everytime I give it a shot I am plagued by this. To me, I feel I am being told to 'fake it'. That if they want to test themselves against a judo throw or a double leg I am to let them win or face the consequences (which is always a vague reference to eye gouging or some other type of bodily injury or quick ramping up of action).

It seems the problem is the goals of the drill are not defined, there is no exactly framework to work in. Its like I"m being told "You should be trying to hit me, but if you do hit me, I'm not going to be nice to you, so you better not hit me". It reminds me of the krav maga episode of fight quest. Where the female instructor would define the objectives of a drill, then change the objectives when it was doug's turn. Then point out there was no rules. But if he gouged the eyes out of one of her students, I bet she would not of accepted it as nice as she expected him to take her constant changing of the guidelines.

It reminds me of a friend of mine who wanted to roll with me. He decided he could beat me if we allowed groin strikes. I allowed it, put him in guard, he attempted a elbow to the groin, I swept him, maintained side control and punched him lightly in the balls. He was not happy. Apparently the rules went one way, not both. That is how I feel when I'm on the mat in aikido. That the rules go one way.

I'm sorry to rant, but it's been bothering me and reading this thread brought it out of me. I'm sure not all aikido is like what I have described, but for the ones that are, I think this is an easy fix. Define your goals in your drills. Don't lie about it, or give some vague response. Just say what you want the uke to do. If you want him to throw a punch and wait, then say so, if you want him to try to counter, say so. If you want him to keep trying to hit you until you submit him say so. There is no shame in it. Even in combat sports there are times you don't really try to hit each other. Just make the goals clear.

Jonathan
03-09-2008, 11:07 PM
Resisting nage is a very tricky thing. Too often it is merely the mechanism whereby one aikidoka asserts their "superiority" over another. Resistance also usually takes significant advantage of the fact that uke knows in advance what nage is going to do. Even very junior aikidoka can defeat a senior aikidoka's technique if they know ahead of time what he/she is going to do. Resistance also creates tension and a certain inflexibility of mind.

In my experience, there have been mighty few times when resistance from my uke has truly been instructive. Sometimes, it has been downright injurious. I have torn the tendons of a few uke who suddenly tried to halt or escape my technique. And it has been, in my experience, the higher-ranked aikidoka who seem the most prone to misusing resistance - usually because there is a strong attitude of "only my way" in these aikidoka and/or a need to justify their rank in the eyes of those equal or junior to them.

I don't usually actively resist other aikidoka in a contradictory way. Generally, when they move wrong they don't take my balance, or they return my posture and balance to me. When this happens, I naturally feel heavier and harder to move. Even very new students can feel this. This kind of "resistance," however, doesn't leave nage feeling like their technique was defeated. They don't feel like uke has interfered with what they were attempting to do, but rather that uke simply responded to what they were doing. I find this induces nage to think, not about what a hard time uke is giving them, but about the effect of their actions upon uke. Instead of fracturing nage's focus, as contradictory resistance usually does, the kind of "resistance" I give usually encourages nage to focus more intently upon the form and effect of their motions.

Stefan Stenudd
03-10-2008, 04:16 AM
And it has been, in my experience, the higher-ranked aikidoka who seem the most prone to misusing resistance - usually because there is a strong attitude of "only my way" in these aikidoka and/or a need to justify their rank in the eyes of those equal or junior to them.
I have that experience, too. I do hope that I'm not one of them...

There is a lot of competition going on in aikido dojos, although this is a non-competing martial art.

SeiserL
03-10-2008, 07:01 AM
Already well said. Compliments and agreement.

Depending on the level of training, resistance is esstential to feel the connection, the energy, the blending, and the balance.

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 08:03 AM
I think Don and everyone else brings up some excellent points. Jonathon also hits on what I would call an excellent way to resist...if someone is trying to throw me by pushing directly into my power without draining it, it becomes counter productive for me to just fall. That would be tanking. But if a newer person is anywhere near the "correct" angle, of course it becomes necessary to give them some feeling of accomplishment. Very fine lines to stay within.

One of the hardest things for me in aikido is to establish appropriate levels of contact with each and every partner, from the moment we meet. And that can vary not only by partner, but also by association, dojo, event, waza, etc.

Best,
Ron

charyuop
03-10-2008, 08:11 AM
It depends on who you have in front of you and what you mean as resistance. I give you an example.
Let's take an iriminage as example. I attack Nage and he enters behind me. From there if Nage is an experienced Aikidoka would make no sense in me putting my head on his shoulder, go round and round and the lie down for him. He would learn nothing from it, or better he wouldn't improve his Aikido.
When I do Uke for Sensei or Senpai (very experienced) I do put resistance in my role...of course if I can since they are so good compared to me that it is hard to actually "get them". But they have actually to move my head and have me walk, otherwise I stay there (well more than stay there, turn and attack them). When they start moving me around I try to run away, not that I ever manage to. When they place the other arm in front of me I use my hand to try and block their arms giving them as much resistence as I can. As I said, not much success because they are way too experienced for me to give them what I would like to.
When the technique arrives to the end and I lost all my balance and I feel I am going down, well then I take Ukemi...no use in resisting there (even tho Sensei says I wait too long and I wait for the pain to come before taking Ukemi...and maybe he is right...gotta work on that).
When I work on another guy who is more or less the same level as me I start easy. When I see that he can manage rather well the technique, I start "creating" him some problems. If it is too much, he himslef will ask me to tone it down a little bit...and the same works for him when he is my Uke.

Apart from the fact that if Uke gives you something to work on puts in the practice alot of fun, it is useful too. We all like a Uke that is 100% Uke, but he has no use for our purposes, which is to learn. If Uke tries to block you the technique will no longer go smooth and that is when you tend to start becoming "the hulk" and using all your muscles. An Uke who opposes resistance is the Uke which will force you not only to learn a technique, but to learn to actualle blend with Uke and adjust your position/movements to let the technique flow smooth and not use muscles.

If Iriminage is called the "20 year technique", I think Uke should be called "the lifetime technique". Becoming a good Uke, help perfectly your Nage (not too easy, but not too hard so that Nage won't learn anything), avoiding to get hurt, keeping your center and feeling the whole action to be able to counter...and why not, make very graceful and "good looking" Ukemi is as much a hard task as being a good Nage (if not harder).

charyuop
03-10-2008, 08:37 AM
Oops I was forgetting...
If I manage, I don't mean stop, but create some resistance for Sensei it is not only useful for him, but for me too.
As a Uke I would have the chance to feel on me how Sensei adjusts to that new situation, how he moves his body, how he changes his arm movements and so on.

It happened to me last Saturday during a kokyunage. As long as my Uke was attacking my center was perfect, but when his attack was a bit deeper I was having a lot of trouble. I was the one who asked him please to attack deeper and not to go down easily so that I had to work a way to get to his center.
That doesn't mean he had to turn in a piece of wood and get hurt. He still was flowing with the technique and put his safety first, but he was providing me what I was needing in that moment to work on mostly. Had he gone on and offer me an attack that didn't give me any trouble I would have never known how hard was for me to do that technique in another situation.

Aiki1
03-10-2008, 09:11 AM
One of the hardest things for me in aikido is to establish appropriate levels of contact with each and every partner, from the moment we meet. And that can vary not only by partner, but also by association, dojo, event, waza, etc.


I agree, Ron. That's why I tell people all the time that learning to -practice- Aikido properly is an art unto itself.

charyuop
03-10-2008, 11:05 AM
As Sensei told me once, if Aikido was easy we wouldn't spend decades on the mat to learn it.

Larry Cuvin
03-10-2008, 11:31 AM
At our dojo, as uke we are taught to act as mirrors of our nage...to try to accurately reflect the condition of his mind and body coordination. By extending Ki (which is our form of resisting), the nage should be able to find the holes in the technique being learned. I think this is most beneficial if both the uke and nage is approximately at the same skill level as they could continue to challenge their partner to the next level.
I agree that advanced students and sensei should offer the appropriate level of "challenge" to their students.

DonMagee
03-10-2008, 11:59 AM
At our dojo, as uke we are taught to act as mirrors of our nage...to try to accurately reflect the condition of his mind and body coordination. By extending Ki (which is our form of resisting), the nage should be able to find the holes in the technique being learned. I think this is most beneficial if both the uke and nage is approximately at the same skill level as they could continue to challenge their partner to the next level.
I agree that advanced students and sensei should offer the appropriate level of "challenge" to their students.

Not to pick on you, but this is exactly why I have no idea what is expected of me as uke. What would you want from me? A single committed attack? Should I attempt to use my ki to prevent myself from being moved (rooted?), should I use my ki to prevent my arm from being moved or bent? Do I flow with nage and move where he wants me to go? Do I keep focused on my center and attempt to throw solid committed attacks without giving my balance away? Do I blend with nage and use his movements to guide him into my own reversal?

I have heard so many different things ment by 'extend ki' that I have no idea what would be the desired goal in the context of a drill. This is in stark contrast to the very detailed instructions given to me in sport training (attempt to take him down, try to hit him in the face, throw punches at 50 percent speed at his chin, block 3 jabs, throw 3 jabs, try to clinch, attempt to hold down your partner in side control while he tries to escape, etc).

I have been told to extend ki in the context of a ki test (unbendable arm, unmovable, un-liftable, etc), in the context of a strike (focus though the attacker like a laser beam at the wall across the room), as a push (move from the center), as a means of balance, etc. I could attempt any one of those things, or all of them, or something else. I could throw a single strike/grab, I could free form attack, I could really try to hit my partner, I could throw a non threatening blow that would never hit, and still meet the types of training in which I have been told I was extending ki.

I guess these kind of explanations (use more ki, etc) just stonewall me. I am a scientific learner. I like exacting responses (keep your hands up, you are flat footed, you did not take his balance first, etc) and exacting requirements from me (punch him in the face as fast as you can, grab and attempt to lift your partner off the ground, throw harai goshi 10 times as fast as you can, take this guy down and submit him, etc). Every time I show up for aikido class, I have no idea what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, every time I ask I am made to feel like a smart ass thug who wants to fight (which is questionable).

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 12:09 PM
Smart ass? Maybe ... Thug?? NO WAY!!

Don't worry Don, we love ya anyway! :D

It is one of the problems with much of aikido Don. I think you'd enjoy a Shodokan class. Wish there was one in your area. I too feel your pain, but I guess I drank the kool-aid...I'm pretty much bought and paid for by aikido.

Best,
Ron

Aikibu
03-10-2008, 12:32 PM
I guess these kind of explanations (use more ki, etc) just stonewall me. I am a scientific learner. I like exacting responses (keep your hands up, you are flat footed, you did not take his balance first, etc) and exacting requirements from me (punch him in the face as fast as you can, grab and attempt to lift your partner off the ground, throw harai goshi 10 times as fast as you can, take this guy down and submit him, etc). Every time I show up for aikido class, I have no idea what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, every time I ask I am made to feel like a smart ass thug who wants to fight (which is questionable).

Amen Don...I am exactly like you...I just wish I could express myself better when it comes to helping folks learn Aikido.

William Hazen

Ron Tisdale
03-10-2008, 12:56 PM
One of the quandries in which I find myself these days, is that as I work to improve the ability to bring the "ground" into my limbs, certain waza have much less affect on me. Nikkyo/Nikajo is one of these. I try to be judicious about when, where, and how long I resist it. But it is so easy in so many situations now it is hard to resist (resisting), if I can call it that. :D It's more like just blocking the power of the waza with the mental connection...I don't stiffen up, the control just doesn't have the expected affect.

As these kinds of skills develop, one challenge is playing nice...and being sure to show others how to do the same things, so that both levels go up. Not just mine. Just some additional thoughts...
Best,
Ron

Larry Cuvin
03-10-2008, 01:35 PM
Hi Don and William,
I hope I don't confuse the situation as I try to explain extending ki (I'm still learning): see, whenever you move with mind and body coordinated, you are in essence extending ki. It doesn't matter what you are doing- as long in what ever you are doing, as long as your mind and body are coordinated, you are extending ki. When you attack with mind and body coordinated, proper intent, balance, and proper execution of the attack using natural body movement and something else that I may be forgetting are all included.

You have to understand that I am at a disadvantage because this is the only perspective I have on aikido and for that matter any martial arts. Ki aikido is the only martial arts I have experience on and i'ts only limited to 4 years. We also don't use the phrase "use more ki", instead "extend ki" is used and for us student in ki aikido, we understand what state we need to be: mind and body coordinated (easier said that done most of the time of course).

DonMagee
03-10-2008, 02:10 PM
Hi Don and William,
I hope I don't confuse the situation as I try to explain extending ki (I'm still learning): see, whenever you move with mind and body coordinated, you are in essence extending ki. It doesn't matter what you are doing- as long in what ever you are doing, as long as your mind and body are coordinated, you are extending ki. When you attack with mind and body coordinated, proper intent, balance, and proper execution of the attack using natural body movement and something else that I may be forgetting are all included.

You have to understand that I am at a disadvantage because this is the only perspective I have on aikido and for that matter any martial arts. Ki aikido is the only martial arts I have experience on and i'ts only limited to 4 years. We also don't use the phrase "use more ki", instead "extend ki" is used and for us student in ki aikido, we understand what state we need to be: mind and body coordinated (easier said that done most of the time of course).

I for the most part understand by what is ment by extending ki (well I think I do anyways). I don't practice ki, but I hang out with a lot of guys who do. I guess my problem is not the extending ki, so much as what I'm going to be doing while I extend it.

Lets say we are practicing a technique where uke's job is to throw a strike. What is an acceptable strike? How hard can it be? After I throw the strike, what should I be doing? Is my intent to throw the strike, or to strike the nage? Should I throw a proper strike with good posture and balance, or give my center in a off balanced attack? Do I attempt to retract my hand after striking as most people who strike would do? Do i become defensive after striking in anticipation of a counter attack, or do I continue my strikes in anticipation of overwhelming my target?

I think I can do any of those things with proper intent, mindfulness and ki extension.

Another example was the time I was uke for some knife defense drills. I was asked to make a trusting attack to the gut. After doing the standard fare of defenses, nage decided to step across my center and grab my non-knife wielding hand and do a technique on that. Now throwing a single knife thrust with no regard to my balance allows this to work because I leave my hand out there and I'm slightly off balance. A balanced attack where I retracted my hand allows me to stab the nage multiple times in the back. I was simply told to stab with no direction as to the intensity or what to do after the initial stab. When I did show that I could stab, I am told "Well here you would apply atemi before you did that.". Which of course could lead to acceptance, or a chess match style "I could do X" argument. Neither I find acceptable.

A more acceptable version would be like this.

The job of the uke is to attack the body of the nage with a rubber knife. His intent should be to deliver a single large attack to the body, retract the knife, reposition and attack again while being prepared to submit or take ukemi to protect yourself.

The job of the nage is to use aiki principles and techniques to throw or submit the attacker and retrieve the knife. Possible techniques allowed are joint locks, small joint locks, slaps (or whatever), pins and throws.

Now we know exactly what we are getting into. Another example could be a simple drill where the role of uke is to do a 50% speed thrust with the knife and the role of nage to step off the line, receive the attack and execute a single throw over and over. Again, we each know our place, I am to throw a 50% strike that would indeed hit if it reaches, and nage is to step off the line and throw me with X.

When defined this way, it's hard to argue about what uke should be doing. If you tell me to throw a fast strike that would hit, and you get hit, it's the fault of the drill not of me going to hard.

John A Butz
03-10-2008, 02:17 PM
Don, I really like your perspective on this issue. I consider myself fortunate that I train at a dojo where we define clearly the parameters of the engagement (is this a drill, is this randori, is this a kata), the method of engagement (grab to pin the hand, throw a jab/cross combo, cut me, yadda yadda ad infinitum) and we attempt to train the same sort of foundational skills (power generation, awareness, sensitivity, proper movement as defined by our aikido style) that we will require as nage while we are being uke.

By clearly defining what the goal of the practice you are partaking in is at all times, you minimize the influence of ego, personal opinion, and the dreaded "But I could have done this" statement, and can focus on acquiring the skills you need to improve. The proof will be in the pudding, as it were, and there will be no questioning the results and outcome of your practice.

G DiPierro
03-10-2008, 03:13 PM
In aikido people often do not say what they mean, so you have to observe the general pattern and read between the lines. What is almost never stated but is the case in the vast majority of aikido dojos is that the prime directive for uke is the ensure that nage maintains a 100% success rate, especially when the nage is a teacher or a high(er)-ranking person. Thus, all other technical directions must be subordinate to this, and must be compromised if neccesary to ensure that nage maintains a 100% success rate.

If the direction is to "really try to hit nage," this should be interpreted as "appear as if you are trying to hit nage, but don't actually hit nage or otherwise do anything to impede nage's technique." Similarly, if the direction is to "try to resist," this really means "make it look as if you are trying to resist, but do not do so in a way that would be successful." What are doing wrong is simply not realizing that the implicit rules of all drills in your dojo is to allow nage to succeed 100% of the time. Apparently you cannot be told this directly but must be given some other excuse for why are you are doing it wrong. Most likely it is to preserve the fantasy that what you are learning would actually work against someone who was not colluding with nage to ensure a perfect rate of success.

Carl Thompson
03-10-2008, 07:12 PM
Resistance doesn't seem to be an issue when people respect each other and try to blend on both a physical and psychological level. Without it, we can't find the Aikido Goldilocks Zone (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/02oct_goldilocks.htm). :D

Too much resistance: Two macho guys completely shut down each other's technique just to prove who is best in a "Who Can Shut Down This Technique?" competition. Some people will line themselves up for a head-butt or whatever, just to stop someone lifting their arm. In this kind of competition one doesn't usually want to let the other guy know how to win.

Too little resistance: as Giancarlo so eloquently described, you get folks throwing themselves for their partner when said partner has done nothing that would cause such an action to occur. A poor understanding of etiquette ("I'm sempai, so you should fall") is another problem. If someone screws it up, they need to know. They might not want to know, but I guess that's what makes awase and the reigi important.

The Goldilocks Zone: People foster a level of honesty and trust where they can "resist properly" or "naturally" so that they can test a technique without ego or competition coming into the equation. When someone can shut another person down, they just drop a gear and help them work out how to avoid that shutdown. It's the point where learning can flourish and it will be different for every person you train with since we all have different physiology and tolerance to pain. This is the drawing board stage for solving problems that we never want to happen, so we want the designs to be flawless. Isn't that what keiko is all about? You practise for the real thing. If you just do the real thing from the start (a real fight where anything goes), you'll mainly use what you already know and will probably impose limits anyway (making it an unreal fight).

Rather than "resistance", how about thinking of it as "honestly testing the technique"?

Erick Mead
03-10-2008, 08:24 PM
In aikido people often do not say what they mean,....the prime directive for uke is the ensure that nage maintains a 100% success rate, especially when the nage is a teacher or a high(er)-ranking person.... What are doing wrong is simply not realizing that the implicit rules of all drills in your dojo is to allow nage to succeed 100% of the time. Apparently you cannot be told this directly but must be given some other excuse for why are you are doing it wrong. Most likely it is to preserve the fantasy that what you are learning would actually work against someone who was not colluding with nage to ensure a perfect rate of success.

"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin." ~ H. L. Mencken

Kaze0180
03-10-2008, 09:13 PM
You have to ask yourself, what is the point of resistance? Usually there is no point. Resistance will degrade to the point of who's stronger which usually ends up with pulled muscles and soar joints. You can make the same point and suggestion before or after the technique which will probably be taken better than if you do it in the middle of, this will come out more as a challenge than lesson. I say do one of these, if you want to make the point of faulty technique:

1) If they are lower or same rank, tell them point blank your suggestion, but be polite, "Do you think that if you turn your hip this way you will get a better technique?" or say, "I like to move my hip this way because it blah blah blah, what do you think?" It's all in how you say it.
or
2) If they are higher or same rank, wait for the lead instructor to get to your area and ask the SENSEI for clarification of how the movement works exactly. Then you both will get the real answer, not just your view of it.
------
I've found people to be more receptive to these two routes to changing movement. Lower ranks will listen to the higher ranks, and higher ranks will listen to the sensei.

Resistance in the middle of action has no merit to it, there is not a single technique in the world that doesn't have openings. There is always a point of counter. But good counters involve less resistance and more relaxation/flow, it's the only way to really counter effectively. That would be the only way I'd counter a technique, through redirection by relaxation.

Anyway you cut it, resistance would not fit the way you think. Even in kokyudosa we aren't "resisting" as uke, but we are extending and testing their movement with unbendable arm. Think counter more than resistance...and even that has it's places.

-Alexander
:triangle:

Nafis Zahir
03-10-2008, 11:48 PM
I am not talking about beginners. I am talking about someone who has been training for a little while. I am also not talking about the kind of resistance where you "bear down" on the person. But many times you see people just rushing through the technique and they more or less are just going through the motions. For many people, this has become a normal way of training. Proper resistance can be a tool that wakes up the nage and can help to fix many things, such as them not using their hips, not extending ki, and not using their whole body as one unit. Again, I say that I am not speaking of resisting each and every time, but just enough to call the nage's attention to a particular point of practice that they may to correct.

Amir Krause
03-11-2008, 02:43 AM
I think talking about resistance is misleading, one should talk about Uke role, and the correct way of being Uke. Resistance should be just one minor tool of many in Uke toolbox.

People seem to take the role of correcting Tori too lightly. It is NOT the role of each partner to teach, only of Sensei and (if Sensei wishes) the Sempai. They, should be experianced enought to correctly utilize the elements in the Uke toolbox to assist Tori in learning, adjusting the tools to Tori level.

Being a good Uke is an artform of itself, and most benefitial for becoming a good Aikidoka. Uke should always strive to be active, within the role the Kata\Waza provides him and his own level of experiance.Active Uke means Uke should feel the pressure applied on him and respond to it.
The most basic Uke behavior, is to simply follow the power directions.
More advanced reactions would be:
- to lead the pressure to create a good technique.
- to take advantage of some pressure directions and get away or reverse (Keashi-Waza) the situation.
- to resist some pressure directions and follow only the right ones.

Ignoring Tori pressure and resisting in a passive way is the least instructive way, and should generally be avioded. Just like Tori is learning to perform a technique on more powerfull people, so does Uke learn. The practice against resistance per-se, can be used as an instructive tool, under correct guidence, when the a small portion of technique is being focused, and Tori is learning to perform it in such a way he can overcome the resistance.

Amir

NagaBaba
03-11-2008, 07:10 AM
I was probably unclear. What I regard as rather pointless resistance is when uke knows that tori should do a specific technique, and resists that particular technique forcefully, in a way that is contrary to how an attacker would or should behave.

For example, both ikkyo and shihonage involve bringing uke's arm up. Some uke resist it by pulling their arm down with great strength and commitment - even before the aikido technique reaches the moment when to lift uke's arm. In such a case, tori should not fight this force, but join it, which would lead to another technique - and that technique, agreeing with the direction of uke's force, is a piece of cake.

To me, that is quite meaningless. Also, by such behavior uke is actually weakening him- or herself, by committing to resist a certain technique and thereby becoming extremely vulnerable to other techniques.

Am I making sense?
This is very common excuse for a weak technique. If an attacker can resist (in any form he like) it simply means that your technique let him to do it. You have the openings, the holes in your technique – that’s whole secret. If in your technique there are no openings, he simply can't resist.

Take a look at great athletes in judo competition. They know very well which technique is coming. They can feel it with eyes closed. And HELLAS!!! They are able to execute this technique against full power resistance ->active resistance with counters etc.... So please don't tell such cheap excuses, rather polish your technique into such level, that you will not need anymore a 'trained' - as Pavlov dog - uke.

Aikido is art no resistance --- but it is NAGE who must NOT resist. Not uke. Uke can do whatever he want to do.

This is very funny - correct way of being Uke ....You don't know what uke will do. It is impossible to define the 'right' behavior' of attacker. He has a different view of reality, he can be very stupid, or influenced by alcohol, drugs, or simply very advanced and experimented fighter. Your technique can't depend of his behavior. It will be not anymore aikido.

Ron Tisdale
03-11-2008, 07:20 AM
Nice post Mr. S! Good to read you again.

Best,
Ron

lbb
03-11-2008, 07:22 AM
This is very funny - correct way of being Uke ....You don't know what uke will do. It is impossible to define the 'right' behavior' of attacker. He has a different view of reality, he can be very stupid, or influenced by alcohol, drugs, or simply very advanced and experimented fighter.
Dude, it's practice. It's a drill. It's not free-form fighting, it's practice, a particular attack and a particular response. You may not like that type of practice, but that's what it's supposed to be, not improvisation. If uke has discarded his/her inhibitions and good judgment as a result of drugs or alcohol, he/she shouldn't be there. Likewise, if uke is too stupid or too experimental or too off on his/her own version of reality, and thus is unwilling to get with the program, he/she shouldn't be there. When you're doing shomenuchi ikkyo, uke is supposed to attack with shomenuchi, not something else. You don't have the right to unilaterally change the rules on the fly and thus endanger yourself and your partner, and if you can't restrain that impulse, you need to not be there.

charyuop
03-11-2008, 07:45 AM
What was taught to me is "the more resistence you meet in your opponent, the more relaxed you become to overcome the strenght of your opponent".
I want to take the example of Stenudd Sensei, unless I misunderstood his words. It happened many times, since you mentioned Shihonage, last right yesterday, that Sensei asks me to resist the more I can with my arm down and don't let him lift it. He uses this to show me that no matter the resistence applied, if positioning and relaxations are perfect the technique works the same. Adjusting the body and redirecting the energy the right way will help in carrying out the technique. If the push is downward, you go with the flow and go down...might end up doing a Shihonage in seiza.
Now I agree that in a "non-practicing" situation you don't force the technique, but adapting can mean changing technique. After all we all know in a fight you don't pick a technique to use, they should come out naturally according to the situation.
But in an enviroment where you have a set technique to practice you cannot change. So it is up to Nage to find "the sweet spot" from where the resistence of Uke is useless. In my opinion, that can be right or wrong, saying that a technique cannot be done because Uke is using too much resistence is putting the whole Aikido system in discussion.
I don't think in a real fight you will ever find someone who won't try to push himself free or try elbow strike you in an Iriminage. Someone that in a kotegaeshi will try to pull instinctivily is arm closer to his body creating resistence. And the examples are endless.

DonMagee
03-11-2008, 08:17 AM
Dude, it's practice. It's a drill. It's not free-form fighting, it's practice, a particular attack and a particular response. You may not like that type of practice, but that's what it's supposed to be, not improvisation. If uke has discarded his/her inhibitions and good judgment as a result of drugs or alcohol, he/she shouldn't be there. Likewise, if uke is too stupid or too experimental or too off on his/her own version of reality, and thus is unwilling to get with the program, he/she shouldn't be there. When you're doing shomenuchi ikkyo, uke is supposed to attack with shomenuchi, not something else. You don't have the right to unilaterally change the rules on the fly and thus endanger yourself and your partner, and if you can't restrain that impulse, you need to not be there.

Ahh but even a drill can have levels. In your example, do I step in and blast that shomenuchi as fast and as hard as I can right though you? Or do I throw a slow but off balance shomenuchi that is of no threat to my grandma? What happens after the shomenuchi, do I continue to try to hit you will them until my balance is broken and I am placed in ikkyo?

To me, these are important parts of the drill that need to be defined in a spoken or unspoken context (depending on the people involved). Obviously I know the examples I gave are extremes, but that balance needs to be found for both partners. In combat sports this balance is easy to attain because the goals of each partner are well defined. In my experience in aikido, I have not had such luck in well defined goals (besides looking good on the ukemi). This would hold true in any art. If I was instructing a bjj class and told the students to pair up and practice armbars from the guard, I would see many ways of practicing armbars. Some would drill with resistance, some would do static reps, some would just spar. If I defined the goal of the practice by telling them "Do 20 armbars with no resistance, then do 20 armbars with 25% resistance, then have the guy on top try to pass and the guy on bottom try to armbar or sweep." then they know exactly what I mean and there can be no argument.

Ron Tisdale
03-11-2008, 08:38 AM
Hi Don,

I guess that while I understand the desire for a more concrete instruction set, one of the challenges and beauties of aikido is having to sort a lot of that out in an instant, by feeling your partner and acting appropriately in that moment. I like the idea of having better instructions for aikido kieko...more well established parameters. But at the same time, I think the most value that aikido has provided me, at least, is that sussing out of your partner in an instant...and knowing what to do, as uke or as shite.

Been thinking about your posts a lot over the last day. I'll try to keep it in mind during my next keiko as well. Maybe I can write more after that.

Best,
Ron

DonMagee
03-11-2008, 09:05 AM
Hi Don,

I guess that while I understand the desire for a more concrete instruction set, one of the challenges and beauties of aikido is having to sort a lot of that out in an instant, by feeling your partner and acting appropriately in that moment. I like the idea of having better instructions for aikido kieko...more well established parameters. But at the same time, I think the most value that aikido has provided me, at least, is that sussing out of your partner in an instant...and knowing what to do, as uke or as shite.

Been thinking about your posts a lot over the last day. I'll try to keep it in mind during my next keiko as well. Maybe I can write more after that.

Best,
Ron

Remember too that I don't think nage always needs parameters, only uke. Sometimes it helps to give nage parameters, but mostly I think uke just needs to know what is acceptable for the task at hand. A good example of this is randori, you don't really want to tell nage what to do, you want him/her to be freeform and to learn to blend with the moment. At the same time however, you probably want nage to be experiencing some kind of pressure. Maybe they are new to randori so you want slow attacks and grabs, maybe they are a experienced black belt you want to put the pressure on, so you want the ukes to really try their best to tie up and take down nage (think steven segal black belt test type randori where they pin nage up against the wall and take him down). Both uke and nage without instruction will come to their own unspoken understanding, but that might not be the best for their growth.

In judo, when I am placed with a new person for their first randori, without instruction, I will have to decide what level of contact is appropriate. Do I let them throw me? Obviously they really have no chance (unless they come from a wrestling background or something). Do I drill them into the ground over and over again? Do I keep them defensive with threats of throws but never really throw them? Maybe I should just go one for one, make mistakes on purpose and give them a chance to throw, then after they throw, I can throw them back. All of these tactics have advantages and disadvantages. Against a stubborn new kid, it might be good to give him a taste of what I brown belt can do and throw him over and over again with every single throw I know. With a timid kid, it might be a good idea to give him the chance to throw a lot and help build confidence. With a rough and tumble kid, I might go one for one and give him a great workout with practice defending and throwing. You get the picture. Left unguided, we will both come to a unspoken agreement of what our roles are. Most of the time this agreement will focus on our strengths and not our areas of weakness. This is where verbal guidance can help force us to face our weakness and work on building them up. My instructor might tell me to not throw the new student but give him openings so he can work on attacks, the new student now knowing I will not throw him will be emboldened to work outside of his protective shell and try new throws and ideas. Alternately I may be told to only throw with a few select throws (say foot sweeps, or only Ogoshi). This forces me to come up with new ways to deal with an opponent who although new, knows what I am going to be trying and can be onguard for it while attacking me. Sometimes, when paired with a smaller person (like a teen) I may be told to go one for one and fight/defend at 25%, and give no resistance once the balance has been taken, this way the kid will get to throw and work on his defense. It makes it harder for me because the kid is under no such restrictions to move at 25%. Sometimes we are just paired up and told to go. In these cases the instructor knows we both have it down and know our roles are.

It probably doesn't have to be done every single time you train. In fact I'd say it probably most of your students probably already get what you want from them. If they don't one time is probably enough for most people to get it. It really is only useful in a few cases. When you get people like me who need the goals defined at least once, and when you want people to do something other then what you normally have them do.

Just another tool box for people who are teaching. It's like in the classes I teach at the college. Sometimes I want the students to write a free form program to solve a problem, sometimes I want to make sure they solve the problem using a set method. They still have the creativity to find a way to use that method to solve the problem, they will just be forced to think about that method and how it applies to the problem.

Jonathan
03-11-2008, 11:00 AM
This is very common excuse for a weak technique. If an attacker can resist (in any form he like) it simply means that your technique let him to do it. You have the openings, the holes in your technique – that’s whole secret. If in your technique there are no openings, he simply can't resist.

I don't think so. If you tried, for instance, to do katatetori shihonage on me and I didn't want you to, I could make it quite impossible for you to do so - even if you tried to relax and adjust. I'd just do the same and continue to stymie you - if I didn't punch you in the kisser first.

Saotome sensei has a video out where he details what he calls "oyo henka waza". In it he demonstrates what can be done when uke gives full resistance to technique. Generally, he changes technique entirely or varies his method of application of a technique quite significantly in order to overcome uke's resistance. Now, if he believed you just had to have more polish on your technique for it to work no matter who attacked you and how, he wouldn't be making videos about how to switch from one technique to another when uke resists. Maybe he just doesn't have your deep understanding of aikido, NagaBaba...

Aikido is art no resistance --- but it is NAGE who must NOT resist. Not uke. Uke can do whatever he want to do.

In free-attack practice, or a full-out fight, yes, uke may do whatever he wants to do, but not during technique-specific practice.

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 11:34 AM
I don't think so. If you tried, for instance, to do katatetori shihonage on me and I didn't want you to, I could make it quite impossible for you to do so - even if you tried to relax and adjust. I'd just do the same and continue to stymie you - if I didn't punch you in the kisser first.

Saotome sensei has a video out where he details what he calls "oyo henka waza". In it he demonstrates what can be done when uke gives full resistance to technique. Generally, he changes technique entirely or varies his method of application of a technique quite significantly in order to overcome uke's resistance. Now, if he believed you just had to have more polish on your technique for it to work no matter who attacked you and how, he wouldn't be making videos about how to switch from one technique to another when uke resists. Maybe he just doesn't have your deep understanding of aikido, NagaBaba...

In free-attack practice, or a full-out fight, yes, uke may do whatever he wants to do, but not during technique-specific practice.

Interesting post. I agree with some of it, not all. First part - if your balance is lost in the unfolding of the attack itself, then no, you couldn't make it impossible to do the technique. If you attack in the first place with that in mind, yes, things might be different, depending. This is all subtle stuff in terms of what people have posted here about "proper" attacking, resisting etc. If one's Aikido is technique based, then you are correct - if it is "Musubi/Kuzushi" based, then no.

Second part - not everyone subscribes to the way Saotome does Aikido, in fact I don't. It's right for some people, not everyone, that's all - no one person teaches Aikido in a way that is right for everyone. There are different ways that are valid.

Third part - I agree completely. :)

Ron Tisdale
03-11-2008, 11:39 AM
Kuzushi is the key...anybody can resist just about anything we do...IF they don't have their balance taken.

I think one major problem in aikido today is the loss of kuzushi on contact with shite.

Best,
Ron

Chuck Clark
03-11-2008, 11:43 AM
Interesting discussion. Ron your last post is true... kuzushi is an ongoing, changing connection, and effect that must be there to take the sente and keep it.

NagaBaba
03-11-2008, 11:49 AM
Dude, it's practice. It's a drill. It's not free-form fighting, it's practice, a particular attack and a particular response. You may not like that type of practice, but that's what it's supposed to be, not improvisation.
Obviously, you don't follow O sensei teaching. He never taugcht drills. He always did improviisation. Never had structured teaching system. Please read more S.Pranin search on aikido history, may be you will better understand what aikido is about.

One other thing to your information, Mr. Stefan Stenudd is high ranking instructor, not a beginner. I expect him to handle ANY behavior of uke and still be able to do a planified technique :D .

NagaBaba
03-11-2008, 12:00 PM
I don't think so. If you tried, for instance, to do katatetori shihonage on me and I didn't want you to, I could make it quite impossible for you to do so - even if you tried to relax and adjust. I'd just do the same and continue to stymie you - if I didn't punch you in the kisser first.

<snip>

In free-attack practice, or a full-out fight, yes, uke may do whatever he wants to do, but not during technique-specific practice.

Hi Jonathan,
There is an old saying from Himalaya: Aikido ends when attacker touch you.
more I practice, more I tend to agree with that.

Also Sugano sensei often has been laughing that I'm not doing aikido but jujutsu. So I started to carefully study time and space BEFORE contact.

Having said that, I don't 'try to relax and adjust.' This mistake is common for quite beginners on jujutsu level. So you could never stop my technique this way. :D Please find something more sophisticated :eek: :p

Exactly, technique-specific practice can give expected results ONLY when technique is executed in most difficult conditions. Extreme conditions. Not only because the is the only way to close all openings, but such teaching follows O sensei teaching that every technique we must execute as it will be our last technique before dying. That makes difference aikido from any other sport oriented practice.

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 12:05 PM
Hi Jonathan,
There is an old saying from Himalaya: Aikido ends when attacker touch you.
more I practice, more I tend to agree with that.

Very true. There's also an old saying: "Aikido ends Before attacker touches you...."

Even older saying: "Aikido.... never ends...."

Couldn't resist.... :)

Also Sugano sensei often has been laughing that I'm not doing aikido but jujutsu. So I started to carefully study time and space BEFORE contact.

Exactamundo.

NagaBaba
03-11-2008, 12:35 PM
Kuzushi is the key...anybody can resist just about anything we do...IF they don't have their balance taken.

I think one major problem in aikido today is the loss of kuzushi on contact with shite.

Best,
Ron
I'd say 'MAINTAIN kuzushi' is more difficult. In aikido we don't have special practice to speed up the entry into the technique (as judo folks have) so we need much more time to accomplish a technique. It is not difficult on static and compliant uke, but when uke is actively searching to reverse your technique, it becomes really interesting, but much more difficult.

Ron Tisdale
03-11-2008, 01:05 PM
completely agreed. One of the issues I have with anything other than 1 or 2 step technique (when it comes to {gasp} "Real World" (TM) technique).

I'm getting a little better at getting that kuzushi at initial contact, due to some of the additional body training I'm doing, but maintaining that level of connection and kuzushi while moving through enter, turn, pivot, strike, manipulate the arm, cut for the throw is definately still a challenge. Especially with judoka! :D

B,
R

lbb
03-11-2008, 01:37 PM
Obviously, you don't follow O sensei teaching. He never taugcht drills. He always did improviisation. Never had structured teaching system. Please read more S.Pranin search on aikido history, may be you will better understand what aikido is about.

Yeah, obviously I suck and I'm ignorant and I don't deserve to walk into an aikido dojo because I don't follow your party line exactly the way you're writing it.

If there's one thing I absolutely detest about aikido, it's people saying what they think and then claiming Ueshiba's authority to back them up, as if he was standing right behind them saying, "That's right, that's exactly what I said and exactly what I meant, you tell 'em."

Ron Tisdale
03-11-2008, 01:53 PM
:D

In English no less! Hey Mr. S, appeal to authority aside, I need more drills! The bits you can keep...

B,
R

NagaBaba
03-11-2008, 01:53 PM
Yeah, obviously I suck and I'm ignorant and I don't deserve to walk into an aikido dojo because I don't follow your party line exactly the way you're writing it.

If there's one thing I absolutely detest about aikido, it's people saying what they think and then claiming Ueshiba's authority to back them up, as if he was standing right behind them saying, "That's right, that's exactly what I said and exactly what I meant, you tell 'em."
Hi Mary,
We will not discuss your emotions here. Please give some valid arguments against my arguments while staying on the topic! ;)
I'm giving you the FACTS discovered by S.Praning during his research about life and work of the Founder.
I can backup my words with my physical practice, with big pleasure! while I'm some day in Boston, no prob. :D I'll call you even if you detest me.:cool:

lbb
03-11-2008, 02:04 PM
Hi Mary,
We will not discuss your emotions here. Please give some valid arguments against my arguments while staying on the topic! ;)
I'm giving you the FACTS discovered by S.Praning during his research about life and work of the Founder.
I can backup my words with my physical practice, with big pleasure! while I'm some day in Boston, no prob. :D I'll call you even if you detest me.:cool:

I think I'm supposed to be all intimidated by this "offer" to "demonstrate"...is that correct? I'll work on it, along with the host of other "emotions" that you think I should be having, instead of the ones I do have. I should get that all straightened out shortly after I get it through my thick head that you are, in fact, the boss of me.

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 02:24 PM
Obviously, you don't follow O sensei teaching. He never taugcht drills. He always did improviisation. Never had structured teaching system. Please read more S.Pranin search on aikido history, may be you will better understand what aikido is about.

No one, in my opinion, is an expert on O Sensei. Some people (not Stan Pranin, by the way, and that is not a dig at him) spent a lot of time with him at different periods of his life. They report very different things about training with him, depending when they did spend time with him. To believe and say the above is to be Very short-sighted, on many levels.

Chris Lacey
03-11-2008, 02:29 PM
Resistance doesn't seem to be an issue when people respect each other and try to blend on both a physical and psychological level. Without it, we can't find the Aikido Goldilocks Zone (http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/02oct_goldilocks.htm). :D

Too much resistance: Two macho guys completely shut down each other's technique just to prove who is best in a "Who Can Shut Down This Technique?" competition. Some people will line themselves up for a head-butt or whatever, just to stop someone lifting their arm. In this kind of competition one doesn't usually want to let the other guy know how to win.

Too little resistance: as Giancarlo so eloquently described, you get folks throwing themselves for their partner when said partner has done nothing that would cause such an action to occur. A poor understanding of etiquette ("I'm sempai, so you should fall") is another problem. If someone screws it up, they need to know. They might not want to know, but I guess that's what makes awase and the reigi important.

The Goldilocks Zone: People foster a level of honesty and trust where they can "resist properly" or "naturally" so that they can test a technique without ego or competition coming into the equation. When someone can shut another person down, they just drop a gear and help them work out how to avoid that shutdown. It's the point where learning can flourish and it will be different for every person you train with since we all have different physiology and tolerance to pain. This is the drawing board stage for solving problems that we never want to happen, so we want the designs to be flawless. Isn't that what keiko is all about? You practise for the real thing. If you just do the real thing from the start (a real fight where anything goes), you'll mainly use what you already know and will probably impose limits anyway (making it an unreal fight).

Rather than "resistance", how about thinking of it as "honestly testing the technique"?

Carl, thanks for this.

There is a point, when you first start training (at least when I did), where you are fumbling around trying out where to put your feet and what to do with your hands and how to fall properly. When the new student is Nage, Uke rolls with it and lets the new student get comfortable with the movement. Just as the new student in Uke role learns to fall slowly at first then gains the confidence to go a little faster.

Now that you have that down, lets add another aspect, we observe and demonstrate the difference between moving with your arms and moving with your center. Uke does not go along with your movements but gives enough resistance so that nage can "feel" the difference between moving with your hips and moving with your shoulders.

Light goes on, (ding! you have become better at ukemi).

This is, obviously, a simplified example...but I appreciate it when Uke and Nage work together to improve eachother. I just want to learn to do it "correctly" out of appreciation to my partner for working with me during class.

Of course, once you have that figured out...Sensei will add something to further challenge you. :D

Be safe and Be well,
Chris

NagaBaba
03-11-2008, 02:58 PM
I think I'm supposed to be all intimidated by this "offer" to "demonstrate"...is that correct? I'll work on it, along with the host of other "emotions" that you think I should be having, instead of the ones I do have. I should get that all straightened out shortly after I get it through my thick head that you are, in fact, the boss of me.
You don't know how to discuss on public forum. The world is not turning around you.
This will stop my interaction with you.

Jonathan
03-11-2008, 02:59 PM
Also Sugano sensei often has been laughing that I'm not doing aikido but jujutsu. So I started to carefully study time and space BEFORE contact.

Yes, this is - or should be - a common area of study when doing Aikido.

Having said that, I don't 'try to relax and adjust.' This mistake is common for quite beginners on jujutsu level. So you could never stop my technique this way. Please find something more sophisticated

I'm sure you're quite an irresistible force. :rolleyes: Don't make the mistake in thinking that when I say "relax" I mean become like a wet noodle.

Exactly, technique-specific practice can give expected results ONLY when technique is executed in most difficult conditions. Extreme conditions. Not only because the is the only way to close all openings, but such teaching follows O sensei teaching that every technique we must execute as it will be our last technique before dying. That makes difference aikido from any other sport oriented practice.

Maybe its just me, but this all sounds kinda' vague. What exactly do you mean by "in most difficult conditions," or "extreme conditions"? What qualitative difference does it make to your performance of a technique to perform it as though "it will be our last technique before dying"? Do you do it faster? Slower? Less tension? More tension? What?

...no one person teaches Aikido in a way that is right for everyone. There are different ways that are valid.

Yup, and this was, in the end, my point in remarking on Saotome's video.

NagaBaba
03-11-2008, 03:02 PM
No one, in my opinion, is an expert on O Sensei. Some people (not Stan Pranin, by the way, and that is not a dig at him) spent a lot of time with him at different periods of his life. They report very different things about training with him, depending when they did spend time with him. To believe and say the above is to be Very short-sighted, on many levels.
Hi Larry,
Feel free to present your long-sighted on all levels believs on this topic. I'm sincerly interested.

crbateman
03-11-2008, 04:27 PM
No one, in my opinion, is an expert on O Sensei. Some people (not Stan Pranin, by the way, and that is not a dig at him) spent a lot of time with him at different periods of his life. They report very different things about training with him, depending when they did spend time with him.This is a good point. There is nobody more regretful that he did not actually meet O'Sensei than Stan Pranin. He was, in fact, about to get that opportunity when O'Sensei passed. But he has spent a life's work digging, researching, learning, and talking to just about everybody who did know O'Sensei, and the results can be seen in all Stan's writing. It's pretty clear that not everybody's take on O'Sensei is/was the same, as he was a constantly evolving individual, and his relationships with different people, at different times and in different contexts, gave rise to a diverse assortment of impressions.

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 05:33 PM
Hi Larry,
Feel free to present your long-sighted on all levels believs on this topic. I'm sincerly interested.

No, your not.Your sarcastic, you think you know it all, and you show exactly who you are by your rudeness.

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 05:34 PM
This is a good point. There is nobody more regretful that he did not actually meet O'Sensei than Stan Pranin. He was, in fact, about to get that opportunity when O'Sensei passed. But he has spent a life's work digging, researching, learning, and talking to just about everybody who did know O'Sensei, and the results can be seen in all Stan's writing. It's pretty clear that not everybody's take on O'Sensei is/was the same, as he was a constantly evolving individual, and his relationships with different people, at different times and in different contexts, gave rise to a diverse assortment of impressions.

Ya - sometimes it amazes me to see the vast variety of Aikido that actually emerged from "one source" so to speak.

Robert Cowham
03-11-2008, 05:44 PM
I am sure I am guilty of blocking other people's techniques to "do it the right way". Equally I have learnt a fair amount through that method in the past.

I have also had frustrations, for example, with a high ranking woman - as nage she could handle any pressure I put on her in soft but powerful way, but as uke she would throw herself when I twitched. I am sure this was a self protection mechanism through practising with many brutes over the years. I had to adjust to do techniques as softly and correctly as I knew how to get any value - that in itself was interesting.

I quite like the Cheng Hsin method of training - various different "games" each with different rules. Starts with receiving only and no responding techniques, just yielding. Then you get in to both people being able to make the other person yield, and yet each must yield themselves - no blocking allowed. Continues the progression until it is full free style with blocking etc allowed. Note that beginners are kept firmly to lower levels as they tend to learn bad habits otherwise.

NagaBaba
03-11-2008, 07:52 PM
No, your not.Your sarcastic, you think you know it all, and you show exactly who you are by your rudeness.
Again personal attack....hmhm....easy to criticize my opinion and give nothing instead.....oh well...life is really brutal and then you die.:dead:

Aiki1
03-11-2008, 07:56 PM
Again personal attack....hmhm....easy to criticize my opinion and give nothing instead.....oh well...life is really brutal and then you die.:dead:

Yea, it's a tough life when someone won't play your game.

Erick Mead
03-11-2008, 09:14 PM
Interesting discussion. Ron your last post is true... kuzushi is an ongoing, changing connection, and effect that must be there to take the sente and keep it.I thought long and hard about O Sensei's statement that Aikido, specifically was not about sente at all. I don't disagree with what you said about kuzushi and it obviously defines a sente, however, there is till that observation of the Founder. It is the road to the sente and the manner of getting there that makes all the difference. That comment was also made, interestingly enough, in the same interview where he talks of tettei muteiko "absolutely no resistance" in aikido (in Pranin's translation).

Trying to reestablish sente directly is to directly oppose the action presumably trying to take it. Slamming the brakes suddenly, or throwing the wheel over radically is an invitation to lose control at the point of contact. Throwing the vehicle into reverse gear at speed is just jarring and damaging. Not resisting the taking of sente -- to the point of cooperating with it, up to a point, takes one to an open branch point along the line of that action. Since uke is driving there already he cannot really stop -- without himself losing control or incurring damaging. Instead, you guide him to an off-ramp along the line of travel he did not mean to take.

Aiki seems more about about throwing away the sente the opponent is trying to take, so that every time he thinks he has it, it has already become worthless. He has to look for the new one, while the aikidoka is not engaging in a linear argument (first, second, third etc.) at all . Sente simply comes to the aikidoka acting critically at the natural branch point in accordance with aiki principles. Is not simply taken forcibly in the sense of direct opposition to another trying to take it. That would be the measure, in my mind, of the typical kinds of resistance at issue.

Nafis Zahir
03-11-2008, 10:28 PM
This thread has gone in two different directions. Although some people have made some very valid points, others have gotten off base. I want to try and be very clear, that I am talking about reistance that is designed to awaken the nage's movements. It is not a way of showing the nage how strong I can be or that I can resist their technique no matter what they do. But at a certain level, I use it to show them that they need to use their hip more in trying to execute the technique. Other times it is used to demonstrate how not being in the proper posture, even if just slightly out of place, can weaken a technique.

Once the correction is made and the technique starts to take its proper form, then as uke, I join with the nage and receive the technique in order to avoid injury. Too many times, I have seen senior students who have not worked on these small things throughout their entire time in Aikido. Now we have many Yudansha, who may be Nidans or even Sandans, who can do correct techniques if attacked really hard because they have no tai sabaki, use a lot of muscle, and expect things to just happen because that's all that they are use to. I may grab very tightly or offer minimum resistance at first, but once that has been broken, then I go along for the ride. If you can't get past that first stage, then that is something that needs to be worked on. and for many Aikidoka today, that is something that they have been missing in their training.

Carl Thompson
03-12-2008, 12:43 AM
Glad you liked the comments Chris

A Japanese sensei once told me that aikido is faa-ji. He seemed quite surprised when I didn't understand the word and assured me it was gairaigo (a word that was adapted into Japanese from a foreign language), and that he was pretty sure it was English in origin. He explained that when robots pick up cans, they don't need to make any adjustments to their movement, because the can is of fixed size and shape. They just copy the same movements over and over. However an egg is much harder for a robot to pick up, because the grip must adjust depending upon the angle and size of the egg. A robot that understands the concept of faa-ji can cope with this, because it works out the best way to grip it without relying on fixed patterns. Obviously, you don't toss the egg at the robot first, but neither do you just place it directly in the mechanical arm every time. He said Aikido doesn't rely on fixed patterns to deal with fixed attacks. Aikido is faa-ji and instead adapts to fit attacks through practiced and varied exposure to them.

Eventually it dawned on me what he meant. I checked the dictionary and came across the expression faaji ronri.
ファージ論理

"Ronri" means "logic".

Aikido is fuzzy!

:D

Chuck Clark
03-12-2008, 01:32 AM
I thought long and hard about O Sensei's statement that Aikido, specifically was not about sente at all. I don't disagree with what you said about kuzushi and it obviously defines a sente, however, there is till that observation of the Founder. It is the road to the sente and the manner of getting there that makes all the difference.

I agree. Some budo teachings use a form of direct oppositional means of establishing or taking sente. The aiki method is used in very skillful jodan level budo. In older times aiki was used in some bujutsu ryu to mean that opponents were "matching" with no one having the lead or initiative. Takeda's usage of the term (and possibly others) meant essentially what you describe and the way I learned to use the terms of mitsu no sen from my teachers. I think possibly Ueshiba Morihei disliked the terms because he felt that his budo was the "ultimate or true budo" and he made up his own terms that were very hard for others to understand. As far as I'm concerned, a rose by any other name... it is still simply one person has the lead and the other must respond to what that person is doing. How that lead is gained and maintained is the heart of the matter.

Best regards,

G DiPierro
03-12-2008, 05:34 AM
Too many times, I have seen senior students who have not worked on these small things throughout their entire time in Aikido. Now we have many Yudansha, who may be Nidans or even Sandans, who can do correct techniques if attacked really hard because they have no tai sabaki, use a lot of muscle, and expect things to just happen because that's all that they are use to. I may grab very tightly or offer minimum resistance at first, but once that has been broken, then I go along for the ride. If you can't get past that first stage, then that is something that needs to be worked on. and for many Aikidoka today, that is something that they have been missing in their training.I agree with this characterization -- assuming that you meant to say "we have many yudansha ... who can not do correct techniques" (although I myself think the level goes higher than sandan) -- and attribute this situation to the expectation in most dojos (especially in the aikikai) that nage will maintain a 100% rate of success in throwing uke at all times, both in everyday training and on tests. This requires ukes to always ensure that nage throws them regardless of how poor the nage's technique is, and thus enables ineffective techniques and habits to flourish while causing overall effectiveness to degrade over time.

As Carl Thompson mentioned, the ideal success rate for nage in training is somewhere between 0% and 100%, and while that seems so obvious as to not even need to be pointed out, the fact is that it is an entirely alien concept at many aikido dojos. Providing intelligent resistance at the sweet spot for nage (let's say somewhere around 40-70% rate of success) is a pedagogical skill in itself, and it is one that is not only not taught at most aikido dojos, but also one that typically would not even be allowed as it would be likely to offend the delicate sensibilities of the students and teachers of the dojo, accustomed and very much attached, as they are, to their illusions of their own power and effectiveness.

Robert Cowham
03-12-2008, 06:13 AM
One, perhaps extreme, way of teaching via resistance:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=179

After I greeted Mr. Kimura at the dojo, we soon began practice. At first, Mr. Kimura taught me the basic practice method of aiki age, a technique where you sit in seiza facing your opponent who grabs both of your arms and holds them down while you try to raise them. Mr. Kimura grabbed my hands and told me to raise them in any way I liked. I tried to raise them but couldn’t move at all. Then he threw me freely to the back or sideways over 100 times.

Also: http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=242

Friends visited the dojo recently and this description of the training method matches what they saw. Total resistance is used all the time. Sounds somewhat like a Zen koan - beat your brain against it until something gives.

NagaBaba
03-12-2008, 06:26 AM
. Providing intelligent resistance at the sweet spot for nage (let's say somewhere around 40-70% rate of success) is a pedagogical skill in itself, and it is one that is not only not taught at most aikido dojos, but also one that typically would not even be allowed as it would be likely to offend the delicate sensibilities of the students and teachers of the dojo, accustomed and very much attached, as they are, to their illusions of their own power and effectiveness.
I think that this rate will be rather about 2-5%. May be one sucessful throw by class?
As for 'the delicate sensibilities of the students and teachers ' - it is MA training. If you extablish such standard right from the beginning, everybody will think that the rate 5% is a very normal thing and nobody will get offended. But I suppose it is too big challenge to the instructors.

NagaBaba
03-12-2008, 06:31 AM
Maybe its just me, but this all sounds kinda' vague. What exactly do you mean by "in most difficult conditions," or "extreme conditions"? What qualitative difference does it make to your performance of a technique to perform it as though "it will be our last technique before dying"? Do you do it faster? Slower? Less tension? More tension? What? .

I thing the last example from Mr. Kimura dojo is a good visualisation. If you try to do a technique with all your capacities and all your power and there is a null effect, it force you to find another solution. It is not uke that force you to do that, but the result od your effords. Uke is only a tool in this process.

mickeygelum
03-12-2008, 07:58 AM
Surprise in Randori in a small sense helps build Martial Awareness
and you learn not to think but to act appropriately dispite the desire to "seize up"

William Hazen

That is a great way of explaining it, thank you Mr.Hazen.

I do not agree with "resistance" as the word to describe an attempt to bring a barrier to a technique either.

When one muscles down there are 2 options, go in the direction of the resistance and execute a different waza, or use the resistance as a means of finding the correct pathways and rotations required to have the initial waza work as it should.

Larry Camejo


Absolutely, Mr Camejo. I believe Koryu Dai Yon/ Yondan Grading examplifies this, as a kata, it is very fluid. Uke causes a barrier to Shishi Hon No Kuzushi, Nage responds appropriately. Kaeshi Waza, in my opinion illustrates specific waza, in a stand alone situation, would you agree? Both examples provide passive and active resistance, not necessarily muscular tension.

Randori, Tanto or Toshu, best gives any Aikidoka the opportunity to refine their skills. It also affords them the opportunity to become martially aware and to seek the path of least resistance, by feeling not thinking, to execute good technique. Randori exists at all levels, therefore, the Aikidoka evolves as the learning process morphs to thier level.

If the direction is to "really try to hit nage," this should be interpreted as "appear as if you are trying to hit nage, but don't actually hit nage or otherwise do anything to impede nage's technique." Similarly, if the direction is to "try to resist," this really means "make it look as if you are trying to resist, but do not do so in a way that would be successful." What are doing wrong is simply not realizing that the implicit rules of all drills in your dojo is to allow nage to succeed 100% of the time. Apparently you cannot be told this directly but must be given some other excuse for why are you are doing it wrong. Most likely it is to preserve the fantasy that what you are learning would actually work against someone who was not colluding with nage to ensure a perfect rate of success.

Giancarlo DiPierro


I agree with you, Mr. DiPierro, but at what level do you relinquish the restraint? I have spent mat time with yudansha that were upset for that exact reason. "Dojo ballerinas" doing "tatami ballet", and there are quite a few arias out there. If you are instructed to hit nage here, you are going to be hit. I believe that striking and kicking are a necessary skillset to grow in Aikido. Cross training does not have to be intense, but introduced at some level. I believe, this is also with in the barrier to good technique.

Aikido is art no resistance --- but it is NAGE who must NOT resist. Not uke. Uke can do whatever he want to do.

Szczepan Janczuk


This is true, randori illustrates this, at all levels. Randori does not always equate to competition. Thank you, Sir.

Dude, it's practice. It's a drill. It's not free-form fighting, it's practice, a particular attack and a particular response.

Mary Malmros


Tatami Ballet will get you hurt or killed when you walk out the door.
When will you crossover to respond ad libbed? The discussion is about viable technique with barriers or "resistance". This is a false sense of security, practise bandaging and embalming.

If uke has discarded his/her inhibitions and good judgment as a result of drugs or alcohol, he/she shouldn't be there.

You are absolutely correct, I agree completely. Since you interjected, I have a question, you direct that individual to leave the mat/building. They become belligerent and aggressive. What are you going to do? Run and tell Sensei is not the option, you are the one in charge. I would truly appreciate a response to this please.

Kuzushi is the key...anybody can resist just about anything we do...IF they don't have their balance taken.

I think one major problem in aikido today is the loss of kuzushi on contact with shite.

Ron Tisdale


Thank you, Mr. Tisdale. Taisabaki/ Kuzushi...take their balance and you take their strength. Maintain broken balance and you will not have barriers to good technique.

Thanks all, train well,

Mickey

Ron Tisdale
03-12-2008, 08:07 AM
Hey, quite welcome... Ron is fine, Mr. Tisdale is my Dad, and Mr. T is an actor... ;)

Best,
Ron

lbb
03-12-2008, 08:11 AM
Tatami Ballet will get you hurt or killed when you walk out the door.
When will you crossover to respond ad libbed? The discussion is about viable technique with barriers or "resistance". This is a false sense of security, practise bandaging and embalming.

Let me throw a question back at you: when was the last time you were attacked when leaving the dojo? When was the last time you were attacked with deadly force anywhere? Maybe you work as a bouncer, or routinely seek out dangerous situations, or start fights. Not everyone does that.

What you derisively and rudely refer to as "Tatami Ballet" is practice that's designed to help students develop a basic proficiency in a way that doesn't result with someone going to the hospital every time someone attempts a technique. The dojo is not the place for the use of deadly force. Do you disagree with that?

You are absolutely correct, I agree completely. Since you interjected, I have a question, you direct that individual to leave the mat/building. They become belligerent and aggressive. What are you going to do? Run and tell Sensei is not the option, you are the one in charge. I would truly appreciate a response to this please.

What would I do? That's easy -- I'd just have the circus ponies trample him/her to death. What's that you say? Where did I get a herd of circus ponies? The same place you got a student who comes to the dojo drunk or high, insists on getting onto the mat, and becomes belligerent and aggressive when told to leave.

Ron Tisdale
03-12-2008, 08:23 AM
What would I do? That's easy -- I'd just have the circus ponies trample him/her to death. What's that you say? Where did I get a herd of circus ponies? The same place you got a student who comes to the dojo drunk or high, insists on getting onto the mat, and becomes belligerent and aggressive when told to leave.

Nice! ;) lol Well, one of the places I train has had to ask someone to leave. But I don't think any violence was needed. The person was actually quite surprised. Often people like that don't even realize what they are doing, and once it is explained, they settle down nicely.

There are many levels at which to train in Budo, and Aikido specifically. I'm not sure we should be deriding someone else's choices in that endevour. Especially with the use of hypothetical situations.

On the other hand, there also is a place for people who want to up their current level, and sometimes that does involve pushing certain boundries. As long as all involved agree to that...have at it!

Best,
Ron

Cephallus
03-12-2008, 09:22 AM
This is very funny - correct way of being Uke ....You don't know what uke will do. It is impossible to define the 'right' behavior' of attacker. He has a different view of reality, he can be very stupid, or influenced by alcohol, drugs, or simply very advanced and experimented fighter. Your technique can't depend of his behavior. It will be not anymore aikido.

I'm fairly certain that NagaBaba was not talking about a practice partner at the dojo being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but rather a person who you might have a physical altercation with *outside* of the dojo. I think his point here was that, in real life (beyond the walls of the dojo), you simply can not assume that any person is going to react in a certain way, have a certain level of compliance, or even a certain level of common sense. Alcohol and drugs impair your ability to think rationally, so the common-sense reaction of "I'd better not resist, she's going to break my arm if I do" may not occur. The same thing for an advanced fighter who's been trained not to submit to certain types of pins...I watched a friend's shoot-fighting match a few years ago and his opponent was attempting to get a choke on him. He wasn't giving up his throat, so his opponent put forearm pressure on his nose. He still wouldn't give up his throat, and suddenly...SNAP...the nose broke. It surprised his opponent so much that my friend was able to roll out of the lock and get an arm-bar on the other guy. The point was that *this* is the kind of unpredictability one would face in the real world, and if you consider Aikido to be a true fighting fom, you need to include these situations in your training.

From a personal perspective, I'm probably less concerned with the practical application of my Aikido as a self-defense or combat art than many others here, though I do try to keep the fact that it *is* martial training in my mind at all times.

mickeygelum
03-12-2008, 12:02 PM
Let me throw a question back at you: when was the last time you were attacked when leaving the dojo? When was the last time you were attacked with deadly force anywhere? Maybe you work as a bouncer, or routinely seek out dangerous situations, or start fights. Not everyone does that.


I am a LEO (law enforcement officer)...and yes I guess I seek out dangerous situations. Ever put on the pads and have a go? Let one of your training partners really grab you by the throat and see if your response is enough to escape, let alone fend off the ensuing barrage of grabs, strikes or kicks. Or will the attack leave you in a lump after being choked out. Rude? I am not rude, just stating facts. You have the cutting tongue, can you really cash the check your statements write? Only you know. Next time you are on the mat, look at your true self, does it dissappear after a few seconds? Does your imaginary self take over? Again, only you will know.
I would hope and pray that you never are in that position outside of the dojo, but if you are, will you survive?

What would I do? That's easy -- I'd just have the circus ponies trample him/her to death. What's that you say? Where did I get a herd of circus ponies? The same place you got a student who comes to the dojo drunk or high, insists on getting onto the mat, and becomes belligerent and aggressive when told to leave.

What's the matter, at a loss for words? Evidently, I guess you just can not get along with anyone. I asked a simple question, from experience, and you think that it would or could not ever happen. That is the exact type response I expected from you. If you have not noticed, there is a lot of experience within this thread, maybe you should sit back and learn something, then try to show how much you have to offer, not ridicule everyone that you perceive to
be attacking your position.

Train well, Train real,

Mickey

ps...I am sure you know exactly what Tatami Ballet is, right?

Aikibu
03-12-2008, 01:39 PM
Hi Jonathan,
There is an old saying from Himalaya: Aikido ends when attacker touch you.
more I practice, more I tend to agree with that.

Also Sugano sensei often has been laughing that I'm not doing aikido but jujutsu. So I started to carefully study time and space BEFORE contact.

Having said that, I don't 'try to relax and adjust.' This mistake is common for quite beginners on jujutsu level. So you could never stop my technique this way. :D Please find something more sophisticated :eek: :p

Exactly, technique-specific practice can give expected results ONLY when technique is executed in most difficult conditions. Extreme conditions. Not only because the is the only way to close all openings, but such teaching follows O sensei teaching that every technique we must execute as it will be our last technique before dying. That makes difference aikido from any other sport oriented practice.

I think I groove with what you're saying here Northman and I like it. :)

Personally if it's one thing that gives Aikido a bad name it's all the Uke Bunnies hippity hopping around the Dojo, and instilling dangerously bad habits in practice by not making Nage perform correctly and with serious intent towards actually learning the technique from a wholistic perspective aka Real Life.

That does not mean you have to be a butthead with 'resistance" It just means that if you expect to progress in Aikido ATTACK!!! LOL

WIlliam Hazen

PS. One reason I love to teach beginners They just don't know how to be Uke Bunnies and prefer to act naturally or use thier background in other Martial Arts...

lbb
03-12-2008, 01:41 PM
I am a LEO (law enforcement officer)...and yes I guess I seek out dangerous situations. Ever put on the pads and have a go? Let one of your training partners really grab you by the throat and see if your response is enough to escape, let alone fend off the ensuing barrage of grabs, strikes or kicks. Or will the attack leave you in a lump after being choked out. Rude? I am not rude, just stating facts. You have the cutting tongue, can you really cash the check your statements write? Only you know. Next time you are on the mat, look at your true self, does it dissappear after a few seconds? Does your imaginary self take over? Again, only you will know.
I would hope and pray that you never are in that position outside of the dojo, but if you are, will you survive?

You're chock full of assumptions here, Mickey, about what I have and haven't done apart from aikido. All I can tell you -- all anyone can tell you -- is "so far, so good".

What's the matter, at a loss for words?

What's the matter, don't you like the words? Your question wasn't "simple", it was based on hypotheticals. If you're allowed to create a hypothetical attacker waiting outside the dojo to stomp me to death when I leave, surely I'm allowed to create a hypothetical response. I suspect you're offended and getting your back up because you think my hypothetical circus ponies are absurd, while your hypothetical attacker waiting outside the dojo to stomp me to death is utterly realistic. If I'm right on this, we must simply agree to disagree and let the matter drop.

There's been a lot of talk about what is and isn't real in this thread. I'm sure you'd agree that it's a waste of time to respond to situations that aren't real. If I lived in a world where homicidal maniacs were roaming the streets looking for aikidoka leaving the dojo to beat up, I'd deal with that. If I had a personal situation where some nutjob was out to get me personally, I'd deal with that too. But to respond to those non-existent situations as if they were real, IMO, is as silly as believing that circus ponies will appear to rescue me should I run into trouble.

akiy
03-12-2008, 02:08 PM
Hi folks,

Please keep your tone civil and respectful. Thank you.

-- Jun

Nafis Zahir
03-12-2008, 02:21 PM
I am a LEO (law enforcement officer)...and yes I guess I seek out dangerous situations. Ever put on the pads and have a go? Let one of your training partners really grab you by the throat and see if your response is enough to escape, let alone fend off the ensuing barrage of grabs, strikes or kicks. Or will the attack leave you in a lump after being choked out. Rude? I am not rude, just stating facts. You have the cutting tongue, can you really cash the check your statements write? Only you know. Next time you are on the mat, look at your true self, does it disappear after a few seconds? Does your imaginary self take over? Again, only you will know.
I would hope and pray that you never are in that position outside of the dojo, but if you are, will you survive?

What's the matter, at a loss for words? Evidently, I guess you just can not get along with anyone. I asked a simple question, from experience, and you think that it would or could not ever happen. That is the exact type response I expected from you. If you have not noticed, there is a lot of experience within this thread, maybe you should sit back and learn something, then try to show how much you have to offer, not ridicule everyone that you perceive to
be attacking your position.

Train well, Train real,

Mickey

ps...I am sure you know exactly what Tatami Ballet is, right?

Exactly! Many of us study Aikido not just for the art, but for self defense as well. In a real life situation out on the street, and attacker or attackers are not going to be compliant. Sure, if they are charging at you or throw a wild punch, you may catch them off guard, but what happens if and when you are grabbed or the person bears down on you while you are doing a technique? The ideal answer is that you adapt and reverse or change the technique. But the problem is, that if you have been training without knowing how to move your body, use your hips, and how to really position yourself so that you really can do techniques effortlessly, then you will find yourself in a situation where your momentary hesitation may cause you grave harm or even worse.

Again, I'm not talking about resisting every technique or movement of the nage, but rather not letting your partner get away with the little things that will hurt their technique in the long run. The same idea works when the uke grabs you or throws a strike at you that is unrealistic. I am excluding new students and those who have not trained very long. But if the uke doesn't give you something real to work with, then you won't be able to handle it when it really does come. I have seen this so many times. And when it happens, people tend to get upset instead of realizing that they need to change the way they train.

DonMagee
03-12-2008, 02:27 PM
Let me throw a question back at you: when was the last time you were attacked when leaving the dojo? When was the last time you were attacked with deadly force anywhere? Maybe you work as a bouncer, or routinely seek out dangerous situations, or start fights. Not everyone does that.

What you derisively and rudely refer to as "Tatami Ballet" is practice that's designed to help students develop a basic proficiency in a way that doesn't result with someone going to the hospital every time someone attempts a technique. The dojo is not the place for the use of deadly force. Do you disagree with that?

What would I do? That's easy -- I'd just have the circus ponies trample him/her to death. What's that you say? Where did I get a herd of circus ponies? The same place you got a student who comes to the dojo drunk or high, insists on getting onto the mat, and becomes belligerent and aggressive when told to leave.

You know, I resist all the time in every martial art I train in. The only time I've been hospitalized was due to a kick in the groin and a hard slam in the guard where we fell off the mats. I just don't buy the too deadly argument. I've had worse done to me in a mma class than any aikidoka has ever even pretended to do to me on the mat. And believe me, I did everything in my power to stop them

I find it odd that most of the aikidoka here think resisting means just grabbing on and refusing to move or do anything but stop a technique. I'm sorry that is not resisting at all. Resisting is actually trying to impose your will on your partner.

Example:

Non-resistance: I throw a single chambered lunge punch at your center, you step off the line grab my fist and pull it forward, I dive into forward ukemi (yes, I have seen this).

Not resistance: I throw a single uncommited punch at your center, you side step and I use all my muscle to root myself in place and bear down to prevent you from moving me.

Resistance: I throw a GOOD punch at you, you side step it and attempt to grab my hand while I attempt to pull my hand back, readjust and attack you again until either you submit/throw/stop me or I punch you.

See the two non-resistance examples I gave are not realistic examples of what might happen in real life. If someone tried the first one, the attacker would not be thrown, he would be blasting you with more strikes. If the attacker tried the second one, I'd hope the aikidoka would be smart enough to stop trying to do the technqiue and to do another technique or just start hitting the flat foooted rooted guy in the face with his elbow.

To me (and the world of combat sports) resistance means that we do not stop trying to accomplish our goal until nage accomplishes their goal. If you tell me my goal is to strike you, I am not going to stop trying to hit you until you throw me, submit me, etc. This does not mean I'm going to let you tug on my arm as I try to 'stop' you. This does not mean I'm going to bunker down and try to keep you from moving me. It simply means I'm going to do what I feel any reasonable martial artist would do to accomplish his goal within the framework provided.

It's like the wrist grab. People who do a wrist grab and then lock their arm out are not resisting. Have you ever heard of an attacker on the street grab someone's wrist and bunker down and is like "Ha! I got you now, you can't get your hand back!". I have not heard of this, usually the have a goal in mind when they grab you, like punching you with the other hand, or throwing you to the ground. Grabbing a wrist is not a goal, it is a step on the way to a goal. When you work wrist grab techniques, but give uke a goal other than grab the wrist, you will find they almost never bunker down on your wrist trying to keep you from moving your arm.

I'm just really fascinated by this idea that resistance is not uke trying to achieve the goal given him, but rather uke trying to stop nages technique. The first way (uke trying to acheive a goal) will provide realistic feedback and realistic counters and defenses that really do need to be trained against. The second way provides nothing but ego stroking and arguments.

When a judoka uke is told to resist nage, he doesn't just plop down in Jigo Hontai and go "Ha! your throw sucks, you need to listen to me.", instead he actively counters grips and looks for ways to throw nage. That way nage actually learns to deal with real feedback and figure out how to achieve his goal against a non compliant partner. You are gong to have a hard time learning to throw if the uke just sits on the floor. (Which is a metaphor for how I feel most aikidoka describe their idea of resistance).

As everyone who knows me already knows, I think training with resistance is VERY important. But not the kind of resistance most aikidoka think is resistance, but what I have described as resistance. You need both non-resistant drills and resistant drills imho. Failure to do either makes the path that much harder.

Nafis Zahir
03-12-2008, 02:35 PM
You know, I resist all the time in every martial art I train in. The only time I've been hospitalized was due to a kick in the groin and a hard slam in the guard where we fell off the mats. I just don't buy the too deadly argument. I've had worse done to me in a mma class than any aikidoka has ever even pretended to do to me on the mat. And believe me, I did everything in my power to stop them

I find it odd that most of the aikidoka here think resisting means just grabbing on and refusing to move or do anything but stop a technique. I'm sorry that is not resisting at all. Resisting is actually trying to impose your will on your partner.

Example:

Non-resistance: I throw a single chambered lunge punch at your center, you step off the line grab my fist and pull it forward, I dive into forward ukemi (yes, I have seen this).

Not resistance: I throw a single uncommited punch at your center, you side step and I use all my muscle to root myself in place and bear down to prevent you from moving me.

Resistance: I throw a GOOD punch at you, you side step it and attempt to grab my hand while I attempt to pull my hand back, readjust and attack you again until either you submit/throw/stop me or I punch you.

See the two non-resistance examples I gave are not realistic examples of what might happen in real life. If someone tried the first one, the attacker would not be thrown, he would be blasting you with more strikes. If the attacker tried the second one, I'd hope the aikidoka would be smart enough to stop trying to do the technqiue and to do another technique or just start hitting the flat foooted rooted guy in the face with his elbow.

To me (and the world of combat sports) resistance means that we do not stop trying to accomplish our goal until nage accomplishes their goal. If you tell me my goal is to strike you, I am not going to stop trying to hit you until you throw me, submit me, etc. This does not mean I'm going to let you tug on my arm as I try to 'stop' you. This does not mean I'm going to bunker down and try to keep you from moving me. It simply means I'm going to do what I feel any reasonable martial artist would do to accomplish his goal within the framework provided.

It's like the wrist grab. People who do a wrist grab and then lock their arm out are not resisting. Have you ever heard of an attacker on the street grab someone's wrist and bunker down and is like "Ha! I got you now, you can't get your hand back!". I have not heard of this, usually the have a goal in mind when they grab you, like punching you with the other hand, or throwing you to the ground. Grabbing a wrist is not a goal, it is a step on the way to a goal. When you work wrist grab techniques, but give uke a goal other than grab the wrist, you will find they almost never bunker down on your wrist trying to keep you from moving your arm.

I'm just really fascinated by this idea that resistance is not uke trying to achieve the goal given him, but rather uke trying to stop nages technique. The first way (uke trying to acheive a goal) will provide realistic feedback and realistic counters and defenses that really do need to be trained against. The second way provides nothing but ego stroking and arguments.

When a judoka uke is told to resist nage, he doesn't just plop down in Jigo Hontai and go "Ha! your throw sucks, you need to listen to me.", instead he actively counters grips and looks for ways to throw nage. That way nage actually learns to deal with real feedback and figure out how to achieve his goal against a non compliant partner. You are gong to have a hard time learning to throw if the uke just sits on the floor. (Which is a metaphor for how I feel most aikidoka describe their idea of resistance).

As everyone who knows me already knows, I think training with resistance is VERY important. But not the kind of resistance most aikidoka think is resistance, but what I have described as resistance. You need both non-resistant drills and resistant drills imho. Failure to do either makes the path that much harder.

This is also a very good point. I have tried using Aikido on people who study other arts. One guy was a wrestler who was excellent at grappling. Not being used to that type of offense, I found myself struggling with him. He also had trouble with me. Because I was not use to that kind of encounter, I found myself trying to do something other than what I thought I had learned. Again, I am not saying that we should train like this in the dojo, but the level of resistance should be such that we learn how to maintain our centers in any kind of encounter. Full compliance from the uke at all times will deprive you of this valuable learning tool.

Ron Tisdale
03-12-2008, 02:51 PM
When a judoka uke is told to resist nage, he doesn't just plop down in Jigo Hontai and go "Ha! your throw sucks, you need to listen to me.", instead he actively counters grips and looks for ways to throw nage. That way nage actually learns to deal with real feedback and figure out how to achieve his goal against a non compliant partner. You are gong to have a hard time learning to throw if the uke just sits on the floor. (Which is a metaphor for how I feel most aikidoka describe their idea of resistance).

Hi Don, I'm just sorry this is your only experience of resistance in aikido.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
03-12-2008, 03:08 PM
I just don't buy the too deadly argument.

I don't think Mary was making the too deadly argument. I *think* she was simply differentiating between basic practice, and risky practice.

What you [...] refer to as "Tatami Ballet" is practice that's designed to help students develop a basic proficiency in a way that doesn't result with someone going to the hospital every time someone attempts a technique. The dojo is not the place for the use of deadly force.

A good example, hiji shime or hiji ate. I don't need to hyperextend someone's elbow to have a clue that it's working, any more in aikido than in MMA. MMA probably has a better / faster training system for delivery than aikido. Ok, fine. So what? If someone likes aikido, enjoys the movement, is able to get to the point where they have some chance of getting the technique in the oddest unlikely event they get attacked...fine. Maybe instead of an 80 percent chance they have 45 percent. Before they had 0 percent. If that is the kind of training they are happy with, why denigrate them?

On the other hand, there are aikido dojo that cater strongly to LEOs. They may push the envelope further, risk more injuries, etc. You may have a few concussions :D As long as everyone there signed up knowing this, fine. But I certainly don't as say, a middle aged computer industry geek, have a need to risk landing hard on my head and injuring my neck in the name of defending myself from some uber body nazi waiting around the corner at the 5 and dime to trounce me.

As it happens, I take those kinds of risks because I enjoy the hard training...but not because I really need to defend myself. And from my point of view, the odds in general are more like 48% to 52%, or 52% to 48%. Maybe you live, maybe you don't. But outside of a sport dojo, it will probably be that kind of encounter, if things get really serious. The only 80% I know in that situation involves me carrying a gun, and I choose not to do that.

Best,
Ron

Fred Little
03-12-2008, 03:30 PM
I'd just have the circus ponies trample him/her to death.

Circus Ponies of Doom?

Your Circus Ponies will run like whipped puppies with tails 'tween their legs at the mere mountain echo of Greenoch's keening wail.

Thanks for the memories.

FL

Kevin Leavitt
03-12-2008, 04:42 PM
I understatnd what Don is saying for the most part, and can say that I have experienced much the same.

I think in aikido simply by method of training that it is difficult for novices or those that have not been exposed to "good" ukemi to end up not really understanding proper ukemi. It is one of the things we will always struggle with in aikido with how it is trained.

Flip side is that those that come from more dynamic or "alive" training might have a difficult grasping the importance and nature of training in aikido and for what it is designed to do.

the end result is a clash or conflict between two different perspectives on the same subject. One side gets labeled aikibunny, the other a knuckledragger.

Sticking to aikido, I think it is challenging to train proper resistance and to move appropriately. Personally I like BJJ and Judo as I think you learn very quickly on how to respond with constant resistance all the way through as Don discusses.

Speaking in very stereotypically and macroscopically, I would tend to agree with Don, that I find that those that study "sport" focused forms of the art, tend to have a better grasp of "appropriate" resistance...might have to back them off a little or spend sometime slowing them down.

It is a shame that many of these sports guys don't see the value in training in the aikido way...I think that it would benefit them tremendously. Usually when you they have a hard time because we do things that seem to be inefficient or the timing is not correct.

Anyway, guys like Roy Dean I think are on the right path to teaching this side of the art.

Couple that with the stuff that Mike and Rob are doing, and I think you might be on to something!

mickeygelum
03-12-2008, 08:55 PM
You're chock full of assumptions here, Mickey, about what I have and haven't done apart from aikido. All I can tell you -- all anyone can tell you -- is "so far, so good".
Mary Malmros


I do not assume anything, I could careless what you have or have not done...as you are indifferent about my endeavors. Still, bad things happen to good people, real bad things happen to those who fool themselves with unrealistic practise. Sadly, I have seen children move and react better with active resistance training, than some adult kyu ranks that rely on shomenuchi ikkyo from tegatana, with a passive uke. Your remarks are evidence that you question your ability, otherwise you would had qualified your response as to why your training is effective. Instead, you choose to attack everyone that addresses you.

On the other hand, there are aikido dojo that cater strongly to LEOs. They may push the envelope further, risk more injuries, etc. You may have a few concussions

Ron Tisdale


You are quite correct, Mr. Tisdale. Our training pushes the envelope at times, we have to. We make our mistakes in the dojo, and learn from them. We also have a team effort to hone each others skills, not just the LEO's, everyone.

Train well,

Mickey

DonMagee
03-13-2008, 05:47 AM
Hi Don, I'm just sorry this is your only experience of resistance in aikido.

Best,
Ron

I wouldn't say ALL my aikido training has been like that. A good majority has, but not all. However I feel this is what a lot of people in this thread are talking about when they say resistance. They do not mean a uke who is trying to achieve a goal (such as what a judoka would call resistance), but rather a uke who is just refusing to play at all (like in my example you quoted).

I think the most important thing I learned in judo (and what took the longest to learn) is that there is a time and place for all levels of practice. You can't get good without uchi komi, throw lines, and randori (in judo, randori is full resistance from both players)

nagoyajoe
03-13-2008, 06:52 AM
280 years ago Jonathan Swift said that good writing is, essentially, "Proper words in proper places." I think resistance in aikido is much the same: proper resistance in the proper places. The actual point of resistance must be logical. Resisting just to resist is meaningless and no one benefits, improves or grows. When uke knows where/how to resist, then nage learns where the gaps in their technique (mind) are and dedicates his/her future training to remove the impurities from their technique.

Just my 2 yen.

lbb
03-13-2008, 06:58 AM
Circus Ponies of Doom?

Your Circus Ponies will run like whipped puppies with tails 'tween their legs at the mere mountain echo of Greenoch's keening wail.

Thanks for the memories.

I was wondering if someone would get the reference :D

(and a tip o' the hat to Lauren Radner, original owner and trainer of the Circus Ponies of Doom)

Stefan Stenudd
03-13-2008, 07:14 AM
Tamura sensei is famous for being a very difficult uke to do aikido techniques on. He grabs your wrist, and suddenly not even ikkyo works for you.
I would say that it is because he has a very centered grip. If I am to lead him into an aikido technique, I have to accept his center and start from there. So, his formidable grip teaches me to find the aiki way.

That kind of resistance (if that is the word) is extremely helpful in developing one's aikido. I feel like a complete beginner when I try on him, and at the moment I get so frustrated that I try to solve the problem with force, he interrupts me and points it out to me.

But that is Tamura sensei. Anyone else trying to be as resistant is not sure to do it in a way that benefits improvement. So, I remain convinced that resistance should be used with moderation and thoughtfulness.

lbb
03-13-2008, 07:16 AM
I do not assume anything, I could careless what you have or have not done...as you are indifferent about my endeavors. Still, bad things happen to good people, real bad things happen to those who fool themselves with unrealistic practise. Sadly, I have seen children move and react better with active resistance training, than some adult kyu ranks that rely on shomenuchi ikkyo from tegatana, with a passive uke. Your remarks are evidence that you question your ability, otherwise you would had qualified your response as to why your training is effective. Instead, you choose to attack everyone that addresses you.

Mickey, we're really failing to communicate here. I think that there are several problems here, but I'll focus on two:

First: you apparently believe, based on your various remarks (including but not limited to those quoted above) that I believe that uke should be totally passive. I have never said that nor implied it, so let's just put that strawman to rest, shall we? Rather, I think that what you need to strive for is an appropriate level of resistance. What's an "appropriate level"? Well...that's all kind of situational, isn't it? If I'm training with a brand new newbie, they're going to have to stop partway through a technique to figure out what goes where, and if I "resist" in a way that prevents them from working their way through the technique and learning something, then I'm not a good practice partner. Likewise, if I'm training with someone who's recovering from an injury, and I "resist" in a way that's going to aggravate their injury, I'm not a good practice partner. OTOH, if I'm training with someone who's healthy and more advanced, that's not the time to go limp -- I know how frustrating that can be from the other side. The bottom line is that my resistance needs to be what's appropriate for my practice partner, because this is practice.

Second: you're failing to define some terms that really need to be defined. You talk about whether or not "[my] training is effective", but you don't answer the question, "Effective for what?" You're a law enforcement officer -- fine, perhaps your goal of training is to deal with violent armed attackers. Perhaps that's not my goal. Perhaps it's possible for me to be quite aware that these are fighting skills, and to try to train for proficiency in them, and yet to believe that I'm unlikely to ever need them for self-defense. My life isn't like that. I'm female, I spend a lot of time in cities, I ride public transit and go wherever I want to and whenever I want to. I've done so for years, and I've yet to encounter a situation that I couldn't deal with in a way other than fighting. You might claim that I'm lucky, and that's possibly true, but I don't feel particularly lucky -- just aware through experience of what dangers are there, and not inclined to invent ones that don't exist. If I were to end up in a fighting situation today, would I use aikido? Probably not -- I studied striking styles and weapons for a lot longer than I've studied aikido, and that's probably what would come out if I were put in a "deal with this attacker now" situation, but I have no way of knowing that until it happens. That doesn't mean my aikido training isn't effective. It's plenty effective for my life.

heathererandolph
03-13-2008, 08:59 AM
Focusing on your own training is important. If the nage wants more resistance, they can always ask for it. Since we do Aikido we can resist with a lot of "ki" energy. Also, it depends upon the technique. For certain techniques more resistance is called for. Resistance can definitely be overdone. Again, for the best results, I believe it is best to focus on your own learning not your partner's.

jennifer paige smith
03-13-2008, 09:24 AM
Perhaps an 'image' that might be helpful would be one relating to the 'independent' nature of uke. In one sense, or language choice, uke is water: a dripping faucet at first, a flowing faucet as we develop, a stream as we continue, and a river as we become more 'full' in our practice.
The river does not 'think' "I'll be resistant". It simply encounters the resistance of objects and moves accordingly; more strongly as the force gathers in one spot until the spot yields. Of course, we're developing our abilities as uke through out practice and learning to respond appropriately when we meet obstacles is part of that training. But to become solid minded, in a somewhat negative sense, can be a trap for the uke who is still learning how to flow forward in a natural, continuous and forceful way.
That's been my process.
Jen

DonMagee
03-13-2008, 02:04 PM
If you are not training in aikido to effectively be able to use it against a person who truly wants to hurt you, then is it a martial art?

lbb
03-13-2008, 02:28 PM
If you are not training in aikido to effectively be able to use it against a person who truly wants to hurt you, then is it a martial art?

That's a topic for a religious war. There are quite a few budo that really don't have modern applications -- kyudo or iaido, for example. Can you say that people who train in these styles are training to "effectively be able to use it against a person who truly wants to hurt" them, when their art has no modern application?

Fred Little
03-13-2008, 02:44 PM
There are quite a few budo that really don't have modern applications -- kyudo or iaido, for example. Can you say that people who train in these styles are training to "effectively be able to use it against a person who truly wants to hurt" them, when their art has no modern application?

Mary,

I would say "infrequent" modern application. I would say this because I once actually had a couple of knuckleheads try to mug me in mid-day about a block and a half away from from a martial arts supply store where I had just bought a bokken.

A published account appeared in Black Belt Magazine somewhere around 1987/1988.

Best,

Fred "somebody has to be the exception to the rule" Little

Aikibu
03-13-2008, 03:47 PM
If you are not training in aikido to effectively be able to use it against a person who truly wants to hurt you, then is it a martial art?

No it's not...and lets also not forget Aikido helps to "defend" you against the very person who will sometimes try hurt you the most...

Yourself.

William Hazen

edtang
03-13-2008, 05:57 PM
That's a topic for a religious war. There are quite a few budo that really don't have modern applications -- kyudo or iaido, for example. Can you say that people who train in these styles are training to "effectively be able to use it against a person who truly wants to hurt" them, when their art has no modern application?

There's certainly less hand wringing about it from those communities, that's for sure.

Kevin Leavitt
03-13-2008, 07:16 PM
if you fail to use whatever training effectively for whatever reason, does that mean that it is not a martial art???

There is a huge spectrum within the context of "conflict resolution".

Aikido philosophically, and I think literally focuses on the engagement that occurs way before anything overtly physical begins to be seen.

It is a skill that maybe not many understand, or maybe not many are able to effectively use....who knows.

I believe though that this aspect of martial training I have found most useful in my "martial career".

Read Book of Five Rings if you need a refresher or a clearer understanding of what martial is all about.

It is more than physical skills...much more than that.

DonMagee
03-14-2008, 07:30 AM
Well for the record, I do not really think any 'martial arts' practiced today are martial. I do not call myself a martial artist.

lbb
03-14-2008, 07:57 AM
There's certainly less hand wringing about it from those communities, that's for sure.

Yup -- that was kind of my point. People who train to use archaic weapons against other archaic weapons don't tend to fret themselves trying to justify the relevance of what they're doing -- or to be insecure about whether what they're doing is a "real martial art".

It's funny that arguments for real-ness tend to base themselves on modern applications and on lineage/heritage. Can you really have it both ways?

Erick Mead
03-14-2008, 09:47 AM
People who train to use archaic weapons against other archaic weapons don't tend to fret themselves trying to justify the relevance of what they're doing -- or to be insecure about whether what they're doing is a "real martial art".

It's funny that arguments for real-ness tend to base themselves on modern applications and on lineage/heritage. Can you really have it both ways?Maybe I should test for red sash rank in Von Steuben-ryu teppo-jutsu, which focuses on the close order musket drill-kata. Or the cannon kata.

Or is that just too obscure a ryu-ha for small-arms and artillery?

http://www.nps.gov/vafo/historyculture/upload/Musket%20drill.pdf

Aikibu
03-14-2008, 09:55 AM
Yup -- that was kind of my point. People who train to use archaic weapons against other archaic weapons don't tend to fret themselves trying to justify the relevance of what they're doing -- or to be insecure about whether what they're doing is a "real martial art".

It's funny that arguments for real-ness tend to base themselves on modern applications and on lineage/heritage. Can you really have it both ways?

I sense your frustration and I used to share it...Folks forget the history of the Martial Arts as a path of "self improvement" goes back just as far as a "skillfull means" for fighting/combat...I harmonized with my own frustration by understanding that any Martial Practice be it Naginata, Tai Chi, or Military Combatives for that matter has the capacity to develop and build Martial Awareness in the person practicing it.

When I was young that was a real need for me to know how to kick butt in the most effective manner possible and when I reached my personel plateau many years ago in this regard I suffered greatly...Why... because was that it? Kick Butt or get your Butt kicked? I had my O'Sensei moment if you will... It was either time to go deeper or stand around with the rest of the "vets" telling stories about the good old days and occasionly picking on some youngster to make me feel good...

Not the kind of character I wished for myself...A serious case of Blackbelt disease...I did allot of studying...went to allot of Dojo's...trained with allot of folks...Until I found what I was looking for...A real (for me anyway) path that I could follow to help me reconcile my Irish Temper with my Big Spirit...

Now as a fat old man I am pretty fooking happy with the results...

I got over being frustrated by wishing that everyone find what it is thier looking for with thier Martial Practice and volunteering to help them if I can...:)

William Hazen

jennifer paige smith
03-14-2008, 10:14 AM
If you are not training in aikido to effectively be able to use it against a person who truly wants to hurt you, then is it a martial art?

I don't believe that 90% of the people who I have trained with, and many under, are effective 'martial artists' in some jean claude van damme sorta way. Having said that, what emerged from my practice when I was under attack was extremely effective. I am certain that focused and continuos training build skills that we might not even be aware of and it also stands to say that I was quite a scrapper before aikido but aikido gave me a whole different approach and solution set. And it works!
I remember, and still practice, accepting training with anyone in the dojo;especially people who 'scared' me or who I had an 'issue' with. I just put it out of my mind and trained. I think that is the single skill tat has helped in emergency moments. Acceptance of certain degrees of intensity

edtang
03-14-2008, 10:31 AM
Yup -- that was kind of my point. People who train to use archaic weapons against other archaic weapons don't tend to fret themselves trying to justify the relevance of what they're doing -- or to be insecure about whether what they're doing is a "real martial art".

Aikido's far more exposed than those other arts, so it's going to attract more attention. But there are too many Aikidoka IMO who are way too insecure, defensive, or incomprehensibly condescending when it comes to discussions about what they're doing. Nor can some honestly understand or articulate why they're doing what they're doing. And then they get into arguments trying to hit a target that can be completely different from person to person.

Not very aiki, if you ask me. And the community earnestly wonders why Aikido is disliked by some?

As I started dabbling in other martial arts from Aikido, I had no probably identifying myself as someone who trained Aikido before coming to the new dojo (and someone who may unapologetically go back someday).

Each time I clearly articulated why I did and what I got out of it without any sort of apology, pretense or superiority complex, and got nothing but positive energy out of it, even from the young, seemingly aggressive, tattooed male UFC fans in their 20s training MMA or Jiu Jitsu that some Aikidoka look down on.

I remember an earnest discussion after one session at a very rough and tumble old school Judo dojo here in Seattle about Aikido that didn't turn at all into an "Aikido sucks" discussion because I didn't get defensive and attempt to impose Aikido's context or intent onto what those guys were training. My new wrestling coach, who taught me the sudden and some would say violently sudden movements of single and double leg takedowns, told me he admired how elegant and smooth Aikido looked.

It's funny that arguments for real-ness tend to base themselves on modern applications and on lineage/heritage. Can you really have it both ways?

Quite frankly, yes, depending on what you mean by lineage or application. And if you are earnestly talking about optimal martial arts in that exact context, Aikido wouldn't be on the top of many people's lists for very pragmatic, unbiased reasons.

And you know what? That's okay.

(cue the circular "but they don't understand what we're doing..." arguments......)

Ron Tisdale
03-14-2008, 12:25 PM
Hi Ed,

Perfectly reasonable post. I have no issues with it.

Best,
Ron

Marc Abrams
03-14-2008, 03:24 PM
William:

The more I read your posts, the more I respect your opinions (which reflect the person) :D . The "resistance" that I seem to read about in many of these posts seem to reflect people's own personal insecurities, which are then expressed in their Aikido practice. I, like you, use my budo training to polish my spirit and make me a better person (although many would argue that point!). As to my Aikido, I am comfortable with what I can and cannot do. I train diligently to make me a better person and make my expression of My Aikido better. Hopefully, my teachers, training partners, and students will agree with that assessment.

Happy St. Pat.'s!

Marc Abrams

dps
03-15-2008, 04:24 AM
That's a topic for a religious war. There are quite a few budo that really don't have modern applications -- kyudo or iaido, for example. Can you say that people who train in these styles are training to "effectively be able to use it against a person who truly wants to hurt" them, when their art has no modern application?

Modern application does not have to be a criteria for study. Sincere and dedicated practice of what the art is about does not have to have modern application to study it. There are other reasons.

From the 'Aikido is useless without Atemi' thread,

..... OTOH, I'm of the belief that you can find some amazing stuff in the sincere and dedicated practice of just about anything. It's just that it comes from the inside, in response to the practice -- it isn't taught by the practice, but it's maybe brought out by the practice.

If what you study does have a modern application then why not be prepared to use it?

David

lbb
03-17-2008, 06:11 AM
If what you study does have a modern application then why not be prepared to use it?

Where did I say anything against being prepared to use it? The point is that I don't think many of us would say that "martial arts" are restricted only to those arts that have obvious, pragmatic applications for the average practitioner.

Aikibu
03-17-2008, 09:56 AM
William:

The more I read your posts, the more I respect your opinions (which reflect the person) :D . The "resistance" that I seem to read about in many of these posts seem to reflect people's own personal insecurities, which are then expressed in their Aikido practice. I, like you, use my budo training to polish my spirit and make me a better person (although many would argue that point!). As to my Aikido, I am comfortable with what I can and cannot do. I train diligently to make me a better person and make my expression of My Aikido better. Hopefully, my teachers, training partners, and students will agree with that assessment.

Happy St. Pat.'s!

Marc Abrams

And a Happy Saint Pat's to you Boyo! :)

You hit the nail on the head Marc. :)

William Hazen

Josh Reyer
03-17-2008, 06:35 PM
There's certainly less hand wringing about it from those communities, that's for sure.

Oh, I dunno. When I read this massive thread (http://e-budo.com/forum/showthread.php?t=18536) on E-Budo.com, I definitely felt some "familiarity pangs" as an aikidoist. And this is simply the biggest. There are other threads, of signficant size, on the same subject. Certainly, no iaidoka feels he has to justify himself to mixed martial artists, but when someone from a kenjutsu school says iaido is impractical and combat-ineffective, things can get a little heated.

(Re: that thread. You have to separate the wheat from the chaff, but there is some absolutely awesome writing by Ellis Amdur in there, if you care to look for it.)

Similarly, there does seem (from the outside) to be some tension in the kyudo community between "practicality" and "spirituality", to the degree that, believe it or not, whether or not it's important to hit the target is actually a subject of discussion.