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saha
03-15-2008, 01:04 PM
Are the falls in Aikido acted or real? I mean is the attacker forced to fall by action of the attacked or he falls out of his own will?

Kevin Leavitt
03-15-2008, 01:46 PM
Good Uke will not fall as much as they will keep their balance and try and get back center/balance...that is, get ahead of the "curve" again. Failing to do so, they will go down to the mat in a controlled and balanced manner, always looking for the hole or gap in nage's structure. Failing that, they will tap once all remaining motion has stopped and it is evident that uke can no longer influence the situation.

I don't like the term falling as it barks of "spontaneous and random loss of control".

Ukemi is not about falling to me. Ukemi is about being on the yang side of the equation, but your response should be no different than nage....you never fall done correctly, IMO.

Pkoi
03-15-2008, 03:22 PM
This depends heavily on which phase of practice we're talking. Let's call the person that attacks X, the person that throws Y, and just for simplicity they'll be male.

To learn a throw, X must allow himself to be thrown by Y. There is no martial art that I am aware of where X can be fully resistive at this learning phase. If X is resistant at this phase, it is impossible for Y to learn the throw, pin, or whatever movement. Especially if X is more experienced, which is probably the case if Y is still in the learning phase, then it is much too easy for X to simply block, evade, or completely reverse a technique. Y cannot learn when he is never successful.

On the other hand, in the testing phase, X must not allow himself to be thrown. In fact, this is detrimental to practice as now Y cannot test his acquired skills against anything if X is compliant. At this point now the reverse is true from the learning phase: if X falls too easily, allows large openings, etc, then Y will not be able to truly test his own technique. Y cannot test his technique if he has nothing to test it against.

There are gradations in resistance X should give that correspond to where in the learning spectrum both X and Y are at, from full compliance to full antagonism. I've only listed two phases above, but of course one can easily see that there are different kinds of resistance: X can flow easily and disallow their center from being taken, or X could lock up and use muscle strength to disallow a technique, and so on. Just as there are various ways to resist, there are also various ways to learn and practice. This is true of many martial arts, and is certainly not unique to Aikido.

Cephallus
03-15-2008, 03:48 PM
I'll chime in from the perspective of a newcomer to aikido...

One of the reasons I 'found' aikido this year is because of an article I read probably 20 years ago in a motorcycle magazine, about a rider who'd survived a crash that should have resulted in death or severe injury because of the falling skills he'd learned from studying aikido. So a major draw to this particular martial art for me is that it is totally balanced, as one learns not only to effectively throw/disable an attacker, but also to protect oneself from injury in being thrown...and then beyond that, to regain one's center in order to be ready and balanced again after the sequence for the next action. In other words, ukemi is not just flopping on the floor in response to nage's technique; it's the appropriate reaction to nage's action...just like nage's reaction was the appropriate reactino to uke's initial attack. I hope that makes sense?

As uke, I could resist nage's technique...but is that always appropriate? If I resist and have my shoulder dislocated, or try to reverse and open myself up for a strike, is that a wise response? Or is understanding the technique and performing effective ukemi, allowing my energy to be redirected so that I can safely roll onto back onto my feet, in control of my center, and facing nage again from a safe distance the appropriate response? At least this is as I understand ukemi at this point in my training...

Amir Krause
03-16-2008, 06:20 AM
Are the falls in Aikido acted or real? I mean is the attacker forced to fall by action of the attacked or he falls out of his own will?

The above answers were great. So I just wish to add one minor point - the answer to your question is situation dependent:
Kevin described a very expeiranced Uke (technique recipiant). If Uke is much less expireinced then Tori (the technique excutioner) and Tori is any good and so wishes, Uke will fall and\or suffer some injury (see Cephallus answer).

Pkoi explained the learning process reason, and the reason an experianced Uke will let a less experianced Tori throw him.

Amir

RoyK
03-16-2008, 08:23 AM
The funny thing is that while most people outside of Aikido think that the uke falls on purpose, the reality of training as far as I've encountered it in my several years of Aikido, is that people are more prone to resist than to flow.

Either way, in my dojo it is considered equally bad ukemi to be as resistive as possible, or to fake an attack and fake a fall (unless required by training in both cases).

Kevin Leavitt
03-16-2008, 08:48 AM
Amir brings up a good point. I did describe (more or less) what proper or experienced ukemi should be. This is what we should be shooting for in doing ukemi IMO.

Anyway, it is not about resistance as Roy points out.

If I am more experienced at ukemi than nage, then I don't take advantage of nage by offering him no opennings, gaps, or the ability to train. I also do not disconnect from the flow and "dive", "tank", or fall into ukemi.

What I do is to present the proper and appropriate response to nage, when he hits a problem, is doing the wrong thing, or is no longer affecting the stituation, I open it up a little and hope that he sees it and we can then start moving again.

I think one thing that is bad is to lose sight of this and simply "take ukemi". If we never present nage with appropriate and good ukemi, how will they ever learn?

That said, I agree, many will add resistance, erring on that side of the equation, which is NOT appropriate or necessarily better than flowing. Flowing to me is different than falling though! Many, I think translate flowing as falling, and resistance as the opposite of falling??? They define resistance as success maybe??

I hate to bring up BJJ, but that is where I really learned that resistance is not good tactically. If you resist in BJJ, your opponent will move on to something else and use that resistance as a focus point to exploit you! It really gets driven home in BJJ!

So, anytime I hit a point of resistance, or I feel myself going there, I think readjust and get balance and posture, and move to a better place!

Good discussion.

Amir Krause
03-16-2008, 09:57 AM
I hate to bring up BJJ, but that is where I really learned that resistance is not good tactically. If you resist in BJJ, your opponent will move on to something else and use that resistance as a focus point to exploit you! It really gets driven home in BJJ!

So, anytime I hit a point of resistance, or I feel myself going there, I think readjust and get balance and posture, and move to a better place!

Good discussion.

Well, I guess I was lucky in my teacher selection. My teacher says the same things, while teaching Aikido. He keeps urging us to learn to from being Uke, not to be rigid nor weak,rather to flow with good Ukemi, and use it to learn of the others openings, so we would be able to do Keashi waza easily.

Perhaps it has to do with us learning Korindo Aikido rather then Ueshiba, though I doubt it. Perhaps it has to do with my teachers vast experiance in Judo and Karate too. And maybe, it has to do with the Israeli beginer student mentality, who have to test everything and are sure it is not working until they find out "resistence is futile" ;)

Amir

Kevin Leavitt
03-16-2008, 01:38 PM
In my case, it wasn't that my Aikido teacher's were teaching wrong, it is that I failed as the student to listen very well!

I am of the personality as well that requires me to test everything. BJJ offered me a good model to really learn to accept that what my aikido instructors were/are teaching is correct...I just need to listen!

Lyle Bogin
03-16-2008, 01:50 PM
There are all kids of ways to meander and grapple as uke, but I think in the end aikido is a fixed game. Uke ultimately, after considering all of the things mentioned above, must consent to be thrown or else the reciprocal practice of aikido becomes impossible.

It's not IF uke falls, but HOW uke falls that is important to me.

Kevin Leavitt
03-16-2008, 03:02 PM
Lyle,

I understand and agree with you.

The fixed game mentality does present a paradox, especially for the beginner.

One might interpret this as "it doesn't really matter what I do, as I am going to lose anyway". Very extreme, yes, but we do see this in aikido quite a bit I think.

Sort of follows the whole path of "predestination" as seen throughout philosophy and religion.

It is important during ukemi to remember that it is the journey and not the endstate (Uke losing) that is important.

As you state, it is not IF, but HOW.

There is much that goes on in between the point of execution and contact, and cessation of motion!

I think we tend to lose sight of this some times!

Marc Abrams
03-16-2008, 04:02 PM
Taking ukemi is a wonderful opportunity to learn. At it's most basic level, we are learning how to conform to forces that our body is experiencing in order to learn to land safely. This is critical to our longevity and body integrity. In reality, we are relearning instinctual actions in which we naturally soften when falling. At a second level, which Kevin alluded to, we can learn to re-orient our body by staying connected to the nage and the movements and forces that we are experiencing in order to escape from a technique. This can occur by adjusting our bodies so that our joints do not lock-up and/or reposition ourselves so that the nage is not occupying the space we need to remain standing (thereby having to fall- ukemi). At the highest level, we can learn how to use to nage's movements to execute techniques on our own.

If we simply fall for sake of falling, we cannot learn. If we simply try and "resist" the technique, we cannot learn as well. We can help the nage learn to execute proper techniques while we can learn from taking ukemi.

Marc Abrams

Mattias Bengtsson
03-16-2008, 07:42 PM
I think of good resistance and ukemi as trying to push down a brick wall.

"bad" Ukemi in this case would be if the brick wall was just made of stacked bricks. A slight push would cause the wall to crumble. "Acted falls" would fall in this category, but so is beginners (When ever I'm up against such a Uke, i try to perform the as relaxed and effortlessly using absolute zero strength.)

Better Uke (for me) would be a solid wall, but with a few loose stones.
If i perform the technique wrong, im pushing the wrong bricks and the wall wont budge. But doing it correct means I've found those loose stones, knocking them down and allowing me to pass through the wall by the hole made by the loose bricks and exit at the other side. For me this is a "real fall"

ramenboy
03-17-2008, 10:27 AM
Are the falls in Aikido acted or real? I mean is the attacker forced to fall by action of the attacked or he falls out of his own will?

let your instructor apply nikkyo to you. then ask yourself if your fall is 'acted or real.'

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2008, 10:37 AM
Both. Depends on circumstance.

Best,
Ron

MM
03-17-2008, 10:58 AM
It's all fake.

:D Bet that got some attention.

Seriously, just take a brand new person who has never done aikido before and try irimi nage. Do they fall the same way that 5+ year students fall?

For most of aikido, there is a training paradigm where one learns specific ways to fall and roll. For training purposes, falling and rolling are, in effect, acted. There are various other ways to contort or move the body where you won't get those nice rolls and breakfalls. (Which, of course, means one other option is getting broken. Another option is kaeshi waza. Etc, etc.)

So, the question is really too general to ever cover any of the good info. More to the point is Why do people roll or fall the way they do in aikido? What are the causes? Historically, why do aikido people roll/fall that way? Are they taking advantage of the only "out" available or are they forced into it? Too much power forcing a redirect or just "synergizing" with nage?

As for nikkyo ... bah, unless you've got some internal structure (see other threads) going, nikkyo isn't really that hard to stop.

Demetrio Cereijo
03-17-2008, 11:21 AM
As for nikkyo ... bah, unless you've got some internal structure (see other threads) going, nikkyo isn't really that hard to stop.

Or counter:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgGPNFmV5sU
:)

mathewjgano
03-17-2008, 01:10 PM
Are the falls in Aikido acted or real? I mean is the attacker forced to fall by action of the attacked or he falls out of his own will?

I think the premise is that ukemi refers to moving because you have to; not necessarily because you're made to...if that makes any sense. "Falling" isn't a bad thing. It's just different and in some cases might simply be the best option. Good ukemi as I understand it means we're maintaining a consistant effort based upon the skills of our partners and ourselves. Sometimes this means letting a person knock you over so they know what it's like to extend completely through the technique; sometimes it means only moving if they've really got control over your center.
One thing that has really been brought to my attention lately is the level of talking that goes on at my dojo. Not everyone likes to be corrected; some I'm sure prefer to go at their own pace, but almost all the experienced students give tons of feedback on what they're perceiving in the movements being practiced. Of course it needs to be balanced with practice itelf so we can move without the prompts, but I think communication helps keep things honest.
We also get a lot of open mat time where we can be more free flowing, which also helps tremendously on keeping ukemi more spontaneous and genuine and less contrived (eg-what happens if they don't let go at the end of a throw?).
As a side note, i think the graduated randori system of Shodokan does a great job of providing this kind of spontaneity.

ramenboy
03-17-2008, 02:38 PM
As for nikkyo ... bah, unless you've got some internal structure (see other threads) going, nikkyo isn't really that hard to stop.

aaah, but if you take that same brand new student vs 5+ year student... that's where the original question comes from

:)

Ron Tisdale
03-17-2008, 03:11 PM
Heh...one option is to take a district or state level high school wrestler, say 150 pounds or so, and see if the waza have the same affect on him. :D

Best,
Ron (sometimes yes, often no)

ramenboy
03-17-2008, 03:45 PM
ha! touché :freaky:

saha
03-17-2008, 04:33 PM
I dont understand how an "acted" fall can help you learn. If the purpose is to fell an opponent, how will you learn if he falls by himself? Aikido is a martial art, not a dance or partnership.

ramenboy
03-17-2008, 04:49 PM
I dont understand how an "acted" fall can help you learn. If the purpose is to fell an opponent, how will you learn if he falls by himself? Aikido is a martial art, not a dance or partnership.

if your partner didn't know how to fall correctly, you wouldn't have anyone to practice with. if you don't learn how to fall correctly, you wouldn't be practicing long because you'd be injured. ukemi is not 'acted falling' it is learning to protect your body. it is learning to receive the technique with your body so you don't get hurt. 'uke' means 'receive' in japanese.

if your teacher didn't learn to fall correctly, he wouldn' be there to teach you. do you have a teacher yet?

Cephallus
03-17-2008, 04:55 PM
Has anyone looked up Manos Saha's previous 8 posts?

mathewjgano
03-17-2008, 05:09 PM
I dont understand how an "acted" fall can help you learn. If the purpose is to fell an opponent, how will you learn if he falls by himself? Aikido is a martial art, not a dance or partnership.

You're right, if uke is falling entirely by himself, nage can't learn. That is why uke must apply a sincere effort. How much effort uke applies is based on the ability of both. Someone with no experience throwing whatsoever will usually have a hard time learning how to throw me if I don't adjust the power of my attack...in other words, I let them throw me, but they are still doing the throwing.
And many people would disagree that Aikido doesn't involve a partnership. :ai: :ki: at its broadest level means to connect with the energy around us purposefully. Whether it's a fist coming at your face or a partner stepping toward you in swing dancing, the question is the same: how shall i move with it so I can maintain my rhythm unbroken?

mathewjgano
03-17-2008, 05:11 PM
Has anyone looked up Manos Saha's previous 8 posts?

Nope...why do I get the feeling I know why i should have, and without looking? :D
meh...at the least I get to practice forming and expressing thoughts. C'est la cyber vie...

Dunken Francis
03-17-2008, 05:20 PM
Ukemi literally means "receiving through the body". If uke is doing anything other than that, then the fall is 'fake'.

seank
03-17-2008, 08:24 PM
Are the falls in Aikido acted or real? I mean is the attacker forced to fall by action of the attacked or he falls out of his own will?

Sorry to ask the obvious question, but is this antithetical to most Aikido principles?

I'm being pedantic of course, but I like to think that ukemi is essentially falling and trying to catch up. I give something to my nage who accepts my attack and does something with it to make me overextend, try to catchup and then fall.

Some of the best ukemi I've experienced is focussing on punching, kicking or grabbing to find nage has moved and trying to catch them again, only to land on my back.

I've seen, and embarassingly been guilty of, falling with no input from nage and it really does take away from nage's ability to learn as others have suggested.

I also watched an excellent example of ukemi last week were sensei took a relatively new student downward into kaiten nage, the student planted their feet because they didn't feel confident in rolling from the position, then sensei swept his legs out from underneath him, completing an excellent technique. The student in question got up smiling and laughing at his ukemi and how he had no choice but to go where he was led, but that he was able to sincerely "receive" the technique.

Ron Tisdale
03-18-2008, 08:21 AM
Yeah, I knew who was posting when I saw the name.

:D

R

ramenboy
03-18-2008, 10:06 AM
Yeah, I knew who was posting when I saw the name.

:D

R

+1

hence my question to him in my 4th post...

Bronson
03-18-2008, 02:48 PM
I dont understand how an "acted" fall can help you learn. If the purpose is to fell an opponent, how will you learn if he falls by himself? Aikido is a martial art, not a dance or partnership.

You seem to have all the answers to your own questions already, so I guess you don't need us anymore. You knowledge of aikido has officially surpassed the collected wisdom and experience of everyone on AikiWeb.

Go forth and be prosperous.

Or at least just go.

Bronson

Kevin Leavitt
03-18-2008, 06:08 PM
Sean wrote:

[QUOTESome of the best ukemi I've experienced is focussing on punching, kicking or grabbing to find nage has moved and trying to catch them again, only to land on my back.[/QUOTE]

What makes you fall though?

The fact that you attacked, he wasn't there, and you are off balance of your own accord?

OR,

the fact that you attacked, he moved, and then influenced you to a position of disadvantage?

seank
03-19-2008, 04:53 AM
Sean wrote:

What makes you fall though?

The fact that you attacked, he wasn't there, and you are off balance of your own accord?

OR,

the fact that you attacked, he moved, and then influenced you to a position of disadvantage?

A little from column A, but mostly column B. I can attack and lose balance by trying to over-correct, but more often it is when nage moves and influences my balance. The falling aspect normally occurs with nage adds something to my momentum.

This also depends on the type of attack. If I am attacking in an stylised fashion I'm more likely to overbalance myself, whereas when I attack as I have been taught over many years in Kyokushin, it requires nage to change the equation.

I would attest this to an idea of one attack in the stylised form as opposed to gearing up for multiple attacks as I would normally have done in Kyokushin (a punch followed multiple elbow strikes, or kicks, etc.). I have to carefully position myself with an acute sense of balance if I want to string together multiple attacks, but be flexible enough to change attack to account for range, direction, etc.

mickeygelum
03-19-2008, 08:34 AM
They are all fake....No, really, they are....:p

Mark Mueller
03-19-2008, 10:32 AM
Someone wrote an article way back (I think it was Wendy Whited and George Bevins) about their perceived 3 levels of ukemi:

1) Learning to fall safely
2) being comfortable enough in your ukemi to notice, feel, and learn subtleties in Nage's technique
3) Ukemi that actively searches for the "chink" in Nage's techniques that allows them to take control or escape

I have also found ukemi an interesting exercise to condition my body and nervous system for unified "Whole body" reaction to an outside stimulus (such as an attack).

Michael Godawski
03-26-2008, 09:31 AM
I read somewhere that your understanding of executing a technique and the quality of your technique in aikido follows your understanding and the quality of your ukemi.

so you really only "know" a technique if you also know the other side of it. the side of the receiver of the energy.

if aikido falls are acted? no way.

during my training session the appropriate ukemi is stressed very much. do not fall by yourself. allow yourself to experience your limits and when you reached them then execute the ukemi.

I think that is the whole point of ukemi.
Going to the limits and standing up sound and safe to go one step further.

Scott Harrington
03-30-2008, 09:13 PM
The ukemi "issue" always amazes me. Are they taking falls when they shouldn't, should I resist to "make it real" (but of course if you make it real then they say you are too rough and didn't blend with them) and so on. So, here it is in a nutshell.

Can an Aikido technique damage or kill a person? If no, then ukemi is superfluous, if it can, then prudence says take ukemi whenever in doubt.

Now, I have been hurt in the dojo (hell, I got hurt trying to protect an uke not doing ukemi) so I am predisposed to take a fall when I feel the pain / damage threshold is approached.

But there is always those that say, "Come on, it looks too pretty, they're giving it away."

So, doing an Albert Einstein thought experiment, you are in the middle of a field, there is a small berm in front of you, I stand 50 feet away with an AK-47 and several clips of LIVE ammo. I begin to fire from the hip.

Now, you can stand still and get killed, use your ki to stop the bullets (I think the first two produce the same results unless you see this light beam first ala Ueshiba) or duck down behind the berm and get as close to that ground as you can.

If you choose the berm defense, you, like some brave American soldiers seeing combat today (and not participating in an experiment), might survive. After awhile those combat vets can do it in their sleep (have a great story told by a friend camping with a Vietnam Vet who started rolling to avoid a drunk driver pulling into their spot, yelling "Tanks" all the while in his sleeping bag - he avoided the car, then woke up. He was pi$$ed.)

We stop this experiment, you stand and we have a go at it again. You see that I tend to shoot high, so you work on the dive, you see me shoot left, you go to the other direction with a dip. The conclusion is to take ukemi at the right time and the right way.

Now, if I as the shooter, say to you, I'm going to shoot right, notice how I correct my aim, you can learn to dodge the other way. And when you see me stop to change clips you can make it to the berm closer (or farther) away. But you still do the five D's (dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge) to survive.

Now, we change the experiment and I use a smurf gun. You get hit occasionally and laugh about it, sometimes you dodge, sometimes you duck, and sometimes you say "You didn't do that right," even though the ball hit you.

Is that ukemi? Is Aikido deadly?

I think the true secret of Aikido is intent - but to get to that teaching, do ukemi , with intent, alot.

Scott Harrington
co-author of "Aiki Toolbox: Exploring the Magic of Aikido"

Bill Danosky
03-30-2008, 11:10 PM
Click here (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=503842333851424330&q=robert+mustard&total=48&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1) to witness some video of Robert Mustard Sensei's jiyu waza:

When I show that to people, they usually say they can tell "the guy" (uke) is going along with it. Typically, I'll say, "I've taken ukemi from Mustard Sensei. When he does a technique, you're going for the ride in any case. I go along with it because I prefer doing it the easy way."

dps
03-31-2008, 12:44 AM
They are all fake....No, really, they are....:p
The fall might be fake but hitting the mat is real.:)

David

dalen7
04-03-2008, 01:10 AM
Are the falls in Aikido acted or real? I mean is the attacker forced to fall by action of the attacked or he falls out of his own will?

Well they are acted, but it doesnt mean its not real.

If you dont go with the flow, you will get your wrist or something else put out of joint...like your elbow smashed in the wrong direction.

Trust me, especially with new guys who are rougher trying the techniques on you...if your resist...you get hurt.

So falling is self defense really.
Part of getting hurt is resisting...so part of self defense is learning how to flow.

Peace

dAlen

Cephallus
04-03-2008, 10:27 AM
Ideally, it shouldn't matter if you resist as uke, right? O Sensei said that one of the times in his life when he failed as a martial artist was when his uke resisted and was injured during a technique. After which he pledged to himself to refine his technique, because nobody should be injured while training in Aikido, no matter how they resist.

Ron Tisdale
04-03-2008, 02:00 PM
Hi Aaron,
Do you have a source for that?
Thanks, and Best,
Ron

Bill Danosky
04-04-2008, 12:03 AM
Toward the end of long sessions I sometimes hear that if you don't want to take a breakfall, just do a walkaway.

I always think (to myself, of course) "If you can do a walkaway, it's not a throw."

Cephallus
04-04-2008, 01:52 AM
Hi Aaron,
Do you have a source for that?
Thanks, and Best,
Ron

Hi Ron,

Sure...from the the recently-published "The Secret Teachings of Aikido" (Kodansha International).

P119:

Sometimes my students ask me, "Have you always been undefeated?" I reply, "No, I have experienced failure many times due to inattention and improper attitude."

[some content edited]

On another occasion, I was conducting a seminar at a police academy one day when I injured one of the participants who was resisting fiercely. This may have taught him a lesson (not to challenge an instructor), according to the old way of thinking, but I resolved thereafter to refine my technique to allow any partner of mine to escape injury, since no one should get hurt while practicing Aikido.

roadster
04-04-2008, 04:32 AM
Click here (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=503842333851424330&q=robert+mustard&total=48&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1) to witness some video of Robert Mustard Sensei's jiyu waza:

When I show that to people, they usually say they can tell "the guy" (uke) is going along with it. Typically, I'll say, "I've taken ukemi from Mustard Sensei. When he does a technique, you're going for the ride in any case. I go along with it because I prefer doing it the easy way."

That's scary. I'm not an advanced student and I can tell right away that if I was not a good uke or knew how to properly take ukemi then my wrist as well as a few other things would have been broken had I resisted Robert Mustard Sensei's technique.

Especially when I see flying ukemi or hard breakfalls, that's my kyu ;) to slow down go where nage takes me.

Rupert Atkinson
04-04-2008, 04:41 AM
Heh...one option is to take a district or state level high school wrestler, say 150 pounds or so, and see if the waza have the same affect on him. :D
Ron

I am now joint manager of our high school wrestling team. I'll give it a go.

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 12:17 PM
Thanks Aaron! I don't have that one yet I don't think.

Best,
Ron

John Matsushima
04-04-2008, 12:19 PM
It seems to be a paradox to say that one can maintain control when one's balance is lost. If one actively takes ukemi, then is one's control ever trully lost? If one has control to take ukemi, then doesn't he also still have the control to strike or counter instead? If one trully loses control and balance, then one cannot do ukemi.

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 12:20 PM
That's scary. I'm not an advanced student and I can tell right away that if I was not a good uke or knew how to properly take ukemi then my wrist as well as a few other things would have been broken had I resisted Robert Mustard Sensei's technique.

Especially when I see flying ukemi or hard breakfalls, that's my kyu ;) to slow down go where nage takes me.

When Mustard Sensei came to our school, he gave one demo with a newbie (I think he was 8th or 7th kyu or something) and did this fantastic waza with him. He basically led him through the ukemi high speed, then turned around and took ukemi for the student, leading him the the waza. Still powerfull, still good speed, nobody hurt. One of my favorite times seeing him do waza.

I think he would take at least as good care with you. He is a real gentleman.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 12:27 PM
Hi John,

It seems to me there are varying degrees of this;

Someone may have a joint lock, but I have my balance. I can get something torqued, I can muscle out of it, I can flow with it and reverse, I can flow with it and take ukemi.

Someone may have my balance extended so that I am tippy, then apply some control through a joint lock. Same choices.

Someone may also float me so that I am powerless, or sink me so that I am rooted and can't move, then do what ever. I am proabably getting thrown at that point. My body may react the way it's been trained...which is to take ukemi. But it won't be a choice I make if they do this at speed. It will happen, or not.

It seems matters of degrees between all of these exist...and where I am in the spectrum differs from partner to partner, and with the same partner, often moment to moment in training.

Best,
Ron

SentWest
04-04-2008, 12:53 PM
Seriously, just take a brand new person who has never done aikido before and try irimi nage. Do they fall the same way that 5+ year students fall?

Heh, hey, I resemble that remark. I did irimi nage last night for the first time. Fun stuff.

Good point though, even as a beginner who might be able to pull off an armless forward roll (sorry, forgot the term) maybe one out of five times, I greatly appreciate the necessity of acting, since "real" falling is not entirely pleasant.

I'm heading for the floor regardless, so in that sense it is always a "real" fall. Of course, I much prefer to "act" in my own protection and avoid breaking my momentum with an unsightly collision of mat and face.

Just my beginner's perspective. :p

John Matsushima
04-04-2008, 12:54 PM
Hello Ron,

Well, what do you do when you are nage in the same position? You have someone in a joint lock, and you can either torque down on them, let them muscle out, or wait for them to ukemi out, and they don't go into ukemi, what do you do?

If the uke has the means and control to attack then what is to stop him from doing so? If someone can muscle out of your technique, then why take a fall?

For me, when I know someone is taking a fall for me at any level, it tells me I need to sharpen my technique. I think it is important, to be technically effective to know if the uke fell under the weight of his own sword, of mine, or if it was simply an escape.

I agree with what you said on one point, though, in that the way your body reacts won't be a choice at the point of being thrown; but I think it not only depends on the way you have been trained but also on the way that nage executes the technique.

mickeygelum
04-04-2008, 02:40 PM
I think it is important, to be technically effective to know if the uke fell under the weight of his own sword, of mine, or if it was simply an escape.

John Matsushima

I will concur with your thought, though, do you not practice Kaeshiwaza while being thrown? I am of the opinion, and practice, that being thrown can morph into a proactive counter, do you agree?

Train well,

Mickey

Cephallus
04-04-2008, 03:01 PM
It seems to be a paradox to say that one can maintain control when one's balance is lost.

I personally don't see that direct relationship between maintaining control and maintaining balance. I would say that *not* taking ukemi when one's balance is lost would result in the loss of control, as you would have very little to do with the way you fell or, more importantly, what your options are for recovering from the fall. Taking ukemi allows one to maintain control, even as balance is lost, creating the best options possible for recovery.

My athletic background is primarily hockey, but the principles are the same. A very simple play in hockey is the corner dump-in with a strong fore-check. The principle is that an attacker chips the puck into the corner, past the defending team, and then goes all out to try to get possession of it again. Typically what happens is the defensive player gets control of the puck first, but faces almost immediate pressure from the fore-checking attacker. The options are then:

1) Dish the puck, hope a teammate gets it. This option has no puck control.

2) Leave the puck, and try to play the attacking forward physically. This option has no puck control.

3) Control the puck. Realize that an attacking player, at full stride and with no other objective than to knock you off the puck, is about to crush you. You position the puck safely in your feet, put yourself in good proximity to the boards, use your arms against the glass as shock-absorbers, and let him crush you. But going with the flow of the play and absorbing the energy, you still have control of the puck, and now have infinitely more options available to either keep control of or move the puck.

Hopefully that's not too obscure a reference for an Aikido board, but it's exactly how I perceive ukemi: going with the flow of the play in order to give yourself the most effective options available.

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 03:12 PM
Hello Ron,

Well, what do you do when you are nage in the same position? You have someone in a joint lock, and you can either torque down on them, let them muscle out, or wait for them to ukemi out, and they don't go into ukemi, what do you do?

It depends on the uke. Some people I stop, and explain what's going on, and when they need to be ready to take a fall.

Some people I'm good enough to float or lock into the ground...and throw them without hurting them.

Some people I'm not good enough yet, so I ask them to take care of themselves, while helping me get better.

Some people get hurt, very occationally, and I feel rotten. I try to avoid this one like the plague.

Partners that know each other don't have to say anything...they feel what is happening, and do what is appropriate, based on the relationship and the moment.

If the uke has the means and control to attack then what is to stop him from doing so? If someone can muscle out of your technique, then why take a fall?

Because of the un-written contract. It's keiko, not a death match. And personally, I love flying...so I take as much ukemi as my 46 year old body can stand. :D With partners who want more, I give them more...occationally they regret that and I scale back. :D Same thing happens to me...

For me, when I know someone is taking a fall for me at any level, it tells me I need to sharpen my technique. I think it is important, to be technically effective to know if the uke fell under the weight of his own sword, of mine, or if it was simply an escape.

Pretty much the same thing here...you know if you got that one, within limits, and you work harder on the ones you didn't get. Occationally I'll tell my partner I didn't get it, and they agree or not. that allows me to level set.

I agree with what you said on one point, though, in that the way your body reacts won't be a choice at the point of being thrown; but I think it not only depends on the way you have been trained but also on the way that nage executes the technique.

When it's right, It's like BINGO and you're on the floor. No choice. Your body is trained to take that or not.
Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
04-04-2008, 03:16 PM
Aaron, excellent post! I know d**k about hockey, but I understood that perfectly!

Best,
Ron

Kevin Leavitt
04-04-2008, 03:41 PM
I like the hockey "game theory". It shows you all the possible courses of action you can take to reach a desired endstate.

I think this is much of the problem when looking at budo through the eyes of martial technique.

We focus our endstate on personal growth and mastery a long term goal through daily practice.

It is hard sometimes to reconcile that long term goal with the "game" we are playing in the dojo.

In aikido I think many times we throw out courses of action because they result in a resolution that we may not want in the long run.

If it were all about winning or figuratively "controlling the puck" then we might do things slightly different when we attack or fall.

conversely, sometimes the "sport" mentality of winning or controlling the puck means we will also discount some options in favor of "game theory or high probability".

Anyway, enough from me...I like that hockey example!

Cephallus
04-04-2008, 09:35 PM
Ha, didn't mean to go so tangental...but I think you guys got what I was trying to explain with the hockey metaphor.

Hockey defenseman's option #1 was meant to parallel doing nothing as uke, option #2 is the same as resisting with active force, and option #3 is equal to taking ukemi.

Control of the puck in hockey is the fundamental principle, as any other steps toward your end goal (scoring more than your opponent) have to come from you controlling the puck first.

In Aikido, it's the harmonizing of energy that is the fundamental principle; the long term goals all come from aiki. You can purposefully not take ukemi and something will still happen, you can even vigorously resist nage and something will still happen. It's just that what happens might not bring you closer to your long term goals.

John Matsushima
04-05-2008, 10:56 AM
I will concur with your thought, though, do you not practice Kaeshiwaza while being thrown? I am of the opinion, and practice, that being thrown can morph into a proactive counter, do you agree?

Train well,

Mickey

Hello Mickey, I know it may be contrary to what many experts teach, but I believe that when a technique is done properly, kaeshiwaza cannot be done, nor can one choose to do ukemi. At the point of falling, all is lost; one's control, balance, and even yes, the hockey puck :rolleyes:

Having said that, I've been thinking that maybe we could say that ukemi is what occurs after one loses (kuzushii)? For example, when I attack in katate dori, I hold on to that hand all the way until gravity, physics and the influence of nage make me go in a direction which I had not intended, beyond the tipping point, "over the edge", so to speak. A master would make this moment coincide with the exact point of my initial attack (hence the saying of "the technique is finished at first touch") Now, at anytime BEFORE that point I can choose to withdraw my attack, which is perhaps what others are describing as "choosing to take ukemi". AFTER that point, depending on the kindness and favor of nage, I may be able to adjust my body to roll and make pretty ukemi. The reason is that once the dynamics of my attack have vanished, balance and control return. Is it necessary for me to adjust? I don't think so, not as long as nage is proficient, and in a good mood, else I'm in trouble! (been there, done that!).

To sum it up, I'd like to say that in my opinion, the falls are real, but what you see after that (the ukemi) is acted.