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StevieT
05-11-2009, 08:01 AM
Let me start off by saying that as Uke, I am probably more obstinate that a lot of people in my dojo. I'm not saying that I struggle and fight against Tori, but at the same time, I don't give my center away, Tori has to take it. Also, unless Tori asks for something different, I will always give a proper, full-force attack. I do this because I think both Uke and Tori learn more that way.

Anyway, about a month ago I was training with a girl who is a lot more experienced than I am (I've been training about 7 months, she's been Aikido for quite a few years). I forget exactly what technique we were doing, but the attack was a Yokomen and the first movement was a sweeping downwards "block". She was having a really off day. She was not really sweeping far enough to take me off balance and then in her second movement was standing me straight back up. Needless to say, the rest of the technique was not working. The large difference in experience meant I couldn't really help her with what was going wrong.

So she was getting frustrated and she started to get very "hitty". After a few minutes, the repeated impacts on my forearm and the inside of my elbow were really starting to hurt. At this point I only really had two options: weaken the attack and start falling easy or put up with the pain and keep going. I couldn't really tell her to use less force in the technique if I was going to continue to use full force in the attack and I couldn't really advise her on what was going wrong. Anyway, I chose the latter option, to just put up with the pain and keep going.

This was a mistake that cost me a couple of weeks of pain and about three weeks off training. Three days after the session, I got a real burning pain in my forearm: I think the impacts had bruised and inflamed the tendons in a nasty case of tendonitis. Not wanting this to turn into a case of chronic tendonitis, I rested the arm until it had fully healed, which took quite a while, not to mention a week waking up in the night with my arm on fire.

How would you deal with this situation? I know she didn't want to injure me (she's quite a good friend). I don't really want to become an "easy Uke" when training with her, since nobody learns anything that way and there is no point in training if nothing is being learned. Equally, I don't want the senior students to think I'm patronizing them (I'm still obviously very junior).

Kevin Leavitt
05-11-2009, 08:13 AM
Hi!

First paragraph: "I am obstinate." Stop being obstinate.

Second paragraph: "She has way more experience than me." Yield to her experience if this is true.

Third paragraph. "She was getting frustrated...and I am putting up with pain. I had two choices......so make the choice that does not cause you pain. Is she being effective if she is causing you pain?

I understand your concern about being honest and sincere.

It is a two way street. You also have to be honest and sincere to yourself. If she is causing you pain, then here aikido is possibly working and you are failing to recognize it. She may also have other options (most likely) and you are also failing to recognize that these are present in the relationship.

Pain is a big indicator to me that you have a problem. It means that you need to move to a position are use skills that do not cause pain.

Maybe let go a little bit and explore the relationship in such a way as to be more dyanmic, fluid, get ahead of the attack if you want to be honest and sincere and less obstinate and resistive as once you become hard and fixed you will typically either cause pain to yourself, or fail to recognize that tori can move to other things.

Good luck!

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 08:17 AM
Give her a break and soften/slow down your attack so that you both have a chance to learn something other than the obvious.

Then, when you both seem to have a handle on what is going on in the waza, step it up as your (pl) progress warrants.

Your story kind of sounds like...one day I was walking down the street, and there was this wall where one shouldn't be, so I kept walking anyway, and bumped my head and hurt myself. Instead of going around the wall, since it didn't belong there, I just kept trying to walk through it...

Well, if the lack of success doesn't stop you, sooner or later, the pain will.

You can train hard and safe, smart and safe, honest and safe. I suggest you work out how to do that for yourself and each partner you encounter. It may require a different answer each time. Sometimes that means YOUR ego will have to take a hit, or YOUR priorities a back seat to your partner's.

Oh well,
That's life.

Best,
Ron (seniors are neither perfect nor invinsible, they hurt too, and they also screw up sometimes. Get used to it.)

P.S.
Please don't assume from the tersness of my response that I don't make the same mistake...I do. In fact, I believe I made it recently. So perhaps I'm just being terse with myself. :eek:

grondahl
05-11-2009, 08:26 AM
Sometimes verbal communication is an option.

And +1 on Rons comment about seniors not being perfect.

StevieT
05-11-2009, 09:17 AM
Third paragraph. "She was getting frustrated...and I am putting up with pain. I had two choices......so make the choice that does not cause you pain. Is she being effective if she is causing you pain?

The path of least pain would be not to show up to training in the first place. Being repeatedly thrown to the floor is never going to be comfortable. My (possibly incorrect) understanding of the role of Uke is to endure the discomfort of the techniques in order that Tori (and also Uke) can learn something.

You seem to be suggesting that it's normal during waza (which is after all a rather contrived setting) for Tori to deviate from the technique and the principle being practiced and become "effective" by causing Uke pain. In fact, her hits were not "effective" measured against any of the goals she had at the time. She was trying to break my posture by hitting my arm harder and harder each time. Was it hurting? Yes. Was it doing what she wanted? Not in any way. I don't think this "punish Uke into a mindset where he'll fall over if you come near him" thing is something that is particularly encouraged at my dojo.

Give her a break and soften/slow down your attack so that you both have a chance to learn something other than the obvious.

You can train hard and safe, smart and safe, honest and safe. I suggest you work out how to do that for yourself and each partner you encounter. It may require a different answer each time. Sometimes that means YOUR ego will have to take a hit, or YOUR priorities a back seat to your partner's.

The attacks were naturally slowing and softening somewhat as it started to hurt. Unfortunately, as I was putting less into the attack, she was putting more into the block.

Her priority at the time was, I believe, to get the technique right, not to simply have me fall over. Her frustration was getting in the way of that. Maybe it was just stubbornness on my part in trying to get something out of a training session when I should have just cut the losses and become an "easy Uke" for a while. Bit of a waste of time for both of us though.

John A Butz
05-11-2009, 09:53 AM
In situations like that, I would advise uke to keep the intent, and change the speed/power.

In my experience, so long as uke is attacking with the intention to be effective, it is possible to adjust speed and power in order to facilitate training.

When I am training and encounter a problem area, I will ask my uke to ramp down speed and power so that I can think about what is happening. Of course, I also have to ramp down my speed and power to the same level, but the longer "window" of the technique allows me to think through everything and get a handle on what I am trying to do. As I get into the groove, I request that uke slowly ramp things back up, and we will continue ramping up until we reach a point of failure where I can no longer do that technique. Then it is back to slowing it down. Repeat ad infinitum.

Intention can be maintained even at crawling speed, and so long as uke really works to maintain that intention it is possible to create a connection and produce the training result you want. If uke starts to "phone it in", just because things are slowed down, the technique will not work. Uke's job, as it were, is being able to remain as mentally involved in the interaction as possible, regardless of how fast or slow the actual attack is.

I should also point out that this is a social contract. If uke slows down to assist nage/tori with the problem area, and nage/tori continues to use speed and power to effect the technique, then it is your responsibility as uke to say "Hey, lets slow this down a little and see if we can't make it better." You are the uke, not the punching dummy, and you should never put yourself in a position where your attempts to assist someone elses learning put you in danger of injury.

It should also be noted that you should train at ever increasing speed and power in order to consistently get better. Without that, you end up just playing a slow game of waza tag, and that has limited training value. However, you also must recognize the point at which your skills are breaking down under pressure, and adjust your training environment and conditions to address and improve that. If you train to failure consistently, and after failure you adjust, slow down and begin building up again, you should find that your failure point will improve, i.e. you will be able to do that technique under more adverse conditions. Each time you work the cycle you should improve.

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 09:59 AM
My point exactly. So you go home hurt, she goes home frustrated, and nobody gained a thing. :(

I am not suggesting to just cut your losses...I am suggesting that you seek to find a better solution. Sometimes these impasses are very difficult...but in my experience, getting through them can be like a light bulb going off! Some different things I have tried (or seen others try when **I** was the issue ;)):

Stop. Politely ask the instructor if they can help. They usually can...which is why they are the instructor! :D

Stop. Politely let your parnter know you are clashing a lot...ask if they have suggestions for your attach, or for your ukemi that can help.

Stop. Politely let your partner know this isn't working for you and ask for advise. Be willing to try it...

Stop. Ask a nearby senior to lend a hand.

I will often vary my attack, posture, intensity, speed, amount of grounding, power etc. to match my partner, so that that we can meet in a more productive place. That will often mean I don't get to focus on what **I** want to focus on.

Again...that's life.

Oh, one more thing...I often strongly dislike stopping a waza in the middle due to a higly resistant uke...but often if the waza isn't working consistantly, you can ususally find the problem in one of the first few movements.

Best,
Ron

Peter Goldsbury
05-11-2009, 10:38 AM
Hello,

I assume that you have posted here to seek advice about what you could have done further than you already did, as a committed aikidoka. Comments below.

Let me start off by saying that as Uke, I am probably more obstinate that a lot of people in my dojo. I'm not saying that I struggle and fight against Tori, but at the same time, I don't give my center away, Tori has to take it. Also, unless Tori asks for something different, I will always give a proper, full-force attack. I do this because I think both Uke and Tori learn more that way.
PAG. This reveals much about your way of training, and also reveals much about your teacher's training methods, or lack of training methods. You have been training for seven months, but you have not yet been taught how to attack. You should not be 'more obstinate than a lot of people in my dojo'. What good will this do you, in terms of you aikido training? How are you taught to attack in your dojo?

Anyway, about a month ago I was training with a girl who is a lot more experienced than I am (I've been training about 7 months, she's been Aikido for quite a few years). I forget exactly what technique we were doing, but the attack was a Yokomen and the first movement was a sweeping downwards "block". She was having a really off day. She was not really sweeping far enough to take me off balance and then in her second movement was standing me straight back up. Needless to say, the rest of the technique was not working. The large difference in experience meant I couldn't really help her with what was going wrong.
PAG. But the large difference in experience was sufficient to convince you that the technique was not working. How do you know that she was really having an off day, other than that the technique was not 'working' to your satisfaction? Do you think there is a possibility that she did not follow through with the technique because she saw that you were exhibiting a common trait of a beginner, namely, challenging the senior to 'do' the waza, even though you yourself are not cooperating as uke. ("You are a black belt, so you should be able to deal with me, no matter what I do (not do) as uke: of course, you are not allowed to break the 'rules' by doing anything other than the waza being taught.")

So she was getting frustrated and she started to get very "hitty". After a few minutes, the repeated impacts on my forearm and the inside of my elbow were really starting to hurt. At this point I only really had two options: weaken the attack and start falling easy or put up with the pain and keep going. I couldn't really tell her to use less force in the technique if I was going to continue to use full force in the attack and I couldn't really advise her on what was going wrong. Anyway, I chose the latter option, to just put up with the pain and keep going.
PAG. I am struck by the fact that you think that your own version of the episode is obviously preferable to that of your partner, who, if she were a member of this forum, might have stated, 'Well, I had this male partner, who decided he would not take ukemi in the way he was supposed to, so I did repeated atemi, but to no avail.'

This was a mistake that cost me a couple of weeks of pain and about three weeks off training. Three days after the session, I got a real burning pain in my forearm: I think the impacts had bruised and inflamed the tendons in a nasty case of tendonitis. Not wanting this to turn into a case of chronic tendonitis, I rested the arm until it had fully healed, which took quite a while, not to mention a week waking up in the night with my arm on fire.
PAG. Well, quite. Your partner might feel that you reaped what you sewed. So, what do you yourself think you learned from this experience?

How would you deal with this situation? I know she didn't want to injure me (she's quite a good friend). I don't really want to become an "easy Uke" when training with her, since nobody learns anything that way and there is no point in training if nothing is being learned. Equally, I don't want the senior students to think I'm patronizing them (I'm still obviously very junior).
PAG. Have you been taught explicitly by the dojo shinan or senior yudansha how to to take ukemi correctly? I think (a) that you cannot take ukemi correctly unless you are explicitly taught how to do so, and so (b) that you are patronizing the senior student (who, also, might not have been taught how to take ukemi correctly). As someone who has been training for seven months, what else do you think you need to learn about ukemi? That you will not take ukemi unless someone 'really' throws you? This is not really a bad policy, but it needs to be pursued in a proper context.

I do not think that you should ever be worried that you are patronizing the senior students. I hope you have learned that if you do so, you will be injured easily.

Very best wishes,

PAG

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 11:09 AM
Hi Peter, I saw you on the board, and I was very much hoping you would join the thread.

I specifically remember an uke I had in one of your classes at the aiki expo, and I was having a LOT of trouble throwing him with shihonage. At one point, he said to me, "you could break my arm here, but you can not really throw me" or something to that effect.

Although I was a brown belt (somehwere between 3rd and 1st kyu), I had no idea why it was so difficult for me to take his balance, or why anyone would allow themselves to be put in a position where their arm could be broken, but they would not then take ukemi! :eek: Boy, I had a lot to learn! Now, it seems every time I step on the mat, I HAVE A LOT TO LEARN!

Funny how a few years later, I am still faced with the same problem (me). I would be interested in your thoughts on that interaction (if you remember it)...I think it has some bearing on this thread.

Best,
Ron (I do realize that those thoughts will probably cause me some consternation, even at this late date!) ;)

Lan Powers
05-11-2009, 11:32 AM
The comment about "intention" was particularly well stated ...
Yokomenuchi (as the example stated here) doesn,t have to be a "killer" blow by itself to be effective to train against, in fact it can be fairly soft if the intention to land the blow is still there.
A commited attack is the phrase used in our dojo a lot to describe this.....not necessarily a forcefull one, or even at times, a fast one, but a commited one that has full intent to land (just not to clobber )
:)
well thought out responses = learning
Lan

dps
05-11-2009, 11:33 AM
Let me start off by saying that as Uke, I am probably more obstinate that a lot of people in my dojo. I'm not saying that I struggle and fight against Tori, but at the same time, I don't give my center away, Tori has to take it. Also, unless Tori asks for something different, I will always give a proper, full-force attack. I do this because I think both Uke and Tori learn more that way.


Aikido, The Way of Harmony.

The place where harmony is most needed in Aikido is between tori and uke. You are at practice to help each other.

You should of asked tori, " How can I help you with this?"

David

Randy Sexton
05-11-2009, 11:49 AM
I have found that as Nage I have to remain soft and flow with the attack. Because of my Taekwondo background, I found for the first year, I had to constantly remind myself not to "block" a Yokomen but to meet and flow like water in order to blend and be able to redirect the force. Now I just have to remind myself of it when I feel that "hit" on my arm. It is a reminder to me to soften and flow.

I found as Uke I wanted to provide a "real attack" and because I have a wise instructor I learned to attack with intent while adjusting my speed and force to meet the learning needs of my Nage. As Uke when I feel that "hit" on my arm I know what the problem is and adjust my attack. I find the Nage usually responds by adjusting their technique as needed and softening. As time goes on we can slowly increase the speed and power without injury and we both can enjoy the learning experience.

Doc Sexton

StevieT
05-11-2009, 12:29 PM
PAG. This reveals much about your way of training, and also reveals much about your teacher's training methods, or lack of training methods. You have been training for seven months, but you have not yet been taught how to attack. You should not be 'more obstinate than a lot of people in my dojo'. What good will this do you, in terms of you aikido training? How are you taught to attack in your dojo?
One thing I see people doing a lot as Uke is giving Tori a "free fall" (unasked) if they think Tori is struggling. As Tori I find this particularly unhelpful. It leaves Tori searching after a feeling of moving correctly, when in fact the success of the technique was not down to a difference in anything Tori was doing but a change in what Uke was doing. I find this unhelpful to the extent that I don't do tend to do it as Uke (and nobody has ever asked me to). Hence my comment comparing me to others in the dojo. Maybe "consistent" might be a better word that "obstinate". As Uke I also expect Tori to say how fast and powerful he/she wants the attack to be, and this is particularly true given that I am still early on the path in Aikido, I expect the senior students to give me some guidance. If Tori asked me to fall easily I would, if that was what she though would best aid her training.

PAG. But the large difference in experience was sufficient to convince you that the technique was not working. How do you know that she was really having an off day, other than that the technique was not 'working' to your satisfaction? Do you think there is a possibility that she did not follow through with the technique because she saw that you were exhibiting a common trait of a beginner, namely, challenging the senior to 'do' the waza, even though you yourself are not cooperating as uke. ("You are a black belt, so you should be able to deal with me, no matter what I do (not do) as uke: of course, you are not allowed to break the 'rules' by doing anything other than the waza being taught.")
Was not working to my satisfaction? The technique was not working to her satisfaction. She was visibly becoming frustrated that what she was doing was not having the effect she wanted and was simply hitting me harder on each attack, even though the attack was coming in slightly softer since my arm was getting sore. If the block is not breaking my posture (sometimes you can give it the benefit of the doubt, but this wasn't even close), should I just lean over deliberately to make her think that she has achieved what she's trying to? Is that really a valuable way of training? I do not set out as Uke to challenge or test Tori. Really it is up to Tori to challenge herself, I am simply there to assist her in developing her Aikido. If she wants me to fall over for basically no reason, she could just ask and that's what I would do.

PAG. I am struck by the fact that you think that your own version of the episode is obviously preferable to that of your partner, who, if she were a member of this forum, might have stated, 'Well, I had this male partner, who decided he would not take ukemi in the way he was supposed to, so I did repeated atemi, but to no avail.'
Is Aikido a dance? Preset movements executed by both partners? If that's what she wants then great, I will humor her. It would be nice if she communicated it verbally than by hitting me though, particularly given that she is the senior. If she thinks my Ukemi is excessively resilient, then she could say without any danger of offending me and I would change.

PAG. Well, quite. Your partner might feel that you reaped what you sewed. So, what do you yourself think you learned from this experience?
What did I learn? That I do not want to train with her in future. This is a shame, but isn't such a big deal, there are plenty of other people in the club to train with. Aikido is a frustrating art to learn as I have found and I think her frustration becomes destructive. "Reaped what you sowed" sounds like a very dangerous attitude in Aikido. You think Tori is justified in injuring Uke because Uke is not going down easily enough? Injuring Uke would always a very easy task for Tori should she wish.

PAG. Have you been taught explicitly by the dojo shinan or senior yudansha how to to take ukemi correctly? I think (a) that you cannot take ukemi correctly unless you are explicitly taught how to do so, and so (b) that you are patronizing the senior student (who, also, might not have been taught how to take ukemi correctly). As someone who has been training for seven months, what else do you think you need to learn about ukemi? That you will not take ukemi unless someone 'really' throws you? This is not really a bad policy, but it needs to be pursued in a proper context.
The nature of my Ukemi during waza depends on what principle Tori is trying to learn. If the principle of a technique is an entry that breaks Uke's posture then a throw where Tori moves through Uke's center (as was the case here), then I'll push Tori to break my posture with her entry, otherwise we're just dancing. If it were a Kokyu-nage, where she was learning to blend with the direction and energy of the attack, then the Ukemi would be very different. I would keep the attack energy going in more of a straight line and not pull back. If the entry were an atemi, intended to off-balance me via some flinch response, then the Ukemi would have been different again, so that she could explore the atemi without having to hit me hard enough to really damage. Uke's purpose in my mind is to teach Tori how her movement affects another person. The only effect of her movement was to hurt my arm after repeated hits. Is that a failure of my Ukemi?

I do not think that you should ever be worried that you are patronizing the senior students. I hope you have learned that if you do so, you will be injured easily.
My dojo lacks the attitude of "don't mess with the seniors or you might get hurt". I like it better for it.

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 12:40 PM
My dojo lacks the attitude of "don't mess with the seniors or you might get hurt". I like it better for it.

Hmmm...and yet you still got hurt. If what you say above is true, logically then, the fault must be yours? Correct?

Best,
Ron

StevieT
05-11-2009, 12:44 PM
Hmmm...and yet you still got hurt. If what you say above is true, logically then, the fault must be yours? Correct?

Best,
Ron
I was referring to the general attitude of the dojo, rather than this particular girl, but yes, the mistake was to an extent mine in letting the situation go on. On the other hand, at the time I was expecting some bruises that would heal in a couple of days, rather than three weeks off because of it, otherwise I would have stopped it far sooner. That is a mistake that only need be made once.

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 12:46 PM
Is Aikido a dance? Preset movements executed by both partners?

Mmnmm, good question. Still trying to answer that after more than 10 years. If you figured it out in less than a year, I would be *very* ashamed... :blush:

To be serious for a second, think about it...if you are going to study something in a Japanese martial art, you will most likely need to learn using kata, by definition, a set of predefined movements. I think your teachers should be able to advise you how kata can and should work. And yes, especially in the beginning, you are going to have to lean your part in that.

As you progress, sometimes it will be easier, and sometimes not. Personally, I find it a constant challenge...

But then, that is one reason I keep training.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 12:49 PM
That is a mistake that only need be made once.
Ah! See, you DID learn something of value! :D

Have you tried just talking to your friend about this off the mat?

Best,
Ron

StevieT
05-11-2009, 01:09 PM
Ah! See, you DID learn something of value! :D

Have you tried just talking to your friend about this off the mat?

Best,
Ron

:) Yes, I guess I did learn something. Although I still find it a little tough to know the difference between a normal training knock and one that'll still hurt two weeks later. This one didn't really flare up until three days afterward and I had completed another hour and a half of training after the incident that did the damage.

No I haven't really brought it up properly. I did mention it, but by the time I saw her again, it was nearly a month later, so the incident seemed rather distant.

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 01:17 PM
I think you have a lot to think about...I'm going to wait now to see if Peter responds again to the thread.

Some last few things I can say...aikido is hard. :( :D That is both good and bad, but it keeps me coming back. And for a physical activity, it requires a LOT of brain work to get it right.

Train smarter...not harder...at least if you are in it for the long haul.

Best,
Ron (I'm saying this with some herniated discs in my neck from training not so smart at times...)

Marc Abrams
05-11-2009, 02:04 PM
Steven:

You might want to step back from the situation and re-examine your interactions from an older, more traditional perspective in which the uke serves in the role as the teacher. What kind of a teacher were you in that interaction? What could you have done differently to become a better teacher if that opportunity arose again?

Shihans, Senseis, Sempai and Kohai are ALL STUDENTS IN THIS LEARNING PROCESS! Just because somebody is ahead of us on that path does not mean that they are not working on their own development. As ukes, regardless of the rank of the nage, we must dedicate ourselves to being the best teachers that we can possibly be. That should mean that we foster positive learning in a manner that educates both sides of that equation. This lofty goal on the part of uke requires a lot of integrity and caring.

Marc Abrams

Mary Eastland
05-11-2009, 02:29 PM
steve.....is she a girl or a woman?....if she is a girl i find it remarkable that she could hurt you unless you are a boy.

as to your questions.....it seems in your response to peter that your mind is made up and you are not very teachable.
my hope for you as you continue to train is that you become more teachable before you hurt yourself seriously.
best,
mary

Phil Van Treese
05-11-2009, 02:31 PM
For crying outloud--If you are getting hurt by your partner and your partner is getting more and more frustrated, you need to say something right then and there. You need to work out a solution to the p&f and then continue. If you need the sensei's intervention, then ask for it. For you to continue on getting hurt and your partner getting frustrated--you learn nothing.

NagaBaba
05-11-2009, 03:04 PM
Hello Pater,
How are you taught to attack in your dojo?
Is your question: Have you not learned yet to attack the way not to make any trouble for the ppl that are higher ranking then you ? ;) :D


challenging the senior to 'do' the waza, even though you yourself are not cooperating as uke. ("You are a black belt, so you should be able to deal with me, no matter what I do (not do) as uke: of course, you are not allowed to break the 'rules' by doing anything other than the waza being taught.")
So what exactly is wrong with being not cooperating uke(7 months training) for a tori that have a lot of years of training? Why you consider it as a challenge??? Is it not normal that students have to make experience with cooperating uke but also with not cooperating uke?

I personally expect that already a student with 2-3 years of experience can handle any behavior of beginner with 7 months of training, however I don't expect 100% sucess ratio. Acceptance of a failure of a technique is a very important learning.
Otherwise I believe that a teaching systems is not efficient.


PAG. Have you been taught explicitly by the dojo shinan or senior yudansha how to to take ukemi correctly?
PAG
Oh, there is a concept of "correct ukemi" in aikido? May be O sensei taught 'correct ukemi' for his students? :p :D Or rather, it is a way to tank for instructor otherwise he is not able to execute a technique?

If I remember well, Kami was telling O sensei what and how he must execute a technique - could you explain the "correct ukemi" in such context, please? :cool:

NagaBaba
05-11-2009, 03:17 PM
I specifically remember an uke I had in one of your classes at the aiki expo, and I was having a LOT of trouble throwing him with shihonage. At one point, he said to me, "you could break my arm here, but you can not really throw me" or something to that effect.


Hi Ron,
I had such experience rather frequently as a nage. And the years later suddenly I started to have it in the role of uke.

Now I think the reason is that nage is concentrated on one particular point(i.e. lock an arm ) instead of early controlling whole body of attacker. This is a pedagogical weakness in aikido, we dont teach the counters with other body members(head, elbows, knee and legs) early in the training. And nage feels safe having one lock but not having uke off balance - he is forgetting that aikido it is INTERACTION.

Mark Peckett
05-11-2009, 03:18 PM
Beginners do indeed tend to:

a) give senior grades a free ride by falling over in the belief that that is what they're meant to do and:

b) attack without giving their centre away.

Now I would expect a boxer, or a karateka sparring to attack without giving his centre away because they are fighting for points; whe practising aikido it can be helpful to attack and give your centre away. That allows tori to redirect uke's genuine attack. One of the problems with aikido, particularly for beginners, is that tori knows what attack is coming and uke knows what defence is coming, so it is always possible for uke to prevent the technique - in fact, I'm sure people who've been practising a long time have experienced similar situations with aikidoka senior to them. It's difficult to turn your mind off and just attack.

I do, however, agree with the other posters that a genuine attack doesn't have to be full tilt/full-blooded.

NagaBaba
05-11-2009, 03:23 PM
Aikido, The Way of Harmony.

The place where harmony is most needed in Aikido is between tori and uke. You are at practice to help each other.

You should of asked tori, " How can I help you with this?"

David
However this 'harmony' should be created by Nage, and not imposed from outside(by instructor or by quoting some books :p :D )

John A Butz
05-11-2009, 03:31 PM
I would agree with you if we were discussing randori, Szczepan, but in the course of normal keiko, it is my opinion that both uke and nage contribute to the creation of the technique. Both parties have a role to play, and part of uke's role is in fact to attack in a way that facilitates the technique being practiced.

If you expect nage to be able to handle any type of attack and still perform the instructed technique, you are essentially asking them to abide by the social contract while at the same time giving uke permission to break it. Thats not helpful to the learning process.

Of course, I should stress that I do agree with your statements about uke just giving up or falling nicely just because they think thats what they should do, and I don't want the people I work with to be dive bunnies. But I do want them to be attacking within the parameters of the waza that we are practicing.

Naturally, I expect that as people get more skilled they should be able to handle more powerful attacks, and even attacks that are outside the parameters of the practice. Also, it is very important to increase the intensity of the attacks so that nage is required to really know what they are doing. But I don't think every part of keiko is like that.

After all, you need more then one note to create harmony.

NagaBaba
05-11-2009, 03:31 PM
Steven:

You might want to step back from the situation and re-examine your interactions from an older, more traditional perspective in which the uke serves in the role as the teacher. What kind of a teacher were you in that interaction? What could you have done differently to become a better teacher if that opportunity arose again?

Shihans, Senseis, Sempai and Kohai are ALL STUDENTS IN THIS LEARNING PROCESS! Just because somebody is ahead of us on that path does not mean that they are not working on their own development. As ukes, regardless of the rank of the nage, we must dedicate ourselves to being the best teachers that we can possibly be. That should mean that we foster positive learning in a manner that educates both sides of that equation. This lofty goal on the part of uke requires a lot of integrity and caring.

Marc Abrams

Hi Marc,
It is very interesting approach, in fact Sugano sensei sometimes uses it also.
I think in this situation he used it unconsciously. Sometimes, a student (in this case a Nage) have to face a kind of WALL, to be able to jump on higher level. It can be frustrating experience, but without that you can't learn aikido.

Janet Rosen
05-11-2009, 03:37 PM
In direct answer to the title of the thread: I say "Ow! That hurt. Let's both of us slow down and see what is happening."

One of the first things I do when working with a newbie is show them how a committed attack can also be a very slow attack. That means when we slow down we can take apart the technique and figure out the problem. If I can't on two tries, either as nage or uke, I call "onegaishimasu" to my instructor.

NagaBaba
05-11-2009, 03:45 PM
I would agree with you if we were discussing randori, Szczepan, but in the course of normal keiko, it is my opinion that both uke and nage contribute to the creation of the technique. Both parties have a role to play, and part of uke's role is in fact to attack in a way that facilitates the technique being practiced.. I agree, but only with small difference in experience both uke and nage contribute to the creation of the technique. If such situation they dont have correct skills to handle it. But in our case, this difference is big. So logically nage have to handle uke attacks.
I
If you expect nage to be able to handle any type of attack and still perform the instructed technique, you are essentially asking them to abide by the social contract while at the same time giving uke permission to break it. Thats not helpful to the learning process...
I fully disagree.
First, if basic technique is well done, there is no opening for uke to react as he likes.
Second - with big difference of experience - uke must have permission to break a 'social contract', as you call it, any moment. It will create a danger (for both, nage and uke) which is a part of Budo practice.Without such context, we are doing socializing, not Budo.

I
But I don't think every part of keiko is like that.

I disagree again. In every moment you must expect unexpected. O sensei presented it by his comportment by inviting his uchideshi to attack him any moment.
Otherwise ppl get lazy they start to develop McDojo.

Marc Abrams
05-11-2009, 03:47 PM
Hi Marc,
It is very interesting approach, in fact Sugano sensei sometimes uses it also.
I think in this situation he used it unconsciously. Sometimes, a student (in this case a Nage) have to face a kind of WALL, to be able to jump on higher level. It can be frustrating experience, but without that you can't learn aikido.

Szczepan:

To me, Aikido requires an awesome amount of integrity. The uke has to be able to be a good and honest teacher, without "tanking" and without the senseless ego involved in intentionally thwarting a technique that is not being practice at a realistic speed (many times, for safety sake).

I have written about the role of uke & nage and how I view ukemi on my website's blog (which I use as a supplemental teaching tool). You can read those blogs on my website- www.aasbk.com

I sometimes wonder if you are just trying to be a contrarian in an impish way, or you actually believe that Aikido is as empty as you sometimes describe it. I can only speak from my own experiences in training directly under Imaizumi Sensei and that is that I find Aikido to be a remarkably effective form of budo in what it teaches us to do and not do. I find that what many people assume as fact is simply their lack of genuine understanding of the true depth of this art. The "holes" that you see in Aikido are seen in all arts that have grown more rapidly than their transmission paradigm was designed for.

Marc Abrams

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 03:51 PM
I think you nailed it, Mr. S!
Best,
Ron
Hi Ron,
I had such experience rather frequently as a nage. And the years later suddenly I started to have it in the role of uke.

Now I think the reason is that nage is concentrated on one particular point(i.e. lock an arm ) instead of early controlling whole body of attacker. This is a pedagogical weakness in aikido, we dont teach the counters with other body members(head, elbows, knee and legs) early in the training. And nage feels safe having one lock but not having uke off balance - he is forgetting that aikido it is INTERACTION.

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2009, 03:56 PM
The "holes" that you see in Aikido are seen in all arts that have grown more rapidly than their transmission paradigm was designed for.

Very important context, that...

I would like to thank the original poster for inciting such a valuable thread.

Best,
Ron

Peter Goldsbury
05-11-2009, 07:40 PM
Hello Pater,

Is your question: Have you not learned yet to attack the way not to make any trouble for the ppl that are higher ranking then you ? ;) :D
PAG. No. Your spelling, by the way, is terrible.

So what exactly is wrong with being not cooperating uke(7 months training) for a tori that have a lot of years of training? Why you consider it as a challenge??? Is it not normal that students have to make experience with cooperating uke but also with not cooperating uke?
PAG. It is quite possible not to cooperate with nage without being obstinate--without seeing the encounter as a challenge. Equally, it is quite possible to cooperate with uke, but also cause the technique not to work.

I personally expect that already a student with 2-3 years of experience can handle any behavior of beginner with 7 months of training, however I don't expect 100% sucess ratio. Acceptance of a failure of a technique is a very important learning.
Otherwise I believe that a teaching systems is not efficient.
PAG. Of course.

Oh, there is a concept of "correct ukemi" in aikido?
PAG. Of course, there is. Haven't you realised this yet?:) It is the ura-gawa of the concept of "correct technique".

May be O sensei taught 'correct ukemi' for his students? :p :D Or rather, it is a way to tank for instructor otherwise he is not able to execute a technique?
PAG. O Sensei certainly expected correct attacks and also correct ukemi from his deshi, or he did not call on them very often. Perhaps you should ask Yamada, Chiba or Sugano Shihans if they ever 'tanked' for O Sensei.

If I remember well, Kami was telling O sensei what and how he must execute a technique - could you explain the "correct ukemi" in such context, please? :cool:
Ah, you were there at the time, were you? Who was uke?:D

Best wishes, as always.

PAG

Peter Goldsbury
05-11-2009, 08:27 PM
I specifically remember an uke I had in one of your classes at the aiki expo, and I was having a LOT of trouble throwing him with shihonage. At one point, he said to me, "you could break my arm here, but you can not really throw me" or something to that effect.

Although I was a brown belt (somehwere between 3rd and 1st kyu), I had no idea why it was so difficult for me to take his balance, or why anyone would allow themselves to be put in a position where their arm could be broken, but they would not then take ukemi! :eek: Boy, I had a lot to learn! Now, it seems every time I step on the mat, I HAVE A LOT TO LEARN!

Best,
Ron (I do realize that those thoughts will probably cause me some consternation, even at this late date!) ;)

Hello Ron,
Was your partner one of the ukes I brought with me? If it was Bart, then I am not surprised that you had trouble dealing with him. He is big, strong, and has done martial arts long enough to have developed a sense for openings during a waza. If you give him an opening, he will tend to take it. Like Szczepan, he regards it as 100% nage's job to deal with whatever attack he gives, and to maintain the initial control over uke right through the waza, especially if nage is more advanced than he is. He is very good to train with, but also frustrates many of his partners during training. I am sure you know that there are potential 'suki' or openings in shiho nage or 1-kyo ura, especially with a big and strong uke (whom you have not quite succeeded in unbalancing right from the beginning).:)

Best wishes,

PAG

Peter Goldsbury
05-11-2009, 09:01 PM
Hello,

A common effect of exchanges like this is to make the initial situation clearer than it was with the first post. So, here are a few more comments.

One thing I see people doing a lot as Uke is giving Tori a "free fall" (unasked) if they think Tori is struggling. As Tori I find this particularly unhelpful. It leaves Tori searching after a feeling of moving correctly, when in fact the success of the technique was not down to a difference in anything Tori was doing but a change in what Uke was doing. I find this unhelpful to the extent that I don't do tend to do it as Uke (and nobody has ever asked me to). Hence my comment comparing me to others in the dojo. Maybe "consistent" might be a better word that "obstinate". As Uke I also expect Tori to say how fast and powerful he/she wants the attack to be, and this is particularly true given that I am still early on the path in Aikido, I expect the senior students to give me some guidance. If Tori asked me to fall easily I would, if that was what she though would best aid her training.
PAG. Your response indicates to me that you do know quite a lot about how to attack, and so you have partially answered my earlier question. Moreover, you indicate that in your dojo training is not done in silence. In other words, you expect nage to tell you how fast and powerful the attack is to be, rather (as in some dojos) than allowing this to become clear as the training proceeds.

Was not working to my satisfaction? The technique was not working to her satisfaction. She was visibly becoming frustrated that what she was doing was not having the effect she wanted and was simply hitting me harder on each attack, even though the attack was coming in slightly softer since my arm was getting sore. If the block is not breaking my posture (sometimes you can give it the benefit of the doubt, but this wasn't even close), should I just lean over deliberately to make her think that she has achieved what she's trying to? Is that really a valuable way of training? I do not set out as Uke to challenge or test Tori. Really it is up to Tori to challenge herself, I am simply there to assist her in developing her Aikido. If she wants me to fall over for basically no reason, she could just ask and that's what I would do.
PAG. Sure, but the technique was obviously not working to your satisfaction, hence this thread. From the questions you are asking above about how you should attack, I am curious why no conversation took place.

Is Aikido a dance? Preset movements executed by both partners? If that's what she wants then great, I will humor her. It would be nice if she communicated it verbally than by hitting me though, particularly given that she is the senior. If she thinks my Ukemi is excessively resilient, then she could say without any danger of offending me and I would change.
PAG. Well, as others have indicated, to some extent the dojo is an 'artificial' place, where prescribed movements take place involving two or more people. This is what is meant by kata or waza.

What did I learn? That I do not want to train with her in future. This is a shame, but isn't such a big deal, there are plenty of other people in the club to train with. Aikido is a frustrating art to learn as I have found and I think her frustration becomes destructive.
PAG. Well, it is a pity if you learned only that. If you train regularly at this dojo, you will inevitably encounter her again and again, so it is probably better to deal with her--and your--frustration now, rather than letting it grow.

"Reaped what you sowed" sounds like a very dangerous attitude in Aikido. You think Tori is justified in injuring Uke because Uke is not going down easily enough? Injuring Uke would always a very easy task for Tori should she wish.
PAG. I used the the term in a specific sentence that also had a context. Your partner was clearly frustrated and might have thought this. To ask whether I myself think that injuries are justified is to take the phrase right out of context.

The nature of my Ukemi during waza depends on what principle Tori is trying to learn. If the principle of a technique is an entry that breaks Uke's posture then a throw where Tori moves through Uke's center (as was the case here), then I'll push Tori to break my posture with her entry, otherwise we're just dancing. If it were a Kokyu-nage, where she was learning to blend with the direction and energy of the attack, then the Ukemi would be very different. I would keep the attack energy going in more of a straight line and not pull back. If the entry were an atemi, intended to off-balance me via some flinch response, then the Ukemi would have been different again, so that she could explore the atemi without having to hit me hard enough to really damage. Uke's purpose in my mind is to teach Tori how her movement affects another person. The only effect of her movement was to hurt my arm after repeated hits. Is that a failure of my Ukemi?
PAG. Fine. But don't forget that being uke is a learning situation for you, also.

Best wishes,

PAG

Carsten Möllering
05-12-2009, 02:04 AM
... I only really had two options: weaken the attack and start falling easy or put up with the pain and keep going. ...I think that everyone is responsibel for oneself.
In our practice uke is expected to attack only with the speed and the force he or she can stand. Espacially when practicing with a senior.
The harder uke attacks the faster and stronger nages technique will be.

... we dont teach the counters with other body members(head, elbows, knee and legs) early in the training. And nage feels safe having one lock but not having uke off balance - he is forgetting that aikido it is INTERACTION.
Well may be you don't teach or learn that way. In our Aikido - Tissier, Endo, remember? - this is normal from the first day.

However this 'harmony' should be created by Nage, and not imposed from outside ...Yes! (I see you learned something from the seminar instaed ;) )

Please excuse me:
Some of the statements cause me to ask some question. I don't want to offend someone but simply can't picture your way of practice.

Beginners do indeed tend to:
b) attack without giving their centre away.]In our aikido it is the other way round: Good ukemi means not to give ones center away. This is essential for our understanding of attacks. It is Beginners who give their centers away. Seniors don't do.
Do you also practice attacks without giving yourself away and staying centered?

One of the problems with aikido, particularly for beginners, is that tori knows what attack is coming and uke knows what defence is coming, so it is always possible for uke to prevent the technique - This Situation is one of our usual methods keiko: uke tries to prevent the technique, nage has to do it instead. We often practice this way. And a senior is expected to work a certain technique even if uke knows it and tries to hinder it.
Don't you ever try this in you dojo in normal keiko?
How do you react in keiko if uke frezes or blocks a technique?

Sure: Nobody does that when being called in front of the class as uke of the teacher. But in normal practice we freeze ( we 'tank'?) if nage lets us.

in the course of normal keiko, it is my opinion that both uke and nage contribute to the creation of the technique.Well I don't expect my uke, to make my technique work.I expect my uke to show me where it doesn't work.
If your technique relies on uke how then do you train with uke who are not aware what they should do? (other style, non aikidoka ...)

I'm not talking about beginners practice but about the practice of seniors or of a senior witht a beginner.

best wishes, Carsten

Eva Antonia
05-12-2009, 03:04 AM
Dear all,

we had this situation in our dojo also, very much in the same constellation. We have two white belts, both young, strong and VERY rigid. And we had the same attack, yokomen uchi tenchi nage (I suppose that's the technique Steve talks about), and one of these attacked me with full power thinking that was what is required from uke, I responded but didn't know he couldn't take ukemi. So he fell on his shoulder and was hurt for some weeks. I have to say he dealt very gallantly with it and didn't make me a single reproach.

And yesterday we had the same thing for udekime nage. Uke - the other young strong giant - just didn't want to make his mae ukemi and struggled not to get out of balance. So the udekime nage technique hurt him awfully in his arm muscles (they got squeezed), and I think it's not because I over-applied the technique; I even didn't try to throw him against his wish, but luckily again, that guy is also not thinking that he wouldn't train with me again.

I had the same on my side - resisting a sankyo I thought was badly done, and then tori just did it somehow better, and there was something torn in my elbow that restrained my movements nearly for a year. It was like 30° less bendable than the other elbow. My fault - I could have resisted less or accept that in the end he did the sankyo well...

I think these are things that happen, the more you are relaxed less they happen, but still it arrives. If tori hasn't the intention to hurt you I think one should just forget about it and think about one's own error, and if you are in the "hurting tori" position maybe not insist on doing the technique by force if it doesn't work as it should.

Best regards,

Eva

RonRagusa
05-12-2009, 07:18 AM
How do you react in keiko if uke frezes or blocks a technique?

A frozen uke is no longer attacking, no technique necessary. If uke is in a position to block a technique then his balance was not taken initially and the technique was executed prematurely.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-12-2009, 08:01 AM
Hi Eva,
This is an important post, but it is also highlighting an area where there is a very thin line between correct practice and abuse.

I think we should always try at least once to warn uke gently *before* the point where a beginner is hurt due to being obstinate, and certainly if uke is simply unaware of the danger their natural reaction puts them in. How that warning takes place is different in different dojo, and that is probably as it should be.

I also think statements (as I have made myself) to the effect of "I could break / rip / tear said body part here", are not really good warnings. Often, it is simply not the case in a particular situation. And even when it is, it often sounds to uke as an egotisitcal statement, rather than a friendly warning of a dangerous position.

This is an area I struggle with, both as uke and nage/shite. Having injured people in the past, and being strongly opposed to doing that now or in the future, I often wonder how to effectively communicate to uke that sometimes, to protect yourself, you have to "take ukemi". Especially with beginners. And without "weakening the keiko".

Best,
Ron
Dear all,

we had this situation in our dojo also, very much in the same constellation. We have two white belts, both young, strong and VERY rigid. And we had the same attack, yokomen uchi tenchi nage (I suppose that's the technique Steve talks about), and one of these attacked me with full power thinking that was what is required from uke, I responded but didn't know he couldn't take ukemi. So he fell on his shoulder and was hurt for some weeks. I have to say he dealt very gallantly with it and didn't make me a single reproach.

And yesterday we had the same thing for udekime nage. Uke - the other young strong giant - just didn't want to make his mae ukemi and struggled not to get out of balance. So the udekime nage technique hurt him awfully in his arm muscles (they got squeezed), and I think it's not because I over-applied the technique; I even didn't try to throw him against his wish, but luckily again, that guy is also not thinking that he wouldn't train with me again.

I had the same on my side - resisting a sankyo I thought was badly done, and then tori just did it somehow better, and there was something torn in my elbow that restrained my movements nearly for a year. It was like 30° less bendable than the other elbow. My fault - I could have resisted less or accept that in the end he did the sankyo well...

I think these are things that happen, the more you are relaxed less they happen, but still it arrives. If tori hasn't the intention to hurt you I think one should just forget about it and think about one's own error, and if you are in the "hurting tori" position maybe not insist on doing the technique by force if it doesn't work as it should.

Best regards,

Eva

Ron Tisdale
05-12-2009, 08:09 AM
Yes, that was Bart! He gave me much to think about. And in the best of worlds, he and Szczepan are correct. Unbalancing at first contact really is where the "meat" in keiko is, in any case. ;)

Best,
Ron
Hello Ron,
Was your partner one of the ukes I brought with me? If it was Bart, then I am not surprised that you had trouble dealing with him. He is big, strong, and has done martial arts long enough to have developed a sense for openings during a waza. If you give him an opening, he will tend to take it. Like Szczepan, he regards it as 100% nage's job to deal with whatever attack he gives, and to maintain the initial control over uke right through the waza, especially if nage is more advanced than he is. He is very good to train with, but also frustrates many of his partners during training. I am sure you know that there are potential 'suki' or openings in shiho nage or 1-kyo ura, especially with a big and strong uke (whom you have not quite succeeded in unbalancing right from the beginning).:)

Best wishes,

PAG

ruthmc
05-12-2009, 10:40 AM
Hi all,

I'd say that yokomen uchi is one of the most difficult attacks to both make and to respond to.

It's all too easy to get the timing wrong (as both uke and tori ;) ) and then you get bruises, or worse!

Your best bet is to make the attack at a speed you and tori can both deal with, which may not be the speed you first thought of...

btw, Timing is one of the hardest things to learn in Aiki, and most folk struggle with it for many years :o

Ruth

Carsten Möllering
05-12-2009, 10:59 AM
Hi
A frozen uke is no longer attacking, no technique necessary.
Ah, it depends: A frozen uke may start another attack.
And how do you deal with this in your keiko: Do you move frozen uke or do you stop the technique and start again?

If uke is in a position to block a technique then his balance was not taken initially and the technique was executed prematurely.So what do you do if it comes to this situation?
Do you try move the blocking uke and go on with technique or do you stop and begin a new attack?

Carsten

Ron Tisdale
05-12-2009, 11:27 AM
Hi Carsten,

It depends, sometimes I start over (I dislike doing this) sometimes I try to find what I'm doing wrong in the moment and fix that to be able to move uke.

Atemi is sometimes a part of that...but I dislike overdependence on atemi with a cooperative partner (one who is not allowed to just keep attacking any way they see fit).

I do think starting fresh with just the first movement can be helpfull...as has been pointed out earlier, if uke's balance has not been broken at first contact, it may be difficult to do anything else. But from a self-defence and wiring perspective, I dislike stopping and starting...it makes more sense to me to make the best of the situation and continue as best you can.

Best,
Ron

jonreading
05-12-2009, 11:34 AM
To the original post...

I believe that uke generally has the obligation to resolve aikido technique. That is, nage creates a scenario to which uke must respond. I try to promote the attitude that nage is responsible to illustrate the response most desired to resolve the technique, and uke is responsible to identify that response and comply with nage.

The movie Mad Max has this great scene where Max has handcuffed a villan's leg to a vehicle that is going to explode any second. Max throws the villan a hacksaw and says [something like] "Ths vehicle is going to explode in 30 seconds, you can cut through your ankle in 20." Max then leaves the seen and the vehicle explodes. Nage controlled the scenario and illustrated to uke the most desirable [?] outcome given the situation. Hollywood horror for sure, but a reminder that controlling a scenario means you set the parameters of engagement.

Nage controls the scenario and directs uke to resolve technique. I belive aikido is about coercion, not cooperation. "You have two choices - do not resist and do what I want or resist and do what I want." One choice is always more painful than the other :)

Coercion turns into coopertaion because senior students understand better how oyohenka works and they alter their training to allow stronger, faster and harder training by cooperating with their partner to maximize safety.

Aikido gives us trouble because we set up these false scenarios of conflict and then execute them. Sometimes we think, "I coulda' gotten out of that," or "hey, that wasn't what he was supposed to do." It sounds like you felt yor partner was not in control and applied unecessary force to create a facade of control. We don't know what you partner felt. However, I echo several other posters. Stop training, express your doubts and allow nage to try again focusing on those areas you outline. If there is still confusion, ask sensei to clarify technique. You should not respond out of obligation, but you should respond out of concern for your safety. You need to learn when your body is at risk and protect it - even if that means stopping exercise...

NagaBaba
05-12-2009, 12:06 PM
Nage controls the scenario and directs uke to resolve technique. I belive aikido is about coercion, not cooperation. "You have two choices - do not resist and do what I want or resist and do what I want." One choice is always more painful than the other :)
...
I see you are big supporter of idea controlling uke using pain :confused: :p So if somebody doesn't feel pain anymore, you will not be able to control him efficiently? :o

I the other hand, in aikido we are suppose to overcome a dualism between uke and tori. From your description('two choices') it looks like you are going deeper and deeper into this dualism. ;)

RonRagusa
05-12-2009, 02:15 PM
Ah, it depends: A frozen uke may start another attack.

In which case he is no longer frozen. Assuming we aren't practicing randori, proceed as originally intended.

And how do you deal with this in your keiko: Do you move frozen uke or do you stop the technique and start again?

For an uke to grab me he must first move to reach me, no? I do not stand around waiting to be grabbed and so if he is to continue his attack he must follow me. This precludes his being frozen. If he stops his attack then I assume he is no longer interested in practicing the technique and I move on to someone else. If we are practicing a static grab I move me; uke is free to follow or not, I have no interest in controlling his behavior. If he is to keep his balance he must move with me and so is not frozen but in motion. If we are practicing a striking technique then uke is in motion from the outset. If he strikes and then ceases moving see above. If he continues to move when I evade his blow he is, again, not frozen.

So what do you do if it comes to this situation?
Do you try move the blocking uke and go on with technique or do you stop and begin a new attack?

If my uke successfully blocks my technique I won't force the issue, we begin again.

Ron

sisley
05-12-2009, 04:24 PM
Let me start off by saying that as Uke, I am probably more obstinate that a lot of people in my dojo. I'm not saying that I struggle and fight against Tori, but at the same time, I don't give my center away, Tori has to take it. Also, unless Tori asks for something different, I will always give a proper, full-force attack. I do this because I think both Uke and Tori learn more that way.

Anyway, about a month ago I was training with a girl who is a lot more experienced than I am (I've been training about 7 months, she's been Aikido for quite a few years).
(snip)

The large difference in experience meant I couldn't really help her with what was going wrong.

So she was getting frustrated and she started to get very "hitty".

(snip, snip)

How would you deal with this situation? I know she didn't want to injure me (she's quite a good friend). I don't really want to become an "easy Uke" when training with her, since nobody learns anything that way and there is no point in training if nothing is being learned. Equally, I don't want the senior students to think I'm patronizing them (I'm still obviously very junior).

The question that I have is how did your partner attack you and take ukemi for you? Often a senior student or a teacher will model how you should perform ukemi. Did she attack you at full speed? Did you become 'hitty'? Are her arms sore?

A word about frustration. My teacher used to tell me that frustration comes from the mind knowing what the body should do but the body isn't ready to perform at that level yet. This simply means that she was probably processing things on a higher level and therefore her frustration may not have been about you, your attack, or even doing the technique.

I disagree with your comment about not being able to learn anything from an easy uke. Footwork and timing are two important aspects of Aikido that I think don't require an uke to resist and in fact may be studied more easily with a cooperative uke.

To all things, they're correct time and place.

You ask what we would do in such a situation. Probably, knowing myself, I would have said, "Ouch!"

Why didn't you tell her that what she is doing hurts you? Taking the humble beginner's stance, you could have followed up by asking how to improve your attack so that it wouldn''t hurt so much.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I also disagree with your idea that you cannot help a senior student. I'm not saying that it's appropriate to tell a senior how to do a technique, but telling them what you feel as the technique is being applied can be valuable.

Keep training. And ask more questions!

--jimbo

Tim Ruijs
05-13-2009, 02:45 AM
Reading this thread shows how different people approach the role of aite. In my experience most people wait until they get hurt and only then move their body out of harms way. I think this is bad Budo. One should always in every situation try and protect oneself, both physically as mentally.
That is not to say that aite moves before the technique has even been applied:rolleyes: Aite should allow tori to practise. It's aites responsibility to protect himself during the exercise.
On the other hand I believe tori must control the situation in such a manner that no accidents (are likely to) happen. Control by pain is very bad and will at some point fail you;)

All this becomes more problematic when both tori and aite have no understanding of their roles. This goes for newcomers to Aikido, but also (regretfully) for the more experienced.

Be alert and always protect yourself no matter what role you're in.

StevieT
05-13-2009, 10:57 AM
Dear all,
we had this situation in our dojo also, very much in the same constellation. We have two white belts, both young, strong and VERY rigid. And we had the same attack, yokomen uchi tenchi nage (I suppose that's the technique Steve talks about), and one of these attacked me with full power thinking that was what is required from uke, I responded but didn't know he couldn't take ukemi. So he fell on his shoulder and was hurt for some weeks. I have to say he dealt very gallantly with it and didn't make me a single reproach.

It was either tenchi nage or some variant of second form irimi nage, I don't remember which. We were actually training something very similar last night and I realize now what was going wrong. It's one of those techniques where Uke tends to get hurt if Tori is late. If Tori neutralizes the Yokomen attack before it's really developed then Uke comes out unscathed. If Tori lets the attack develop then tries to respond to it once it's reached full force, then there is almost always a huge clash of energy which is very much a block, rather than a deflection, and not very Aikido-like. The block also doesn't affect Uke's posture, no matter how compliant Uke is trying to be. Because of the point on the arm at which the deflection occurs, it hurts Uke every time, no matter how little he/she tries to resist. If Tori decides that the reason it isn't working is that she isn't blocking hard enough, it just hurts even more.

It was really a problem about distance and timing (like most problems in Aikido, I guess).

Ron Tisdale
05-13-2009, 11:18 AM
Hey! You found the answer! Congrats!

Best,
Ron

Janet Rosen
05-13-2009, 12:44 PM
When too late to do a rising blend, rather than clash, move back and do a lowering blend.
Us slower geriaikidoka need to learn this lesson early on.... :-)

ruthmc
05-14-2009, 05:20 AM
As I said, timing :) And speed.

Learning how to do the rising block to yokomen uchi attack is really, really difficult, and if uke attacks too fast tori can never learn to do it effectively.

As Janet said, the low block while stepping off the line and back is a great alternative :cool:

Steve, please do your tori a favour and SLOW your attack until she is able to execute the block correctly :D

Ruth

Brion Toss
05-14-2009, 10:58 AM
Hello,
It's always about distance and timing, and much else, but which distance, which timing, and which else? It might help to assume first of all that the technique can work, and that both parties' job is to figure out how. This would seem to be at the heart of paired kata practice.
Maybe "obstinate" is not a bad quality in an attacker; after all, no one comes to a fight as an uke. But can you craft your obstinacy to suit the purpose of improving the execution of a technique? In Aikido and elsewhere, it does no good to be honest unless you are also accurate.
Brion Toss

philippe willaume
05-14-2009, 01:23 PM
It was really a problem about distance and timing (like most problems in Aikido, I guess).

Hello

No it blumming well is not.
You just can not take what you dish out period.
It is all well and good to attack hard and true but you need to be able to live with the consequences, now if a few slaps send you packing you clearly can not.

In fact you got off lightly and you should thank her for being of good composition and the fact that there was no atemi to the face. It is martial arts, get use to get hit, mild discomfort and occasional pain, if that is not the case well take up ballroom dancing or aggressing knitting.

I am all in favour of full and proper attack (with provision of grade and build)

That being said
In any martial art, if you go full blast you can expect to be repaid in kind.
In any martial art is it good practice to start up lightly and build up so that uke and tori learn the move and how each other move.
In any martial art you need to be able to eat what you dish out.

Phil

StevieT
05-15-2009, 06:55 AM
Hello

No it blumming well is not.
You just can not take what you dish out period.
It is all well and good to attack hard and true but you need to be able to live with the consequences, now if a few slaps send you packing you clearly can not.

In fact you got off lightly and you should thank her for being of good composition and the fact that there was no atemi to the face. It is martial arts, get use to get hit, mild discomfort and occasional pain, if that is not the case well take up ballroom dancing or aggressing knitting.

I am all in favour of full and proper attack (with provision of grade and build)

That being said
In any martial art, if you go full blast you can expect to be repaid in kind.
In any martial art is it good practice to start up lightly and build up so that uke and tori learn the move and how each other move.
In any martial art you need to be able to eat what you dish out.

Phil

What a strange attitude! Let me get this right: you think that during training, if you don't like the way your training partner is acting, you are justified in deliberately harming them to put them in their place. She didn't like my ukemi, so I should be thankful she didn't get violent. If she had decided to hit me in the face then I would have taken it as her picking a fight with me, not training. That is outside any Aikido we were doing. I'm not a particularly violent person and that would have ended that particular training session right there, since I would not want it to turn into a fight. She would not be the one left standing at the end of a fight.

I do not train with the aim of harming or injuring my training partners.
I do not expect that my training partners will set out to deliberately harm or injure me.

What exactly is it that you think that I'm "dishing out"?

You seem very aggressive. Do you get that from Aikido?

Ron Tisdale
05-15-2009, 07:46 AM
Hmmm, I'm not sure Philippe said that in the best manner. But maybe if you re-read his post carefully, I believe you may understand that he is not advocating intentionally injuring someone.

BUT if you insist upon attacking very strongly, you must also understand that when aikido is properly done, what you put out will come back at you...sometimes multiplied a bit as well. So you should learn quickly to moderate your attacks so that you can deal with what comes out at the other end.

I've been in situations where for one reason or another, someone insisted on VERY strong attacks...when I suggested a little less, they thought I did not want "honest" training. So they did not comply. *Some* of those folks ended up getting hurt/injured...not because I like hurting/injuring people...simply because they were not yet ready to handle the result of that much power going into the equation (and perhaps some of that was my inability to deal with that strong an attack without causing hurt/injury). Which is why I would ask for less...but once you ignore that... :eek:

The thing is...no one should have to tell you this...if you see you are crushing someone and/or you don't like the result...STOP. Change what YOU are doing to get a different result. Take responsiblity for yourself.

Best,
Ron (hope that communicated the idea a little better)

Ron Tisdale
05-15-2009, 08:41 AM
I should also mention that I have made this same error...even as a yudansha.

And I paid for it. :D But I'm not going to whine about the payment I definately asked for... :eek:

B,
R

StevieT
05-15-2009, 09:01 AM
I should also mention that I have made this same error...even as a yudansha.

And I paid for it. :D But I'm not going to whine about the payment I definately asked for... :eek:

B,
R
Payback, retribution, punishment.

Is that how you guys train?

I find this interesting! What we do is (normally) very different.

Ron Tisdale
05-15-2009, 09:44 AM
Darn! lost my whole post.

Long and short, don't take it so seriously, that's why I put in the smilies.

What you put into the equation is what will come out. I can't see why that would be offensive...it happens in life, it happens in physics...it happens with good aikido.

It's not a matter of someone "getting even", its simply that as hard as you attack, that power has to go somewhere, and if your nage/shite is good, it's coming back at you. If they are very good, they will sheild you from your own mistakes...as much as they can.

As someone else said...it is a martial art. At least for many of us.
Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
05-15-2009, 09:48 AM
Oh, I just did a search on this page to be sure...

No where in my posts did I mention

Payback, retribution, punishment..

I think you need a reading lesson.
Best,
Ron (you seem very passive-agressive...did you get that from aikido??)

philippe willaume
05-15-2009, 10:41 AM
What a strange attitude! Let me get this right: you think that during training, if you don't like the way your training partner is acting, you are justified in deliberately harming them to put them in their place. She didn't like my ukemi, so I should be thankful she didn't get violent. If she had decided to hit me in the face then I would have taken it as her picking a fight with me, not training. That is outside any Aikido we were doing. I'm not a particularly violent person and that would have ended that particular training session right there, since I would not want it to turn into a fight. She would not be the one left standing at the end of a fight.

What exactly is it that you think that I'm "dishing out"? ?

Well as Ron said I did not put it the best way but to be brutally honest, I tuned it down.

May be I misunderstood you initial post, but
You played hard, no seeing any reason to compromise the “integrity” of your attack.
Got answered in kind
Put the blame on your training partner, who is not here to defend herself and whose list of fault grows with every one of our post.
And worst of all you are complaining and winging about it.

For me it is not really an acceptable line to take, hence my lack of compassion for your current predicament.

If you think of it rationally, the harder you attack the more energy you give to the counter and the more energy they will put into their counter.
By the attack you are giving you are setting up the pace. If you attack hard at least the initial bit is going to be hard


You seem very aggressive. Do you get that from Aikido?

For your edification, some aikido style defends against Yokomen by attacking the arm and punching the face as part of the block standard technique hence the allusion to kindness
As to me being aggressive, no mate, I am lovely and cuddly. In fact I am so fluffy that at the club they even nicknamed me Salome.

To answer the last last part of your question, No not really, Aikido just enables me to be just as rough and nasty as I naturally am, but with much less physical effort.

Ron Tisdale
05-15-2009, 10:48 AM
some aikido style defends against Yokomen by attacking the arm and punching the face as part of the block standard technique

Ah, warms the cockles of me wee little heart... :D

Best,
Ron

philippe willaume
05-15-2009, 10:59 AM
Ah, warms the cockles of me wee little heart... :D

Best,
Ron

Well yes but be careful if you practice with a higher grade woman, on the top of severe tendonitis you will get a fat lip as well.:D

Ps Do you keep track of people you do injure; personally I have a little star on my sleeve.
I found that you need to do that on both side because after a while you start to be heavier on one side.

phil

Janet Rosen
05-15-2009, 11:02 AM
Aikido just enables me to be just as rough and nasty as I naturally am, but with much less physical effort.

ROTFLMAO!!!! Thant you, Philippe for my first belly laught of the day.

StevieT
05-15-2009, 11:29 AM
Put the blame on your training partner, who is not here to defend herself and whose list of fault grows with every one of our post.
And worst of all you are complaining and winging about it.
Blame is a pretty worthless concept this long after the fact, I am not really angry about this and wasn't at the time either. The point of this thread was about how to avoid such incidents in the future. I am not trying to blame anybody. To paraphrase my posts this thread: at the time of the incident, something wasn't working. She was getting frustrated, I was getting hurt. Neither of us could really see what the problem was. I could have dropped my attacks to the stage where her training would have been worthless in order to avoid getting hurt, but chose not to in order to try to salvage some value from the session. Months later, and I think I have a handle on what was going wrong after a training session on a similar technique.

Why on earth would I want to come online to lay blame on and whinge about an anonymous training partner for an incident that happened several months ago.

I'm not entirely sure why you took such offense at the fact that I think I have a handle on what was going wrong, that you decided on the basis of a summary of one side of an incident at which you were not present that you know better about what was happening than I do.
For me it is not really an acceptable line to take, hence my lack of compassion for your current predicament.
I have no interest in trying to badmouth anonymous people, they are such unsatisfactory targets of abuse. I'm not trying to take a line against her here.
If you think of it rationally, the harder you attack the more energy you give to the counter and the more energy they will put into their counter.
By the attack you are giving you are setting up the pace. If you attack hard at least the initial bit is going to be hard
This was not really what was happening. You can choose not to believe that if you want, based on your superior knowledge of the situation.
For your edification, some aikido style defends against Yokomen by attacking the arm and punching the face as part of the block standard technique hence the allusion to kindness
That's great. In some styles of Krav Maga, they teach that a good kick to the nuts will drop an opponent very effectively too. That was not what we were training at the time and she would have learned nothing from switching from the principle that we were trying to learn to one that she thinks would be more effective. To do so would simply be an act of anger and retaliation, neither of which have any place in a martial arts dojo, least of all an Aikido dojo.

Ron Tisdale
05-15-2009, 11:44 AM
That was not what we were training at the time and she would have learned nothing from switching from the principle that we were trying to learn to one that she thinks would be more effective. To do so would simply be an act of anger and retaliation, neither of which have any place in a martial arts dojo, least of all an Aikido dojo.

Ah, no, sometimes if the attack isn't correct, you switch to the appropriate waza for the attack given. Nothing to do with anger or retaliation **in some cases**. And considered perfectly appropriate in some aikido dojo.

Best,
Ron

jonreading
05-18-2009, 02:09 PM
I see you are big supporter of idea controlling uke using pain :confused: :p So if somebody doesn't feel pain anymore, you will not be able to control him efficiently? :o

I the other hand, in aikido we are suppose to overcome a dualism between uke and tori. From your description('two choices') it looks like you are going deeper and deeper into this dualism. ;)

1. Absolutely not. Pain is the consequence of resistence, not a factor of control. Pain is what tells us our body is in danger. If I do not feel pain, how can I tell if I am touching a hot tea kettle? Is the tea kettle at fault if I grab it and it burns me? If someone cannot feel pain and they ignore their body's warnings signals, they risk injury.
2. Absolutely not. The outcome to good aikido is compliance. Whether (or not) your partner resists is simply an external condition of that outcome. I will drive to work today; whether or not it rains is simply the condition in which I drive.

Sy Labthavikul
05-18-2009, 03:18 PM
Just had a great seminar with Vince Salvatore Sensei of Aikido of Reno, and even though his "style" is very much Iwama (he was uchideshi for like more than 10 years and during that time took ukemi for Saito sensei a lot), which a lot of people stereotype as hard, bang bang bang aikido, when I took ukemi for him I never felt the slightest bit of pain or forced compliance; I just ended up going where he wanted me to go, usually of my own volition. He stressed that he wasn't trying to force uke to do anything, and that uke should neither resist to "lock out" nage nor should he comply completely; he should just move to keep himself safe while still giving nage energy to work with. But if uke resists, nage CAN use pain to force compliance, but that wasn't really the point of Salvatore's style of training; he either used whatever resistance he felt to fuel another movement, or circumvented the resistance by moving around it or redirecting it. He made the metaphor that if you're training for a marathon, then you train by running; using pain compliance is like hopping into a go-kart.

DonMagee
05-20-2009, 07:49 AM
Every time I read stories like this I think to myself "This is a drill practice, not a sparing session."

I liken this to a judo throw line. We have students who resist the throw every time. I usually point out that I can stand there and simply not be thrown for as long as I want because I know exactly what is going to happen. It would be no different then just sitting down in the throw line and letting them try to throw me from my butt.

It's ok to give pointers or inform them that they didn't have your balance, but eventually you just have to let them practice the technique or the throw line never moves on.

If you want to see real application, then you need to stop with the weird resist what I already know is coming thing and just throw down.

So in conclusion, you will be able to throw me 9 out of 10 times when we are drilling, but when the randori starts and you still can't take my balance, well then your going for a ride.

Mark Gibbons
05-20-2009, 08:27 PM
... I will always give a proper, full-force attack. I do this because I think both Uke and Tori learn more that way.


I don't think givings proper full force attack is the best way to learn, for someone with 7 months of experience. It might depend on what you mean by full force attack though. Full speed, multiple attacks with combinations, tracking, kicking, biting and scratching attacks, with surprise live knife pulls? Some nages won't survive that and I would be surprised if you don't already use a lot of judgement about how hard to attack


[... At this point I only really had two options: weaken the attack and start falling easy or put up with the pain and keep going. ...

I can think of a few more options. You probably have too.


..I think the impacts had bruised and inflamed the tendons in a nasty case of tendonitis. ..

Yikes, sounds really unpleasant. Moving body parts so that they don't get hurt is part of ukemi. Your arm is a body part and you had the option of doing something else with it.


How would you deal with this situation? ...I don't really want to become an "easy Uke" when training with her, since nobody learns anything that way and there is no point in training if nothing is being learned. ...

I try not to do do things that cause me a lot of excess unneeded pain. So I would have changed either the strikes or how I received the blocks that were part of her technique.

I think you are overstating a bit when you say nobody learns anything from an easy uke. That statement is quite a step up from wanting to give proper full force attacks because people learn more that way. Committed attacks don't have to be fast, or stiff or any of the other things that people think make them full force. Slow training is frequently the fastest way to learn new things and really get some of the details. Many of the easy ukes I know are letting me figure out the moves, while they are figuring out how to reverse what I'm doing, looking for opening, and looking for places to hit me.

Thank you for starting an interesting thread.

Regards,
Mark

Keith Larman
05-20-2009, 10:09 PM
Just to toss something in.

Sometimes I get to be on the receiving end of a poor, overpowered technique. Why? Well, I try to attack appropriately given the partner's level of ability. But... I'm a big guy. I polish swords all day long and I have a very strong upper body. Strong arms, thick arms, and shorter legs (> 30" inseam but I'm 6 feet tall). So I'm all upper body, ectomorphic, light weight training, still polishing swords hard every day kinda guy. So some go into a sort of "extra umph" mode with me. And I've got the pain in my wrists, elbows and shoulders to show for it. No better way to get someone to lose their "aiki" than to have a big guy attack. They immediately tighten up and try to muscle things. And if they're half good what that really means is that I tend to get hurt. Right now I'm typing with a *very* sore wrist from a shodan's way over-enthusiastic sankyo. All wrist lock, zero kuzushi.

It goes both ways. Frankly if I have someone attacking me and I'm "colliding" I'll often ask them to slow down a bit so I can work on my timing and distance -- obviously something is wrong. But there are also times when a junior person will be attacking and quite frankly it sometimes feel more like they're "testing" their seniors a bit. Happens a lot especially in the nikyu through shodan grades. They're trying to hang more with the higher skilled people, but often they confuse hard attack with good attacks. Personally I don't hesitate to ask them to slow down so I can improve.

I'll also point out that sometimes with some newer students they will give a seriously intense attack even though I am concerned they may not be able to handle the ukemi if I follow through correctly with the technique. So sometimes the technique ends up a bit jarring or awkward. That's more about me trying to protect them from harm.

But some students really do want to go at that speed. And sometimes they end up on their butts. As already posted, it is martial arts. Sometimes it's gonna hurt. No one of any integrity will *try* to hurt someone as a vindictive effort, but sometimes a student simply won't listen and continues to push the envelope. I know that was in a large part how I approached it as well. And I had my share of "life experience" moments on the mat over the years as a result of it. I learned a lot from those. Sometimes it was that I was pushing beyond my abilities. I paid for those. Sometimes it was a reminder that I wasn't at the level I thought I was. Good lesson. And now I find myself sometimes on the other end of that.

So no easy answers from me. Just observations from my own training. I'm all for pushing yourself. I'm all for giving a sincere attack. Over time you need to learn when and where that is appropriate, however. And maybe develop a little more sensitivity as to when a 100% intensity may not be the best choice. You are supposed to be working *together* to figure this stuff out. Banging your head (or their head) against a wall repeatedly usually won't fix anything.

But maybe one or two times being tossed over it may make the point...

Just my rambling all-over-the-map take on the thread in general.

Spinmaster
05-20-2009, 10:29 PM
I haven't read the entire thread yet (it's long! :D), which I will do soon. Some comments though after reading through the first page and part of the second.

1. Some people seem to be faulting the OP for resisting, and even encourage him to "give his center away". My sensei teaches that Nage's job to unbalance Uke. This is the first thing that must be done, before every technique. If Nage cannot unbalance Uke, the technique is not going to work. If Uke simply gives Nage his balance, then Nage has not learned to take Uke's balance, and so is basically learning the technique wrong (or you could say, not learning it at all). Even when we work compliantly without resistance, we always unbalance.

2. To the OP, I think you should have talked to Nage and worked things out, rather than each of you making decisions (her to hit you harder and you to continue attacking exactly the same as before) without communicating with each other.

3. Since you didn't know how to help her with the technique, it probably would have been a good idea to get the teacher or one of the senior students over to help. :)

Lyle Bogin
06-21-2009, 12:45 PM
FIrst of all, I love how this story is essentially "I got beat up by a girl!"

Good aikidoists are like brick walls in the sense that you can kind of figure out what's going to happen if you slam your arm into them.

I think the best way to advance is to subject yourself to the instruction of all those above you, even if you think their technique is below par. First of all, you can't really tell who is good and why yet. Second, just because a person cannot "defeat" you doesn't mean that the skills they could show you wouldn't help you "defeat" others, or dare I say it yourself.

I have my favorite sempai, and I have a few that I hold criticism for. Many of my kohai come eager to learn, and a few roll their inner eyes and wait for someone else to come flop with. I'm sure I've chased some poor suckers off of the mat entirely.

Everyone is a mixed bag, and if you want people to tolerate your inadequacy, you should tolerate theirs. After all, if you're anything like me you'll find out you were so wrong in the first place you'll wonder what the guy you'll be in another 10 years will think.

gdandscompserv
06-21-2009, 04:20 PM
Drop to the floor and SCREAM as loud as you can, all the while flopping about like a fish out of water.:D

Michael Douglas
06-22-2009, 08:42 AM
Ricky, you're confusing this with football.

gdandscompserv
06-22-2009, 03:54 PM
Ricky, you're confusing this with football.
oops:o

Janet Rosen
06-22-2009, 05:37 PM
Ricky, you're confusing this with football.

oh...well then....soccer in the face!

gdandscompserv
06-22-2009, 07:32 PM
oh...well then....soccer in the face!
:D

C. David Henderson
06-25-2009, 02:55 PM
Like Zidane's head butt against the Italian in the 06 world cup?

Ron Tisdale
06-26-2009, 07:59 AM
Like Zidane's head butt against the Italian in the 06 world cup?
I know it's wrong...

But that was SO cool. :D

Best,
Ron (trying to control the primal nature...)