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Carrie Campbell
10-21-2009, 11:21 AM
I know sometimes we practice connection with exercises that are basically techniques without grabs. Instead of taking katatetori, we’ll place our hands palm to palm. It’s uke’s job to stay attached, and neither person is to grab hold of the other.

While this connections remains in place during regular katatetori techniques and so on, the “grab” should reinforce that connection. With a few partners, I can wrap my hand around. But with most partners, their wrist is bigger than my hand, and I can hook my thumb around one side and hook my pinky finger around the other side with the tips of my other fingers, and my palm against the back of their wrist/arm. Usually, I can stay attached, but as speed (and perspiration) increase, it is sometimes difficult not to slip. I've noticed it a couple times recently, once as uke during a seminar. :o continue with the technique, slip again (and again)...had a nice dribble effect going... At the time I thought I was just nervous, but I've noticed I slip at other times too.

Most of you are much more experienced in aikido and staying connected. How do you continue to stay attached? Any recommendations?

Voitokas
10-21-2009, 12:10 PM
I actually try not to use my fingers when "grabbing". The connection of a strong-fingered grip is pretty illusory, and I find it more effective to work on maintaining kokyu with just my palm on nage's wrist. It is hard at the beginning, but you are eventually able to feel and guess what nage's next move is going to be, even in jiyuwaza and randori. In fact, even more so then (for me anyway), since I can't lazily guide nage through the technique with suggestive ukemi (it happens sometimes by accident, to all of us, I think).

I think that the only helpful advice that comes to mind is this: if you are concentrating on holding on to nage's wrist with your fingers, you'll have that much more trouble maintaining a connection. As weird as it sounds, the grip (and paying attention to it) works against staying connected.

Hope that helps a little bit!

Shadowfax
10-21-2009, 01:01 PM
Wow glad you asked this. I have similar issues with one of the people I train with. As well as the issue as Nage of getting a good hold especially in the final grip and throw for shihonage. I'm always loosing him just as I go to cut into the throw.

ramenboy
10-21-2009, 01:04 PM
i totally agree with you jer. once you grip with your fingers, that's all you rely on, and then you forget about a connection with the whole body.

to avoid losing contact between your palm and nage's wrist, your body has to move.

Adam Huss
10-21-2009, 01:38 PM
In Yoshinkan we stress having the entirety of your hand/palm making full contact with uke's (insert body part here) allowing full transfer of energy, and hence control, from your body to theirs. Additionally, we stress the importance of the pinky finger in nage's (sh'te) control techniques (ikkyo, nikkyo, etc) as it is the finger that has a direct line along the ulnar which connects to the triceps, and to the latissumus dorsi, to the lower back, hips, then finally the mat and your toes (in particular the big toe). So everything is coming up off the ground, through your body, and into one point in your hands (shu chu ryoku) helping align your body, and the ground's energy into the technique. Pretty sure I explained this poorly, but there it is. Anyway, that's my two cents on grabbing techniques (when one grabs, that is).

Kevin Leavitt
10-21-2009, 01:51 PM
As a BJJ player, gripping is my life! I live (and die) by it.

Couple of folks already pointed it out, gripping for this kinda technique is actually best done with the palm only without the thumb.

That said, your body position and wieght distribution is also important as well as the orientation of the grip, and eventually, you have to do something with that grip that moves you to a positon of greater control.

A little hard to describe here as much is dependent upon orientation of the situation, but maybe try to play around with "thumbless" gripping some to see if this helps you at all.

I know in aikido alot we use full hand thumb grips to train...there is a reason for this I think as it encourages musubi...so keep that in mind as well. If uke is pulling away from you, you probably are not giving him a good reason to stay connected! Remember uke, is always right! so keep working at it to see what things you can do to stay connected...that is the practice anyhow!

Carrie Campbell
10-21-2009, 02:49 PM
Thanks, guys. Many of you seem to be saying similar things about the palm staying connected to nage's wrist, and this is what we are taught as well.

to avoid losing contact between your palm and nage's wrist, your body has to move.

As a solution/diagnosis, needing to move my body as uke makes perfect sense. If it's uke's job to stay connected, and there is some separation, then when nage moved, uke must not have or didn't move fast enough in the correct direction to keep up.

I'll try to "move" tonight. This is only an issue at higher than regular speeds, but perhaps that can be arranged...

ninjaqutie
10-21-2009, 03:31 PM
I have this problem as well since I have tiny hands. My wrists are less then 5" around, so everyone can easily grab me. My Sensei was HUGE wrists and I can never really get a hold of him and I have the same problem with most of the guys in the class. Like the others said though, Sensei emphasizes staying connected and that the palm of our hand should stay connected. As long as I try to do that, I don't have too much of a problem. If my hand does slip off, I just try to get it (contact) back.

Kevin Leavitt
10-21-2009, 03:41 PM
Well you say it is uke's job to stay connected. Maybe, maybe not. Sure, at a beginner level...uke probably should try and stay connected.

At a higher level though, uke is never wrong.

Uke stays connected because if he/she does not...bad things are going to happen and he/she instinctively figures this out.

If he/she does not feel this then one or two things are going on.

1. Uke is oblivous to the fact that you can make things worse for him.

2. You are creating conditions in which uke really has no "incentive" to hold on.

Speed typically makes things worse as either one or the other of you is in a different part of the process and it doesn't work out for you and you have to do something else.

Go slow when working on this aspect.

Walter Martindale
10-21-2009, 03:59 PM
Further to Kevin's comments in #9... As much as it is uke's job to stay connected, a number of sensei have remarked to me that nage's movements should not be so badly out of harmony with the attack that the uke breaks free. One sensei feels that uke should feel like they're in control all the way down to the ground, and if nage has caused uke's grip to break, it's nage that gets yelled at... So - if uke isn't managing to get to make contact before you've turned away, perhaps you're moving too early. If you as uke aren't getting to nage before he or she is already half way through a tenkan, why not give the person a light tap on the back of the head or in the ribs to get them to blend with the attack rather than turn away from it.
If nage is moving in such a way that uke CAN'T hold on even after taking a grip and despite all efforts to keep going (maybe uke isn't flexible enough, maybe they have a lot of mass/inertia, maybe the nage's movement was faster or bigger than uke can keep up with) then it may be nage's fault that the connection was broken.
e.g., "keep your grip" - "I can't - my wrists don't bend that far - I'm not 18 any more."

Slow to get started and learn the movement, speed up as learning develops.
Walter

Joe McParland
10-21-2009, 04:37 PM
When uke begins, the intent to "connect" with the target is there. A grip is generally a first target of opportunity. Once the grip is established, Uke can be unconsciously maintain it as part of his larger intent (e.g., threaten, subdue, harm, etc.). What would trigger a release of the grip is something you can study and find for yourself.

As an experiment, start with a simple, solid, same-side wrist grab. Nage threatens Uke with a surprise atemi to the face. See if Uke releases the grip.

You might be surprised to see that many don't. The grabbing arm is somehow "busy"---it's just not an option to release.

I find that a lot of aikido is like that... If the mind is occupied with something else, like dealing with an impending strike, or maintaining balance, or anything else, that connection remains...

... unless Nage breaks it.

Now, it takes some trust and some skills for Uke to be natural this way after seeing what's coming. Here a common admonishment is "stay connected!"---in other words, don't anticipate the defense, thus shifting your initial intent. This palms together bit sounds like one good way to get passed the issue for a while. But, it might not lead you to find what you will in that experiment, I think...

... plus, you'll have to be ready to have all those "effective aikido" folks laughing at you ;p

Lyle Laizure
10-21-2009, 09:24 PM
Try using both hands. :)

CitoMaramba
10-22-2009, 01:21 AM
Try imagining that tori has a weapon in the hand you are gripping...

ChrisHein
10-22-2009, 10:58 AM
I know sometimes we practice connection with exercises that are basically techniques without grabs. Instead of taking katatetori, we'll place our hands palm to palm. It's uke's job to stay attached, and neither person is to grab hold of the other.

While this connections remains in place during regular katatetori techniques and so on, the "grab" should reinforce that connection. With a few partners, I can wrap my hand around. But with most partners, their wrist is bigger than my hand, and I can hook my thumb around one side and hook my pinky finger around the other side with the tips of my other fingers, and my palm against the back of their wrist/arm. Usually, I can stay attached, but as speed (and perspiration) increase, it is sometimes difficult not to slip. I've noticed it a couple times recently, once as uke during a seminar. :o continue with the technique, slip again (and again)...had a nice dribble effect going... At the time I thought I was just nervous, but I've noticed I slip at other times too.

Most of you are much more experienced in aikido and staying connected. How do you continue to stay attached? Any recommendations?

I often say, you need a grip like steel, an arm like water, and a body that's very fast and agile. If any of those parts are weak, the others have to make up for it.

If you're losing your grip it because either:

A: Your arm is too ridged, and it's not moving freely enough to facilitate your grip.

or

B: Your body is not moving enough to keep up with nage's changes.

There is a point where we all lose our grip, that's what Aikido techniques are based around! However, with a fluid body and arm, you'll be surprised at how well you can stay connected.

Good luck

Carrie Campbell
10-22-2009, 03:36 PM
I'll try to "move" tonight. This is only an issue at higher than regular speeds, but perhaps that can be arranged...

Go slow when working on this aspect.

Slow to get started and learn the movement, speed up as learning develops.
Walter

Well, I had opportunities for slow, regular, and faster settings at practice last night, but didn’t slip. The closest I got was not ever reaching the wrist in the first place. There were also times when we just connected without holding on; sometimes the wrist wasn’t the first available contact.

I did, however, have a chance to ask my instructor about the katatetori connection. The palm, of course, is the main part, and should be enough to do technique with. But he usually wraps the rest of the hand around as well, beginning with the pinky finger etc. Ashley, it looks like trying to stay connected, and reconnecting if we slip off is all one can do. Afraid he didn’t have any suggestions; guess I’ll just have to keep practicing. ;)

I also asked why as uke he is just connected like this and sometimes he has an iron clamp-like grip (which immobilizes the wrist) and he said he doesn’t know a reason, just what seems appropriate at the time.

Again, I think Jerome, Chris, and Kevin hit the nail on the head with body movement/position. An old (2008) picture that might illustrate can be found at: http://www.lincolngreenscene.com/photo/takeguchi-shihan-with-carrie (photo credits to Mr. Noel Judd),[I] if I dare to post it…. While this was not “one of those times,” it shows a body position as uke where my legs are starting to get out from under my hips. If I’m still doing this, perhaps that’s why I slip. I think I should try to stay closer to nage, with my feet under my hips. Does that seem reasonable?

Carrie Campbell
10-22-2009, 03:42 PM
I actually try not to use my fingers when "grabbing". The connection of a strong-fingered grip is pretty illusory, and I find it more effective to work on maintaining kokyu with just my palm on nage's wrist. It is hard at the beginning, but you are eventually able to feel and guess what nage's next move is going to be, even in jiyuwaza and randori. In fact, even more so then (for me anyway), since I can't lazily guide nage through the technique with suggestive ukemi (it happens sometimes by accident, to all of us, I think).

I think that the only helpful advice that comes to mind is this: if you are concentrating on holding on to nage's wrist with your fingers, you'll have that much more trouble maintaining a connection. As weird as it sounds, the grip (and paying attention to it) works against staying connected.

Hope that helps a little bit!

i totally agree with you jer. once you grip with your fingers, that's all you rely on, and then you forget about a connection with the whole body.

Jerome, Jeremy: :sorry: Sorry, but I’m not sure I understand your version of “grab” properly. When you start with katatetori, do you just have palm to wrist and leave the fingers, etc. open, or do you go ahead and wrap them around also? Is this the standard way or a learning exercise/variation? Do you just mean that you don’t “squeeze” uke’s wrist? :confused: (It’s possible we’re used to similar forms, and I’m just not explaining myself/listening well.) It seems like we Midwestern USAF folks should be fairly compatible. Jerome, perhaps you would be willing to explain it when we meet this weekend???

ramenboy
10-22-2009, 04:33 PM
you can try an exercise of palm to wrist, just as you do the exercise palm to palm.

the main idea is to not grip with JUST your fingers.

practice should be fun this weekend! :P

Voitokas
10-22-2009, 06:15 PM
Jerome, Jeremy: :sorry: Sorry, but I'm not sure I understand your version of "grab" properly. When you start with katatetori, do you just have palm to wrist and leave the fingers, etc. open, or do you go ahead and wrap them around also? Is this the standard way or a learning exercise/variation? Do you just mean that you don't "squeeze" uke's wrist? :confused:
As far as I can tell from seminars etc., the "standard way" is to connect with the palm and wrap the fingers around like holding a sword (pinky side first, relatively loose grip). I often do not even curl my fingers around - I'm keeping the connection by pointing my forearm at nage's center and backing up the arrow ow my forearm with my own center. It's good exercise for keeping my arm loose; it's helpful to kohai learning a technique because they concentrate more on the thrust of my attack than on a grabby hand, and it makes for more honest ukemi, I think. I learned it in a USAF East dojo, where my sempai did it to me (probably for the same reasons), and when I went to an ASU dojo my sensei and sempai never seemed to mind when I did it - so even if it's not the "standard way", it's a good way; good practise at least. It's not your job as uke to keep hold of the wrist the whole time; it's your job to try to stay connected (and try to regain control, except when working with beginners) the whole time. Ask your sensei about trying without fingers as an exercise... as long as you remember to keep in mind your center, nage's center, and the forearm that points from one to the other, you should be able to keep kokyu and stay more responsive. Try it; it'll be fun! :D

Janet Rosen
10-22-2009, 07:20 PM
I cannot grip strongly because of arthritis and have long found the "sticky palm" is an excellent connector between practice partner's centers.

DonMagee
10-23-2009, 07:42 AM
Well you say it is uke's job to stay connected. Maybe, maybe not. Sure, at a beginner level...uke probably should try and stay connected.

At a higher level though, uke is never wrong.

Uke stays connected because if he/she does not...bad things are going to happen and he/she instinctively figures this out.

If he/she does not feel this then one or two things are going on.

1. Uke is oblivous to the fact that you can make things worse for him.

2. You are creating conditions in which uke really has no "incentive" to hold on.

Speed typically makes things worse as either one or the other of you is in a different part of the process and it doesn't work out for you and you have to do something else.

Go slow when working on this aspect.

I've always said that if you give me back my balance, then I have no reason to follow you around. Instead I can work towards my own goals of setting up the next attack.

bakersan960
02-14-2010, 06:32 PM
I have this problem as well since I have tiny hands. My wrists are less then 5" around, so everyone can easily grab me. My Sensei was HUGE wrists and I can never really get a hold of him and I have the same problem with most of the guys in the class. Like the others said though, Sensei emphasizes staying connected and that the palm of our hand should stay connected. As long as I try to do that, I don't have too much of a problem. If my hand does slip off, I just try to get it (contact) back.

You can do without fngers on this techniquie as well as most! Think and try like you don't have fingers!

ruthmc
02-15-2010, 07:51 AM
I agree with Walter and Joe,

if uke gifts me with a grab, that takes one of his limbs out of his attacking arsenal, which is great news for me :D

As tori I will then do everything I can to maintain that sticky connection as I know where that limb of uke's is, leaving me free to concentrate on being out of range of the rest of him.

Many tori tend to mis-time their movements and lose this connection, either not allowing it to happen in the first place, or ripping themselves clear of the grip. All this does is to leave tori open to another strike, which I'm happy to provide :p

Not everyone agrees with this and thinks that it's uke's job to hang on, no matter how hard tori makes it for them :crazy:

As a person with child sized hands I can't wrap my fingers around large wrists either, but I don't attack with my hands, I attack with my centre through my hands and use my intention to drive the attacking force. This is usually enough for me to make tori's job difficult if he doesn't blend correctly :D

Ruth

Nikopol
02-15-2010, 08:08 AM
Excellent post.