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Amassus
04-24-2010, 07:12 PM
I read this in another thread:
The debate therefore is not whether pins work, but rather what motivates uke to solicit a more uncomfortable pin by attempting to escape. To that extent, it concerns me when uke attempts to escape a pin because that signals uke does not believe the exchange to be at its end. Pins should communicate, "I can hurt you, you cannot defend yourself. Stop your actions and submit to me."

I agree with this comment. There is no point to struggling out of a pin if the back of your head and neck are exposed to nage. You are signalling that you want to get struck. However, I want to take a look at what ideas are percieved in the dojo.

We have all had people fight a technique when they first come to the dojo. We have all had people do what is discussed in the above quote where they attempt to escape the pin. We have had people being extremely cooperative uke and you are not training honestly.
We have had people punch at you and if you don't move, the punch doesn't actually connect, it sometimes even veers off to one side to help you avoid it.

More and more I am looking at how I can train the minds of the students rather than just teach them techniques. This thread has some relevance to the thread I started on "Courage". However, I want to look more deeply into creating an atmosphere in a dojo where we cultivate the right training method for body AND mind.

Thoughts, please.
:do:

ChrisHein
04-24-2010, 07:27 PM
Here is a trick I use.

Make Uke do the proper action first. So if the action is push nage so nage can throw hikiotoshi, then before you practice the throw, practice Uke's part.

Then go to the throw and repeat. Make training Uke's part as important as Nage's, not just the fall, but the attack as well.

When I started Kendo I thought it was odd that the higher ranking person received the technique first ( playing what we would call Uke). Then I realized what an advantage it was to have the "better" student provide the proper attack first. This sets the pace, and shows how Uke should be generating the attack.

Carl Thompson
04-24-2010, 07:49 PM
I've often heard it said that aikido is not just blending your own technique with that of your opponent but also a blend of your kokoro (heart/mind) with that of your opponent. If you have this, you can do anything. If you don't, then you get people challenging each other, deliberately injuring folk by giving them more than they can handle, complying to avoid hurting the other's feelings, purposely not attacking properly in order to "beat" the other person, actively helping that other person to "beat" you and so on. I think that without that basic mindset of honest training, it can go either way with often ludicrous results.

RED
04-24-2010, 08:19 PM
I've said it before, and I'll say it again... Atemi: I'll hit you. o_o

Dieter Haffner
04-25-2010, 05:47 AM
There is no point to struggling out of a pin if the back of your head and neck are exposed to nage.I don't think this is a good motivator for uke to stop his action. A good pin should lock you up completely, so that struggling is no longer an option. Even thinking of wanting to struggle is locked out of your mind.

As long as I don't have the feeling of complete imobilization, I might be attempted to try to break out.
Even when it is a pin that is pretty well applied, nage better makes sure he keeps control of the situation when he is getting back on his feet or I will try to overcome him.
Because to me, there is no begin and end to a technique. There is only the continuous interaction between my partner and me.

I believe that letting my partner feel where there is an opening, is training honestly. And it should keep him aware of everting, all the time.

SeiserL
04-25-2010, 06:38 AM
IMHO, intent.
A crucial part of communication is body and mind congruence.
Everything communicates assertively (not aggressively) that I am in charge.
The proper technique with the proper attitude.
One message, one intent, one point.

Kevin Leavitt
04-25-2010, 07:25 AM
One thing that comes to mind for me when reading this is a phenomenon that I experience in teaching Level I (beginning) combatives to Soldiers quite often.

In my advance classes and BJJ classes students will of course move "appropriately" and proportionality to the real and "percieved" threat.

However, in the Level I course, many times they will not. They will do things that are completely and tactically unsound.

They will do these things and put me in a hurt locker cause I was not expecting them to do that very thing, or they will demonstrate shear super human strength and power out of something they should not be able to get out of....they will take risk that a "reasonable" and proficient student will not.

AND they are not WRONG!

Sure we want Uke to learn to recognize when they are in danger, but we also need to understand that people will do things that we may or may not think SHOULD happen. They will take risk, especially if they perceive they have something greater to lose.

What ever we do in the dojo, we need to develop an answer and a response for. The guy may be willing to risk a strike to the back of the head or completely pull his arm out of socket to get to you are get out of a pin.

We also need to be careful to not CONDITION uke and nage both to accept and comply as a matter of HABIT, not of training constraint but HABIT...what you do in training, you will do on the street.

So, I love new students and students that do not recognize what is really going on with said technique. We need to not look at them as nuisances, but as a welcome training challenge to improve what we are doing with both them and us.

It is great to have beautiful and perfect aikido where the partners have reached the level of communication where they are both flowing properly through the process doing everything by the book.

On the street on in reality, there is a breakdown in that communication process and it is up to us to gain control of that process...not to blend with it, harmonize with it, or to make him understand.....BUT to completely and utterly CONTROL IT!

Once we have control of it, we have the ability to dictate the terms of the relationship and we can then (hopefully) return to that relationship what we want...that is once he/she understands what roles each of you is playing.

Sure you can always leave room for him to choose a path, figuratively and literally. Choice can be a good thing to give him, but we need to also weigh the risk and make sure we are taking an identifiable an controllable risk.

I think though that it is important to understand that first we have to learn to control before we can restore the balance.

Sorry for the digression, but I think this is important to completely understand this paradigm of the relationship between uke/nage.

dps
04-25-2010, 07:44 AM
Uke's role in training honestly; committed attack, don't give up unless you have to.

Nage's role in training honestly: make the technique work, make uke submit.

It is fun to hear someone who outranks you by several degrees say something like, " You can't do that, out on the street an attacker won't react that way."

My response, " I just did and if I was the attacker I would."

David

Kevin Leavitt
04-25-2010, 08:18 AM
Committed to what degree though? I think this is the holy grail question. I don't like the word committed as I think it puts the wrong image semantically in folks head. Appropriate attack I think may be a better choice of words.

What might be appropriate for a beginner might be different for say a 5th Dan.

Sure, I may "commit" a little more with a beginner, but with a very experienced nage, I would give him even less room and make the shot group even tighter.

I attack in all cases with "balanced" attacks, one that is "committed" in that the attack is real, plausable, and gives nage something to work on, yet it still allows me to keep my balance/center and move on to the next attack if nage is not spot on his technique.

For me, committed used to mean "extended". extended to the point that I could not escape nage or do anything about what was going to happen next.

In fact, I like to stay tight as uke, and I practice just as much as nage, if not more so, as I choose when I will take nage's center back or try to...all the way to the ground and even into the pin.

Sometimes I will "go" with a technique all the way to the pin, only to off balance and show nage where the gap is.

Of course, it depends on the nage and his/her abilities and what I feel as uke is appropriate to the situation.

I remember years ago having my seniors tell me how important learning good ukemi was. I thought I had figured it out pretty quickly in the first few months of training and was all about being nage.

Today, though, I'd much rather be uke, and find that roll to be many times more challenging and I get more out of training being uke!

dps
04-25-2010, 08:31 AM
Committed attack would be an attack where if nage did nothing the attack would be successful.

You have to adjust speed for nage's ability.

David

Kevin Leavitt
04-25-2010, 08:40 AM
Agree David.

I think though that the "and then what...." gets left out alot and we simply end the situation with the attack kinda hanging out there in the breeze.

dps
04-25-2010, 08:54 AM
Agree David.

I think though that the "and then what...." gets left out alot and we simply end the situation with the attack kinda hanging out there in the breeze.
Do something don't leave the attack hanging or the "then what" up to the other guy.

I like Grant Wager's signature,

If you're hungry, keep moving.
If you're tired, keep moving.
If you value you're life, keep moving.

David

Russ Q
04-25-2010, 10:19 AM
I think you should invest in George Ledyard Sensei's Basics video (or any of his DVD's actually). He clearly explains the role of uke and what their INTENTION should be as uke, the potential consequences of deviating from the "form", and (as David mentioned) you can still go slow (and hit your partner) if you have the proper intent..... Dean, I've found George's explanations ones that are very easy to demonstrate and explain to my students too.

Best,

Russ

jonreading
04-26-2010, 11:58 AM
I think I may have posted the quote to which Dean is referring. In my experience with pins I notice that students who choose to fight a solid pin often lack the martial education to realize the risk and consequences of the contest. To this observation I identify two points to the problem: first, uke is not competent to understand the danger inherent with contesting the pin, second, nage has a greater burden of communication to both convince uke that nage is in control of technique and to educate uke about the danger of contesting the pin. This is one of the disadvantages to aikido practice that has created an environment of aikido students who lack fundamental fighting skills to realize and react to danger.

As for the students who understand the consequences of their action but choose to thwart nage, they are taking a great personal risk for a simple satisfaction. Dumb, no excuse. This is not good aikido and does not provide a learning experience.

I think it is important to a good dojo environment to separate the innocents from the offenders and address their individual needs. Sensei (or dai sempai) have an obligation provide martial education to kohai. Sensei (or dai sempai) have the duty to inform offenders of intolerable actions in the dojo.

Amassus
05-03-2010, 03:32 AM
I think you should invest in George Ledyard Sensei's Basics video (or any of his DVD's actually).

Can you give me a link to those DVDs, Russ? After a quick search on the web, I came up with nothing.

Thanks in advance.
Dean.

Russ Q
05-03-2010, 09:28 AM
Hi Dean,

George Sensei's site is www.aikieast.com You can get them through there....follow the link to "Video Store".

Russ

George S. Ledyard
05-03-2010, 11:50 AM
Hi Dean,

George Sensei's site is www.aikieast.com You can get them through there....follow the link to "Video Store".

Russ

We do have our own URL for the videos:
Aikidodvds.com (http://www.aikidodvds.com/)

piyush.kumar
05-05-2010, 12:07 AM
@kevin leavitt: CONTROL it totally.

I wonder if we can really control anything at all except ourselves? When there is a breakdown of communication, does it not mean we got distracted and did not establish our mindset to respond to the attacker correctly?

If we were to try to control anything, would that not mean pre-meditating on what the attacker is going to do? I understand that can be done but is that highest form that we are striving for?

I read something interesting in a book called "the unfettered mind" by takuan soho. It said something to the effect that our response to an attacker should be in the same time interval as the time it takes for a spark to appear when two stones strike each other.

Perhaps, i am putting in the wrong context or the wrong thread, but in all cases, i appreciate the answers :).

Thank you,
Piyush

RED
05-05-2010, 04:55 PM
I think the only thing you really can control is yourself, no one else. Self mastery is the heart of Budo.

Kevin Leavitt
05-05-2010, 09:15 PM
I think first you have to establish control of yourself to a degree, at least philosophically. I think you need to be in control enough of what matters to affect the situation.

I think (and know) that it is possible to affect and control others both physically and mentally. We do it all the time, and allow others to do it to us as well.

While we are striving for self mastery in which we no longer allow others to control our minds, our physical bodies I think are a different story all together. A good read on the subject is Victor Frankl.

Kevin Leavitt
05-05-2010, 09:18 PM
I think the only thing you really can control is yourself, no one else. Self mastery is the heart of Budo.

I would re-word this slightly and say the only CONCERN we should have is control of self ultimately, as of course, any control we have over others is temporary and not really sustainable in the long term.

As far as budo is concerned, absolutely, primarily I think it is about learning self mastery, which is learning that we need to first be concerned about self than about others.

While this may seem a small thing, I think it is great actually. We need to understand in budo that we do, and can have power over others and at times we need to exercise this power, hopefully in a skillful way....otherwise we run the risk of turning what we do into a very narcissistic practice, which frankly I think happens alot in Aikido.

Amassus
05-06-2010, 03:03 AM
While this may seem a small thing, I think it is great actually. We need to understand in budo that we do, and can have power over others and at times we need to exercise this power, hopefully in a skillful way....otherwise we run the risk of turning what we do into a very narcissistic practice, which frankly I think happens alot in Aikido.

I agree, Kevin.
So going back to my OP, is our job to teach students of aikido about self-mastery - at all levels.
Keeping ego in check, overcoming physical limitations, overcoming mental blocks etc, etc.

As I write this, I'm thinking "Yes" this is what its all about!

Thoughts?

Oh, thanks for the DVD links BTW, folks.

RED
05-06-2010, 05:25 PM
I would re-word this slightly and say the only CONCERN we should have is control of self ultimately, as of course, any control we have over others is temporary and not really sustainable in the long term.

As far as budo is concerned, absolutely, primarily I think it is about learning self mastery, which is learning that we need to first be concerned about self than about others.

While this may seem a small thing, I think it is great actually. We need to understand in budo that we do, and can have power over others and at times we need to exercise this power, hopefully in a skillful way....otherwise we run the risk of turning what we do into a very narcissistic practice, which frankly I think happens a lot in Aikido.

I think,
through training, you may be able to gain control over others. But you are not entitled to that power by virtue that they attacked you, nor by virtue that you have studied Budo. Therefore abuse of that power is reprehensible. That is why self mastery is key in my opinion. When it isn't put as the singular objective in training focus is lost, and people start to believe they actually have entitlement to and over other's lives. Whether they interpret that sense of self-entitlement as the right to kill another, or whether the interpret that sense of self-entitlement as them having the "right" to choose not to kill some one. IMO I don't believe either should be a choice. We are not entitled to an opinion or any rights over lives we had no part in creating. Whether that means ending a life or choosing to arrogantly flaunt a tainted sense of mercy, we have no right to these decisions over others. And I don't believe we are entitled to stewardship over ourselves when lacking self mastery. If you can't even be your own master, then why suppose you can steward yourself with any sense of justice? Self mastery takes a life time. Which goes hand and hand with my opinion; that you don't have any entitled rights over any life you had no hand in creating...including your own.

sakumeikan
05-06-2010, 05:46 PM
Uke's role in training honestly; committed attack, don't give up unless you have to.

Nage's role in training honestly: make the technique work, make uke submit.

It is fun to hear someone who outranks you by several degrees say something like, " You can't do that, out on the street an attacker won't react that way."

My response, " I just did and if I was the attacker I would."

David
Aikido training in the dojo is not quite the same as training for external conflict.Basic techniques in the dojo are used as conditioning exercises.By repetitive movements you acquire an aikido body.In the street your potential assailant has generally no idea of issues like blending.Their responses are not like the response one gets from a experienced aikidoka.The responses from an outside attack is more like training with a strong , awkward gent who wants do you a bit of damage.Not quite the same as mutual training in a dojo with a buddy.

Kevin Leavitt
05-06-2010, 06:31 PM
I think it is our job to set the example, not sure you can teach self mastery. I think the best you can do is provide a forum or environment for that to occur.

I have enough issues of my own with self mastery that I would not presume to "teach" anyone anything.

Leadership by example I think is the best way to do this.

Kevin Leavitt
05-06-2010, 06:43 PM
I think,
through training, you may be able to gain control over others. But you are not entitled to that power by virtue that they attacked you, nor by virtue that you have studied Budo. Therefore abuse of that power is reprehensible. That is why self mastery is key in my opinion. When it isn't put as the singular objective in training focus is lost, and people start to believe they actually have entitlement to and over other's lives. Whether they interpret that sense of self-entitlement as the right to kill another, or whether the interpret that sense of self-entitlement as them having the "right" to choose not to kill some one. IMO I don't believe either should be a choice. We are not entitled to an opinion or any rights over lives we had no part in creating. Whether that means ending a life or choosing to arrogantly flaunt a tainted sense of mercy, we have no right to these decisions over others. And I don't believe we are entitled to stewardship over ourselves when lacking self mastery. If you can't even be your own master, then why suppose you can steward yourself with any sense of justice? Self mastery takes a life time. Which goes hand and hand with my opinion; that you don't have any entitled rights over any life you had no hand in creating...including your own.

I don't see the linkage the same way you express above.

I have skills and power, as do all of us to some degree, to control, hurt, or kill. Some more than others, but that is not important right now. I don't see entitlement as a part of it. Skills are skills and that is all they are.

So, as I walk down the street, I don't have a sense of entitlement and say as I walk by everyone 'your lucky, I choose to let you live another day". Even though that may be what is actually going on. Heck, the guy I pass may be saying the same thing to! (Wouldn't that be funny actually...it makes me laugh and think of some old samurai film!).

Anyway, most of our interactions in normal society are controlled by any number of sociological factors. I am not a sociologist so I can't really talk about this with any intelligence.

However, I think, that if certain things are done, lines crossed, choices made, I do have certain entitlements. I have the right to defend myself and others to the degree of control/force as I deem appropriate to the situation. If I use too much, well, then there may be consequences in any number of ways. Courts, Karmic, etc.

I think self mastery and mastery of skills come into play in helping us make better decisions about our interactions. It can be anywhere from dealing with our loved ones, in the office, on the street, in confrontations or what not.

I think the more we work on improving ourselves and our ability to deal with things skillfully in life and our interactions with others, the more appropriate choices we make.

RED
05-06-2010, 08:46 PM
I think it is our job to set the example, not sure you can teach self mastery. I think the best you can do is provide a forum or environment for that to occur.

I have enough issues of my own with self mastery that I would not presume to "teach" anyone anything.

Leadership by example I think is the best way to do this.

I'd have to agree.:cool:

RED
05-06-2010, 08:55 PM
I don't see the linkage the same way you express above.

I have skills and power, as do all of us to some degree, to control, hurt, or kill. Some more than others, but that is not important right now. I don't see entitlement as a part of it. Skills are skills and that is all they are.

So, as I walk down the street, I don't have a sense of entitlement and say as I walk by everyone 'your lucky, I choose to let you live another day". Even though that may be what is actually going on. Heck, the guy I pass may be saying the same thing to! (Wouldn't that be funny actually...it makes me laugh and think of some old samurai film!).

Anyway, most of our interactions in normal society are controlled by any number of sociological factors. I am not a sociologist so I can't really talk about this with any intelligence.

However, I think, that if certain things are done, lines crossed, choices made, I do have certain entitlements. I have the right to defend myself and others to the degree of control/force as I deem appropriate to the situation. If I use too much, well, then there may be consequences in any number of ways. Courts, Karmic, etc.

I think self mastery and mastery of skills come into play in helping us make better decisions about our interactions. It can be anywhere from dealing with our loved ones, in the office, on the street, in confrontations or what not.

I think the more we work on improving ourselves and our ability to deal with things skillfully in life and our interactions with others, the more appropriate choices we make.

From an Aikido aspect, I've always viewed Aikido less about "defense", and more about intolerance.
Aikido is intolerant of violence. It does not defend against attacks in my opinion. Attacks exist, violence exists. Aikido refuses to accept that fact, because those things shouldn't exist. It will not participate in a fight. Aikido says that malice is wrong, hurt and death is wrong and should not exist. Something truly went wrong with the world that it does exist. Aikido is not pacifistic. It is highly intolerant of the things in this world that are in opposition to life.
Therefore, I don't think a person has the right necessarily to defend themselves. They instead have an obligation to be intolerant of violence/evil/malice/sin/etc. They are obligated to protect everyone--including themselves.

It is less about the individuals needs to protect themselves to me, I think it should be more about protecting everyone, even those who might do you wrong... no one has a right to show violence towards a life they did not create..it is vandalizing some one else's property. IMO
You can't damage some one else without damaging yourself.

O'sensei followed Budo...Budo is "the way of the warrior/war" and the seven virtues are something worth warring over and fighting in defense(even offensively) for. Aikido is not pacifistic IMO.

Don't get me wrong--I'm Aikikai-- I'm not a crazy aiki-ist/puedo-spiritual aiki-bunny.
I just have very strong feels about how people view each other and self defense. I was a missionary for years, and had cultivated very strong opinion regarding humanity, suffering, and such a long time ago. When I found Aikido, it lined up with my feelings towards what it meant to fight for social justice to the letter.

This is just my opinion however.

Amassus
05-07-2010, 03:05 AM
I think the more we work on improving ourselves and our ability to deal with things skillfully in life and our interactions with others, the more appropriate choices we make.
I agree. Helping people do this in the dojo is important to me. Of course continuing to 'polish the mirror' is something foremost in my mind. I think it represents a reflective nature. The ability to look at your own actions and assess them, critique them and then decide how you would do things differently if needed.

Aikido is not pacifistic. It is highly intolerant of the things in this world that are in opposition to life.
Therefore, I don't think a person has the right necessarily to defend themselves. They instead have an obligation to be intolerant of violence/evil/malice/sin/etc. They are obligated to protect everyone--including themselves.
I like how you put this. I never feel like a 'defender; with aikido. I am very proactive in my approach and if you seek to get in my space, then I will resolve the situation decisively. Hmm, that line makes me sound like a thug ;) Who knows.

Maggie and Kevin, I really apprecitate the thought going into your replies. I'm getting a lot out of this thread.

Dean.

Kevin Leavitt
05-09-2010, 11:57 AM
Maggie, I might choose different words, semantics, but over all I believe I understand the jest of your philosophy/thoughts on this. I would say I would agree.

I always go back to the Koan, "Do no harm/Stop Harm".

I believe ulitimately that it is a paradox in which there are no clear answers.

I agree, though, about your concept of self and about being a protector of "non-violence/violence" and that we do need to be careful not to become selfish with protecting only ourselves.

To create peace, I believe we need to put ourselves out there on the line, through selfless service and in doing so, it creates risk for ourselves.

There are many ways in which we can perform selfless service indeed!

Good discussion.

RED
05-09-2010, 02:42 PM
I think I've come to some of my opinions due to dealing with some martial art students. There's always the guy in the back in the class that wants to know how so-and-so technique can be used in a street fight, or they argue that learning to knee walk will never help them eliminate attackers on the streets. They are obsessed with some fight that might never happen, to the point I think they are missing out on a lot of what they should be focusing on.

Sometimes I think some people get so focused on themselves that they never learn Aikido. If your main goal is yourself, you can never achieve anything better than yourself I guess.
Some of these guys who question constantly if Nikkyo will work in MMA, or if they can use kokyu in a bar fight...I just think some people have been doped into believing their own legend after awhile.

People want to learn "their" Aikido sometimes, opposed to Ueshiba's Aikido. I think we are all guilty of this from time to time. But I don't think it is the ones who admit they are prideful you have to worry about, it is the ones that don't realized that they bought into the magic of their own legend. :/

This just makes for bad martial arts in my opinion.