PDA

View Full Version : Larger/stronger opponent


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


Robb
07-01-2010, 01:22 PM
Hello everyone,

I am new to the forums but have read them with interest for some time now. A bit on my background before I ask my question - I am currently 4th kyu, maybe halfway to 3rd in Aikido. I have done Judo and Shotokan Karate for the last 20+ years. Now on to my question:

In my Aikido class we have a guy who is essentially UFC-Brock Lesnar's size. This guy is 6'4" and 300+ pounds. He is practically impervious to pain. I read with interest the thread about Aikido in real situations and that is what led me to this question - how can one make their Aikido work on someone with this natural size and strength?

We were doing wrist grabs the other night and he was resisting (which I am fine with) but I tried Nikkyu, Kotogaeshi, Sankyu, Shionage...pretty much everything I could think of and he just shrugged off each and every thing I did - they simple had no effect on him. Now granted I wasn't going 100% - because with the typical Uke you can determine pain thresholds by their reaction - I was afraid that this guy was at the point of joint damage or bone breakage and he simply doesn't show pain. I finally got frustrated and took him down with a Judo throw - quite easily.

He wasn't being a compliant Uke, but ok no biggie, he doesn't always resist..but we were testing out stuff (essentially his size) so it was fine...and he of course knew all the Aikido moves as I did them, which made it easier for him to counter. I think this is why the Judo worked - he had no clue it was coming. However, it did sort of set me back a bit as to how much size DOES matter despite Aikido's protestations to the contrary.

Looking for opinions on this, suggestions, similar experiences etc.on how to handle people with extra-ordinary size/strength.

P.S. - on a positive note, I like training with the guy because he is the one guy in class that I cannot possibly muscle a technique on - so it forces me to concentrate on breathing, extension, technique etc. moreso than the average sized person.

dps
07-01-2010, 02:06 PM
We were doing wrist grabs the other night and he was resisting ...

Were these static wrist grabs where uke grabs your wrist stands still and then you try the technique or were they dynamic where uke pushes or pulls you.
?

David

Robb
07-01-2010, 02:10 PM
Were these static wrist grabs where uke grabs your wrist stands still and then you try the technique or were they dynamic where uke pushes or pulls you.
?

David

They were static, which makes it much more difficult to pull off techniques. Had he been pushing/pulling I would have had much more to work with. We were testing an essential worse case scenario - large person grabs smaller person and refuses to let go. I also did zero Atemi, which would have made a difference.

Even so, with most people my size or smaller I can make them dance a jig even from a static grab/hold...no such luck with this guy. Fyi I am about 6'1" 220.

RED
07-01-2010, 02:43 PM
If it was being done static then I don't see the point of resisting that much. Static practice is for learning the foot work and movements. If he was giving you energy then I can see being a little harder on you.
But static practice is for 6th kyu class and children's class, both of which it's better not to be resiting, but focusing on learning the movements and posture. Just my little opinion though.

sakumeikan
07-01-2010, 02:43 PM
Hello everyone,

I am new to the forums but have read them with interest for some time now. A bit on my background before I ask my question - I am currently 4th kyu, maybe halfway to 3rd in Aikido. I have done Judo and Shotokan Karate for the last 20+ years. Now on to my question:

In my Aikido class we have a guy who is essentially UFC-Brock Lesnar's size. This guy is 6'4" and 300+ pounds. He is practically impervious to pain. I read with interest the thread about Aikido in real situations and that is what led me to this question - how can one make their Aikido work on someone with this natural size and strength?

We were doing wrist grabs the other night and he was resisting (which I am fine with) but I tried Nikkyu, Kotogaeshi, Sankyu, Shionage...pretty much everything I could think of and he just shrugged off each and every thing I did - they simple had no effect on him. Now granted I wasn't going 100% - because with the typical Uke you can determine pain thresholds by their reaction - I was afraid that this guy was at the point of joint damage or bone breakage and he simply doesn't show pain. I finally got frustrated and took him down with a Judo throw - quite easily.

He wasn't being a compliant Uke, but ok no biggie, he doesn't always resist..but we were testing out stuff (essentially his size) so it was fine...and he of course knew all the Aikido moves as I did them, which made it easier for him to counter. I think this is why the Judo worked - he had no clue it was coming. However, it did sort of set me back a bit as to how much size DOES matter despite Aikido's protestations to the contrary.

Looking for opinions on this, suggestions, similar experiences etc.on how to handle people with extra-ordinary size/strength.

P.S. - on a positive note, I like training with the guy because he is the one guy in class that I cannot possibly muscle a technique on - so it forces me to concentrate on breathing, extension, technique etc. moreso than the average sized person.

The guy you are working with like most really big or powerful guys really in general dont want to be seen to be weak.Hence the resistance to your waza.My question is this how do you think you can both gain from this type of competitive mindset[on his part ]?
I would not be surprised if the guy is as stiff as a board.
Aikido is a mutual exchange between partners.One partner acquires throwing skills etc the other acquires Ukemi skills.
If this guy never learns to absorb the waza from his partner because he wants to be Mr Powerhouse what happens if he runs into a guy who might apply a waza and damage his wrist etc?
He needs to lighten up, and co operate with you.At your level you need to train wisely not get involved in trials of strength.
If all else fails and he keeps on being awkward try applying a well placed atemi prior to your application on areas such as ribs / kneecaps /shins, chin.Of course be gentle here.Use this remedy only if all else fails.After a few clips here and there Mr Powerhouse might get the picture.
Are you the only one in the dojo who has this problem?Do your mates handle the same scenario easily?If the answer is yes , ask them how they sort Big Guy out.Let me know how you get on,
Cheers, Robert, from Joe.

Marc Abrams
07-01-2010, 02:54 PM
A static "attack" where the person is simply trying to ground out any movement that you are doing is plain and simple B.S.. Not only does this never happen in "real life" (you know, not in the dojo), but a static grab is simply not an attack.

I am also on the smaller side (5'5" on a good morning :) ) and have gotten to the point where I can execute technique on big people (One guy at our school had a nickname of "Vast"- 6'8" over 350lbs.). The first thing that you have to achieve is kazushi. When a person does not have dynamic equilibrium, the body automatically re-assigns resources to achieving that task, thereby "robbing" the person of usable strength. In order to achieve that, you really need to learn how to establish an energy connection (ki) with the person so as to move them from the inside out. Once that has been accomplished, techniques seem to suddenly work.

Until you get to that point, if a person is simply grounding you out in a static attack, give him some atemi "love" to establish kazushi :D !

Good Luck!

Marc Abrams

Robb
07-01-2010, 03:07 PM
The guy you are working with like most really big or powerful guys really in general dont want to be seen to be weak.Hence the resistance to your waza.My question is this how do you think you can both gain from this type of competitive mindset[on his part ]?
I would not be surprised if the guy is as stiff as a board.
Aikido is a mutual exchange between partners.One partner acquires throwing skills etc the other acquires Ukemi skills.
If this guy never learns to absorb the waza from his partner because he wants to be Mr Powerhouse what happens if he runs into a guy who might apply a waza and damage his wrist etc?
He needs to lighten up, and co operate with you.At your level you need to train wisely not get involved in trials of strength.
If all else fails and he keeps on being awkward try applying a well placed atemi prior to your application on areas such as ribs / kneecaps /shins, chin.Of course be gentle here.Use this remedy only if all else fails.After a few clips here and there Mr Powerhouse might get the picture.
Are you the only one in the dojo who has this problem?Do your mates handle the same scenario easily?If the answer is yes , ask them how they sort Big Guy out.Let me know how you get on,
Cheers, Robert, from Joe.

I think you hit the nail on the head ....he doesn't want to show weakness/pain. I am not the only one who has noticed - he has been told on numerous occasions to loosen up and quit fighting techniques. I am not sure if he is trying to prove something or if he is generally just new enough to not know any better (he just made 5th kyu).

I guess I should have not engaged in a contest of wills, that was my mistake and I won't let that happen again. But it still opened my eyes because no one has ever resisted my techniques before - short of Sensei when I am just screwing something up...and that was obviously for him to make a point.

Robb
07-01-2010, 03:15 PM
A static "attack" where the person is simply trying to ground out any movement that you are doing is plain and simple B.S.. Not only does this never happen in "real life" (you know, not in the dojo), but a static grab is simply not an attack.

I am also on the smaller side (5'5" on a good morning :) ) and have gotten to the point where I can execute technique on big people (One guy at our school had a nickname of "Vast"- 6'8" over 350lbs.). The first thing that you have to achieve is kazushi. When a person does not have dynamic equilibrium, the body automatically re-assigns resources to achieving that task, thereby "robbing" the person of usable strength. In order to achieve that, you really need to learn how to establish an energy connection (ki) with the person so as to move them from the inside out. Once that has been accomplished, techniques seem to suddenly work.

Until you get to that point, if a person is simply grounding you out in a static attack, give him some atemi "love" to establish kazushi :D !

Good Luck!

Marc Abrams

That is essentially why the Judo throw worked ...Judo forcibly takes a person's balance ...it lacks the finesse of Aikido..and Judo is largely static rondori. But I admit it showed my level of frustration that I resorted to that. Sensei told me in such a situation he would simply disengage and wait for the next attack.

I am actually a bit afraid of using atemi on this guy because he is big enough to be dangerous and I am not sure he would take it well. Suffice to say I haven't trained with him enough to get a read on his temperment. This may sound ridiculous being that we are talking about an Aikido class...but I have been in and out of dojos long enough to know that some people just get mad when you hit them,..even if it is part of training :)

Thanks for the advice tho..I will work on it.

RED
07-01-2010, 03:24 PM
(he just made 5th kyu)

If this is true, he probably should be focusing on his training and form, more so than defeating his upper classmate's techniques.

His Aikido really can't progress until he refocuses himself on himself.

But look at the bright side; you are working to make yourself effective, and he is training to make YOU effective...you are doing all the training when you work with him. So really when you work with him you are the only one training if you think about it.
All the training for you, none for him. You'll progress and get better. If he doesn't refocus he'll stagnate.

Robb
07-01-2010, 03:30 PM
If this is true, he probably should be focusing on his training and form, more so than defeating his upper classmate's techniques.

His Aikido really can't progress until he refocuses himself on himself.

But look at the bright side; you are working to make yourself effective, and he is training to make YOU effective...you are doing all the training when you work with him. So really when you work with him you are the only one training if you think about it.
All the training for you, none for him. You'll progress and get better. If he doesn't refocus he'll stagnate.

So very true. I have already noticed improvements in my movement, blending (he attacks hard and fast), and technique. He is very obviously still in the muscle stage of technique- this essentially forces me to not rely on strength since he will out-strength me 100% of the time. I agree...he will stagnate if he doesn't adjust. I just have to make sure I don't play his game mentally or physically. Maybe once he realizes I have acknowledged his physical superiority by not getting into a contest of wills he will tone it down a bit.

C. David Henderson
07-01-2010, 03:32 PM
But static practice is for 6th kyu class and children's class ... Just my little opinion though.

I don't know about where you practice Maggie, but IME kihon practice is useful for more than figuring out where your hands and feet go. Many shihan routinely emphasize the importance of "basics" for everyone.

I think, nonetheless, you're right about the underlying problem with uke.

Regards.

Mark Gibbons
07-01-2010, 04:04 PM
I don't see why it matters if the uke is junior. i don't think the OP said that. It's interesting and symptomatic that uke is being blamed for nage's technique not working. There's a good chance uke is feeling muscled and just not responding to being pushed around. The OP might want to ask. Atemi goes both ways. If nage feels free to toss in the odd atemi so should uke. Same for judo and other extra stuff.

It sounds like this was static practice. Some folks can make static techniques work without forcing things. Most people (me especially included) can't, in my experience. Resorting to tricks is more about winning than about practicing. When my nages do that I give up and fall. They are signaling they don't want to practice anymore and I don't care if I lose when I'm not competing.

Mark

Robb
07-01-2010, 04:32 PM
I don't see why it matters if the uke is junior. i don't think the OP said that. It's interesting and symptomatic that uke is being blamed for nage's technique not working. There's a good chance uke is feeling muscled and just not responding to being pushed around. The OP might want to ask. Atemi goes both ways. If nage feels free to toss in the odd atemi so should uke. Same for judo and other extra stuff.

It sounds like this was static practice. Some folks can make static techniques work without forcing things. Most people (me especially included) can't, in my experience. Resorting to tricks is more about winning than about practicing. When my nages do that I give up and fall. They are signaling they don't want to practice anymore and I don't care if I lose when I'm not competing.

Mark

I would willingly take the blame the uke responsing to my muscling technique if I thought that were the all of it, but even our shodans have problems with this person. The only person who doesn't seem to have any issues is Sensei - but he is 8th dan and doesn't have problems with anyone.

I haven't gotten the habit of muscling completely conquered yet, but I have made improvements in leaps and bounds. I know the Uke was deliberately using strength however because I have an incredibly smooth (almost sneaky) shihonage, and I felt him reach up with his other hand and deliberately attempt to reverse it and dump me on my head. I disengaged rather than one of us get hurt at that point.

This is why I question his temperment and don't entirely trust it. I don't mean to assess blame (even tho I know that is what I am doing), I just am stating the situation how I saw it, and will plan on not getting into this type of situation in the future. Much like you said above...I will just go with it, and as Maggie said earlier..I will learn from it and leave it up to him if he chooses to do the same or not.

Mark Gibbons
07-01-2010, 04:49 PM
You and your large uke both sound like good folks to play with.
The only thing I have found that works is being even softer and using what scraps of aiki I can scrape up.

Mark

dps
07-01-2010, 05:04 PM
I know the Uke was deliberately using strength however because I have an incredibly smooth (almost sneaky) shihonage, and I felt him reach up with his other hand and deliberately attempt to reverse it and dump me on my head.



He should not be able to do this if his balance is broken. You do not have him unbalanced which happens at the beginning of Shihonage.

I would be more concerned with unbalancing your uke than muscling him.

David

Janet Rosen
07-01-2010, 05:15 PM
Besides all the stuff like working on proper breathing, posture, etc...two things come to mind:
1. if he is outright resisting you to a degree that you can never move, then you aren't able to actually learn anything. That's different from simply being harder to work with.
2. for gripping large hands or wrists in nikkyo or sankyo: I have very small hands and weak, arthritic thumbs. What I have been counseled to do is grab uke's fingers instead of the whole hand. It can be very effective.

Robb
07-01-2010, 05:25 PM
He should not be able to do this if his balance is broken. You do not have him unbalanced which happens at the beginning of Shihonage.

I would be more concerned with unbalancing your uke than muscling him.

David

I did not extend him to unbalance him as I should..I flowed into the attack as if he was moving...and since he was static it did not have the desired effect..I guess the whole lesson is simply this: I was concentrating more on moving and technique, whereas he was wholly concentrating on resisting.

Janet - thanks for the tip on the fingers ..I have seen/felt Sensei do that ...it is quite effective!

RED
07-01-2010, 05:39 PM
So very true. I have already noticed improvements in my movement, blending (he attacks hard and fast), and technique. He is very obviously still in the muscle stage of technique- this essentially forces me to not rely on strength since he will out-strength me 100% of the time. I agree...he will stagnate if he doesn't adjust. I just have to make sure I don't play his game mentally or physically. Maybe once he realizes I have acknowledged his physical superiority by not getting into a contest of wills he will tone it down a bit.

Frankly sometimes you need to play to people's ego. If he wants to feel like he's not weak, reassure him that he isn't in the way you handle your training. He might let up on you without having to feel like he needs to prove something

RED
07-01-2010, 05:41 PM
I don't know about where you practice Maggie, but IME kihon practice is useful for more than figuring out where your hands and feet go. Many shihan routinely emphasize the importance of "basics" for everyone.

I think, nonetheless, you're right about the underlying problem with uke.

Regards.

I think that's really the root of my point. Static practice is about learning and focusing on basics. A heavy, uncooperative uke is inappropriate for the situation.

BWells
07-01-2010, 05:43 PM
Well I'm a reasonably big guy so don't have that problem that much. What I do try sometime with a more junior in a static practice like this, is lock down a bit and have the junior see what movement (internal, shifting weight, relaxation, etc) will start to impact me. Sometime they are amazed at how relaxing and dropping center can impact me so much. What I suggest is, instead of basically fighting each other, ask him to do what he does and tell him you are going to try changes in your body and have him tell you how affects him. If you still can't move him, ask him to lighten up a bit and then see the results. Think this will make him a partner in your learning and not an opponent.

Good luck on this,
Bruce Wells

Flintstone
07-01-2010, 05:51 PM
But static practice is for 6th kyu class and children's class, both of which it's better not to be resiting, but focusing on learning the movements and posture. Just my little opinion though.
OMG. Just OMG. Wasn't it Saito Morihiro who said you should practice only kihon waza until sandan?

Ketsan
07-01-2010, 06:19 PM
Hello everyone,

I am new to the forums but have read them with interest for some time now. A bit on my background before I ask my question - I am currently 4th kyu, maybe halfway to 3rd in Aikido. I have done Judo and Shotokan Karate for the last 20+ years. Now on to my question:

In my Aikido class we have a guy who is essentially UFC-Brock Lesnar's size. This guy is 6'4" and 300+ pounds. He is practically impervious to pain. I read with interest the thread about Aikido in real situations and that is what led me to this question - how can one make their Aikido work on someone with this natural size and strength?

We were doing wrist grabs the other night and he was resisting (which I am fine with) but I tried Nikkyu, Kotogaeshi, Sankyu, Shionage...pretty much everything I could think of and he just shrugged off each and every thing I did - they simple had no effect on him. Now granted I wasn't going 100% - because with the typical Uke you can determine pain thresholds by their reaction - I was afraid that this guy was at the point of joint damage or bone breakage and he simply doesn't show pain. I finally got frustrated and took him down with a Judo throw - quite easily.

He wasn't being a compliant Uke, but ok no biggie, he doesn't always resist..but we were testing out stuff (essentially his size) so it was fine...and he of course knew all the Aikido moves as I did them, which made it easier for him to counter. I think this is why the Judo worked - he had no clue it was coming. However, it did sort of set me back a bit as to how much size DOES matter despite Aikido's protestations to the contrary.

Looking for opinions on this, suggestions, similar experiences etc.on how to handle people with extra-ordinary size/strength.

P.S. - on a positive note, I like training with the guy because he is the one guy in class that I cannot possibly muscle a technique on - so it forces me to concentrate on breathing, extension, technique etc. moreso than the average sized person.

I'm kinda indifferent to this kinda thing. Most of the guys in my dojo are much bigger and stronger than me and during static practice they can lock me down if they want.
If I do the technique properly through it's a different matter.

Robb
07-01-2010, 07:58 PM
Well I'm a reasonably big guy so don't have that problem that much. What I do try sometime with a more junior in a static practice like this, is lock down a bit and have the junior see what movement (internal, shifting weight, relaxation, etc) will start to impact me. Sometime they are amazed at how relaxing and dropping center can impact me so much. What I suggest is, instead of basically fighting each other, ask him to do what he does and tell him you are going to try changes in your body and have him tell you how affects him. If you still can't move him, ask him to lighten up a bit and then see the results. Think this will make him a partner in your learning and not an opponent.

Good luck on this,
Bruce Wells

Thanks Bruce, sounds like a good plan.

Rob Watson
07-01-2010, 10:46 PM
OMG. Just OMG. Wasn't it Saito Morihiro who said you should practice only kihon waza until sandan?

Yup...'cause that is what Osensei always said, too!

They don't have to be big in order to give 'trouble' ... I'm 6'4" 240 lbs and one fellow I train with is ~5' 170 lbs and 70 years old and strong like an ox. Gotta be just right or he is not going to move. I relish those moments because more is learned then than most every other time. Even kinonagare won't be so good if the execution is not just right - no kuzushi=no aikido.

danj
07-01-2010, 11:54 PM
Frankly sometimes you need to play to people's ego. If he wants to feel like he's not weak, reassure him that he isn't in the way you handle your training. He might let up on you without having to feel like he needs to prove something

Absolutely!
"Dear Mr Ox I wonder if you can help me, I am struggling with learning xxx technique, can you give me just 80% (or 50%) effort so I can learn the proper movement "

David Yap
07-02-2010, 01:31 AM
That is essentially why the Judo throw worked ...Judo forcibly takes a person's balance ...it lacks the finesse of Aikido..and Judo is largely static rondori. But I admit it showed my level of frustration that I resorted to that. Sensei told me in such a situation he would simply disengage and wait for the next attack...

Hi Robert,

I think you missed Marc sensei's point. Kuzushi is the key principle of aikido and many other MA. If you can do kuzushi from a static attack, then it will be almost effortless with a dynamic attack. Anyone (even smaller than you) can resist you with the prior knowledge of your intention; more so when you telegraph your intention by use of force. The point is about timing - he knows what you are about do but he doesn't know when you are going to do it unless you allow him to feel what you are doing. Your choice of a training partner is good and you should focus on finding the path of least resistance. Since you are a Shotokan guy like me, instead of an actual atemi as suggested by Marc sensei, try applying the principle of Hikite when doing wrist grabbing techniques.

Ossu

David Y

lbb
07-02-2010, 07:47 AM
I read with interest the thread about Aikido in real situations and that is what led me to this question - how can one make their Aikido work on someone with this natural size and strength?

This made me think about something that my sensei says from time to time: "'When' is most important. 'Where' comes next, and 'what' is last." That line tends to come out when he sees his students getting mired down in the 'what' -- the technique we're supposed to execute, the end result we're supposed to get to -- and putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. His point is that the timing is the most important thing, and next is position and orientation, and if you don't get those right, getting to the 'what' is difficult at best.

Applying that to a situation where your opponent (or partner) has great physical advantages over you, it seems to me that you don't neutralize that advantage by choosing the "right" technique -- it's got to be a matter of impeccable timing and tai sabaki, first and foremost. Those two things would constitute your advantage in the situation, and if you can get them right, against a bigger and stronger opponent, you've got a chance of being able to use some technique effectively.

jonreading
07-02-2010, 11:34 AM
Kick this guy out. Imagine how devastating he will be if he sticks to aikido!! (just kidding)

I haven't seen a couple of comments:
1. Humans have a bell curve of size. Aikido works well within the bell curve, but as you move farther outside the curve into the extreme ranges, you have to make necessary adjustments to interact. Just as this large guy has special handling, so do our smaller friends (for example, adjusting nikyo to grab fingers instead of a wrist).
2. It is not this guy's fault that he is big. We recoil from large partners and sometimes [incorrectly] assume the guy is meaty, oxen, and stiff. Oh, and purposefully obstinent.

There is already some good advice out there so I won't dwell on re-iterating posts related to the above obersations, I make this comment - disguish with your partner when you are learning and when you are training. Leanring = figure out how to do it; training = practice it to work. During learning, discourage resistance and emphasize cooperation. During training, train - if your uke is being difficult, change. Also, there is nothing wrong with re-inforcing to your partner that you can competently deal with resistence (especially if you have prior martial experience or senority in aikido).

Eventually, giagantor will either get the message that muscle isn't everything, or he won't. You have a unique ability to assist this guy to not only learn aikido, but learn more about his body's strengths and weaknesses.

This is one of those things that as the original post mentioned, we don't like the reality that size matters. Size does matter, we just have a larger bell curve in which we can operate. It also directly addresses our fallibility because its tough to admit failure when a particularly difficult uke thwarts our aikido. Grrrr. It must be them. Grrr.

Shadowfax
07-02-2010, 01:14 PM
I read somewhere, probably on this forum...

If your technique is not working. It is never ukes fault. Look more closely at your technique and find out why.

If he is able to reverse you then you must have left an opening. Find it and close it.

I usually ask my partners to reverse me, if they can, specifically so I can find those holes. To me a big guy like this would be a goldmine of opportunity to learn not to rely on strength or pain compliance.

People that tend to be harder to move can really teach you a lot if you look at training with them as an opportunity to learn rather than an irritation.

Aiki1
07-02-2010, 02:40 PM
Situations like this are always an opportunity to go deeper into the real principles behind the techniques, and even more important, the art itself.

Principles deal with variables like size and strength differently than technical answers do. If it happens too soon in one's practice, it isn't necessarily supportive, but if one is at certain level or stage in the training or learning process, it can be invaluable to run up against this kind of resistance etc., even if the intent is not always as clean as it could be.

Michael Varin
07-03-2010, 02:19 AM
I guess I'm a little surprised at how dismissive people are being about the size issue.

Weight does give someone an advantage. If they know how to use that weight the advantage is even more significant.

By the way, if you can't deal with a large uke in kihon waza, good luck dealing with a large opponent who has the intent of actually defeating you.

L. Camejo
07-03-2010, 08:13 AM
If your technique is not working. It is never ukes fault. Look more closely at your technique and find out why.

If he is able to reverse you then you must have left an opening. Find it and close it.Cherie is so correct. I think this is worth repeating.

Regarding the OP:

1. Have you ever thought of calling your 8th Dan Sensei over during these interchanges to show the best way of dealing with this situation?

2. As said before - without kuzushi there is no Aikido. As a Judo man you should know this. In Judo no waza is effective if kuzushi is not established and maintained throughout the execution of the waza. The same goes for Aikido - the only difference is the use of tegatana as the primary point of contact and the ma ai is different. Check your technique, are you establishing kuzushi? Are you maintaining it throughout or is it being lost somewhere?

3. I would take this person as a gift in training. By being larger and a bit difficult he is challenging you to perform at a higher level than you have been able to muster so far. If you have sound principles then his resistance should help your technique not hinder it (hence option1 above - that is a litmus test). If your body structure is not aligned with and supporting your point of contact with your partner it will be very difficult to generate kuzushi, movement or anything else.

If principles are sound static or moving does not really matter.

Use the opportunity to be even better than before.

Best
LC

Robb
07-03-2010, 09:24 AM
I guess I'm a little surprised at how dismissive people are being about the size issue.

Weight does give someone an advantage. If they know how to use that weight the advantage is even more significant.

By the way, if you can't deal with a large uke in kihon waza, good luck dealing with a large opponent who has the intent of actually defeating you.

Exactly. Hence the reason for the original post. I was able to defeat him using Judo because my Judo is good....it shows me my Aikido needs (much) work. I just needed to change my mindset on the approach to my waza...this situation will only make me better.

NagaBaba
07-03-2010, 11:51 AM
He needs to lighten up, and co operate with you.At your level you need to train wisely not get involved in trials of strength.
I agree with Joe here. One needs to learn a lot of sophisticated skills to be able to deal with such situation. It takes few years cooperative practice.

In any case, aikido training is based on cooperation and efficiency of techniques is only marginally important byproduct of our practice.

RED
07-04-2010, 11:57 AM
OMG. Saito Morihiro who said you should practice only kihon waza until sandan?

Wow, a lot of schools don't follow that advice I'd say. I've been with teachers who were his direct students who don't even follow that advice.
Not saying it is bad advice of course, I see how useful the static practice is.

Does your school only perform from static the first 10-15 years of training? When do you incorporate realistic attacks into training?

Flintstone
07-04-2010, 03:31 PM
Does your school only perform from static the first 10-15 years of training? When do you incorporate realistic attacks into training?
No, not being an Iwama stylist myself. I would say we incorporate them pretty early in our training.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDmFu5dFXGY

Chris Li
07-04-2010, 04:24 PM
Wow, a lot of schools don't follow that advice I'd say. I've been with teachers who were his direct students who don't even follow that advice.
Not saying it is bad advice of course, I see how useful the static practice is.

Does your school only perform from static the first 10-15 years of training? When do you incorporate realistic attacks into training?

IIRC, Saito got to sandan in around three years, which may put that quote in a different light. Even today, most university club students can get to nidan in 4 years.

Best,

Chris

RED
07-04-2010, 05:11 PM
No, not being an Iwama stylist myself. I would say we incorporate them pretty early in our training.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDmFu5dFXGY

Ah, I see.

One of the Sensei's I've had the pleasure to train with was an uchi deshi of Saito during his Iwama period. He definitely did incorporate them earlier than san dan.
But what Chris said below brings light to what Saito might of meant, considering he received sandan in a much shorter time.
Sandan in my style means finished student, it takes a very long time.
They are just titles in the end I guess.

C. David Henderson
07-04-2010, 06:19 PM
All of which begs the issue. The point being that kihon practice is not for sixth kyu's and children. Try asking Alejandro a different and more pertinent question -- what does he see as the value of basic practice for, say, a sandan. I suspect the very martial techniques in the video he posted are not built on fifth-kyu kino nagare. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my guess.

Regards

ruthmc
07-05-2010, 08:21 AM
I taught my class last Friday on this theme :)

What to do when technique fails? :confused: 99% of the time it's simply because you didn't take uke's balance.

There is a large bag of Aikido 'tools' available to us to enable us to take uke's balance, and you just have to learn what each one is and how to use it (appropriately).

I'll try to get a class synopsis onto my blog at some point soon, rather than going into depth about it here :)

However, IMO large folk who resist are an absolute gift, as I can try out all my Aikido tools on them and see which ones need sharpening ;) Great fun :D

Ruth

patf
08-06-2010, 04:18 PM
+1 on that. I have the pleasure to train fairly regularly under Murashige shihan here in San Diego and more often than not his teaching involves techniques for kuzushii from static requiring the uke to resist/grab as hard as possible. While we all may agree an attack like that is neither practical/martial, the focus is on learning proper methods of kuzushii. Occasionally a nage will resort to something else, like atemi out of frustration with a really strong uke, but that's fine with me, I stick to the program. In motion things happen too fast and other factors like uke's speed/direction come into play so it's hard to build up/understand the fundamentals.

Pat

Hi Robert,

I think you missed Marc sensei's point. Kuzushi is the key principle of aikido and many other MA. If you can do kuzushi from a static attack, then it will be almost effortless with a dynamic attack. Anyone (even smaller than you) can resist you with the prior knowledge of your intention; more so when you telegraph your intention by use of force. The point is about timing - he knows what you are about do but he doesn't know when you are going to do it unless you allow him to feel what you are doing. Your choice of a training partner is good and you should focus on finding the path of least resistance. Since you are a Shotokan guy like me, instead of an actual atemi as suggested by Marc sensei, try applying the principle of Hikite when doing wrist grabbing techniques.

Ossu

David Y

Conrad Gus
08-06-2010, 05:36 PM
Out at the lake a few weekends ago, my best friend and I were goaded into a "king of the dock" competition by our kids. He is very big and strong, and I am very average. He doesn't know aikido.

During the contest, I was very wary to use any of my aikido skills, as I didn't want to dump him onto the corner of the dock (or get dumped myself). Indeed, that happened later with my son and his son and my son was bruised pretty bad -- a full sized adult would have been messed up.

So we pushed each other respectfully and his strength and size won out in the end. I think my kids were disappointed because they wanted to see the aikido instructor do some magic! I don't know what would have happened if I had gone into full aikido mode to win the contest (that even sounds weird), but I think there would have been an injury. I would have felt awful hurting my best friend and ruining our cabin getaway.

Situations on the mat are very much like this. We train cooperatively because the techniques can be very, very dangerous and we don't want to hurt each other. When someone wants to "test" me or compete with my technique, I do the same thing as when I was on the dock that day -- I let it go (whether they know it or not). I may look bad (or not), but it's a small price to pay to save them from getting hurt.

As we gain deeper insight into aikido, these situations become less frequent and less intense, to the point where we are at the level of your sensei who can still execute a technique safely against a large uke who is resisting. I have seen (and felt) this from senior teachers time and time again, so I know it is possible with continued training. I can also do it quite often against people that are only a little bit bigger than me or not resisting too much! :D In the meantime, struggling to force a technique to work or doing something stupid like hitting the guy is just going to create conflict in the dojo. That kind of training is not only dangerous, but also very unpleasant.

I believe O Sensei said that aikido is always life and death, not to be fooled around with. When my students show interest in "playing" or competing with each other, I try to kindly remind them of this fact.

Having said that, dedicated study of kaeshi-waza between senior students is a completely different matter. I think most people would easily grasp the difference in tone and intention between the two situations. At 5th kyu I think your sensei should tell the big guy that he needs to develop sensitive ukemi. Remember, no matter how big you are there is always someone bigger.

Benjamin Mehner
08-07-2010, 02:09 AM
This whole thing reminds me of something I heard from a music teacher once. "Speed is the last ingredient." To me this means we should take it slow and easy until we know well enough. Don't know if that helps at all.