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View Full Version : Me vs. an oak tree - Strength against ki


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Mikemac
08-13-2010, 12:34 PM
I've been perusing the subject of smaller students like myself working with much larger and stronger Uke. I've have taken some good points from them, but I was hoping more experienced practitioners here could elaborate. Also I need to address certain weaknesses I come across in normal waza.

First, I got an oak tree of a partner in class. He's about 200lbs, and I'm 5'10" at about 135lbs. We were doing Kokyudosa, and his grip was like iron. When I tried to execute atemi, he actually reversed it and sent me down on my back, mind you with a little smirk. I also have difficulties in tenkan with him. Not only can't I move him, I can't even seem to move myself off his line. Mind you, I actually like working with him because this is the crux to me of Aikido.

Second issue I have is with another bear of a guy who has a "limp fish" compliance in attacks. when I try to perform kaitenage for example, he just goes limp and the grip is broken. The execution seems to fail. This guys like 275lbs at least and it seems like he's just not into the completion. This is another reality biter.

Both of these situations are eye openers for me. It almost seems like life is quietly mocking me in the dojo when these things happen, but I know the reality is keeping me centered and not over confident about my skills. I could just see myself getting my ass kicked someday with false assurances.

I'm loyal to Aikido, always have been. I'm just trying to work out the kinks in my waza, so if something should ever happen in real life (which it most likely will because my girlfriend is beyond gorgeous) that I can't get out of, I will face it without fear and doubt. So finally after all this, here are my questions for the advanced:

1) From you training, did you fully attain the ability to overcome a much stronger opponent? Was it difficult or did it just click one day? at what level were you?

2) How did you accomplish this? Was it modifying your technique to fit your frame or using proper Ki? Did you work on manipulating the joints more effectively?

3) Even a real life adversary who is your size pumped on adrenaline would seem to be larger and stronger psychologically. If you faced such a person or more and there's no chance to diffuse him, what's your percentage of confidence that you will be able to walk away from this when it's over?

Right now my only beacon of truth and inspiration is Shioda Gozo. I watch his techniques and it seems like he developed his own very effective style to accommodate his size. I really respect his Aikido and hope that I can acheive this one day.

dave9nine
08-13-2010, 12:53 PM
first i would say that the training in a dojo and the situation in 'real life' are always going to be a little different.
on the one hand, if you have someone who isnt following through on an attack and who isnt giving you the 'energy' of what a real attack would be like, then there is no reason to be frustrated (except for frustration at the person) --it is not your lack in this situation.
second, in the dojo, we will practice techniques that the sensei wants to practice in that class; in the scenario of a group of people practising like this, and rotating to different partners, you are going to see a difference in everyone you train with. In my view, this does not correlate to 'real life'. in a real life situation, you would not be wanting to try a specific technique on a person regardless of their size etc. instead, the response to what that person is doing will depend specifically on how tall/big they are, and what they are doing to you.
for example, in katate dori ikyo/nikyo/sankyo/yonkyo, we do a blend where we step back and off the line to the side of the wrist being grabbed. for me, this works for most, but when its with a big strong guy it just doesnt seem right to me. i feel like im forcing something that ultimately doesnt make sense. thus, while i will try the technique *in the dojo setting* i have decided that i would NEVER try that if it was a real situation. i would instead get out of the grab from another angle and probably use a hard atemi to the face if it was a big/strong person.

the point, i guess, is that if you can separate *dojo practice* from real life decisions, these concerns wont be so bad to you anymore.

next time, while you feel that you cant do something to a big/strong person, try also thinking of what you would do instead, outside of what you're being asked to do--these are sometimes very different things.

my dos pesos.

-dave

Mikemac
08-13-2010, 01:26 PM
Anybody else getting Javascript messages regarding this thread on Twitter when you try to read this page? Freakin annoying!

danj
08-14-2010, 05:56 AM
If uke grips too hard - bite their hand (it worked for O'Sensei) or kick them in the balls/ head butt
If uke grips too soft or lets go - give them some atemi with the hand they are holding or let go of - eventually even the slowest of uke's gets the idea of self preservation.

Both of these I think are OK alternatives for real life TM too

Alternatively, forget fighting and find ukes who understand that ukemi and the role of uke is to be the teacher and helper of learning technique and have a productive time on the mat learning aiki

best,
dan

phitruong
08-14-2010, 06:52 AM
Right now my only beacon of truth and inspiration is Shioda Gozo. I watch his techniques and it seems like he developed his own very effective style to accommodate his size. I really respect his Aikido and hope that I can acheive this one day.

sounded like you have quite a bit of fear and doubt. you know the mind/intent direct the body, right? what affected the mind affected the body.

look at this sensei, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf4eNEM8-bs, does it look like he care whether he's small and short?

ever heard of "four ounce deflect a thousand pounds"?

Amir Krause
08-15-2010, 09:55 AM
It is nearly impossible for anyone to perform a pre-known technique, on a larger non-cooperatinve Uke. Especially if you are not at a much higher level then your Uke.

The secret lies in Uke prior knowledge, you must find a way to remove it as part of the mental Kuzushi.

Further, methodologically speaking. your idea of learning process is wrong. You should not try and jump on the largest challenge and try to move the immmovable oak tree. You should set yourself with smaller challenges you can overcome. For now, why won't you ask these people to give you somewhat easier life and not fully resist you?
Increase the difficulty in a slow process, as you gain experience and become better. Do not give in, reach your challenge in a few more years.

Amir

Shadowfax
08-15-2010, 02:23 PM
I usually just wait for sensei to come by and ask him or her depending on who is teaching, how I can deal with this particular attack. Sometimes the answer is just not in the particular technique or excercise we are working on and something else would be a better choice. In which case after explaining what would be effective sensei generally then has a talk with uke about how they can improve their ukemi in order to help you learn the excercise/technique at hand.

As for someone on the street who is non complaint.... well sensei said that the moment someone commits to attack you they have taken their own balance. All you have to do is move in the right way to either exploit it or get out of the way. I've found that in totally unexpected and unrehearsed moments I actually move better and and am more successful at dealing with the "attack". Especially if it comes from someone who does not have similar training. I have some guys at work who occasionally like to horse around and try to grab or strike. Most times I just ignore them. But I've had a couple of moments where I felt like more was needed and have found that the technique works just fine. Its only when you start thinking about what to do that your brain gets in the way and you have difficulty responding.

I put a guy who came at me with a steak knife into kote gaeshi, one night, before I quite knew what happened. Didn't take him all the way to the ground but it sure surprised the crap outa him and pretty much put an end to him playing around with me anymore.

Chris Covington
08-15-2010, 04:49 PM
Keep going at it until you figure it out: http://www.sumodan.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/espnkelly.jpg :)

Mikemac
08-16-2010, 09:21 AM
Keep going at it until you figure it out: http://www.sumodan.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/espnkelly.jpg :)

That was hilarious!

Thank people. I appreciate the insights. I was looking over some clips of Shioda Gozo and noticed he uses a techinque that overextends the Uke's wrists, say in a two wrist grab, by tipping his fingers towards him and upwards,then moving his hands forward towards Uke.

Rob Watson
08-16-2010, 09:46 PM
Keep going at it until you figure it out: http://www.sumodan.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/espnkelly.jpg :)

Um, that is not an oak tree .... nice fundoshi.

PS Real budoka don't use towels but prefer the feel of bark. Maybe it's just me.

Cliff Judge
08-17-2010, 11:29 AM
If you let a much stronger person grab your wrist before executing a technique, there is a good chance you won't be able to pull it off. Play around more with that split-second before his hand closes around your wrist.

Also, your fellow student who grabs you with the iron grip and locks down is robbing himself of his own training, as is the limp-fish guy. But these are both normal behaviors on the mat. After all, who wants to take on the responsibility of participating in the technique when taking ukemi, that just dumbs the whole thing down and makes Aikido less martial. :rolleyes:

My last piece of advice is that when you finally let somebody goad you into a bar fight over your girlfriend you are going to lose. :)

Chris Covington
08-17-2010, 11:58 AM
Um, that is not an oak tree .... nice fundoshi.

PS Real budoka don't use towels but prefer the feel of bark. Maybe it's just me.

You're right it looks like some sort of pine (?) but I'm no treeologist :) I don't think its a fundoshi either ;)

You can't practice yotsu-zumo without some cloth!

I think training with the oak tree partners is good for your development. The stronger the opponent the better for you. Grab the monsters and learn to move them and learn to resist them.

Rob Watson
08-17-2010, 07:24 PM
You're right it looks like some sort of pine (?) but I'm no treeologist :) I don't think its a fundoshi either ;)

You can't practice yotsu-zumo without some cloth!

I think training with the oak tree partners is good for your development. The stronger the opponent the better for you. Grab the monsters and learn to move them and learn to resist them.

I'll have to admit I needed to look real close to even see what appears (or should be) a fundoshi - danmed flesh colored garments.

Also I cheat a bit and wrassel with cork oaks which have a soft spongy bark with much less bite than say a live oak. The trick is to pick one that is on the scrawny side so as not to damage my all too delicate sensibilities. I'll pass on the fundoshi (or whatever it is) but I won't apologize for sporting a kilt.One must not lose sight of the actual objective being to just stimulate the tree to encourage more growth as opposed to ripping it out of the ground (that's just silly and showin' off). The same goes for similarly propertied and proportioned training partners (stimulation for growth on both sides of the equation is the goal).

I think you are right about the piney nature of the tree in question and I retract my commentary about the towel as accommodation for pine sap is a well and fully reasonable allowance.

Chris Covington
08-17-2010, 08:02 PM
Hey Rob,

It is a mawashi. It is a lot like burlap on your junk. To be honest I tend to wear compression shorts under mine (hhhmmmmm... spandex and a burlap thong... :crazy: ) Sumo is ugly but it sure is a blast. Good for aikido or judo training to boot.

And you shouldn't aplologize for wearing a kilt because if you did that means I'd have to, too. I own three! That's a lot of apologizing

Rob Watson
08-17-2010, 08:52 PM
Hey Rob,

It is a mawashi. It is a lot like burlap on your junk. To be honest I tend to wear compression shorts under mine (hhhmmmmm... spandex and a burlap thong... :crazy: ) Sumo is ugly but it sure is a blast. Good for aikido or judo training to boot.

And you shouldn't aplologize for wearing a kilt because if you did that means I'd have to, too. I own three! That's a lot of apologizing

So we're onto 'I've got more kilts than you!" eh? Now that I know what you wear under yours you have no power over me!

The only 'sumo' I've done would be wrasslin with my fat brother. Also ugly.

phitruong
08-17-2010, 09:22 PM
picture of a big naked man humping a tree is disturbing on so many levels. i hope you don't suggest the OP to get naked and start the same process with his partner. :)

Rob Watson
08-17-2010, 11:06 PM
picture of a big naked man humping a tree is disturbing on so many levels. i hope you don't suggest the OP to get naked and start the same process with his partner. :)

There are published photos of the founder making strange gestures with trees so there is precedent. Clearly the large fellow is clothed but I'm loathe to look closer to clearly distinguish between fundoshi or mawashi so I'll just take Mr. Covingtons opine as closure.