PDA

View Full Version : Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


aikidoaddict
12-16-2010, 06:38 PM
An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.

kewms
12-16-2010, 08:51 PM
Just know that the other person will judge *your* aikido by how you grab them.

Katherine

Ketsan
12-16-2010, 09:44 PM
An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.

My teacher gets the biggest guy in the dojo (and it's a dojo of big guys) and gets him to attack my morote dori and I have to move him while he's trying to stop me moving and I have to move him in such a way that uke feels nothing.

Abasan
12-17-2010, 08:17 AM
and if you can't grab that sensei no matter how hard you try, you're on to something special.

An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.

Mark Freeman
12-20-2010, 02:37 PM
An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.

Hi Paul,

although I like the thrust of your post, there is one point I can't agree with and that is the 'grab someones wrist tight' part. It doesn't matter what move is performed, post grab. It is the tightness part I have the issue with. When you grab with tightness, there is tension, where there is tension there is no relaxation. It is just too easy to move someone who is tense. This is quite a complex issue as some styles practice with much more 'force' than others, some go for full resistance and some for full compliance and all points in between.

In my own experience, a uke that uses strength to grab, does not have the required freedom to follow with non resistance in a completely on balance way. It is the lack of sensitivity to every subtle movement that makes them prone to be easily moved.

A uke that holds with relaxation, with their centre in their hand/s, full intent on the objective and a completley free to move body, is a completely different animal than the 'tight grabber'. find one of those to test yourself against, they are very easy to move if the principles of aikido are followed and almost impossible to throw if they are not.

Personally, I think it is a difficult job for a beginner to gauge the level of a teacher. If the teacher has any resonable level of aikido, they should be able to deal with a beginners grip.

Anyway, you are right about the basics needing to be right, I'd much rather spend time looking deep into them than building an arsenal of flashy techniques.

I'm not sure about aikido having 'secrets' though, there are things that some don't know (yet) and there are things that some don't see even if it is there to see, but secrets? who is holding on to them?

regards,

Mark

aikidoaddict
12-24-2010, 12:52 AM
An uke that holds relaxed is like my son, daughter or wife holding my hand. There is no intent, and with no intent there is no need to protect yourself. There must be action to cause reaction. A parked car poses no danger, yet a moving one does.

aikidoaddict
12-24-2010, 12:54 AM
I do believe that Aikido does hold "secrets". Why else do we train and struggle all our lives to unfold the mystery of it all?

aikidoaddict
12-24-2010, 12:55 AM
We do not need to agree on anything except our fascination and passion for Aikido. It is many things to many people, enjoy the journey and evolve. Good luck all.

David Yap
12-24-2010, 08:59 AM
Just know that the other person will judge *your* aikido by how you grab them.

Katherine

Hi Katherine,

IMO, it is other way round - the other person will judge your aikido by how you react to his/her grab or attack.

Regards

David Y

Anjisan
12-24-2010, 10:29 AM
An uke that holds relaxed is like my son, daughter or wife holding my hand. There is no intent, and with no intent there is no need to protect yourself. There must be action to cause reaction. A parked car poses no danger, yet a moving one does.

I agree. One of the things overall, that seems to get neglected in most Aikido training is the role of the Uke. Specifically, not only staying connected and "in the moment" with Nage so that reversals are possible, but also "Martial Intent" or in a way "Malicious intent" in an acting sort of way. Many Aikidoka, especially if that is the only art that they have ever known--in my experience--have a more difficult time playing the role of a good attacker- who means to do harm (safely of course--but true to form). The attacker by their very nature is by definition not coming to the interaction from the same frame of reference as the Nage. To not keep that in mind, in my opinion does a disservice to Nage's training.

Moreover, I always tell my fellow Aikidoka, especially new students and the class when I am privileged to have a captive audience when I teach, is to explore the role of Uke a fully a possible ( that may mean being open to breakfalls if appropriate of if Nage wants to work on them, having vigor in ones attack, looking for a second opportunity to attack during the interaction to avoid the "one and done Aikido mindset, etc) in every way, every time one is on the mat. Because father time will rob you of you ability to take the type of ukemi that you want to take or is required long before he touches your waza. The sands keep running though the hourglass.

kewms
12-24-2010, 11:46 AM
Hi Katherine,

IMO, it is other way round - the other person will judge your aikido by how you react to his/her grab or attack.

Regards

David Y

Both are true. The person grabbing will judge nage by their response to the grab. That was the OP's point.

My point is that the person being grabbed will also judge uke by the nature of their grab. Often people who feel the need to "test" someone in this way don't realize how much they are revealing about themselves.

Katherine

kewms
12-24-2010, 11:50 AM
An uke that holds relaxed is like my son, daughter or wife holding my hand. There is no intent, and with no intent there is no need to protect yourself. There must be action to cause reaction. A parked car poses no danger, yet a moving one does.

A parked car with poor brakes on a hill poses a great deal of potential danger.

If there is no intent, there is no attack, and no need (or opportunity) for aikido practice.

But "intent" and "relaxation" are not opposites. A relaxed grab can still contain a great deal of intent, and in fact contains a great deal more potential danger than a strong, rigid one.

Katherine

mathewjgano
12-24-2010, 02:50 PM
An uke that holds relaxed is like my son, daughter or wife holding my hand. There is no intent, and with no intent there is no need to protect yourself. There must be action to cause reaction. A parked car poses no danger, yet a moving one does.

I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean regarding holding in a relaxed way. Would you be willing to explain a bit more?
My understanding is that relaxed grips like that of a baby, for example, are ideal because they allow for greater diversity of pathways for the intent to manifest through. I would agree simply standing there holding onto someone without any further intent isn't very good...if anything, it seems to invite a strike to the grabbing hand so nage has less dead weight attached to the arm/wrist.
A parked anything poses little danger unless it somehow has greater inertia and you smack into it. And once you've smacked into it, better hope it doen't start rolling on top of you or, still connected, move you somewhere you don't want to go.

RED
12-25-2010, 10:29 AM
Here's a great way to test the ability of a student: train with them as you would anyone else. What's up with the trickery? And why would some one who's not the Sensei have any right to judge the progress of a beginner?

CitoMaramba
12-25-2010, 10:39 AM
A parked car poses a lot of danger if there's a bomb inside it..

aikidoaddict
12-25-2010, 08:40 PM
My teacher gets the biggest guy in the dojo (and it's a dojo of big guys) and gets him to attack my morote dori and I have to move him while he's trying to stop me moving and I have to move him in such a way that uke feels nothing.

Do not give up, keep working it and eventually it will happen.

aikidoaddict
12-25-2010, 08:42 PM
Here's a great way to test the ability of a student: train with them as you would anyone else. What's up with the trickery? And why would some one who's not the Sensei have any right to judge the progress of a beginner?

In life we humans do this everyday.

aikidoaddict
12-25-2010, 08:43 PM
A parked car poses a lot of danger if there's a bomb inside it..

Yes, even a parked car can be dangerous. Well done, good point.

aikidoaddict
12-25-2010, 08:46 PM
I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean regarding holding in a relaxed way. Would you be willing to explain a bit more?
My understanding is that relaxed grips like that of a baby, for example, are ideal because they allow for greater diversity of pathways for the intent to manifest through. I would agree simply standing there holding onto someone without any further intent isn't very good...if anything, it seems to invite a strike to the grabbing hand so nage has less dead weight attached to the arm/wrist.
A parked anything poses little danger unless it somehow has greater inertia and you smack into it. And once you've smacked into it, better hope it doen't start rolling on top of you or, still connected, move you somewhere you don't want to go.

I look forward to the day that a real attacker on the street will hold you in a relaxed way. That method may apply in the dojo to assist you with practice, but I have never seen or heard of this happening on the street, or in real life. Good luck to you.

aikidoaddict
12-25-2010, 08:49 PM
An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.

I am very interested in how this comment of mine has produced many various and interesting thoughts and opinions. Keep it up, and well done.

RED
12-25-2010, 08:53 PM
People internally make judgments about each other everyday, every moment. We gauge our world in this way. However, a student to go out with the intent to test his fellow class mate; IMO they are over stepping their boundaries. The teacher is the one with the experience and the credentials(at least she/he should have) to be putting tests upon their students. I truly feel deshi are over stepping their bounds to be testing their fellow students openly or intentionally. IMO, it goes into the category of; work on your issues before seeking out the issues in others.
For the student being "tested" by their fellow student I guess see it as a blessing that some one is "testing" you. Because, not only are YOU working on your issues, but your partner is too...all the training for you, and none for them! lol

David Yap
12-25-2010, 10:55 PM
Both are true. The person grabbing will judge nage by their response to the grab. That was the OP's point.

My point is that the person being grabbed will also judge uke by the nature of their grab. Often people who feel the need to "test" someone in this way don't realize how much they are revealing about themselves.

Katherine

Hi Katherine,

There is a difference between a honest/sincere attack and an attack that is intended to "test" the nage. I had been chided by past senior instructors for "pussy" attacks and taking "charity falls" and had been also chided for "attacking wrongly" by the same people when I was unable to collude with them. Ironic, isn't it?

David Y

kewms
12-26-2010, 12:00 AM
I look forward to the day that a real attacker on the street will hold you in a relaxed way. That method may apply in the dojo to assist you with practice, but I have never seen or heard of this happening on the street, or in real life. Good luck to you.

I think you and I have different understandings of "relaxed grab."

The relaxed grab that my teacher demonstrates would be very unpleasant indeed to encounter "on the street."

Katherine

Janet Rosen
12-26-2010, 12:42 AM
The "death grip" some people have used on me to try to "test" my ability to do tai no henko is neither how it would be " on the street" ( where grabbing my wrist in itself would serve no purpose; it only makes sense as an intro to some form of dynamic movement to do something to me) nor martially is it an effective aikido attack because it doesn't connect to my center or affect my structure. A properly "relaxed" grab with intent is an attack on my center AND gives me something to respond to.
Maggie, I also agree with your point. When I'm in class, I'm trying to follow what my instructor is demonstrating AND work on what is my particular issue - I try to be respectful that my partner likely has his own issue and we should not presume to impose our personal training goals or interests on our partners.

mathewjgano
12-26-2010, 02:23 AM
I look forward to the day that a real attacker on the street will hold you in a relaxed way. That method may apply in the dojo to assist you with practice, but I have never seen or heard of this happening on the street, or in real life. Good luck to you.

We might have some difference in meanings when we describe relaxed holds. I also said I wasn't sure I understood you correctly. That was why I asked for you to elaborate. I gave an example I commonly think of as good pound-for-pound grabbing power. I think a powerful grip/hold can be pretty relaxed, relatively speaking.
Given your counter example of "real" holds, I could always be wrong, however I don't think my view is unrealistic because I also have experience (relatively slight though it is) with people who have been successful in "da street" with their fighting.
Let me be clear, I'm no bad-ass (if anything I spent time avoiding such efforts), but I'm not completely ignorant in these matters either.

aikidoaddict
12-26-2010, 07:47 PM
People internally make judgments about each other everyday, every moment. We gauge our world in this way. However, a student to go out with the intent to test his fellow class mate; IMO they are over stepping their boundaries. The teacher is the one with the experience and the credentials(at least she/he should have) to be putting tests upon their students. I truly feel deshi are over stepping their bounds to be testing their fellow students openly or intentionally. IMO, it goes into the category of; work on your issues before seeking out the issues in others.
For the student being "tested" by their fellow student I guess see it as a blessing that some one is "testing" you. Because, not only are YOU working on your issues, but your partner is too...all the training for you, and none for them! lol

Interesting angle that you put forward, your own level of understanding and personal opinion, and good luck with that. There is no shame or underhandedness in testing each others abilities, how else can we learn and improve? As long as it is done with the right mind, constructive and not destructive.

RED
12-26-2010, 07:53 PM
Interesting angle that you put forward, your own level of understanding and personal opinion, and good luck with that. There is no shame or underhandedness in testing each others abilities, how else can we learn and improve? As long as it is done with the right mind, constructive and not destructive.

Here is my problem:
If you put yourself in a position to test any one's abilities, then you first must be saying in yourself that you are "in a position" to be testing. Thus you think yourself better, or of greater knowledge than the one being tested. Because if we are being intellectually honest, only one considers themselves with greater knowledge in Aikido can be in a position to gauge those with less knowledge. If we are all equals and testing each other, well that's the blind leading the blind, if we are being intellectually honest. Therefore only some one of greater knowledge is in a position to gauge the skills and knowledge of some one else. And I think that person is Sensei. Therefore if you put yourself in a position to judge another classmate, you must first in yourself consider yourself your classmate's better, else it is the blind leading the blind.

aikidoaddict
12-26-2010, 07:57 PM
We might have some difference in meanings when we describe relaxed holds. I also said I wasn't sure I understood you correctly. That was why I asked for you to elaborate. I gave an example I commonly think of as good pound-for-pound grabbing power. I think a powerful grip/hold can be pretty relaxed, relatively speaking.
Given your counter example of "real" holds, I could always be wrong, however I don't think my view is unrealistic because I also have experience (relatively slight though it is) with people who have been successful in "da street" with their fighting.
Let me be clear, I'm no bad-ass (if anything I spent time avoiding such efforts), but I'm not completely ignorant in these matters either.
Dear Mathew
No offense taken as non was intended, this is a forum by Aikido lovers worldwide giving us the opportunity to exchange views and ideas. It is always difficult to chat with someone without being face to face. Many mis-understandings flare up and arguments can easily arise. I am just making a comment based on my 30 plus years of addiction to Aikido is all. I do not claim to be a great leader or sensei, I am just an avid student of Aikido for life. Let all take note that if someone's comments offend or upset you, it may well be that deep down it shook up your core beliefs, and might cause you to change your viewpoint eventually. This can cause anger to rise in defense of your ingrained understanding at that time. Open up to others viewpoints and re-evaluate as you all go.
Enjoy the journey.

kewms
12-26-2010, 08:04 PM
Interesting angle that you put forward, your own level of understanding and personal opinion, and good luck with that. There is no shame or underhandedness in testing each others abilities, how else can we learn and improve? As long as it is done with the right mind, constructive and not destructive.

*shrug* I'm too focused on developing my own abilities to really worry about anyone else's. (Except when I'm the person teaching the class.)

As for testing a potential teacher, I've been fortunate enough to study with teachers who are well beyond my ability to actually test them. If you don't feel that testing your teacher would be pointless, perhaps it's time to find another teacher.

Katherine

RED
12-26-2010, 08:08 PM
*shrug* I'm too focused on developing my own abilities to really worry about anyone else's. (Except when I'm the person teaching the class.)

As for testing a potential teacher, I've been fortunate enough to study with teachers who are well beyond my ability to actually test them. If you don't feel that testing your teacher would be pointless, perhaps it's time to find another teacher.

Katherine
Kind of my point.
If you have to test your teacher, IMO you haven't chose your teacher wisely. I think there should be no doubt walking on that mat.
And only the person in charge should be testing any one's ability. To test some one you are putting yourself in a position that states that you "know better" than the person being tested. Unless you are the Sensei or instructor, you are being quite arrogant in my opinion.

Andrew Macdonald
12-26-2010, 08:26 PM
interesting idea but why are you using a wrist grab to test skill, and then making a leap to aikido working on the street

when i train i use the wrist grab as a controled way to investigate and practice how to deal with an incoming force in a controlled way. because of this i require people to apply pressure/force in a direction that i can use, the tightness of the grip can be as relaxed or a tight as the person wants, but without the incoming force there is nothing for me to work with

I never tell people that someone is going to grab them in the street in such a manner, and i think it is a very dangerous thing to teach the wrist grab as a practical technique. if someone grabbed my wrsit in the street, (all my life i have never been attacked by someone only grabbing my wrist) doing an irimi nage on them might not be the first thing i try i would go for a simple release.

however, i do tell people to break down the technique and look at how they are working with a forcecoming in, then when we move to striking attacks they hopefully can see the same mechanics at work and learn some thing that is more directly applicable

kewms
12-26-2010, 09:01 PM
And only the person in charge should be testing any one's ability. To test some one you are putting yourself in a position that states that you "know better" than the person being tested. Unless you are the Sensei or instructor, you are being quite arrogant in my opinion.

I don't think it's bad for peers to challenge each other. Or is that not what you had in mind?

Katherine

Carl Thompson
12-26-2010, 09:13 PM
Apologies in advance in case this comes across as a bit blunt:

There seem to be some unusual definitions of "a tight grab" as well what constitutes "a relaxed grab" as well as the power of such a grab. A tight grab doesn't need reams of explanation. If you ask me to grab you tightly, I'll try to grab you tightly.

Perhaps this sounds too simple, but imagine your opponent is going to follow up the grab with a punch or other attack with any of their unoccupied limbs. Alternatively, imagine you have multiple opponents and your attacker is one of many attempting to stop you moving so they can all lay into you. In the role of the attacker, is your grab the kind of grab that would succeed in securing that arm, stopping their movement or dragging someone into an alleyway? Can you do any of the above with a light grab and if so, is that basic?

The founder was well known for letting people (often high-ranking martial artists) grab tightly (Tenryu (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=350) for example) and many of his direct students do likewise as a method of kokyu development. Whether other people use this kind of training is up to them. What I don't get is some of the illogical statements people are making to invalidate this practice and elevate their own.


A uke that holds with relaxation, with their centre in their hand/s, full intent on the objective and a completley free to move body, is a completely different animal than the 'tight grabber'. find one of those to test yourself against, they are very easy to move if the principles of aikido are followed and almost impossible to throw if they are not.

Mark, is your definition of grabbing lightly the same as my definition of grabbing tightly? The tight grabs I described above can be done very strongly by weak old masters using aiki alone – but it is still a tight grab, particularly when you give them something to work with by trying to muscle out of it. If this is not your meaning, I guess what confuses me about this post is that I find the opposite scenario: people grabbing tightly with the purpose of immobilising (by muscle or aiki-magic) make it a lot harder to move whereas people grabbing lightly (even if ironically to maintain their freedom of movement – which I also don’t get btw) are usually easy to move even with just a little regular muscle. I understand that in certain ki-forms, there are exercises involving this kind of thing but I think this is a different kind of practice to the basics the OP was talking about. If your opponent is "relaxed" as in only lightly attacking, they can't strike so easily because their physical (and “intentional”) connection isn't strong enough to stop you moving somewhere safer and they can't stop you striking them for the same reason: the attacker only has a tenuous connection that can be broken easily. Usually, the worst the attacker can do is to give up and flee if you mistakenly try to apply a waza to an attack that poses little danger.

It seems to me that if you're going to do a technique on someone who only has a light grab, it has to be this scenario: a fully committed attack in which the opponent is intending to get a solid immobilising grab but you only allow the light grab.

Also I'm not sure what is meant by "centre in their hands." The most basic, easy-to-explain kind of centre is the centre of gravity.

Kind regards to all

Carl

RED
12-26-2010, 09:55 PM
I don't think it's bad for peers to challenge each other. Or is that not what you had in mind?

Katherine

Now playful challenge is something different to me than test. People who are peers mucking about is all good and fine. But the concept of "test the abilities of" is what I don't like. The progress of a student may only be gauged by his better in my opinion. This is the Sensei's position.

mathewjgano
12-26-2010, 10:52 PM
Dear Mathew
No offense taken as non was intended, this is a forum by Aikido lovers worldwide giving us the opportunity to exchange views and ideas. It is always difficult to chat with someone without being face to face. Many mis-understandings flare up and arguments can easily arise. I am just making a comment based on my 30 plus years of addiction to Aikido is all. I do not claim to be a great leader or sensei, I am just an avid student of Aikido for life. Let all take note that if someone's comments offend or upset you, it may well be that deep down it shook up your core beliefs, and might cause you to change your viewpoint eventually. This can cause anger to rise in defense of your ingrained understanding at that time. Open up to others viewpoints and re-evaluate as you all go.
Enjoy the journey.

Hi Paul,
No worries! I wasn't offended, and I hope I didn't come across as offensive! I gave a specific example in response to specific remarks (not the original post, which I didn't see much to disagree with) hoping to get more information on what you meant by relaxed holds, or at least to get some direct view on my example. You replied by suggesting I was being unrealistic and I then replied to that by suggesting I have a basis for understanding the realities of "street" attacks. We've still not discussed the concept of realistic or relaxed grabs any further because rather than address my specific questions, now you seem to be suggesting I'm being closed-minded.
I try to live by your last two sentences. I can't re-evaluate my views without direct feedback.
Take care,
Matthew

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 12:13 AM
Here is my problem:
If you put yourself in a position to test any one's abilities, then you first must be saying in yourself that you are "in a position" to be testing. Thus you think yourself better, or of greater knowledge than the one being tested. Because if we are being intellectually honest, only one considers themselves with greater knowledge in Aikido can be in a position to gauge those with less knowledge. If we are all equals and testing each other, well that's the blind leading the blind, if we are being intellectually honest. Therefore only some one of greater knowledge is in a position to gauge the skills and knowledge of some one else. And I think that person is Sensei. Therefore if you put yourself in a position to judge another classmate, you must first in yourself consider yourself your classmate's better, else it is the blind leading the blind.
Dear Maggie Schill
You are really going in direction that is so confrontational and agressive and nothing to do with my post or me, and more to do with you, where you are at in life at this point in time. If you do not like what I have to say, do not read my comments and feel free to go somewhere else. Good bye and good luck to you.

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 12:20 AM
*shrug* I'm too focused on developing my own abilities to really worry about anyone else's. (Except when I'm the person teaching the class.)

As for testing a potential teacher, I've been fortunate enough to study with teachers who are well beyond my ability to actually test them. If you don't feel that testing your teacher would be pointless, perhaps it's time to find another teacher.

Katherine

Not my point at all Katherine Derbyshire, totally yours. Not what I had to say, but your own opinion of what you think I said. Some comments here by some people are way off the mark as far as I am concerned, but good luck to you. Some can understand what I said others find it a convenient place to anonymously attack others opinions. If it makes you happy, go for it. Enjoy. I will not be wasting my time trying to explain myself to people who do not wish to understand. I am placing my thoughts on this bulletin board so others can read and agree or disagree. My life is too busy to bother with naysayers. Enjoy your journey.

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 12:30 AM
Hi Paul,
No worries! I wasn't offended, and I hope I didn't come across as offensive! I gave a specific example in response to specific remarks (not the original post, which I didn't see much to disagree with) hoping to get more information on what you meant by relaxed holds, or at least to get some direct view on my example. You replied by suggesting I was being unrealistic and I then replied to that by suggesting I have a basis for understanding the realities of "street" attacks. We've still not discussed the concept of realistic or relaxed grabs any further because rather than address my specific questions, now you seem to be suggesting I'm being closed-minded.
I try to live by your last two sentences. I can't re-evaluate my views without direct feedback.
Take care,
Matthew
Dear Mathew
Sorry, the last comments from me were directed mainly at prior comments which were getting a bit way out there, and way off the mark. I do agree wholeheartedly with giving uke something to work with while training, but not trying to completely stop them.
I also find that gripping hard sometimes, allows both parties to get a good idea of where they are, and what they may need to polish to improve. This is something that does not work at all when the other person (sensei or student) has a good understanding of the techniques of Aikido. This comment was placed as a guideline to bettering oneself, and also your partner, during training. It is only my personal viewpoint, but it seems to have brought out some anger issues with some folks. Sorry about that.

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 12:34 AM
Kind of my point.
If you have to test your teacher, IMO you haven't chose your teacher wisely. I think there should be no doubt walking on that mat.
And only the person in charge should be testing any one's ability. To test some one you are putting yourself in a position that states that you "know better" than the person being tested. Unless you are the Sensei or instructor, you are being quite arrogant in my opinion.
Maggie
The snide remarks and agressive comments from you are getting stale very quickly. Go away, or do I have to make a formal complaint to Jun? Your choice.

Carl Thompson
12-27-2010, 02:32 AM
To Sensei Araki-Metcalfe,

I'd just like to say thanks for your original post. It makes me want to visit your dojo.

Carl

Mark Freeman
12-27-2010, 05:21 AM
Apologies in advance in case this comes across as a bit blunt:

There seem to be some unusual definitions of "a tight grab" as well what constitutes "a relaxed grab" as well as the power of such a grab. A tight grab doesn't need reams of explanation. If you ask me to grab you tightly, I'll try to grab you tightly.

Perhaps this sounds too simple, but imagine your opponent is going to follow up the grab with a punch or other attack with any of their unoccupied limbs. Alternatively, imagine you have multiple opponents and your attacker is one of many attempting to stop you moving so they can all lay into you. In the role of the attacker, is your grab the kind of grab that would succeed in securing that arm, stopping their movement or dragging someone into an alleyway? Can you do any of the above with a light grab and if so, is that basic?

The founder was well known for letting people (often high-ranking martial artists) grab tightly (Tenryu (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=350) for example) and many of his direct students do likewise as a method of kokyu development. Whether other people use this kind of training is up to them. What I don't get is some of the illogical statements people are making to invalidate this practice and elevate their own.

Mark, is your definition of grabbing lightly the same as my definition of grabbing tightly? The tight grabs I described above can be done very strongly by weak old masters using aiki alone – but it is still a tight grab, particularly when you give them something to work with by trying to muscle out of it. If this is not your meaning, I guess what confuses me about this post is that I find the opposite scenario: people grabbing tightly with the purpose of immobilising (by muscle or aiki-magic) make it a lot harder to move whereas people grabbing lightly (even if ironically to maintain their freedom of movement – which I also don’t get btw) are usually easy to move even with just a little regular muscle. I understand that in certain ki-forms, there are exercises involving this kind of thing but I think this is a different kind of practice to the basics the OP was talking about. If your opponent is "relaxed" as in only lightly attacking, they can't strike so easily because their physical (and “intentional”) connection isn't strong enough to stop you moving somewhere safer and they can't stop you striking them for the same reason: the attacker only has a tenuous connection that can be broken easily. Usually, the worst the attacker can do is to give up and flee if you mistakenly try to apply a waza to an attack that poses little danger.

It seems to me that if you're going to do a technique on someone who only has a light grab, it has to be this scenario: a fully committed attack in which the opponent is intending to get a solid immobilising grab but you only allow the light grab.

Also I'm not sure what is meant by "centre in their hands." The most basic, easy-to-explain kind of centre is the centre of gravity.

Kind regards to all

Carl

Hi Carl,

I dont think your definition and mine are the same. I didn't mention grabbing 'lightly', not sure where that comes from, a forum is a bit like chinese whispers, things get distorted along the way. I mentioned 'relaxed', with full intent, free to move etc.

I have no problem with people practicing with whatever level of grip that they like, if aikido is valid it has to work with all levels of strength and types of attack.

What I am certainly not advocating is some limp/relaxed hold that has no intention, that would be a complete waste of everyones time.

The hold itself is only one aspect of the whole person. If uke holds with a relaxed grip (and I realise it is the word relaxed that is causing the problem for some), but with their mind on the target, basic standing or dynamic movement, makes no difference. Then they are in a position to follow nage's movement with ease. If uke's structure/co-ordination is correct throughout, then any use of 'muscling' a technique, runs into a big problem, as it is very difficult to throw a whole person with something as ineffective as tense arms.
When I am teaching, I constantly use this method to find the point at which the student is 'going wrong'. This method relies on co-ordination and a non-fighting mind. Uke's job is to follow the truth in the movement, to decide nothing and provide the intent for nage to work with.

I have been working with trying to understand and practice this as taught to me for quite a while. In the begining I was really into the training and what my teacher was doing, but I must admit, I was sceptical that it had any martial merit, it all seemed a bit 'soft'. It took me about 5 years before I began to see the logic behind it all. Now, I wouldn't want to go any other way, unless it could be proven to be more effective.

If I want to test myself against 'strength', my assistant teacher is a 'Dry Stone Waller' by trade, he lifts and places rocks, hammering and chiselling when required. He has a grip that can cut your circulation off:eek: If I ask him for the sake of demonstration to 'apply a serious grip'' he knows what is coming next. For me the throw is easy, for him the fall is much harder than if he stayed relaxed and co-ordinated.

As for the 'centre in the hands' point. If your hands are not an extension of your one point/hara/centre/dantien, then you do not have the mind/body structure that is required to manifest the elusive aiki/IS that is much talked about. The hands must be connected to the ground, through the centre (not the centre of gravity/although it's in approximately the same place) This I realise, is the most problematic part of reaching higher levels of competence in aikido. If I am uke and am following someone's technique, if their hands are not an extension of their centre then they have 'lost'. Not that it's about winning and losing of course, just trying to constantly improve.

Not a full explanation, by any means, but maybe enough to gauge where you are on this continuum. I could just cop out and say 'it has to be felt', it does. Hopefully, this might clear up some of the tangents that this thread has gone off on.

regards

Mark

Peter Goldsbury
12-27-2010, 06:21 AM
Hello Mark,

A question.


If I want to test myself against 'strength', my assistant teacher is a 'Dry Stone Waller' by trade, he lifts and places rocks, hammering and chiselling when required. He has a grip that can cut your circulation off:eek: If I ask him for the sake of demonstration to 'apply a serious grip'' he knows what is coming next. For me the throw is easy, for him the fall is much harder than if he stayed relaxed and co-ordinated.

Have you asked your 'Dry Stone Waller' to grip you with 'intent'? Or does he know how? If he does, how would this differ from him gripping you without 'intent'? How have you taught him the difference?

Best wishes,

PAG

Mark Freeman
12-27-2010, 10:33 AM
Hello Mark,

A question.

Have you asked your 'Dry Stone Waller' to grip you with 'intent'? Or does he know how? If he does, how would this differ from him gripping you without 'intent'? How have you taught him the difference?

Best wishes,

PAG

Hi Peter,

I guess we could enter into an 'exactly what does intent mean' discusion here:) , however, to try and answer your question - the 'intent I ask for, when demonstrating is for him to grip as hard as he can and try and prevent me from moving my arm. So from a martial attack point of view it's pretty low level stuff. It is really only a test to show that a relaxed co-ordinated mind/body beats a strong arm grab each time.

Now once the test moves into dynamic movement, then uke's attack may still have the 'death grip' on the end of his arm and his intent would change to one of forward momentum and a desire to control nage in some way. Once we are here then aikido is enough to deal with his attack.

Yes there is a difference between holding with and without intent, holding without intent, seems to me to be a bit of an oxymoron, if there is no intent, why hold? I guess everything comes down to exactly what is it you 'intend' to do with the action of grabbing.

For me, my practice now is much more weighted in the what the mind is doing, now that I seem to have got the physical side pretty well up to scratch. So I am very interested moment by moment as to where my mind/ki/intent is.

My main point that was trying to get across is that once you engage the muscles in the tension required to give a really strong grip, then the total body relaxation I am searching for goes, also the tension is in the mind as well, it becomes fixed, both the mind and the body can become 'choked' on the point that they are trying to control. My aim is to be completely free to move 'on balance' with non-resistant ukemi. This I can only do with relaxation.

My Dry Stoner is a second dan, so he knows the difference, but he still needs plenty of reminding:)

Peter, you know my teacher, if I don't hold or attack him with full intent (particularly with weapons), he's not going to cut me any slack. So I do as I'm instructed. When he holds me, it is like being held in the jaws of an imaginary vice, you don't feel a thing, until you try and do something!

Not sure if that answers your question, but it's a bit more to go on. I find it easy to demonstrate, but not so easy to put down onto pixels.

regards,

Mark

Anjisan
12-27-2010, 11:29 AM
Hi Carl,

I dont think your definition and mine are the same. I didn't mention grabbing 'lightly', not sure where that comes from, a forum is a bit like chinese whispers, things get distorted along the way. I mentioned 'relaxed', with full intent, free to move etc.

I have no problem with people practicing with whatever level of grip that they like, if aikido is valid it has to work with all levels of strength and types of attack.

What I am certainly not advocating is some limp/relaxed hold that has no intention, that would be a complete waste of everyones time.

The hold itself is only one aspect of the whole person. If uke holds with a relaxed grip (and I realise it is the word relaxed that is causing the problem for some), but with their mind on the target, basic standing or dynamic movement, makes no difference. Then they are in a position to follow nage's movement with ease. If uke's structure/co-ordination is correct throughout, then any use of 'muscling' a technique, runs into a big problem, as it is very difficult to throw a whole person with something as ineffective as tense arms.
When I am teaching, I constantly use this method to find the point at which the student is 'going wrong'. This method relies on co-ordination and a non-fighting mind. Uke's job is to follow the truth in the movement, to decide nothing and provide the intent for nage to work with.

I have been working with trying to understand and practice this as taught to me for quite a while. In the begining I was really into the training and what my teacher was doing, but I must admit, I was sceptical that it had any martial merit, it all seemed a bit 'soft'. It took me about 5 years before I began to see the logic behind it all. Now, I wouldn't want to go any other way, unless it could be proven to be more effective.

If I want to test myself against 'strength', my assistant teacher is a 'Dry Stone Waller' by trade, he lifts and places rocks, hammering and chiselling when required. He has a grip that can cut your circulation off:eek: If I ask him for the sake of demonstration to 'apply a serious grip'' he knows what is coming next. For me the throw is easy, for him the fall is much harder than if he stayed relaxed and co-ordinated.

As for the 'centre in the hands' point. If your hands are not an extension of your one point/hara/centre/dantien, then you do not have the mind/body structure that is required to manifest the elusive aiki/IS that is much talked about. The hands must be connected to the ground, through the centre (not the centre of gravity/although it's in approximately the same place) This I realise, is the most problematic part of reaching higher levels of competence in aikido. If I am uke and am following someone's technique, if their hands are not an extension of their centre then they have 'lost'. Not that it's about winning and losing of course, just trying to constantly improve.

Not a full explanation, by any means, but maybe enough to gauge where you are on this continuum. I could just cop out and say 'it has to be felt', it does. Hopefully, this might clear up some of the tangents that this thread has gone off on.

regards

Mark

I think that maybe one has to differentiate between "relaxed" and "whimpy" for starters. One certainly can be "grounded" without being a sack of sand. I would think that an attacker is not going to just grab and hold on for dear life any more than their grab will reflect, "Hey, you do you have the time?" From the Uke's perspective,what is the purpose of the "attack" or in this case, the set-up? It really isn't anything by itself.

This is a place where it seems Aikido training falls down in that what is really possible in a very very short amount of time, within that maai is often not conveyed to students. Sometimes it is because AIkido is all the instructor (and many of the students probably) has ever really known and thus, can't really punch or kick anyone. Is the purpose of the grab to intimidate-probably, is it to control or manipulate--ala don't move or move over here? Or is the Uke threatening to punch Nage in the body or face, headbut, knee, or kick--if so, I would think that it would happen pretty quickly, within 2 seconds of being grabbed

In other words, besides the obvious connection practice--why is Uke even grabbing and what are their options, not just what are Nage's options. We in AIkido often tend to develop a very narrow "tunnel vision" as far a looking at all these options for Nage because we often--too often in my belief-- train in the "one and done" attack, not realizing that Uke has a lot of options as well both before and during the "connection".

So "martial intent" I believe, does play a profound role in conveying these "possibilities" and these can be conveyed through the grab in particular and the overall interaction-posture, eyes, where is the other of Ukes hands-I would hope up near ones face just for prudent training anyway (keeping both hands involved as they say) let alone playing the role of an attacker.

dave9nine
12-27-2010, 12:32 PM
hi,
regarding the discussion about grip/grab...

from reading, it seems that some people make a couple automatic associations that i'd like to question or at least add to:

1. if a grip/grab is tight, this tightness travels up, and the rest of the grabber's body is necessarily tense/rigid/stiff, etc. (and thus, assumedly, they are unable to take good ukemi)

this creates the inverse:

2. if a grip/grab is light, the grabber is necessarily poised/in position to take better ukemi.

i think both of these assumptions are off for one reason:
it is possible to grip tightly, and yet, to isolate the wrist and hand so as to keep the rest of the arm (and thus body) supple and relaxed. just because the grip has tension doesnt mean it has to travel all the way up the arm and through the body.
i first encountered this principle while riding public transit;
if anyone has had to stand in a moving subway car/bus, holding on to one of the overhead hoops or bars while the train car wiggles and sways, they have felt this principle: the grip needs to be tight to hold on to the bar, but if the tight grip is allowed to travel up the body, the body will be easily be swayed by the movign car, making for a pretty bumpy travel; however, if the tight grip is isolated, and the rest of the arm (and shoulder, body, etc) is relaxed, then the body can stand quite relaxed while the arm (through the grip) acts as a buffer.
(i hope i explained that alright :freaky: )

i have to some degree been able to develop this ability on my path, and i have found that it has helped my ukemi tremendously.

on the other hand, i have felt grabs from others in different styles who have been taught to grab lightly for the sake of 'sensitive ukemi' and, while they did display a particular type of connectedness, i generally found them to be ironically disconnected from the martial reality of what we were doing...

also, ftr, i think it was clear that the OP's comment about 'testing' nage is not a challenge to the sanctity of the authority that Sensei holds; i agree with some that if we as training partners are not testing and challenging each other, then what are we doing? there are ways to challenge/test as friends and mates, without carrying the connotations of "arrogance" that some want to attribute in a blanket way.

just my 2 pesos.
thanks!

-dave

RED
12-27-2010, 12:58 PM
Maggie
The snide remarks and agressive comments from you are getting stale very quickly. Go away, or do I have to make a formal complaint to Jun? Your choice.

Go ahead, get Jun. I haven't said anything wrong.
I'm not being rude to you on any personal level. I wasn't angry at your post, I just disagree. Wasn't even aware you were upset. Thought there was a discussion going on here.
Apparently not agreeing with you means aggressive. I don't see where I was snide. I thought I was respectful in my disagreement.
Please point out where you found disrespect with my posting, else how can I communicate with you in the way in which you preferred to be communicated with?
I disagree with you. I gave my reasons plainly why. Where is your aggression coming from?

DH
12-27-2010, 01:01 PM
Testing can happen at a touch...and it is over. It does not have to be rude.

Intent is not your "intentions" or "intending" to do a thing. And grip strength is never an issue when you understand aiki. It's only valid as an inhibiting factor for the "straights" (those without a properly trained bujutsu body). For those with martial understanding it is a non-issue. Why? You are not responding to the grip in the first place. Only the straights do that.
Secondarily, grip-at least bujutsu gripping- is not in the hand it is in the body. There is a reason that "Aiki in yo ho" originates with the hara, the hand opening and closing is activated by the breath. You can “actively grip,” moving them in any manner of fluid connections with a relaxed body, and that grip feels very powerful.

Moving, even with intent, is not enough. Moving with properly trained intent is the way. Intent is only "King" when it is precise and cognitively aware. Any lack whatsoever causes the effect of your movement to fail incrementally, whatever your lack. So intent has to be built, created, to activate everything correctly. All else can just be vain muscular movement. Sure, you may intend to do something...or worse happenstance created something correct. We all know that familiar... "I had a good day at the dojo...but I don't know why”…sort of thing. Which for us should be a swear word. When we fail we should know HOW we failed, WHY we failed, or we are just not aware....and that...is a slap in the face.
If by this point we are unaware of our scapulars separating, or shoulders disconnecting and rising under stress or our chest engaging with our shoulders, or we default to the martial artists "one side weighted" dance, or our hips are tied to our knees and our shoulders tied to our hips....it doesn't say much for our previous training and body awareness does it? And one needs to consider what in Tohei's "one-point model" would ever fix that and when?

People can go on and on with all sorts of opinions on the net and talk about who's who and who can or cannot do what....but in person..."our bodies never lie." They reveal our true understanding. Self awareness can be hard won. And "self-awareness" -in the face of everyone you are exposed to moving just like you- doesn't help get you very far either...
There is a reason so many of the Budo axioms like "Push when pulled" work. But they were meant to be axioms that work on the "straights"...not on us. At the end of the day when the straights touched hands with someone who has a bujutsu body- read: "a better understanding of what the body is really capable of," there was supposed to be no further debate. It was never meant to be the budo people themselves now "moving like the straights."
It is for this reason we see so many budo teachers of all types -with decades in -moving just like the straights and now meeting certain individuals and being neutralized and handled on contact despite their best efforts. I have not met the Budo teacher yet, who after touching hands and contesting; wanted to continue moving the way they did when they walked in the door.
And no we didn’t need aggressive testing to test that ability. As most have reported here...they knew instantly. Why? We... are the ones who are different (created from our training), removed from the way the normal folk..."the straights" move. Moving with a bujutsu awareness in our mind and bodies. And it has not one, single, thing, to do with technique...it is Aiki, kuzushi on contact; which is created by the body, soft, fluid, and relaxed and instantly and continuously powerful, without shape, This is the way of aiki. As Sagawa expressed....in my tag line and Ueshiba repeated and demonstrated, continually..
Cheers
Dan

David Yap
12-27-2010, 01:05 PM
Hi all,

I have come to a stage that I need to test my own ability and level of understanding and I can only do so with the help of my partner(s). I am grateful for their continuing tests; without which, I don't think I would be motivated to invest my time in the art.

Joe Hyams (Zen in the Martial Arts) wrote:

"A dojo is a miniature cosmos where we make contact with ourselves - our fears, anxieties, reactions, and habits. It is an arena of confined conflict where we confront an opponent who is not an opponent but rather a partner engaged in helping us understand ourselves more fully. It is a place where we can learn in a short time about who we are and how we react in the world. The conflicts that take place inside the dojo help us handle conflicts that take place outside.."

The real world can be stressful, maybe more stressful than a strong wiselike grip.

To all uke (partners) - thank you for all your "tests"

David Y

RED
12-27-2010, 01:11 PM
Dear Maggie Schill
You are really going in direction that is so confrontational and agressive and nothing to do with my post or me, and more to do with you, where you are at in life at this point in time. If you do not like what I have to say, do not read my comments and feel free to go somewhere else. Good bye and good luck to you.

Are you making personal assumptions about me based on the fact I have an opinion contrary to your own?
I thought we were discussing two contrary points?

I didn't think I was being confrontational. I was clarifying my opinion to be better understood. I have nothing against what you said, accept I have a counter point to it.
Don't take this so personally, and I'd kindly ask your rebuttal to not be of a personal nature either!

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 07:02 PM
Way off the mark here, sorry. I am very happy with my mentor and guide thank you kindly. It was meant for helping someone to find find a good teacher not test the one you already have and enjoy.
Paul

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 07:04 PM
*shrug* I'm too focused on developing my own abilities to really worry about anyone else's. (Except when I'm the person teaching the class.)

As for testing a potential teacher, I've been fortunate enough to study with teachers who are well beyond my ability to actually test them. If you don't feel that testing your teacher would be pointless, perhaps it's time to find another teacher.

Katherine

Way off the mark here, sorry. I am very happy with my mentor and guide thank you kindly. It was meant for helping someone to find find a good teacher not test the one you already have and hopefully enjoy.
Paul

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 07:14 PM
Dear Carl
Thank you for your reply, appreciate it. I am sure I would learn from you actually. My wife learnt from me when she was a beginner and used to knock all the high grades on their butts with such ease, and they had that look on their faces of how did she do that when they got up. Priceless. I must know a little bit to be able to pass that on I think. I'll keep trying to learn and evolve. Who knows, oneday....
Paul

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 07:20 PM
hi,
regarding the discussion about grip/grab...

from reading, it seems that some people make a couple automatic associations that i'd like to question or at least add to:

1. if a grip/grab is tight, this tightness travels up, and the rest of the grabber's body is necessarily tense/rigid/stiff, etc. (and thus, assumedly, they are unable to take good ukemi)

this creates the inverse:

2. if a grip/grab is light, the grabber is necessarily poised/in position to take better ukemi.

i think both of these assumptions are off for one reason:
it is possible to grip tightly, and yet, to isolate the wrist and hand so as to keep the rest of the arm (and thus body) supple and relaxed. just because the grip has tension doesnt mean it has to travel all the way up the arm and through the body.
i first encountered this principle while riding public transit;
if anyone has had to stand in a moving subway car/bus, holding on to one of the overhead hoops or bars while the train car wiggles and sways, they have felt this principle: the grip needs to be tight to hold on to the bar, but if the tight grip is allowed to travel up the body, the body will be easily be swayed by the movign car, making for a pretty bumpy travel; however, if the tight grip is isolated, and the rest of the arm (and shoulder, body, etc) is relaxed, then the body can stand quite relaxed while the arm (through the grip) acts as a buffer.
(i hope i explained that alright :freaky: )

i have to some degree been able to develop this ability on my path, and i have found that it has helped my ukemi tremendously.

on the other hand, i have felt grabs from others in different styles who have been taught to grab lightly for the sake of 'sensitive ukemi' and, while they did display a particular type of connectedness, i generally found them to be ironically disconnected from the martial reality of what we were doing...

also, ftr, i think it was clear that the OP's comment about 'testing' nage is not a challenge to the sanctity of the authority that Sensei holds; i agree with some that if we as training partners are not testing and challenging each other, then what are we doing? there are ways to challenge/test as friends and mates, without carrying the connotations of "arrogance" that some want to attribute in a blanket way.

just my 2 pesos.
thanks!

-dave
And a great 2 pesos it was Dave. Well put, I like it.
Paul

aikidoaddict
12-27-2010, 07:37 PM
Many people seem obsessed with only the Sensei testing people and how dare anyone else do so. Hw dare we even think we are good enough to test others etc. They quote that if you test each other it is as good as the blind leading the blind.
I say do not blindly follow someone and give them godlike status without question, or at least testing their abilities. If testing each others level of ability and understanding is done openly and honestly, and you even ask first so no underhandedness, there should be no problem with this.
In my 30 plus years of Aikido and travelling around the world, I have met Shihans who could not fight their way out of a wet paper-bag. I have met Shihans who have had multiple failed marriages, who are misfits and outcasts, who prey on the female students like predators. I have met Shihans who just beat the heck out of students all the time to somehow prove they are good.
I certainly would not blindly follow and worship like some do. Get real people, test and choose wisely. Look for diamonds and don't just blindly follow the pack. Quality not quantity I say. I choose mentors and guides of quality who can positively add to my learning, who can laugh and toss you away like you are a piece of paper in the wind. Ones who are like trying to grab water as they are so fluid. Ones who are content and at peace with themselves and life. Ones who add value to my life journey, ones who don't need to harm injure or hurt to perform proper Aikido. Good luck all.

RED
12-27-2010, 07:52 PM
They quote that if you test each other it is as good as the blind leading the blind.


Ears buring :cool:

You've misunderstood my position. I'm sorry for the mis-communication.
Peace.

Carl Thompson
12-27-2010, 09:33 PM
Hello Mark


I dont think your definition and mine are the same. I didn't mention grabbing 'lightly', not sure where that comes from, a forum is a bit like chinese whispers, things get distorted along the way. I mentioned 'relaxed', with full intent, free to move etc.

Thank you for clarifying that. I’m sure there were others out there who like me were worried that you meant “relaxed grip = grabbing lightly” (i.e.: with no strength, internal or otherwise), especially since you contrasted it with grabbing tightly. You’ll have to forgive me but I still don’t quite get what is going on behind the grip. It sounds like a very special grip – not the kihon mentioned by the OP.

That’s fair enough of course, but then you’re off topic, essentially informing us that you can do this easily and by the way, here’s something much more difficult. As a Cumbrian with some farming background, I am familiar with the strength of drystone wallers. Where I am in my aikido, I think the ability to move such people is not always easy, especially when they are experienced, but I have found that my results have improved through practice of the basics. I’m not saying you can’t do it easily but if that is so then I think you need to recalibrate to add a few lower levels for the basic skills some of us are struggling to learn. The OP was referring to this ability as a basic test that should not be rushed past:


Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.

Like yourself Mark, I also have no problem with you taking a different route to achieve the same ends and I am interested in your approach, especially if you are as successful as you claim. Could you perhaps link to a video of the kind of thing you do?


As for the 'centre in the hands' point. If your hands are not an extension of your one point/hara/centre/dantien, then you do not have the mind/body structure that is required to manifest the elusive aiki/IS that is much talked about.

Thanks for clarifying that too. It makes a lot more sense. I am intrigued by your method of reaching this point.

Kind regards

Carl

Mark Freeman
12-28-2010, 04:58 AM
As a Cumbrian with some farming background, I am familiar with the strength of drystone wallers. Where I am in my aikido, I think the ability to move such people is not always easy, especially when they are experienced, but I have found that my results have improved through practice of the basics. I'm not saying you can't do it easily but if that is so then I think you need to recalibrate to add a few lower levels for the basic skills some of us are struggling to learn. The OP was referring to this ability as a basic test that should not be rushed past:

Hi Carl

I fully concur with the OP and the focus on not rushing past the basics. I have spent nearly half of all my time in aikido practice engaged in the ki development exercises that came from Tohei Sensei. Essentially they are pretty static tests designed to get the student to co-ordinate mind and body and prepare to achieve the mind/body state that is essential to perform aikido well. Central to this is that the mind leads the body, if you move your partners mind, their body will inevitably follow. So many exercises are based around understanding just how this effect is manifested.

Like yourself Mark, I also have no problem with you taking a different route to achieve the same ends and I am interested in your approach, especially if you are as successful as you claim. Could you perhaps link to a video of the kind of thing you do?


I don't have any video of myself (yet) but the best I can do is link you to Tohei's fundamental concept series
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbgRGgcBAUg&feature=related
around 1.00 you'll see his tenkan movement.

Thanks for clarifying that too. It makes a lot more sense. I am intrigued by your method of reaching this point.

Practice and more practice, a teacher that can do it and teach it, oh, and a weekend with Mike Sigman, that helped me get a more practical and logical take on some of the concepts that my mind had been chewing on.

regards,

Mark

mathewjgano
12-28-2010, 12:59 PM
Here is my problem:
If you put yourself in a position to test any one's abilities, then you first must be saying in yourself that you are "in a position" to be testing. Thus you think yourself better, or of greater knowledge than the one being tested.

I disagree. It's a presumption to think that because someone wants to experiment/test something specific that the person automatically assumes they're in a better position to judge. I think the gist of what the OP is saying is that experimentation is the backbone of learning. It's no different, as far as I can tell, than ki tests.
It's analogous to expressing ideas here on Aikiweb: I put forth whatever is on my mind to see what I get in response. Just because I say "I think this or that" doesn't mean I assume I am right...largely because I respect my own ignorance (certainly I'm better sometimes more than others at displaying that:o ). Similarly, if my training partner and I have an understanding about what we're doing (hence the mention of "ask"-ing in the OP), I should be able to try things like being unmoveable or otherwise gripping in different ways.
The problem comes when our partner doesn't know what we're trying to do or doesn't agree that that is the appropriate time to try it out. If we resist technique during demonstration, as but one obvious example, our partner may quit the process altogether rather than find a solution to the experiment, and we might be left thinking "oh he couldn't do it."
And, personally, I would say it's always a case of the blind leading the blind; it's just that we're all blind in different ways and to different extents. We learn to "see" by feeling our way around, usually bumping into things unexpectedly, and tracking the experience in order to find our best approximation of the Way(s) of things.
Take care,
Matt

RED
12-28-2010, 01:18 PM
I disagree. It's a presumption to think that because someone wants to experiment/test something specific that the person automatically assumes they're in a better position to judge. I think the gist of what the OP is saying is that experimentation is the backbone of learning. It's no different, as far as I can tell, than ki tests.
It's analogous to expressing ideas here on Aikiweb: I put forth whatever is on my mind to see what I get in response. Just because I say "I think this or that" doesn't mean I assume I am right...largely because I respect my own ignorance (certainly I'm better sometimes more than others at displaying that:o ). Similarly, if my training partner and I have an understanding about what we're doing (hence the mention of "ask"-ing in the OP), I should be able to try things like being unmoveable or otherwise gripping in different ways.
The problem comes when our partner doesn't know what we're trying to do or doesn't agree that that is the appropriate time to try it out. If we resist technique during demonstration, as but one obvious example, our partner may quit the process altogether rather than find a solution to the experiment, and we might be left thinking "oh he couldn't do it."
And, personally, I would say it's always a case of the blind leading the blind; it's just that we're all blind in different ways and to different extents. We learn to "see" by feeling our way around, usually bumping into things unexpectedly, and tracking the experience in order to find our best approximation of the Way(s) of things.
Take care,
Matt

Hi,
Like I've stated before, I see no issue with Aikidoka of the same peer giving good spirited challenge to one another, I agree the benefit it gives to growth. This is a point I think you and I are in complete agreement of!
Experimenting is different than testing some one IMO.
My issue comes with the concept of "testing". The OP gave forth a scenario where one could judge the extent of another by simply grabbing them then gauging their response. My opinion is that only some one who ,in honesty, is of greater experience than you can gauge the abilities of others in this way accurately. Otherwise, under the scenario put forth by the OP, how are we to determine or judge that a successful throw is the success of the nage, or the failure of the person who is doing the testing?

If you agree we are the blind leading the blind in many respects, then it is impossible for us to gauge each other accurately. Thus, IMO, we should just train and learn, without setting up scenarios in which we can judge our classmates, but continue to judge ourselves. Also, we should allow our instructors to keep tab on our progress and tell us when we are lacking and how to fix it along the way.
Again, I'm in agreement with you on the subject of good-spirited challenges. But the results of which are for each person to take away from with a grain of salt about themselves, to develop themselves. I don't consider good-spirited challenges as a means to judge each other, but yourself.

RED
12-28-2010, 01:43 PM
On a side note, the Founder did leave writings as to what he considered productive training at the dojo:

http://www.aikiweb.com/general/dojo_reg.html
http://www.aikiweb.com/general/founder.html

mathewjgano
12-28-2010, 04:42 PM
Hi Maggie,
W/re: testing and experimentation, I think of the two as essentially the same thing. When one experiments, they test their current state of understanding.
Hi,
My opinion is that only some one who ,in honesty, is of greater experience than you can gauge the abilities of others in this way accurately. Otherwise, under the scenario put forth by the OP, how are we to determine or judge that a successful throw is the success of the nage, or the failure of the person who is doing the testing?
I might be missing something, but my sense is that people with "lesser" abilities can still judge something about the interaction. I've been reading up on my renewed favorite scientist and he said something to the effect that everything has some degree of uncertainty involved and I think he's probably right.

If you agree we are the blind leading the blind in many respects, then it is impossible for us to gauge each other accurately.
If by accurately you mean 100% then yes. I'm not saying the person with greater ability wouldn't generally have a more accurate assessment though.

Thus, IMO, we should just train and learn, without setting up scenarios in which we can judge our classmates, but continue to judge ourselves.
The whole point isn't to judge the other, but to judge the self in relation to the interaction. When I trained with complete newbies who seemed rather uncoordinated, I wouldn't assume they wouldn't out perform me in at any given moment.

I don't consider good-spirited challenges as a means to judge each other, but yourself.
Then I think we're in agreement.