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senshincenter
03-10-2011, 03:05 AM
I hate the beautiful uke. They are ruining the art.:(

grondahl
03-10-2011, 03:56 AM
How come?

Mark Freeman
03-10-2011, 03:57 AM
I hate the beautiful uke. They are ruining the art.:(

Hi David,

you are not normally a man of so few words.;)

In what way are the beautiful uke ruining the art?

And are the ugly ones helping in some way?:D

regards,

Mark

Alex Megann
03-10-2011, 06:27 AM
I hate the beautiful uke. They are ruining the art.:(

You mean this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66eDgHo1cKE) kind of thing?

I have the highest regard for Takeda Sensei, but I understand that in his school (Aikido Kenkyukai) ukes are encouraged to be extremely responsive, for better or for worse. In this clip, at least, I see lots of beautiful flying through the air, but a shortage of actual attacks that you would have to get out of the way of...

Alex

sakumeikan
03-10-2011, 06:48 AM
You mean this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66eDgHo1cKE) kind of thing?

I have the highest regard for Takeda Sensei, but I understand that in his school (Aikido Kenkyukai) ukes are encouraged to be extremely responsive, for better or for worse. In this clip, at least, I see lots of beautiful flying through the air, but a shortage of actual attacks that you would have to get out of the way of...

Alex
Alex,
If these are genuine attacks I am a Dutchman.This sort of thing gives aikido a bad name.No wonder the other M.A. fraternity think we are all delusional doing this sort of attack.If I had to do this type of attack?? to my own TechnicalDirector, what do you think would be the response?I would be chastised and rightly so.
Cheers, Joe.

itaborai83
03-10-2011, 06:54 AM
You mean this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66eDgHo1cKE) kind of thing?

I have the highest regard for Takeda Sensei, but I understand that in his school (Aikido Kenkyukai) ukes are encouraged to be extremely responsive, for better or for worse. In this clip, at least, I see lots of beautiful flying through the air, but a shortage of actual attacks that you would have to get out of the way of...

Alex

I fail to see the beauty in mockery

regards,
Daniel

Gorgeous George
03-10-2011, 07:11 AM
You mean this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66eDgHo1cKE) kind of thing?

I have the highest regard for Takeda Sensei, but I understand that in his school (Aikido Kenkyukai) ukes are encouraged to be extremely responsive, for better or for worse. In this clip, at least, I see lots of beautiful flying through the air, but a shortage of actual attacks that you would have to get out of the way of...

Alex

There's plenty of flying about, but I wouldn't characterise it as beautiful...

Perhaps the guy means like Chrisitan Tissier's ukes - that's what comes to my mind when I hear 'Beautiful Uke(mi)':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3NmaYu2Kvc&feature=related

...I hasten to add that I love Christian Tissier's style.

Alex Megann
03-10-2011, 07:14 AM
Alex,
If these are genuine attacks I am a Dutchman.This sort of thing gives aikido a bad name.No wonder the other M.A. fraternity think we are all delusional doing this sort of attack.If I had to do this type of attack?? to my own TechnicalDirector, what do you think would be the response?I would be chastised and rightly so.
Cheers, Joe.

I can't imagine what Chiba Sensei would make of this - possibly a smack in the mouth, or maybe just laughter!

Very different training methods, to say the least...

Alex

Alex Megann
03-10-2011, 07:21 AM
I fail to see the beauty in mockery

regards,
Daniel

Certainly no mockery intended.

My opinion is that Takeda Sensei is one of the most skillful aikidoka around, and I can imagine that receiving ukemi from him would constitute a very intense training regime in itself. I certainly had experience of the aikido of his teacher, Seigo Yamaguchi Sensei (Christian Tissier's teacher too, as it happens!), whose passing I very much regret, and he put great demands on the responsiveness of his ukes.

All the same, my own feeling is that one can "educate" ukes into a certain way of practising that starts to become very different from how "normal" people would respond to techniques, and to me that is a dangerous road to travel.

Alex

Shadowfax
03-10-2011, 08:03 AM
All the same, my own feeling is that one can "educate" ukes into a certain way of practising that starts to become very different from how "normal" people would respond to techniques, and to me that is a dangerous road to travel.


Correct me if I am mistaken here... but if we took ukemi like "normal" people I would think we would soon run out of people to train with.

Mark Freeman
03-10-2011, 08:05 AM
All the same, my own feeling is that one can "educate" ukes into a certain way of practising that starts to become very different from how "normal" people would respond to techniques, and to me that is a dangerous road to travel.



Hi Alex,

Dangerous for whom?

Of course uke is educated to respond differently to 'normal' people, isn't that one of the reasons to practice, so that you are no longer considered 'normal'.

For me, being uke is about offering nage a spirited attack that needs to be dealt with. This can be done at snails pace with a brand new beginner of at full speed with full intent with a weapon. The act of ukemi is to follow through the attack and fully receive nages response. All focus being on maintaining co-ordination throughout. This should result in an escape and a mind to attack again.

What do normal people do, I'm genuinely interested? If you are talking about resisting technique rather than 'following'. Then the normal person is limited in their response, also they can't use resistance against someone who is 'non-resistant'

I can't see the you tube links offered above (at work, yt blocked). For me some of the worst ukemi I see on the net, are ukes who give a good 'strong' grab, who have their balance taken easily (hopping on one leg etc) and are easily dealt with. They have too much tension in the system to stay fully co-ordinated.

The hardest (and paradoxically the easiest) uke to throw is one who keeps his centre in his hands, does not resist nage's technique, but rather follows it through to its logical conclusion, remaining fully co-ordinated and balanced all the time. The result is either a nice clean throw, beacuse the technique was correct, or as is often the case, the technique stops because nage has tried to throw/lock/manhandle uke while not following the principles of aikido.

I forget what the world of normal is like sometimes:o

regards

Mark

Shadowfax
03-10-2011, 08:13 AM
Hi Alex,

The hardest (and paradoxically the easiest) uke to throw is one who keeps his centre in his hands, does not resist nage's technique, but rather follows it through to its logical conclusion, remaining fully co-ordinated and balanced all the time. The result is either a nice clean throw, beacuse the technique was correct, or as is often the case, the technique stops because nage has tried to throw/lock/manhandle uke while not following the principles of aikido.

Mark

or results in a full reversal if uke is really on top of things. ;)

Mark Freeman
03-10-2011, 08:15 AM
or results in a full reversal if uke is really on top of things. ;)

Oh yes, thanks Cherie, I forgot to mention that, one of my favourite things!:)

Shadowfax
03-10-2011, 08:35 AM
Oh yes, thanks Cherie, I forgot to mention that, one of my favourite things!:)

I'm still not nearly good enough to pull it off. But sensei showed me one night just how beautifully that will go off if uke allows the technique to be fully spent while still maintaining their center and control. It was like someone just showed me the most amazing gem and said someday I might even get to own it. :D Love those moments in my training when I get a glimpse of the possibilities.

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 08:48 AM
Alex,
If these are genuine attacks I am a Dutchman.This sort of thing gives aikido a bad name.No wonder the other M.A. fraternity think we are all delusional doing this sort of attack.If I had to do this type of attack?? to my own TechnicalDirector, what do you think would be the response?I would be chastised and rightly so.
Cheers, Joe.

According to most of the attacks I see in aikido, not only would you be a Dutchman Joe, but Italian, Spanish, Greek, German, and dare we say it "English"?....;) :rolleyes:

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 08:49 AM
Correct me if I am mistaken here... but if we took ukemi like "normal" people I would think we would soon run out of people to train with.

Define normal....?

Mark Freeman
03-10-2011, 08:51 AM
I'm still not nearly good enough to pull it off. But sensei showed me one night just how beautifully that will go off if uke allows the technique to be fully spent while still maintaining their center and control. It was like someone just showed me the most amazing gem and said someday I might even get to own it. :D Love those moments in my training when I get a glimpse of the possibilities.

It was one of those 'gems' that first hooked me too. I can now do what was once only a possibility. My teacher still keeps producing the odd gem to keep me wanting more:)

Keep going, keep focussed, stay relaxed and one day you will own your own treasure

regards

Mark

grondahl
03-10-2011, 09:00 AM
For all we know, David can be refering to those who take ukemi to Chiba or maybe Isoyama sensei.

To my eye it seems that "Chiba-stylists" also take a very distinct kind of ukemi.

Ketsan
03-10-2011, 09:23 AM
Hi Alex,

Dangerous for whom?

Of course uke is educated to respond differently to 'normal' people, isn't that one of the reasons to practice, so that you are no longer considered 'normal'.

For me, being uke is about offering nage a spirited attack that needs to be dealt with. This can be done at snails pace with a brand new beginner of at full speed with full intent with a weapon. The act of ukemi is to follow through the attack and fully receive nages response. All focus being on maintaining co-ordination throughout. This should result in an escape and a mind to attack again.

What do normal people do, I'm genuinely interested? If you are talking about resisting technique rather than 'following'. Then the normal person is limited in their response, also they can't use resistance against someone who is 'non-resistant'

I can't see the you tube links offered above (at work, yt blocked). For me some of the worst ukemi I see on the net, are ukes who give a good 'strong' grab, who have their balance taken easily (hopping on one leg etc) and are easily dealt with. They have too much tension in the system to stay fully co-ordinated.

The hardest (and paradoxically the easiest) uke to throw is one who keeps his centre in his hands, does not resist nage's technique, but rather follows it through to its logical conclusion, remaining fully co-ordinated and balanced all the time. The result is either a nice clean throw, beacuse the technique was correct, or as is often the case, the technique stops because nage has tried to throw/lock/manhandle uke while not following the principles of aikido.

I forget what the world of normal is like sometimes:o

regards

Mark

I don't know if anyone else has experienced this but when I train in dojo with "highly responsive" ukemi uke ends up in a heap on the mat. My dojo doesn't do the "highly responsive" thing and our Aikido is about using a relaxed body more than taisabaki and when we train with "responsive" people they get hurt.
As I see it they're not actually responsive; they actually make the technique for tori so when someone actually does a technique on them it's a totally new experience and you are literally throwing a total beginner who might be nidan or sandan.

That's if you can throw them. Many of them will make the attack and then start running immediately and all you can do is move to keep up with them, then for no reason to do with you their legs suddenly fly up from under them and they fall over. I've lost patience with people and "thrown" them with one finger pressed lightly on the nape of their neck and been congratulated for it. Anything will work with a responsive uke, you can take your hand out of your centre and throw them with a flick of your wrist.

The same goes for techniques: I tend to find that the guys that do train in a "responsive" way can't actually move anyone who chooses not to respond. By this I don't mean go tense or resist I mean someone who just stands there relaxed. Also I tend to think that if I'm moving around in such a way that I can choose to counter I may as well not move in the first place or I may as well counter them. In not doing so I'm hiding an important fact from them; my posture isn't broken and neither is my balance.

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 09:27 AM
For all we know, David can be refering to those who take ukemi to Chiba or maybe Isoyama sensei.

To my eye it seems that "Chiba-stylists" also take a very distinct kind of ukemi.

Yes it looks real....

Mark Freeman
03-10-2011, 09:55 AM
I don't know if anyone else has experienced this but when I train in dojo with "highly responsive" ukemi uke ends up in a heap on the mat. My dojo doesn't do the "highly responsive" thing and our Aikido is about using a relaxed body more than taisabaki and when we train with "responsive" people they get hurt.
As I see it they're not actually responsive; they actually make the technique for tori so when someone actually does a technique on them it's a totally new experience and you are literally throwing a total beginner who might be nidan or sandan.

That's if you can throw them. Many of them will make the attack and then start running immediately and all you can do is move to keep up with them, then for no reason to do with you their legs suddenly fly up from under them and they fall over. I've lost patience with people and "thrown" them with one finger pressed lightly on the nape of their neck and been congratulated for it. Anything will work with a responsive uke, you can take your hand out of your centre and throw them with a flick of your wrist.

The same goes for techniques: I tend to find that the guys that do train in a "responsive" way can't actually move anyone who chooses not to respond. By this I don't mean go tense or resist I mean someone who just stands there relaxed. Also I tend to think that if I'm moving around in such a way that I can choose to counter I may as well not move in the first place or I may as well counter them. In not doing so I'm hiding an important fact from them; my posture isn't broken and neither is my balance.

Hi Alex,

I guess I am not sure about your definition of 'highly responsive' it sounds like you are describing 'overly responsive' especially if they are throwing themselves without any imput from you. I know personally I want to feel that I have had at least something to do with their fall/roll:)

And about them getting hurt, what is it they or you do for that to happen, just curious. Are they unable to ukemi correctly to escape the technique or is the technique being 'over' applied?

I must get out more and experience some of this:)

I have had students who have come to me from different styles and they haven't been taught to 'follow' the technique in the way that we have. They are pretty immobile, and difficult for the lower grade students to cope with. However, once you know what you are doing they are easily dealt with too.

My guess is that we train in different ways to try and reach a similar end goal.

regards

Mark

grondahl
03-10-2011, 10:16 AM
Nope. It looks like stylized ukemi.

Yes it looks real....

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 10:37 AM
Nope. It looks like stylized ukemi.

Of course most of the time..... Lest we forget ukemi is escape from the waza so as to prevent injury, not the other way around, that's the problem..... My ukemi is to escape being injured also as a kaeshi waza toooooooooo!!!!!!

The nearest you will get to normal or real is in judo, MMA, etc etc

Anything else is a form of gymnastics which is very nice..... but c'mon get real!!

Alex Megann
03-10-2011, 10:39 AM
Hi Alex,

Dangerous for whom?

Of course uke is educated to respond differently to 'normal' people, isn't that one of the reasons to practice, so that you are no longer considered 'normal'.

For me, being uke is about offering nage a spirited attack that needs to be dealt with. This can be done at snails pace with a brand new beginner of at full speed with full intent with a weapon. The act of ukemi is to follow through the attack and fully receive nages response. All focus being on maintaining co-ordination throughout. This should result in an escape and a mind to attack again.

What do normal people do, I'm genuinely interested? If you are talking about resisting technique rather than 'following'. Then the normal person is limited in their response, also they can't use resistance against someone who is 'non-resistant'

I can't see the you tube links offered above (at work, yt blocked). For me some of the worst ukemi I see on the net, are ukes who give a good 'strong' grab, who have their balance taken easily (hopping on one leg etc) and are easily dealt with. They have too much tension in the system to stay fully co-ordinated.

The hardest (and paradoxically the easiest) uke to throw is one who keeps his centre in his hands, does not resist nage's technique, but rather follows it through to its logical conclusion, remaining fully co-ordinated and balanced all the time. The result is either a nice clean throw, beacuse the technique was correct, or as is often the case, the technique stops because nage has tried to throw/lock/manhandle uke while not following the principles of aikido.

I forget what the world of normal is like sometimes:o

regards

Mark

Mark,

When I am teaching, my favourite ukes for demonstration are of course the senior grades in the dojo, who don't need to be coached in how to take ukemi: they understand how the aikido techniques work, they know that atemi is always a possibility, and they can look after themselves when things start to speed up. They are also capable of spotting holes in my technique (hopefully not while I am demonstrating!) and pulling the odd kaeshiwaza out of the bag.

At the same time, I very much appreciate practising with other other members of the dojo, especially the ones who have experience in other martial arts - they may not react as smoothly as an aikido yudansha, but they do "keep it real".

As for "normal" - I am thinking perhaps of a more typical cross-section of the demographic than the springy and athletic young men in the Takeda clip. As you say, though, once someone has lasted more than a month or so in an aikido dojo, they are already starting to drift away from what most people would consider "normal"...

Alex

senshincenter
03-10-2011, 11:02 AM
Forgive, but I have to read the thread later. Here, though, is some more stuff I've been thinking about:

Check out these videos and see how many times, if any, the uke fall the same way...? It seems to me that they fall differently every time. It might seem like a small detail, but I see it as a big pointer. It points to the forms being alive.

Granted, ukemi is a trained response, and much is learned about the art through uke's role, and undoubtedly kihon waza can be considered a paired form, but my opinion is that it should still be a living thing, and as such, it should be subject to the infinite variety that is the hallmark of life.

What we see instead, more and more, is a paired collusion, one were a silent deal is made, wherein nage agrees to employ architectures that allow uke to do their beautiful ukemi over and over again (the same way!), as uke agrees to allow nage to do their loose and open architectures over and over again. The result is so cosmetic, so sterile, so artificial.

All spontaneity is gone for the sake of having open hakama fly through the air. In an art where Takemusu Aiki is held up as an ideal, and in a practice where spontaneous training and/or live training environments is used less and less today, it would seem that this collusion in the name of beauty is the last nail in the coffin for Aikido.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxHIRMxnYNY&tracker=False

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Cfpay1X2c&tracker=False

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-dYF-QpLXA&tracker=False

Alex Megann
03-10-2011, 11:07 AM
Forgive, but I have to read the thread later. Here, though, is some more stuff I've been thinking about:

Check out these videos and see how many times, if any, the uke fall the same way...? It seems to me that they fall differently every time. It might seem like a small detail, but I see it as a big pointer. It points to the forms being alive.

Granted, ukemi is a trained response, and much is learned about the art through uke's role, and undoubtedly kihon waza can be considered a paired form, but my opinion is that it should still be a living thing, and as such, it should be subject to the infinite variety that is the hallmark of life.

What we see instead, more and more, is a paired collusion, one were a silent deal is made, wherein nage agrees to employ architectures that allow uke to do their beautiful ukemi over and over again (the same way!), as uke agrees to allow nage to do their loose and open architectures over and over again. The result is so cosmetic, so sterile, so artificial.

All spontaneity is gone for the sake of having open hakama fly through the air. In an art where Takemusu Aiki is held up as an ideal, and in a practice where spontaneous training and/or live training environments is used less and less today, it would seem that this collusion in the name of beauty is the last nail in the coffin for Aikido.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxHIRMxnYNY&tracker=False

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Cfpay1X2c&tracker=False

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-dYF-QpLXA&tracker=False

David,

I apologise for starting to hijack your thread...

Thanks for pointing us to those wonderful clips. Your point is very well made - ukemi should be an honest reaction to the technique that is happening right now.

Alex

sakumeikan
03-10-2011, 11:39 AM
According to most of the attacks I see in aikido, not only would you be a Dutchman Joe, but Italian, Spanish, Greek, German, and dare we say it "English"?....;) :rolleyes:
Tony,
Just to put the record straight I am from Glasgow originally!! Call me a Zulu, Pygmy , Mongolian , Innuit , anything other than an Englishman! Cheers, Joe .

john.burn
03-10-2011, 12:00 PM
Nope. It looks like stylized ukemi.

Have to agree, when I'm on a course I can usually spot the Birankai and UKA guys a mile off - not saying there's anything wrong with their ukemi, but it is very stylized and mostly they all move the same way no matter their size.

And before this degenerates further, it's merely an observation. Some, but not all of the people in my own club fall the way I do, it works for me and my body, if their build is close to mine it works, if it's not, it doesn't and they find their own way.

Hellis
03-10-2011, 12:34 PM
Tony,
Just to put the record straight I am from Glasgow originally!! Call me a Zulu, Pygmy , Mongolian , Innuit , anything other than an Englishman! Cheers, Joe .

Now Now Joe

All those nationalities, Tony could have been real bitchy and called you ``British `` now that covers just about everything, does it not.?..

Henry Ellis
British Aikido History
www.british-aikido.com

Tony Wagstaffe
03-10-2011, 12:49 PM
Now Now Joe

All those nationalities, Tony could have been real bitchy and called you ``British `` now that covers just about everything, does it not.?..

Henry Ellis
British Aikido History
www.british-aikido.com

Ha! thought that would get Joe's eye..... oooochh eye :D :D

Sorry Joe....... Scotts person.... :)

Ketsan
03-10-2011, 12:56 PM
Hi Alex,

I guess I am not sure about your definition of 'highly responsive' it sounds like you are describing 'overly responsive' especially if they are throwing themselves without any imput from you. I know personally I want to feel that I have had at least something to do with their fall/roll:)

And about them getting hurt, what is it they or you do for that to happen, just curious. Are they unable to ukemi correctly to escape the technique or is the technique being 'over' applied?

I must get out more and experience some of this:)

I have had students who have come to me from different styles and they haven't been taught to 'follow' the technique in the way that we have. They are pretty immobile, and difficult for the lower grade students to cope with. However, once you know what you are doing they are easily dealt with too.

My guess is that we train in different ways to try and reach a similar end goal.

regards

Mark

By highly responsive I mean they stick to you like glue and move with you allowing you to do things that you couldn't possibly do without their assistance. For instance if they attack morote dori they'll allow you and in fact help you to pick themselves up so that you don't have to cut forward with the elbow; you can just pick your hand up and somehow they end up wobbling about on tip toe despite being six inches taller than you.

Or say if you make ikkyo you can make them do the rabbits foot or pecking hen thing. You know you can bounce them up and down and either they thump the mat with their rear foot much like an alarmed rabbit or they kinda bob around like a hen pecking at the floor occasionally slapping it when all they need really do is either put their hand or foot down. With a little practice you can choose which one they do and move between them.

It's often in these kinds of positions where they're most vulnerable to serious heapage. They're too busy pecking, thumping or wobbling to react to what you're doing.
With this type of ukemi the taisabaki tends also to be massive which gives uke time to step somewhere and then throw themselves clear. Literally from wobbling about on tip toes they then step back and throw themselves into a break fall.

The way I've been taught to do technique is more about small, tight, efficent taisabaki and depending on the grade your at, lots of hips with less hips and more witchcraft as you get more advanced. It's all about breaking balance on contact and I know everyone will now say "but that's true of all Aikido" and I would suggest that anyone standing on tip toes or hopping around on one foot i.e placing the minumum surface area possible on the mat without falling over has not had their balance broken.

Well if you dump hips that are used to moving around people much bigger than you and that don't want to be moved into someone standing on tip toes without giving them warning of what's coming via massive taisabaki they're going to be collecting air miles. Where as one of our guys literally falls into a ball and rolls they kinda stretch out trying to get back on balance or worse they try to step back into it while flying backwards.
Usually the first bit of them that hits the mat is their upper back and their legs don't stop moving until their feet are touching the mat.

Same same if a guy is hopping around doing the funky chicken and you catch him in the right part of his bounce you end up whipping him into the mat and the middle of next week.
If anyone's done TKD it's just like when you time their bounce just right and then kick their legs out from under them.

The other danger is when uke makes tenkan to face tori like on something like tenchi nage. In most dojo uke with this ukemi come around of their own free will, in our dojo we whip them round with our hips in a movement I call "stiring the cauldron".
So whereas our guys stand there and are brought round beautiful ukes only add to the whipping motion and the come around somewhat faster than they're used to and usually they just slip over or they gain air miles that they weren't expecting.

Insane Duane
03-10-2011, 04:46 PM
This is a great topic! I have seen many "trained seals" at various dojos. I think this is detrimental to the nage. How am I to know if I am doing the technique properly if the uke is in "auto ukeme" mode? Sure, resisting a properly done technique will be detrimental to your joints but that doesn't mean you should stop your attack! When training with advance aikidoka I give an honest attack and expect the same. If I feel an opening I take it so the nage will learn. It's not about ego, it's about leaning. If I leave an opening in one of my techniques I want to know about it while I'm on the mat, not on the street.

I understand what Alex was talking about. Sure, there will never be a "normal" attack on the mat because of our training BUT there could still be some semblance of realism. I have found that it comes down to the dojo. The ones that focus on the self defense (martial) aspect usually don't have "trained seals" (i.e. going through the motions) and are more alive due to honest attacks.

One last note: Some one mentioned reversals. I have found that most techniques that allow you to reverse it are not done properly. I have seen shihonage done where it was very easy to reverse/stop it from happening and when done differently (properly in my opinion) prevents this from happening. Of course if you know what is coming you could be a "bad" uke and prevent him from doing a particular technique.

JO
03-10-2011, 08:35 PM
Interestingly, I just had a discussion on this topic with someone who commented on my nidan exam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2ktVfruPnQ

He felt I wasn't blending enough and sent me this link, in a private message, to give me an idea of what he meant by good blending:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ4Lqc6K97Q

My response was to point out that one of the big differences between the exams, was the behaviour of the ukes. In his example, the techniques are nice and smooth but uke is doing half the work. In my exam, the ukes are still attacking cooperatively, but there is much more weight behind their attacks and I even have to change up techniques when they refuse to just fall over.

On a seperate note, one should be careful of idealizing "real" attacks or ukemi as if this meant anything. I often deal with people who give an untrained response, their called beginners and tend to fall like stiff boards, though there are exceptions. People from other "throwing/takedown" oriented arts like judo have their own training, but it could also be considered stylized. One thing I'll say about judoka though is that they tend to be quite good at not falling. I mean, what is considered a good fall in aikido is an instant loss in a judo match.

What I try to work on is not giving up your center, make nage work for it. I spent much of Wednesday night showing beginners not to fall over when giving a shomen strike, but to be ready and in a position to strike again. Why is this so hard a concept for newbies to catch. And why is it that even beginners with some prior training in striking arts still give the stiff, leave the arm hanging there strikes. You'd think they would try give us the benefit of their experience. Need to find some people with boxing experience, they're usually less inclined to be overly cooperative (I speak from having a sister that used to do kickboxing and something her club called streetwise jiu jitsu).

I try to maintain my center and keep myself in a position to counter-attack, whetherr or not I do depends on who I'm training with and the type of training (basic waza vs jiyu waza). But I rarely go through a turn with someone without showing them a few holes in their technique, even in basic waza. I'm working on getting my partners to do the same back to me. But some stubbornly keep jumping over my back in koshi nage or continuing with the ukemi even after I have stopped moving. Still not sure why.

sakumeikan
03-11-2011, 01:39 AM
For all we know, David can be refering to those who take ukemi to Chiba or maybe Isoyama sensei.

To my eye it seems that "Chiba-stylists" also take a very distinct kind of ukemi.

As a Chiba Sensei student for over 40 years the reason behind the method of ukemi used in Birankai is one of safety.Uke is encouraged to keep chin tucked in [this protects the head ].The legs are kept straight , together and up in the air, thus protecting the spine in particular the base. We also keep our eyess /attention at all times on our partner.A form of Zanshin training. We do not believe in a ukemi that includes a Uke rolling directly over his/her head.If this type of ukemi is done , one cannot see the partner for a split second.It can also be dangerous inasmuch that injury can occur if someone fall
s or is thrown on top of the other person doing a rolling rear ukemi. in particular on a crowded mat.Regarding Ukemi , we are encouraged
to full absorb the waza of the partner, use the ukemi as body conditioning, before hitting the deck.In this way the spine , joints get a good workout.We do not collapse while taking ukemi.We try and keep contact and stick to our partner until there is a total breaking of posture ,then and only then should ukemi take place .
Cheers, Joe.

Eva Antonia
03-11-2011, 03:16 AM
Hi all,

why being so severe on "colluding ukes with flying hakamas"?
From time to time people can do aikido not only to improve their martial efficiency but also to have pure and simple physical fun. Flying some meters after a well applied sumi otoshi or kote gaeshi and landing on your feet to immediately re-attack is something that just makes you happy and daydream about it five days later.

So if ukes do sometimes but not always exaggerate their responsiveness just for the bliss of flying, that shouldn't be a nail in aikido's coffin.

You don't go to church only to pray, but also to sing!

Best regards,

Eva

grondahl
03-11-2011, 03:35 AM
Thanks for the long answer. I must point out that I never questioned the functionality of "Chiba-style" ukemi, I just used it as a example that it isnīt just the very soft fluffy dance-like aikido that has stylized ukemi. And that "tanking" uke probaby exists in all lineages.

I must confess that I have taken beutiful ukemi instead of the real deal several times in my aikido training. Mostly because I was focusing on developing certain aspects of my ukemi. Lets just say that I have done alot more high falls than I have been thrown.

I have for instance taken high falls from kotegaeshi, and we all know that itīs impossible to throw someone in that way from a kotegaeshi.

As a Chiba Sensei student for over 40 years the reason behind the method of ukemi used in Birankai is one of safety.Uke is encouraged to keep chin tucked in [this protects the head ].The legs are kept straight , together and up in the air, thus protecting the spine in particular the base. We also keep our eyess /attention at all times on our partner.A form of Zanshin training. We do not believe in a ukemi that includes a Uke rolling directly over his/her head.If this type of ukemi is done , one cannot see the partner for a split second.It can also be dangerous inasmuch that injury can occur if someone fall
s or is thrown on top of the other person doing a rolling rear ukemi. in particular on a crowded mat.Regarding Ukemi , we are encouraged
to full absorb the waza of the partner, use the ukemi as body conditioning, before hitting the deck.In this way the spine , joints get a good workout.We do not collapse while taking ukemi.We try and keep contact and stick to our partner until there is a total breaking of posture ,then and only then should ukemi take place .
Cheers, Joe.

JO
03-11-2011, 05:51 AM
I have for instance taken high falls from kotegaeshi, and we all know that itīs impossible to throw someone in that way from a kotegaeshi.

I disagree. A breakfall can be the safest ukemi for kotegaeshi, especially if you press forward as the attacker and try to come around and swing at nage. In such a case it can take too much time to fall back if the kote gaeshi is done quickly and then your wrist takes all the force. It is rather rare that I feel the need to fall that way on kotegaeshi, but with some nages it really is the way to best protect my wrist.

grondahl
03-11-2011, 06:21 AM
Many times high falls are easier than rolls but I still donīt think that tobu ukemi can be faster than just dropping straight down (ie a short breakfall).

Flintstone
03-11-2011, 06:35 AM
Many times high falls are easier than rolls but I still donīt think that tobu ukemi can be faster than just dropping straight down (ie a short breakfall).
Agreed. Fastest (and safest) ukemi from kotegaeshi is a fast drop down.

OwlMatt
03-11-2011, 08:12 AM
You mean this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66eDgHo1cKE) kind of thing?

I have the highest regard for Takeda Sensei, but I understand that in his school (Aikido Kenkyukai) ukes are encouraged to be extremely responsive, for better or for worse. In this clip, at least, I see lots of beautiful flying through the air, but a shortage of actual attacks that you would have to get out of the way of...

Alex

Uke are supposed to be responsive. What they are not supposed to do is defeat themselves, and that what it looks like they are doing here. You can see moments (like the fall taken at 1:16) where the uke appears to be falling on purpose in a way that is not at all responsive to the technique being applied.

senshincenter
03-11-2011, 08:38 AM
I understand where you all are coming from. Those things you mention are also things I am not a fan of. However, while those things may be related, I'm trying to point out something different. I'm looking at the absence of variety, a variety which on its own tells you something is a alive - as its absence tells you something is dead.

I'm suggesting everyone burn their copy of Donavon Waite's "Ukemi," and start allowing what's happening to happen (or, to acknowledge/expose that nothing is happening).

grondahl
03-11-2011, 08:45 AM
Do you think that this variety always should be present?

Tony Wagstaffe
03-11-2011, 08:46 AM
As a Chiba Sensei student for over 40 years the reason behind the method of ukemi used in Birankai is one of safety.Uke is encouraged to keep chin tucked in [this protects the head ].The legs are kept straight , together and up in the air, thus protecting the spine in particular the base. We also keep our eyess /attention at all times on our partner.A form of Zanshin training. We do not believe in a ukemi that includes a Uke rolling directly over his/her head.If this type of ukemi is done , one cannot see the partner for a split second.It can also be dangerous inasmuch that injury can occur if someone fall
s or is thrown on top of the other person doing a rolling rear ukemi. in particular on a crowded mat.Regarding Ukemi , we are encouraged
to full absorb the waza of the partner, use the ukemi as body conditioning, before hitting the deck.In this way the spine , joints get a good workout.We do not collapse while taking ukemi.We try and keep contact and stick to our partner until there is a total breaking of posture ,then and only then should ukemi take place .
Cheers, Joe.

I would very much concur with that statement Joe!! I have always thought ukemi is to escape possible injury, not to make nage or tori to look good. I understand ukemi is to receive the waza not anticipate it with acrobatics.....

phitruong
03-11-2011, 08:52 AM
i think that many aikido practices use ukemi as a way to save oneself to folks train to a point of built-in instinct; thus, you see the same sort of ukemi over and over. however, if you train ukemi as a way not only to save oneself, but a countering throw, similar to sutemi, then things would look different depends on the situation and energy given.

incidentally, from my point of view, unattractive ukes (you know who you are) raise no feeling of love and harmony with me. :)

grondahl
03-11-2011, 09:03 AM
Building on Phiīs post.

I train in Iwama-style. We like to slam each other to the tatami as much as the next guy, but training hard with powerful throws tend to teach uke to escape pain and injury more as Pavlovīs dogs rather than an alive response. It can become a problem in jiyuwaza and kaeshiwaza-practice.

Tenyu
03-11-2011, 09:14 AM
David V,

How often do you devote class time to freestyle simultaneously for both nage and uke? I know having beginners isn't conducive to it but having a separate advanced class could help facilitate that.

kewms
03-11-2011, 10:36 AM
You don't go to church only to pray, but also to sing!


This. Big flying ukemi is one of the things that makes aikido unique and enjoyable. Why not appreciate it while you're physically able?

More prosaically, if you never practice the big falls, then you'll be in a lot of trouble if you encounter a situation that requires one.

My own view is that uke should, as my teacher puts it, respond, but not amplify. Refusing to budge when your face is being mashed by someone's arm is just as unrealistic as flying halfway across the dojo at the lightest touch.

Katherine

JO
03-11-2011, 11:12 AM
This. Big flying ukemi is one of the things that makes aikido unique and enjoyable. Why not appreciate it while you're physically able?

More prosaically, if you never practice the big falls, then you'll be in a lot of trouble if you encounter a situation that requires one.

My own view is that uke should, as my teacher puts it, respond, but not amplify. Refusing to budge when your face is being mashed by someone's arm is just as unrealistic as flying halfway across the dojo at the lightest touch.

Katherine

I am in Kanai sensei's lineage. I love big flying ukemi. It's just that I like it as a response to a powerful throw. Nage should make me fly, my job is to survive the landing.

The proper response to an arm coming to your face is to duck under it or sidestep it, or as I often do, simply block it with my arm. For a big aerial ukemi, nage's going to have to connect to my center and move all of me, not just scare me.

I don't like throws based on fear. Though I sometimes take that kind of ukemi as self preservation. But that kind of aikido doesn't impress me.

JO
03-11-2011, 11:17 AM
I understand where you all are coming from. Those things you mention are also things I am not a fan of. However, while those things may be related, I'm trying to point out something different. I'm looking at the absence of variety, a variety which on its own tells you something is a alive - as its absence tells you something is dead.

I'm suggesting everyone burn their copy of Donavon Waite's "Ukemi," and start allowing what's happening to happen (or, to acknowledge/expose that nothing is happening).

Do you have an example of dead ukemi. What is your opinion of that 3rd kyu test I put a link to.

Variety might mean aliveness, but might also mean overreaction to nage's every little move. Responsiveness can be overdone, and is a greater threat to aikido's quality in my opinion.

Insane Duane
03-11-2011, 12:23 PM
Interestingly, I just had a discussion on this topic with someone who commented on my nidan exam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2ktVfruPnQ

First, congtats on receiving your nidan rank. I Received mine on Dec 2010. A couple points on this video (from my opinionated perspective). You appear to be stiff and rely on strength vs technique. Testing anxiety? I get it until I'm too tired to care (which is when the testing truly begins). I also noticed some ukes leaving there arms extended after a punch and also stopping after the initial attack waiting for you to do the technique. There also seems to be a lack of intensity in the ukes' attacks, especially considering you are testing for a Dan rank. You also seem to ignore the ukes until one engages you (which caused you to be startled when attacked by two ukes. This is probably due to the way the testing was set up (all the ukes where in your maai almost the whole time which would be typical in a randori vs one on one attack scenario)).


He felt I wasn't blending enough and sent me this link, in a private message, to give me an idea of what he meant by good blending:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ4Lqc6K97Q

In this video the test appeared to be very formal with a very stringent way of doing things (attacks are almost identical every time). It looked great but in my opinion this could be a disservice to the nage in a street fight scenario since everyone attacks differently. I prefer a more ruff and tumble type of training then picture perfect training.


My response was to point out that one of the big differences between the exams, was the behaviour of the ukes. In his example, the techniques are nice and smooth but uke is doing half the work
I agree

One last note: Be careful with your ponytail. I had one and it was used against me on many occasions. I finally cut my hair short and I have been enjoying the freedom for many years. :)

kewms
03-11-2011, 12:42 PM
The proper response to an arm coming to your face is to duck under it or sidestep it, or as I often do, simply block it with my arm. For a big aerial ukemi, nage's going to have to connect to my center and move all of me, not just scare me.

If nage knows what he's doing, the arm coming toward your face *will* connect to your center and move all of you.

I have seen people attempt to support nage's arm and bodyweight with their face, while absorbing all the stress in their lumbar spine. They think they're being "realistic," but it's only nage's control that keeps them from being very seriously injured.

Katherine

Gorgeous George
03-11-2011, 12:59 PM
One thing I'll say about judoka though is that they tend to be quite good at not falling. I mean, what is considered a good fall in aikido is an instant loss in a judo match.

I've been wondering about this for a while, and wanted to get the thoughts of some judoka on this: isn't taking ukemi and landing on your back - which is the way we train, and judoka train, too (?) - the best ukemi to take?

But in judo competition, it counts as a defeat if you are thrown onto your back...surely that's what you want to do, though - land on your back - so the other person should throw you on your front to defeat you?

I understand that a great many injuries, and the ruin of the body is caused by judo sportsmen trying to contort themselves so as to avoid landing on their back (from where they can see their opponent coming).

I would say perhaps the good fall in aikido being a defeat in judo is why the one is purely a martial art, the other a sport...?

Tony Wagstaffe
03-11-2011, 02:06 PM
I've been wondering about this for a while, and wanted to get the thoughts of some judoka on this: isn't taking ukemi and landing on your back - which is the way we train, and judoka train, too (?) - the best ukemi to take?

But in judo competition, it counts as a defeat if you are thrown onto your back...surely that's what you want to do, though - land on your back - so the other person should throw you on your front to defeat you?

I understand that a great many injuries, and the ruin of the body is caused by judo sportsmen trying to contort themselves so as to avoid landing on their back (from where they can see their opponent coming).

I would say perhaps the good fall in aikido being a defeat in judo is why the one is purely a martial art, the other a sport...?

Why don't you go and find out and join a judo club, or MMA club then you can get back to us and tell us what the experience was like.....;) :)

senshincenter
03-11-2011, 05:14 PM
Do you think that this variety always should be present?

I would say if the training is alive, variety is automatically present. This is why we can reverse engineer a given expression of Kihon Waza, and say: If there is no variation in the ukemi, the technique was not a living thing.

If one wanted to, of course, they could point to the architectural elements that make a technical expression "dead" (as I am describing it), but I thought it very interesting that by using tools like Youtube, we can see that more and more the whole world is beginning to fall the same exact way EVERY SINGLE TIME. It didn't used to be that way - another thing we can see by using Youtube.

If we wanted to get into what makes an expression "dead" as I am using the term, I would put before you that current technical expressions, more and more, are devised to let uke take their "fall" from the exact starting point from which they learned how to fall in so orchestrated a manner. That is to say, current architectures, more and more, allow uke to stand straight up before they fall (so they CAN fall as prescribed), and/or current architectures more and more (attempt to) "throw" uke from a standing position.

We do not see that in the old videos that I posted above. We see folks being launched from a state of already falling and/or stumbling, etc. - hence, they take ukemi and are able to get up, but they bite it too. Old notions of falling seemed to be a matter of: "Hey, keep your head off the mat, and don't die." Nowadays, there's a whole lot more to it.

I think it is shows more courage to face a throw you know you are going to have to take from a state of already falling, and thus I think ultimately, deep down, along with all the other non-martial elements growing in Aikido today, I think the lack of variety in falling is related to how afraid us moderns are (of everything) - how foreign warrior culture truly is to us nowadays.

dmv

senshincenter
03-11-2011, 05:18 PM
David V,

How often do you devote class time to freestyle simultaneously for both nage and uke? I know having beginners isn't conducive to it but having a separate advanced class could help facilitate that.

We have devoted classes to live training environments weekly, but inside of every class we always try to have learning reflect upon spontaneous applications. At the least, we attempt to have the student's mind fettered by a given form and a variation of that form so that students, regardless of their time in the art, come to understand that the main focus of training at our dojo is the unfettering of that mind.

JO
03-11-2011, 08:44 PM
If nage knows what he's doing, the arm coming toward your face *will* connect to your center and move all of you.

I have seen people attempt to support nage's arm and bodyweight with their face, while absorbing all the stress in their lumbar spine. They think they're being "realistic," but it's only nage's control that keeps them from being very seriously injured.

Katherine

If, if, if ...
A lot of scenarios. If uke knows what he's doing, maybe nage ends up on his back. If nage truly has control, then uke has no choice in the matter. The nage should show self control. Even with uke taking a good breakfall, a nage that is that much in the right place could still finish him off and hurt him. Ever see the clips of Gozo Shioda following through with ukes neck into the tatami?

If you are doing a big open breakfall, with a truly strong martial technique by nage, it is because he is giving you that opportunity to escape and survive.

The problem is that if you never force the issue, you never find out if nage really knows what he's doing. And in your turn as nage, you never find out if you really know what you are doing. It doesn't even take an all or nothing, risk your neck approach. But make contact, see if nage can really move you from the position he's in. Does he have the control to really throw you. Tamura sensei once told a class I was in that you don't know how to do a technique unless you can do it slowly.

senshincenter
03-11-2011, 11:57 PM
Do you have an example of dead ukemi. What is your opinion of that 3rd kyu test I put a link to.

Variety might mean aliveness, but might also mean overreaction to nage's every little move. Responsiveness can be overdone, and is a greater threat to aikido's quality in my opinion.

I don't mind changing my words - they are only pointers. If the word "variety" is clouding the issue, then let's go with, "uke being unable to physically respond to an angle of disturbance by maneuvering their base of support back underneath their line of gravity."

Today, uke's more popular (and spreading) architectural expectations necessitate that one always be permitted to regain a balancing relationship between their base of support and their line of gravity prior to going flying through the air. Today's nage is all for this allowance - allowing uke to maintain and/or regain the relationship between his/her line of gravity and base of support - because in the end they are "rewarded" with "launching" an uke through the air (so they believe).

This is in contrast to forcing uke to address the throw from a disassociation of their line of gravity and their base of support. In these cases, you get launched, but you land ANY WAY YOU CAN - and that in turn leads to you almost landing differently every time.

Thus, I'm trying to discuss something different from the debate between uke being responsive and uke being a like a sack of bricks. Responsiveness and sacks of bricks are a different issue for me - though it has been brought up here by others.

An example of this could be any video where prior to an uke taking their front breakfall, they are standing straight up (i.e. line of gravity inside of the base of support), or more accurately, and from nage's point of view, it could be any video wherein nage's propelling spiral doesn't continue to stay ahead of uke's attempts to reposition his/her base of support under their line of gravity. When you see these things, you see perfect landings - landing that are repeatable, identical to each other, over and over again.

dmv

Insane Duane
03-11-2011, 11:57 PM
I would say if the training is alive, variety is automatically present.
... I would put before you that current technical expressions, more and more, are devised to let uke take their "fall" from the exact starting point from which they learned how to fall in so orchestrated a manner.


I see your point. Many of the videos I have watched have the appearance of kyu level experience than yudansha level. What I mean is they are still doing the "A" then "B" then "C" method instead of just "doing it". A kin to "going through the motions" and not gaining the ... enlightenment is too strong a word... understanding of how and why that particular ukeme (and/or technique) works. I chalk it up to being "too formal" or "rigidly classical" in their training and not being allowed to experiment with it via different attacks. Or it could be from a lack of a realistic attacks.
Eventually (after several/many years) I started conceptualizing how certain techniques worked (nikkyo for example) and now I can slap nikkyo on someone from angles I was never taught. I believe this is when the art starts to come alive. When you understand how and why something works instead of mimicking or parroting it, when you "just do it" (thank you Nike :p ). Kind of like "playing the instrument" instead of repeating a song you learned.

senshincenter
03-11-2011, 11:59 PM
I see your point. Many of the videos I have watched have the appearance of kyu level experience than yudansha level. What I mean is they are still doing the "A" then "B" then "C" method instead of just "doing it". A kin to "going through the motions" and not gaining the ... enlightenment is too strong a word... understanding of how and why that particular ukeme (and/or technique) works. I chalk it up to being "too formal" or "rigidly classical" in their training and not being allowed to experiment with it via different attacks. Or it could be from a lack of a realistic attacks.
Eventually (after several/many years) I started conceptualizing how certain techniques worked (nikkyo for example) and now I can slap nikkyo on someone from angles I was never taught. I believe this is when the art starts to come alive. When you understand how and why something works instead of mimicking or parroting it, when you "just do it" (thank you Nike :p ). Kind of like "playing the instrument" instead of repeating a song you learned.

Nicely said.

Thanks.

Gorgeous George
03-12-2011, 11:30 AM
Why don't you go and find out and join a judo club, or MMA club then you can get back to us and tell us what the experience was like.....;) :)

'What's that got to do with the price of bread?'

Tony Wagstaffe
03-12-2011, 11:44 AM
'What's that got to do with the price of bread?'

Graham, you will only find out if you experience it... Have you?
The throws in judo are effective, It much depends on tori's skill if you land too hard, it's usually a sign of forced technique....
I didn't find judo throws that damaging as an uke in fact it very much helped in my aikido, I don't see any difference....
The projectile ones we see resembling acrobatics as if flying are ridiculous to my mind. Fine if you are doing a gymnastics display

James Wyatt
03-13-2011, 05:05 AM
I am always reminded of the O'Sensei quote "there are no breakfalls in real aikido". A beautiful ukemi is one that is safe for both, we are practising a martial art and safety is paramount. My late Sensei told of two deaths he saw on the judo mat (he is a high grade judoka whom trained at the Kodokan).

In terms of beauty it is always in the eye of the beholder.

I have practised with some senior judoka and their technique was amazing. One of the hardest throws I ever experienced was from a judo session, there is no breakfall from it.

James

Gorgeous George
03-13-2011, 11:34 AM
Graham, you will only find out if you experience it... Have you?
The throws in judo are effective, It much depends on tori's skill if you land too hard, it's usually a sign of forced technique....
I didn't find judo throws that damaging as an uke in fact it very much helped in my aikido, I don't see any difference....
The projectile ones we see resembling acrobatics as if flying are ridiculous to my mind. Fine if you are doing a gymnastics display

Again: this has no relevance to my question.
I wonder about the theory of ukemi - not its practice.

Tony Wagstaffe
03-13-2011, 01:10 PM
Again: this has no relevance to my question.
I wonder about the theory of ukemi - not its practice.

The theory is pretty obvious I would have thought.....
To escape injury?

http://judoinfo.com/breakfalls.htm

Gorgeous George
03-13-2011, 01:29 PM
The theory is pretty obvious I would have thought.....
To escape injury?

http://judoinfo.com/breakfalls.htm

Yeah, I know that - that's what I said.
However, if you land safely (on your back) in a judo fight, they say you've lost - so people try their best to land unsafely (on their front), and not avoid injury, in order not to lose the fight...

That seems completely contrary to the teaching of judo/martial arts to me, so I was wondering what the justification for it is.
Especially as, I believe, most top-flight judo fighters' bodies are approaching ruin at around 30.

graham christian
03-13-2011, 01:41 PM
Again: this has no relevance to my question.
I wonder about the theory of ukemi - not its practice.

Graham.

I was taught the theory of ukemi was to harmonize with the ground. With this I was given examples of different falls done by various people eg: by a skydiver. They hit and roll.

Judo I was shown was a matter of using a breakfall that dispersed the energy as you hit the mat. As there is no way of rolling from a judo throw the only way to harmonise with the ground is to relax into it and the arm going out is to help disperse or spread out the force of impact.

I used this one for example when falling backwards off of a ladder, everything went into slow motion but the result was I got up unscathed and the only damage was my embarrassment.

As far as projection breakfalls go in Aikido I would say that if you ever find some high grade doing a Kote Geishe for example that actually sends you flying through the air you would be grateful for knowing the Aikido breakfall.

Having said that, we also used to do practice with bokkens where we had to walk along and breakfall over someone kneeling on the mat. Then practice breakfalling with someone coming at us from behind in which case you come up out of the breakfall, turning at the same time to face the oncoming attacker, with 'sword' up at the ready.

This also validated a use for the breakfall and still showed how all you were doing was harmonising with the ground no different to a ball or wheel.

My 2 cents.

Regards.G.

Tony Wagstaffe
03-13-2011, 02:40 PM
Yeah, I know that - that's what I said.
However, if you land safely (on your back) in a judo fight, they say you've lost - so people try their best to land unsafely (on their front), and not avoid injury, in order not to lose the fight...

That seems completely contrary to the teaching of judo/martial arts to me, so I was wondering what the justification for it is.
Especially as, I believe, most top-flight judo fighters' bodies are approaching ruin at around 30.

That much depends on luck and how much you want to achieve.
It's much the same for top gymnasts I believe...
Well as you may know it is the same for Shodokan aikido to....
I'm still do ukemi now at 57, although not as much as I did.
I find it helps to loosen my back as I'm getting older as with that comes less elasticity in the back and leg muscles, although I continually continue to stretch....

edshockley
03-21-2011, 08:33 AM
I greatly enjoy watching the people who can sail through the air and land silently like USAF's Sulaiman Hakim but both because I am a large old man (6'8" 240lbs) and because I was taught that the task of uke is "attack, attack. attack" (Keisuke Ogawa) I only do large falls when the attempt to reach or control nage places me in a precarious position. An example is the tsuki kotegaeshi ura of Dwight Epps Sensei. He tenkans then steps back again as soon as uke's foot touches the ground so that uke must leap and breakfall or risk a separated shoulder. (He has to my knowledge never hurt a student) My experience is that a truthful attack that has a clear intention then defines the neccessary ukemi with equal clarity.

Walter Martindale
03-21-2011, 09:33 AM
Judo ukemi...
After one "match" (I have trouble calling it a 'fight' because there are rules and referees) I was told that I'd knocked my opponent out with an ippon-seoi nage. We were both ikkyu at the time so his ukemi couldn't have been too shabby. Not really sure why the referee (from the same club as my opponent) awarded only waza-ari but I was already walking away from the throw when I heard it, so I walked (yes, walked) back to the opponent and put a hold-down on him - I think the bit of stimulation and chest compression woke him up. He put up a few groggy attempts to get out of the hold-down, and muttered "Good throw." after the match was over. That's the only time I've actually witnessed a competitive judo person getting knocked out by being thrown. (My next match, against a nikyu, with the same referee ended up with me throwing the guy, waiting, hearing waza-ari, picking him up again, and throwing him again - neither throw this time being as hard as the first match, but those were three of the cleanest, hardest waza-ari I've ever seen.) The rules I believe were changed shortly after that, and you're not allowed to hover, pick up, and throw again, but "homer" referees put people in danger no matter what happens.

A few years later, one of the rowers I had coached told me that he "had words" with another person while they were on different sides of watching an ice-hockey match. The usual push-push and then the person I had coached called up from nowhere the judo training he'd done before he started rowing (6 years earlier), threw the other fellow, (on his back, I assume) rendering him unconscious.

Remember - the population of people who train in Aikido, Judo, MMA, BJJ, wrestling, greco-roman, etc., are accustomed to landing on the ground with varying amounts of velocity. I'd submit that professional and amateur football players, ice-hockey players and a few other athletes are also pretty robust when hitting the ground, but the "rest of us" - those who haven't got the training, will be badly affected if someone tries to break the pavement with their torso or head.

The Ippon throw in judo is "Ok, you've thrown the guy cleanly, on his back, and with sufficient force (to knock him out or kill him if he doesn't know how to land safely)" If you haven't controlled your opponent sufficiently to land him (ok, or her) cleanly on his (her) back, then you don't get the full point - the opponent has partly escaped.
W

Gorgeous George
03-21-2011, 11:04 AM
Judo ukemi...
After one "match" (I have trouble calling it a 'fight' because there are rules and referees) I was told that I'd knocked my opponent out with an ippon-seoi nage. We were both ikkyu at the time so his ukemi couldn't have been too shabby. Not really sure why the referee (from the same club as my opponent) awarded only waza-ari but I was already walking away from the throw when I heard it, so I walked (yes, walked) back to the opponent and put a hold-down on him - I think the bit of stimulation and chest compression woke him up. He put up a few groggy attempts to get out of the hold-down, and muttered "Good throw." after the match was over. That's the only time I've actually witnessed a competitive judo person getting knocked out by being thrown. (My next match, against a nikyu, with the same referee ended up with me throwing the guy, waiting, hearing waza-ari, picking him up again, and throwing him again - neither throw this time being as hard as the first match, but those were three of the cleanest, hardest waza-ari I've ever seen.) The rules I believe were changed shortly after that, and you're not allowed to hover, pick up, and throw again, but "homer" referees put people in danger no matter what happens.

A few years later, one of the rowers I had coached told me that he "had words" with another person while they were on different sides of watching an ice-hockey match. The usual push-push and then the person I had coached called up from nowhere the judo training he'd done before he started rowing (6 years earlier), threw the other fellow, (on his back, I assume) rendering him unconscious.

Remember - the population of people who train in Aikido, Judo, MMA, BJJ, wrestling, greco-roman, etc., are accustomed to landing on the ground with varying amounts of velocity. I'd submit that professional and amateur football players, ice-hockey players and a few other athletes are also pretty robust when hitting the ground, but the "rest of us" - those who haven't got the training, will be badly affected if someone tries to break the pavement with their torso or head.

The Ippon throw in judo is "Ok, you've thrown the guy cleanly, on his back, and with sufficient force (to knock him out or kill him if he doesn't know how to land safely)" If you haven't controlled your opponent sufficiently to land him (ok, or her) cleanly on his (her) back, then you don't get the full point - the opponent has partly escaped.
W

That's excellent; thank you Walter (for the stories and the explanation).
I guess that's the same reason why the pin used to be three (?) seconds: that's how long it would take for a samurai to draw his short sword and slit your throat...

Walter Martindale
03-22-2011, 05:51 AM
That's excellent; thank you Walter (for the stories and the explanation).
I guess that's the same reason why the pin used to be three (?) seconds: that's how long it would take for a samurai to draw his short sword and slit your throat...

30 seconds "control", demonstrated enough control to (symbolically) have been able to draw tanto and finish the job...

Walter Martindale
03-29-2011, 09:16 PM
That's excellent; thank you Walter (for the stories and the explanation).
I guess that's the same reason why the pin used to be three (?) seconds: that's how long it would take for a samurai to draw his short sword and slit your throat...

Just for the sake of flogging a dead horse...

When I was training in judo, my sensei and sempai drilled into us that when we throw a person in a competition, we attempt to throw him at least a foot under the surface of the mats - when they hit, if we nailed the throw, they hit hard. The other admonition was "and then grind another few inches".

If you're watching international judo competition (for example the Koga videos on YouTube) you'll see what look like fairly sloppy throws being awarded Ippon. Remember - the guys he's throwing are among the best in the world, doing all they can to not get thrown, but he's still throwing them. If it was most of the rest of us (and I include myself and a lot of aikido people) we'd be flat on our backs looking up (or waking up) before we realised Koga san was attacking us.

The only time I've been thrown harder than by some of my judo sensei (e.g., Doug Rogers not long after retirement from competition or George Lai Thom (5 time open weight champion of South Africa at 70 kg)) was by Kawahara shihan - tsuki-kotegaeshi... He doesn't fool around, and he expects ex judo guys like me to put some "garnish" on throws, making the uke work to protect themselves. I don't usually like to put that finishing touch on because I can no longer take it when the favour is returned - age catches up.. The other guy who really hurts to take ukemi from is Izumi Hiroaki during "randori" or "jyu-waza" because he launches you and then it's up to you to land safely - he doesn't guide you nicely to the ground because he's paying attention to the other guys who are attacking. Mess up an you discover new corners on your body by landing on them.

I know very well that my aikido is, and my judo was nothing special in the big world - I am clumsy and slow, and am always mystified when I get in the clutches of some of the godan or rokudan I've had the pleasure of meeting, but we all need to remember that you don't need ukemi until you need ukemi, and then you need ukemi real bad, and have to be able to call it up without mulling it over at all.

:D
W

robin_jet_alt
08-17-2011, 11:02 PM
Sorry to dredge up an old topic, but this is something that I have been thinking about a bit lately. I'm going to include a few anecdotes here, so sorry if I waffle on a bit.



The hardest (and paradoxically the easiest) uke to throw is one who keeps his centre in his hands, does not resist nage's technique, but rather follows it through to its logical conclusion, remaining fully co-ordinated and balanced all the time. The result is either a nice clean throw, beacuse the technique was correct, or as is often the case, the technique stops because nage has tried to throw/lock/manhandle uke while not following the principles of aikido.



This is exactly the sort of ukemi that my previous teacher tried to teach me. To be honest I was less than convinced when he was patiently coaching me through it, but I was persuaded by the fact that he could easily drill me into the mat no matter what I did, and I was completely unable to throw him. I am now by no means a master, but sensei said that when I got my shodan, it was my ukemi that he was most interested in. According to him, shodan is a sign that you can train safely and appropriately with anyone, anywhere, and obviously ukemi is a big part of that.

Now that I train at a different dojo where there is not a big emphasis placed on ukemi, it has allowed me to reflect on exactly what I learned with my last teacher.

Firstly and most obviously is the ability to receive powerful techniques. I was at a seminar last year, and I met a friend who trains at another dojo. During a break he came over to me and said "there is a guy here who clearly hates foreigners and I think he was trying to injure me". It turns out it was someone from my dojo. I told my friend that he doesn't have anything against foreigners. It's just that he trains like that all the time with everyone. He is used to his ukes having the ability to receive his techniques. I don't think my friend believed me, and he was a bit insulted because I think he is rather proud of his ukemi.

Secondly is the ability to resist and counter techniques effectively. It seems counter-intuitive, but just as mark said, by following the technique through to its conclusion and remaining balanced, relaxed, and coordinated, you can be very difficult to through if the technique is not done correctly. I didn't see this effect so much at my old dojo because I was training with some very talented people who were used to training with this sort of ukemi, but at my new dojo I find that only sensei and a few of the higher ranking students are able to throw me at all if I don't want them to.

What being able to do this sort of ukemi means is that you are able to guide tori through the technique and give them physical feedback as to which parts of their technique needs work from start to finish. This can be incredibly helpful to tori. On the other hand, it also means you can be a right bastard and completely mess with tori. I hope I fall into the first category rather than the second.

To David, who was talking about live vs dead ukemi, this was exactly the terminology that my sensei used. If I stiffened up to resist the technique or 'flopped' without feeling the technique through to the end, he would say I was being 'dead'.

Anyway, thanks for paying attention to my ramble. I appreciate any feedback you might have. I'm afraid not many people outside of my old dojo really get where I am coming from with this.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that this kind of ukemi can look very beautiful.

sorokod
08-18-2011, 01:55 AM
I agree, remaining strong, centred and sensitive under attack provides a powerful base for detecting and exploiting any opening in the opponent's execution. Stiffening up and resisting gives you none of that.