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chubbycubbysmash
05-01-2012, 11:48 AM
I was wondering what everyone else's take on resistance and how teachers should address it in the practice of Aikido.

I was reading some threads and it seems (at least to me~but tones in text are often lost so I could be vastly, vastly wrong) that the general consensus is that higher rank should be able to MAKE lower rank fall and lower rank should give resist or counter if he has the opportunity or just feel like it, and if higher rank can't do it, it's his/her fault.

But... doesn't it allow more room for injuries and fighting, which Aikido is supposedly (or at least that's how I have been perceiving it) against? If an uke refuses to fall and you force them to do so, couldn't you end up breaking their joints or hurting them? Whose fault is it then? Is it uke's for resisting or nage's for forcing the throw even when it's dangerous? How do you decide whether an uke can take it or not? There are older high dan ranks who just can't do breakfalls anymore safely, so is it still fair game to try and make them?

I always thought it was so that we could learn the techniques cooperatively, and not turn it into a competition. If it's understood between nage and uke that you are helping each other train by giving a bit of resistance to help eachother fine tune their techniques, I think that's fine--but sometimes I find people who deliberately go around trying to resist and test people and it causes injuries.

Recently, we've had a frequent visitor (around 3rd kyu) who has often repeatedly tested other students, be they higher or lower rank. We were in a basic ukemi class doing randori (learning to break fall in groups safely) and when it was his turn to be thrown, he began jabbing a higher rank in the ribs with his elbows, grappling him, and refused to fall (which he has done frequently to other members as well before). Higher rank is a very sweet guy who is non-confrontational, and did slow down and gently force the issue until he downed the 3rd kyu, but Sensei got SO mad that he called the guy out on the spot and told him that our exercise was not about countering, and our dojo does not promote confrontation and countering, and if he sees him doing it again then he will have to respectfully ask him to stop practicing here.

Of course, this was only after the guy had been warned multiple times in the past about his behavior, but hasn't stopped. I wonder what the proper protocol would be then?

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts!

dps
05-01-2012, 12:37 PM
.....If an uke refuses to fall......
:confused:
Uke does not have that choice.

dps

chubbycubbysmash
05-01-2012, 12:52 PM
:confused:
Uke does not have that choice.

dps

I think they do... especially when someone has an injury or is not up to the skill level where they could safely take ukemi for the intensity of a particular throw. Of course, there are some to do it to test, but that can CAUSE injury to one or both parties. Unless... we're advocating not giving uke a choice at all and just forcing a technique regardless of uke's skill or ability physical fitness?

That's where my curiosity lies--when does it stop becoming cooperative practice and starts becoming an issue of whether or not you could down a person?

dave9nine
05-01-2012, 12:59 PM
sounds like your Sensei already established the protocol. after that, it's the guy choosing to be a ______, probably out of some ego trip or whatever.

"If it's understood between nage and uke that you are helping each other train by giving a bit of resistance to help eachother fine tune their techniques, I think that's fine--but sometimes I find people who deliberately go around trying to resist and test people and it causes injuries."

also sounds like you understand well enough what the proper place of resistance should be..
to me, the bottom line is, are people being nice and friendly, or are they going out of their way to be confrontational and competitive etc?... for me the latter goes against aikido training principles, whereas the former can indeed foster an environment where people can test and learn and grow together..

you will find that this issue is a huge one for Aikido, and you will keep coming back to it..
good luck!

-dave

chubbycubbysmash
05-01-2012, 01:11 PM
sounds like your Sensei already established the protocol. after that, it's the guy choosing to be a ______, probably out of some ego trip or whatever.

"If it's understood between nage and uke that you are helping each other train by giving a bit of resistance to help eachother fine tune their techniques, I think that's fine--but sometimes I find people who deliberately go around trying to resist and test people and it causes injuries."

also sounds like you understand well enough what the proper place of resistance should be..
to me, the bottom line is, are people being nice and friendly, or are they going out of their way to be confrontational and competitive etc?... for me the latter goes against aikido training principles, whereas the former can indeed foster an environment where people can test and learn and grow together..

you will find that this issue is a huge one for Aikido, and you will keep coming back to it..
good luck!

-dave

Thank you so much for the response! That's how I feel too--if everyone is nice and trains with a mutual understanding of giving a bit of resistance, then that's fine and I think it would help development a lot. Just... not if people are going to go and be outright aggressive and confrontational.

I have just been confused by seeing a lot of flip-flop on both sides of this topic, on and off the mat (and on the interwebz.)

Resistance/countering DOES seem to be an issue I keep seeing over and over and over again... I've heard people who do Aikido brag about dislocating shoulders, elbows, breaking noses, etc when uke's resist or when they're countering their nage. and I don't know if that would be something I'd be proud of, I guess.

DonMagee
05-01-2012, 02:09 PM
:confused:
Uke does not have that choice.

dps

I'd say a good uke doesn't have a choice. A bad one can decide to do whatever he wants and a unwary nage can end up without a clue.

morph4me
05-01-2012, 02:13 PM
I like resistance, to a point. Resistance allows me to find the weaknesses in my technique and work on them. If someone keeps poking me in the ribs, it's probably because I'm not moving correctly, or my posture is off, or there's too much tension in my technique.

I've been to dojo's where all I have to do is touch uke and they fall down, that doesn't teach me anything.

That being said, the person in the most danger of resistance is the one resisting. A skilled nage will change technique because that's what uke is asking for. An unskilled nage will try to force the technique and may injure uke. Uke should resist enough to help teach nage, if it turns into a test of strength, or a contest of who's more macho and can take the most pain, someone will get injured.

Rob Watson
05-01-2012, 02:29 PM
Resistance is not the same as countering. Compliance is not the same as taking a dive. Working together for the benefit of mutual development takes myriad forms which can include resistance, countering, compliance and even taking a dive - and much more. The right tool at the right time can do great works.

chubbycubbysmash
05-01-2012, 02:37 PM
I like resistance, to a point. Resistance allows me to find the weaknesses in my technique and work on them. If someone keeps poking me in the ribs, it's probably because I'm not moving correctly, or my posture is off, or there's too much tension in my technique.

I've been to dojo's where all I have to do is touch uke and they fall down, that doesn't teach me anything.

That being said, the person in the most danger of resistance is the one resisting. A skilled nage will change technique because that's what uke is asking for. An unskilled nage will try to force the technique and may injure uke. Uke should resist enough to help teach nage, if it turns into a test of strength, or a contest of who's more macho and can take the most pain, someone will get injured.

Really awesome point about correcting posture but I think maybe the resistance you're talking about in the beginning is more on extension (as in, not fall until you need to, i.e. not just fall at a touch), and not "resisting for the sake fighting back" which is the kind of resistance I'm talking about.

In the case with the visitor we had, nage was doing iriminage, uke was already bending backwards when he grabbed onto nage's throwing arm with the outside arm, and then started jabbing with the elbow with the other. Unless nage did the technique SUPER fast, anyone could have probably done that... only, both nage and uke were next to a wall with 4 more uke's advancing... I don't think it was the right or safe place to be "testing" in that capacity then. =/

Carl Thompson
05-01-2012, 02:53 PM
I couldn't help but notice David Alexander Sensei (a prominent student of Saito Sensei) has been on Aikiweb recently. Here is one of his old articles on the subject of resistance:

KOKYU-RYOKU is much stronger than muscular power, and eventually the techniques become almost effortless, even against strong resistance.

http://www.iwama-aikido.com/resist.html

Regards

Carl

chubbycubbysmash
05-01-2012, 02:57 PM
I couldn't help but notice David Alexander Sensei (a prominent student of Saito Sensei) has been on Aikiweb recently. Here is one of his old articles on the subject of resistance:

http://www.iwama-aikido.com/resist.html

Regards

Carl

Thank you so much for the link--checking it out right now!

PeterR
05-01-2012, 07:04 PM
I think the point is that you have to learn how to train and that includes the role of uke. It helps if there are clear levels of resistance and even clearer lines where they are to be used.

1. It is a trivial manner to shut down a technique you know is coming. If we always did that the technique would never get learnt.

2. If there is absolutely no resistance tori will never feel how the technique really works and the technique would never get learnt.

The role of uke has to be taught as much as the role of tori.

graham christian
05-01-2012, 08:02 PM
Yes, resistance alone leads to damage in my view. Thus one of the major principles of Aikido is non-resistance.

Teaching this from day one is imperative from my view otherwise it is merely a shell of Aikido which is being done.

But non resistance takes some getting and so it is a scale of progress and ability but nonetheless it should be shown that resistance is futile and neither acceptable, desired or needed. All done without pain or damage.

Peace.G.

PeterR
05-01-2012, 10:07 PM
I must add that there is a joy in playing at full-resistance and even a greater joy when you are able to pull off a technique under those circumstances.

I can not agree that non-resistance is a major principle of Aikido. If it was the training would be superfluous (why apply technique).

dps
05-02-2012, 12:10 AM
I'd say a good uke doesn't have a choice. A bad one can decide to do whatever he wants and a unwary nage can end up without a clue.

Exactly, a good uke will give a realistic dedicated constant attack at whatever speed the level of practice calls for without holding back or anticipating nage's technique.

This will enable nage to practice techniques and priniciples.

dps

Mario Tobias
05-02-2012, 05:46 AM
I echo robert's post above. A lot of people I think have different understanding of how training with resistance should be done.

In my view, for static practice, static should be just that...static. Uke should offer some resistance to nage for nage to feel where the lines are with least resistance for him to do the technique properly. Static resistance is different from testing or countering. Countering/testing aims to shut down nage's technique and this will lead to nowhere if nage doesnt understand the technique. Mutual cooperation between partners happens in 3 ways: one if uke offers too much resistance, lower it down a notch for nage to find the technique where least energy is used; second, as both you and your partner get proficient with technique, offer more and more resistance for you partner to work with so that your techniques will get refined. third, as you get really proficient, you can spice up training by testing your partner or test to point out openings but it should be in this progression imo.

IMHO, offering static resistance and resistance with countering/testing are two separate practices with totally different learning outcomes. People think these 2 are the same so they mix them up. Uke should understand what practice nage wants or needs. Does nage want static resistance because he just wants to learn technique or do you test him because you want to point out openings in his techniques.

If nage does not understand the "lines" in the techniques, offering countering will not make him learn. Offering countering while nage just wants static resistance would lead to injuries as nage will just force the technique. There is a time to use one or the other but both of you should be sensitive to the fact what practice one person is trying to play and this is regardless of rank. Often, there are misunderstandings/injuries because this kind of "miscommunication" happens between uke and nage.

phitruong
05-02-2012, 06:54 AM
good uke is worth their weight in gold....well maybe copper or possibly aluminum. good uke knows when you need it, how you need it, and how much you need it. really good uke would buy you foods and drinks afterward. :)

Marc Abrams
05-02-2012, 07:04 AM
Traditionally, the uke is in the role as the teacher. What follows from there is obvious.... What kind of teacher would you like to be? When you can begin to ask that question to yourself, you can begin to understand one important part of that role. At another level, the uke is practicing the process of receiving the intent, energy and force from the nage. What you do with what you receive is also important in developing the ability to better connect with your partner and use that connection in a constructive manner.

Marc Abrams

dps
05-02-2012, 07:41 AM
good uke is worth their weight in gold....well maybe copper or possibly aluminum. good uke knows when you need it, how you need it, and how much you need it. really good uke would buy you foods and drinks afterward. :)

And massage your feet.

dps

PeterR
05-02-2012, 08:12 AM
Traditionally, the uke is in the role as the teacher. What follows from there is obvious.... What kind of teacher would you like to be? When you can begin to ask that question to yourself, you can begin to understand one important part of that role. At another level, the uke is practicing the process of receiving the intent, energy and force from the nage. What you do with what you receive is also important in developing the ability to better connect with your partner and use that connection in a constructive manner.

Marc Abrams
Traditionally it really depended on what was being done. For sure in Kenjustu uke was more often than not the senior but again it depended on what was being taught. In jujutsu training (which includes aikido) you often spent alot of time receiving the technique before you started performing it yourself.

Marc Abrams
05-02-2012, 09:34 AM
Traditionally it really depended on what was being done. For sure in Kenjustu uke was more often than not the senior but again it depended on what was being taught. In jujutsu training (which includes aikido) you often spent alot of time receiving the technique before you started performing it yourself.

Peter:

In my opinion, part of the problem with our training model, was the change away from the uke being the teacher (this was/is the predominant model in koryu- from which modern budo evolved from). When the uke is in the role as the teacher, that person is in the perfect position for guiding the nage in improving the execution of techniques. The teacher can increase resistance, change things up, etc. as part of a training paradigm. Without that awareness, the uke frequently acts in a manner that is essentially nonsensical when they are acting against the execution of a technique.

As a teacher, I frequently intervene when a student is acting "dumb" in the role of uke. For example, last night, one relatively new student (almost one year of study) was resisting the execution of a technique in a manner that was not smart. After a verbal explanation as to why he was not acting like an intelligent attacker, he soon resorted back to what he was doing. I had him attack me and when he did the same thing, he suddenly felt an atemi in the ribs which was integrated into the execution of the technique. Frequently, the body learns before the mind ;) . I spend a lot of time teaching my students how to be a good uke. That means making a good attack without stupid openings; receiving the technique while maintaining connection and structure; and taking ukemi in a safe manner.

Our training paradigm is essentially a two-person kata practice. When both people take their roles seriously, the level of training can always increase, without unnecessary risk of injury, or devolving into some cooperative, delusional space where everyone feels good....

Marc Abrams

Rob Watson
05-02-2012, 10:30 AM
One seemingly trivial example ... tai no henko ... when nage simply presses forward they run into all kinds of power or 'resistance' which is just a moderately connected uke. Uke does nothing except maintain their balance and posture (internal connection if you will) and nage cannot do the most simple of movements. This is true even when uke is a small child and nage an adult. Usually 'stupid' nage just powers through the resistance - easy to do against small children but not so easy with adults.

This is not resistance in the slightest ... nage is simply doing the technique completely wrong. Amazing to watch the uke that simply 'folds' and lets nage do the technique anyway ... fast forward a few months and nage has learned not one danged thing. Fast forward a few years and there is a spanking new shodan that cannot even do tai no henko correctly. Since tai no henko is a foundational drill (in Iwama lineage anyway) this is a huge problem and must be set aright from day one.

jonreading
05-02-2012, 11:27 AM
To echo some thoughts...
1. Resistance and countering are different. Countering and kaishi waza are different. We need to make sure chastising "resistance" is not chastising countering or kaishi waza. We also need to make sure uke understand when countering and kaishi waza are and are not appropriate.
2. Resistance is an indicator of improper kata. The more I hear good aikido people describe technique, the more I believe that resistance is just a product of poor kata. I like the thought of moving away from the notion of "non-resistance" and into the notion of "Did you see sensei push against uke? No? Well, then you are not moving correctly."

As for the original post, I believe each dojo has its own level of "opposition". Uke plays an integral role in learning kata and practicing waza. I think its important to express where your dojo stands and how students may train within the established levels of opposition. When in Rome...

Edgecrusher
05-02-2012, 12:07 PM
:confused:
Uke does not have that choice.

dps

I disagree. Depending on the technique, if you cannot effectively move uke, then its on to another technique, and so on until he has submitted (tapped out).

phitruong
05-02-2012, 12:26 PM
I think its important to express where your dojo stands and how students may train within the established levels of opposition. When in Rome...

scream out loud "THIS IS SPARTA!" then kick the other bugger in the chest? :D

*sorry couldn't help meself. will now put on my toga and head over to the senate floor with Marc for a Caesar party*

PeterR
05-02-2012, 11:21 PM
Peter:
In my opinion, part of the problem with our training model, was the change away from the uke being the teacher (this was/is the predominant model in koryu- from which modern budo evolved from). When the uke is in the role as the teacher, that person is in the perfect position for guiding the nage in improving the execution of techniques. The teacher can increase resistance, change things up, etc. as part of a training paradigm. Without that awareness, the uke frequently acts in a manner that is essentially nonsensical when they are acting against the execution of a technique.

Again I disagree and at the risk of beating a dead horse - when and by whom did this change occur. Both Takeda and Ueshiba M. taught in very traditional ways for jujutsu which meant that deshi spent a lot of time receiving technique. Kenjutsu training is quite different but primarily in the amount of physical abuse that uke suffers not to mention all that falling down and getting back up. With all due respect I think the idea of a shift in training methodology in modern Aikido is urban legend possibly linked with the false idea that Aikido is related more to kenjutsu than to jujutsu.


As a teacher, I frequently intervene when a student is acting "dumb" in the role of uke. .....
I spend a lot of time teaching my students how to be a good uke.

Our training paradigm is essentially a two-person kata practice. When both people take their roles seriously, the level of training can always increase, without unnecessary risk of injury, or devolving into some cooperative, delusional space where everyone feels good....

Marc Abrams
I agree (especially about the two-person kata) and as I said previously the role of uke and tori both have to be taught. I do think that it is essential that the teacher takes on both roles and leads by example.

dps
05-03-2012, 10:10 AM
I disagree. Depending on the technique, if you cannot effectively move uke, then its on to another technique, and so on until he has submitted (tapped out).

You should not be applying a technique until after your uke is unbalanced.

You should be looking for lines of non-resistance, position your body to use the line of non-resistance to unbalance your uke then apply technique.

dps

tarik
05-07-2012, 08:56 AM
Again I disagree and at the risk of beating a dead horse - when and by whom did this change occur. Both Takeda and Ueshiba M. taught in very traditional ways for jujutsu which meant that deshi spent a lot of time receiving technique.

I'm curious to learn how two known "innovators" taught in a "traditional" manner?

FWIW, It's reasonably common knowledge in koryu circles, where old teaching methods are usually preserved as much as possible, that the uke role in both armed and unarmed training is most often filled by the senior who can then control the outcome and provide the highest levels of instruction.

I'd suggest that this change began with innovation in judo and continued through the intervention of government. Dig through the research in historical Japan and observe that more modern forms of budo practice involved a much higher student to teacher ratio, which makes it very difficult to continue such a practice. When you add to that the use of judo and other forms of "traditional" instruction in schools to inculcate "Yamato-damashii" where formality and obedience was was the real learning and order of the day, I guess you could say it's not all that unclear how this changed.

Best,

Hilary
05-22-2012, 10:59 AM
Uke's role is to help train nage in the art under examination. Uke, at a base level, should not resist a technique or a throwing exercise. They should require that their balance be broken, with proper application of technique. If the appropriate limb is locked, and balance is broken, then you are not "taking a fall" by not resisting. If the techniques has to be performed at 10% of speed to learn how to break balance then so be it. It is a simple thing to resist if you know what is coming or provide no energy.

When working with lower kyus, doing drill work, and working a new technique, uke is required to help nage get the feel of the throw. Resisting by going limp, not entering, locking down, providing random energy in the wrong direction all constitute barriers to learning; they are ego boosts to a misdirected uke.

That being said, dan ranks should be held to a more applicable art. Strikes that track uke, punches that retract quickly, getting swatted with uke's free hand (improper location), holding upon landing to test stability, getting kicked in the butt when standing in the wrong place after a throw are all valid training modes for yudansha (as well as upper kyus). They should occur with agreement and knowledge of the participants and more typically are part of a dojo culture as defined by the chief instructor. Introducing reality to the upper ranks is important after all if the advanced students cannot effectively utilize a technique unless attacked just so, then what is the point, peaceful as it may be Aikido is a martial art not dance style. Reality is important, but has the right time and place in the learning process; overzealous green belts are not the right time and place.

PeterR
05-22-2012, 10:09 PM
Uke's role is to help train nage in the art under examination. Uke, at a base level, should not resist a technique or a throwing exercise. They should require that their balance be broken, with proper application of technique. If the appropriate limb is locked, and balance is broken, then you are not "taking a fall" by not resisting. If the techniques has to be performed at 10% of speed to learn how to break balance then so be it. It is a simple thing to resist if you know what is coming or provide no energy.

When working with lower kyus, doing drill work, and working a new technique, uke is required to help nage get the feel of the throw. Resisting by going limp, not entering, locking down, providing random energy in the wrong direction all constitute barriers to learning; they are ego boosts to a misdirected uke.

That being said, dan ranks should be held to a more applicable art. Strikes that track uke, punches that retract quickly, getting swatted with uke's free hand (improper location), holding upon landing to test stability, getting kicked in the butt when standing in the wrong place after a throw are all valid training modes for yudansha (as well as upper kyus). They should occur with agreement and knowledge of the participants and more typically are part of a dojo culture as defined by the chief instructor. Introducing reality to the upper ranks is important after all if the advanced students cannot effectively utilize a technique unless attacked just so, then what is the point, peaceful as it may be Aikido is a martial art not dance style. Reality is important, but has the right time and place in the learning process; overzealous green belts are not the right time and place.

I was in Torrey Pines just a couple of days ago but unfortunately too jet lagged to consider Aikido.

Anyway - proper ukemi (and that includes the level of resistance at a particular time) needs to be taught. One strength of more formalized kata training is that both roles are strictly defined so both tori and uke know exactly what is expected of then. Of course that needs to be off-set with a style of randori (also with varying degrees of resistance) that allows for free expression.

PeterR
05-22-2012, 10:18 PM
Uke's role is to help train nage in the art under examination. Uke, at a base level, should not resist a technique or a throwing exercise. They should require that their balance be broken, with proper application of technique. If the appropriate limb is locked, and balance is broken, then you are not "taking a fall" by not resisting. If the techniques has to be performed at 10% of speed to learn how to break balance then so be it. It is a simple thing to resist if you know what is coming or provide no energy.

When working with lower kyus, doing drill work, and working a new technique, uke is required to help nage get the feel of the throw. Resisting by going limp, not entering, locking down, providing random energy in the wrong direction all constitute barriers to learning; they are ego boosts to a misdirected uke.

That being said, dan ranks should be held to a more applicable art. Strikes that track uke, punches that retract quickly, getting swatted with uke's free hand (improper location), holding upon landing to test stability, getting kicked in the butt when standing in the wrong place after a throw are all valid training modes for yudansha (as well as upper kyus). They should occur with agreement and knowledge of the participants and more typically are part of a dojo culture as defined by the chief instructor. Introducing reality to the upper ranks is important after all if the advanced students cannot effectively utilize a technique unless attacked just so, then what is the point, peaceful as it may be Aikido is a martial art not dance style. Reality is important, but has the right time and place in the learning process; overzealous green belts are not the right time and place.

I was in Torrey Pines just a couple of days ago but unfortunately too jet lagged to consider Aikido.

Anyway - proper ukemi (and that includes the level of resistance at a particular time) needs to be taught. One strength of more formalized kata training is that both roles are strictly defined so both tori and uke know exactly what is expected of then. Of course that needs to be off-set with a style of randori (also with varying degrees of resistance) that allows free-expression.

Hilary
05-23-2012, 07:52 PM
Peter,
Next time you are in town give us a call. We are actually no much closer to downtown (El Cajon and Washington). We always enjoy visitors!
H2

PeterR
05-23-2012, 09:04 PM
Peter,
Next time you are in town give us a call. We are actually no much closer to downtown (El Cajon and Washington). We always enjoy visitors!
H2

I hope to do that - I was flown in from China for a one day job interview and am waiting with fingers crossed. We'll have to see but if it works out I will have to explore training opportunities.

Rupert Atkinson
05-24-2012, 12:21 AM
Yes, resistance alone leads to damage in my view. Thus one of the major principles of Aikido is non-resistance.
Teaching this from day one is imperative from my view otherwise it is merely a shell of Aikido which is being done.
Peace.G.

I have studied in several schools for extended periods of time and have experienced those that preach absolute non resistance and those that preach strong resistancewhile training. Both, are hopeless, in my opinion. You need to train in-between most of the time, and from time to time, go to either extreme (not just a bit, but a lot at either extreme, then back tothe middle).

PeterR
05-24-2012, 12:51 AM
I have studied in several schools for extended periods of time and have experienced those that preach absolute non resistance and those that preach strong resistancewhile training. Both, are hopeless, in my opinion. You need to train in-between most of the time, and from time to time, go to either extreme (not just a bit, but a lot at either extreme, then back tothe middle).

The middle road - very Buddhist in its wisdom. Not really sure what it is about Aikido and those that like to comment on it but it sure breeds a lot of extreme statements. I've seen this in the resistance game, but also speed vs static, name your concept.

Aiki in my view really reflects an increased sensitivity to your opponent. The ability to respond to their energy in a way that makes it your own. If there is no resistance during training then you can not experience that energy and learn to utilize it. Conversely if you are always working with hard resistance you will never learn to overcome that energy without an equal measure of force.

Rupert Atkinson
05-24-2012, 01:20 AM
I like that - altered it a bit - and have copied it to a post-it on my desktop.

"Aiki reflects an increased sensitivity to your opponent; the ability to respond to their energy in a way that makes it your own."

PeterR
05-24-2012, 01:23 AM
I like that - altered it a bit - and have copied it to a post-it on my desktop.

"Aiki reflects an increased sensitivity to your opponent; the ability to respond to their energy in a way that makes it your own."

:D

tarik
05-24-2012, 08:42 AM
The middle road - very Buddhist in its wisdom. Not really sure what it is about Aikido and those that like to comment on it but it sure breeds a lot of extreme statements. I've seen this in the resistance game, but also speed vs static, name your concept.

Passion tends to breed extreme points of view :-)


Aiki in my view really reflects an increased sensitivity to your opponent. The ability to respond to their energy in a way that makes it your own. If there is no resistance during training then you can not experience that energy and learn to utilize it. Conversely if you are always working with hard resistance you will never learn to overcome that energy without an equal measure of force.

I look at it this way. When succeeding at aiki, what you do is "non-resistance" relative to the fact that what you are doing never "resists" what your partner is doing, but instead uses it and adds a very little bit to it. Sometimes the, it may appear to be resistance to the uneducated because you can make the feedback loop very tight, but it is not.

But we spend most of our time training to learn this, not doing it, and that can be misleading. To learn, our training must be cooperative and yet also competitive by slowly, increasingly made more difficult over time, through 'resistance' or more preferably, IMO, through a greater application of the same principles by uke to steal back the sente.

If efficient learning is the goal, then the scale to measure shouldn't be based upon ones own opinion about how 'resistant' uke should be to tori, but instead measured upon tori's success in kata based upon on the correctness of their ability to use the taught principles in kata to succeed at the technique at least 70% of the time. Less frequent success could mean that uke is resisting too much, while more could mean that uke is overly cooperative. Even randori is a cooperative, if even a more constructively competitive practice, but at least it isn't kata.

Peter, I think you already mentioned the value in allocating training time between kata and randori. Unfortunately, for many in the aikido world, what is called randori isn't what you and I mean when we talk about the two.

IME, one of the weaknesses in many places I've visited, is the dogma that aikido has no kata, which is then demonstrated as false in practice. Aikido, in fact, is demonstrably taught through kata, sometimes far more so by schools that insist that kata does not exist in aikido. But actual doing of aikido, as opposed to training, is not kata and once could say that doing is the real aikido while training is the "lie" as I believe Ueshiba himself once stated when asked to do a demonstration before the Imperial family.

Best,

Janet Rosen
05-24-2012, 09:23 AM
IME, one of the weaknesses in many places I've visited, is the dogma that aikido has no kata, which is then demonstrated as false in practice. Aikido, in fact, is demonstrably taught through kata, sometimes far more so by schools that insist that kata does not exist in aikido. But actual doing of aikido, as opposed to training, is not kata and once could say that doing is the real aikido while training is the "lie" as I believe Ueshiba himself once stated when asked to do a demonstration before the Imperial family.
This should be hung on the wall of every dojo :)

TokyoZeplin
07-05-2012, 06:13 PM
Now, I'm a complete outsider in all this, so I might say something completely idiotic here, but:

Shouldn't it be down to two people: nage and sensei? If your Sensei decides that it's best for you to train with resistance, then you both start training with resistance. If Sensei has no word in the specific matter, I'd say it should be up to nage, who is practicing his/her technique, then he/she can either ask for more resistance to test the technique, or less to refine the technique.

I will however quickly say, that resisting a throw/lock/whatever wouldn't automatically lead to injury, as some have stated. Unless you are some crazy doped up person, your body would naturally give out long before any of your joins or bones break (which is why the techniques are also useful in the first place). I can't see how you could break a join, unless either an accident happens, or someone is deliberately trying to break a joint. It's not like you go "I'll resist this.... whoah my arm broke out of nowhere, where did that come from?!".

Granted, I so far only have experience (3rd Kyu) in Shotokan Karate, which is obviously very very different from Aikido, but really... joints and bones don't break out of nowhere :)

TokyoZeplin
07-05-2012, 06:19 PM
I have studied in several schools for extended periods of time and have experienced those that preach absolute non resistance and those that preach strong resistancewhile training. Both, are hopeless, in my opinion. You need to train in-between most of the time, and from time to time, go to either extreme (not just a bit, but a lot at either extreme, then back tothe middle).

The middle road - very Buddhist in its wisdom. Not really sure what it is about Aikido and those that like to comment on it but it sure breeds a lot of extreme statements. I've seen this in the resistance game, but also speed vs static, name your concept.

Aiki in my view really reflects an increased sensitivity to your opponent. The ability to respond to their energy in a way that makes it your own. If there is no resistance during training then you can not experience that energy and learn to utilize it. Conversely if you are always working with hard resistance you will never learn to overcome that energy without an equal measure of force.

I think you two really nailed it!
Sometimes you need no resistance, sometimes you need a ton, and most of the time you need a little/bit.
Training constantly with no resistance, is like training Karate and only ever doing the kata's, and expecting students to be able to survive a kumite later with only that. Likewise, full resistance would be like doing Karate, and only doing full-contact from day one, and still expecting the students to learn the details of the technique.
Both extremes have their place in the training regiment, but with just a bit of both - and a whole lot of in-between.

TOMAC
11-01-2012, 11:18 AM
I'd like to throw in my two cents on the issue of uke teaching nage. In our dojo it is generally discouraged for an aikidoka to "teach" his/her partner on the mat. We call it shadow teaching and there are several reasons for this position. First, there is already a teacher (Sensei) on the mat. To presume that the Sensei cannot attend to those who need help is the height of disrespect and arrogance.

Secondly, constant instruction from uke can be confusing to nage especially if they are junior and want to be respectful. But, everyone learns differently if nage is thinking about his/her center and uke is telling him/her to change his/her feet then the training process is disrupted and the learning curve becomes steeper. Even a Sensei who is constantly interrupting his/her students to correct them can cause frustration and prevent learning.

Third, if uke feels free to discuss the technique with nage and the whole dojo is doing the same training grinds to a halt. I've seen classes where everyone is talking and no one is training. What a waste that is.

So, in our dojo we suggest that training continue with a minimum of talking. If nage is completely lost uke can guide nage through the technique but, ideally, without discussing nage's failings. Other than that nage is charged with discovering the technique as it is appropriate to his/her physical capabilities.

Marc Abrams
11-05-2012, 10:11 AM
I'd like to throw in my two cents on the issue of uke teaching nage. In our dojo it is generally discouraged for an aikidoka to "teach" his/her partner on the mat. We call it shadow teaching and there are several reasons for this position. First, there is already a teacher (Sensei) on the mat. To presume that the Sensei cannot attend to those who need help is the height of disrespect and arrogance.

Secondly, constant instruction from uke can be confusing to nage especially if they are junior and want to be respectful. But, everyone learns differently if nage is thinking about his/her center and uke is telling him/her to change his/her feet then the training process is disrupted and the learning curve becomes steeper. Even a Sensei who is constantly interrupting his/her students to correct them can cause frustration and prevent learning.

Third, if uke feels free to discuss the technique with nage and the whole dojo is doing the same training grinds to a halt. I've seen classes where everyone is talking and no one is training. What a waste that is.

So, in our dojo we suggest that training continue with a minimum of talking. If nage is completely lost uke can guide nage through the technique but, ideally, without discussing nage's failings. Other than that nage is charged with discovering the technique as it is appropriate to his/her physical capabilities.

Tom:

The uke as the teacher is a model that predates gendai budo. I think that is the height of arrogance and disrespect of the students to assume that the sensei is the only teacher in the room. What you are describing is a situation where 50% of the time (uke) is pretty much wasted. Talk about the heights of arrogance, the idea that someone junior to you cannot point out areas of your own failing! Sounds like a set-up for the creation of idols and the worshiping of them.

In my dojo, people should be assisting themselves and those around them in helping everyone to improve. This can be done without being negative, but encouraging. I spend a lot of time and energy in helping students to be their best teachers. They develop the abilities to critically analyze what they and their partners are doing, and they learn how to effectively communicate that through words and actions. This is how I train and how I teach. I wish you the best of luck with your teaching model.

Marc Abrams

PeterR
11-05-2012, 05:55 PM
Not quite Marc

The senior taught in the role of uke and that was primarily in weapons based kata - not necessarily in jujutsu techniques. It would be a mistake to thing that these seniors were the level of kyu grades or early dan.

That said - I know in systems which are kata based the role and expectations of uke are taught from the beginning. Learning that helps you to understand the techniques from tori's point of view also. In Shodokan for example it is expected that you should be able to effectively teach techniques required two kyu levels below your own.

I do agree with your point though - with the proviso is that they teacher and others should be all on the same page.

Janet Rosen
11-05-2012, 06:47 PM
Where I find I can learn from ANY uke is in giving me consise and brief feedback, be it verbal or in the body, on what she is feeling. Not necessarily telling me what I'm doing wrong or suggesting a correction, but something like "it feels like you disconnect after the turn" or "it feels like you had me and then gave it back to me when you..."

Marc Abrams
11-06-2012, 07:58 AM
Not quite Marc

The senior taught in the role of uke and that was primarily in weapons based kata - not necessarily in jujutsu techniques. It would be a mistake to thing that these seniors were the level of kyu grades or early dan.

That said - I know in systems which are kata based the role and expectations of uke are taught from the beginning. Learning that helps you to understand the techniques from tori's point of view also. In Shodokan for example it is expected that you should be able to effectively teach techniques required two kyu levels below your own.

I do agree with your point though - with the proviso is that they teacher and others should be all on the same page.

Peter:

We are both referring primarily to koryu. The weapons-based kata had/have a continuum to hand-to-weapons, to hand-to-hand based upon an particular "operating system." The distinction is more an artifact of the operating system in use with tools. There were no kyu grades or dan grades for that matter. Our waza is a form of kata as well. I think that we are essentially in agreement. I think that you would agree that a beginner's body is a good feedback mechanism for how our waza works in people who have not been "taught" how to respond to what we do. Likewise, "playing" with friends from other martial arts is typically very informative to all parties as well.

Regards,

Marc Abrams

Jisen Aiki
01-17-2016, 01:07 PM
Resistance on the whole is futile; under the guise of improving technique. Unnatural cooperation should be looked at and regarded as such.
Technique can be proven by leverage, angle, and the mechanics of the executor. Undue resistance isn't necessary (most days)

bothhandsclapping
06-12-2017, 09:45 AM
There is always the chance that this discussion of resistance may sometimes be a matter of semantics - that our definitions of resistance are simply different. That what one person calls resistance may actually be more like the continual pressure in the line of the original attack. In yokomen-uchi, for example, as we all know, it can be a bit exasperating if uke goes limp at first contact. And yet to some, a continued pressure after contact may be positively or negatively interpreted as resistance.

And there is the chance that resistance can be a positive application in order to guide a desired response - that someone resists in any direction except where the throw or pin is supposed to go. Here uke essentially creates a "hole in her resistance" that reinforces the use of the throw or pin that is being practiced.

And I believe that we would all agree that resistance is a universally bad thing when we describe it simply as "thwarting every movement that nage may attempt". (If you are thwarting every movement, you have stopped attacking.)

john2054
06-19-2017, 12:48 PM
It is your sensei's responsability not to rise to the bait, to remain centered and composed, and sort the situation out, without banning anyone. The fact that he can not or WILL not do this, proves the lack of his skill, and not that of any of the kyu grades.

If i was there i would bitch slap him, and tell him to bow down to the ranking grade! ffs

rugwithlegs
06-24-2017, 07:17 PM
I was wondering what everyone else's take on resistance and how teachers should address it in the practice of Aikido....

I always thought it was so that we could learn the techniques cooperatively, and not turn it into a competition. If it's understood between nage and uke that you are helping each other train by giving a bit of resistance to help eachother fine tune their techniques...thanks for your thoughts!

So there seems to be several things to unpack here, and maybe I am commenting/asking about the part that mattered the least to the OP?

There seems to be two sets of exercises.

Ushiro ryotedori, I learned uke would grab firmly - not stupid crazy, but firmly enough that nage can't just do it wrong. Same with some (not all) morote dori and kokyu doza. Not so much resistance as a feedback mechanism. These usually involve raising a limb that uke is holding, so the martial crowd says, "no one attacks like that on the street!" Connections, timing, a lot of the same kinesiology as beginner power lifting.

The second set of exercises, there's kokyunage, kaitenage, udekimenage, higikime, iriminage - the line between badly done technique and good alignment is valuable, but the neck or elbow gets damaged easily. The line can be very fine, and really it is more about timing than placement and alignment.

So, I can throw and pin some people, but I am not always able to do it without risking injury. I like the Judo practice where a pin is applied and then uke tries to escape. It is safer with some pins compared to others. No beginner will likely know where the line is.

In randori/jiyuwaza, if I meet resistance I change. I never want to learn to chase the clashing. So, stupid practice is someone sticking their head down and demanding that I do iriminage instead of kaitenage, or forcing one's head up for kaitenage because I am not going to force the head down when the whole torso just opened up for strikes.

Posture testing has a narrow role for specific practices, but I would not call it resistance though it is progressive resistance. I hope that makes sense.

Currawong
06-25-2017, 05:39 PM
Good thoughts. Uke is supposed to respond in a way that the technique makes sense, so that tori (nage) can practice doing the technique. If tori attempts to use force in a way that is unnecessary, a more senior uke should be able to both show them that what they are doing is not good, and also how to move correctly for that technique.

With myself as a proverbial newbie to internal power practices, though which are, I feel, an extension of what I felt I needed to develop in the first place, attempts to use power on a person who has a well-developed internal structure and can apply it during movement, end up going nowhere. Resistance stops mattering, as the very effort of it at the very least ends up going into the ground. This applies for all techniques.

This comes back to the danger issue -- someone resisting too much could end up hurt when a technique is applied. Thus the necessity of becoming a good uke that knows what and how much force to apply when for the benefit of one's training partners, allowing sincere training while preventing injury.

John Duke
03-05-2018, 10:29 AM
Sometimes with a resistant Uke , on one who expects a direction, movement, technique, do another technique , do something different after all you are to avoid the conflict. Then say to uke ''that is not what we are practicing" " I am practicing the movement, why don't you assist me and go where my movement takes you" ?

nikyu62
03-06-2018, 02:12 PM
:hypno: Look them in the eyes and say sincerely "do you REALLY want to find out if this technique works?"

sorokod
03-07-2018, 05:14 AM
Then say to uke ''that is not what we are practicing" " I am practicing the movement, why don't you assist me and go where my movement takes you" ?

A reasonable reply from the uke could be:
"You may want to move away from inward looking, navel gazing approach where i am to follow *your* intent, and start practicing martial art which requires you to accept the reallity of the interaction with the attacker and work on *that*.

lbb
03-07-2018, 08:29 AM
A reasonable reply from the uke could be:
"You may want to move away from inward looking, navel gazing approach where i am to follow *your* intent, and start practicing martial art which requires you to accept the reallity of the interaction with the attacker and work on *that*.

If anyone had said that to me when I was a beginner, and just trying to wrap my mind around a technique, I'd have concluded that this person was an insufferably smug jerk who was much more interested in their own ego-aggrandizement than in being a useful and helpful partner. This is just a veneer of superiority on top of jerk behavior.

sorokod
03-07-2018, 08:40 AM
If anyone had said that to me when I was a beginner, and just trying to wrap my mind around a technique, I'd have concluded that this person was an insufferably smug jerk who was much more interested in their own ego-aggrandizement than in being a useful and helpful partner. This is just a veneer of superiority on top of jerk behavior.

Sure - a beginner. But very quickly you would realize the wisdom of the uke's words and the folly of your rush judgment :-)

lbb
03-12-2018, 09:51 AM
Sure - a beginner. But very quickly you would realize the wisdom of the uke's words and the folly of your rush judgment :-)

No, no, I don't think so. Someone who obstructs someone else's learning in order to gratify their own ego isn't wise, they're just a blowhard jerk.

sorokod
03-12-2018, 03:16 PM
No, no, I don't think so. Someone who obstructs someone else's learning in order to gratify their own ego isn't wise, they're just a blowhard jerk.

I will use an analogy which might give a sense of what I have in mind.

Imagine a person who learns how to ski, an absolute beginner. In the early days she will be practicing on the most gentle of slopes, progressing to more steep ones as the time goes by. Eventually, if she persists, she may be able to tackle a black belt ... oops I mean a black run.

Now, at no point would she address the snow and ask it to be less slippery or demand of gravity to suspend itself and to "assist her and go where her movement takes her"

The way I see this - it is the same with training; you may choose the speed and the intensity appropriate to your current level but to ask the uke to go against the nature of what the uke is, is as sensible and useful as asking gravity not to pull as hard as it does.

Mary Eastland
03-12-2018, 06:02 PM
Except that mountains don't have agendas or egos. Ukes do. when someone knows what you are going to do it is easy to lock down and block you. There has to be some give and take.

sorokod
03-12-2018, 06:55 PM
Except that mountains don't have agendas or egos. Ukes do. when someone knows what you are going to do it is easy to lock down and block you. There has to be some give and take.

Except that I never mention agendas, egos, locking down or blocking. All of these are noise and dilute the training. Are you familiar with the concept of the straw man argument ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man ) ?

Mary Eastland
03-13-2018, 08:15 AM
Yes. David, I am. I am not arguing with you...nor do I want to score points. I am simply pointing out that ukes are not like nature. They have responses. And ukes may not be in line with what the instructor is trying to impart or the nage is needing to learn.

jonreading
03-13-2018, 09:23 AM
...Except uke is a reflection of nage. That's the problem, right? Yamabiko. The echo of the mountain.

Don't add noise. If uke is acting appropriately, her behavior is a reflection of what nage is doing. If uke is not acting appropriately, then that's a problem in and of itself. I think we [often] confuse our inability as nage for non-compliance in uke. At is base level, if nage is moving correctly, then uke is moving correctly. How can this break? First, I am not the echo of the mountain (no aiki). Second, I project what I believe is "correct" movement onto my uke.

lbb
03-13-2018, 11:45 AM
You people are arguing from theory and ignoring reality. Score all the points you want in this ego game, I'm out.

jurasketu
03-13-2018, 11:59 AM
But too often the uke "resistance" is not even remotely martial. I call a locked down, resisting uke a "target". A human target doesn't need to be thrown or moved - it is struck or choked instead.

I think it is really bad training for an uke to resist like that regularly. In an actual confrontation, the Aikidoka might very well "feel" bad technique and reflexively "show" the attacker is not doing things "right" by resisting - and promptly get themselves rocked.

jonreading
03-13-2018, 01:26 PM
If someone stops my movement, I am not good enough. What is wrong with that? Who's ego is more bruised by that comment? The purpose of everything we do is to move freely. Yet, look how much time we spend arguing over all the reasons that prevent us from moving freely.

I don't agree with anyone who makes a poor training decision, regardless of which role is affected. But, you can only move you. If your partner makes a movement that is disconnected from yours, you cannot be affected by that decision. If you are moving correctly, the outcome of the poor decision should be instantaneous and unrelated to you. If there is a "but" in your waza, and it's not attached to the top of your legs, then you need to be critical of your success. "I can throw you, but you didn't attack right...", "This would work, but you are resisting me...", "I can do this technique, but you didn't follow me..."

Everyday our training should make us more confident in the success of our movement, regardless of what our partner does. In the beginning, it is helpful to show your partner how her movement affects you. Later, it shouldn't matter. I can probably search Aikiweb and return a ga-jillion threads that talk about working with partners who have difficulty with ukemi. What do you think is going on with those partners? I tank my waza because they resist or can't fall, or can't hold on? How useless is that? No. I need to understand the success of my movement without relying on my partner so I can work out with anybody. If I train this way, all my partners have value.

Also, hey Robin!!

sorokod
03-13-2018, 06:07 PM
I am simply pointing out that ukes are not like nature. They have responses.... or the nage is needing to learn.

I guess my analogy didn't work as well as I hoped it would. To expand a bit, what I was trying to indicate is that reality imposes some hard constraints. To quote Philip K Dick "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." When you learn to ski, gravity is one such constraint and this is a very good thing.

Imagine that as a skiing beginner, you are given an anti-gravity-pack. With the this gizmo you can suspend gravity and float just above the snow, you can develop graceful movements. Maybe you'd find out that this "snow floating" enriches your mind, heals your traumas, expands your social circle and does many other wonderful things. The one thing it doesn't do, is to help you learn how to ski.

A fundamental hard constraint in martial arts is that the relationship with the partner is an adversarial relationship. In training you can tune the speed, force, intent etc... to match your abilities, but having the uke suspend her intent to do you harm is equivalent to strapping on that anti-gravity-pack. You are no longer studying a martial art let alone Aikido.

And ukes may not be in line with what the instructor is trying to impart

At the risk of stating the obvious, this is 100% the instructor's responsibility to fix. If that is not possible the pupil should be politely invited to leave.

...nor do I want to score points
Not sure what points you have in mind Mary, are those the same points that ibb has mentioned? If you feel that this discussion will benefit from me understanding your point system - please explain.

jurasketu
03-13-2018, 08:54 PM
Hey Jon! :)

RonRagusa
03-13-2018, 10:07 PM
In training you can tune the speed, force, intent etc... to match your abilities, but having the uke suspend her intent to do you harm is equivalent to strapping on that anti-gravity-pack. You are no longer studying a martial art let alone Aikido.

So where you train, does uke carry thru on her intent to do nage harm if she has the opportunity? And by harm I'm assuming you're not referring to harming nage's ego or self esteem but are implying that nage may possibly be injured if the attack gets thru. I ask because, over 40 years, I've visited a lot of Aikido dojos. In none of those occasions did I witness anyone attacking with that kind of street level intent to harm a partner. But maybe I'm misinterpreting what you mean by "intent to harm".

A fundamental hard constraint in martial arts is that the relationship with the partner is an adversarial relationship.

I think that, and this is based on personal experience not hard data, this is a minority view of the relationship between uke and nage in Aikido.

Ron

sorokod
03-14-2018, 07:21 AM
So where you train, does uke carry thru on her intent to do nage harm if she has the opportunity? And by harm I'm assuming you're not referring to harming nage's ego or self esteem but are implying that nage may possibly be injured if the attack gets thru. I ask because, over 40 years, I've visited a lot of Aikido dojos. In none of those occasions did I witness anyone attacking with that kind of street level intent to harm a partner. But maybe I'm misinterpreting what you mean by "intent to harm".

I think that, and this is based on personal experience not hard data, this is a minority view of the relationship between uke and nage in Aikido.

Ron

"So where you train, does uke carry thru on her intent to do nage harm if she has the opportunity? And by harm I'm assuming you're not referring to harming nage's ego or self esteem but are implying that nage may possibly be injured if the attack gets thru."

You assume wrong, this is about liveliness, honesty, intent and connectedness in the uke - Google for some seminar videos of Saito Morihiro sensei and pay attention to the ukes. This is a nice leisurely example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS-g7b387_k

"In none of those occasions did I witness anyone attacking with that kind of street level intent to harm a partner."

Perhaps I am over sensitive but the phrase "that kind of street level intent" seem to attribute to me something I did not say. To be clear, I don't use "street" as an adjective as have no idea what that means.

"I think that, and this is based on personal experience not hard data, this is a minority view of the relationship between uke and nage in Aikido."

As always you are entitled to any opinion you may have. This particular one is as relevant as your opinion on gravity - it is there regardless.

lbb
03-14-2018, 07:38 AM
If someone stops my movement, I am not good enough.

Nonsense. Someone who knew what you were going to do managed to use that knowledge and thwart that particular movement. That's an easy and cheap "win". You can't argue that uke stopping nage "real" but nage performing another technique to which that "stop" is irrelevant is not "real". It's just stupid, is all. Stupid and an ego-aggrandizing exercise -- "ha ha, I stopped you, you're not good enough!" -- and if nage likewise steps out of line and flattens your face, as they should according to your logic, you might as well forget about training and just beat on each other outside a bar somewhere.

If it's what you want to do, go do it. But in a dojo, it's stupid and it's not training.

RonRagusa
03-14-2018, 08:35 AM
You assume wrong, this is about liveliness, honesty, intent and connectedness in the uke - Google for some seminar videos of Saito Morihiro sensei and pay attention to the ukes. This is a nice leisurely example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gS-g7b387_k

Thanks for the clarification.

Ron

Demetrio Cereijo
03-14-2018, 10:41 AM
If someone stops my movement, I am not good enough.

It depends on the context:

If we are doing kata both have to follow the choreography, both have a role to play, and uke stopping nage has no purpose except in extreme circumstances.

If we move away from the kata, and go into a more alive, spontaneous training, then yes. If your training partner is able to stop, evade or counter your technique that means you're not good enough.

jonreading
03-15-2018, 09:04 AM
Nonsense. Someone who knew what you were going to do managed to use that knowledge and thwart that particular movement. That's an easy and cheap "win". You can't argue that uke stopping nage "real" but nage performing another technique to which that "stop" is irrelevant is not "real". It's just stupid, is all. Stupid and an ego-aggrandizing exercise -- "ha ha, I stopped you, you're not good enough!" -- and if nage likewise steps out of line and flattens your face, as they should according to your logic, you might as well forget about training and just beat on each other outside a bar somewhere.

If it's what you want to do, go do it. But in a dojo, it's stupid and it's not training.

Well, if its stupid I should just stop. Thanks for enlightening me. I have several problems with this post.

First, what is nonsense, and according to whom? Of all the things that we do in training, how is training towards the ultimate goal of free movement nonsense?

Second, you have posted several paradigms that seem to exist in your training. Please keep them out of my training. I did not mention winning or losing. I did not mention "real" anything and I do not presuppose everyone with whom I train is ego-centric. Nor have I mentioned injuring anyone.

Third, if you are not honest enough within yourself that you require someone to confirm whether you "can" or "cannot" do aikido techniques, then uke's response will never be helpful, regardless of how she acts.

***

There is a world of excellent martial artists out there. People who can use use weapons beyond what we know. People who can move with power and skill like nothing you've seen in your dojo. People who know more about advancing your understanding of fight science.These people are better than us; better than us in the same comparison that a baseball player is better than someone who plays baseball on the weekend. In other words, the measure of separation is large. The people exist in a number of arts and have so much knowledge to share it's crazy.

Why do you limit yourself in your training? If you really find yourself unable to work with regular aikido people on the mat, how do you ever expect to work with one of these martial artists? If you can't work with these people, how can you learn from them?

And as a point of clarification for Demetrio - Kata is not free movement, so I don't really consider it part of my ultimate goal for free movement. With kata, we are talking about a pre-arrangement of movements so there should be no impediment in movement, except where prescribed in kata. The cessation of movement is either deliberate by design or a lapse in choreography. In some cases, skill can still affect the outcome, much as a senior can lead a junior through a movement, almost by forcing the movement. To the senior, the movement feels natural and "easy", while the junior may feel like he lost control of his body.

sorokod
03-15-2018, 03:53 PM
...
And as a point of clarification for Demetrio - Kata is not free movement, so I don't really consider it part of my ultimate goal for free movement. With kata, we are talking about a pre-arrangement of movements so there should be no impediment in movement, except where prescribed in kata. The cessation of movement is either deliberate by design or a lapse in choreography. In some cases, skill can still affect the outcome, much as a senior can lead a junior through a movement, almost by forcing the movement. To the senior, the movement feels natural and "easy", while the junior may feel like he lost control of his body.

I think that Kata is more nuanced than you describe - at least the way I have been taught. It is a bit like drawing a landscape; it is there in front of you with it's hills trees and buildings but it is up to you to choose the techniques, brushes and colors and render it on canvas.

This applies to nage as well as the uke.

Carl Thompson
03-15-2018, 09:42 PM
If I may make an observation...

I don't think we need quite so much 'resistance' in this discussion. The variety between lineages in aikido is vast (in some cases, even greater than between styles), so there's more to be gained from just explaining our different methods and what we're trying to achieve with them.

For example, a few comments on this thread have come from people who follow, or have some influence from the aikido Osensei left in Iwama. The following article gives some explanation on how here, resistance is used to build kokyu-power (explained as 'abdominal breath power'). http://www.iwama-aikido.com/articles/resist.html (http://www.iwama-aikido.com/articles/resist.html)

On the other hand, some teachers focus more on ki-no-nagare (flowing form) and resistance is considered a solecism. I would agree, that when we know what is coming, it is easier to block people and I've certainly witnessed some crazy tricks (usually leaving openings for atemi - which just escalates things). Sometimes it's ego, sometimes it's a natural reaction (especially among beginners) because they are afraid of what you're going to do to their arm, wrist etc.

Then again, the person 'resisting' might just be doing what they were taught, according to a specific pedagogy, but of course, whether they should or not is another matter. The same goes for someone expecting uke to go with their movement when the teacher is trying to build kokyu power and principles for its deployment. I don't see much value in visiting to another dojo just to do what one always does. We should give it a go, and at the very least, it will be 'hanmen kyoushi' (反面教師 a good example of what not to do :) ).

Regards

Carl

RonRagusa
03-15-2018, 10:04 PM
Kata is not free movement, so I don't really consider it part of my ultimate goal for free movement.

Once the mechanics of performing the sequence of steps required to execute a particular kata are learned, we can move beyond the mechanical practice of the form and use the form as a vehicle to explore the deeper aspects of mind/body coordination and connection in order to effect free movement.

Ultimately we leave prearranged movement behind altogether and let "technique" arise naturally from the interaction with our partners. When you are truly moving freely there's no question or concern of your partner stopping your technique since she's as responsible for the emergence of the technique as you are.[/quote]

Ron

sorokod
03-16-2018, 06:50 AM
Ultimately we leave prearranged movement behind altogether and let "technique" arise naturally from the interaction with our partners. When you are truly moving freely there's no question or concern of your partner stopping your technique since she's as responsible for the emergence of the technique as you are.


From the way you phrased your post, it is not clear to me if this is an aspiration or something you can demonstrate (at least to some extent).

I see that your PB page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/berkshirehillsaikido/videos/) lists a few videos, if its the latter, could you provide a link to the relevant video?

lbb
03-16-2018, 07:22 AM
Well, if its stupid I should just stop. Thanks for enlightening me. I have several problems with this post.

I'm sure you do. Look, Jon, you don't see my training, I don't see your training. But you're the one who went there with the simple statement "If someone stops my movement, I am not good enough." Good enough for what? If I know what you're going do, there are any number of ways that I can "stop your movement".

You made a statement about an isolated action, and now you want to extend this to an overall approach to training. They're not the same thing.

Why do you limit yourself in your training? If you really find yourself unable to work with regular aikido people on the mat, how do you ever expect to work with one of these martial artists? If you can't work with these people, how can you learn from them?

Really, Jon? You don't see my training. I don't see my training.

nikyu62
03-16-2018, 02:39 PM
Any resistance can be overcome, but the results for the uke are not conducive to continued practice, which is ultimately counter-productive. It is just training, not combat.

sorokod
03-16-2018, 06:44 PM
Any resistance can be overcome, but the results for the uke are not conducive to continued practice, which is ultimately counter-productive. It is just training, not combat.

If it is "any resistance" it is not training. If it is training you can not have "any resistance"

Currawong
03-17-2018, 06:12 AM
Personally I find it helpful, at least where I am at, to have someone try and break my technique and find holes in it. Then I can see if I react well, or badly.

The way I see it is that we are training so that our bodies act naturally with Aiki and not counter resistance. A good partner is attuned to working on the subtleties of technique that can help develop that and overcome the resistance in our mind as well as our body.

nikyu62
03-18-2018, 03:22 PM
If it is "any resistance" it is not training. If it is training you can not have "any resistance"

Can you help me understand what you mean please; that doesn't make sense in my mind. Is this something your master says or your own aphorism?:hypno:

sorokod
03-18-2018, 06:33 PM
Can you help me understand what you mean please; that doesn't make sense in my mind. Is this something your master says or your own aphorism?:hypno:

If it is valid for person to gouge the other person's eye out because there is an opening in a technique - it is not training.
If it is training, it is not valid to gouge the other person's eye out.

Did I misunderstand your use of the word "any" ?

I think that much of what is discussed here revolves around the meaning (and misunderstandings) of the "agreement" under which training is happening ( obviously training implies agreement otherwise it is not training ).

Different teachers / styles operate with different "agreements". In post 75 (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=353174&postcount=75), Carl Thompson linked to a document (http://www.iwama-aikido.com/articles/resist.html) which describes some of the details of the "agreement" that is typically used in the Iwama lineage.

There can be others, that "the uke must follow the nage - if she doesn't, she will get hurt" seems to be implied by some, but you reap what you sow, and personally I find it hard to believe that a viable martial art can arise from training guided by such agreement.

nikyu62
03-18-2018, 06:52 PM
There must be a lot of blind people in your dojo then. In mine, we try to train as realistically as possible while not maiming our uke.

RonRagusa
03-18-2018, 09:54 PM
In post 75 (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=353174&postcount=75), Carl Thompson linked to a document (http://www.iwama-aikido.com/articles/resist.html) which describes some of the details of the "agreement" that is typically used in the Iwama lineage.

After reading this it struck me that what's described in the article is what Maruyama sensei referred to as logical resistance. On the flip side of that coin is the application of force by uke in mind/body coordination exercises. Most of the partnered mind/body exercises involve uke pushing, pulling, compressing or lifting nage in various positions. The purpose of the exercises is to enable nage to develop an awareness of center and be able to use the power of an integrated mind and body to resist or give uke's force back in order to move from a static position to a dynamic position.

The amount of force applied to nage is appropriate with nage's experience and ability. Over time as nage becomes more adept at dealing with applied forces, the intensity of the applied force is increased. It's important that uke learn to regulate the pressure and not overwhelm nage. No one learns or improves in that scenario.

Ron

jonreading
03-19-2018, 10:48 AM
These are some intriguing posts.

Yes, kata is necessary and I don't want to imply anything negative about kata in our training. I just don't think kata is part of an argument about free movement because it occludes the can/cannot conversation.

When I play push hands and I have freedom to move, I can be stopped by someone. It's a frustrating and informative feeling. If I have been training for 20 years, ikkyo should never work on me unless I let it. In both cases, I have learned something valuable - I can improve. It's my movement. If my movement works, it works because I made it work - not because my partner made it work. My partner is a reflection of me.

The whole reason we stretch and train is to learn the best way to move and protect our bodies. The reason why we train kata is to learn the movement patterns that reduce resistance, given us ultimately the boy movement that let's us slice through our partners. In fact, we use this language all the time.

Our uke's fill a number of responsibilities throughout our training. We all have our favorite partners for different reasons and they all have value - their job is to make us better and provide the resources we need to evaluate our strengths and weaknesses honestly. Most of us are pretty fragile and the force required to screw up is pretty weak. As we improve, we should become more comfortable moving, regardless of our partner.

Janet Rosen
03-19-2018, 10:58 PM
^^^ Jon that is an excellent little essay. Cheers.

RonRagusa
03-21-2018, 06:57 AM
When I play push hands and I have freedom to move, I can be stopped by someone.

That seems contradictory to me but maybe I'm just not seeing what you're getting at. If you maintain your freedom of movement are you, by definition, not being stopped ?

If I have been training for 20 years, ikkyo should never work on me unless I let it.

Doesn't that depend on the context of the situation in which ikkyo is attempted (kata/randori)? And doesn't it also depend on the relative skill of the people involved? Your assertion seems to conflict with your next sentence,

In both cases, I have learned something valuable - I can improve.

Improvement is a two way street in Aikido. One improves as uke, one improves as nage (hopefully, why else train?). At some point does the ability to improve as nage hit a plateau whereby nage is no longer able to apply ikkyo to a sufficiently developed uke?

A more concrete example - do you envision a time when Satome sensei will no longer be able to apply ikkyo to you unless you let it happen?

Ron

jonreading
03-21-2018, 09:59 AM
That seems contradictory to me but maybe I'm just not seeing what you're getting at. If you maintain your freedom of movement are you, by definition, not being stopped ?

Doesn't that depend on the context of the situation in which ikkyo is attempted (kata/randori)? And doesn't it also depend on the relative skill of the people involved? Your assertion seems to conflict with your next sentence,

Improvement is a two way street in Aikido. One improves as uke, one improves as nage (hopefully, why else train?). At some point does the ability to improve as nage hit a plateau whereby nage is no longer able to apply ikkyo to a sufficiently developed uke?

A more concrete example - do you envision a time when Satome sensei will no longer be able to apply ikkyo to you unless you let it happen?

Ron

Great questions...

First, if you ever play push hands with someone who freely moves, you experience a very frustrating sensation that your movement does not affect them. Conversely, when you move freely, you experience a sensation that your partner doesn't affect you. Push hands is a different perspective on free movement. It has its own limitations, of course, but its a great way to see if your movement is free. And yes, if you are stopped... you don't have free movement...

No. In application, I am training to understand my body, how it moves, how it is strong, and how it is weak. Over time, my body should learn how not to be manipulated. If I know an arm bar is a weak position, I should never allow my body to reflexively allow that position. We see this all the time when juniors have difficulty with seniors - its not that we are being difficult, it should be that our bodies don't move the same way. Yes, everything is relative - if I work out with someone who is better than I, they should be able to foil me, regardless of my response.

No. Improvement is a one-way street - me. My partner relationship is symbiotic. My partner promises to help me learn, I promise to help my partner learn. Whether my partner improves is her responsibility, not mine. And just to cut out the straw man argument... you are either helpful to your partner or you are not - if you don't bring value to the relationship it is not symbiotic, but parasitic.

I completely envision a time when my seniors can't handle me... Sensei is pretty far ahead and I don't think I'll catch him before he is done with this Earth. But you can bet I go to sleep thinking about causing trouble for all my ASU peeps. I want to show them that all they taught me, all the time they spent with me paid off. I was listening, even when I acted stupid. A good teacher always wants her student to succeed her. And when I am better, I will be a better partner for them to use. Tate hike geiko - drawing each other up through training.

RonRagusa
03-21-2018, 11:43 AM
I wrote:

Improvement is a two way street in Aikido. One improves as uke, one improves as nage (hopefully, why else train?). At some point does the ability to improve as nage hit a plateau whereby nage is no longer able to apply ikkyo to a sufficiently developed uke?

No. Improvement is a one-way street - me. My partner relationship is symbiotic. My partner promises to help me learn, I promise to help my partner learn. Whether my partner improves is her responsibility, not mine. And just to cut out the straw man argument... you are either helpful to your partner or you are not - if you don't bring value to the relationship it is not symbiotic, but parasitic.

Sorry, I can see that I didn't communicate my point at all clearly. I was talking about improvement as nage and uke in reference to an individual, not in reference to two people working together. With training, I improve as nage; I also improve as uke.

My question raises the point that if I can train myself to the point whereby ikkyo can only be applied to me if I permit it, can I also train myself to the point whereby my ikkyo cannot be resisted? If we assume that the first part of the question is correct but the second is not, does that imply that my improvement as uke can go further than my improvement as nage in terms of my performance in either role? In other words, is the "aiki body" equally at home in either role?

Personally I believe the question is only of theoretical interest because the number of variables involved in an interaction between uke and nage prohibits the prediction of the outcome. As we so often hear in professional sports, "... on any given day...".

I completely envision a time when my seniors can't handle me... Sensei is pretty far ahead and I don't think I'll catch him before he is done with this Earth. But you can bet I go to sleep thinking about causing trouble for all my ASU peeps. I want to show them that all they taught me, all the time they spent with me paid off. I was listening, even when I acted stupid. A good teacher always wants her student to succeed her. And when I am better, I will be a better partner for them to use. Tate hike geiko - drawing each other up through training.

Totally understand. It's a laudable goal, one every student would do well to emulate. Because students' skills grow at different rates it's a goal that can be realized with some, others perhaps not. Your last sentence is what really matters though... we all draw each other up through training.

Ron

phitruong
03-22-2018, 01:16 PM
I wrote:

we all draw each other up through training.

Ron

here i thought we draw each other up by our drawers, but if training work for you, great. me, i will go for the ..*soprano voice*.. drawer. :D

phitruong
03-22-2018, 01:24 PM
Really, Jon? You don't see my training. I don't see my training. Have you stopped beating your wife yet?

nope, he stopped doing that sort of thing. he subcontracted out to me. i, in turn, subcontracted to some folks in the Philippine, who subcontracted to the chinese, who subcontracted to the russian, who subcontracted out to the mexican (since jon is in the south), who has been feeding her a stead diet of street tacos and fajitas. i tell ya, those latino's foods are brutal... the portion would kill a 300 lbs man/woman/dog/cat/donkey (don't ask). you just can't resist! or maybe i just couldn't resist!

Walter Martindale
03-23-2018, 07:45 PM
I used to be asked to "help" a beginner - by not letting them do a technique if they weren't doing it "correctly". My interpretation of that was to let them get away with minor errors at the start and be a bit more "guiding" later - (try moving me here instead of...) and pointing out why what they were doing wouldn't work if I wasn't cooperating...

SeiserL
03-24-2018, 05:52 AM
Tate hike geiko - drawing each other up through training.
Yes agreed.
Perhaps there is resistance in service of my ego.
Perhaps there is resistance in service of my partner's training/progress.
Perhaps we consider the intent for which resistance is given and the intent for which resistance is received.
Having shared space/time on the mat, we draw each other up.

Mary Eastland
03-28-2018, 12:07 PM
Uke's resistance should be appropriate to the level of the nage and should be in line with what the instructor is teaching.
Different kinds of resistance can help illustrate different aspects of developing correct feeling.

If you as uke find that your nage is having trouble with your resistance -- what do you do? Do you continue to resist in the same manner?

jonreading
03-29-2018, 10:26 AM
Define "having trouble". Who's "learning"? What's "appropriate"? What's "help"?

These are all relative questions. My perspective as uke (and nage) may be different than my partner. What happens when my "help" is not the help my partner wants? What happens if what I think is appropriate is not appropriate from my partner's perspective? We seem to want to answer a lot of questions on behalf of our poor, misguided, resistant uke. If only they knew what was good for them... We spend a lot of time arguing some one else's position. This thread is full of nage telling us everything that is wrong with uke.

Resistance is a resource. We become a known factor in an experiment and our partner gets to experiment. I can be the best resource available, but the learning component is the responsibility each individual. As training progresses, we can do more with the variety of the resource. Specifically, we can slide that resource to a very low level for simple experiments, or we can slide that resource to a very high level. I need to be honest in where I sit on the scale. If that happens, by partner can learn from any outcome of the experiment, not just the one I decide to frame and push forth.

Walter Martindale
03-29-2018, 04:26 PM
It's possible to over-think things...

Mary Eastland
03-30-2018, 01:02 PM
So Jon, do you just do whatever you want in your instructor's classes?

Currawong
03-31-2018, 07:37 AM
I do what I want! Well, ok, I'm being a bit facetious here, because what I want to do is what Sensei wants us to do, so there is no problem.

This discussion reminds me of last night's training, where I was training with one of Sensei's otomo, who is tall and grabs or attacks me with full force (as I do him) and, much to my appreciation, shows me very clearly where I'm going wrong. Don't get me wrong, if I really keep screwing it up, he shows me what I've missed though. It is clear in my mind also because my next training partner was a middle school girl. I had to go from full-on power to super gentle. That was a challenge in itself, especially with sensei watching.

There was also a visitor from one of the remote dojos I'd never met. No idea what rank he was or anything. I ended up spinning him around in training quite fast, and he, with a smile, returned the favour. I think we were grinning like idiots afterwards.

I don't know how to articulate it best, but I just tend to sense what's best with my partner most of the time after we've gone through the technique a couple of times, then it's easy to take it somewhere more challenging and fun at the same time.

jonreading
04-03-2018, 09:03 AM
So Jon, do you just do whatever you want in your instructor's classes?

Yes. I always do what I want. It's my training. I am teasing, but also serious. I think many of us rely on someone else to "give" us aikido. We don't have the personal responsibility to to question our individual training. I am not having success... must be someone else's fault.

The instructor's job is to lead class with a clear curriculum. This curriculum gives direction and a subject for everyone to be on the same page with regard to a study topic. My training is about looking that the demonstrated experiment and figuring out how to replicate the success within myself. The individual study lies with the student and each of us is at a different point in our training. If the curriculum is good, everyone moves in the same direction, albeit maybe not with the same success or speed. If the curriculum is bad... well, confusion sets in.

If I cannot replicate the experiment, either the experiment is wrong or I am wrong. Or both. I am very critical of instructors who have no idea what the student base is capable of performing or where they lie on the learning spectrum. I am very critical of instruction that sets up bad experiments. In this thread, I am also critical of partners (both sides) who make the experiment bad.

As a more specific answer to your question, I will do what my partner wants to learn. Yes, sometimes my partner is more interested in doing something to me than learning - that is fine too as long as it doesn't require me to give up my body training.