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chubbycubbysmash
05-01-2012, 12:48 PM
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, 01:37 PM
.....If an uke refuses to fall......
:confused:
Uke does not have that choice.

dps

chubbycubbysmash
05-01-2012, 01:52 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, 01:59 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, 02:11 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, 03:09 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, 03:13 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, 03:29 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, 03:37 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, 03:53 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, 03:57 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, 08:04 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, 09:02 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, 11:07 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, 01:10 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, 06:46 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, 07:54 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, 08:04 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, 08:41 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, 09:12 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, 10:34 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, 11:30 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, 12:27 PM
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, 01:07 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, 01:26 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
05-03-2012, 12:21 AM
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, 11:10 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, 09:56 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, 11:59 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, 11:09 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, 11:18 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, 08:52 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, 10:04 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, 01:21 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, 01:51 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, 02:20 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, 02:23 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, 09:42 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, 10:23 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, 07:13 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, 07:19 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, 12:18 PM
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, 11:11 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, 06:55 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, 07:47 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, 08:58 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, 02:07 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)