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Peter Boylan
09-11-2013, 12:19 PM
I hope the title is sufficiently inflammatory. Having the role of uke performed properly is critical for anyone who is trying to learn techniques and principles. Until someone really understands the techniques being practiced and the principles involved, letting the act as uke does them a tremendous disservice. My complete thoughts on the subject are at
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-is-good-uke-and-why-is-one.html

And yes, I am wearing my asbestos undies.

Janet Rosen
09-11-2013, 12:50 PM
My complete thoughts on the subject are at
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-is-good-uke-and-why-is-one.html
"You can see then why I cringe when I see beginners working together so much of the time in many judo and aikido dojo. A beginner training with other beginners will have a difficult time trying to learn anything useful. The attacks they receive won’t help them learn distancing or timing. They may even learn the wrong lessons. If they learn to react to attacks that would never reach them they are learning bad distancing and timing. The same if they think someone has to stand very close to initiate an attack. Attacks that are too weak don’t give tori experience with appropriate energy levels, while attacks the are too energetic too early can easily injury tori, or cause them to react with energy they can’t control yet, which can injury uke."

Word.

Robert Cheshire
09-11-2013, 01:23 PM
I agree that you should try not to have newer/novice students working with other newer/novice students. That's why I try real hard to never allow pairings like that if they can be avoided in my dojo. However, there is much (as you allude to) that can be learned on the part of uke and nage (tori). Uke learns quickly that proper ukemi is important and exactly WHY it is important. The other lesson is for nage to learn they have to take care of uke and adjust the intensity of their throw according to uke's ability to take ukemi. That is where Jigaro Kano's lesson of Mutual Welfare and
Benefit (Jita Kyoei) comes into play.

bkedelen
09-11-2013, 01:27 PM
Pretty good idea. It worked for a couple hundred years worth of koryu. I doubt I am alone in still wondering why the hell Takeda taught his stuff ass backwards.

Ellis Amdur
09-11-2013, 01:38 PM
I doubt I am alone in still wondering why the hell Takeda taught his stuff ass backwards.

Nothing really to wonder about, I think. He was a paranoid man, who wouldn't even trust one of Ueshiba's students to hand him tea without demanding he taste it first. In a recent little article on AJ, I believe, neighbors in his home town described how if they crossed the property line, he'd chase after them and assault them (with many of them getting dislocated arms or wrists).

Can you imagine him allowing anyone to be in an even momentary position of advantage?

Also, the whole selling point of DR, and thereafter, aikido, is different. It's all about being--or appearing invulnerable. Throwing people with a just a twitch of the body. God-like powers. Just like the comic book ad that first got me interested - "throw people with mystical energy!" DR and aikido, at least among it's founders and leading lights, was an exercise in grandiosity, in posturing and impressing both onlookers and one's own students. As Stanley Pranin described to me when he visited the Sagawa dojo, as his students were being thrown, they were, while still in the air, exclaiming, "Subarashii!!!! Subarashi!!!" Quite apart from any level of skill Sagawa might have had, that he didn't tell them to shut the hell up says quite a lot.

BTW - one place that even koryu instructors will not take ukemi is hojojutsu (nawajutsu). I cannot think of any teacher, certainly publicly and even in their own dojo, who would allow their students to tie them up.

bkedelen
09-11-2013, 01:52 PM
Thanks for the insight. In general I try to cleave to Hanlon's Razor when examining these types of things. I would prefer the answer to be that it was a mistake or have to do with something specific to the realities of Daito Ryu/Aikido training than because the old man was a budo miser with an napoleon complex who abandoned a multigenerational legacy of transmission in order to never appear weak and reveal as little as possible in front of the inquiring minds of his students. Unfortunately according to every expert I have asked, the latter seems to be exactly the reason.

Chris Li
09-11-2013, 01:58 PM
Nothing really to wonder about, I think. He was a paranoid man, who wouldn't even trust one of Ueshiba's students to hand him tea without demanding he taste it first. In a recent little article on AJ, I believe, neighbors in his home town described how if they crossed the property line, he'd chase after them and assault them (with many of them getting dislocated arms or wrists).

That was this one - Morihei Ueshiba and Sokaku Takeda in Shirataki (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/morihei-ueshiba-sokaku-takeda-shirataki/)

FWIW, here's what Sagawa had to say, from Yukiyoshi Sagawa on Bujutsu and Ki-Ryoku, Part 2 (http://www.aikidosangenkai.org/blog/yukiyoshi-sagawa-bujutsu-ki-ryoku-part-2/):

During training Sokaku Takeda sensei would never allow techniques to be applied to him. Because of that, in front of Takeda sensei I only practiced in applying techniques to others. I was told “Would a Bushi ever allow a technique to be applied to them?” by Takeda sensei.

Best,

Chris

bkedelen
09-11-2013, 02:04 PM
That is the least sustainable plan in the history of martial transmission. Sagawa is certainly Takeda's true heir.

Chris Li
09-11-2013, 02:08 PM
That is the least sustainable plan in the history of martial transmission. Sagawa is certainly Takeda's true heir.

Well, he did say "in front of Takeda sensei" - I'm not sure what he did when Takeda wasn't around...

Best,

Chris

Keith Larman
09-11-2013, 02:30 PM
I hope the title is sufficiently inflammatory. Having the role of uke performed properly is critical for anyone who is trying to learn techniques and principles. Until someone really understands the techniques being practiced and the principles involved, letting the act as uke does them a tremendous disservice. My complete thoughts on the subject are at
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-is-good-uke-and-why-is-one.html

And yes, I am wearing my asbestos undies.

Uh, well, you won't see any flames from me. One class I teach has a mix of relative newbs along with experienced folk. I try to get the new people paired up with the experienced as much as possible. I really don't want beginners working with each other since neither knows what the heck they're doing.

I also emphasize repeatedly to nage that when working with a beginner their job is to guide them to the proper ukemi whenever possible; not just play "throw a newbie". I'll get out there and pair up with them as much as I can so I can feel what they're doing. I'll demonstrate on them, but hopefully only enough to demonstrate things they need to adjust. Then it's back to them trying on me and others.

Robert Cheshire
09-11-2013, 03:11 PM
Nothing really to wonder about, I think. He was a paranoid man, who wouldn't even trust one of Ueshiba's students to hand him tea without demanding he taste it first.

That sounds like Minoru Mochizuki. I don't remember if he stayed the night at the dojo (I think he did) because Master Mochizuki talked about opening the door to the room he was in and he had the bedding pushed to the far wall from the door and was sitting up against the wall (if memory serves me right without going back to check my sources).

Bill Danosky
09-11-2013, 03:33 PM
I try to be kind and patient. BUT... New students should join the existing class and do their best to fit in. Personally, I grow weary of spending time paired up to a hack newbie who's never coming back, while my Shodan test draws ever closer.

Doesn't really cast me in a golden light, I know. That's why I do all that meditation- it keeps me from acting like this all the time. Well, I'll get my instructor's certificate next year. I can be generous then.

Peter Boylan
09-11-2013, 04:15 PM
I try to be kind and patient. BUT... New students should join the existing class and do their best to fit in. Personally, I grow weary of spending time paired up to a hack newbie who's never coming back, while my Shodan test draws ever closer.

Doesn't really cast me in a golden light, I know. That's why I do all that meditation- it keeps me from acting like this all the time. Well, I'll get my instructor's certificate next year. I can be generous then.

Bill, the thing is, I find I learn nearly as much assisting beginners with their training as I do practicing with fellow established students. As I noted, the beginners will progress far quicker with good ukes than they will with other beginners. If you want good partners, you have to actively train them. And I always remember that Omori Sensei (8th dan iai/7th dan kendo) always took the beginners to teach. He focused on bringing the lowest in the dojo along the fastest. He would train everyone, but he took special care to focus on the new students. The result was they learned quickly and didn't stay new students for long.

The care and attention might also contribute to a higher retention rate.

Rupert Atkinson
09-11-2013, 06:24 PM
Obviously, it is better for a beginner to train with a senior. In fact, in most Aikikai dojos I have ever been to, people change partner every time the technique is changed and so people get to train with all types. Except at Honbu dojo - of all places, though I heard that has changed (not sure). I think this is one great benefit of the Aikikai system. When I did Yoshinkan I often trained with the same partner for an extended period. Likewise, Jujutsu. In fact, in one Jujutsu school I was at it was considered beneath you (as a senior) to train with beginners. Pathetic, so I thought.

odudog
09-11-2013, 06:42 PM
I see nothing wrong with beginners practicing together. This is aikido, the art that can be practiced until your long in the tooth, so you got time to fix any problems. I haven't suffered from it. Besides, what's an instructor to do when starting up a new dojo.

Peter Boylan
09-11-2013, 07:47 PM
I see nothing wrong with beginners practicing together. This is aikido, the art that can be practiced until your long in the tooth, so you got time to fix any problems. I haven't suffered from it. Besides, what's an instructor to do when starting up a new dojo.

In a new dojo it is excusable as an unavoidable necessity. Once you have some trained people though, I really can't see any excuse for inflicting substandard training on your students. Particularly when that training can teach them bad habits that may take years to unlearn.

We want our students to make as much progress as possible, so loading them down with the weight of easily avoided bad habits seems counterproductive.

Janet Rosen
09-11-2013, 11:27 PM
We don't do separate beginner's classes. Our basics classes generally have enough folks with experience that newbies don't have to pair up. The general rule is the usual aikido one of the senior starting as nage....but if I'm with a newbie I'll generally just take the nage role once, on one side, to observe protocol, then switch to being uke and not switch back to nage unless there is a reason to (and yes, we change partners with each technique, so I'm not just taking ukemi all night). I never feel my practice suffers doing this...I feel I"m better serving the newbie and I'm improving my ukemi skills, my understanding of the technique, and focusing on my structure very nicely.

Stephen Nichol
09-12-2013, 01:06 AM
Bill, the thing is, I find I learn nearly as much assisting beginners with their training as I do practicing with fellow established students. As I noted, the beginners will progress far quicker with good ukes than they will with other beginners. If you want good partners, you have to actively train them. And I always remember that Omori Sensei (8th dan iai/7th dan kendo) always took the beginners to teach. He focused on bringing the lowest in the dojo along the fastest. He would train everyone, but he took special care to focus on the new students. The result was they learned quickly and didn't stay new students for long.

The care and attention might also contribute to a higher retention rate.

+ 1 on all of this.

I learn a lot from how my technique is actually going by slowly practicing it on someone who has not had their body reflex 'conditioned' to it.. so they do not move 'as expected' unless I do everything correctly. It is a wonderful opportunity to practice and refine the lines/angles of your waza.

I am in a similar position as Bill with feeling like I need to focus on Shodan grading etc... however it is activity encouraged and practiced to not let new people train together and more so to stagger the relative experience as much as possible. So higher kyu's pair up with with new people and when they are taken care of, then lower kyu's will pair up with any remaining higher kyu's. The result is generally well balanced and the 'middle kyu's' will sometimes end up together. In the end, I get a lot of valuable information regardless who I train with and it is all useful heading towards Shodan.

It is a very enjoyable way to practice.

IvLabush
09-12-2013, 06:46 AM
It’s nice sentence in the beginning of thread but it looks like game with only one goal. All talks are about how to make training more effective for rookies. However no one mentioned about seniors training in that case.
Pay a lot attention to rookies is important to keep their interest to practice. Even in such case some of them quit practice maybe next week or next month. So bet on rookies isn’t good time spending, IMHO. They don’t prove the seriousness of their practice in one week. On other hand is seniors who had to practice with guys “near by zero” level. How they suppose to increase their skills with rookies? I know “rule” how to increase own skills. It’s “if you’d like to be more skillful you had to practice with guys that more skillful that you are now”. Obviously that for rookies practice with seniors is the best way. Seniors get a bit more than nothing of that. Yes, it’s totally selfish wish to be better than yesterday, but isn’t budo created as a tool that makes you better?
I found one way to solve this problem. Rookies start from basics of the basics like ukemi and other that they could do without a partner. Friend of mine had half year ukemi, taisabaki, atemi and combinations of taisabaki and atemi at the beginning of his aikido practice. Of course there are many more exercises in aikido to build strong basics for techniques. And rookies have time to prove the seriousness of their wish of long term practice.
Proper ukemi and attacks are keystones of this as I call it “rookie course”. Good ukemi serves for safety in further practice and attacking skills they need for correct techniques. Both of it’s make at least good uke from rookies. Another friend of mine spent few months to ukemi only when he had started judo. After that group has kind of ukemi test – coach throw all of them few times. Students with good ukemi starts practice but students with not so good ukemi continue with it.
Back to the problem as far as guys becomes good uke they should start to practice in pairs. This is nice time to the most skilled senior to lead them and show them “pictures” of techniques. Why it’s only one person? Different persons with different personalities have different points of view to aikido practice and pays attention to different things. As for me the worst thing to rookies progress been taught by different persons. They started to know many but did nothing solid. Senior has rare chance to try skills on guys who don’t know “rules of the game”. It helps to improve senior’s skills also. The last step is mix group of new students with seniors. It moves new students from “picture” to ideas of techniques. Different seniors shows them rich field of different points of view to ideas.
Of course I don’t think that such program will be popular and draw a lot people into training. I only think that it helps to create students with good enough skills.

lbb
09-12-2013, 08:03 AM
Bill, the thing is, I find I learn nearly as much assisting beginners with their training as I do practicing with fellow established students.

This is an oft-repeated aikido truism. I'm not challenging it, exactly, but I'd really like it if people would elaborate on it and say something about exactly what they learned from assisting a beginner -- and then, what they learned from assisting the next beginner making the exact same mistakes. I think the truth is that there are occasional insights to be had from teaching beginners, but if we're being honest and realistic, there are also times when the experience is just a lesson you've had before. That's life, that's training, and I have no beef with it -- but I also don't think we need to pretend that the experience of training with a beginner is always a golden opportunity just waiting to shower epiphanies upon us.

As for the beginners themselves, I think we can distinguish between "acting as uke" and "learning to take ukemi". A brand-new beginner needs to learn to take ukemi, and there's no other way than to do it - but for a while, they're not functionally "acting as uke" (as nage desperately tries to keep "uke" from hurting him/herself or patiently guides "uke" away from a situation that would lead to one's clock getting well cleaned in a hostile situation).

Gerardo Torres
09-12-2013, 11:43 AM
Sounds like a good plan to me. But good luck convincing the aikido establishment that the teacher should be the one taking ukemi (at least in the beginning stages, as the teacher would be the most qualified to give feedback to the student; I mean how the heck can a beginner know if what they feel is correct or not?).

aikijean
09-12-2013, 11:56 AM
Why some aikidokas don't like to practice with beginners?

Because when you practice with a (very big) new beginner, then you know what is your real level in aikido not the level you think you are. A (big or not) new one does not know where to go since he does not know the technique, you have to lead him. Sure it is easy to break his face or something if he does not do what you want but to my taste it very low level aikido.
A beginner is a perfect test for your aikido. After the practice with him or her, you know what you have to work on to better yourself.

Bill Danosky
09-12-2013, 12:06 PM
Why some aikidokas don't like to practice with beginners?

Because when you practice with a (very big) new beginner, then you know what is your real level in aikido not the level you think you are. A (big or not) new one does not know where to go since he does not know the technique, you have to lead him. Sure it is easy to break his face or something if he does not do what you want but to my taste it very low level aikido.
A beginner is a perfect test for your aikido. After the practice with him or her, you know what you have to work on to better yourself.

So just do the waza, regardless of uke's ability? Ok. That will really improve my practice. Thanks!

lbb
09-12-2013, 12:12 PM
Why some aikidokas don't like to practice with beginners?

Because when you practice with a (very big) new beginner, then you know what is your real level in aikido not the level you think you are. A (big or not) new one does not know where to go since he does not know the technique, you have to lead him. Sure it is easy to break his face or something if he does not do what you want but to my taste it very low level aikido.

A beginner is a perfect test for your aikido. After the practice with him or her, you know what you have to work on to better yourself.

That's good in theory, but in order to lead them, they'd have to be totally compliant, right? So how is that "a perfect test for your aikido"? And if they're not totally compliant, and they don't know how to take ukemi, how do you practice your techniques -- really practice them, not just wave your hands -- without injuring them?

Peter Boylan
09-12-2013, 12:16 PM
This is an oft-repeated aikido truism. I'm not challenging it, exactly, but I'd really like it if people would elaborate on it and say something about exactly what they learned from assisting a beginner -- and then, what they learned from assisting the next beginner making the exact same mistakes. I think the truth is that there are occasional insights to be had from teaching beginners, but if we're being honest and realistic, there are also times when the experience is just a lesson you've had before. That's life, that's training, and I have no beef with it -- but I also don't think we need to pretend that the experience of training with a beginner is always a golden opportunity just waiting to shower epiphanies upon us.
.

Mary, the reason I learn a lot from working with beginners is that I can focus on doing things perfectly. It is a chance to pick apart my technique, but as uke and tori, and remove every bit of unnecessary movement, speed and energy and focus on the most basic (and thus most important) aspects of my training. I have to refine my understanding further so that I can share it with the beginner at their level. For me, it is never an experience I've had before, because I'm coming to it at a new place in my training, so whatever I have learned since the last time I was there will be tested, refined and polished. If I am acting as tori, I use the least powerful grip and the most minimal connection I can while still being able to perform the technique. If acting as uke I can practice and experiment with subtle changes in body structure and placement that I frequently don't have time to practice with more senior students who want to go at a faster pace (nothing wrong with that. I need practice at faster speeds too). It is also a chance for me to work on my awareness of tori in ways that feedback to what I do with senior students. When I work with beginners I can force myself to train at a minimum of energy to find out where that is, and how I might be able to apply it to more senior students.

Does any of this make sense?

Bill Danosky
09-12-2013, 01:46 PM
There is some perfect ratio of impressing noobs with the effectiveness of Aikido : killing them, but no one really knows what it is. Varies widely, depending on the martial-to-art ratio or "fluff factor" of your dojo. And the expectations of the student. Sometimes you get a little challenge, and a "brisk" response is what they actually want. Do that with the average pre-retiree and you have probably lost a practice partner.

lbb
09-12-2013, 02:00 PM
Does any of this make sense?

It makes sense, but it also sounds more like a theoretical aspiration rather than something one might actually expect to happen on a regular basis.

morph4me
09-12-2013, 02:35 PM
That's good in theory, but in order to lead them, they'd have to be totally compliant, right? So how is that "a perfect test for your aikido"? And if they're not totally compliant, and they don't know how to take ukemi, how do you practice your techniques -- really practice them, not just wave your hands -- without injuring them?

I may be misunderstanding, but I don't see how doing a technique to a totally compliant uke will test or teach me anything. If I can't lead a non compliant uke, I need to examine what I'm doing, or not doing, that's causing the disconnect.

Cliff Judge
09-12-2013, 02:49 PM
That is the least sustainable plan in the history of martial transmission. Sagawa is certainly Takeda's true heir.

lol! :D

Since, per Kimura, Sagawa didn't think anybody but Kimura was learning...I would have to rank this as one of the sassiest truisms of the aiki world...

lbb
09-12-2013, 02:58 PM
I may be misunderstanding, but I don't see how doing a technique to a totally compliant uke will test or teach me anything.

Well, that's part of my point. The other part of the point is, just how do you do a technique to a big, strong, fast, non compliant, clueless "uke" without hurting him/her?

Cliff Judge
09-12-2013, 03:06 PM
Also, the whole selling point of DR, and thereafter, aikido, is different. It's all about being--or appearing invulnerable. Throwing people with a just a twitch of the body. God-like powers. Just like the comic book ad that first got me interested - "throw people with mystical energy!" DR and aikido, at least among it's founders and leading lights, was an exercise in grandiosity, in posturing and impressing both onlookers and one's own students.


This thing that Chris Li quoted captures another important part of it:


During training Sokaku Takeda sensei would never allow techniques to be applied to him. Because of that, in front of Takeda sensei I only practiced in applying techniques to others. I was told “Would a Bushi ever allow a technique to be applied to them?” by Takeda sensei.

Chief among everything he had to offer, Takeda was selling a romantic notion of olden times to late-Meiji / Taisho / early Showa students. Because people wanted to be in touch with that and they also weren't widely knowldgeable in what it actually was.

I am betting that if you interviewed typical budoka in Japan from those periods, you would not find many of them (who were not actually involved with one of the old systems at the time) had any idea what the traditional training structure of a classical jujutsu dojo was. The idea that the teacher threw the students around most of the time would probably seem likely to them.

Bill Danosky
09-12-2013, 04:31 PM
Well, that's part of my point. The other part of the point is, just how do you do a technique to a big, strong, fast, non compliant, clueless "uke" without hurting him/her?

I thought that was what pain compliance was for. It doesn't work on real opponents but it gets ukes moving. ;)

Off topic question: When shite/nage really lights us up, why do we smile or laugh?

heathererandolph
09-12-2013, 04:58 PM
I remember my instructor telling me that he could have as good a practice with a beginner as with an experienced student. I find that this goal can actually be achieved. Treating an attack as serious, and moving the same way one would with another uke, is the key. As an Aikido instructor I sometimes see my student's technique decline slightly when working with a new person : ( The focus probably goes from "doing my best" to "helping the new person." The truth is, people learn by observation. If my technique is weak, then my partner, a new student, will not be learning the best either. Now, if someone has trouble with taking Ukemi, then, a good throw can still be done. I teach my students to throw at normal speed, and then slow down a the end to le the beginner fall on their own. I disagree with the statement made that a better person is necessary for development. It is ideal, in general, but I have only my students to practice with mainly, and I have improved, so obviously it is not necessary. Even if a new person stays one day, as long as they know the attack, you're golden. To do your BEST technique, with a beginner, that is a real achievement.

Chris Li
09-12-2013, 06:14 PM
This thing that Chris Li quoted captures another important part of it:

Chief among everything he had to offer, Takeda was selling a romantic notion of olden times to late-Meiji / Taisho / early Showa students. Because people wanted to be in touch with that and they also weren't widely knowldgeable in what it actually was.

I am betting that if you interviewed typical budoka in Japan from those periods, you would not find many of them (who were not actually involved with one of the old systems at the time) had any idea what the traditional training structure of a classical jujutsu dojo was. The idea that the teacher threw the students around most of the time would probably seem likely to them.

I think you're right that most folks were likely ignorant as to the difference.

OTOH, the "romantic notion of olden times" really didn't work for Takeda. He was kicking around teaching the sword, but making very little money - nobody was interested in "olden times" martial arts.

Having a loan on his house, he needed to make some money - so he started teaching jujutsu. Mostly, he taught to police or military in the towns he passed through, since they made up the bulk of the people who could actually afford his very substantial fees. Those types weren't very romantic - they were more practically oriented.

Best,

Chris

Peter Boylan
09-12-2013, 08:56 PM
Well, that's part of my point. The other part of the point is, just how do you do a technique to a big, strong, fast, non compliant, clueless "uke" without hurting him/her?

That is precisely why it is a great learning experience. I get to develop my subtlety and effectiveness with people who don't know what's going on.

OwlMatt
09-12-2013, 09:31 PM
Of course, pairing beginners with beginners presents problems, but never pairing beginners with beginners presents problems too -- like preventing experienced students from getting to work with other people at their level. It seems to me that the real solution to the problem is to make sure everyone works with everyone.

Peter Boylan
09-13-2013, 05:38 AM
Of course, pairing beginners with beginners presents problems, but never pairing beginners with beginners presents problems too -- like preventing experienced students from getting to work with other people at their level. It seems to me that the real solution to the problem is to make sure everyone works with everyone.

Actually, I addressed that in the blog post. One way I have seen it handled is that practice is divided into sections, with one for beginners to train by practicing with seniors, and another section where they train by watching the seniors train with each other. The seniors get to practice with each other, and the beginners get to see the techniques performed at a high level of skill. The beginners benefit because they develop an eye for good technique that they can bring to their own training.

morph4me
09-13-2013, 06:08 AM
Well, that's part of my point. The other part of the point is, just how do you do a technique to a big, strong, fast, non compliant, clueless "uke" without hurting him/her?

Big strong and non compliant is what helps me develop my technique. Fast will get them hurt, I just tell them to slow down.

lbb
09-13-2013, 07:05 AM
I thought that was what pain compliance was for. It doesn't work on real opponents but it gets ukes moving. ;)

I guess. On the other hand, I'm reminded of a fairly recent comment in one of those threads (perhaps the author will speak up) in which the author observed that the pain compliance is limited when you're dealing with someone who doesn't know how to comply -- that is, what to do to alleviate the pain (the specific example given was nikkyo, and how many people stand there with anguished eyes because they just don't know what to do).

lbb
09-13-2013, 07:06 AM
Big strong and non compliant is what helps me develop my technique. Fast will get them hurt, I just tell them to slow down.

OK, that's a good point -- but I'm sure you'll acknowledge that taking "fast" out of the equation changes things significantly (in terms of being able to do a technique properly and effectively without hurting the noob).

Cliff Judge
09-13-2013, 08:00 AM
I think you're right that most folks were likely ignorant as to the difference.

OTOH, the "romantic notion of olden times" really didn't work for Takeda. He was kicking around teaching the sword, but making very little money - nobody was interested in "olden times" martial arts.

Having a loan on his house, he needed to make some money - so he started teaching jujutsu. Mostly, he taught to police or military in the towns he passed through, since they made up the bulk of the people who could actually afford his very substantial fees. Those types weren't very romantic - they were more practically oriented.

Best,

Chris

Right - and students came to him because he offered the skills and power of the bushi of olden times. There were certainly other types of training, more modern and more practical, that they could have sought out.

Bill Danosky
09-13-2013, 08:31 AM
I guess. On the other hand, I'm reminded of a fairly recent comment in one of those threads (perhaps the author will speak up) in which the author observed that the pain compliance is limited when you're dealing with someone who doesn't know how to comply -- that is, what to do to alleviate the pain (the specific example given was nikkyo, and how many people stand there with anguished eyes because they just don't know what to do).

Something's really wrong if your ukes can stand there while you execute nikkajo/nikkyo.

Peter Boylan
09-13-2013, 09:07 AM
Something's really wrong if your ukes can stand there while you execute nikkajo/nikkyo.

And some people are just highly resistant to the pain. Pain compliance yonkyo for example has zero effect on me. Yonkyo that locks my structure works just fine, but pain compliance is at most a mild annoyance. If you're relying on pain with me or someone similar, you're in trouble.

Chris Li
09-13-2013, 09:13 AM
Right - and students came to him because he offered the skills and power of the bushi of olden times. There were certainly other types of training, more modern and more practical, that they could have sought out.

You really seem stuck on this point, but no, I don't think that was a major consideration for people like the police, who were his major market.

Mostly, it was his badass reputation. :)

Best,

Chris

lbb
09-13-2013, 09:27 AM
Something's really wrong if your ukes can stand there while you execute nikkajo/nikkyo.

So, you just break their arm?

morph4me
09-13-2013, 09:33 AM
OK, that's a good point -- but I'm sure you'll acknowledge that taking "fast" out of the equation changes things significantly (in terms of being able to do a technique properly and effectively without hurting the noob).

Absolutley, fast is for higher level practice, when you know how to protect yourself, not for noobs.

Cliff Judge
09-13-2013, 09:46 AM
You really seem stuck on this point, but no, I don't think that was a major consideration for people like the police, who were his major market.

Mostly, it was his badass reputation. :)

Best,

Chris

You don't think that police officers wouldn't be interested in studying the legendary powers of the bushi? Now available from this short mean guy who is staying up at the ryokan on the hill there, at a ten-day seminar for the low low price of only three yen per student? You, too can restrain your suspects with the powers of Minamoto Yoshitsune himself, handed down through the fearless Takeda clan of Aizu domain! Learn the secret power that will allow to lift any man - even GERMANS! - who grab your wrist! To immobiliza multiple attackers with the press of one finger! To immediately sense an attack from behind and instantly neutralize it!

The police were modernizing all over the country around these times, right? You don't think studying with the old jujutsu guy was kind of folksy for professional law enforcement?

Chris Li
09-13-2013, 10:05 AM
You don't think that police officers wouldn't be interested in studying the legendary powers of the bushi? Now available from this short mean guy who is staying up at the ryokan on the hill there, at a ten-day seminar for the low low price of only three yen per student? You, too can restrain your suspects with the powers of Minamoto Yoshitsune himself, handed down through the fearless Takeda clan of Aizu domain! Learn the secret power that will allow to lift any man - even GERMANS! - who grab your wrist! To immobiliza multiple attackers with the press of one finger! To immediately sense an attack from behind and instantly neutralize it!

The police were modernizing all over the country around these times, right? You don't think studying with the old jujutsu guy was kind of folksy for professional law enforcement?

Actually, no, most police departments, then and now, had their own dojo and were already training in some kind of Japanese Budo, many with much more established and recognized lineages.

Of course, there was some branding going on, that's fairly standard in Japanese Budo and Ueshiba participated in that as well, but I don't see it as a major factor for Takeda's target market.

Why would they be lifting Germans, anyway?

Best,

Chris

Cliff Judge
09-13-2013, 10:12 AM
Actually, no, most police departments, then and now, had their own dojo and were already training in some kind of Japanese Budo, many with much more established and recognized lineages.

Of course, there was some branding going on, that's fairly standard in Japanese Budo and Ueshiba participated in that as well, but I don't see it as a major factor for Takeda's target market.

Why would they be lifting Germans, anyway?

Best,

Chris

If the police departments had their own dojo and training programs already, then obviously branding is everything with regards to Takeda, because why else would you train with a guy who would demand "would a bushi allow a technique to be applied to him?" There were no bushi and hadn't been for some time - bushi were a thing of the recent past.

Peter Boylan
09-13-2013, 10:18 AM
You don't think that police officers wouldn't be interested in studying the legendary powers of the bushi? Now available from this short mean guy who is staying up at the ryokan on the hill there, at a ten-day seminar for the low low price of only three yen per student? You, too can restrain your suspects with the powers of Minamoto Yoshitsune himself, handed down through the fearless Takeda clan of Aizu domain! Learn the secret power that will allow to lift any man - even GERMANS! - who grab your wrist! To immobiliza multiple attackers with the press of one finger! To immediately sense an attack from behind and instantly neutralize it!

The police were modernizing all over the country around these times, right? You don't think studying with the old jujutsu guy was kind of folksy for professional law enforcement?

The police already trained various budo. Such training is, and was, required for them. The police dojo were one of the big venues for keeping training going during the Meiji era once the samurai class was disbanded and the professional budo instructors became unemployed.

Frankly, the fact the Takeda didn't get a permanent job from any of the bigger city police departments is kind of suspicious. Those departments needed lots of ongoing instruction, and if Takeda was really as awesome as the stories claim, surely one of the departments would have taken him on. Japanese police are extremely practical that way.

Chris Li
09-13-2013, 10:23 AM
If the police departments had their own dojo and training programs already, then obviously branding is everything with regards to Takeda, because why else would you train with a guy who would demand "would a bushi allow a technique to be applied to him?" There were no bushi and hadn't been for some time - bushi were a thing of the recent past.

Well, his badass reputation, what else? :D

Their training programs weren't any more modern that what he was doing, in most cases.

I think you're reading too much into that quote. In Japanese, especially Japanese of that era, it's more like "would a warrior allow a technique to be applied to him?" than what you're attempting to imply.

Best,

Chris

Bill Danosky
09-13-2013, 10:26 AM
So, you just break their arm?

God, no. Why would I do that?

jonreading
09-13-2013, 10:47 AM
I hope the title is sufficiently inflammatory. Having the role of uke performed properly is critical for anyone who is trying to learn techniques and principles. Until someone really understands the techniques being practiced and the principles involved, letting the act as uke does them a tremendous disservice. My complete thoughts on the subject are at
http://budobum.blogspot.com/2013/09/what-is-good-uke-and-why-is-one.html

And yes, I am wearing my asbestos undies.

Interesting blog, thanks for sharing.

From my perspective:
1. A good uke is simply someone who can protect herself and affect nage. I touched on a similar point in another thread, but we are moving away from qualifying uke beyond an assessment that uke has an obligation to [negatively] affect nage and protect herself from injury. Likewise, a good nage is someone who can protect himself and affect uke. In this sense, we have a parity of obligation and an outlet for both partners to experience aiki.
2. I do encourage the senior student to "lead" the technique. Because of the parity in roles, it is actually suprisingly easy to lead from eithe side of the technique - if fact much of our kaishi-waza progenates from uke accelerating the technique past nage.
3. I support hands-on training. At the end of the day, repetition is the best education. I think sometimes "good technique" and "real technique" are not the same thing. Kata is a tool that balances a prescribed scenario to allow repetition with accuracy and some freedom to experience the nuances of different engagements. Uke is simply limited by the number of aikido engagements she can remember.

The more I am exposed to serious fighters, the more I appreciate how stupid I must sound when I say, "you're not doing that right" to my partner. It's like making fun of Michael Jordan because he couldn't play baseball for the Chicago White Sox.

Thanks again!

aikijean
09-13-2013, 03:03 PM
There it is, when you have problem with a beginner(it is always the case in my experience) it is time to reevaluate your way of doing technique and reevaluate your level in aikido (very difficult for the ego).But don't worry I have seen many high skilled aikidokas who had problems with new peoples.
Breaking the arms of those ukes or causing them pain is easy, everybody can do it but finding a way to not do it is the real aiki for me.

Keith Larman
09-13-2013, 03:50 PM
Going back to the original post and blog... Um, yeah, of course, sure, it makes sense. Then again it's not always possible given class composition. And sure, there are lots of folk teaching who could probably get up off their lazy butts and take more ukemi. Heck, I'm one of those guys dealing with all sorts of physical limitations and injuries, but I still get out there, especially with beginners, to guide, to model, to help. But all that said the statement that "beginners should not be allowed to act as uke" is obviously extreme, impractical and quite simply false. If they never take ukemi they will never be anything but beginners in terms of taking ukemi. So at some point they need to take ukemi the first time. Unless you're saying they need to be non beginners in terms of doing the art before they're ever thrown. In which case I think the argument is simply silly and bordering on pedantic posturing. Yeah, okay, great, but at some point Junior over there is gonna need to find out how to fall down. Or have their wrist cranked.

So in the end, sure, yeah, I get the point underlying and agree to some extent. But the title is simply silly and adds to the perception that some take this stuff way too seriously.

"Ah great gods of Aikido, please share more wisdom with the mere mortals. How *should* it be done to be "real", "traditional" and "best"?"

Yeah, well sometimes you just get out there and do what ya can. The ideal case is great, but it is still that, the ideal case. And while we may strive for more ideal cases, reality has a nasty habit of doing whatever the hell it wants regardless of our ideals...

Just sharing what I found kind of, well, uncomfortable about the whole thread's vibe. And why I think some are reacting the way they are.

Or maybe I am that guy with the hose yelling "Get off my lawn!!!!". Please, carry on...

Bill Danosky
09-13-2013, 04:06 PM
I am not a very generous uke, and I discourage my practice partners from giving me any easy flops. Sometimes they get mad, but if their waza's weak they need to find out in the dojo.

Some Aikido schools should definitely NOT be offering instruction in self defense. If they are, they need to teach techniques that the average 6th kyu student can use on anyone, not just someone who knows how to yield properly. Like Hiji Shime, Kote Gaeshi, Ude Garami and (of course) Irimi Nage.

bkedelen
09-13-2013, 09:05 PM
If they are, they need to teach techniques that the average 6th kyu student can use on anyone, not just someone who knows how to yield properly. Like Hiji Shime, Kote Gaeshi, Ude Garami and (of course) Irimi Nage.

The defensive tactics that are available in Aikido's curriculum surely aren't a function of which techniques you know. In fact I would go so far as to say knowing how to yield your ass off until you have a chance to run like hell is the way to go when it comes to surviving violence. Attempting to using techniques to dominate the other person, even if you are very good at martial arts, is unwise.

Because the Aikido uke role has the rather unique property of making you more durable (if you are doing it well) it is fairly underrated, particularly in the current culture of "no ukemi" as a method to proof your nage. Proofing your nage is absolutely essential, but in my opinion is something to be used occasionally for the purposes of gauging your development, rather than as your routine training mode. Several of the folks I have trained with (including some pretty advanced people) who have taken this on as a routine training mode have become stiff and have, at least for now, lost much of their grace as a result.

Bill Danosky
09-13-2013, 11:49 PM
The defensive tactics that are available in Aikido's curriculum surely aren't a function of which techniques you know. In fact I would go so far as to say knowing how to yield your ass off until you have a chance to run like hell is the way to go when it comes to surviving violence.

We all know that under stress, humans fall into their training patterns. So the defensive techniques we use are the ones we have recently trained. That is why unaltered Yoshinkan curriculum is taught as tactical training to the Kidotai (those black-clad, Japanese riot police you saw in clips of the Tokyo subway nerve gas attack).

If you have been doing a lot of three-man jiyu waza and tenchi nage is your "go to technique" (which happens), you are in for some big surprises if you come upon a situation you have to intervene in (which happens).

My assertion is that many Aikido dojos do their students a disservice by not preparing them for this eventuality. Many mid and high level practitioners do not have a realistic view of their martial effectiveness. Someone has to tell them, before they get themselves hurt. That is uke's job, IMO.

Robert Cowham
09-15-2013, 04:20 PM
I agree that two beginners can teach each other bad habits, but usually find that it doesn't last too long in any case (the practicing that is, since we switch around). Practicing with beginners is usually interesting as they don't know what they are supposed to do, so you get a better feel for how well or otherwise you are doing your technique. You also may need to be able to change technique if they give you a different attack. This can be quite useful for those who have some experience. Anyway, things generally work out fine.

As regards kenjutsu, with a more koryu style background in our style, it is seniors who take ukemi. There is a challenge there too in that it can be too easy to just "teach" and not really push yourself. How can you ensure that you are training yourself while taking ukemi for someone - that's a good study in itself. One of the mantras in my ear is that of a certain senior saying to me "don't be lazy Robert!"

eschatts
09-17-2013, 09:13 PM
When I saw this thread, I did not know what to think, especially with all the comments like “I get weary of being paired up with a hack newbie”. That is un-Aikido to me. I echo most everyone's comments about it is good to train with a new person because it does test your current skill level. And it is very hard for a senior person to get over his or hers ego. One lesson I learned from one of my teachers is that I was always afraid to fail. I think it is a very good lesson to reflect on as you progress in your Aikido journey. Especially when it comes to working with new people.

I went back and read the full blog, and I think I agree with almost every aspect of the article. The only problem is that this is only possible in a perfect dojo. And if most dojo's are like ours there is only one or 2 senior students and all new people. So there is no way that can ever happen.

So for most small dojo's you just have to be flexible and rotate after each set of techniques and if junior students start picking up bad habits from each other, it is the senior people who need to try and correct it.

As a side note - If a senior student only wants to take Ukemi from other senior students I think that person is fooling himself in think he or she is better that they really are. Everytime I hear this I think of this youtube video -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_vvI26NnwE

I have to say after years of practicing, I really like guiding new students while being an Uke. I feel like I am giving back.

Krystal Locke
09-17-2013, 10:05 PM
I went back and read the full blog, and I think I agree with almost every aspect of the article. The only problem is that this is only possible in a perfect dojo. And if most dojo's are like ours there is only one or 2 senior students and all new people. So there is no way that can ever happen.

I really dont think most aikido schools are like yours. I wouldn't say that most were like mine, either, but I do see a trend to topheaviness that makes sempai = uke much more possible. My dojo has a 6th dan, at least 3 5th dans, a couple, three 4ths, maybe 1 3rd, at least one 2nd, 4-5 shodan, maybe a handful of kyu folk, and new folk hover right around 3 but dont show up much. I'd love some fresh blood to take ukemi for.

THe new folk are all intimidated by our general yudanshaness. No peer(rank) role models, they think they are wasting our time when we train with them, and they dont believe us when we thank them for being good, strong, unpredictable training partners, no matter as uke or nage.

Send us some of those newbs, please.

Robert Cowham
09-18-2013, 03:44 AM
I really dont think most aikido schools are like yours. I wouldn't say that most were like mine, either, but I do see a trend to topheaviness that makes sempai = uke much more possible. My dojo has a 6th dan, at least 3 5th dans, a couple, three 4ths, maybe 1 3rd, at least one 2nd, 4-5 shodan, maybe a handful of kyu folk, and new folk hover right around 3 but dont show up much. I'd love some fresh blood to take ukemi for.

THe new folk are all intimidated by our general yudanshaness. No peer(rank) role models, they think they are wasting our time when we train with them, and they dont believe us when we thank them for being good, strong, unpredictable training partners, no matter as uke or nage.

Send us some of those newbs, please.
I think this is not uncommon these days - average dojo age going up 1 year at a time! Perhaps we should be doing BJJ or MMA...

Bringing the new blood in is a constant challenge, and then of course keeping them, and as you say, inspiring them and motivating and encouraging them to just keep going. Having a good atmosphere in the dojo allows all to be engaged at their own level and to be making progress. A little competitiveness is not necessarily bad, but can be detrimental - but people always compare themselves to others.

Had a new chap just join who said he wasn't sure if he was too old at 52! When I pointed out I was 51 and another chap present was 54, he was somewhat relieved (our youthful looks obviously confused him!). He seems enthusiastic and engaged (and has paid for a month now), but it's very early days yet in his possible aikido career...

Mind you, I was chatting with Robert Mustard sensei and Toby Threadgill sensei over a beer after their excellent seminar in Dartford on Saturday. Both said that they don't necessarily have large numbers in their home dojos. There's Mustard sensei, one of the top Yoshinkan instructors in the world, with invites around the globe for seminars. He said he has rung up Neil (who organised the event last weekend), and told him "5 people in class today" and put the phone down - he can hear Neil's teeth gnashing in frustration at the wasted opportunity all the way from Vancouver! Prophets not recognised in their home towns!

mjhacker
09-28-2013, 10:51 PM
I, of course, agree with most (if not all) of what you've said, Peter. It seems to me that some respondents might be bringing other factors into the conversation. (Naturally, I reserve the right to be wrong.) To illustrate my thoughts on this, let's take this out of the dojo and into a slightly different educational context.

I teach ESL at a major university. My classes comprise virtually 100% international students who are in the U.S. for the purposes of getting into this (or other) university. Many of them have conditional acceptance (i.e., they are accepted under the condition that they improve their English skills). That's where I come in.

Sometimes, my students are rank beginners. Sometimes, they are very advanced. However, in all cases, I am clearly the senior. As we say in my dojo, "I have the 'stuff'." I *do not* look to my students to improve my English. When I want that, I talk to other native speakers who are sharp enough to challenge me and push the boundaries of my vocabulary, critical thinking, and understanding of grammar. (Or, I just read Mad Magazine.) These are different educational processes.

What I *do* learn from my students is not only how well *I* understand the subject, but also how well I am able to *convey* that information and lead students into demonstrable results. As they progress, they need me less and less, and actually become quite capable of helping themselves and each other.

Ultimately, my responsibility is to teach them to not need me.

Ellis Amdur
09-29-2013, 11:39 AM
A couple of points:
1. At the time Takeda was teaching, koryu was still very widespread. For example, Kobayashi Seiko of Toda-ha Buko-ryu believed that, through her teaching in the school system, she had taught over 10,000 people in her life. There was a profound decline of budo in the Edo and Meiji periods: EDO - because the daimyo demanded that many schools consolidate to make "han-kenjutsu" - this is the roots of kendo MEIJI - a rejection of feudal culture and an embrace of European culture led to the abandonment of many schools. Then, there was a renaissance. First, through modernization (judo, kendo, etc) and then, as Japan became outward looking/Imperialistic, there was a revival of interest in older martial arts. In the early 1900's through WWII, many koryu were quite popular.
2. If you read the article on Takeda Sokaku, called "Ima Bokuden (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=223)", you will find that Takeda definitely taught police agencies. Furthermore, Takeda's cachet WAS that he was considered one of the last of the old-time bushi. Yes, there was a lot of koryu around, but Takeda had something special. AND - Takeda considered himself a bushi--as did most old-school people. The law may have phased out the caste system, but people still maintained it. This is true, even today. A friend of mine was in a very rural area, and had to contact a family regarding an investigation. He spoke with a woman of about 60, who proudly informed him that they were a bushi family. Asking about a house within view, the woman said, scornfully, "Oh, the new people." They came here 400 years ago, and were elevated to bushi status then. I know nothing about such people."
3. What people do not understand is that Ueshiba was not considered a "modernizer" in the 1920's, 1930's. He was considered an exemplar of old school martial arts, his skills those of times past. In fact, there is good reason to believe (I cannot find the citation right now) that the entire thesis of Saigo Shiro preceding Takeda as a student of Daito-ryu was a fabrication in the 1920's by the Kodokan, so that they could say, in counter to the increasingly popular Ueshiba that, "we do that too." (I want to prevail on the person who did that research to go public with it - it's fascinating, the level of historical rewriting that the Kodokan apparently did, that is countered by newspaper accounts - - or their lack - -in the 1880's.
4. Aikido's real revolution--which I believe has filtered backwards into modern Daito-ryu is reciprocal, non-competitive practice. (I go into a lot more detail in a new chapter in Dueling with Osensei, 2nd ed - out in 2014). We focus too much on Takeda's paranoia. I would wager that reciprocal practice was enacted amongst Takeda's students, and this further amplified by Ueshiba. This is revolutionary. With all the wonders of koryu and its teaching methodology, it perpetuates a feudal mindset. Aikido, through reciprocal practice establishes that, within its context, each can become the other's uke (and, btw, if one is training in some form of internal training, this is undeniable).
5. In this sense, (again, I go into much more detail in the book), if I am senior and throwing you, a beginner, although you are "taking a fall," I am still uke to you. Takeda was, in this sense, taking ukemi. He received the attack of his students, and taught by "what happens next."
Best
Ellis Amdur

John Matsushima
10-02-2013, 11:36 PM
Personally, I value having a fresh newbie become my uke because they behave in a manner which is completely natural to them. Their balance, movement, speed, and timing is all pure and untainted. It also gives me a chance to really practice my control in my technique.It can be quite difficult to put someone down who doesn't know how to fall without hurting them.

lbb
10-03-2013, 06:26 AM
Personally, I value having a fresh newbie become my uke because they behave in a manner which is completely natural to them. Their balance, movement, speed, and timing is all pure and untainted.

Untainted by aikido, sure. Untainted by sitting on the couch watching MMA and believing that having a Y chromosome means they know how to fight, perhaps not. :D

jonreading
10-03-2013, 10:12 AM
Untainted by aikido, sure. Untainted by sitting on the couch watching MMA and believing that having a Y chromosome means they know how to fight, perhaps not. :D

This must be the prettiest man ever. Except for Brad Pitt. or Cher:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Waterson

I have already expressed the increasing unease I experience when I engage in the "you're not doing X right." language. There is an innocence in newbie movement - there is an intuition that leads their movement that has not been conditioned by aikido. What ever influences have conditioned the movement, we're dealing with innocence in aikido.

lbb
10-03-2013, 01:25 PM
This must be the prettiest man ever. Except for Brad Pitt. or Cher:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Waterson

That's an aikido newbie?

Bill Danosky
10-03-2013, 03:19 PM
Untainted by aikido, sure. Untainted by sitting on the couch watching MMA and believing that having a Y chromosome means they know how to fight, perhaps not. :D
Does joining an Aikido class help you fight better than watching MMA? Depends on your dojo.

lbb
10-03-2013, 10:06 PM
Does joining an Aikido class help you fight better than watching MMA?
You've completely missed the point of my comment.

Bill Danosky
10-04-2013, 09:52 AM
Untainted by aikido, sure. Untainted by sitting on the couch watching MMA and believing that having a Y chromosome means they know how to fight, perhaps not. :D

I thought your point was to be disdainful of men and MMA. I'd like to offer some counterpoints, if you don't mind: There are certainly better training methods, but watching MMA does have it's merits. You get to see how professional, highly trained fighters miss techniques constantly. You get to see how people shake off seemingly devastating blows, sometimes winning fights with broken hands or wrists. For certain, it's the best test lab we currently have for martial techniques- The wheat definitely gets separated from the chaff. Maybe that's why it's unpopular in certain circles.

Bill Danosky
10-04-2013, 10:11 AM
Please don't take the above comment as being harsh. I know you were joking, although I suspect your true feelings may have been revealed more than you thought.

Those "MMA guys" are probably my favorite new students. I was paired up most of Tuesday night with a first-timer, who had trained in other styles and was over 6 feet tall, besides. It was a really beneficial training session! I slowed down and gave him time to make adjustments on the falls, but he took the techniques just like I hoped it would work. It's very encouraging when that happens and it's great to see those looks, like, "Wow, there was something there." I heard he came back last (Thursday) night but I was working.

jonreading
10-04-2013, 10:24 AM
That's an aikido newbie?

Unfortunately, no; her predisposition to MMA probably changes her perception of aikido. I think you were joking, so my comments about the karate hottie, Ms. Watterson, was a quipped response to your observation about men who watch MMA and think they can fight. Obviously, women watch MMA, too, and think they can fight. As a professional female fighter, Ms. Watterson not only thinks she can fight, she also lacks a Y chromosome. Of course, she can fight.

Gendering aside, I think the comment raises an interesting issue if we are pre-judging a newbie based upon her previous experiences. If we make pre-judgments about our newbies before they ever enter the culture, what kind of pressure does that place upon a prospective student in assessing the training culture? I suppose as long as we are up front about the affect of our pre-judgments, a prospective student could use that information in determining their decision to train.

lbb
10-07-2013, 07:10 AM
I thought your point was to be disdainful of men and MMA. I'd like to offer some counterpoints, if you don't mind:

Counterpoints to something I didn't say? Knock yourself out. Those conversations with oneself can be so engrossing, can't they?
:D

Krystal Locke
10-07-2013, 05:01 PM
Untainted by aikido, sure. Untainted by sitting on the couch watching MMA and believing that having a Y chromosome means they know how to fight, perhaps not. :D

That's always a fun night. Some favorite quotes that have come out of that sitch...

"Hey! I cant catch your kicks like I do in karate class!"
"I wasn't ready when I attacked you!"
"No fair! I thought aikido didn't have that. You cant do that!"
"OWWW! Whoa, what the hell did you just do to me?"

and the best

"How come I fell down? Do that again!"

Bill Danosky
10-12-2013, 06:00 PM
Counterpoints to something I didn't say? Knock yourself out. Those conversations with oneself can be so engrossing, can't they?
:D

I'll confess, I do adore pyschobabble. Those quietly ranting people pushing shopping carts down the street would be fascinating, if you could get them to just write it down. Oh well, until they develop a smartphone with a parabolic mic, listening to the Talking Heads will have to do.
:)

aikidark
10-21-2013, 07:41 AM
Sho shin is key. We are all beginners. Without training in and understanding the role of uke, there is no nage. One should train and understand uke just as thouroughly as nage. At hombu many, if not all students had an innate understanding of uke with their martial arts backgrounds, so I guess not much time was spent teaching them proper attacks, deadly attacks delivered with force and precision. As one learns the skills required to practise, this should be fundamental, innate and taught from day one. As much nit picking on technique that takes place, the same should go into correcting, improving and teachingthe attack. They are oppisite sides of the same coin, and both should be studied, taught and internalized from the beginning. Aikido instructors really have their work cut out for them and take on great responsibilities.