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strange_days
09-23-2014, 02:22 AM
There are a couple of people in our dojo who came from elsewhere several years ago.

They're high-ranked.

Whenever it's their turn to be uke, they exhibit several traits, sometimes not all at once:

* half-hearted, limp attack
* frozen statue mode/rooting in place
* exploiting advance knowledge of kata, and exploiting non-realtime training speed by altering their positioning during step-by-step training

Regardless of what they do at a given moment, the end-goal is always the same - to completely negate whatever nage is doing.

Through their comments and actions it became clear that they believe a lower skilled student should be stopped in their tracks, rather than be allowed to throw a higher-skilled student, and the higher-skilled student can use any means to stop it.

Over the years, they've "adapted" to dojo behaviors, but now their ukemi consists in maintaining complete control over the encounter in aforementioned fashion, while PRETENDING to be affected by nage. A cosmetic difference.

Doing their kind of ukemi back to them can result in being injured, because their movements are compact, strong and mechanically precise. They're very skilled and skeletally-aware.

Trying to do things with them at realtime speed, use atemi, or switch techniques on them results in patronizing, growling and/or retaliation.

They are swaying intermediate and beginner students toward dangerously resistant ukemi.
They've injured students before.
They've been giving each other injuries when training together.

The overall impression remains is that they

a) Came from a very exacting instructor or style that encourages learning through punishment
b) Aren't here to help anyone learn (via any means). They're only here for themselves.

I've been trying to figure out how to train with these people for years. Meanwhile they've driven some people away from the dojo. Pairing up with them usually results in complete waste of time.

They allow the instructor to move at higher speed than they let "mere mortals" do it, and they don't growl at him when he uses atemi.

Asides from the instructor... most, if not all, yudansha in the dojo cannot genuinely throw them (asides from aforementioned performance where they pretend to be thrown), and neither can visiting yudansha.

My question is: have YOU encountered such people? WHERE are they manufactured? WHAT is their Sensei's approach to training, the logic of it all, the philosophy, etc?

Thanks!

also anonymous
10-08-2014, 05:09 AM
Occasionally, I have also met such individuals. Most often they are perhaps advanced students -- although moderately ranked -- from about nikyu through about shodan or nidan, and seem oblivious to any implied or real risk of injury, avoidance of which is what so motivates my own approach to ukemi. As a practice, it can be very, very dangerous to resist taking ukemi, and doing so also causes a person to miss out on half the practice. Besides which, for every action taken to oppose a technique, there is an appropriate application in henka waza (changing technique). Have you talked with your sensei about your concerns?

There are two ideas that come to mind for me regarding what they could possibly be thinking. One idea is that, by refraining from engaging in a committed attack and reactive ukemi, it is possible to maintain control for the possibility of kaeshi waza (reversal). The other being that they have some specific thing in mind that they want their practice partner to do, but they either can't or won't express it. The habits of resisting off-balancing attempts and not committing to attacks are also common among the people I've met who played judo, tai chi, or kung fu, then switched to aikido. It's possible that they're egotistical bullies, but it's also possible that they simply think that their way is correct or good in some way. Have you discussed ukemi and the role of cooperative practice in aikido with the people you are posting about?

Incidentally, nearly all of the highly to very-highly ranked individuals (godan through hachidan) I have had the privilege and honor of practicing with have each given ukemi that was completely appropriate to whatever technique we were studying at the time. Some very highly ranked teachers go around to take ukemi for everyone in the class, as a way of both teaching and evaluating at the same time.

strange_days
10-08-2014, 06:25 AM
I've trained with people from other martial arts, as well as with just people who instinctively resist.

They can be worked with, because their resistance is usually honest to some degree, and is natural to the current kata/energy given. They're usually reasonable and understand the purpose of training as giving energy specific to a localized situation, one of many potential situations, hence the energy should be a certain way for the purpose of training. They're here to EXPLORE with me, in the end.

These guys are different. They have advanced knowledge of how to cancel Aikido kata, and henka waza is generally looked down upon in this specific dojo, so we're trapped in this very specific situation...

... the situation where you do technique slowly, because in realtime these people will growl and retaliate. Attempting henka waza anyway will result in more aggressive resistance or kaeshi waza, or, in the rare case that it is executed aggressively enough to succeed, they will berate you and tell you to take it easy.

Realtime resistance in slow-motion training gives one "dojo superpowers".

In the end they come off as being calm and rational. But they will drop you on their knee or crank your elbow, if you do their cancellation ukemi back at them.

The whole thing strikes me as basically two bullies who are too scared to do Judo.

In Judo or Sambo or any other competitive art, they would've been quickly put in their place. Which is why they're not practicing those arts.

I haven't talked to Sensei about this, but others have.

His perspective on the matter is that it's just a different kind of training for us.

... the kind of training that drains the dojo of students? People I liked, who are no longer attending...

And so, after the last several years of trying to adapt, I abandoned the faux enlightement mantras of "being thankful for one's enemies" and "everyone has something to teach", I let go of self-blame, in favor of a far more intuitive conclusion - life is too short to deal with this crap.

Since submitting that first post (it took over a week to get approved), I stopped going to classes contaminated with these people, and swapped those classes for a different dojo.

Dan Rubin
10-08-2014, 10:24 AM
WHAT is their Sensei's approach to training, the logic of it all, the philosophy, etc?

If they have been behaving this way in your dojo for several years, then YOUR sensei is "their sensei," YOUR sensei has approved of and encouraged their behavior, and YOUR sensei is “swaying intermediate and beginner students toward dangerously resistant ukemi.”

You’re fortunate in having another dojo to train at.

Brian Gillaspie
10-08-2014, 10:37 AM
I would talk to your sensei about it. I know you said others already have but I feel you should still talk to him/her. If the sensei chooses not to do anything then your options in my opinion are to just to try to avoid partnering up with them or have a direct discussion with the two people to find out why they are acting that way.

I've personally had people resist me, usually with less experience, and usually but not always we were able to discuss why things are done in a certain way and get past the issue. Although there has been a time or two when my instructor game me the green light to take them down by any means necessary ( within reason - to not cause injury).

Good luck. I hope you are able to work it out.

kewms
10-08-2014, 11:02 AM
Any technique can be stopped if uke knows what's coming and knows he won't get hit. Using those facts to "prove" that your technique doesn't work is just ego.

If your chief instructor is aware of this behavior and hasn't corrected it, then the only conclusion to be drawn is that he views it as acceptable.

Katherine

Dan Rubin
10-08-2014, 11:07 AM
Over the years, they've "adapted" to dojo behaviors, but now their ukemi consists in maintaining complete control over the encounter in aforementioned fashion, while PRETENDING to be affected by nage. A cosmetic difference.... They allow the instructor to move at higher speed than they let "mere mortals" do it, and they don't growl at him when he uses atemi

From what you've written, I suspect that your teacher is high-ranked and highly skilled, and that the two students you complain of joined your dojo so that they can train with your teacher. At the same time, your teacher keeps them around because he (or she) wants -- and needs -- their style of ukemi to challenge him and enable his own aikido to advance. Those students may not "allow" your teacher to move at higher speed; it may be that they can't stop him from doing so.

If I'm correct, then the most your teacher will do is to advise these students to "cooperate" with other students, which may be the "pretending" that you describe.

Your teacher does not want them to lose the ukemi he desires. It's worth it to him if this results in the loss of a few students, while attracting new students who desire this type of practice.

also anonymous
10-08-2014, 12:05 PM
Be wary of confirmation bias. Earlier I mentioned that they might be bullies as one of two distinct possibilities, but you seem to have latched onto that one. Consider the other possibility: that these individuals are doing something that they think is worth practicing, and that they are looking for a very specific approach, condition of body alignment, or very precise control by nage. It may be the case that practicing with them will drastically improve your technical abilities. Try talking with them about it. Be curious, rather than frustrated or angry when you approach them.

strange_days
10-08-2014, 02:02 PM
Be wary of confirmation bias. Earlier I mentioned that they might be bullies as one of two distinct possibilities, but you seem to have latched onto that one. Consider the other possibility: that these individuals are doing something that they think is worth practicing, and that they are looking for a very specific approach, condition of body alignment, or very precise control by nage. It may be the case that practicing with them will drastically improve your technical abilities. Try talking with them about it. Be curious, rather than frustrated or angry when you approach them.

I've been avoiding the "bully" label for years, and it certainly wasn't an Internet post that lead me to that conclusion, but comments from my friend who switched dojos, comments from another training partner, and a few other people.

Oh, and finally dropping the aforementioned notion that it's all my problem. Our problem.

I've seen enough. After driving people away from that class, these two are often a good half of the class, impossible to avoid. And avoidance was never part of my philosophy. Avoidance means not growing.

I've ran into many problematic interactions in "over a decade" of training, and for ALL of them, managed to do one of the following things:

* Figure out the type of ukemi the person wants and why
* Figure out that they're working around an injury
* Figure out that I misunderstood kata and they were correcting me
* Figure out that they came from a different school and use a now-understandable-to-me philosophy in training
* Figure out that I've been too rough on the person in a tunnel-vision goal of pursuing sharp technique
* Figure out what I can learn from them

I've managed to figure out, or at least retroactively understand, all conflicting interactions, and harbor no ill will toward any of the people involved. Except these people, whom I've given up on understanding. I'm done thinking it's my fault.

Due to their dominance in Sensei's class, they're playing Secondary Instructor game with their training mode. I know one of them injured a guy from another dojo at a seminar, who just got into his car and drove away.

One of them gave the other a major injury in beginning of 2014 which put him out of commission, but they seem to look at these as some sort of proud battle scars.

We had one high-ranked practitioner from Yoshinkan who had stubborn ukemi of his own; one of these guys injured him and he didn't come back.

This ukemi only works one way. Two ways, it creates injury.

It's hard to prove, but I've seen them alter beginners'/intermediate students' ukemi into something rigid and stiff. This is clearly NOT their "teaching goal", but they've not been endowed with the gift of teaching, so the beginners just imitate their resistant, double-minded ukemi after training with them.

As result I've seen at least one student get injured by another instructor, but it really wasn't his fault. The student's ukemi was altered into stiffness by blindly imitating these guys, and this person fell wrong during a routine technique demo.

It's not just them, but the general atmosphere and spirit of training which has been altered. They've weeded out everyone except Sensei and people who are willing to put up with them (but still can't throw them). The overall result is a more dangerous atmosphere with no practical benefit. Our beginner's class is now self-segregated and none of them are crossing into Sensei's class.

@Dan: "Attracting people who want this type of practice" does not work. These people have proven to be a repellant.

Given their ukemi, they could stop anyone, including Sensei, because this is a stylized practice method after all, and after the first technique execution they know the rest of what's coming. They could do the same thing - give a limp attack with intent to counter, growl and retaliate or withdraw when atemi happens, etc. Of course he would sense that and tell them to stop doing it, so they don't do it. Why create problems with someone who can directly ban you?

But the "lesser students" are different. We have no right to TRY. Otherwise, it will escalate into an injurious situation fast. They will not let anyone take their balance.

When you train without connective/corrective feedback to your partner, you're straying farther and farther from any learning, meaning or applicability.

Sensei regularly makes speeches addressing their behavior, and the apprentices they're cultivating. They're not direct enough, and they will keep ignoring them. Hence, after yet another pointless waste of time class, I walked out with a particular level of clarity, and then followed my friend's lead and switched dojos when it comes to that class.

It was the best decision I've made in years.

And yes, I'm aware that due to the details of these posts these people can easily figure out who I am, and we can still run into one another.

Done caring, though.

NagaBaba
10-08-2014, 02:19 PM
Strange_days your analysis is right, such behavior exist in many dojos where teaching is unbalanced, overemphasis is put to the technical exactness in slow motion and strong dynamic practice does not exist. I’ve practiced at these kinds of dojo when I was young and handsome.

The main cause of such situation is a style of teaching of the chief instructor. He firmly believes that students should not waste their time on doing mistakes and favors only the ‘right’ way of doing techniques. He has the good intentions, but as old saying from Himalaya goes: Hell is paved with good intentions…

Example is always going from the top, so his immature students copy him, and also are trying to lead you to the, what they perceive, the ‘only right way’ of doing technique. They also have good intantions in helping you.

IMO nothing can be done to this situation, you have to find a dojo where practice is well balanced and includes strong physical practice in high speed and with a lot of power. Such aikido dojo are not very easy to find and most of ppl like you turn finally to practice judo, bjj or other combat sports where they can practice with power.

Find another dojo even if you have to move far away.

still also anonymous
10-08-2014, 04:38 PM
Thank you, OP, for what seems to be a well-considered response. To folks who might read this thread: please do not injure yourselves or your training partners. Ukemi is both for your own protection, and for the development of both yourself and your partner. Obstinacy is inconsiderate at best, and dangerous at worst. Do not be the type of practitioner OP is describing.

Carsten Möllering
10-09-2014, 03:50 AM
Any technique can be stopped if uke knows what's coming and knows he won't get hit.I hear or read this sentence from time to time. But I have to admit, that I don't understand it.

Because in the practice I know, one of different ways of keiko is to resist, to block, to try to stopp the technique of tori. Methods can be sophisticated like being rooted and centered e.g.. Or they can be raw like using just muscular force. Can be smart like changing body position and posture or repositioning the feet. Or can be dumb like ignoring atemi completely. Kind of exaggerated go no keiko.
Ue does all this knowing what's coming and knowing he won't get hit. Tori has to find his way. Not by muscling, not by using something uke gives. It feels a lot like a "pushtest in motion".

Sure, you may ask whether it is usefull to try to bring the arm of uke up, while uke is pressing his arm forcefully down. It would make more sense to just use his movement and power ...
But with regard to technical exploration and development it is very interesting to try and to learn to move uke the way you want instead of moving him the way he inidcates.

For me at least it is an aim of my practice to learn that a technique can not be stopped although "uke knows what's coming and knows he won't get hit".

But I think it is also true, that there is no way a higher skilled student can be thrown by a not so skilled student, except he allows to be thrown. To me actually this exactly is one central aspect of the meaning of "higher skilled". Years ago, when I realised that my teacher couldn't throw me when I didn't want to be thrown, this was one reason among others to leave his dōjō and find a new teacher.

Beining a good uke actually is a great challenge, I think. To find a good way between not to just tank and not to be unmoveable. But being really "responsive", really giving a feedack to tori.

strange_days
10-09-2014, 06:06 AM
I hear or read this sentence from time to time. But I have to admit, that I don't understand it.

Because in the practice I know, one of different ways of keiko is to resist, to block, to try to stopp the technique of tori.

You're describing henka waza.

What Katherine meant, I believe, is literally what she said. Look at it carefully. The technique, one just demonstrated by instructor, the one everyone is practicing repeatedly, CAN be stopped by a wicked-minded partner.

With henka waza, they don't know what's coming next, which includes atemi, and it's harder for them to stop it. Hence again, Katherine's statement about them KNOWING what's coming, and KNOWING they won't get hit.

But regular training method at my (former) dojo doesn't include henka waza. At all. It's considered "dirty" I guess.

Therefore, you're railroaded into that one specific technique, the uke knows exactly what's going on, and if the uke abandons the concept of sincere attack/mind, of simulating that specific energy, one out of many, you're never going to pull it off.

When the uke's goal is not to attack, but just to withdraw/make YOU uke/block a specific set of movement/energy, their behavior is no longer even remotely natural or realistic, and this entire interaction becomes a useless dud, an artificial construct existing only inside dojo bubble, teaching nothing of use.

Carsten Möllering
10-09-2014, 08:05 AM
You're describing henka waza. No. I am definitely not.
I'm indeed talking about performing a certain, given waza that was demonstrated by the teacher with resisting uke, "them knowing what's coming, and knowing they won't get hit". And to do that in a slow and relaxed way.

Look at it carefully. The technique, one just demonstrated by instructor, the one everyone is practicing repeatedly, can be stopped by a wicked-minded partner. And tori can learn to perform this given technique of this wicked minded blockages and boycotts. - Without using henka waza, without seeking refuge in atemi, wihtout covering inability by increasing speed.
As I said: We do that as one part of our keiko. We consider it to be an important part.

But regular training method at my (former) dojo doesn't include henka waza. At all. It's considered "dirty" I guess.We have other parts in our keiko where we emphasize completely free movement. Or we explicetly encourage tori to change and play with the possibilities of henka waza. And sometimes henka waza are even the subject of teaching.
But when we practice kihon waza we only practice the given technique.

... if the uke abandons the concept of sincere attack/mind, of simulating that specific energy, one out of many, you're never going to pull it off.I've come to understand that it is a very interesting concept to learn not to rely on what uke does or does not. When your technique does not require a certain ukemi or - talking in a broader sense - a certain behaviour you as tori get mor freedom, you don't have to re-act, but are able to act. You become independent.
Not only in a technical sense which already matters a great deal. But also personally, psychologically. Which is even more important.

Well, even when we don't especially work on blocking tori, our concept of ukemi is not very helpfull for tori:
I know dōjō, where uke is requested to extend beyond his center of gravity, to "give some energy", to "carry on attacking" during the whole technique of tori. Things like that. You call it "to give a sincere attack" or "simulating that specific energy".
In my practice we don't do things like that. We stay within our own sphere, we don't give us away but try to remain as stable as possible and to give tori as few as possible to work with. Uke is required to be rooted and centered.
(For that reason my ukemi in those dōjō I mentioned above, is concidered to be no good attacks: I don't give tori something to work with.)

When the uke's goal is not to attack, but just to withdraw/make YOU uke/block a specific set of movement/energy, their behavior is no longer even remotely natural or realistic, and this entire interaction becomes a useless dud, an artificial construct existing only inside dojo bubble, teaching nothing of use.Ummh, I think this way of ukemi is very "realistic" in a sense, that tori learns not to need the help of uke to be able to do a certain teachnique. This way of practice helps to not rely on uke, but to build on one's own possibilities.
Plus: Practicing kata does not mean to be a kind of scenario training. The aikidō kata are clearly not entitled to show what I will do if he will do thisorthat ... . The kihon no kata of aikidō mean to teach the body of tori in a certain way and to teach and build up certain abilities. It's the same like in the kata of koryū. What really is to be tought is contained within - or even lies behind - the outer, visible movements.

I have no idea of how those two gyus you are talking of understand their practice.
What I try to describe here is only my understanding and my experience. And it was especially Katherine's statement that caught my eye.

phitruong
10-09-2014, 08:27 AM
And tori can learn to perform this given technique of this wicked minded blockages and boycotts. - Without using henka waza, without seeking refuge in atemi, wihtout covering inability by increasing speed.


you can increase your speed, so can uke. Casten, have you read the book "art of war"? question, if your enemy know exactly what you are going to do, would you still do it? and if you are the enemy in question, knowing exactly what the other will do, what would you do?

mindset is important. many dojo teach uke to be the punching bag. many dojo don't teach smart uke.

Carsten Möllering
10-09-2014, 10:03 AM
Casten, have you read the book "art of war"? Practicing kata is different from going to war.

question, if your enemy know exactly what you are going to do, would you still do it? When practicing kata aite always knows what tori will do. But tori will do it anyway.
It's kata. It's not scenario-training. It's not fighting. It's not going to war. It's kata. Fixed form. Agreement. Convention.

But although the outward movements are known, are fixed, there is much room to fill the kata on the inside. You are free within your body and can move within yourself. You can use a given point of contact in many different ways. Or even don't move from that point of contact, but from elswhere in your body.
kata is only the container. With a whole lot of space in it. And different rooms and levels in it.

So practicing a known technique against resistence is not about winning a fight or going to war. But about learning how to use the body, how to organize it, how to develop power, how to take away the power of the attacker. Things like that.

mindset is important. many dojo teach uke to be the punching bag. many dojo don't teach smart uke.As I said: We try not to overextend, but stay deeply rooted, stay centered. We try not to give away ourselves but to stay within our own sphere. We try to behave in the same way like we try to do when tori.
But we don't fight. Not when being tori, not when being uke.

phitruong
10-09-2014, 11:04 AM
Practicing kata is different from going to war.

When practicing kata aite always knows what tori will do. But tori will do it anyway.
It's kata. It's not scenario-training. It's not fighting. It's not going to war. It's kata. Fixed form. Agreement. Convention.
.

Carsten, you are missing the point. same mindset. kata with fixed form, with agreement. uke went outside of the agreement, because uke knows that nage will stay within the agreement, thus, uke always has the upper hand. thus; katherine's point. uke can always stop nage if nage stays in the boundary and uke doesn't respect that boundary. my whole point of war is the same. if you know what the other side is going to do and won't deviate, then you can always come up with ways to defeat such opponent/enemy. art of war isn't just about war, but dealing with conflicts from within oneself, to between two persons, to tribes, to nations. kata is war between two persons, with set rules.

kewms
10-09-2014, 01:30 PM
Since it was my comment I guess I should clarify it.

It is possible to develop such a grounded, stable structure that one simply cannot be moved. There are people that I can't move. There is a smaller group of people that my teacher can't move, at least not from a static position. There is a still smaller group of people that *his* teacher can't move. Having that kind of structure is valuable, and there are specific kinds of practice aimed at developing structure, and at being able to undermine another person's structure. I suspect that's what Carsten has in mind.

And, really, my statement still holds, it just requires a higher level of skill on uke's part. If *no one* in your dojo can stop your technique from a static grab, you need to train with better people because actually executing technique from a static grab by a grounded opponent is really really difficult. (Remember, though, that they may be *able* to stop you and choose not to because they are trying to help you learn.)

But that's not the situation I had in mind, and it's not what the OP seemed to have in mind. I'm talking about dynamic technique where uke is coming in with some amount of energy and nage is attempting to execute the technique demonstrated by the instructor. Except atemi is frowned upon by that particular dojo, and so uke simply doesn't respond to energy directed at his vulnerable points, and therefore doesn't make the turn or the rotation that the technique requires. And henka waza is also frowned upon, and so nage is unable to change to a technique appropriate to the position in which he finds himself. And, now he finds himself in the situation Carsten described, but without the skills to even begin to approach the problem because his teacher doesn't have a methodology for teaching him and his uke is too busy polishing his own ego to help. Complete waste of time for everyone involved.

Katherine

Larry Feldman
10-09-2014, 03:23 PM
Reminds me of a joke.....

How many aikidoka does it take to change a light bulb?

Only 1, but the light bulb must attack first.

Mark Gibbons
10-09-2014, 04:22 PM
I've always loved the concept of an uke that freezes and doesn't let me move them. In theory that's a single pinky standing pin while they prove I can't move them.

Pity it never works in practice. But, why I should care about making uke move has always eluded me. If uke doesn't want to move training is sort of boring. I guess we could just trade jokes or insults.

Mark

strange_days
10-09-2014, 04:34 PM
It's about increasing risk levels into a full-blown, uncontrolled confrontation which has nothing to do with current waza. It becomes personal for them. Their approach is when you bend your knees to get power, they'll bend theirs even lower to stop you.

The only time I've been able to really throw one of these people (or so it seemed), is when we were doing jiyu-waza right in front of Sensei, and I used every power-generating trick I know. No human can block in all directions at once. You can feign doing something here to direct their energy and then apply yours over there.

However the dojo rarely does jiyu-waza or anything equally spontaneous, so usually we are stuck in kata which they block.

@Carsten: You're ascribing qualities to our training method which are not accurate. Delivering an attack while on-balance is the standard protocol. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to do anything against a Karate practitioner. Yes, many people in real life can be easily extended to lose their balance by slight distance manipulation, but good Aikido requires centered, and yet connected attacks.

What makes the technique work is not uke already falling over when they reach you, but you being one step ahead of uke in initiative, which can be achieved through either realtime training, or uke understanding that you're simulating realtime training in slow-motion mode. When neither of these things are happening, uke has all the time in the world to withdraw their energy and regain initiative.

The meaning of the initial attack or how it can be utilized in terms of seizing initiative, or being positionally relevant to current waza, is lost.

Rather, you're practicing with "taking down a person in front of you". You're both on equal ground, and they will escalate if you do - at which point the mechanics become VERY similar to a Judo match, and frankly, I've been tempted to do a crappy osoto gari on these people or just punch them in the face to regain initiative, because it is pretty much sparring at that point.

However, sparring is considered "dirty". Thus it's a stupid situation which wastes time. These people should be at Judo if they desire this kind of energy so much. Judo is a lot safer to practice full-force, it was retooled for that purpose specifically. Doing this in Aikido context, they injure each other, and other students.

_Maybe_ their ukemi philosophy is to only allow a very narrow path toward "100% effective technique" that they only understand, and block any "semi-effective" paths, but the result is a complete lack of connected feedback to nage which should let nage know if they're getting "hotter" or "colder".

There's no learning there. No direction toward improvement. Just waste of time.

Hence I'm done with that.

Carsten Möllering
10-10-2014, 10:10 AM
Having that kind of structure is valuable, and there are specific kinds of practice aimed at developing structure, and at being able to undermine another person's structure. I suspect that's what Carsten has in mind.I suspect so too. :-)
In the way I practice we first and foremost work on the structure of tori - and uke. It is the aim, that by working on his own structure, or better on the organization of his body, tori becomes able to affect/control/disturb/manipulate the structure of uke.

And, really, my statement still holds, it just requires a higher level of skill on uke's part. ...In my view stopping the technique of tori thanks to "a higher level of skill" is fundamentally different from stopping it because "uke knows what's coming and knows he won't get hit".

If *no one* in your dojo can stop your technique from a static grab, you need to train with better people ...Sure.That's why seminars are that important for me.
I didn't mean to say one can become invincible. Clearly not. I just wanted to say that you can learn to deal with a partner who is trying to block your technique, using that he knows what is coming and not caring about atemi.
If he has no structure his knowledge of kata and ignorance of atemi won't help him. You can throw him anyway.
If he has structure, he does not need to know the kata or ignore atemi to block your technique. He can do that anyway.

... uke simply doesn't respond to energy directed at his vulnerable points, and therefore doesn't make the turn or the rotation that the technique requires. Ah, yes: We don't have that. We don't use atemi to try to move or direct uke in a certain way. There is no moment in our kihon waza where uke has to decide whether to "accept atemi for real or not." Our atemi are used to just stop uke and to keep a certain distance. So if uke does ignore atemi there will be simply contact to the fist and that's all. Actually we have this situation relatively often. And maybe I can even use this point of contact additionally.

If uke doesn't want to move training is sort of boring.Can be very very interesting to move someone who doesn't want to be moved. To be honest, I think to be able to do that is what it's actually all about.

Their approach is when you bend your knees to get power, they'll bend theirs even lower to stop you.That is exactly how we practice. But we also learn how to deal with that without leaving the given technique.

Their approach is when you bend your knees to get power, they'll bend theirs even lower to stop you.That describes exactly what we do, how we practice, when we try to stop each other. If I am able to block tori to get under him, I will do that. If I am able to take a step to get in better position, I will do that. ...
But we also learn how to deal with that without leaving the given technique.

What makes the technique work is ... you being one step ahead of uke in initiative, which can be achieved through either realtime training, or uke understanding that you're simulating realtime training in slow-motion mode.Thank you for this explanation! This is indeed different from how we create an effect on uke. As I said above we try to affect the structure, the organization of his body. To do that tori does not need to be ahead of uke, but has to establish a contact to him. (It is tori who establishes this connection, if uke doesn't want to.)
And there also is no moment in our slow motion practice, where we simulate a situation, but it is always "real". The technique is meant to really work in slow motion. (Actually I find that much easier than applying it with speed ...)

So in our way of practice it is even considered a fault to be ahaed of uke. You are corrected if you are. Or maybe uke let's go, saying: "Ah, your where ahead of me." ...

When neither of these things are happening, uke has all the time in the world to withdraw their energy and regain initiative. This is also something we do on purpose when being uke: To try to withdraw our energy and regain initiative. If it is possible we do that.
But being tori we also learn how to deal with that. And there are ways to hinder uke to draw himself back. As I said, then it is tori who maintains the connection.

But.
All that said.

I think above all it is not only important but crucial and at last the essence of every way of keiko that tori and uke realize that keiko is about helping each other, teaching each other - mutually.

kewms
10-10-2014, 11:11 AM
I think above all it is not only important but crucial and at last the essence of every way of keiko that tori and uke realize that keiko is about helping each other, teaching each other - mutually.

Yes, and I think that's the critical thing that's absent in the OP's description.

Katherine

strange_days
10-10-2014, 04:40 PM
@Carsten: You are missing the point.

The main concept still present in your descriptions is that you still distinguish between tori and uke, therefore there is an implied difference in their behavior and/or the roles they follow in training.

When both keep Inside the kata, you can overcome a uke who tries to regain initiative within the kata, resist within the kata, keep low within the kata, etc. Their counter-actions are still honest and somewhat intuitive.

This is USEFUL training, because uke has an honest mind, generating honest reactions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6myEfvtffv4

The above video is a siccinct explanation of what I mean. Anyone can cancel the tai no henko exercise, if they're not really in the mood to do tai no henko.

Same applies to most techniques as well. They're situationally applicable, which is why in jiyu-waza you can't just do whatever you want, but a limited range of technique which is suitable for current positioning and intent of uke. Maybe through a lot of dancing you can eventually Rubik's Cube the situation into a position and technique you want, but at that point this encounter loses any remaining martial applicability.

On these forums, George S. Ledyard (sp?) said before, that he can do a yokomen attack on which nobody can do irimi nage, if he knows what's coming and is fully intent on stopping it.

If you're in Judo randori, and the Judoka knows with 100% certainty the one and only technique you will keep trying on them, good luck ever throwing them. If you're in a boxing match and your opponent knows you only throw the right cross, you will never succeed. Both will use your railroaded movements to reverse what you're doing, use it against you.

It's an easily provable, common concept, and if you don't recognize its truth, then you are locked in the "dojo matrix". You are lucky to have such consistently honest ukes, even with resistance they give. They understand the situational nature of nage<->uke encounter, and play hard while still inside its bounds. This is good training.

However, eventually you will be exposed to someone who plays completely outside the game, and your experience will be jarring. You, or anyone, will not be able to throw such person without atemi or changing technique, as Katherine said in the very beginning.

Simply because their behavior changes the context into reality. In reality, you have to do what works in the NOW. Martial encounter means fluidly using opponent's weaknesses against them, and any schoolyard scuffle will have taught you that trying to do the same thing over and over will get you beat.

We do situational training just for that purpose, eventually do unite our situational responses into a responsive, fluid system of movement, which would be more suitable for dealing with reality situations than the hundreds of individual katas its built upon.

Making individual katas into reality encounters defeats their teaching purpose, and renders the training into waste of time.

So, let's please stop with this game of juggling definitions. Water is simply wet.

Carsten Möllering
10-11-2014, 12:35 AM
No contradiction here.
Carsten

strange_days
10-11-2014, 01:05 AM
I already replied to this, but it was flagged for approval for some reason, and is residing in purgatory for an indefinite period of time.

strange_days
10-11-2014, 01:35 AM
Ah well, I'm going to try again, without using any "trigger words". Last time the submission took over a week to approve.

Suffice to say, you're equating two very different behaviors, and ascribing to yourself abilities which are superhuman in nature. For what purpose, I do not know.

Ukes can resist plenty within the kata, and perhaps even counter - when they're still ukes - they are being honest and imitate the lack of knowledge of real attacker as to what's coming next. This is part of good, useful training, as the multitude of kata are fragments of a larger, slowly accumulating skill of being dynamically fluid and reactive. There's a method to all this, and our nage-uke roles are part of the method.

However, when the uke drops his role, and you're still in training mode, encased within one specific kata, then you're dealing with an opponent using a lot more of his tools than you are.

As George Ledyard Sensei said at some point, he can do a yokomen nobody can do iriminage on. It's a common sense statement, easily provable by any intermediate practitioner or even a beginner. The training is the training, it has a specific protocol, and it can be countered easily.

If you are practicing Judo randori and your opponent knows with 100% certainty which technique you're attempting to pull off, over and over, you will never pull it off. Instead, they will use that advance knowledge to easily cancel what you do, and use your predictability against you.

If you were doing boxing sparring and your opponent knew that you're only going to be using the right cross, you would not have any success, either.

Go and try this if you don't believe me.

So when the uke drops out of the nage-uke framework and becomes an actively resisting/negating/canceling/reversing opponent, and you're not allowed to use all of your tools (because you're still in training mode), you will never succeed.

The only scenario where this cold, hard reality can be bent, is inside the dojo training matrix. You are lucky to have consistently good ukes. But do not mistake their resistance for resistance of someone who has no interest in being part of nage-uke framework.

strange_days
10-11-2014, 03:46 PM
Ok, now my earlier reply was retroactively inserted before your reply to Katherine by Forum Powers. Since my later reply is just a distilled version of that reply, please ignore the earlier version.

Dan Richards
10-11-2014, 07:54 PM
Since submitting that first post (it took over a week to get approved), I stopped going to classes contaminated with these people, and swapped those classes for a different dojo.

Good for you. That's what I was going to suggest until I saw you'd already done it.

People who regularly injure others, combined with a Sensei who doesn't seem to have a handle on the situation, is not a good thing. Just walk away.

Enjoy your new training digs.

Carsten Möllering
10-14-2014, 10:29 AM
... you're ... and ascribing to yourself abilities which are superhuman in nature. ...:) No, not at all. I think it is simply that we "construct" waza in different ways.

Thank you for posting the video of Stan. Stan says: "Don't lift up. Because if he lifts up, it's no longer tai no henko." But this is exactly what advanced students do in our way of practice: Uke might try to push up, pull down, push forth, pull back, push to nage, pull away from tori ... and some other things. And we do it on purpose.
At the same time tori is trying to do just the prescribed form of tai no henka. He neutralizes uke's attempt to counter not by changing the outer form of his movement (= "it's no longer tai no henko"; Inhis video Stan is changing to naname kokyu nage.), but tori adapts only by changing inside, moving inside. You will see nearly no difference on the outside. The form is still tai no henko.

Our way of constructing technique does neither build on being ahaed of uke in which sense ever. Nor on surprising uke in wich way ever. So uke does not have to imitate whatever.
On the contrary, when constructing the waza by establishing a contact body to body (not center to center) you have to learn to wait for uke, for being able to realize his structure and his movement.
In our training we work on how to create this contact from body to body, which is called atari. We work on how to use atari to feel uke and to affect uke's structure. We work on how to maintain atari even if uke want's to let go and to break up the connection.

I think kata is just meant to teach certain ways to establish and to apply atari. Or in other words when you are able to build aiki within your body, kata shows certain ways to apply your aiki to an attacker.

Go and try this if you don't believe me.I've changed my way of practice about seven or eight year ago because I was dissatisfied with a way of practice in which tori was dependent of uke and his actions. This was simply not my understanding of what aikidō should be. So I was looking for a way to learn how to become independent of that pattern and found teachers who show that way. It's different. And it's quite interesting!

----

@ Katherine:

I understand you are practicing with Dan? Actually I'm talking about integrating his teachings about aiki with the kihon no kata of Endō Seishiro and his teaching of atari and musubi. It really fits!
Which is clearly not the case with a lot of other forms of kihon waza I know.

strange_days
10-14-2014, 03:33 PM
Thanks for explaining your method.

My problem is not with your specific uke-nage protocol, but with you equating them with the ukes I described. If you lived closer geographically I'd gladly demonstrate to you what happens when you're dealing with a so-called "uke" whose participation is not constructive in any way, and who has the freedom to fully resist and counter while you are limited to one technique they know it coming. No matter how adaptive that single technique is, at some point you either have to admit you had to make it into a different technique to make it work, or give up on attempting the impossible.

Get out of dojo protocol, try this on a Judoka, then you'll see. Hell, chances are it will work with an untrained person. Demonstrate it to them without resistance, then ask them to get out of it by any means necessary next time you apply it. Shomen uchi irimi nage, for example. Just remember, when you are forced to change into elbow control, or ikkyo, or back control, or headlock, or a choke, it no longer reasonably resembles Aikido's standard kata of irimi nage.

Good luck.

kewms
10-14-2014, 05:28 PM
@ Katherine:

I understand you are practicing with Dan? Actually I'm talking about integrating his teachings about aiki with the kihon no kata of Endō Seishiro and his teaching of atari and musubi. It really fits!
Which is clearly not the case with a lot of other forms of kihon waza I know.

Dan visits our dojo regularly, and I have attended some of his classes. Some other members of the dojo are devoting much more effort to that work than I am, so I hesitate to claim to be "practicing with" Dan. OTOH, his ideas are very much "in the air" around here.

Katherine

Carsten Möllering
10-15-2014, 04:13 AM
If you lived closer geographically I'd gladly demonstrate to you what happens when ... I don't think that's necessary. Actually I have encountered quite some of such uke over the years. And I have indeed practiced with judōka ( ... and not only with judōka ...) the way you suggested.

But yes, I think you are right: It would be much more meaningfull - maybe meaningfull at all - to meet and to show and feel each other. Talking respectively writing just leaves to much room for misunderstanding.

same problem
10-15-2014, 04:38 AM
Hello,

I saw this post some days ago and it hit a nerve. I think I suffer from the same problem in my dojo, and I also don't know what to do. Our sensei is very observant, and from time to time he "catches" the sempai in question when he is simply obstructing techniques and then lecturing. But it does not change very much. When unobserved, the sempai still behaves as he wants. Either he blocks, which he can do easily, thanks to greater skill, greater force and more weight, or he lets himself throw so easily that this becomes again an insult - "see, I gratify you by letting you do!". The latter happens generally when kohei tries to follow his instructions after having been blocked, so it's a sort of demonstration: "see, if you do as I said, it works!", whereas in reality he blocked before and now is over-collusive.

The guy has a way to feel up women (for example, when sending them rolling for kaiten nage, just a swift, nearly imperceptible and certainly invisible hand movement up the legs), and I had twice the impression that he put my health in jeopardy consciously, forcing upon me techniques my body was not ready to take after recovery from illness/ surgery. I asked before training to be lenient because of the recent intervention, but the result was exactly the opposite. No harm done in the end, but I felt somehow abused.

Another problem is the guy is a nice guy. He is really friendly, smiling, not at all aggressive on the surface, so I have great difficulties to discern if his behaviour is conscious or maybe he is not at all aware of the damage he inflicts. Or maybe I exaggerate and the sempai has the best intentions of the world; the "feeling up" issue was just misinterpreted, as it was the blocking, and he simply didn't get the thing with the illness/ surgery?

Anyway, I train with that sempai willingly only when I want to challenge a technique. Like Sinatra's song - "if I can do it there, I can do it ANYWHERE!". Most time it doesn't work, but when it does, it is deeply satisfactory.

Probably there is simply a proportion of power-abusing sempai in the aikido world, and the rest of students has to learn how to deal with them. It's a part of the art.

Best wishes to all of you.

strange_days
10-15-2014, 06:13 AM
@"same problem":

My former Sensei would "catch" the said sempai as well, but its been having the same effect as trying to stop a cat from pooping outside the litterbox by talking to it.

After the recent changing of dojos, I learned that there IS such a thing as no-nonsense instructors, who simply do not tolerate that kind of behavior AT ALL. Moreso, they will teach a tangible, physical lesson to such a uke, to demonstrate exactly why this behavior is stupid. This is more likely to happen in a more physical dojo, where nonsense is weeded out.

So, consider changing dojos. Because even if your problem-sempai goes away, the dojo clearly allows for existence of such a practitioner, so eventually there will be another. Perhaps it's time to find a dojo where instructors actually LOOK OUT for their students.

A novel concept, isn't it? Well, it certainly was to me, until recently.

lbb
10-15-2014, 07:33 AM
Nice guys don't injure or cop feels from their practice partners. Not by any definition, not ever. Just sayin'.

jurasketu
10-15-2014, 08:29 AM
I've never understood the frozen in place, sack of cement, completely rooted stone statue concept. That is beyond silly. There is no circumstance I can imagine where that makes martial sense. It can occur when trying to arrest an uncooperative person or move an mental patient but that's not a martial situation that is simply juvenile behavior.

An opponent that becomes rooted to the spot is distinctly vulnerable to getting a knee destroyed by a simple stomp/kick. In fact, taking uke's balance and briefly pinning them on the forward foot yields an opportunity for a knee strike. If an uke roots inappropriately on me, I usually just demonstrate that I can strongly kick the knee and they get the idea. Sometimes it is appropriate to root to teach a particular concept but that should be very rare and used sparingly.

It seems to me that the main purpose of Aikido ukemi is to teach the concept of staying in motion and flowing to a place where the uke is safe and then can escape or counterattack.

And "strange_days" - I think you did exactly the right thing. Voting with your feet is one of the best ways to make your life better. That applies to family, work and play.

augustine
10-16-2014, 03:48 PM
As tori we often have to practice with jerks. However as uke, NEVER EVER practice with someone who may cause you injury. Simply refuse.

Talk with your Sensei. Your safety should be her/his primary concern. If it isn't, find another place to train.

I do not advocate wimpy training, one should practice in a vigorous effective manner, as safely as possible.

Best regards,

Augustine

Carsten Möllering
10-17-2014, 02:48 AM
I've never understood the frozen in place, sack of cement, completely rooted stone statue concept. ... You are not alone ... :D :
"I don't want to deal with people who are like statues. ..." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vGziI9ZN_dk#t=186)

Anyway, we have such uke. We have to deal with them in one way or another. At least as long as they don't try to injure their partner we have to find a way, our own way to practice with them.

Explaining and showing them the sillyness of their behaviour for sure is one way to deal with such uke. I agree with that idea and I used to practice like that for years.
On the other hand, it was just Endō sensei's way of practice, that made me more and more curious about how to deal with people who are "not alive", who don't behave in a way that seems to make sense, or, even worse, who are deeply rooted, veeery heavy and full of energy and very flexible and alive - but who know to use all that for themselves and how to not give me anything at all to work with ...

For sure the " frozen in place, sack of cement, completely rooted stone statue concept" does not make martial sense. And for sure it does not help uke to learn something about his body, about movement and other important things. And dead sure it is not very much fun to work with such a person.
But it is simply a technical challenge to move such a frozen cement statue.

strange_days
10-17-2014, 04:23 AM
You are not alone ... :D :
"I don't want to deal with people who are like statues. ..." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=vGziI9ZN_dk#t=186)

Anyway, we have such uke. We have to deal with them in one way or another. At least as long as they don't try to injure their partner we have to find a way, our own way to practice with them.

Explaining and showing them the sillyness of their behaviour for sure is one way to deal with such uke. I agree with that idea and I used to practice like that for years.
On the other hand, it was just Endō sensei's way of practice, that made me more and more curious about how to deal with people who are "not alive", who don't behave in a way that seems to make sense, or, even worse, who are deeply rooted, veeery heavy and full of energy and very flexible and alive - but who know to use all that for themselves and how to not give me anything at all to work with ...

For sure the " frozen in place, sack of cement, completely rooted stone statue concept" does not make martial sense. And for sure it does not help uke to learn something about his body, about movement and other important things. And dead sure it is not very much fun to work with such a person.
But it is simply a technical challenge to move such a frozen cement statue.

At no point the did uke's behavior in Endo Sensei's video even remotely resemble the kind of ukemi I described. Nor did the uke know exactly what was going to happen next. And yet Endo Sensei was still forced to change technique to move this rather cooperative uke.

If this is what you think resistance looks like, it explains all your claims. And they're, as always, easily disprovable in practice - not just of Aikido, but of most other martial arts.

strange_days
10-18-2014, 06:23 PM
Welp. my post is taking days to get approved again, so here we go again.

_Throughout_ the above video, the uke is highly cooperative, even when he's supposedly "resisting". And even with this cooperation, the uke isn't told in advance what's gonna happen, and the instructor does what's suitable for the current energy, rather than trying to pull off a specific technique.

So, if you were using the video to make some kind of point, Carsten, it contradicts every claim you've been making.

Just to recap, you claimed that you can execute a technique on a fully resisting uke who knows what's coming and actively tries to cancel it, without hitting them or changing into another technique, or having the advantage of initiative for that matter.

This continues to go against everything known to every martial art practitioner, and is easily disprovable, simply because in this scenario, all other factors being equal, the uke is free to do a lot more than the nage.

Carsten Möllering
10-19-2014, 01:36 PM
I didn't mean to "make some kind of point". It was just, that Robin Johnson's statement: "I've never understood the frozen in place, sack of cement, completely rooted stone statue concept. ..." reminded me of that video of Endō sensei. Simply that.

Actually it's not my intention to prove whatever. As I said before I just wanted to share my experience when I read a sentence of Katherin Derbyshire.

This continues to go against everything known to every martial art practitioner, and is easily disprovable, ... Your opinion obviously is very solid, so I will not argue against it. I'm not interested in proving anything or in convincing you of something.

jurasketu
10-19-2014, 03:27 PM
@Carsten - Isn't Endo awesome?. There is a technical challenge to moving statues. I actually have some skill at moving inanimate objects. It is even interesting occasionally. It can even teach you a number of practical mental and physical skills. But as a regular diet - I think it is pretty thin gruel.

jurasketu
10-19-2014, 04:33 PM
@Carsten... I wasn't trying to be critical of what you said. And Endo's video was exactly on point. I was just reiterating my point that it is okay occasionally - bad routinely.

strange_days
10-19-2014, 06:39 PM
Actually it's not my intention to prove whatever. As I said before I just wanted to share my experience when I read a sentence of Katherin Derbyshire.

Her sentence is aligned with my observations, which are also aligned with the physical reality outside your dojo's training matrix. This is why I am present in this argument.

Your opinion obviously is very solid, so I will not argue against it. I'm not interested in proving anything or in convincing you of something.

And yet you are still here trying to argue your side by labeling fact an "opinion".

You've made some incredible claims in this thread:

I'm indeed talking about performing a certain, given waza that was demonstrated by the teacher with resisting uke, "them knowing what's coming, and knowing they won't get hit". And to do that in a slow and relaxed way.

And tori can learn to perform this given technique of this wicked minded blockages and boycotts. - Without using henka waza, without seeking refuge in atemi, wihtout covering inability by increasing speed.

[...] there also is no moment in our slow motion practice, where we simulate a situation, but it is always "real". The technique is meant to really work in slow motion.

There's no shred of evidence that anyone can do this against a uke who is actively canceling your movement with foreknowledge of what's coming, and who are free from nage's self-imposed restrictions of specific kata and specific speed.

I've not seen a single Shihan even attempt to do this. They either resort to atemi or alter movement, or both.

So until you present such evidence, you should perhaps relent on defending your fantasy claims? Passive-aggressively or otherwise.

Thanks.

lbb
10-19-2014, 06:53 PM
Well, that got nasty.

strange_days
10-19-2014, 07:07 PM
I was trying not to go there, I really did. Note that there's no profanity in my reply. But this person is lying. If his claims were true, he and his fellow students could go and win every single MMA tournament - in what would surely become the most spectacular television event of the century.

akiy
10-19-2014, 07:20 PM
The tone in this thread has devolved to personal attacks and other behavior I do not want to see here on AikiWeb.

Thread closed.

-- Jun