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Steve Pilling
10-11-2014, 08:07 AM
One thing I notice when training is that some of the more experienced training partners develop some particular idea of how a technique, e.g. ikkyo should be done. As far as I can see there are different ways that they can work. For example with ikkyo you can step 45 degrees then drive the arm over and through the face using a big movement or you can do a shorter rotating chopping/pulling to the side movement (more reminiscent of daito-ryu maybe). Both as far as i can see have their pros and cons. So although both techniques could potentially work the partner blocks the form they prefer least to convince you that there way is better. This can make training a little frustrating in that you have to do the technique the way they like or have to fight to apply the technique your way against a resisting training partner. This doesnt seem very aiki to me.

Of course it has positives also in that you learn sometimes some better ways to apply techniques and some different approaches. Also in real life some resistance against a technique is to be expected. So I am not complaining. (also to be fair I probably do the same thing also)

But maybe I am doing the technique wrong? maybe it is my fault that I cant do the technique well enough if the partner can resist my preferred form of it. It seems though that forearmed with the knowledge of the techique I am trying to apply that a partner who knows his stuff can almost always counter it, e.g. by just walking with me in ikkyo. This is kind of unfair in that it takes advantage of the artificial nature of training where we are applying a specific technique as told by the instructor rather than choosing one that is adapted to the energy the partner is giving to you.

Has anyone else got this feeling? it would be interesting to get some points of view on this issue?

(to give an idea of my training level-I have been training now for about 4 and half years- trying for 2nd Kyu next month with luck :D )

kewms
10-11-2014, 11:29 AM
Ask your teacher.

Mine says that it's impossible to do a technique (any technique) unless uke is giving you the appropriate energy, and strongly encourages henka waza in those situations. But some dojos frown on henka waza, and say that nage should always strive to do exactly the technique demonstrated by the instructor.

Plus, of course, there's the matter of skill level. It's one thing to tell yudansha to follow the energy being supplied by uke, but beginners don't have the ability to do that yet. To some extent, beginners need to be led through the technique by uke.

(For this reason, I tend to favor the koryu approach of always pairing beginners with more senior people and am not a huge fan of segregated beginner classes.)

At 2nd kyu, you are probably right on the line. You should be starting to understand where the lines of energy are in a technique, but probably don't yet have a lot of experience in "listening" to what your partner's body is telling you instead of following the technique's pre-determined geometry. So consider this as the next step in your training.

Katherine

Cliff Judge
10-11-2014, 05:03 PM
With time and practice you will learn to make your techniques work regardless of whether uke would prefer you did them a little differently. :)

robin_jet_alt
10-11-2014, 06:44 PM
While I appreciate that there are several ways to do an effective technique and that some people prefer one over another and train accordingly as you have described, I would place both the ikkyos you described in the "common ikkyo mistakes" category.

Try getting in position for the first one you described and then cutting straight down.

lifestylemanoz
10-12-2014, 06:43 AM
My thoughts/opinions (feel free to critique)

Be careful that your not falling into the same mental trap that your training partner has, you may find yourself doing it to others at a later stage. It's like bad parenting being passed down. You will have to suck it up and learn from the experience of your own emotion vs the actual technique. However it helps to have everyone of the same page as it helps beginners to see it performed reasonably similarly by all students.

I have encountered a few of these from time to time and they find it hard to maintain student levels if they are teachers. There are an infinite no. of ways to do every technique and no one technique is ever done the same.

Enjoy the process of discovering how your own ego reacts to someone else's. For me this is the most important part of the process. If you can eliminate it, your enjoyment level will expand.

Steve Pilling
10-12-2014, 10:56 AM
thanks that is all great advice and I have taken everyones commments on board.

robin_jet_alt I tried the ikkyo the way you described today and the partner hit the mat so fast I was worried I had hurt him.That was a great tip. I had seen to many different ikkyo versions I was beginning to get the idea that none of them really worked well. So that was a good step forward today.

Also Kewms point about listening to the partner is also a good point. We try at the beginning of course to master the basic standardised movements. One we have them more or less committed to memory we can then try and adapt them to the partners energy. This is the next step for me I think.

Shame my dojo in Munich is closing soon. This is my third in 4 and half years. I liked the Nishio style and the dojo itself.

heathererandolph
10-12-2014, 12:28 PM
Part of learning Aikido is learning to work with different partners. Even with a difficult partner, you can still improve. After all, having confidence in any situation is a goal to strive for. Uke is trying to control the situation. Your job is to be in control of the situation. If you are in their house, they need to be in your house.

One suggestion I have is to focus on your technique aside from the result of the technique. Do not go at his/her pace. force him/her to go at your pace. Attack with integrity.

Focus on "catching balance" i.e. that little stumble instead of the fall. Notice if
you have caught the uke's balance, even briefly. When we practice technique, uke knows what to expect and can therefore resist. The purpose of practice is to improve yourself. As you are in the process of executing the technique think about yourself and if you are correct in every way? By not being reliant on uke falling, you can instead rely on yourself to execute your best technique. If they don't fall they don't fall. So what?

Some things are problematic, such as walking with you. You could tell your partner not to do that. Alternately, you can walk with him/her. Walking and balance don't normally go together. You should walk just a little faster. Uke is on one leg when taking a step. Usually, uke acting passively resistant is upsetting, resulting in less than optimum technique from nage. Therefore, focus on doing correct technique only. Focus on improvement.

Sometimes I will ask my students to do two different techniques using the same attack. This results in a more "realistic" result from uke, as he or she cannot predict which throw will be used.

It is important to understand that any conflict can make you better, if you allow it to.
Outsmart them. That's what Aikido is about.

robin_jet_alt
10-12-2014, 04:31 PM
thanks that is all great advice and I have taken everyones commments on board.

robin_jet_alt I tried the ikkyo the way you described today and the partner hit the mat so fast I was worried I had hurt him.That was a great tip. I had seen to many different ikkyo versions I was beginning to get the idea that none of them really worked well. So that was a good step forward today.

Also Kewms point about listening to the partner is also a good point. We try at the beginning of course to master the basic standardised movements. One we have them more or less committed to memory we can then try and adapt them to the partners energy. This is the next step for me I think.

Shame my dojo in Munich is closing soon. This is my third in 4 and half years. I liked the Nishio style and the dojo itself.

Glad I could help. It's difficult to teach these things without actually being there in person, so I was worried that my advice would be worse than useless.

It's interesting that you do Nisho-style. I did it for a couple of years, and I found that the Nishio-style ikkyo was very big, like the first technique you described, so they may not like you trying out techniques from some random guy on the internet. I'll leave that up to your judgment, though.

JP3
10-13-2014, 03:21 PM
If you know what's coming you can always defeat it. If you are trying to do a technique, and the person "thinks" that the way you are doing it isn't "right," no problem, do it the way they are showing you.

This is pretty drastic, but later on, when that same person doesn't know which technique you are going to use to defend, just apply the one you think should work. Understand though, the actual techniques are movement based, and you may be performing a variation (no problem either if you are aware of it) rather than the pure kata technique which may have things to teach you of which you are as yet unaware.

"Getting it to work" isn't the goal, imo...

sakumeikan
10-13-2014, 05:21 PM
If you know what's coming you can always defeat it. If you are trying to do a technique, and the person "thinks" that the way you are doing it isn't "right," no problem, do it the way they are showing you.

This is pretty drastic, but later on, when that same person doesn't know which technique you are going to use to defend, just apply the one you think should work. Understand though, the actual techniques are movement based, and you may be performing a variation (no problem either if you are aware of it) rather than the pure kata technique which may have things to teach you of which you are as yet unaware.

"Getting it to work" isn't the goal, imo...

Dear John,
Surely the object of training is to make it work?If you think otherwise why waste your time doing waza which may or may not work?Do you just shrug your shoulders on a failed waza and say to yourself 'Try , try again and maybe I will succeed next time out'? If my waza does not work , I get
pretty miffed at myself.Cheers, Joe.

lbb
10-13-2014, 05:58 PM
Do it the way your sensei has demonstrated (this time, in this class...next time may be different). If uke thwarts you, ask for help. Let sensei sort it out.

Cliff Judge
10-13-2014, 09:21 PM
Dear John,
Surely the object of training is to make it work?If you think otherwise why waste your time doing waza which may or may not work?Do you just shrug your shoulders on a failed waza and say to yourself 'Try , try again and maybe I will succeed next time out'? If my waza does not work , I get
pretty miffed at myself.Cheers, Joe.

Wait...you get miffed at yourself and stop trying? Or do you just abandon the whole thing and try something different?

kewms
10-13-2014, 10:06 PM
Dear John,
Surely the object of training is to make it work?If you think otherwise why waste your time doing waza which may or may not work?Do you just shrug your shoulders on a failed waza and say to yourself 'Try , try again and maybe I will succeed next time out'? If my waza does not work , I get
pretty miffed at myself.Cheers, Joe.

The object of training is to improve your aikido. If your technique works, but for the wrong reason -- for instance because you are much stronger than your partner and just forced your way through -- then you haven't improved your aikido and may have made it worse by reinforcing a bad habit.

If a technique doesn't work, in contrast, that's an opportunity to think about why not and try to fix whatever flaw you discover.

Katherine

Steve Pilling
10-17-2014, 03:29 AM
Ok now I am going to complain-I am starting to get a little demotivated- Last night one of my partners was really going full on with resistance and even walking away from the ikkyo. So I am spending the lesson fighting to apply the ikkyo- which does not make for a very pretty technique- then the instructor comes over and starts saying no no not like that and does the technique on my partner- whereupon my partner becomes a model of uke cooperation making it look like I am just totally crap and incompetent. :grr:

Then of course it is my partners turn to do the ikkyo- I could also use my strength and knowledge of the techniques and block and walk (I did it once a few weeks ago just to try show him and he could not move me either) but I of course do not- I really want to avoid these ego games. But the end result is that I look like the complete loser of the dojo.

With gradings coming up I would really like to give better impression. :confused:

phitruong
10-17-2014, 07:38 AM
Then of course it is my partners turn to do the ikkyo- I could also use my strength and knowledge of the techniques and block and walk (I did it once a few weeks ago just to try show him and he could not move me either) but I of course do not- I really want to avoid these ego games. But the end result is that I look like the complete loser of the dojo.


welcome to the aikido world of passive-aggressive. you can find them in pretty much every dojo. often times you can find them looking in the mirror. *doing Michael Jackson dance and singing off key Man In The Mirror*

lbb
10-17-2014, 09:15 AM
welcome to the aikido world of passive-aggressive. you can find them in pretty much every dojo. often times you can find them looking in the mirror.

Indeed. So, rather than trying to cure other people's personality disorders, maybe it's worth asking yourself how much this really affects your practice. Is everyone in your dojo like this? Then you have a problem. Is it one person? Then it's not such a big deal. Even if all the suggestions above don't do a thing for you, and your training with this person is a dead loss, it's ONE PERSON. Do what you can, bow, move on and get some training. Don't put your energy and focus in the area where you're not getting training. Don't get stuck in the ego trap of worrying about how you look or fuming because this uncooperative partner thinks he/she is "beating" you or is better than you. Get some perspective, shake it off, move on to where you can train, and train.

kewms
10-17-2014, 11:42 AM
Then of course it is my partners turn to do the ikkyo- I could also use my strength and knowledge of the techniques and block and walk (I did it once a few weeks ago just to try show him and he could not move me either) but I of course do not- I really want to avoid these ego games. But the end result is that I look like the complete loser of the dojo.

For the most part, everyone else in the dojo is too busy worrying about themselves to care what your technique looks like. On the other hand, the best way to get branded as a "loser" -- short of injuring people -- is to do as your partner was doing.

Learning to deal with frustration is part of the practice. In my experience, "escalating" by being just as stubborn as your partner rarely works and can often lead to ramped up aggression on both sides, and therefore a higher risk of injury.

As for this specific incident... of course the instructor is more competent than you are. That's why he's the guy standing in front of the class and you're not. While it's possible that uke decided to be less stubborn simply because he was dealing with the instructor, it's also likely that there are some specific differences between the instructor's technique and yours that make resistance less possible/effective. Your job is to figure out what those differences are.

Katherine

Steve Pilling
10-18-2014, 01:16 AM
I am sure the instructor is more competent than me and doing a better ikkyo. But it did not look so completely different to what i was trying to do. If after trying to apply ikkyo for nearly 5 years in every conceivable variation it is just my own incompetence leading to failure then I have to wonder whether aikido is just so subtle and complex as to be impractical for self defence purposes.

But of course in real life no technique is guaranteed to work as if often said or we would only need one technique.

But how far is an uke supposed to resist a technique? this just standing as stable as possible and resisting every movement seems to be a strange way to practice aikido to me and certainly is very frustrating. He is not really attacking me and knows in advance the technique I will apply so can just muscle in the opposite direction. This training partner does the same thing when acting as uke with other people-so it is not just me.

Although it is only one person it is only a v. small dojo (so not always a big choice of partners)- and I have the impression that other people are starting to copy this resistant uke model.

kewms
10-18-2014, 01:27 PM
I am sure the instructor is more competent than me and doing a better ikkyo. But it did not look so completely different to what i was trying to do. If after trying to apply ikkyo for nearly 5 years in every conceivable variation it is just my own incompetence leading to failure then I have to wonder whether aikido is just so subtle and complex as to be impractical for self defence purposes.

But of course in real life no technique is guaranteed to work as if often said or we would only need one technique.

But how far is an uke supposed to resist a technique? this just standing as stable as possible and resisting every movement seems to be a strange way to practice aikido to me and certainly is very frustrating. He is not really attacking me and knows in advance the technique I will apply so can just muscle in the opposite direction. This training partner does the same thing when acting as uke with other people-so it is not just me.

Although it is only one person it is only a v. small dojo (so not always a big choice of partners)- and I have the impression that other people are starting to copy this resistant uke model.

I think bringing self defense into this conversation is something of a red herring. A real attacker wouldn't just be standing there waiting for you to do something. There are plenty of challenges in applying aikido in a self-defense situation, but that's not one of them.

As for what your instructor is doing differently, maybe you should ask him? And likewise the question of appropriate ukemi. That will vary depending on what exactly is being practiced.

Katherine

dps
10-18-2014, 03:57 PM
Atemi, kuzushi, technique.

dps

Steve Pilling
10-19-2014, 04:49 AM
I think bringing self defense into this conversation is something of a red herring. A real attacker wouldn't just be standing there waiting for you to do something. There are plenty of challenges in applying aikido in a self-defense situation, but that's not one of them.

As for what your instructor is doing differently, maybe you should ask him? And likewise the question of appropriate ukemi. That will vary depending on what exactly is being practiced.

Katherine

why is self defence a red herring? surely that is the point of making aikido techniques effective- otherwise we could just apply them ineffectively and still get the exercise and other benefits. It is just we would be doing more in the nature of dancing than a martial art.

Would it make a difference is I had written " I have to wonder whether aikido is just so subtle and complex as to be impractical for applying effectively. " - to me I would see this as equivalent but maybe not for everyone?

But is it all maybe going off the point.

how far is an uke supposed to resist a technique? how far is an aikido practitioner expected to be able pull a technique off through resistance?

Mary Eastland
10-19-2014, 07:38 AM
Those are great questions to ask your instructor. Answers you may get on here are going to be really varied. I am not saying that your teacher has the only way. But that teacher has an approach that they are conveying. Feedback on here might make it more difficult for you to blend with the way that is being taught at your dojo. Is there a reason why you would not ask your teacher these questions?

Pauliina Lievonen
10-19-2014, 09:15 AM
My two eurocents -

If you're feeling brave enough, you could speak up and actually point out to the person what they are doing.

I've done that a few times - when someone was resisting in a nonproductive way, just before it was my turn to be uke, I'd say (with a friendly tone of voice) "look, what your ukemi feels like to me is like this" and then I proceeded to take ukemi the way they did. Usually that meant that my partner couldn't do the technique either.

How the situation proceeds from there depends on the person and how they they take feedback of course. But it's at least an open and honest, not a passive-agressive way of dealing with the situation.

I've experienced several variations:
1. my partner gets a bit offended and starts to explain what I was doing wrong, then avoids me for the rest of the class.
2. they say "oh, that's what I thought I was supposed to do" which then leads to more productive practise.
3. they had something specific in mind, either as uke or tori, and tell me what it was, which then leads to more productive practise.

In the case where sensei comes by to demonstrate, I've sometimes asked uke (in a friendly and curious tone of voice) "are you resisting as much as you were with me?". Quite often the answer has been "yes".

To summarize - in my experience using actual words to communicate with people has almost always improved the situation. :D

Pauliina

lbb
10-19-2014, 09:21 AM
why is self defence a red herring?

Because a training situation is not a self-defense situation. If you are in a self-defense situation, do you have the same care for your attacker's well-being as you do when training in the dojo? No? Then equating the two situations is a red herring. They are not equivalent. The one may, you hope, prepare you for the other, but they are not the same.

Janet Rosen
10-19-2014, 02:23 PM
why is self defence a red herring?

Because an actual attacker is not going to stand there like an oaf just resisting the one designated technique you are trying to demonstrate in the dojo.
An actual attacker will be trying to DO SOMETHING TO YOU in space and time, offering you opportunities.

kewms
10-19-2014, 08:29 PM
why is self defence a red herring? surely that is the point of making aikido techniques effective- otherwise we could just apply them ineffectively and still get the exercise and other benefits. It is just we would be doing more in the nature of dancing than a martial art.


As I said, a real attacker is very unlikely to just stand there and wait for you to do something. So your ability to execute a technique in the situation you describe is almost entirely irrelevant to your ability to apply aikido in a self-defense situation.

Which, by the way, is one reason why that type of ukemi is only useful in certain limited circumstances.

Edit: Yeah, what Janet and Mary said.

Also what Pauliina said. Verbal communication is often more effective in getting your point across.

Katherine

lifestylemanoz
10-21-2014, 04:24 AM
As a side note. These things that frustrate you will eventually go away. With time you will be able to adapt to anyone's style or method quickly. And of course, if like me you sometimes train in different styles and different dojos just go with whatever everyone else is doing. If you train for long enough, you can change easily.

ken king
10-27-2014, 11:28 AM
While OP's dojo mate does sound like a jerk, there are benefit's to training with guys like this. For example, it points out gaps in education. OP references uke blocking ikkyo, what about kuzushi? Did you take balance at all or are you allowing him to regain it? Are you allowing uke to clamp down on your wrist and plant his center before you move? Did you take uke's mind with atemi? Are you maintaining connection and intent from first contact? The throw is such a small part of a technique, what leads up to it is ultimately important and determines if it will be successful. I don't advocate being the resident budo jerk, but sometimes uncompliant uke are a gift in disguise by forcing us to rethink our methods. Besides, imagine how good it will feel once you can destroy this dude's structure and toss him around like a rag doll.