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Brian Sutton
05-14-2016, 09:45 PM
Any thoughts on that overly resistant uke? A training tool or just a tool..I've heard many schools of thought on resisting someone's technique . From beginner's to those testing, resistance is poor etiquette but after some experience, and in the right context, resistance can help build technique. To another school of ; this isn't the appropriate energy for this technique, if uke changes, nage changes..
Thoughts??

rugwithlegs
05-14-2016, 11:08 PM
I prefer to think of providing useful feedback - too fast, too hard, changing too rapidly for Nage to learn anything is not useful. A form of feedback that does not belong in the kata being practiced means Nage needs to clash, so Nage gets worse. As both an aikido and a taiji person, the difference in solo practice and partner practice is the feedback. This is for kihon.

I don't clearly know how to teach it. Some uke will see a kata where Nage has to lift up, so they push down. Later on, especially with freestyle if uke pushes down I let them go down. I move up if that is where Uke's strength is sending me, or if that's where there is a hole in their power. I want to learn to feel the opening, not the resistance. Uke also need to learn to be safe for free practice, and when they are used to clashing non-resistance is often frightening and leads to injuries - you can resist what you anticipate.

There are basic structure lessons to learn, but not real technique.

Janet Rosen
05-15-2016, 04:26 PM
Any thoughts on that overly resistant uke? A training tool or just a tool..I've heard many schools of thought on resisting someone's technique . From beginner's to those testing, resistance is poor etiquette but after some experience, and in the right context, resistance can help build technique. To another school of ; this isn't the appropriate energy for this technique, if uke changes, nage changes..
Thoughts??

There is a difference between the two things: "uke changing" is NOT "uke is resistant." I read resistance as clamping, grounding, tightening and - in essence - refusing to actually participate. The best metaphor for this I've ever encountered is: how can a person learn to drive if the instructor stomps on his emergency brake pedal every time the student uses the accelerator?
And even beyond the realm of newbies: how can an intermediate or advanced student improve if the instructor stomps on the brake pedal instead of introducing a more challenging course to drive on?

Michael Hackett
05-15-2016, 04:52 PM
I personally think resisting your partner is a poor practice in GENERAL. There are times when resistance can be a productive learning tool though. Asking Uke to apply more pressure, more grip, or whatever can help Nage work through the technique without resorting to force and muscle. But, that is an implied contract between two students who have agreed to work with and through resistance.

Brian Sutton
05-15-2016, 07:43 PM
There is a difference between the two things: "uke changing" is NOT "uke is resistant." I read resistance as clamping, grounding, tightening and - in essence - refusing to actually participate. The best metaphor for this I've ever encountered is: how can a person learn to drive if the instructor stomps on his emergency brake pedal every time the student uses the accelerator?
And even beyond the realm of newbies: how can an intermediate or advanced student improve if the instructor stomps on the brake pedal instead of introducing a more challenging course to drive on?
You know Janet, I think you nailed it. Thanks!!

kewms
05-15-2016, 09:00 PM
Resistance only 'works' if nage buys into it. So it's bad practice for uke in most situations.

OTOH, what are you trying to teach? Learning how to move a static, resisting partner is useful. Learning how to change a technique in the face of resistance is useful. Learning how to protect yourself as uke regardless of what nage tries to do is useful. I think it's the instructor's responsibility to be very clear about what a particular exercise is intended to teach, and how both uke and nage should approach the situation. (Which will probably be level-dependent.)

Katherine

lbb
05-16-2016, 08:55 AM
I would guess that in the large majority of cases, the resistant uke is either 1)not only unable to take good ukemi, but ignorant of what good ukemi is, or 2)just knowledgeable enough to be able to thwart the technique, but not wise enough to understand why you don't do that, and is acting out of ego.

Etiquette is a lot more than which fork you use. It's a code for interacting with people in a way that maximizes understanding and the possibility of good and beneficial relations, and minimizes the possibility of conflict. Etiquette gives us a set of rules that can guide us when our better instincts are not as well developed as they should be, or are out to lunch together, or whatever. In the moment when you see an opening and can resist or reverse the technique of your partner, etiquette tells you not to go there. Later on, you'll realize why that was the right call, but in the moment, "because etiquette" is enough to keep you from doing something you'll later regret. And, obviously, etiquette is different depending on those involved -- strangers meeting for the first time, vs. close friends. If I'm working with a partner that I work with frequently, I might resist slightly if they're making a simple mistake and I know they know better. They correct their form, no one is embarrassed, practice goes on. But I'd only do that once in a great while, and only if it seems likely to help.

Janet Rosen
05-16-2016, 09:43 AM
If I'm working with a partner that I work with frequently, I might resist slightly if they're making a simple mistake and I know they know better. They correct their form, no one is embarrassed, practice goes on. But I'd only do that once in a great while, and only if it seems likely to help.

Clarifying question: is this purely semantics in terms of how we are defining "resist?
Because what I would do in your scenario is "to not pretend that I have to move when I don't have to" but that doesn't mean I have to actively ground or resist...it means I don't have to change anything about the way I am which hopefully is not full of unneeded tension.

lbb
05-16-2016, 11:58 AM
Clarifying question: is this purely semantics in terms of how we are defining "resist?
Because what I would do in your scenario is "to not pretend that I have to move when I don't have to" but that doesn't mean I have to actively ground or resist...it means I don't have to change anything about the way I am which hopefully is not full of unneeded tension.

I guess you can call anything "semantics" if you want to, but then that invites a discussion of what you mean by "have to move". Do you "have to move" when someone applies nikkyu? I remember a discussion on that subject where someone observed that not a few people, not familiar with nikkyo ukemi, will simply stand there in pain, because they have no idea how to move. Now, we could go off into the weeds of a "well then you're just not DOING IT RIGHT" derail, but I'm not so much interested in that either. I think any reasonable and intellectually honest person admits that there's a lot of leeway in "have to move" -- I don't "have to move", I can let my arm be broken or my wrist be sprained or whatever. I DO have a choice.

So, "have to move" is not an absolute, it's not a bright line. Training with a junior student, they start to apply kotegaeshi. I don't "have to move" because they're holding my wrist way too high and too far from their body. But this student is just getting to where they can do the hand changes in the right order. If I'm going to be a helpful practice partner, I'll let them apply the technique, and even though I don't "have to move" I will move, so that they can learn what they're trying to learn right now. You can call it "pretending" if you want, but why? When a tennis coach is teaching a beginning student, they don't hit as fast or as hard as they could; are they "pretending"? No, they're teaching in a functional way, not demonstrating their own awesomeness.

And can we dispense with the whole argument that teaching in a progression isn't helpful because what will happen to them on THE STREET? This is aikido, not a two-hour "self-defense" class. The student will be back; there will be opportunities to get the rest of it right. Maybe the opportunity will come in a week, or a day, or a minute, but we'll move on to the next part when this part is learned. It's a progression. If you try to force people to get everything right from jump when teaching a complex skill, most of them will never get it, because you won't let them learn it.

jonreading
05-16-2016, 11:58 AM
I am looking at tweaking my nomenclature for behavior within a partnership, so I'll share where I am with that little project... Resistance is a term used to refer to a behavior manifest as a consequence of action. If I resist my partner, then that means that I am thwarting an action applied against me. I may resist ikkyo and that behavior may include anything that prevents nage from controlling my arm.

Sometimes, we use resistance as a bucket term to be critical of a failed partnership. When I am sensei, I can perform kaishi waza against a student's ikkyo and that is beautiful movement. But, the same "kaishi waza" with the roles reversed and and now its "resistance." I do not like the idea of tying uke(mi) to etiquette because I think that leads to "falling is the polite thing to do." For all we talk about how bad ego is, we sure do go a long way to avoid offending it on the mat. So how is "resistance" any different than kihon waza or henka waza or kaishi waza? I am not sure it is.

I prefer to think of it as a term used to describe a level of participation, not positive or negative but qualitative. In this light, I can apply resistance at any level under any circumstance as a tool to improve my partner's movement. Katherine brought up a great point. For me, resistance generally doesn't matter. If I am learning how to move, resistance may complicate my instruction. If I am applying movement practically, I am going to move in the path of best success. In between, resistance is used the same way you add resistance in any other athletic endeavor, to improve function.

rugwithlegs
05-16-2016, 03:26 PM
Tweaking the nomenclature is a good idea I guess. When I practice Kaeshiwaza I am not really thinking of force on force so much as, say, Kotegaeshi is lifted too high and I lead up a little higher. I was taught it wasn't about fighting a technique so much as providing feedback to Nage to improve the technique. I tend of follow the motion rather than resist it.

A beginner isn't perfect, but I usually see most beginners told to keep a Shihonage hand in front of their face to avoid a bad habit developing, or beginners reminded to keep their hands from getting behind them. For working on structure, I had an instructor who would refer to framing. The goal was clearly to help a partner (not Nage versus uke) feel their balance and ground path.

Some of the Ki testing exercises would be an example of a useful application of resistance or framing. Maybe it needs a separate new name if resistance is too much associated with ego and mean partners.

kewms
05-16-2016, 04:57 PM
So how is "resistance" any different than kihon waza or henka waza or kaishi waza? I am not sure it is.

I think henka waza and kaishi waza contain a degree of purposefulness that is not always present in "resistance." There's a difference between "I won't let you do the throw" and "I'm going to continue to seek openings to continue my attack until you bring the interaction to a conclusion."

Again, I think all discussions of -- let's call it non-compliant ukemi, if "resistance" carries too much baggage -- need to take place in the context of the respective levels of the partners and the goals of the particular exercise. Black belts practicing with each other should be allowed (encouraged!) to explore more complex interactions than would be appropriate when practicing with beginners.

Katherine

kewms
05-16-2016, 05:08 PM
I would guess that in the large majority of cases, the resistant uke is either 1)not only unable to take good ukemi, but ignorant of what good ukemi is, or 2)just knowledgeable enough to be able to thwart the technique, but not wise enough to understand why you don't do that, and is acting out of ego.

I think there's often a misunderstanding of uke's role, too. Often, people seem to genuinely think they are being helpful by "not just falling down," and they don't seem to understand that uke and nage are both practicing the same fundamental principles.

Katherine

robin_jet_alt
05-17-2016, 03:19 AM
Well, to be honest, I'm not sure what resistance means. For instance, when I train with beginners, I will use my ukemi to actively guide them through the technique. All they have to do is follow me. However, this could be considered resistance, because I decide when and how I will move and if uke decides they will not follow me or they go the wrong way, I generally won't fall over for them. I think that this is totally a valid teaching tool. Is it resistance? I don't know...

Dave Forde
05-17-2016, 09:33 AM
My own very non-expert take on the resistance thing is to ask if uke is resisting is it in such a way that they are open to either a strike or another technique. If so IMO the resistance is neither helpful nor intelligent. This sack of potatoes type of resistance can lead to uke being injured due to them being effectively asleep. The tension produced in ukes that resist this way ensure that they invariably do not feel any subtle change in nage's movement or intention. When I am uke I try never to resist just by being awkward, especially for less experienced nage. It is not good for my own training to do so and nage learns very little either. As others have posted there is a use for resistance when trying to learn application of a technique against a static partner but I would agree that this should really be the aim of both partners before engaging in this kind of exercise.
Attacks are by their nature dynamic and so as far as possible uke should be dynamic, without soccer style diving creeping in :) .

jonreading
05-17-2016, 10:24 AM
Many of the older deshi used to remark about how electric their ukemi felt when working with O Sensei. Some Daito Ryu people speak in similar fashion. When you look at these accounts, two consistent statements appear: 1. uke was powerless to prevent action, 2. the movement was sudden and instantaneous. Neither point seems to indicate that uke was able to "resist" the movement of nage.

To point out the obvious, 13 posts in and we've already branded uke that resist as bad.
I consider ukemi to be body management. Yes, poor body management creates openings and weakness. Resistance can be a symptom of poor body management. Of course, we warm up with exercises that strengthen our joints and stretch our muscles. We practice receiving energy to prevent undesirable outcomes. Katherine touched on my unspoken point, give resistance a little purpose and you have a functional tool. To carry her comment a little further, we are building our bodies to naturally be functionally resistance to influence. Immovable object and irresistible force, right?

If I were weight training, I wouldn't start by using more resistance than I could manage. Eventually, in order to become stronger I would need to change the resistance. I am not sure why things are different when considering martial arts training.

Demetrio Cereijo
05-17-2016, 10:48 AM
Any thoughts on that overly resistant uke? A training tool or just a tool.

For kata performance in a tori-uke relationship, resistance is not a good idea. For performance in other environments is useful.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
05-17-2016, 03:12 PM
It may have been George Ledyard who wrote here that it is uke's job to present nage with a solvable problem. If it is not a problem, no learning takes place. If it is not solvable, no learning takes place either. As some have written before in this thread, if in different words, this can be applied to the appropriate amount of "resistance", too.

lbb
05-17-2016, 04:24 PM
It may have been George Ledyard who wrote here that it is uke's job to present nage with a solvable problem. If it is not a problem, no learning takes place. If it is not solvable, no learning takes place either. .

I like this.

robin_jet_alt
05-17-2016, 04:59 PM
It may have been George Ledyard who wrote here that it is uke's job to present nage with a solvable problem. If it is not a problem, no learning takes place. If it is not solvable, no learning takes place either. As some have written before in this thread, if in different words, this can be applied to the appropriate amount of "resistance", too.

I like this too!

phitruong
05-18-2016, 08:33 AM
It may have been George Ledyard who wrote here that it is uke's job to present nage with a solvable problem. If it is not a problem, no learning takes place. If it is not solvable, no learning takes place either. As some have written before in this thread, if in different words, this can be applied to the appropriate amount of "resistance", too.

thus, uke should be the more experience person in order to determine the appropriate level of "resistance". Uke should be the one who teaches; nage, learn.

one thing to note that some minds are immovable to solution(s). and to quote Dennis Hooker sensei, "teach the mind, through the body", i.e. apply "appropriate" level of pain.

Derek
05-18-2016, 12:07 PM
I think there is always resistance. It's a question of degree. There should be enough resistance to let nage know where they are having weakness and not too much to cause failure. Obviously in practice, our goals vary. Sometimes we want to "succeed" at a particular technique and sometimes we want to find what works. If you meet resistance you would change techniques or maybe offer an atemi. So it those are out of bounds for the practice you are undertaking, then resistance should be modified.

I think what we are all saying is don't be a jerk, resist in a helpful way.

Amir Krause
05-19-2016, 01:29 AM
As many have pointed here, to be a good Uke is a skill enveloping many behaviors, from leading tori in technique execution, to Attacking with intent and looking for openings. Depending on whom each of Tori and Nage is and what is the actual practice.

As to resistance being bad and this analogy:

Many of the older deshi used to remark about how electric their ukemi felt when working with O Sensei. Some Daito Ryu people speak in similar fashion. When you look at these accounts, two consistent statements appear: 1. uke was powerless to prevent action, 2. the movement was sudden and instantaneous. Neither point seems to indicate that uke was able to "resist" the movement of nage.

To point out the obvious, 13 posts in and we've already branded uke that resist as bad.
I consider ukemi to be body management. Yes, poor body management creates openings and weakness. Resistance can be a symptom of poor body management. Of course, we warm up with exercises that strengthen our joints and stretch our muscles. We practice receiving energy to prevent undesirable outcomes. Katherine touched on my unspoken point, give resistance a little purpose and you have a functional tool. To carry her comment a little further, we are building our bodies to naturally be functionally resistance to influence. Immovable object and irresistible force, right?

If I were weight training, I wouldn't start by using more resistance than I could manage. Eventually, in order to become stronger I would need to change the resistance. I am not sure why things are different when considering martial arts training.

Resistance is indeed one possible behavior for Uke, but not for all types of practice. The main problem with resistance is it can easily change the situation, hence change the technical solution. e.g. if the purpose of some exercise the teacher is showing is to learn Ikkyo from a hand grasp, and the technique involves Tori lifting Uke's arm with his body (After some Kuzushi), yet Uke, who is familiar with the technique and Kuzushi, decides to clamp on and insisit his arm not be raised, and even bends forward putting all his weight against this, this actually creates a good opportunity to Nage to throw Uke via another technique (say Kaiten Nage, though it might also be just a secondary Kuzushi to get the Ikkyo), yet, most will insist on doing the Ikkyo as they have been shown, via investing more power. And here is the difference between weight training and martial arts training. In martial arts strengthening we wish to learn to modify our behavior. Note however, that if the same Uke behavior would be perfectly acceptable if context has changed into advanced students learning "free play", and Tori is actually expected to respond to Uke resistance with change. Also, similar behavior could be OK if the teacher is incorporating it in his technical demonstration (at least for my teacher it's common - "You may get resistance, here is a way to come over it, try ...".

Thanks
Amir

jonreading
05-19-2016, 11:22 AM
At the risk of starting world war, I am gonna clarify that in my experience resistance can thwart technique; resistance cannot thwart aiki. There is a difference. As I put my hands on good people, I find that not only is my action unsuccessful, it does not affect my partner.

On some level, we have all heard the, "I'd just do something else," response to resistant uke. And I think that is true. But there is another level where what you do does not matter. For people who move with aiki, your participation is not required. I think we sometimes ignore this level of training because it is difficult to achieve.

rugwithlegs
05-19-2016, 12:37 PM
At the risk of starting world war, I am gonna clarify that in my experience resistance can thwart technique; resistance cannot thwart aiki. There is a difference. As I put my hands on good people, I find that not only is my action unsuccessful, it does not affect my partner.

On some level, we have all heard the, "I'd just do something else," response to resistant uke. And I think that is true. But there is another level where what you do does not matter. For people who move with aiki, your participation is not required. I think we sometimes ignore this level of training because it is difficult to achieve.

I've felt it. The only way I can tell this apart from someone who "looks" right is when I don't participate and it doesn't matter, versus someone who crumples. The closest I've come to being able to tell when I am "looking" right but not actually correct if when someone provides feedback and it doesn't matter. Then I explore when it did matter.

We all seem to agree though. A block of wood latching on to my arm is not what anyone here is talking about, nor are we asking everyone to be a rhythmic gymnastics ribbon all the time. Ukemi is a living process.

Nicholas Eschenbruch
05-19-2016, 03:19 PM
At the risk of starting world war, I am gonna clarify that in my experience resistance can thwart technique; resistance cannot thwart aiki. There is a difference. As I put my hands on good people, I find that not only is my action unsuccessful, it does not affect my partner.

On some level, we have all heard the, "I'd just do something else," response to resistant uke. And I think that is true. But there is another level where what you do does not matter. For people who move with aiki, your participation is not required. I think we sometimes ignore this level of training because it is difficult to achieve.

Not sure who is "we", I do not :-) Also not sure what the war would be about? I at least am with you.

robin_jet_alt
05-20-2016, 03:17 AM
At the risk of starting world war, I am gonna clarify that in my experience resistance can thwart technique; resistance cannot thwart aiki. There is a difference. As I put my hands on good people, I find that not only is my action unsuccessful, it does not affect my partner.

On some level, we have all heard the, "I'd just do something else," response to resistant uke. And I think that is true. But there is another level where what you do does not matter. For people who move with aiki, your participation is not required. I think we sometimes ignore this level of training because it is difficult to achieve.

Not going to disagree with you on this, but I'm interested in whether you feel that resistance is a useful thing to develop aiki. If so, how much and when?

FWIW, I think the answer is yes, and that it is up to instructors and senior students to decide in the circumstances, but as a rule, always apply just a little bit more than the student can currently handle (assuming the student has a basic understanding of the mechanics of the technique already).

Mark Raugas
05-20-2016, 07:42 AM
At the risk of starting world war, I am gonna clarify that in my experience resistance can thwart technique; resistance cannot thwart aiki. There is a difference. As I put my hands on good people, I find that not only is my action unsuccessful, it does not affect my partner.

On some level, we have all heard the, "I'd just do something else," response to resistant uke. And I think that is true. But there is another level where what you do does not matter. For people who move with aiki, your participation is not required. I think we sometimes ignore this level of training because it is difficult to achieve.

Actually, I am grateful for your provocative post. It has prompted me to wrestle a bit with what you are trying to get at. Thank you.

A question that comes to mind is what happens when two people with aiki get into conflict?

Is Aiki atomic (in the philosophical sense) or can it be sub-divided?

For example, in Taijiquan, we have the notions of zhan (stick), nian (adhere), lian (continue), and sui (follow). These are four principles that, when all are present in your relationship with an opponent, and you off-balance or throw or lock or hit them, you can say you have done Taijiquan. Without one of the four, you might be successful, but you are not doing Taijiquan correctly or in its full expression of potential.

It would be similar to saying you threw someone, but did not use aiki.

Are there doka or other subcomponents to a successful application of aiki? I am thinking of the writings Chris Li has found on Daito-ryu or translations of Ueshiba Morihei's early writings.

The reason I ask is there may be many reasons someone is unbeatable -- from aiki to taiji to other qigong from other styles to extremely strong body conditioning to the end of the spectrum where drug use or psychosis makes someone difficult to resist.

The reason your comment raised my interest is in the way you describe it, it seems like tori does not care what uke is doing, is just so powerful that it does not matter, and that would make aiki very different from taiji, which is focused on sensitivity (sensitivity permeates the four concepts above -- without it, you can't do something like sui correctly).

Anyway, back to your first paragraph, third sentence, I would assume if your skill increased, then things would get more interesting -- you would apply technique with aiki, the opponent would have aiki of his own, and it would depend on relative level of skill. So, doesn't your statement boil down to relative level of skill?

What is aiki, then (rhetorical)? Is it something that is immovable/immutable? Does it just mean your level of skill is sublime? Did Mifune have aiki, not having practiced Aikido? If he did randori with Mochizuku, who was 10th dan in Aikido, who would win?

Just idle thoughts on the first sunny day in some time.

Mark

jonreading
05-20-2016, 09:47 AM
Not going to disagree with you on this, but I'm interested in whether you feel that resistance is a useful thing to develop aiki. If so, how much and when?

FWIW, I think the answer is yes, and that it is up to instructors and senior students to decide in the circumstances, but as a rule, always apply just a little bit more than the student can currently handle (assuming the student has a basic understanding of the mechanics of the technique already).

I see aiki as a perishable skill that requires training. For me, aiki is a way to move the body. I see resistance like most athletic endeavors, part of strengthening and stretching the body. Later, is is also a good tool that let's me find weakness in my body that has been stressed by [too much] resistance. Posture training, for example. When my partner applies pressure against my body, how do I manage that force? If I can't manage the force, how can I expect to manipulate it? I can't, this is a problem of evasion.

We do this stuff all the time, we just don't like to admit it. For example, we are admonished to "relax,"which is really just another way of saying, "your body is not properly managing the stress load, change." When we move correctly, we often express a feeling, "like I wasn't doing anything," which is a description of resistance (or lack thereof).

A classic aikido parlor trick, unbendable arm, is a resistance exercise. We relax our arm, think about fairies and magic, "extend" to the wall and our partner becomes unable to bend our arms. What makes it a parlor trick is that our training limits unbendable arm... to my arm. Why not unbendable leg? Unbendable body? Why not use unbendable arm to stop people from pushing against your arm? If my arm is in the same position as unbendable arm (a demonstration of my partner's inability to bend my arm), how can my partner successfully apply ikkyo without my participation? If should be pretty difficult. I am resisting? No more than if I was showing a parlor trick...

All of this is to say that I see resistance as a useful metric in a number of aspects in my training. My perspective also transcends the argument that my partner is behaving antagonistically - that is, my partner is acting in a way to negatively affect my training or education. If you are hurting my training, I don't care whether your fall or not, I will work with someone else. Sometimes I am wrong and I need to learn from those instances.

jonreading
05-20-2016, 11:44 AM
Since I somewhat evaded the two questions...

How much is a simple answer - as much as needed to illustrate success. Resistance can be a positive feedback and a negative one. For example, I can use resistance to see if I am balanced. Or, I can use resistance to test the quality of my movement.

When is during resistance training. Not during learning. If you don't know what you're doing, not knowing what you're doing with resistance does not change that equation.

kewms
05-20-2016, 11:14 PM
On some level, we have all heard the, "I'd just do something else," response to resistant uke. And I think that is true. But there is another level where what you do does not matter. For people who move with aiki, your participation is not required. I think we sometimes ignore this level of training because it is difficult to achieve.

Well, applying aiki in the wrong place/direction is just as useless as applying force in the wrong place/direction, too. It's a lot easier to talk about "moving with aiki" in the presence of a resistant partner than it is to actually do it.

Katherine

robin_jet_alt
05-21-2016, 03:16 AM
Since I somewhat evaded the two questions...

How much is a simple answer - as much as needed to illustrate success. Resistance can be a positive feedback and a negative one. For example, I can use resistance to see if I am balanced. Or, I can use resistance to test the quality of my movement.

When is during resistance training. Not during learning. If you don't know what you're doing, not knowing what you're doing with resistance does not change that equation.

100% agree with you. Just wanted to bring you on track a bit :)

Rupert Atkinson
05-29-2016, 01:37 AM
A classic aikido parlor trick, unbendable arm, is a resistance exercise. If my arm is in the same position as unbendable arm, how can my partner successfully apply ikkyo without my participation?

Ikkyo should be exactly that. And resistance should be exactly that. Why is everyone barking up the wrong tree ... I always wonder ...

Rupert Atkinson
05-29-2016, 01:39 AM
Here is my take on it: http://discovering-aikido.com/resistance.htm

rugwithlegs
05-29-2016, 08:16 AM
Well put Rupert.

kewms
05-30-2016, 01:36 AM
A classic aikido parlor trick, unbendable arm, is a resistance exercise. We relax our arm, think about fairies and magic, "extend" to the wall and our partner becomes unable to bend our arms. What makes it a parlor trick is that our training limits unbendable arm... to my arm. Why not unbendable leg? Unbendable body? Why not use unbendable arm to stop people from pushing against your arm? If my arm is in the same position as unbendable arm (a demonstration of my partner's inability to bend my arm), how can my partner successfully apply ikkyo without my participation? If should be pretty difficult. I am resisting? No more than if I was showing a parlor trick...

There are plenty of "straight arm" variations of ikkyo. I would say that someone who is prevented from doing ikkyo by an unbendable arm probably doesn't understand ikkyo very well. Which I suspect was exactly your point.

Katherine

jurasketu
05-30-2016, 12:58 PM
Resistance takes many forms.. Adding my comments...

If you work with children, they will resist in bizarre ways - limp, stiff, active, passive, kicking and striking inappropriately. But since you are trying to use technique on a child that you must not hurt even marginally, it requires interesting skills to make a technique "work". Occasionally, you even get whacked because children don't understand defense at all and intuitively know that you cannot strike them preemptively.

Then there is stupidly non-martial resistance. The "I will break your technique" by being stiff and/or unmoving. Never mind that an unmoving or stiff target is wide open for all sorts of punches, breaks kicks and stomps resulting in serious injury. How is that martial defense? That is not useful training for either nage or uke.

Active resistance created by an uke moving with martial intent throughout the technique is much better training for both the nage AND the uke. An active uke can show nage's openings by using a love tap at the opening. The active uke learns how to move with control and can look/find the exit points/openings while defending themselves from the same. The key here - is moving resistance. Do boxers or wrestlers or judoka just "stand there" in a sparring match? Nope. Not ever. That is a recipe for losing.

The problem is that sometimes the nage will compensate with speed against an active uke instead of position and control. Speed can hide weak position and technique and also create unnecessary injury, so I think it is important to concentrate on position and control points in a technique rather than how fast it can be done. At slow speed, a good uke can show without directly blocking whether or not the nage's technique is really working or not. In training, speed like strength can limit learning. As skill increases, the uke and nage can speed things up to understand how things work at full speed - especially the initial tai-sabaki.

RonRagusa
05-30-2016, 11:38 PM
A classic aikido parlor trick, unbendable arm, is a resistance exercise. We relax our arm, think about fairies and magic, "extend" to the wall and our partner becomes unable to bend our arms.

I'm not sure where you got all that fairies and magic nonsense, but putting that aside; we don't focus on any particular image. Instead we use unbendable arm as a vehicle for developing a specific feeling within the body. Once the correct feeling is attained it can be applied at will whenever the situation calls for it. Increased loads are gradually introduced in order to strengthen and reinforce the feeling. I'd also like to note that the unbendable arm exercise has variations that go beyond the static exercise you are familiar with, involving different forms of motion making the exercise more dynamic in nature.

What makes it a parlor trick is that our training limits unbendable arm... to my arm. Why not unbendable leg? Unbendable body?

All of the things you note are already being done and have been for all of my almost 40 years of training. Maruyama sensei used to say that Ki exercises can be performed regardless of the body part being worked or the position nage assumes for the exercise. Over the years I have come up with many variations on the classic Ki exercises in order to enable students to train and succeed without regard to body parts and positions.

Why not use unbendable arm to stop people from pushing against your arm?

In fact, at a workshop conducted by George Ledyard a few years ago he had us perform an exercise where nage used unbendable arm to stop uke in his tracks when uke came in with a push from a wrist grab.

Ron

jonreading
05-31-2016, 08:58 AM
Not to spark a debate. But kinda...

Yes, my point was that looking at a aikido trick that we all know, you get some interesting observations, some of which conflict with each other. Ultimately, the exercise builds up your partner's ability to stress your system and your ability to manage that stress. It's a great exercise on both sides of the ball. As you strip away rules you are left with a great exercise of push hands.

First, in my experience, the parlor trick is described as, "extending ki," usually by thinking about touching a wall, or imagining your arm as a fire hose, or tree limb. Also, the trick has to not work, then work. For everyone - sometimes, there is even a critical instruction from the demonstrator that is required for the participant to be successful. I am critical of this because the demonstration becomes more similar to a magic trick and less similar to a core instruction. I understand that not everyone shows unbendable arm this way, but I bet my bottom dollar we have all seen this demonstration.

Second, I think unbendable arm is a fantastic teaching instrument. But, we have all been 100% successful with unbendable arm... So why is that not the case in our aikido? I would hazard that most of us don't know what we are doing, which is why "extending to the wall" is the instruction du jour. Experience is not expertise.

I don't mean to derail the resistance thread, but I think looking at our exercises and understanding they are resistance exercises should raise some eyebrows. Tori fune, tenkan undo, irimi nage undo - you're building proper movement. I choose unbendable arm because we have all seen it, done it, and yet we have difficulty applying that principle in our aikido. If you can do this, I would argue you fall into a minority. I certainly can't.

rugwithlegs
05-31-2016, 11:30 AM
Well, I guess trick is an accurate choice of words.

Learning that just using the tricep is stronger than using both tricep and bicep as the two muscles fight each other. Releasing antagonistic tension, extension. With other joints, there can be dozens of muscle groups involved so imagery is a way to coordinate muscle and structure.

We do a version of Shomenate as a back fall in class. I actually do have students strike the finishing posture, and then slowly, while giving them corrections, lean in and rest my full body weight against their palm. Translating this to motion is hard, but I think if a student felt it static at least they have some idea what to reach for. I guess it's "Unbendable body."