View Full Version : Flexibility

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08-30-2002, 02:09 PM
For as long as I can remember, I have had very flexible wrists, shoulders, and elbows. This makes it very difficult for people to throw me or take my balance using the wrist techniques. In order to take my balance, people often have to pass their own comfort level of how far it is ethical to twist and bend my arm. It is even more difficult when I don't know the technique and can't even mimic the 'correct' ukemi. Does anyone have a suggestion as to what I should do?
Thanks, Jessica.

08-30-2002, 02:30 PM
You don't need to worry about mimicing correct ukemi. It is not about causing pain in joints, it is about taking the other's balance, and your partners will throw you, regardless if you know the technique, once they have your balance. I am fairly flexible myself, but all ranks of folks, when they are more interested in twisting a joint rather than where my center is, can mess up the technique. Then they realize the error and fix it.

The emphasis should not be on how flexible you are (as in, my joint is flexible that is why it is not working) as that will only encourage them to crank more on the joint, which is not the source of the problem.

One thing that might sometimes happen too, though, is a flexible uke may not be working very hard on maintaining connection to nage...you know, the noodle-like floppy uke (think of the initial dance instruction scene in Dirty Dancing). being flexible sometimes let you 'wander' away from nage without much moving your feet. Easily fixed by keeping intent on connecting with your partner.

Deb Fisher
08-30-2002, 02:41 PM
I agree with Colleen. I'm very flexible myself, and definitely get thrown whenever the technique is done with an emphasis on my center, not on my wrist.

Kevin Leavitt
08-30-2002, 11:19 PM
I hate flexible people! Damn you!

It is definitely harder in someways to take a flexible persons center since they are not apt to "give" it to you and have a farther range of motion to absorb your technique before you get to their center.

But as everyone else has already stated, done correctly, flexbility should not be a concern since you take center instead of using the limb as a fulcrum.

08-31-2002, 04:48 AM
To mimic ukemi is not always a bad thing.

If you do not mimic ukemi and by doing so are learning your body that it is ok to wait until you have absolutely no choice left then that is definitly a bad thing.

Uke is not the passive person to which nage applies his technique.

08-31-2002, 06:14 AM
Hi Erik...our point may be getting lost in the translation, though your English is so good I kind of doubt it...

Ukemi (without mimicing) includes feeling when it is time to go and not hanging around to see what will happen when you're past the point of no return. Mimicing is just throwing yourself regardless of what nage is doing. OK to practice without a partner, or with one if you both agree that is what you are doing, but to do it in regular practice (a) robs nage of the chance to see if their technique is what they'd want--not saying don't give the occasional courtesy fall to the very new student, but even new students can realize when it is an obvious self-launch (b) robs uke of the chance to really learn the technique as they won't feel it being done, they will probably fall too soon (c) produces that icky two-people-doing-stuff-not-connected-to-eachother feeling.

08-31-2002, 07:07 AM
Hi Colleen, i dont think the problem occures due to translation. Might be due to the meaning given to the words ukemi and mimicing.

For me ukemi includes the entire process of being uke, starting at the point of the first intention to attack and ending at the focus being still on nage even after he has finnished the technique.

Of course, your points are very valid. I do think however there is a big difference between mimicing ukemi and doing something independently from your partner.

In the entire process mimicing is just on of the ways one can use for both uke and nage to learn what is going on.


There might be a real distinction between what uke feels he should do and what uke should actually do. Lots of people need to learn to feel and go with the movement. One way to learn this is to go with the movement even though you do not feel the movement yet. I would refer to this as mimicing ukemi as uke does a prearranged move.

Lots of people dont know what to do as nage. This happens to beginners a lot, but also applies to advanced students. Mimicing ukemi in these case provides uke with a tool to help nage in what he should do, without speaking and without disrupting the exercise. Example: Someone ties to do ikkyo on me by pushing my arm over my head. If I instead of blocking the technique (in this case easier than doing ukemi) try to do the correct ukemi (dropping and and turning my body) I provide nage with an opportunity to feel the technique and give nages body the chance to learn the technique and learn the feel of the technique.

Not mimicing the ukemi creates the illusion that there exists thought independent of movement in ukemi. As if one has a choice and the time to think about this choice.


Chances are we completely agree but are confusing each other with words.

08-31-2002, 03:47 PM
Erik, the second point you made is where I have the most problems. I think that my original question was more of "What should I do in that situation?"

Thanks, Jessica

08-31-2002, 04:14 PM

The point Erik was making in the second part was an EXPERIENCED nage can by his/her ukemi lead show the other student how to do the technique correctly. If you do not know the technique, nor the ukemi, you are not in that category and shouldn't be trying to lead your nage, anyway.

The uke in the second situation Erik describes has already felt the technique, knows it, and by that is now leading his/her partner. Since you haven't felt it yet, and don't know it, there is no way to mimic it. First you need to learn it. So if you are that inexperienced, maintain good connection to your partner, and it won't matter if you are flexible. Flexible beginners who find they aren't being thrown are often turning their butts to their partner, letting their arms get wrapped around their neck, etc. If you maintain good connection and avoid being a 'foolish uke' as decribed above (meaning you are not foolishly leaving yourself open to a kick in the seat, kidney, choke hold, etc) then your partner should be able to take your balance and throw you.

I had a flexible partner last night: as sankyo was applied he let his arm and body twist so that his arm was twisted behind his back, he was bent over with his face at a perfect level for my knee, and his rear in the air. Yes, I doubt he felt much in his joints, but had I been in a worse mood evileyes he would have felt something just about everywhere else. This is a MA, uke needs to be aware of how he/she is connected to nage.

Be sincere, maintain connection, and the rest will take care of itself.

08-31-2002, 05:23 PM
Thanks everyone, I hope it helps.