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Silvère Thommerel
05-19-2017, 11:22 AM
Hello,

Looking at the video, which presents some Muden Juku Daito Ryu training/demo, I wonder if somebody could explain the point of Uke's apparent tensing after the attack (or is it part of the attack?).

https://youtu.be/k1IBNqGRLxs

Some other related videos on Youtube present the same kind of attacks. Could it be related to what Dan Harden calls "removing the slack"? Do some of you practise something related?

Thank you.

oisin bourke
05-19-2017, 12:21 PM
The above video is really meant to be a clear demonstration of principles. It's actually a challenge for me as to how helpful it is sharing these clips openly on the internet, as outside of understanding the context of the practice, people can get completely the wrong idea about what's going on. That being said, the "tensing" that seems to be apparent is a result of uke maintaining intention and tori attempting to disperse and redirect while maintaining the point of contact.

For aikido people, some of the thinking behind this kind of training is well articulated in this blog, especially in the comments by George Ledyard re; static practice. I'm not suggesting that it's the same in terms of body organisation, but the approach and mentality is similar.

http://www.scottsdaleaikikai.com/new-blog/the-immovable-uke

There is a concept in this training called "hari". It's a very important fundamental concept. It refers to a kind of "tautness" that runs through the body. That's not a good word, but I can't think of a better english equivalent. Hope this helps. It's very difficult to really get anything across via internet.

Timothy WK
05-19-2017, 08:21 PM
Uke is tensing up because she herself is being "counter attacked". More specifically, nage is "entering" into and taking control of her structure. The "tensing up" is a result of uke trying to maintain her balance and/or force on nage despite the counter-force nage is projecting back on her.

In this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_vIooNhbBs&t=98s) Dan Harden exhibits and explains the same basic thing. It's easier to understand when a person uses their arm to connect to uke as Dan does, but at a certain point you can learn to do the same basic thing through any point of the body and/or with less movement---as is the case with the video you posted.

That said, the amount of tensing up in the video looks exaggerated to me. There might be a training reason for it---as in, she may just be "following" whatever force she feels without any attempt to correct herself, as that helps nage practice his control---or it may just be a quirk of their dojo culture.

Mark Raugas
05-20-2017, 09:37 AM
I would say the tensing is extremely exaggerated. I noticed the same group has additional clips on YouTube and was wondering if this was just a training exercise, as Mr. Burke describes below, or a much broader part of their practice. I found a clip where the first attack is with a tanto and a similar practice is done. I think that indicates that the behavior is a disease of their training environment and there likely is no real kuzushi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBiv6Qar3Jc

Notice that the uke is holding the tanto edge up, and at 5s into the clip raises her body up when nage presses down on her wrist from on top. It is probably not worth giving them too much benefit of the doubt, if that technique is indicative of their practice.

A quote from Dan Harden in 2012 here comes to mind:

It is worth noting the prep work and grooming that goes on with these somewhat odd teachers, loooong before they step on a mat. It is easy to take real and actual skills, combine them with an ukemi model and mental manipulation and come out a boy wonder. It's a twice told tale that still sucks in otherwise solid people.

oisin bourke
05-20-2017, 01:49 PM
I would say the tensing is extremely exaggerated. I noticed the same group has additional clips on YouTube and was wondering if this was just a training exercise, as Mr. Burke describes below, or a much broader part of their practice. I found a clip where the first attack is with a tanto and a similar practice is done. I think that indicates that the behavior is a disease of their training environment and there likely is no real kuzushi:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBiv6Qar3Jc

Notice that the uke is holding the tanto edge up, and at 5s into the clip raises her body up when nage presses down on her wrist from on top. It is probably not worth giving them too much benefit of the doubt, if that technique is indicative of their practice.

A quote from Dan Harden in 2012 here comes to mind:

Nage doesn't press down on the wrist. That's not where the kuzushii comes from, but it does illustrate the problems in putting clips out. People are always going to judge from their own POV.
Your comments about a "disease" and exaggerated kuzushi indicate that you don't really understand katageiko. This gives a good intro:

http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/articles/katageiko-a-necessary-cooperation-between-uke-and-tori

But I get that a lot of people find these clips strange.

Mark Raugas
05-20-2017, 04:09 PM
Nage doesn't press down on the wrist. That's not where the kuzushii comes from, but it does illustrate the problems in putting clips out. People are always going to judge from their own POV.
Your comments about a "disease" and exaggerated kuzushi indicate that you don't really understand katageiko. This gives a good intro:

http://www.guillaumeerard.com/aikido/articles/katageiko-a-necessary-cooperation-between-uke-and-tori

But I get that a lot of people find these clips strange.

Very true that I don't understand. From my perspective there is no kuzishi. Just aiki accommodation syndrome. To each their own. However, from those clips I would not hesitate to spar anyone from that group.

Mark Raugas
05-20-2017, 04:27 PM
But thank you for the link to the article. I will check it out.

oisin bourke
05-21-2017, 05:16 AM
Very true that I don't understand. From my perspective there is no kuzishi. Just aiki accommodation syndrome. To each their own. However, from those clips I would not hesitate to spar anyone from that group.

If you're gauging what you're seeing on your ability to "spar" with them, you'll miss the point completely. It's using one criteria to judge an art that operates to a totally different criteria. It's like dismissing a painting by Picasso because it doesn't look like a photo. You'd be much better off gauging if the clips conform to the priniciples that they're intended to inculcate in terms of body usage, etc.

Mark Raugas
05-21-2017, 12:21 PM
Not entirely.

I would agree it is true that each art's training methodology will have unique qualities and may only serve a purpose internal to that art. However, these are martial arts. So, they do ultimately exist in relation to others who do not practice the same art and need to be effective against them.

Are there better videos available of more normal waza from your group? Then we could have a point of departure for analysis, starting from the exoteric before jumping into the esoteric.

Kata practice is a useful methodology but can get corrupted over time. My comment about sparring is related to the ultimate expression of an art.

If you can in principle beat the head instructor of an art (I am not focusing on your group here, rather speaking abstractly), the one who has the gokui, then it doesn't matter what the kata or that they teach to lead up to his level of skill, because that level of skill is deficient.

Additionally, if none of be students can attain the skill of the teacher, even if the teacher has the skill, the art (kata, gokui, etc) may not be worth pursuing, even if the teacher is quite skilled.

Knowing how to make the distinction between knowing some essence of skill is there one needs to work hard to attain or the group is conditioned to make the teacher appear better than he or she is, is very difficult.

So, I would agree those clips are too easy to misinterpret, as possibly I have done.

Kata, when uke has to mimic kuzushi, so that tori learns a pattern, can fall apart. This is especially problematic when the traditional roles of uchi and shi are reversed or blurred. This can happen in kenjutsu as well as jujutsu. So, aiki no jutsu kata where tori is senior to uke, where there is a possibility that uke is mimicking a conditioned response, to please their senior, is a long standing problem.

Is Daito ryu Muden Juku ever do randori or sparring, even internally within the group? Do they ever compete in Judo tournaments, if there are Japanese students for example who already do judo in high school or college?

I ask because while aspiring to high level skill is a worthy pursuit, and having access to high level instruction is a blessing, stress testing is also important.

PeterR
05-21-2017, 12:43 PM
Firstly, I have no issue with uber-stylized kata and certainly don't feel the need to demand sparing when I see it although I have been pretty consistent in lauding the balance of kata with randori.

But it would be nice if the original question were answered. The video shows quite a unique action by uke and I have trouble understanding what that is supposed to instill or demonstrate. It certainly looks deliberate enough that it just did not sneak in there and inquiring minds would love to know.

Rupert Atkinson
05-22-2017, 12:04 AM
Looks to me like extreme uke training. I have no problem with that as a good uke will help tori learn too. However, too much of this will instil superman belief in the 'fool' and invite ridicule from onlookers. Good ukemi is an essential tool to learn aiki, even hard aiki, but too often it just creates paper supermen whose 'belief' in their own ability is dependent upon how compliant their uke is trained to be - a downward spiral to nowhere honest.

jonreading
05-23-2017, 11:33 AM
It's been a while since I posted anything...

There seems to be a couple of different things going on here.

With regard to ukemi. For me, uke should respond to nage appropriately for the situation. During kata, uke should be an element of the kata - it's funny, but when we talk about kata, we will chastise uke for not moving right, but we forget that nage needs to move right, too. Nage is responsible for correct kata, too. During fundamentals, uke should should respond to nage to provide feedback. During sparring, uke can be adversarial. Just make sure expectations meet actions.

With regard to internals and slack...
O Sensei's famous "masakatsu agatsu" comment can be interpreted as a comment about balance within the body by removing slack. Something like, "stand without slack," is a translation of that kanji. One can look at the source and see the importance of that comment. I think its also important that the comment was not about removing the slack from some else.

PeterR
05-23-2017, 12:57 PM
It's been a while since I posted anything...

There seems to be a couple of different things going on here.

With regard to ukemi. For me, uke should respond to nage appropriately for the situation. During kata, uke should be an element of the kata - it's funny, but when we talk about kata, we will chastise uke for not moving right, but we forget that nage needs to move right, too. Nage is responsible for correct kata, too. During fundamentals, uke should should respond to nage to provide feedback. During sparring, uke can be adversarial. Just make sure expectations meet actions.

With regard to internals and slack...
O Sensei's famous "masakatsu agatsu" comment can be interpreted as a comment about balance within the body by removing slack. Something like, "stand without slack," is a translation of that kanji. One can look at the source and see the importance of that comment. I think its also important that the comment was not about removing the slack from some else.

No comment on slack but Jon - in sparing there is no uke (or any other defined role) and I really do think that it is a rare instructor that emphasizes the correction of uke over nage. Perhaps I lost your point, I did get confused.

Still kata really is a balance between uke and nage and in the former case, at its most basic, we don't want uke moving ahead of nage's action (i.e. throwing themselves). At higher levels uke supplies different levels of resistance AND (to the point of those videos) other actions which provide feedback to nage.

I am still trying to get my head around what those actions in the video represent. The answers so far have been disappointing.

Timothy WK
05-23-2017, 10:21 PM
I am still trying to get my head around what those actions in the video represent. The answers so far have been disappointing.
I tried answering the question back in post #3, but here's more detail:

First, it looks to me like both the standing and kneeling throws are showcasing the same underlying internal skill, despite the different setups (grabs) and finishing moves (throws). I could be wrong about that, it's hard to tell from a video.

Uke starts by applying a force on nage, be it grab to the belt or the collar. I'm pretty sure this is a "dumb" force, meaning a muscular (external) force that's applied in a consistent manner regardless of what nage does. In other words, uke makes no attempt to change or correct herself when nage begins his counter. When I've trained this way it was done for the benefit of nage alone, as it allows nage to practice his control/skill in a unhindered setup.

It looks to me like nage grounds uke's force and "reflects" it back at her in a way---I assume---that makes her feels as if she's being lifted up and pushed back. The "reflection" of force is an internal skill, and in this video nage does it with hardly any external movement. Because of that, it looks like uke is moving herself, but she's not really. She's being manipulated by nage. The "tensing up" and slow distortion of her posture is the "natural" reaction to the counter force nage is projecting.

I do think uke's response looks exaggerated, but it looks to me like there's some amount of legit skill there. I don't know anything about this organization, though, so who knows. (I also think Roppokai videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvPEU9mAX5Y) often look exaggerated, but by all accounts Okamoto has tons of skill.) For reference, here's a couple videos of Roy Goldberg distorting his uke's posture: tenchi nage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPlg6krprnE) & let's call it a "light touch" throw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5qbNkw6EHo&t=115s). Also here's Kodo himself doing a really slow off-balancing thing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8H4Fi43pPw&t=42s) (obviously in an informal training environment).

Timothy WK
05-24-2017, 08:20 AM
Adding to my previous post, the underlying internal skill---the reflection or redirection of uke's force---is very useful, even if the kata itself is unrealistic.

jonreading
05-24-2017, 09:31 AM
No comment on slack but Jon - in sparing there is no uke (or any other defined role) and I really do think that it is a rare instructor that emphasizes the correction of uke over nage. Perhaps I lost your point, I did get confused.

Still kata really is a balance between uke and nage and in the former case, at its most basic, we don't want uke moving ahead of nage's action (i.e. throwing themselves). At higher levels uke supplies different levels of resistance AND (to the point of those videos) other actions which provide feedback to nage.

I am still trying to get my head around what those actions in the video represent. The answers so far have been disappointing.

I don't want to derail. My uke comment was directed at the observations that while many of us have several different perspectives about what uke should (or should not) do, I think matching expectations is most important. I suppose we can talk about labels on sparring partners and whether we still call them uke or tori or shite, or whatever. Listen to any competitive match and the commentary can usually identify someone controlling the engagement and someone defending. Sure, the roles may switch more rapidly, but they are still there.

With regard to the video, I think [presumably] its showing an internal exercise with a transparent uke illustrating where she feels her body is being affected. The slack question has merit for me because the idea is similar to pushing a chain. How do you push a chain? By twisting the links until they remove the space and join (adhere) to one another. Then you can push the chain. Adhesion through rotation, and all that.

Scott Harrington
05-25-2017, 02:07 PM
Watched the ‘aiki' video. Very nice. Was in a class yesterday that ALL the instructor worked on was the ‘floating' that you see here (from a one and two hand grasp.) Great class and great learning experience. For those that haven't felt it, your loss. Doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Couple of things. Attacking with the knife edge UP is considered a higher level of intent (lethal attack) in Japan (by the police.) A single sided knife (tanto / bowie) can be pushed down by the dull spine quite easily. Also the cut cuts deeper as the retraction will pull against the falling body.

Using Dan Harden as an example against "prep work and grooming" is funny as I distinctly remember him saying, "here, watch this" as he positioned my arms and then proceeded to loosen a tooth in my mouth (I vacillated on smacking him upside the head and wondering if this would cost me another $5000 titanium implant.)

As to taking ukemi, I also remember the first time ‘we' trained a police officer to take a high fall from kote gaeshi and he got up and said, "My wrist doesn't hurt!" Duh, that's why we learn to fall properly.

And that reminds me when I saw a Gracie competitor taking 6 aspirins before his match thereby eliminating pain tolerance but if cut in a real fight would have bled like a stuck pig. It also reminds me of the competitive MMA fighter who squealed (again like a pig) when a finger lock was applied.

There is a reason that wrist / finger / and pressure point fighting (yonkajo) doesn't make it into the ring. Too much damage and yelling.

Back to Aiki. Difficult sometimes to get right, worth it when it does. Takeda Sokaku worked on two principles -- Aiki and pain. To say otherwise is to discount history.

The best line from the comments here -- "Very true that I don't understand." So true.

Scott Harrington

Mark Raugas
05-26-2017, 10:56 AM
Adding to my previous post, the underlying internal skill---the reflection or redirection of uke's force---is very useful, even if the kata itself is unrealistic.

Definitely. I am a proponent of developing internal skill. In Taijiquan, which is my focus, subtle off-balancing is a major focus of the training. I feel like from what I am watching on those original videos, there is a conditioned response versus an actual off-balancing. Maybe they are trying to show the idea of an action as an instructional reference. I would agree with Mr. Burke that they are too easy to misinterpret.

I did not find Scott Harrington's post very helpful in explaining anything. It jumped all over the map from high break falls to getting man handled at a seminar to statements about ignorance. I am not trying to disparage the original group, but point out challenges in presenting kuzushi from kata. It is also important to see what a person can do in an unscripted environment. Otherwise there is just a model of a skill, or a claimed pedagogy for a skill, and not maybe the skill itself. I remember fondly a colleague describing watching Kiyama do randori with several judoka, unscripted, and it was a sight to behold he would never forget.

That is the kind of Aiki that interests me and deserves utmost respect.

Currawong
05-27-2017, 06:48 AM
I reckon it's pre-conditioned response as well. There just isn't any significant physical contact going on when you grab someone's label, even on a dogi. Maybe the really telling thing is this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGQrrhhNHm4

Where the guy is still unable to move even after contact is lost.

Mark Raugas
05-27-2017, 10:55 AM
The next one is also challenging. With a full nelson and dropping weight on the elbows, there is even less body contact than through the collar of the dogi. Uke seems to stay spread out and then launch himself. I am going to move on to other discussion topics at this point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGLv0Wk8ch0

Budd
05-27-2017, 02:51 PM
Yeah, Mark, seems pretty clearly to be a rising (ground) and sinking (gravity) force direction exercise but very difficult to tell based on the choreography how much is genuine force management vs trained staging.

Scott Harrington
05-27-2017, 09:01 PM
Real.

Go grab Kiyama (father or son.)

Scott Harrington

asiawide
05-27-2017, 09:06 PM
The next one is also challenging. With a full nelson and dropping weight on the elbows, there is even less body contact than through the collar of the dogi. Uke seems to stay spread out and then launch himself. I am going to move on to other discussion topics at this point.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGLv0Wk8ch0

Starting from 0:10, I can see the nage stretches front side to get more support from ground. Then it's possible to pull the uke if he was pulling the nage (holding collar => probably pulling). Then the nage adds little weight over the uke by bowing. Possible but I don't think the nage can do it out of lab.

Budd
05-29-2017, 01:11 AM
Real.

Go grab Kiyama (father or son.)

Scott Harrington

Would love to feel what they do. Probably good muscle Jin that would be powerful, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't sell it as well as the uke in those vids.

oisin bourke
05-30-2017, 02:22 AM
I tried answering the question back in post #3, but here's more detail:

First, it looks to me like both the standing and kneeling throws are showcasing the same underlying internal skill, despite the different setups (grabs) and finishing moves (throws). I could be wrong about that, it's hard to tell from a video.

Uke starts by applying a force on nage, be it grab to the belt or the collar. I'm pretty sure this is a "dumb" force, meaning a muscular (external) force that's applied in a consistent manner regardless of what nage does. In other words, uke makes no attempt to change or correct herself when nage begins his counter. When I've trained this way it was done for the benefit of nage alone, as it allows nage to practice his control/skill in a unhindered setup.

It looks to me like nage grounds uke's force and "reflects" it back at her in a way---I assume---that makes her feels as if she's being lifted up and pushed back. The "reflection" of force is an internal skill, and in this video nage does it with hardly any external movement. Because of that, it looks like uke is moving herself, but she's not really. She's being manipulated by nage. The "tensing up" and slow distortion of her posture is the "natural" reaction to the counter force nage is projecting.

I do think uke's response looks exaggerated, but it looks to me like there's some amount of legit skill there. I don't know anything about this organization, though, so who knows. (I also think Roppokai videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvPEU9mAX5Y) often look exaggerated, but by all accounts Okamoto has tons of skill.) For reference, here's a couple videos of Roy Goldberg distorting his uke's posture: tenchi nage (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPlg6krprnE) & let's call it a "light touch" throw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5qbNkw6EHo&t=115s). Also here's Kodo himself doing a really slow off-balancing thing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8H4Fi43pPw&t=42s) (obviously in an informal training environment).

That’s a decent attempt at an explanation and deserves an answer imo. There is absolutely compliance going on between uke and tori, no doubt. That being said, there are reasons and details worth considering. The grab is usually done using a principle called “shiboru”. This is a kind of coiling that (very softly) connects the body and penetrates ukes body to some extent. This helps explain the rather exaggerated reactions to what appears to be a superficial contact.

The other thing worth noting about uke’s over-reactions: this is a training methodology that allows uke to open up their body and allow the manipulation of force/aiki travel through them. This has the added benefit of developing a flexible, relaxed body that can sensitively become aware of force changing through their body. Perhaps a little similar to Sunadomari’s accounts of Ueshiba using technqiues to “remove the sediments” of tension etc in the joints?

The “dumb force” is a fair comment, but the context in which this kuzushi is meant to be applied is instantaneous; The second a fully committed intention is engaged, so when done slowly and consistently, it’s going to make people scratch heads. BTW, I’m not claiming that this instantaneous breaking of balance/manipulation will “work” in a sparring context, but it works fine within its own context IME.

Here’s a clip of the main instructor doing it a real time speed. I’ve been on the receiving end of this. It feels like a tonne just drops through you and then explodes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjEeWutxnoA&app=desktop

But I do get that these kind of clips really don’t convey a very good impression AND there is role playing going on by both uke and tori. It just comes with the territory. I’m not a fan of videos for that reason.

oisin bourke
05-30-2017, 04:16 AM
The other thing worth noting about uke's over-reactions: this is a training methodology that allows uke to open up their body and allow the manipulation of force/aiki travel through them. This has the added benefit of developing a flexible, relaxed body that can sensitively become aware of force changing through their body. Perhaps a little similar to Sunadomari's accounts of Ueshiba using technqiues to "remove the sediments" of tension etc in the joints?



As an addendum: I came across this explanation/demo of solo training in shaolin. This kind of movement is pretty similar in terms of uke conditioning IMO. The descriptions including the "coiling like a string " and "nourishing elasticity" is in the similar area in terms of feeling/body usage etc.

https://youtu.be/O0HEImPYJTQ?t=25m52s

oisin bourke
06-06-2017, 12:49 PM
As to taking ukemi, I also remember the first time ‘we' trained a police officer to take a high fall from kote gaeshi and he got up and said, "My wrist doesn't hurt!" Duh, that's why we learn to fall properly.

And that reminds me when I saw a Gracie competitor taking 6 aspirins before his match thereby eliminating pain tolerance but if cut in a real fight would have bled like a stuck pig. It also reminds me of the competitive MMA fighter who squealed (again like a pig) when a finger lock was applied.

There is a reason that wrist / finger / and pressure point fighting (yonkajo) doesn't make it into the ring. Too much damage and yelling.

Back to Aiki. Difficult sometimes to get right, worth it when it does. Takeda Sokaku worked on two principles -- Aiki and pain. To say otherwise is to discount history.



I think you're spot on here. I attended an aikido seminar last weekend. The teacher is very good, good technical stuff, but it brought home to me just how tough on the body aikido has become. The large movements and getting off line/relying on uke's momentum puts huge strain on joints (on both uke and tori), and it doesn't make it more "martial".

I noticed there's a big interview with Christian Tissier on the aikido journal site about the future of aikido. I think a big challenge with aikido is its excessive physicality without the initial body conditioning/kihon. There are whole generations ending up with wrecked bodies in their 40s and 50s because they did the big flashy moves popularised by people like tissier, and/or full on arm bars/locks pain compliance etc. This kata based practice that some scoff at here is actually the method for creating a kind of body that can actually practice for a lifetime. If people want to take that then and use it for physical damage, that's a different coversation, but personally, I think the most important thing for any traditional system to teach is a correct and healthy body method that can then be applied to forms. This has been majorly neglected especially outside japan, in favour of muscle/reflex driven damage IMO.