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Lan Powers
08-14-2003, 11:50 PM
Ok, I realize that the subject has been addressed before in all likelihood, but I was wondering about your individual training experiances with ukes who "resist".

Recently, in my local dojo, there has been a uke who was ummmmm.... skeptical concerning the reality of what he saw in our training. ie: co-operative action between uke and nage.
Holding a dan ranking in TKD he felt like the techniques were not effective unless uke "gave" them to the nage.:confused:

So he was stiff.......he would spin out of techniques.......he would tense and flex etc, etc.
Corespondingly, more energy in the techniques, more focus, and to me at least the thrilling feeling of "really" applying the art to someone ummmmm sorta for real.:D

Sensei kept a very close eye on the situation.;) and kept anyone from being hurt, or losing their cool. In fact I was very impressed with the handling of filling his doubts, and giving us who were a bit more advanced (but not too much :rolleyes: ) a chance to apply it.

At what level of training do your dojo's, or club's start to incoporate resistance to the tech.?
Is this addressed differently in other organizations? We are AAA.

(kinda fun to get to "use it" as it were.:p


Lan Powers
08-14-2003, 11:52 PM
By the way, I am at 4'th kyu and have just under a years training.

Just realized I forgot to give a referance.


08-15-2003, 12:19 AM
At my dojo we usually try to apply resistance proportional to the nage's level. Sometimes nage will ask me to really resist hard if that's what they want to work with. It's a good tool if you've learnt the basic form, but it can interfere with learning the form if you're new to it.

08-15-2003, 12:46 AM
We often warn uke -- resistance is okay, but the technique will hurt a lot more. Perhaps you'd like to relax a bit so I can show you what we do without causing you injury.

Otherwise, I'd hand him/her the dojo waiver form. ;)


08-15-2003, 03:00 AM
I think all ukes need reminding that it is very easy to resist when you know what technique is comming.

08-15-2003, 04:49 AM
Also, most techniques happen as a result of uke's action, so if a specific technique is requested, uke needs to behave in a particular way for the technique to be relevant. If they resist against the technique, then a different response by tori is usually called for.

The notion "uke can do what they want but tori must do xxx" goes against the principles of aikido, to me.

08-15-2003, 06:16 AM
I think this covers several different things. People need to know if the technique can be spun out of, and how they might prevent that. People need to be able to practice against someone who is strong and doesn't just move for you. It is less useful if someone knows the technique that's going to be used and goes in the opposite direction - then you have to change technique. Then you need to practice from movement so uke doesn't have time to get strong. Lots of different types of practice, which we do from the very beginning.

Best wishes,

08-15-2003, 07:14 AM
I agree with Peter. In our dojo, we have some REALLY BIG folks, one of which is a delightfully funny Jersey native. But he is big at 6'6" (taller?!) and he must be close to 300 lbs. He's a good student with a good heart, and a good uke to work with because he is so naturally strong.

Our chief instructor (on this board, Mike Ellefson) is also a big guy, but kind of a sissy. ;) Hehehehe...

Working with aikidoists like that is a great exercise that we should all be lucky enough to practice with on a regular basis. Sometimes they don't know what you're going to do, so your techniques must be effective in leading and execution.

Not entirely relevant, but something I've experienced.


08-15-2003, 08:49 AM

We're an AAA dojo too, and ukemi is very hevily emphasized for the first 2-3 years (at least) of a person's training. I've posted some thoughts on ukemi as I've learned it in my journal on this site.

Regarding resistance, I think there's at least two types. One type of resistance, and the one we practice most is that if nage messes up, uke takes advantage of that mistake to either stop the technique, attack (often with a punch to a vulnerable part of nage's anatomy), or reverse the technique. With this kind of resistance, uke is constantly attacking.

The second type, like you mentioned, with uke spinning out, being very stiff, etc. is actually uke stopping the attack and defending himself against your technique. In this case, continuing the technique is an inappropriate response. Nage can often change to a different technique that uses the new energy given by uke. When uke changes from attacking to defending against the technique, he's often opened himself up to a simple attack. Take it. Otherwise, it's often pretty easy to simply push uke away when he stops attacking.

Just some thoughts. :D


P.S. 4th kyu after a year! That's pretty rapid advancement for an AAA dojo with 8 kyu ranks.

08-15-2003, 09:25 AM

I should add to my postscript that no critisism is implied. I guess it's possible that your dojo doesn't have an 8 kyu system. If we're talking about the Aikido Association of America, the standard is for an 8 kyu system, but I guess individual dojos may do as they wish.

I'm a 3rd kyu after almost four years of training.

Ah well, this is off topic.

Back on topic: I'd also echo what others have said in this thread that resisting can be dangerous! =8-0



Eric Joyce
08-15-2003, 10:13 AM

I think in the beginning stages, uke should be a little more "cooperative" so that the can get a feel for the technique. As time goes on, and I think most here agree, more resistance should be applied to get a more realistic feel. I understand the skeptisim of the TKD dan that you train with, as long as you tell he/she to loosen up and relax to understand whats going on...you should be okay. I understand where you are coming from.

Alec Corper
08-15-2003, 11:21 AM
I feel like chanting the Borg Slogan, "Resistance is futile". Substitute other endings such as: stupid, infantile, puberal, irrealistic etc.

Sure you can resist if you know whats coming and if you train with lower grades who will fight you to apply a no longer fitting technique. You can try kaeshi if tori lacks zanshin or center, but that is not resistance that is correct training, if both partners understand the deal.

I also dont care if somebody holds dan grade in another art, all genuine arts understand kihon, kata and kumite and if they dont, then IMHO they should return their dan grade and start again. We do not fully incorporate free sparring in Aikido, since you cannot "pull" koshi nage or kote gaeshi, a resistant uke is asking for injury, so he or she needs some gentle talking to, or as someone else said, sign a waiver and check their insurance

Lan Powers
08-15-2003, 12:14 PM
:p way cool response flow!

I had the thought after my long, rambling, initial post that I may not have made things clear that there was no " bad will' or actual ummm the only term that comes to mind is bloody-mindedness going on.

This guy is just checking against reality, in his mind-set. Thanks for the input, it is cool to hear from you all on how things vary in each differant path.:D

As far as the 4'th kyu....in this dojo we are starting at 7'th for your first test/grading

and going on from there. Fortunately, so far the tests are not too tough (in the lowest levels) and not tooo far apart in allowable time ie: 30 hours training minimum from one to the next... etc.

Here I feel that I need to "season" as it were for a while to really grasp what hass been presented to me thus far.

(gotta digest before further gorging! ) :freaky:

Definately better to do tech. in mind, or switch to better options relative to uke's action.

Just mostly working on specific things in this context.



08-15-2003, 12:58 PM
Hey Lan,

Like I said, no disrespect was intended. It looks like your dojo tests almost as soon as the minimums are met. That's cool. I met an uchi deshi of Toyoda Shihan's (the late head of the AAA) who had reached 6th kyu over the course of the summer. :D

At our dojo, we tend to test on average once a year, so our guys have a lot more "time in grade" than at other places.

Anyway, next time you're uke, think about continuing the attack all the way until you're thrown. If nage has an opening in his technique, see about trying to sense it and maybe exploit it. Something to think about.



Jim ashby
08-15-2003, 07:01 PM
Depending on the grade of Uke and his/her ukemi abilities the borg should come to mind. Always remember "resistance is futile".

Have fun.

08-15-2003, 08:55 PM
Resistance ukes are fun.

C. Emerson
08-16-2003, 12:20 PM
I feel that resistance should be progressive with rank and experience. Theres no benefit of resisting if the student doesn't knoe the technique yet. I feel that there are a lot of repititions that are needed before resistance has a place in training. The mind needs to know what it is doing before it is being tested on it.

And I also feel that heavy resistance will ultimatly = a forceful technique. And for a new student, thats a good way to lose him. If he comes in and wants to test the style. He will come up on the short end of the stick. That does no one any good. I really think that, teaching and explaining is the best way of handling those types of people. Ssome ego's are difficult to handle. Good luck.


08-16-2003, 04:17 PM
Depends on what you mean by resistance?

Physical resistance (in my Dojo anyway), will get you hurt. However this doesnt mean you just graciefully fall down with a poorly excuted technique. I've found that when I extend more Ki and actually do what I'm told, I become a harder Uke to deal with for the simple reason that relaxation equals strength.

For example, I was training with a 2nd Dan on Thursday I think. We were doing Ushiro Kata tori Kote gaeshi. Now when I held physically, with all my 7 months of Judo gripping knowledge (amazing no...lol) when she turned into me, my hands just flew off. As I looking puzzled Sensei walked over, told me to hold with unbendable arm and extending my Ki to her (which I should have been doing anyway) and she found it harder to get me off, plus I felt a lot more centered and in control ready to counter (until I was kote geashi'ed ofcourse).

I think what makes Aikido harder in terms of appliation are dynamic and relaxed Uke's.... which also just happens to be more fun too.

Lan Powers
08-16-2003, 05:51 PM
Hey Drew

None taken..... but yes, we've been working on grading as soon as the minimum req's are met.

Thankfully, Sensei is very concerned with teaching the principles more than test requirements. Of course as the test/grading grows near, we spend time on the specifics of the requirements, otherwise, we work on center, balance, extension....etc. In a more general context.

This makes the test specifics SOOOOO much less daunting. (most of us are quite the beginners):p


I know what you mean about the larger ukes.

One of my favorite partners has been out for several months, and I miss his big ole self BAD! (John are you listnin'?)

300#, 6'5" loads of fun to train with.

When you effect his center for a while, others will fly when you grab a "lesser" man! ha!

Hopefully as we in class progress, there will be more of the "free form" as several folks have mentioned. Options of using an alternate to the "assigned" attack.

Since so many of the class are no-kyu, there is little opportunity to explore the options as it were.........unless you are working with the few sempai there. (tiny dojo)

Thanks all!


08-18-2003, 09:56 AM
It is good to see one of my students actually researching or getting other opinions on issues he experiences in class.

On a rank note: AAA adult guidelines start at 7th kyu. The IAF however only recognizes a 6 kyu system. If I recall correctly, ASU started at 5th kyu. Differs by organization.

The issue of resistance is complicated. On one hand we need to be cognizant of the street implications. However, in the course of training resistance can be dangerous to the uke and unfair to the nage since the uke knows what is going to happen. Uke can stop or make it difficult to perform just about any technique when they know how the nage is going to move.

Good biomechanics (good technique) helps. In a street situation, I'm a strong proponent of atemi waza (my article should hit the stands in Black Belt magazine about October-last info) in such situations. In the dojo, when uke resists a pre-instructed technique they generally create openings for atemi-which I like to point out to them (LOL).

I encourage strong attacks but not stopping or resisting the technique. Our TKD student had many opportunities to experience the implications of resistance. He did not stick with it.


Ron Tisdale
08-18-2003, 12:54 PM
I have found in my own training that too much resistence at an early level can sometimes affect your ukemi negatively. Uke becomes more concerned with "testing" your technique, rather than learning good ukemi and connection to shite's center (the same can apply to shite). This especially applies when shite is the one with more experience. A senior student as uke is perhaps in a position to know what is appropriate resistence to a given technique...junior people can often introduce elements that are really innappropriate. And that can lead to injuries, and to bad ukemi in general, which fosters even more injuries in the long run.

That said, knowing when to introduce resistence and how is very important to building strong technique. I haven't settled in my own mind where to draw these lines...I tend to have to figure it out on a case by case basis.


08-18-2003, 02:02 PM
That said, knowing when to introduce resistence and how is very important to building strong technique.

Absolutely, 100% correct.

From my own experience, "left to their own devices", students introduce too much resistence on each other. For example, "work at the level of your partner" quickly turns into "keep increasing the difficulty until your partner can't succeed with the technique".

My own personal preference is for the instructor to clearly delinate when and how much resistence is appropriate to the entire class. This seems to limit ego struggles. An instructor could do this with three broad categories: One level where no resistence is allowed. One level where one's partner is allowed to resist to the utmost of their ability to safely do so. And one level between the two.

Thoughts from a heretic....



08-18-2003, 08:28 PM
Ron and Paul are bang on the money.

There is a time and place for resistance depending on what is being taught.

Under circumstances of full resistance - form can not be taught. Without understanding form - full resistance can't be dealt with.

08-19-2003, 05:06 AM
resistant uke are good to some extent,but if it goes too far it can be annoying. If you are nasty enough just hit them when they resist, saying that this what you would do in the real situation, but if you're the non-violent kind of people just follow the flow of the resistance power and see what happens.

08-19-2003, 01:18 PM
"Under circumstances of full resistance - form can not be taught. Without understanding form - full resistance can't be dealt with." P. Rehse

I agree. One is to train the other is to deal with conflict or combat. Great comment Peter.

08-20-2003, 03:43 AM
Under circumstances of full resistance - form can not be taught. Without understanding form - full resistance can't be dealt with.

Another thing I really wish I'd said.

May I use this? I'll be sure to credit you :)


08-20-2003, 04:30 AM
Another thing I really wish I'd said.

May I use this? I'll be sure to credit you :)
But of course.

08-20-2003, 04:37 AM
Too many dojos practise in a particular way. I think lots of different training methods are useful, though understanding what is being learnt is important. In the majority of cases we are repetitively learning one technique, along with distance and timing. For example some instructors always start their rear attacks from the front (uke then running round) and say this is a more realistic attack. I have been attacked from the rear in reality, and also if I was going to attack someone, my preference would be from behind.

Techniques from a stationary attack (esp. with resistance) are useful to learn body mechanics. Techniques where uke can change are useful for learning blending and adaptation. The only fear is producing scarppy techniques which cannot be polished because nage never gets chance to actually practise techniques. In addition, uke gets used to what you are going to do and (almost)anything can be resisted. Often it is necessary to practise the most common situation - where a person unaware of aikido or your ability in aikido, attacks.


08-20-2003, 12:31 PM

Good post, and you make some good points. One of the things that I like about my dojo is that we vary our training our training a bit between static and dynamic attacks. we also throw in some jiyu waza from time to time, and practice randori most most weeks. Etc. It's good to get some variety, but it's also good to get some time to really study a technique.

However, I had to laugh a little bit at this:
For example some instructors always start their rear attacks from the front (uke then running round) and say this is a more realistic attack. I have been attacked from the rear in reality, and also if I was going to attack someone, my preference would be from behind.
My instructor used to say the same thing...until somebody tried to attack him by starting out in front of him and trying to put him in a bear hug from behind -- just like in the dojo. :D

So, your point is still a good one, I'd just be careful about discarding traditional training methods just because they don't seem to make sense. Still, we practice rear attacks from the rear as well as from the front.



Ron Tisdale
08-20-2003, 01:11 PM
I've always been taught that the Ushiro waza and hojo dosa (suplementary movement) was done because we don't want to practise just turning our back on people, and to teach uke to never cross the "open" side of shite. In highly kata based styles (even the main line of daito ryu) there are always specific formula for "offering the back".


Vincent Munoz
08-20-2003, 04:55 PM
trying to practice with uke resisting to my opinion is good so everyone can relate the stuff we're doing inside the mat to the real world. but the sensei should not forget giving reminder to the aikidokas because if the uke resist, the nage will apply also some force which may result to injury. BUT, if there is continuity in the fluidity of KI(or force), no one can resist. if the aggressor has establish any holding attack, do not forget the ATEMI(destruction) then move quickly.

Chris Raeger
08-21-2003, 10:54 PM
Sounds to me like that TKD person was testing Aikido to see if it was any match for TKD.

As for resistance in training, this surely evolves as you do. There are many elements to technique and learning such. When you are ready and activiely seek more resistance it will be there. You will in one form or another communicate your desire for such. Look at the high grades and watch them train and realize that they have progressed to where they demand more from their training partners quite intuitively. Teaches will challenge and guide you, but ultimately it is up to you to look for, ask, desire, and communicate what you are ready for. I like to think this all happens 'naturally', when I am ready for it.

08-21-2003, 11:20 PM
Hello, friends! Haven't posted in a while. :)

I just had an interesting and fun experience related to this topic last night. I'm a 4th kyu; and we have a 1st kyu that is coming back into it after being out for about a year and a half because of school.

Ed's a great guy and terrific uke; he moves extremely well; he's just way outta practice in his kumi-waza.

Anyhoo; Neilsen Sensei wasn't there for this class; so our Sempai was running the class. He had Ed and I pair off and practice the 5th-3rd kyu required tecniques. Poor Ed; he was having serious trouble with the techniques - not only was he out of practice, but the requirements have also changed considerably since the last time he tested. We wound up in the interesting position of a 4th kyu teaching a 1st.

Had bags of fun; Ed has no ego in relation to rank, so he listened to what I was saying.

But anyway, to resistance: I was resisting his techniques; and resisting strongly according to a set plan. We'd practice the given technique a few times; then I'd slap on the resistance. Quite often; it'd bring Ed to a sudden confused stop. We would continue the resistance until he could complete the technique in spite of the resistance.

He was getting a bit frustrated at times; I pointed out to him that as a 1st kyu; the level of resistance should be no problem for him. With this approach; he was doing 1000 times better by the end of class - way better than I can do most of them.

So; resistance, IMO, can be a useful tool if applied properly; the trick is choosing the method and amount. :)


Lan Powers
08-22-2003, 06:19 PM
Thanks fellows, I have learned a lot about the different feelings of ukes. Like the differant body types/sizes... and also levels of resistance.

I plan to start to vary the levels I expect from my ukes, asking them to increase when they feel I am not well centered, out of maii,

or otherwise have "lost them" or they can feel that I might lose their center.

Of course this can only be done with the sempai who can vary their ukemi to stay safe.

Most of the students are quite new, and it wouldn't help them or me to mess with their ukemi (they are just getting the hang of how it works). Hey! come to think of it, so am I!


The consensus of the replies is that resistance will be introduced when appropriate for me.

Sorta like hi-falls.........happens when you are ready, and not before.



08-25-2003, 12:49 AM
Lots of great responses!

I'll add that it seems the deciding factor in judging "resistant uke's" is motivation.

If a wiser is turning up the heat so that you must use your center more, and yet still allowing you to feel the technique, then thank that one. If someone is locking you out of the technique being demonstrated, then of course there is no benefit, and you should tell them so. "I'm not getting anything out of you thwarting my training."

If it is a fight, then resistance is usually an open door to atemi. If someone "spins out" then really, they have broken off the attack and you must re-evaluate your relationship. E.g., are they still the aggressor? If they attack again, it is a new situation. In a fight this can happen over and over, while you're looking for the right opening to stop the violence. Sometimes this means you must attack as well, in order to regain the connection.

I could see this scenario happening in a large crowd, where it is not only yourself you are defending, but actually trying to subdue a person in a more assertive way.

Heck, you may even run around behind the guy and put him in a Full Nelson! (Hope he doesn't know Aikido!)

So, understand what the training parameters are for the given lesson, and train with others who also understand.

Don't waist too much time with people just out to prove something. Pass them onto your seniors.