View Full Version : Uke or Tori?

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Dario Rosati
04-14-2004, 09:07 AM
Hi all, just a little thought from a beginner, and wondering what you people may think about it...

I'm practicing from eight months, and
until the last month my time was equally split on both activities during a lesson (Tori/Uke); in the last month I focused myself on being almost exclusively uke (80% uke/20% tori), both in the dojo and to a local seminar, bothering more often sensei himself or 1st/2nd kyu guys to get splattered around the mat by them rather than doing the technique myself :)

To my surprise, it seems (to me) that I'm improving faster with this unbalanced approach, especially in "basic" techniques: being thrown 10 times in first place makes me throw others much better at my first attempt, much better than starting directly as tori after watching sensei and his uke demonstrating.

Do you think it's a false perception, or that the thing is the symptom of some hidden "hole" in my training, or what elese?

I'm about to ask my sensei about this.


04-14-2004, 09:32 AM
Ciao Dario.... dicono che per essere un buon Tori prima si deve essere un buon Uke....

Ron Tisdale
04-14-2004, 09:38 AM
I'd say that there is a prevelent theory that we really learn aikido as uke. I believe that is why you often see students competing to take ukemi from their senior instructor. It is why I like to go to seminars and feel the ukemi of direct students of Ueshiba (if possible) and others. The connection during ukemi seems to teach things that you just can't see with your eyes (unless highly trained, and perhaps not even then).

Good observation, and I think it will do your practice a lot of good.


04-14-2004, 01:24 PM
I would agree with Ron.

Being a good Uke is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO important, and you learn so much from being one. You can't learn how to defeat a technique (or find it's weakness) unless you take a lot of ukemi from many different people.

A judo instructor once told me that you should always take the bottom when doing mat work (the bottom is usually the worst place to be).

He said "If you know the bottom, you will know the top, but if you only know the top, then you won't know the bottom".

Very Wise!

04-14-2004, 02:11 PM
Making Uke is my favourite part of Aikido, although I would be lieing if I said that planting the odd lower grade, or higher grade for that matter into the mat is not without its charms.

Making BIG Ukemi for really powerful Aikido is an amazin feeling.

As for your training method, I have no idea. But Uke is just as important as nage if not more so.

Nick Simpson
04-14-2004, 04:56 PM
I love being uke, its my favourite part of aikido at the minute, I may not always be confident in my technique but I dont worry about my ukemi.

04-15-2004, 09:05 AM
It's probably true that you learn faster as uke, but it may also be that you're learning faster because you're more experienced.

When I look at my early training notebooks it's obvious I had to be shown something three or four times before I had any clue. Lately it's closer to one or two times. I'm not doing anything different in my training that I know of, but moves that all used to look the same are starting to look distinct, which really helps.

We strive for the priviledge of taking ukemi too. At our recent seminar we learned a new throw with a rather harsh forward-roll ukemi. I took a bunch of bad rolls while practicing with a fourth kyu, and then got a chance to try it with a fourth dan. She was throwing me so well that the ukemi went off smoothly every single time. I hadn't imagined that nage had so much control. It was gorgeous. I really envied our senior student who got to try it with the guest instructor, even though he was quite sore for the following week.... (Not that he was thrown roughly, except for one frightful-looking breakfall; it was just a very full weekend.)

Mary Kaye

04-18-2004, 09:09 AM
I really don't know why the destiny did it to me, but one day after I read this topic, I gone to train, two days ago, and we was training for a exam. I was helping an 4 kyu, whose aim was the 3 (I'm not going to do the exam) and I was his uke almost all the time.

Wow! I just learn a lot! There are so much things that I wanna try, so much things that I just got being an uke.

I agree with who said that you learn more!

04-23-2004, 09:58 AM
This is a bit tangential, but it's come up elsewhere now for me, and it's one of those itty bitty little things that's driving me crazy:

In partnership, there is "uke", and then there's that other guy: is he "tori", "nage", or "aite"??

THANK you to anyone who can answer that! :freaky:

Ron Tisdale
04-23-2004, 12:31 PM
In partnership, there is "uke", and then there's that other guy: is he "tori", "nage", or "aite"??

All of the above, and if you are yoshinkan, she could be 'shite' too...

It all depends on the preference of the organization to which you belong. aite I believe is often used in weapons styles (as is shidachi/uchidachi). You can often get an idea of the group's history by paying attention to little clues like this.

04-23-2004, 12:57 PM
All of the above, and if you are yoshinkan, she could be 'shite' too...

Well, great -- now my head hurts. :cool:

What do the various terms mean? (Also, thanks much for the response.)

Ron Tisdale
04-23-2004, 02:00 PM
shite -- doer
uke -- reciever (of the technique)

In the classical arts (koryu), the senior partner is usualy doing the uke, guiding and teaching the shite.

Peter G. or Jun could give proper definitions...