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David Yap
08-25-2004, 10:30 PM
Hi all,

I am not sure whether this thread should be in this or the teaching section.

In aikikai hombu tradition (don't know about other organizations), the last technique practiced is always suwari waza kokyo-ho. I recalled many years ago during a seminar given by a prominent shihan from Hombu Tokyo, a fist fight nearly started between an instructor from one dojo (a nidan at that time) and a very young shodan from another dojo in the course of doing this very technique. I have experienced many time that many people always treat this technique as a test of physical strength. IMO this always end as a test of ego and sometimes lead to more physical challenges.

In my dojo, there is a yudansha in his 50's who as an uke would put >100% strength into the technique - sometime holding the nage's arms with his "unbendable" arms and sometimes pushing the nage's hands against the top of the nage's thighs with his full body weight. He always target the lower ranks. I have told him in subtle ways that this is not aikido and definitely not the intend of the technique but he doesn't seem to care. (IMO, this trait of behavior is always in guys who take up MA in the late stage of their lives).

How would you explain the intend of this technique to him and go about to change his attitude of practising aikido? I have stopped partnering with him but I have warned my other sempai to be extra attentive and careful (to avoid injury) while taking ukeme for him. Is his behaviour the result of our being too gentle with him? Please advice.

Regards

David

xuzen
08-25-2004, 11:51 PM
Dear David,

I'd detect a sense of egoness in that particular yudansha, the statement that he targets lower rank is a dead ringer. He likes to be in control and be a bully. Have him train with some higher competency people, and since we live in a age of political correctness, non-sexist, non-ageist etc, him being in his 50's doesn't mean a thing anymore, so no need to be soft on him because of that. Since he like to show his unbendable arm, try and see if he can also do unbendable knee, ankle or wrist as well. Apply a good henkawaza (changing of techniques) and see what happens. IMO, showing someone who is unwilling to listen goes beyond words.

Regards,
Boon.

shihonage
08-26-2004, 12:02 AM
You can do suwari waza kokyu-ho when uke presses your hands against your legs with all his strength.
It's just instead of your hands, you need to move your legs (on which your hands are pinned), and modify the technique a bit.

maikerus
08-26-2004, 01:27 AM
Hi David,

This sounds like fun.

I was practicing this very thing in class this morning. The pushing down into the knees and then moving them out of the way so uke falls over. We also did suwari waza kokyo-ho with the hands at chest height. This is the last technique we practice during shochugeiko - and today was our last day.

But back to your post. If the problem is that you and he don't agree on the purpose of suwari waza kokyu-ho, then I'd suggest asking him what he studies and thinks about while doing this technique and if he's trying to demonstrate anything to you. Maybe he targets lower ranks because they listen to him when he's trying to show something.

Your post really implies that your way is right and his way is wrong. It's possible that you are just getting different things out of the same technique.

The reason this comes to mind is that when taking uke and training with the top Yoshinkan Hombu instructors they have often asked me to hold on as tight as I can or push down as hard as I can or try not to let any movement of their hands while holding their wrists. After a few moments they invariably throw me.

You know this person better than anyone reading your posts. If this is the only technique you have issue with, then I would really suggest talking to him. If this is true in all techniques and he never changes his training style no matter who he is training with then perhaps what Xu suggests is true.

Just a thought or two,

--Michael

xuzen
08-26-2004, 01:36 AM
Dear Mike,

Hi, good to see a fellow Yoshinkaner. I think we train alike, preferably with strong resistance, if it doesn't work the first time, try and try again.

Cheers mate,
Boon.

maikerus
08-26-2004, 01:54 AM
Hi, good to see a fellow Yoshinkaner. I think we train alike, preferably with strong resistance, if it doesn't work the first time, try and try again.



Me too :)

cheers,

--Michael

David Yap
08-26-2004, 02:20 AM
Thanks all for the replies thus far


But back to your post. If the problem is that you and he don't agree on the purpose of suwari waza kokyu-ho, then I'd suggest asking him what he studies and thinks about while doing this technique and if he's trying to demonstrate anything to you. Maybe he targets lower ranks because they listen to him when he's trying to show something.

The only thing he shows is that he could jam their techniques (because he already knew what they were going to) and he doesn't show/teach the juniors the correct/proper way to the technique. To honest, he is not the guy that any junior is eager to partner with. I agree with Boon that "Ego" is the key play here.

Your post really implies that your way is right and his way is wrong. It's possible that you are just getting different things out of the same technique.

The reason this comes to mind is that when taking uke and training with the top Yoshinkan Hombu instructors they have often asked me to hold on as tight as I can or push down as hard as I can or try not to let any movement of their hands while holding their wrists.

Did I mention that he only behaves that way with the juniors. Once he had "tested" that a person who could counter his hold, he would not do it that to the same person again. Most of the sempai have come to this conclusion.

After a few moments they invariably throw me.

The length of time to throw depends on how long you could hold your breathe while holding as tight as you could. That's why the technique is called "kokyu-ho".

You know this person better than anyone reading your posts. If this is the only technique you have issue with, then I would really suggest talking to him. If this is true in all techniques and he never changes his training style no matter who he is training with then perhaps what Xu suggests is true.

This person does not understand Newton's law of "every action has an equal and opposite re-action". He uses more than adequate force in his techniques (especially locking techniques) resulting in equal resistance from the uke (to avoid joint-injuries) - meaning his techniques can only go harder and harder; the more strength he used the stronger the resistant. When he fails to carry out the technique, he doesn't fault himself but the uke. Partly or wholly, this explains his behavior as an uke - to him is tit-for-tat.

Coming back to my question. How can you solve an ego problem with getting into one itself?

Regards

David

maikerus
08-26-2004, 02:39 AM
Hi David,

Well, from your reply to my post I'd say you do have an ego problem on your hands. At the very least he doesn't understand about teaching, leading and the idea of using less force and more of uke's energy to make a technique stronger.

I'm glad you gave the extra examples. I didn't want to jump to the obvious conclusion of the ego based only on one technique, and a technique that my instructors had asked me to attack in a similar way. <wry grin>

WRT the dilema of ego showing up in suwari waza kokyu-ho. That's a good question. If my understanding of your question is correct, you are trying to figure out how to avoid the clash of egos during Kokyu-ho and how to approach this technique with someone who is known to (as this guy is) really, really try and win and apply as much force as he possibly can to make sure that you can't do the technique.

I'd say...lose.

When you doing the technique and he's grabbing as hard as he can and you can't move him. Just stop. Say something like "I'm not good enough yet...could you maybe hold at 1/3 of your power to give me a chance to feel this".

You'll have satisfied his ego, worked through your own worry about getting injured with the guy and gotten back to training. I don't know if it'll work...but it might be worth a try.

cheers,

--Michael

xuzen
08-26-2004, 02:42 AM
Thanks all for the replies thus far

Coming back to my question. How can you solve an ego problem with getting into one itself?

Regards

David

David,

An ego is like a clogged up drain. It is dirty, unclean and unsightly. If you try to apply stronger hold, or using more strength to counter his ego, you may win eventually but you can't win his heart. My guess is, when his mind is so focused on resisting the kokyu ho, change your technique and apply something different. This will hopefully catch him by surprise and if he is a wise person, he will realise that his focused mind is only strong in that particular moment and that strongness can easily be overcome by changes. Similarly, his perceived strength is only his perception, best of luck in showing him some kensho.

Cheers,
Boon.

David Yap
08-26-2004, 02:44 AM
Sorry guys, some corrections to the typo/grammar below; I had to rush off somewhere to sign some documents:

Thanks all for the replies thus far

The only thing he shows is that he could jam their techniques (because he already knew what they were going to do) and he doesn't show/teach the juniors the correct/proper way to the technique. To honest, he is not the guy that any junior is eager to partner with. I agree with Boon that "Ego" is the key play here.

Did I mention that he only behaves that way with the juniors. Once he had "tested" that a person could counter his hold, he would not test the same person again. Most of the sempai have come to this conclusion.

The length of time to throw depends on how long you could hold your breath while holding as tight as you could. That's why the technique is called "kokyu-ho".

This person does not understand Newton's law of "every action has an equal and opposite re-action". He uses more than adequate force in his techniques (especially the locking techniques) resulting in equal resistance from the uke (a natural re-action to avoid joint-injuries) - meaning his techniques can only go harder and harder; the more strength he used the stronger the resistance. When he fails to carry out the technique, he doesn't fault himself but the uke. Partly or wholly, this explains his behavior as an uke - to him it is tit-for-tat.

Coming back to my question. How can you solve an ego problem without getting into one itself?

Regards

David

David Yap
08-26-2004, 03:01 AM
...I'd say...lose.

When you doing the technique and he's grabbing as hard as he can and you can't move him. Just stop. Say something like "I'm not good enough yet...could you maybe hold at 1/3 of your power to give me a chance to feel this".

You'll have satisfied his ego, worked through your own worry about getting injured with the guy and gotten back to training. I don't know if it'll work...but it might be worth a try...


Good response, Michael.


Boon,

We can only change our techniques in a jiyu waza situation. Given in a kata situation, this guy already knew what the nage is going to do and he is anticipating the movement to the intention of jamming. Out of respect to the instructor, we can't change the technique without some disturbance to the class.

In my karate class, we have the answer that can quickly clean up "the clogged drain" - the jiyu kumite - but in aikido, we are just too polite and gentle.

Regards

David

xuzen
08-26-2004, 03:17 AM
Good response, Michael.


Boon,

...but in aikido, we are just too polite and gentle.

Regards

David

Ah! Politeless & Gentleness, the bane and boon of aikidokas. That is what I would do if I come across such similar problem, but then what Mike suggest is also a suitable alternative. Good news is you have couple of options to choose from.

Boon.

ian
08-26-2004, 03:58 AM
I think suwari-waza kokyu-ho is a good time to play with forces and struggle and illustrate how sensetivity can overcome force. However it is patently pointless if the nage is never capable of doing anything (therefore they can't move) or if uke tries to counter nages movements too much when nage starts to blend.

Agree with previous posts: I think uke has an important role in trying to teach nage. This means only giving appropriate resistance, when and if necessary. Uke should consider there role as helping nage to develop, not competing or ridiculing nage. Uke must have no ego!

Ron Tisdale
08-26-2004, 07:19 AM
Both Daito ryu (mainline) and Yoshinkan have instances where the grasp for techniques like kokyu ho are as you describe...so I wouldn't worry about that so much. I'd probably spend some time coaching the jr. folks how to do the technique when someone grasps in that way. I remember a seminar when someone who was visiting did that with me...I not only surprised him, I surprised myself when I threw him with little effort. And the result was painfull enough so that he stopped grabbing that way. :) Generally when people grab that way, they have half locked their structure already, so they are extremely vulnerable even though they percieve themselves to be strong.

By removing his ability to do this to the jr. folks, you kind of remove the issue. I'm sure if its an ego thing, he'll find some other way to enforce it for himself...in the end, you'll find a way to deal with that too...and maybe over time he'll get a clue...I'm beginning to get one, so anyone can. :)

The length of time to throw depends on how long you could hold your breathe while holding as tight as you could. That's why the technique is called "kokyu-ho".

Well, I tend not to hold my breathe during kokyu ho as uke...I'm trying not to hold my breathe too often anyway...I find breathing out for powerfull grabs to work better. Speaking of which, you might find some interesting things to do in this situation if you look for ways to alter your breathing to 'steal' his breathe...whether he's holding his or not. I've found it can really help in reducing the amount of power uke can maintain.

Oh, and I really haven't found 'people who start later in life' to be overly susceptible to ego...I've seen it in myself, young people, old people, women, men, pretty much all around.

Good Keiko,
Ron (and hi to all the yosh folk in this thread!)

raul rodrigo
08-26-2004, 07:55 AM
I've found that in kokyu-ho, in cases where uke holds on for dear life, all I have to do is the variation where you pivot to the side and lift the leading elbow to his face for a sitting kokyu-nage (sokumen iriminage). After a couple of strong iterations of that, he usually gets the point that he can't stop my movement anyway, so he softens soon enough.

On the other hand, now and then my shihan likes to resist and press my wrists into my lap just to show me that at that particular moment I'm not presenting "alive hands" to uke for this technique.
a failure of zanshin. So its not ego on his part, but a useful teaching method.

best,

RAUL

MaryKaye
08-26-2004, 08:13 AM
For us this technique is a ki exercise, not a throw, and our teachers will say so over and over if necessary. But I know that's not true everywhere.

Where did this person train? Has he switched schools or traditions? It can be quite difficult to go from a more "hard" to a less "hard" style. You're being asked to change engrained habits, and to change them in ways that your previous teachers may have characterized as weak or ineffectual. You'll have to go through a period of feeling less competent than you used to, which is painful.

Our dojo rule is that you can try to force this technique with seniors, and they are free to reverse you (one of the first kyus is exceptionally good at this). But you don't frustrate juniors by giving more resistance than they can handle. This gets reinforced over and over; it's part of our "teaching to teach" emphasis. If you can't hear that kind of message, eventually advancement gets really hard. This works for us, but a dojo with a different teaching style would need a different approach.

The stereotype in our dojo is that it's young men who behave this way, not older ones; but I don't see any evidence that either stereotype is true. Some people are just more combative than others, and it's not really a matter of age. Or gender, either---I'm not quite as much of a problem as our most difficult student (I hope) but I've gotten called on kokyu ho quite a few times myself.

Mary Kaye

AsimHanif
08-26-2004, 08:57 AM
Hi David. I agree with Ron in that if someone grabs using physical strength it is much easier to throw them, if you are relaxed. So I would use this as a training opportunity.
From my own experience I can tell you I've had a lot of training partners who used nothing but physical strength and for a long time I could not execute techniques on them. Not because they were stronger but because my technique was not good enough. Today those same people are still using physical strength and I have no problem executing technique on them now. I know I had to put my own ego aside for awhile in order to practice in a manner in which I thought would benefit me in the long haul, even at the expense of them getting their "kicks". But now you should see their face. when they get thrown. Some people just don't get it. I would keep him away from beginners for now because they can easily get discouraged.

Ron Tisdale
08-26-2004, 09:24 AM
some tips for working with this type of attack (from my limited experience):

Center moves forward with hand and arm movement

arms stay relaxed, but open your fingers widely

turn your fingers up (bend at the wrist) so that they match the line of uke's forearms

one sharp inhale as you begin, then without stopping, continue to inhale in a manner that matches your movement

use 'unbendable' arm (the same position as arms in kamae for yosh folk)

Cut out and breathe out strongly once you're ready to throw...forward, side, pivot and throw back...it doesn't matter...their balance is already broken at that point.

Look into 'rising aiki' as it is used in several forms of Daito ryu...

One interesting thing is that you can often lift someone straight up with their arms locked at the elbow with these or similar methods. You can even toss them over your head directly behind you without turning yourself. That's one of the ones that usually stops them from grabbing that way... :)

RT

Usagi
08-26-2004, 01:27 PM
When praticing with him, use a very loose grip, so that everytime he tries do apply kokyuho in you the grip will be lost.

When the complain about "grip tighter" arrive, answer by saying that "similarly, to grip too forcefully is cheating"(warning:he may try to use atemi when his hand get free, so be ready to counter).

Or better yet: tell him to stop being a jerk.

Aikido is not about showing that a older, stronger and more experienced practiccioner can or cannot counter a weaker, younger and less skilled one; ask him if it is not time for him to grow up.

People have a very misguided view that hard grips are more "realistical".

From my experience, it is quite the contrary.

In "Real Combat" an attacker will grip tight enough to keep contact, BUT will change his grip with any motion, making ryotekubitori kokyu ho impossible.

Actually, all "hard grip kokyu ho" are "lab techniques"; they don't work outside aiki enviroments (for those who disagree, unfortunaly I won't be able to explain further by this media).

"Real grabs" intend to push or pull in order to DO SOMETHING and not to stop nage's forearm's motion.

For those who have the 8th international congress of the IAF VideoTape, I recomend before practicing kokyu ho to practice the "te hodoki" ("freeing hands") forms presented by Hiroshi Isoyama SenSei.

Kokyu ho is a henka waza from ryotekubitori te hodoki, where the uke tries to recover the proper grip (te no uchi) and thus, lose his balance AND his strengh; done properly, there is no way to resist.

aikidoc
08-26-2004, 01:48 PM
Show all the juniors how to counter it. You might also point out his vulnerabilitis for a knee in the face when he presses the hands to the legs.

Steven
08-26-2004, 04:55 PM
Just head-butt him one time really good on the bridge of the nose.

Oh wait .. that's not Aikido ... Sorry!

xuzen
08-26-2004, 09:12 PM
Oh, David (aka the thread starter),

If the physical aspect of making him learn is not your style, how about saying this to him, "Relek ar brudder, kenapa tension sangat ni?"" I think this is a good aiki way of putting a smile on his face and making him relaxes.

Sorry folks the above phrase is a colloquial term to mean "Chill out man, no need to be so serious" or whatever is equivalent.

:D
Boon.

NagaBaba
08-27-2004, 09:13 PM
Hi Ron,
Nice posts about kokyu ho.
In our dojo standard kokyu ho practice uke is attacking actively pushing tori's hands back or down with all his power. Of course for beginners the right way to deal with that is showed, but they must to develop themselves ability to execute application. As you said, fingers up, partucularly a smallest finger is a MUST.
Many kokyu ho practice end in ne waza friendly fight, but it is to be expected.

Pushing tori right from the beginning develops many important aikido skills. It is exactly working on your own ego, as aikido has no competition to break ego down. If somebody is able to put you down by pushing you it is only your own fault, not his. In reality, he is very helpfull for you.

You wrote about locking elbows. I saw it in Daito ryu. But we always attacking with elbows bented sligtly down, exactly for preventing from locking. I am personally looking rather to put attacker's elbows up.

who as an uke would put >100% strength into the technique - sometime holding the nage's arms with his "unbendable" arms and sometimes pushing the nage's hands against the top of the nage's thighs with his full body weight.
Very good attacks. I'd have a tons of fun to practice with him.

Ron Tisdale
08-30-2004, 10:32 AM
You wrote about locking elbows. I saw it in Daito ryu. But we always attacking with elbows bented sligtly down, exactly for preventing from locking. I am personally looking rather to put attacker's elbows up.

Yes, I've noticed that this is often how its done in aikido, as opposed to Daito ryu. I know some groups that actually start kokyu ho with the attackers elbows already up. Gives the opportunity to work on a certain amount of finesse from that position, and decreases the ability to confuse strength with technique. That said, not my favorite way to practice.

The key to locking the slightly bent elbows is the way you take the balance...but there are many people who attack that way I still can't do it to. So I cheat... :)

Ron

David Yap
08-31-2004, 09:18 PM
Hi all,

Boon has rightly described the guy as a "bully" and likes to be in control; in a traditional class he would seek to be the first person the sempai would bow to after the sensei.

I'd probably spend some time coaching the jr. folks how to do the technique when someone grasps in that way... By removing his ability to do this to the jr. folks, you kind of remove the issue. I'm sure if its an ego thing, he'll find some other way to enforce it for himself...in the end, you'll find a way to deal with that too...and maybe over time he'll get a clue...I'm beginning to get one, so anyone can.

Ron, I agree with you. But IMO, this is more the role of my instructors. In fact, I have demonstrated with another sempai to an instructor what he (the culprit) did during the suwari waza kokyu-ho exercise and he agreed that it is indeed an ego/spiritual problem.

I appreciate the techniques offered by some of you but picture this, he knew before hand and anticipated what you're about to do, hence, he changed his grips all the time to maintain his balance. I term this as cheating but that depends on how you view the purpose of suwari waza kokyu-ho. Neither me nor the other yudansha have problem dealing with his "defiances". I may have solution for this (i.e. assuming I am leading the class) - perhaps In the midst of his antics, I will signal to the rest of the class to watch him. He will probably realized the extra attention and may come to his senses.

Regards

David