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Jordan Steele
10-05-2004, 04:01 PM
I have been training in martial arts my whole life and Aikido for about 5.5 years. It would seem that all martial arts stress balance with varying degrees. Aikido on the other hand also teaches moving in an off balanced manner. To make myself more clear allow me to explain. When I train in Aikido and am uke, it's my job to know when nage has offbalanced me and then move accordingly. I understand Aikido is co-operative but why do I allow myself to be off balanced. In all other martial arts I've trained becoming off-balanced is a big no-no and should be avoided at all cost. In my last few classes I have been aware of the fact that during any technique if I wanted to regain my balance and not allow nage to throw me, I could and that's not because they have poor technique, it's because mentally I made a decision not to let this person throw me onto the ground. Someone would have to hit me or effectively distract me to actually take my balance because after 5 years of being thrown on my ass, I realized I don't have to fall at all. It's easy to stop nage of any skill. Just drop your center and break away from his center. Maybe I could be humbled by someone out there because I honestly think when an average person senses imbalance, they will react in a way to try and regain balance and if they have any sense of self-preservation they will resist you from the beginning.

Aristeia
10-05-2004, 04:19 PM
Here's my tuppence. Ok first of all
Someone would have to hit me or effectively distract me to actually take my balance
Well yeah. That's why we have atemi. Whether you regularly apply them in class or not, atemi should be a fundamental part of how you think about all your techniques. Second of all,
I honestly think when an average person senses imbalance, they will react in a way to try and regain balance and if they have any sense of self-preservation they will resist you from the beginning..
Well they won't resist you in the beginning. Because if we remember in the beginning they were busy attacking you. Which is kind of the point. They aren't focused on their balance, they are focused on punching your teeth out. They lose their balance because of how you react to that. Either because the solid object they were expecting to hit is no longer there and they over reach, or because you've cut them to an unbalance point, or because you've thrown an atemi or (most likely) all of the above. But surely then they should recover their balance? Not only does aikido allow for this, it downright depends upon it. Take the classic example of irimi nage. It is uke's attempt to recover that leads them into the throw. Pretty much all our techniqes are designed to exploit the natrual self preservation instincts of the majority of people. The most trouble I have with uke's is when we are going too slow and they are overthinking how they should be reacting rather than just moving.

Of course developing to a level where your timing and blending is good enough to move seemlessly with uke is tricky. But as they say, if it was easy, everybody would be doing it. :)

NagaBaba
10-05-2004, 06:01 PM
In my last few classes I have been aware of the fact that during any technique if I wanted to regain my balance and not allow nage to throw me, I could and that's not because they have poor technique, it's because mentally I made a decision not to let this person throw me onto the ground.

Depends that kind of aikido you practice.

In one moment of you life a dojo with few beginners and one or two black belt is not challenge anymore. I'd like to suggest you to make a trip to any shihan dojo. Then you can make any decision you want, just remember, you have big part of responsability of your safety in the very next second.

I'm not talking here about KO after atemi, but i.e.: if technique contains a throw with an arm lock, and lock is maitained all the way down until you tap out, the fact that you drop down your center make your arm broken. But this is only way to learn why aikido is art non-resistance ;)

p00kiethebear
10-05-2004, 06:17 PM
I have to agree with mike on this. Atemi is critically important to aikido practice. Atemi is what's going to decide whether their mind moves or not. If the mind moves so does the body. A perfect example is to try keeping an unbendable arm while somone is punching you in the face repeatedly. it's not easy.

maikerus
10-05-2004, 06:19 PM
Hmmm....an interesting comment.

In my experience (and they way I've been taught) is that uke's role is to continuously be trying to regain balance in a fashion that's controlled or set by shite. The idea being that each part of a technique could be the "final" movement, unless uke moves into the natural place for them to regain their balance. This "natural" place is a result of what shite has just done. When uke attempts to regain their balance by moving there then you do the next part...and so on...until it gets to the point where there is a pin or a throw which is the finish of this combined set of movements that make up the technique.

Along the same lines when people say there is no attack in Aikido I would have to disagree because by giving an opening, punching someone in the head or even calling them names are all actions meant to elicit a reaction...which goes back into the controlling of the next movement and so on and so on until they are aiki-ily transformed into a small puddle on the floor.

As for training...learning the feeling of off-balance and how to recover from it as uke is what helps you learn to control that feeling in your uke when you are shite.

shihonage
10-05-2004, 06:56 PM
It is not the nage's goal to throw you. It is your goal to attack nage.
Whatever comes out, may be a throw, may be something else.
If you eliminate your initial goal, then the need for a throw disappears.

If you give sincere attack, then Aikido technique will not allow you to withdraw.
If you give a half-assed attack which was no threat to nage in the first place, then he doesn't need to do anything about it.
Trying to force a throw at this point only opens nage to another attack by you.

suren
10-05-2004, 07:11 PM
I agree with Michael that in AIkido uke's role is not to move in off-balanced way, but to try to gain his balance. Besides resisting a technique when you know which one is applied and in a static manner is relatively easy, but real attack is not performed from a static stance and uke does not know how nage will respond. Aikido works perfectly against strong and sincere attacks even if uke knows how to control his balance.

L. Camejo
10-05-2004, 10:02 PM
When I train in Aikido and am uke, it's my job to know when nage has offbalanced me and then move accordingly. I understand Aikido is co-operative but why do I allow myself to be off balanced.

In my understanding the Tori/Uke relationship during cooperative practice (kata or forms etc.) is one where both practitioners are trying to practice the technique in the "most ideal" way possible, so there is no resistance and Uke follows the movements initiated by Tori. It's a 2-part process to understanding, in both roles one understands exactly what makes techique work and also why it doesn't work. Also, I can't say that this sort of training is found only in Aikido. I have trained along similar lines in Jujutsu and even Judo during cooperative practice. It is part of helping your partner and yourself understand the intricacies of technique.

In all other martial arts I've trained becoming off-balanced is a big no-no and should be avoided at all cost.

Again it depends on a few things. I teach all my students to maintain their balance and posture throughout the technique while playing the role of Tori to avoid being taken to the ground by a resistant Uke/attacker. In striking arts it is also emphasised that loss of balance is a dangerous thing, as well as stand up weapon arts etc. Failure to maintain one's balance in these cases removes a basic assumption that makes these arts effective. Also, because striking is involved, it's not so much a matter of receiving the technique, since in this case "receiving" the strike means that you've probably done something wrong to get hit in the first place, so the Tori/Uke relationship does not really exist in the same way as with many stand up grappling arts such as Aikido.

In my last few classes I have been aware of the fact that during any technique if I wanted to regain my balance and not allow nage to throw me, I could and that's not because they have poor technique, it's because mentally I made a decision not to let this person throw me onto the ground.

Well imho if you have the option to regain your balance as Uke during the technique's execution, something is wrong or the technique is not being practiced in a "martial" sense at this time, but maybe to get a deeper understanding of movement principles, body mechanics etc. There are times when the training is focused on something other than being martially effective all the time in order to understand other principles of the technique and of Aikido.

Someone would have to hit me or effectively distract me to actually take my balance because after 5 years of being thrown on my ass, I realized I don't have to fall at all. It's easy to stop nage of any skill. Just drop your center and break away from his center. Maybe I could be humbled by someone out there because I honestly think when an average person senses imbalance, they will react in a way to try and regain balance and if they have any sense of self-preservation they will resist you from the beginning.

From my experience, there's aikido and then there's AIKIDO, there's kuzushi and then there is KUZUSHI.:) One can interrupt, break or obliterate an attacker's balance depending on the need imo. For those who train to make kuzushi a key element of their effective technique, an attacker can be given information beforehand of the technique to be done, know everything about the technique and still be dropped by it. There are many ways. :) Imho it depends on your experiences in Aikido. One does not need a Shihan to experience devastating kuzushi followed by effective technique, just someone who makes it a core of their training and drills all aspects of it consistently. A good practitioner who knows how to fully utilise kuzushi will both not allow you to have any control of your centre until the technique is over and will also allow room to use your reflex resistant/restorative actions to being taken off balance to make an even more powerful technique (we call it reactive kuzushi). Iow by resisting you make things better for them to throw or pin you.

Just my thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

Zato Ichi
10-05-2004, 10:21 PM
Well, Larry just pretty much said everything I was going to (and then some), but I'll add a couple of things

1) I've learned this the hard way through randori geiko: if uke's body is stiff - atemi waza. If they're relaxed - kansetsu waza.

2) One of the first things we're taught in randori is how to change techniques if your opponent resists. Gyakugameate doesn't work? Change to kote gaeshi. Uke stops that as well? Transition to shomenate (and so on). It's all about getting a really good kazushi, if uke is resisting with force, that force is going in some direction - use it to your advantage.

xuzen
10-06-2004, 03:19 AM
Dear Jordan,

Here is my 2 cents thought...

In all other martial arts I've trained becoming off-balanced is a big no-no and should be avoided at all cost.

This is because all other martial art is not aikido. Isn't it the peculiarity of aikido give it is uniqueness?

In my last few classes I have been aware of the fact that during any technique if I wanted to regain my balance and not allow nage to throw me, I could and that's not because they have poor technique, it's because mentally I made a decision not to let this person throw me onto the ground.

My own observation: You have the neck, the wrist, the ankle, the knee and various other part of anatomy where aikido techniques are aimed at. Assuming you drop your weight, clench your fist, lock your wrist and elbow. Can you also in the same moment in time lock your neck, your ankle? We human has only one brain and we can only focus on one thing at a time. If you lock any of the above anatomy, simple, go for the other parts. As a shite, be relaxed and feel your opponent, touch him/her, once you found the weakness, apply the technique.


Maybe I could be humbled by someone out there because I honestly think when an average person senses imbalance, they will react in a way to try and regain balance and if they have any sense of self-preservation they will resist you from the beginning.

You are right with the self-preservation thing, and it is this natural reactive mechanism that an aikidoka should strive to exploit to his/her advantage. train hard and you will see. I have.

Mark Balogh
10-06-2004, 07:13 AM
Read Aleksey S's post carefully, think about it and practise it. IMHO that is the correct answer to your problem. :)

Jordan Steele
10-06-2004, 07:22 AM
Thanks for the responses, a number of the posts mentioned things that haven't crossed my mind before but my original intention of the post was trying to dig a litttle deeper. I wasn't just concerned about imbalance and how I felt I could stop the throw, but more concerned as to why we train to be unbalanced. For example, if I happened to be involved in an altercation outside of the dojo and an attacker tried to throw me, my "trained" instict would be to allow this off balancing and move with the throw. My "natural" instinct would be to immediately drop my center and resist the throw. I know ukemi doesn't just teach falling, it teaches a way of moving in general that can potenetially save your life. I'll get straight to the point though. My muscles have been trained to move with someone elses force whether I'm nage or uke so if someone tried to throw me in a fight, I would most likely allow this to happen, WHY DO WE TRAIN TO BE UNBALANCED?

Mark Balogh
10-06-2004, 07:31 AM
1) I would think of myself as nage, not uke in a real situation.

2) Receiving and giving in totally teaches you to LET GO, mentally and physically.

3) You need to learn to take ukemi freely in preparation for executing Kaishi waza (counter/continuation techniques).

With respect, if you did not know these things, maybe you should go and find a Shihan as suggested. You have been training a while now and now it would seem you need a higher level input. I hope this helps. :)

NagaBaba
10-06-2004, 11:35 AM
I'll get straight to the point though. My muscles have been trained to move with someone elses force whether I'm nage or uke so if someone tried to throw me in a fight, I would most likely allow this to happen, WHY DO WE TRAIN TO BE UNBALANCED?
If you go with someone else force, you don't need to be stronger then him to control him, do you? Idea is not to fight AGAINST. Letting go is not equal to be unbalanced. That is exactly point of aikido training. Natural reaction is to stop a throw. That is what thrower expects. So your reaction LET GO will create un opening in his mind(surprise)so you will take take his balance with no effort at all. Almost automaticly. You create kind of illusion and you use it for you advantage.

Of course after LET GO there is a follow up, I mean you must feel a point in execution og technique as uke, where you can take controle and become tori. Then your partner do the same.....so in the end, there no clearly establish roles as attacker and defender.
It leads to many higher level kind of training, like couters, and throws without locks that based only on non physical part of aikido(timing, surprise, absorbing, breaking distans...etc)

Kevin Leavitt
10-06-2004, 01:28 PM
Not sure I can completely picture what you are talking about when you describe "training to be unbalanced. I am working with my Army Battalion with their Army Combatives program (BJJ for most part). I am telling guys to relax and go with the attack when they are grappling, don't fight it. They waste alot of energy trying to fight for what they already lost.

Giving into the attack is not untactical. It is admitting what has already been lost or unbalanced to use your term. You give that piece up a little and work for another area that your opponent is not fighting for. Usually when I give up a little the attacker becomes off balanced and I can work it to my advantage.

Another example is striking. Nothing wrong necessarily with gettting hit, i let people hit me hard all the time, I just don't stand there and brace, I give into the hit and let my body and movement dissipate the force. (I also choose where I let them hit me, hard to dissipate a hit to the face!).

I love kokyu tanden ho cause it helps you really understand the give and take relationship with uke.

suren
10-06-2004, 01:31 PM
One of the first things we're taught in randori is how to change techniques if your opponent resists. Gyakugameate doesn't work? Change to kote gaeshi. Uke stops that as well? Transition to shomenate (and so on). It's all about getting a really good kazushi, if uke is resisting with force, that force is going in some direction - use it to your advantage.

Now I remeber Bill Witt Shihan's words: "No matter how good you are, sometimes technique does not work, then try something else".

suren
10-06-2004, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the responses, a number of the posts mentioned things that haven't crossed my mind before but my original intention of the post was trying to dig a litttle deeper. I wasn't just concerned about imbalance and how I felt I could stop the throw, but more concerned as to why we train to be unbalanced. For example, if I happened to be involved in an altercation outside of the dojo and an attacker tried to throw me, my "trained" instict would be to allow this off balancing and move with the throw. My "natural" instinct would be to immediately drop my center and resist the throw. I know ukemi doesn't just teach falling, it teaches a way of moving in general that can potenetially save your life. I'll get straight to the point though. My muscles have been trained to move with someone elses force whether I'm nage or uke so if someone tried to throw me in a fight, I would most likely allow this to happen, WHY DO WE TRAIN TO BE UNBALANCED?

If somebody tries to throw you, which means he is attacking, then you should use his attack and unbalance him and pin or throw. If you are attacking and he is good enough to use it and throw you, your ukemi just saves you from being injured. We do not train to be unbalanced, we are trained to be safe.

Bronson
10-06-2004, 02:34 PM
If you go with someone else force, you don't need to be stronger then him to control him, do you? Idea is not to fight AGAINST.....

I think I need to surrender my aiki-fruity card as I've found myself agreeing with Szczepan on two different threads now :freaky: :eek: :freaky:

Bronson

MaryKaye
10-06-2004, 02:58 PM
At the recent seminar by Nevelius sensei and Ostoff sensei in Seattle, one of them (I'm sorry to have forgotten which, but it was a long weekend!) said that you should always fall from your best place. Either you are in a good, centered, stable position--and then it's reasonable to stay there--or you aren't, and should fall and get into a better one. But don't struggle along in a compromised position, tiring yourself out and making the ukemi harder.

Martha Levinson sensei, the seminar host, once told me that when you need to fall you should go down 100% so that you can immediately try to come up 100%. Fighting against the fall makes the recovery slower and more awkward, and you can get stuck. No good being off the floor, if you are in a position where you can't fight or protect yourself. She demonstrated with nikyo--if you go down immediately and sharply on the nikyo, sometimes you can bounce right up and reverse nage. If you force nage to grind you down slowly, there is no reversal.

Mary Kaye

giriasis
10-06-2004, 03:08 PM
But you are striving to keep your balance as uke. Where I train, as uke we don't strive for our balance to be taken, we still strive to keep it. My sensei always teaches that the uke is continually attacking, protecting their center, and trying to regain their balance in hopes that they might be able to counter nage. What I think is different is the way we strive to keep it and that might be what is confusing you. We don't lock up our joints and stiffen up our muscles to keep our balance rather we bend, flex our bodies, and blend with the technique.

Also, since you're a beginner I can see how you think we are just giving up our balance as that is usually the more appropriate way to learn proper ukemi at your level of skill. It's not just for safety but also for preparation for more advanced training. As your ukemi skills advance you'll begin to discover how you can counter or reverse your partners.

Jordan Steele
10-06-2004, 04:19 PM
Once again thank you for the responses, but I'm still not totally clear on a few things. In regards to ukemi, I'm not going to be modest, I'm one of the best ukes you'll find anywhere and I know it. I love Aikido and don't doubt it's effectiveness at all, but having said that I still have questions about WHY we do things a certain way. I know that if someone shoved me hard from behind unexpectedly I would take a forward roll to avoid having my face planted into the pavement. I know if someone turned my wrist over, I would take ukemi and recover as fast as possible. I know why we learn ukemi for the purposes of training, but what I don't know is how can training the body to accept imbalance be a good thing if, outside of the dojo, a person attempts to throw you. I live by the fact that no matter what my skill level is, there is always someone equal or better than me. Assuming I get thrown by someone that has better technique than I do, chances are kaeshi waza is not possible and I will end up on the ground (not a good place). So why would I allow myself to accept imbalance knowing that the outcome will not be good. Wouldn't it be better to "fight" as opposed to roll with it. So to sum it all up, I know why we learn ukemi, I am good at ukemi, I know the benefits of ukemi, but I'm looking for ukemi responses from this post. I would like to know why we train to accept being unbalanced know that the outcome will be undesirable. Thanks again.

Jordan Steele
10-06-2004, 04:34 PM
This is unrelated to my oringinal post so don't let it interfere, but this message is directed towards Anne Marie Giri. Personally I don't consider 5.5 years of training to be a "beginners" level of skill and I am not a beginner in the martial arts world. I ask questions such as these all the time because I enjoy learning. I am aware that I don't know it all and never will, but that's better that thinking I do know it all and always will. Also my ukemi skills far exceed that of most Aikido practitioners and I don't ever stiffen up because I am actually aware of the inherent dangers in doing so. In addition, even "at my (low) level of skill" I don't just give up my balance and fall and I have never trained that way Furthermore, I am aware of reversals and counters to throws, even after only 5.5 years, and yes, I actually get to train with the big boys when they do that. I'm even allowed to do randori and yes I can brush my own teeth as well...and wipe my ass.
Yours Humbly,
Jordan Steele

Kevin Leavitt
10-06-2004, 04:39 PM
I think you are making some bad assumptions. (sorry to be blunt, it is hard to describe in type). First, about aikido's effectiveness. People are effective (or not), not aikido, it is a training methodology only, not a skill set.

Second, you really don't know what you will do in a real situation. Hopefully all your years of training have helped you develop some good habits that just happen instead of bad ones. If some one pushed me I don't think i'd do a roll unless it was absolutely the last resort. Hopefully my skills have prepared me to see things clearly long before we get to the pushing stage, but if not ok...maybe turn sideways, irmi a little, bend the legs, couple of steps back regain posture and balance.

People in fights usually aren't going to throw you...they want to hurt or kill you...not throw you. So they will probably hit, stab, shoot you more than likely so that kinda does away with the aikido rolls IMHO. If you are not in a "real fight" where someone is really trying to seriously hurt or kill you and it is one of those "bar push around tough guy" senarios...you must question why you are even entertaining it and walk away.

To answer what I think you are asking in your last line...I don't train to be unbalanced, but to be balanced. I always try to be balanced. Sometimes I am not so I practice ways to regain my balance. Normally though I use my body and manuever in ways that may appear to some to be unbalanced, but really I am in control 99% of the time. That is my experiences.

My sensei's and teacher in the past always preach that uke's job is to work with nage and practice balance and posture while being uke for nage. I would never confuse ukemi in which I am working with nage as a real life fighting method/technique.

Sorry this is hard to write about!

shihonage
10-06-2004, 04:51 PM
Something is off here, Jordan.
You ask strange questions which suggest what kind of environment you'd have to be in in order for these questions to appear.
It sounds like in your dojo, the Aikido technique carries no real power, and the idea of "ukemi" is passively following whatever nage does ?

Jordan Steele
10-06-2004, 05:02 PM
Quite the opposite, I train in a dojo that is very aggressive and throws hard thus I recognize the importance of ukemi. My question is not related to ukemi though, it is related to balance and why we train our bodies to accept imbalance.

shihonage
10-06-2004, 05:22 PM
I'm sorry, but "we" do not train our bodies to accept imbalance.
I think your question has been answered many times over in this thread - now may be a good time to actually read it.

If it hasn't been answered properly, then maybe you should clarify your question ?

jss
10-06-2004, 06:17 PM
I believe Jordan has a point (if I understand his posts correctly, that is):
there are two ways to train. You can do your best each and every time to resist the techinique and exploit the smallest flaw. Or you can resist only when you want to show tori something which he/she is ready to learn. Usually training is done in the second cooperative manner. This creates the danger that in a real life situation, you just might be a bit too cooperative and not reverse/block/... a technique, you could have reversed/blocked/... In a way that's okay, because hoepfully/probably you won't be hurt, but still you missed a chance to end the situation.
So the point is: even if you train cooperatively, you should be thinking about possible reversals (that is, when it is not appropriate to execute the actual reversal). Otherwise the cooperative attitude we train in, might just have too big an effect on your reaction in real life.
To give an example: if ever I'll be attacked with a knife and I'd be able to succesfully apply a technique, something in me will want to give the knife back and ask to do it again but on the other side.

shihonage
10-06-2004, 06:42 PM
To give an example: if ever I'll be attacked with a knife and I'd be able to succesfully apply a technique, something in me will want to give the knife back and ask to do it again but on the other side.

I think if ever you'll be attacked with a knife, you'll either freeze and get killed, or go completely apeshit, suffer a few cuts and send your attacker to a hospital with a fractured arm, unable to speak or reproduce, and bleeding from an eyesocket.

Then your knees will be shaking for a good half an hour.
Afterward, you will have trouble remembering what you have done, classifying it as some sort of "technique", and certainly have no recollection of wishing to ever give the knife back to the attacker.

You also may discover that there's nothing to give back - that the attacker didn't let go of the knife at all - just as you didn't let go of whatever of his hands was holding the knife.

akiy
10-06-2004, 06:42 PM
there are two ways to train. You can do your best each and every time to resist the techinique and exploit the smallest flaw. Or you can resist only when you want to show tori something which he/she is ready to learn. Usually training is done in the second cooperative manner.
Personally, I don't think resistance is necessary to "exploit flaws." I daresay that there's another way to train -- without "resistance" at all as uke.
So the point is: even if you train cooperatively, you should be thinking about possible reversals (that is, when it is not appropriate to execute the actual reversal).
Some of the most effective reversals that I've personally felt have come from those who offer no resistance. Just as I have felt many good people as nage who are not resisting what uke is doing, the same goes for people who were in uke's role being able to reverse what I was trying to do as nage by not resisting. In the same manner as we try to "fit" as nage into what uke is providing (ie without resistance), the same can be done as uke.

Just my thoughts and experiences.

-- Jun

Jordan Steele
10-06-2004, 07:30 PM
Joep understands what I was getting at.

By the way, I have read all the posts thoroughly and tried to rephrase my question several times but kept getting answers regarding ukemi. Just read what Joep said and consider that my question of sorts.

shihonage
10-06-2004, 08:56 PM
What Joep said has been answered several times over in this thread - before he said it.
Reversals, openings, atemi, all should be cultivated awareness of in nage-uke interaction.
That is a proper way to train.
A good uke will not let nage slap on a technique when the technique is done incorrectly.
They may reverse it and/or deliver atemi when they see an opening, because of the incorrect technique which allowed for the said opening.

If these questions arise for you and Joep, then it appears that your training relies on overly compliant ukes who never "speak up", and you never do things like jiyu-waza with moderate resistance or random attacks.
It boggles the mind; I have no other explanation for you asking the same strange question over and over.

Wait... can your question be summed up as "Due to Aikido you will cooperate too much in real life and thus pose a danger to yourself" ?

If so, I have news for you - I have encountered a man significantly larger than myself who just grabbed me and kept pushing me into walls.
It started as playful but egos came into play and it degenerated into something resembling a scene from Terminator 2 where they crush into walls repeatedly.
The only thing I could do to retain my balance was go where he went next.
Blend. Offer no resistance.
If I didn't, I would've been swept off my feet.

On the other hand I can also become a lot more immoveable than I could before I started doing Aikido.
Aikido is in part about knowing when doing one, or the other, is to your highest benefit.

Did I get it this time ?

L. Camejo
10-06-2004, 10:51 PM
I think Aleksey's above post and a few others have already answered this question.

I remember my first experience doing full resistance tanto randorigeiko many years ago. Because it was the very first time in my Aikido training that I was actually expected to fight back and resist with all my might, it took a few tries to get into the mindset of allowing my instincts to resist and fight back come into play instead of going with the technique and taking the fall, since previous to this I had only experienced cooperative practice where as the attacker, I would move with the technique instead of fighting back all the time.

Of course when I realised this I also learnt that the best sort of resistance was in relaxing, keeping my balance and going with the technique and changing my position to a place where I could counter effectively at some point.

Moving with the technique however is not the same as "allowing yourself to be unbalanced". If you truly want to apply Aikido kaeshiwaza (counters) you will try your best not to be put off balance, which is how you should train, and from what I get here, is how most folks train.

I think you may be confusing what is expected from you as Uke during the kata and free play aspects of training. In kata resistance (if any) is used to help Tori to understand the mechanics of the technique and to realise what he may be doing wrong as well by showing counters using atemi etc. One is put off balance when the technique is effectively applied in kata by Tori. In free play, resistance is a bit more active and is designed to deliberately prevent technique from being successfully applied. At this point you are not allowing Tori to practice his technique anymore you are trying to throw him as strongly as he is trying to throw you, so you try to eliminate all possiblities of losing balance. In resistance based free practice there should be no Tori or Uke distinction. It is this part of practice that you use to train yourself for real life or like encounters, it is the application aspect of training where you being to understand Shobu Ho (method of fighting) as Kano put it. It should not be the same as cooperative practice.

Regarding what Aleksey referred to about how this sort of training may program you to react poorly in reality, I think Mark Balogh said it best in post #13. In a real life defensive encounter do you see yourself as Tori or Uke? If you see yourself as Uke then there is your problem, since from my understanding at least, Aikido training and philosophy does not equip you with the most effective weapons to go around attacking people and succeeding at it. In reverse, some might say if you are Uke (read "unprovoked attacker") in a real encounter then you are already not practicing Aikido.

Just some thoughts.
LC:ai::ki:

xuzen
10-06-2004, 11:32 PM
Dear Jordan,

Whether you choose to be rooted and resist a throw or to go with the flow is entirely up to you and also depend on the circumstances. The fact that you can do both increases your options. To give you an example that happenned recently in my dojo...

First example,

In randori practice, shite wanted to do an obi-otoshi on me, I felt it coming and dropped my weight as well as used my leg to hook on his (sort of like sticky hands, only using leg). My hand held strongly to his gi lapel. The technique failed. He was not able to drop me.

Second example,

I was the uke. The technique to be perform was mune mochi kokyunage. When the shite performed the technique, I went with the flow and fell, but my hand was still grabbing the lapel. I felt my shite's weak stance, I instinctively held fast to the lapel and performed a sacrifice throw (Uki waza).

Jordan, you mentioned that you why should we ukemi/fall when it is not necessary. You are absolutely right, but going with the flow so that you can set up a counter, why not? If you can resist a throw to prevent your adversary from successfully doing a technique, why not? However in dojo (training) we help each other to learn, so why not just do what we are suppose to do and let shite learn.

Outside the dojo... its free for all.

Hope this helps.
Boon.

senshincenter
10-06-2004, 11:44 PM
Perhaps the question of "Why do we trained to be unbalanced?" in Aikido, as one may wish to derive it from a particular understanding of ukemi, is akin to asking a karateka why he/she trains to be a target when he/she participates in two-man technique training.

Personally, I don't believe that a karateka trains to be a target when he/she provides said things for a partner during training exercises. Moreover, I don't believe that what we repeat over and over within a basic training environment (e.g. kihon waza, shu training, etc.) is what we will do under spontaneous conditions. A person trained only in kihon waza or shu-type training usually does something different: hesitate in applying what they have been practicing. Repitition does not lead to or guarantee spontaneous expression. Therefore I don't think we should hold that an aikidoka is training to lose his/her balance simply because he/she provides and/or allows such a thing to occur for a partner during training exercises. I also don't think that such elements of our training environment erupt so easily into our spontanoues expressions of the art. Nobody is going to go off-balance spontaneously simply because they have done it "X" times on the mat during kihon-waza training.

dmv

maikerus
10-06-2004, 11:45 PM
It looks like there are maybe two similar but separate questions in this thread.

1. Should uke train to be unbalanced

2. If we are training to be unbalanced will that harm/hinder us in a "real" situation because we are training to lose every time we are uke.

Number One:

I don't think uke should train to be unbalanced through the technique. I think uke should constantly be trying to attack shite and the best attack is a balanced attack.

I think the way shite handles an attack is by playing with uke's balance just enough so that uke gets a mild feeling of "something is wrong" rather than "I'm in trouble" or "I'm unbalanced". Uke should feel like they are going to "win" right up to the point they get pinned or thrown.

The challenge for shite is to keep that one step ahead of uke at all times by feeling where uke's balance is and just nudging it out of center enough that they naturally / instinctively react by moving to regain their balance without realizing it because they are intent on the attack. This natural movement hopefully moves them into another more vulnerable position.

Number Two:

If you train to be unbalanced and to lose then it is probably a danger. Maybe a change of mindset to "constantly attack with intent" will make this fear go away.

Of course, you have to trust that your shite is good enough to handle your intent. If they're not then you will have to slow it down so that they can learn and show them where you regained your balance or where it was obvious they were doing something to you. But you must try and keep your attack and balance to be able to show this.

I think if you do this both shite and uke can learn where the danger points are and how to keep uke in a constant state of "I'm winning but there is something a little bit wrong" right up to the point they get slammed.

Michael Young
10-06-2004, 11:49 PM
Hi Jordan,

Here are my limited opinions of your questions, and how I can think of to maybe answer them.
By now in your training, particularly if you have trained with weapons (esp. the bokken) you probably understand that the moment you attack as uke you create an opening that nage exploits. Generally the movement that nage does in Aikido is an irimi or irimi tenkan (depending on the direction, energy, timing, etc. of your attack and nage's chosen response) designed to put nage in a "safe place" i.e. uke's shikaku. It is at this point (and really even before, depending how deep into it you want to go) that you are no longer an "attacker"...your offensive movement has now changed to a defensive movement (this is all assuming, of course, that nage has responded appropriately to your attack) Also, at this point, is when things can really become "Aiki"... this is the first point where nage either chooses to exercise the option of attempting to destroy uke (depending on your definition and possibly the situation, this would not be the "Aiki" solution), or apply principles of musubi or connection with uke in order to continue the dynamic situation to its final outcome. Uke also has some choices at this point...uke is in a compromised position, uke can either choose to try and resist or blend at this point. I'll define "resistance" in this case as "tensing up" some part of your body (usually the arms and shoulders) and fighting against nage by trying to disconnect from the situation, either through muscular resistance or running away. I'll define blending as trying to stay connected to nage, by covering your openings through continued movement of your center and relaxed extension (again particularly of your arms and shoulders), continually seeking nage's center. If uke responds in this blending manner, not being resistive to nage's continued motion, nage usually has no choice but continued movement of his/her own center in a spiral movement, leading uke in either a centrifugal (outward and away, i.e. a throw) or centripedal ( inward and usually down, i.e. generally a pin) motion (or in most cases both). In order to complete this motion, nage must at some point get uke's center dependent on his/her own center (the musubi and connection part) and then either "remove" this center or project it outward...at this point, uke is completely unbalanced by this removal of the nage's center or projection of their own.
Unless I'm completely mistaken, this is where your question comes in, and I think what I'm hearing is a two part question "Why allow nage to unbalance me in the first place?" and "In so doing, am I creating a bad body habit that would serve me badly if in a "real" situation?"
I'm sure there are several answers to these questions, but in response I have this question: What is the alternative to not becoming unbalanced, not blending with your partner, and resisting the throw or pin? In my opinion it is much worse, you are decreasing the likelyhood that nage will respond with something that will be non-damaging to you. Remember, nage has lots of options in response to the openings created during an attack, many of which can be very nasty; including breaking bones and joints (picture yourself refusing to move in order to maintain your balance, when some big insensitive brute [no offense intended to big insensitive brutes, I was once one myself :D ] who is standing in your shikaku, decides to crank on a mean Sankyo...there goes your wrist, your elbow, and shoulder), striking vital areas, or just plain sticking a finger in your eye! My Sensei points this stuff out to us ALL THE TIME. We can either choose to move and blend as uke, or stand there and get hit, and yes, moving and blending many times requires that our balance get broken. Also if all I choose to do is resist the balance breaking then, as others have pointed out, I can't explore the openings in nage's technique (exploring them doesn't mean I always have to take advantage of them). Many times (I would actually argue every time with a good nage) going to the ground by falling, or staying connected till the pin, are the only ways to keep from getting hurt, or more acurately to cover the openings where I COULD get hurt.
As to the question of ingraining a bad body habit; I don't believe this is really an issue. Think about it this way, by allowing your balance to be broken again and again, you are not developing a habit of just falling down, you are developing a habit of being aware of your center so acutely that you know exactly when and how your balance is broken...so you are really learning how to keep your balance (does that make any sense at all...the principle is learned by exploring it's opposite). My greatest leaps in understanding a particular principle or technique as nage, have come AFTER I understood the technique as uke (and by understand, I don't mean simple intellectual conceptualization, I mean internally understanding it through body movement and muscle/mind memory). Besides, you probably spend at least 50% of your time as nage, right?...that's when your are ingraining the habit of NOT losing your balance.
Well there's my opinions and thoughts...hope it was worth the long read.

Best Regards,

Mike

CNYMike
10-06-2004, 11:55 PM
I have been training in martial arts my whole life and Aikido for about 5.5 years. It would seem that all martial arts stress balance with varying degrees. Aikido on the other hand also teaches moving in an off balanced manner. To make myself more clear allow me to explain. When I train in Aikido and am uke, it's my job to know when nage has offbalanced me and then move accordingly. I understand Aikido is co-operative but why do I allow myself to be off balanced .....

Um, because Aikido emphasizes throws and joint locks. So it's all about how to unbalance somebody. Ukemi waza -- throws and break falls -- are an integral part of the art and you should practice them. You'll never know when they can save your life.



In all other martial arts I've trained becoming off-balanced is a big no-no and should be avoided at all cost .....

What have you trainined in? Stand up striking systems might take the attitude you explained, but grappling systems will include takedowns and throws. Guess which side of the street aikido is on?

In my last few classes I have been aware of the fact that during any technique if I wanted to regain my balance and not allow nage to throw me, I could and that's not because they have poor technique, it's because mentally I made a decision not to let this person throw me onto the ground .....

So you can resist being thrown. Good for you! Having said that, you may want consider that resisting like that in class can be frustrating for beginners. Trust me -- way back when I started Kali, I got annoyed with a partner who wouldn't let me throw him; he can just set himself very well. I almost set him into a display case on one try. Not good. :o

...... I honestly think when an average person senses imbalance, they will react in a way to try and regain balance and if they have any sense of self-preservation they will resist you from the beginning.

After five years, you've probably had your share of "average people" -- raw beginners with no prior training who were starting in Aikido. Have they reacted the way you say they will? There's your answer.

shihonage
10-06-2004, 11:58 PM
After five years, you've probably had your share of "average people" -- raw beginners with no prior training who were starting in Aikido. Have they reacted the way you say they will? There's your answer.

Not a valid comparison, sorry.
Beginners in the dojo don't react out of self-preservation and their life isn't exactly on the line.
Well, they do react, but their reaction is completely different than it would be in a real confrontation. Its purely reflexive and about 50 times more subdued.

maikerus
10-07-2004, 12:02 AM
I think the way shite handles an attack is by playing with uke's balance just enough so that uke gets a mild feeling of "something is wrong" rather than "I'm in trouble" or "I'm unbalanced". Uke should feel like they are going to "win" right up to the point they get pinned or thrown.


An Example (of attacking strongly and trying to stay balanced):

I was in Malaysia on a tour with Inoue Sensei a few years ago and he asked me to do nikajo to him in front of the hundreds of people attending the demo plus those watching via satellite TV.

At the time I'd been training for about 15 years. He was 68 years old. I was 32. I was training about 2 or 3 hours a day and teaching about a third of those classes. He taught about 3 or 4 classes a week.

When he asked me to do the nikajo I had a second of "should I hold back" because of the differences between us that were so obviously in my favour. Luckily it had been drilled into me that every attack should be an attack and if I didn't attack to the best of my ability then I should leave the dojo.

So...you all know what happened. I applied a really good nikajo with my balance perfect and used every bit of skill I had been taught and I knew that there was no escape.

There was a brief pause as I held him there and then I suddenly landed about 3 metres away. I had no idea how I got there. I was perfectly balanced and in control one moment and a nano-second after that I was springing up off the mat with a huge "how the h*ll did you do that" grin on my face.

I really thought I had him, too. <sigh>

Mark Balogh
10-07-2004, 03:37 AM
Jordan,

I can see that you have difficultly accepting concepts that seem 'illogical' to you. We cannot demonstrate these things over a thread only TRY to explain them. Please read and think about my previous post again (and again ;) ). But most of all...

FIND A SHIHAN!!!!!!!!!! :D

PeterR
10-07-2004, 04:11 AM
I can see that you have difficultly accepting concepts that seem 'illogical' to you.
Strangely so do I.

There are forms of training where the relationship between tori and uke are constantly switching. Counters are countered and so on. The initiator (the first person in the uke situation) never gives up his balance - in fact no one does.

The extreme case of uke giving up his balance in kata is the maddening situation where uke is flying off in some direction before tori has a chance to even execute his technique. This is not Aikido.

A more normal situation is where uke allows (by little or no resistance) tori to take uke's balance quite easily. This is different from giving up one's balance and the resistance can be adjusted upward. It can however get to the point where all techniques can be defeated - I mean you know what's coming. At that point tori learns nothing.

Full and complete resistance has its place but not in kata whose entire purpose is the education of tori.

Good training (Shihan or no) has a very clear logic to it. If something is not being made clear - ask again.

giriasis
10-07-2004, 04:24 AM
Jordan, I hardly meant to slight you regarding call you a beginner. I, too, have 5.5 years experience in aikido. I misread your statement and I interepreted that you had been doing other martial arts for 5.5 years and have just started aikido. The comment about being a beginner in my second paragraph was an attempt to show an understanding of your perspective not to insult you in any way or question your skills.

I still stand by the comments in my first paragraph that we don't train to be unbalanced. I gave my reason there and please go back re-read it without assuming I'm being insulting towards you.

Ian Upstone
10-07-2004, 04:52 AM
Just a quick pop from lurkdom.

I think if you go right to the core of being uke, I'd say the goal is to improve your partner's skill.

What helps them most? For some it's telegraphing attacks or giving plenty of momentum and openings they can use, or even putting yourself in the correct position when learning kihon waza with a beginner. At the other end of the spectrum is making your partner earn every last part of the technique by staying on balance at all times, giving them nothing to use and resisting to the last. Most of us probably hover somewhere between the two extremes, not wanting to either patronise or struggle with (i.e. risk being injured by!) their partner.

But resisting in all circumstances? Are you helping them improve or are you just proving (to yourself/them?) that you can't be thrown? One thing that riles me is when a specific technique is being practised - the uke knows exactly what you are going to do, so they can easily prevent your technique. Doesn't help. The only skill they help you develop is henka waza (which is good in some respects, but may not be being taught at that time!)

One thing maybe to bear in mind is that the hypothetical attacker we are training with (and playing the role of as uke) is going to assume they will 'win'. They won't attack unless they have (or think they have) the advantage, so in theory they will not be considering any outcome other than their immediate victory! They will not be thinking about retaining their balance from the offset, or planning to resist something they know is coming - because in theory they don't know what's coming. They'll just continue the attack until they've 'won' or they've been pinned or thrown.

As uke, I believe you have to retain this level of 'attacking naivety' despite the fact you've been thrown thousands of times before. If that makes any sense.

Jordan Steele
10-07-2004, 08:43 AM
Thank you for the responses, the second page of this post was exactly the conversation I was hoping for in the first place. It wasn't that I didn't accept other peoples views as logical, but more I was getting answers to a question that wasn't asked which is my fault, but it's a damn hard question to put clearly. Everything said in this thread has credibility but the second page is the type of dicusssion I was looking for. Thanks again.

balazs
10-07-2004, 10:22 AM
I think in this matter the truth is somewhere between the two far extremes as almost always.
Over-cooperative ukes are a headache, as training with them gives nothing except a good show of their ukemi skills.
On the other side, ukes who resist with full force and try to reverse the waza in every point can be accepted if it is about one decisive clash, but not if it is practice and we have to go over the technique many times. Worse if it's about proving who's stronger or more skilled.
Of course it was explained in detail in this thread. Experienced people here, everyone knows.

Ghost Fox
10-07-2004, 10:27 AM
Hey Jordan,

Iím going to give this post a shot. Iíve been training in Aikido for 7.5 years and in martial arts in general for about 12 years so I know a little where youíre coming from. Also, like you I place a high value in my skills in ukemi.

Over the years Iíve notice as an uke there are three types of throws that I look out for when I donít know what waza is being executed. The first are blitz throws, these are the short-and-sweet throws that I donít see coming and there is very little time between my attack and the actual throw. Examples of these are sudori and sutemi. These throws rely on surprise and the nage vanishing. The second type are the atemi waza, these are the falls you take to avoid having your nose broken or those where the atemi shocks the ukeís system physically or mentally to allow for a throw. These throw rely on ukeís self-preservation instinct or stunning the uke momentarily. These first two types of throws do not require me to move in an off balanced manner. With the first the technique happens so suddenly I usually find myself laughing as I go sailing through the air. The second elicits the Oh Shit response of if I donít go to the floor myself Iím going to end up there in a bloody heap anyway or the involuntary muscle spasm of being touched up for a second while a throw is being executed.

The third type is what I call the chase, and these are the type or waza I think you are referring to, and the ones that most ukes in general donít understand. Most of these waza start out with a tenkan or tenkai movement and may have additional tenkan or tenkai movements through out the technique. Like you during these techniques I can say I am rarely ever unbalanced, and if I am, it is never for more than 1/2 a second tops and only during a big cut movement like in kaitenage or iriminage. The only time my balance ever goes is during the actual throw, which in my opinion should feel like a surprise. Iím in agreement with Jun and Larry when they say the best kind of resistance during ukemi is a relaxed empty resistance.

Letís take for example munetsuki kotegaeshi tenkan. As I strike with tsuki nage enters with tenkan to the outside. Here I must state if nage is particularly good I will find my mental and physical balance slightly perturbed as if he did an incomplete blitz throw. As nage begins to pivot and lead my arm I find myself in the position of one, having nage opening up my centerline and taking my balance and two having my rear exposed, so I immediately give chase to maintain my centerline and hopefully attack nage with an atemi or throw. During this entire time I am exerting pressure on nage, hoping to crack his defenses and break his composure. As I come around and see nage my first response is usually to close up the distance and strike him in the jaw, but nage is never there instead I find myself flying through the air in a kotegaeshi throw.

So for me personally Aikido is about a series of gambits between uke and nage that lead to either the uke or nage ending up on the ground, depending on who plays the game best. For me as uke I am either balanced or in a state of regaining my balance. The only thing that saves nage when Iím balanced is the nage being in a tactically superior position that I wish to neutralize by repositioning myself.

During kihon waza all I do is adjust my timing according to the skill level of the nage. If nage is a new student I usually go slow and walk nage throw the techniques explaining any openings in defenses and the strategy behind the waza. As they grow in experience I speed up and apply more pressure on them. If the person is competent I go for broke and do my best to intercept and counter my nage without short-circuiting his waza just because I know what technique is being practiced. It is a matter of me being a better uke than he is a nage, and during particularly fun classes the nage and I might end up countering and re-countering several times before one of us can deliver a successful atemi or waza.

As for your second point about dropping your center and breaking away, I find this particularly difficult with good nages. If I am the nage in the above example and if uke doesnít want to follow me after the pivot my uke usually receives an elbow to the back, a hyper extended elbow or me disengaging his arm and chocking uke out since I am already behind him. And, if he is stupid enough to try to not go with a kotegaeshi throw he usually ends up crumbled on the floor with a sprain wrist or a clocked jaw. One of my Aikido instructors was especially good at coming in with an explosive irimage if uke tried to break away from his center.

Again this is just my opinion on the subject. I donít believe that uke should remain in any position of imbalance for any period of time, and that uke doesnít have to follow the script of kihon waza, but neither does nage, it is just safer and more constructive that way.

CNYMike
10-07-2004, 11:50 AM
Not a valid comparison, sorry.
Beginners in the dojo don't react out of self-preservation and their life isn't exactly on the line.
Well, they do react, but their reaction is completely different than it would be in a real confrontation. Its purely reflexive and about 50 times more subdued.

Good points; I was mainly reacting to what I saw as an overgeneralization, anyway. :o

CNYMike
10-07-2004, 12:16 PM
Now that I've already put one foot in my mouth, let's see if I can put the other one in.

.... what I don't know is how can training the body to accept imbalance be a good thing if, outside of the dojo, a person attempts to throw you. I live by the fact that no matter what my skill level is, there is always someone equal or better than me. Assuming I get thrown by someone that has better technique than I do, chances are kaeshi waza is not possible and I will end up on the ground (not a good place). So why would I allow myself to accept imbalance knowing that the outcome will not be good. Wouldn't it be better to "fight" as opposed to roll with it ....

My best guess would be that as you noted, there might be someone better than you, so you may not be able to fight it. He might be bigger, might be stronger, might fight dirtier, and your attempt to fight his throw might not work. You're right, going to the ground is not a good place to be. But IMHO, it would be even worse if you smacked your head on the black top as you hit because you hadn't been training to keep that from happening.

Beyond that, it's worth noting that there are other systems out there -- jujitsu systems, Kali and silat sytems, Judo -- that teach throwing techniques, and while the throws might be different, the training format is the same -- one person throws and the other lets himself be thrown so his partner can learn how to do it. Aikido throws in the idea of "blending;" Ukemi, it seems to me, are about blending with the technique even as nage blends with uke's attack. But training in which you "accept" being thrown isn't unique to Aikido.

Kevin Leavitt
10-07-2004, 02:49 PM
I've been doing a lot of grappling lately with BJJ types.

It has been interesting since the flow is much, much smaller and you don't get nice elongated limbs to work on and you usually have a dude wrapped around your waist.

The thing I have been finding is that once they have a part of your body imobilized it is better to give it to them within reason and start working another area to get loose. If you resist with a part that they have already taken then all you do is get tired. I equate it to working kokyo tanden ho, which by the way has helped immensly with my being successful with these guys.

Also, I wouldn't train with these uncooperative dudes all the time cause it is hard to learn principles since all that hard struggling and fighting is not conducive to getting past your weaknesses. You need cooperative uke to set up a set of controlled variables that allows you to work through things.

IMHO, those that view Aikido as a fighting methodology will be disappointed, it is a training methodology to learn the principles of the art!

If you feel it is conditioning you into bad habits, it might not be a bad idea to cross train with something else.

suren
10-07-2004, 07:27 PM
Jordan,

There is a fine article about how Aikido affects behaviour of a person in real life situation written by "The Mirror" called "This is MY Mat!" here : http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2004_04.html
I think it worth reading. It may seem to have no connection with your question at all, but I think it answers it.

Take care.

balazs
10-08-2004, 01:49 AM
Someone mentioned 'sincere' attacks some posts ago.
Recently I had an argument about this kind of attack with a black belt who joined our training while practicing at another dojo. He scolded our white belts for not attacking sincerely, which meant that they hit him while keeping their own balances. He explained that one has to throw all his/her weight into the attack if it is intended to be sincere.
After that we had a chance to see their training and it is true, if you attack with keeping your balance there, they send you back to try again and again until they are satisfied with you almost completely destroying your position with the very attack, so that all nage has to do is stepping aside and pushing you into the air.
So I think this kind of thinking is present in Aikido, so I can understand the 'why teaching to be unbalanced' question. Some places they do teach you that way, yes.

thomas_dixon
10-08-2004, 02:23 AM
Ok, so basically you're afraid that if you're in a fight and someone tries to throw you, you're going to revert to your Aikido training and allow yourself to be thrown like you would practicing on the mat?

shihonage
10-08-2004, 02:49 AM
Someone mentioned 'sincere' attacks some posts ago.
Recently I had an argument about this kind of attack with a black belt who joined our training while practicing at another dojo. He scolded our white belts for not attacking sincerely, which meant that they hit him while keeping their own balances. He explained that one has to throw all his/her weight into the attack if it is intended to be sincere.
After that we had a chance to see their training and it is true, if you attack with keeping your balance there, they send you back to try again and again until they are satisfied with you almost completely destroying your position with the very attack, so that all nage has to do is stepping aside and pushing you into the air.
So I think this kind of thinking is present in Aikido, so I can understand the 'why teaching to be unbalanced' question. Some places they do teach you that way, yes.

In proper Aikido, the strike should be sincere and have power behind it but uke should try to keep his balance during the attack.

I think Okinawan Karate attacks show how the attacks should be done.
Mr. Kenji Ushiro has shown some impressive things on Aiki Expo tapes.

maikerus
10-08-2004, 02:54 AM
After that we had a chance to see their training and it is true, if you attack with keeping your balance there, they send you back to try again and again until they are satisfied with you almost completely destroying your position with the very attack, so that all nage has to do is stepping aside and pushing you into the air.

This is unfortunate. I wonder how many people practicing out there in the wild train this way.

I'd pose the question, but since obviously noone on this board would attack that way I don't think we'd get an accurate picture. <wry grin>

balazs
10-08-2004, 04:04 AM
This is unfortunate. I wonder how many people practicing out there in the wild train this way.

I'd pose the question, but since obviously noone on this board would attack that way I don't think we'd get an accurate picture. <wry grin>

Yes, I agree they are under-represented here :) .
Many places I visit they emphasize very much what the uke is expected to do, correcting my attacks with lengthy explanations. I think they have a picture in their heads about an 'ideal' uke behavior, and feel uncomfortable with ukes who don't follow that.

I confess long years ago I had a similar way of thinking - instructing my one little dojo I preferred to show techniques where the uke could do all the flying ukemis I thought necessary for the waza to look 'nice', and chose only those guys for ukemi who were able to perform the way I liked it. Then I had to go to the country to teach beginners and it happened some times that I had no 'uke escort'.
I felt terrible when all my beautiful throws were spoiled by unexperienced ukes who just banged onto the ground, no flying ...

It was that time I began to think over what a 'good' technique meant, and what relationship it bore with 'good-looking' techniques.

Ian Upstone
10-08-2004, 04:37 AM
I think it boils down to the fact that the techniques we practise that force uke to breakfall aren't always specifically aimed at being 'throws' (e.g. kotegaeshi / hiji-ate etc) - despite how they are responded to when we train. The breakfalls are merely ukes safest/most efficient way of receiving the technique.

George S. Ledyard
10-08-2004, 06:55 AM
Someone mentioned 'sincere' attacks some posts ago.
Recently I had an argument about this kind of attack with a black belt who joined our training while practicing at another dojo. He scolded our white belts for not attacking sincerely, which meant that they hit him while keeping their own balances. He explained that one has to throw all his/her weight into the attack if it is intended to be sincere.
After that we had a chance to see their training and it is true, if you attack with keeping your balance there, they send you back to try again and again until they are satisfied with you almost completely destroying your position with the very attack, so that all nage has to do is stepping aside and pushing you into the air.
So I think this kind of thinking is present in Aikido, so I can understand the 'why teaching to be unbalanced' question. Some places they do teach you that way, yes.

While it is quite true that on the street you can experience committed attacks that are, in reality, over committed attacks, to train to deal only with incompetent opponents makes no sense at all. This way of training is detrimental to the student and is detrimental to the art. This kind of silly approach gives Aikido a bad name.

You can tell if an attack is "committed" by how hard it hits when you fail to get out of the way. Anyone who advocates going off balence in order to strike doesn't understand striking. You can't strike properly when you are off balance. You will hit harder and more effectively if you keep your balance.

Mark Balogh
10-08-2004, 07:00 AM
I like the last post very much, bravo George S. Ledyard! :D

suren
10-08-2004, 01:20 PM
In proper Aikido, the strike should be sincere and have power behind it but uke should try to keep his balance during the attack.

I think Okinawan Karate attacks show how the attacks should be done.


Exactly. When I was practicing that we were not allowed to move our upper body during a strike. Even shoulder should stay where it is because that gets you off balance and gives your opponent a hint about your next movement.
What is the meaning of applying any technique if your opponent gets off balance himself? Just get out of his way!

vanstretch
10-08-2004, 02:38 PM
Jordan, you have a greater chance of falling down than getting into a fight. So why not embrace the idea of not "imbalance" but moving in a balanced manner. These aikido breakfalls and rolls are ways of taking our balance back after sensing our balance being taken(adjusting accordingly). Ukemi and balance ARE interrealted, and IMHO you are partially correct in that we do "train our bodies to accept"; to accept anything and go with it, not butt heads with it.

bob_stra
10-09-2004, 12:50 AM
I think - because the artificiality of it all - we only ever get to see half the picture. Sure, tori is the "thrower" and uke is the "receiver". But why should this make uke the weaker, submissive partner?

Uke = receives force then uses it TO HIS ADVANTAGE
Tori/nage = Applies force TO HIS ADVANTAGE

But also

Uke = Applies force TO HIS ADVANTAGE
Tori/nage = receives force then uses it TO HIS ADVANTAGE

IMHO, the "how to use force to your advantage" stuff seems to be taught from "Tori/Nage's" p.o.v, but much less so from "Uke's" p.o.v. You get ukemi, but
think abt how little attention is given to developing atemi in most places.

"Like most beginners, you attacked me wrong! Hit me like this."

"Why?"

"Because I said so"

(with apologies to SNL and Jim Carey)

Perhaps this is because we've taken a whole (combat) and split into into digestible pieces for sake of learning. *Then* we try to extrapolate based on an incomplete picture.

(I don't know why throwing became the more focused on half, except it more readily illustrates the point of force redirection. Perhaps there are arts out there that use striking to illustrate this? I saw a clip of San Shou once where that happened. Guy pushes you, you use the push to turn your pelvis (taisabaki) and fire out a strike at him).

So - in being "uke", maybe you are learning how to counteract his force? Even thought it's not mentioned / glorified?

'Cause if you think about it, you're connected to him and he is to you. If you're off balance, *both of you* are off balance.

Then the act of throwing isn't so much abt off balancing the other guy as it is tripping both of you up, but only falling over on one side (him).

(my $0.02 based on judo, aikido and Sonnon's IOUF stuff. Spend it how you wish :-)

Yokaze
10-09-2004, 04:18 PM
When I work with the students in my dojo, I am encouraged to resist in any way I feel necessary. If the technique is done correctly, there is no resisting it.

For instance, being just shy of 2 meters tall and a man of unusual balance, I am very skilled at resisting Shihonage. The nage ends up with my arm behind my head and absolutely no control of my balance. Even Dan students have had difficulties with me. Finally, someone figured out that, because I am so tall, extension is absolutely vital to throwing me. For a shorter person, a little bit of laziness is okay, because it ends up being enough to take that uke off balance. For me, if you are even a bit lax in your extension, I can defeat the throw.

Because of that, everyone in the dojo (including myself) learned a valuable lesson in the execution of Shihonage, and we all improved because of it.

So resist! Just remember that you are also responsible for your own safety, which is why ukemi is such a huge deal in Aikido.

Besides, it's very fun to watch someone try to throw you over and over again with no success, only to improve and succeed right before your eyes. For me, hitting the mat is always the most satisfying when the nage had to work for it (technique-wise, not with strength.)

balazs
10-13-2004, 05:24 AM
When I work with the students in my dojo, I am encouraged to resist in any way I feel necessary. If the technique is done correctly, there is no resisting it.

For instance, being just shy of 2 meters tall and a man of unusual balance, I am very skilled at resisting Shihonage. The nage ends up with my arm behind my head and absolutely no control of my balance. Even Dan students have had difficulties with me. Finally, someone figured out that, because I am so tall, extension is absolutely vital to throwing me. For a shorter person, a little bit of laziness is okay, because it ends up being enough to take that uke off balance. For me, if you are even a bit lax in your extension, I can defeat the throw.

Because of that, everyone in the dojo (including myself) learned a valuable lesson in the execution of Shihonage, and we all improved because of it.

So resist! Just remember that you are also responsible for your own safety, which is why ukemi is such a huge deal in Aikido.

Besides, it's very fun to watch someone try to throw you over and over again with no success, only to improve and succeed right before your eyes. For me, hitting the mat is always the most satisfying when the nage had to work for it (technique-wise, not with strength.)


While I understand a lot with what this post says, resistance on uke's side is one of the most problematic issues ...
First, there is 'construcive' resisting, and it is clear this one is what you talk about. This way a teacher or a senior student can help the less experienced to find a way where the given technique works best.
The problem is that with the experience I possess at my level and with the knowledge I have concerning what kind of technique is under execution:

1) I can easily make it impossible for anyone under my level to do the waza;
2) I can make it very hard for anyone on the same level as me (mostly turning the whole thing into wrestling);
3) With people well above my level I can't do much.

I am able to achieve 1) and 2) because knowing the waza at hand is a great advantage, I know exactly at which moment my chance to resist comes and what I should do to make tori's life harder.

This problem comes to be argued over and over here, as successful resistance against a technique is something like an ego boost for many people.

So while I agree that a certain amount of resistance is necessary to improve, I would like to point out that one should not utilize the fact that the he/she knows exactly what and how tori will try to do to unbalance him/her. Not easy to feel the difference.