View Full Version : the role of uke and pins
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11-28-2005, 05:30 PM
I was just wondering if how you veiw being uke changed after you trained for a while. When I first started, I only was really interested in being nage, and kind of just put up with being uke and getting pinned and stuff. However, after several months, I started liking the role of uke just as much as being nage, and sometimes it is even more fun. I no longer feel restrained while in a pin and now they feel good, like a good stretch. Did anyone else experience this or is it just me?
11-29-2005, 10:36 AM
very much so i always like to feel a movement to understand whats going on, but also as you said like the stretch, however sankyo (sp) still gets me on tip toes every time.
11-29-2005, 12:02 PM
Maybe you're getting more out of the control because your ukemi is improving.
Uke has three basic jobs:
1. Make a center-to-center connection with nage.
2. Maintain that connection while moving to the next point at which the attack can be safely continued.
3. Protect yourself at all times.
If uke provides nage with an attack that covers those points, it becomes much more possible for nage to apply technique in a way that ultimately feels like a good stretch.
If uke breaks center-to-center contact and does the kind of push-me-pull-you resistance to the application of technique that is all too common, we're down to something that lacks the integrity of either sincere budo training or sincere sport wrestling practice. And that's just frustrating for all concerned.
11-29-2005, 02:50 PM
Uke's role is being an assistant to the assistant Sensei. After you learn to fall correctly from a certain technique and learn how you are supposed to feel during the technique, you then start to teach nage where the holes are in their technique's application. I was just telling some new teenagers a week or so ago that being uke is their time to practice ukemi even if the technique is not applied properly. They shouldn't just practice ukemi at the beginning of the class during warmup or flop down willy nilly while the technique is being applied.
11-29-2005, 03:26 PM
Being uke is, to me, more fun if there is always something I am specifically trying to improve--not just mechanically "taking ukemi". It's different things at different times: lately I have been trying to control my breathing while falling. (Saved my butt on my last test, too.) There's also learning to feel nage's lead, learning to find or provoke holes in nage's technique, improving the sincerity of one's attack, falling softer or rounder or less painfully, retaining engagement with nage while getting up....
I really like being uke, and if I had to choose, would take a whole class as uke over a whole class as nage. I particularly like being thrown and pinned by the little kids. Having a 40-lb eight-year-old nail you so that you *cannot* get out is a real demonstration of the power of aikido. And I was very efficiently put down in suwari waza ikkyo by a little girl who looked to be about four, which sure goes a long way to prove that nage doesn't have to muscle this technique.
It is also fun to try to get out of pins, and terrorize the kids with the "hand groping around like a giant spider" trick! The better ones only fall for this once or twice....
Personally, I think being an uke is a whole lot more difficult than being tori/nage. You learn just how much energy to put into an attack, how committed you have to be, how to recover after the initial attack, if/how to be threatening again, how to redirect the energy safely so that you don't get hurt, how much resistance is needed to help tori/nage learn, how much muscle is required, how much ki is required, finding openings, knowing the technique such that you can spot errors in tori/nage's technique, when/if to exploit openings, knowing how to attack such that you aren't tracking tori/nage, knowing how to attack such that you aren't interfering with tori/nage's learning process (in other words, not fighting tori/nage in an unproductive way), how to relax enough to be safe but not relaxed too much to have a bad attack, knowing what level tori/nage is at such that your attacks are appropriate (beginners are different than yudansha as tori/nage), and pretty much a whole lot of stuff.
So, just as you progress in belt levels/time as tori/nage and view things differently, so, too, you will view being uke differently as you progress in belt levels/time.
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