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justinm 07-21-2003 03:35 AM

Loosing control?
 
How important is it in your aikido to have control all of the time? If you stopped moving at a random point in the technique, would you have control over your uke, or do you depend on the momentum of the movement to maintain control?

happysod 07-21-2003 04:03 AM

Hiya Justin, hard to say. For standard practice, we do sometimes impose artificial "stops" in the technique to add tests for posture, alignment etc. For faster practice, we include "stubborness" training where uke is expected (tries?)to ruin your technique by spotting gaps in your execution.

Having said that, some techniques do depend to a degree on your fluid execution of that technique, which makes testing your posture etc. rather problematical because if you do stop the technique will fail.

Ideally I suppose, always in control and on posture, but randori makes a mockery of us all...

Alec Corper 07-21-2003 04:14 AM

As a point of study try considering the difference between control and contact with uke's center. The mindset of control of another often leads to excessive usage of strength with a consequent loss of sensitivity to uke's intentions. In my mind there is a continuous trade-off between these two. I try to retain my own center whilst disrupting uke's, and that, imho, is more a question of awareness than direct control. When Aikido is correctly executed, uke's own power,when lead off line,causes loss of control which tori guides to completion.

Dave Miller 07-21-2003 08:31 AM

I think there's a bit of a false dichotomy at work here. The notion that being control means that you can stop at any point doesn't sound right. If you are doing a hard shiho nage, for example, Stopping mid-way could lead to serious injury for both you and uke. I think that the best measure of control is whether or not you are keeping good posture throughout the technique and able to maintain good balance and posture at the end. If you are out of control, you may stumble towards, or even topple onto uke.

Just my $.02 worth.

:)

justinm 07-21-2003 09:00 AM

Perhaps I can phrase my question another way - can you think of a technique that depends on speed to work, and when done slowly, would allow uke freedom to reverse or escape without danger?

Ian - you suggest that there are some that fit this desciption?

happysod 07-21-2003 09:25 AM

Damn, a direct request for an opinion (whites of eyes now showing as he considers various aikiweb posters...). Ok, it's not so much with any particular technique I would suggest a need for fluidity (not speed as such, but blending) as to how direct you're wanting the technique to be.

Nice long movements enable you to be in control at most points in the technique and normally it's relatively easy to retain posture. But, they are too long to be of any use in a randori (sheo-nage springs to mind - yes I know you can contract it but it's still my least favourite for a tight situation).

The short sharp shock techniques (irimi-nages of most types, some tenchi-nage etc) where you want them to work with the smallest escape/movement possible need the fluidity, determination and accuracy to work - with or without atemi. If you stop a fast irmi-nage in order to test your own posture, all you'll have is your arm in a perfect position to have something nasty done to it.

opherdonchin 07-21-2003 09:51 AM

Quote:

can you think of a technique that depends on speed to work, and when done slowly, would allow uke freedom to reverse or escape without danger?
Maybe I don't understand, but I'm confused. It seems to me that the speed of a technique is negotiated between uke and nage as they both 'agree' to move at a particular pace. If uke wants to go fast, I think it would take a very skilled nage to keep things slow. Likewise the other way around. One of the training 'agreements' in Aikido is that both partners respect the speed at which the training is happening. If uke starts slwo and then suddenly changes gears, it is very hard to practice effectively.

justinm 07-21-2003 10:45 AM

Let's take shihonage as an example.

At a slow (eg walking) speed, can uke escape from your shihonage by changing the speed? If so, I'd suggest there is a hole in the technique as it depends on speed work.

I think this hold true for many techniques, and am trying to figure out what, if any, are the exceptions, or if this is a wrong premis to start with.

cheers,

Justin

PhilJ 07-21-2003 11:10 AM

I've always operated under the thought that slow should be as effective as fast.

Though, in real life, slow is unlikely. "Please wait, I'm going to do something... no no, don't hit me just yet". For most cases, I think slow is for the dojo -- but I still believe you can/need to eliminate the holes and practice good shodo-o-seisu (control the first move) throughout.

*Phil

Dave Miller 07-21-2003 05:06 PM

Quote:

Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
Let's take shihonage as an example.

At a slow (eg walking) speed, can uke escape from your shihonage by changing the speed? If so, I'd suggest there is a hole in the technique as it depends on speed work.

I think this hold true for many techniques, and am trying to figure out what, if any, are the exceptions, or if this is a wrong premis to start with.

cheers,

Justin

But that's not the point. Part of training is for nage to match uke's speed. If uke startes out slow and then speeds up, it is more of a hole in uke's technique than nage's. If I had an uke that would speed up and then tell me that I had a "hole" in my technique, I would simply admonish him/her of the importance of doing the entire technique at the same speed.

In this particular instance, the issue isn't control as much as one person (uke) decides to break the training "agreement" for the purpose of "beating" nage.

opherdonchin 07-21-2003 09:32 PM

Quote:

At a slow (eg walking) speed, can uke escape from your shihonage by changing the speed?
Let's take this to an extreme: I will try to do shihonage so that I'm barely even moving and uke gets to move at whatever speed he or she wants. In fact, let's say I'm not moving at all. Clearly, uke will have no difficulty contorting their body, releasing the pressure on their arm and punching my lights out.

Their are many interesting things to learn when going slowly. One of them is to become sensitive to the subtle shifts and changes in uke's movement and make subtle adjustments to keep the technique 'working.' Clearly, I have to be allowed to adjust at the same rate as uke in order for this to make any sense.

Of course, it could be a very interesting exercise to let uke shift speeds at will and, as nage, try to feel and match those speed shifts. That's a different issue, though.

justinm 07-22-2003 04:16 AM

Quote:

Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
Let's take this to an extreme: I will try to do shihonage so that I'm barely even moving and uke gets to move at whatever speed he or she wants. In fact, let's say I'm not moving at all. Clearly, uke will have no difficulty contorting their body, releasing the pressure on their arm and punching my lights out.

Aha - now we differ. This is my point. Uke should not be able to contort their body to release the pressure as this means there is a hole in the technique. Otherwise your technique relies on the fact that uke cannot move faster than you in reality.

In my dojo we teach shihonage to beginners as a step by step movement. At every step, we stop ie "not moving at all" - to look at how uke is controlled. If they can escape there is no control and the technique, in our view, is not right. So it sounds like we have different approaches to shihonage.

In some other techniques the control is different - we look to give uke only one way to recover which leads him to where we want. However, again it is not relying on speed to work.

Difficult to discuss in writing, this stuff! I'll work on it with the class tonight and see if I get anywhere...

Chuck Clark 07-22-2003 07:42 AM

Quote:

Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
Aha - now we differ. This is my point. Uke should not be able to contort their body to release the pressure as this means there is a hole in the technique. Otherwise your technique relies on the fact that uke cannot move faster than you in reality. ...

Difficult to discuss in writing, this stuff!

Yes, Justin. I agree with you. Speed, and relying on momentum for "control" often covers up the suki within a movement. When the principles are correct, uke should not be able to get away by changing speed, energy, direction, etc. All those changes just mean a continuing connection/fitting in a different direction. Tori should be able to change with uke to maintain the control of the sente (initiative).

Good discussion, thanks.

opherdonchin 07-22-2003 08:29 AM

Quote:

Justin wrote:
At every step, we stop ie "not moving at all" - to look at how uke is controlled. If they can escape there is no control and the technique, in our view, is not right.

Hmmm ... maybe we're getting into semantics. I would say that if you pay attention you will notice that although you may have stopped the gross movement, you are still moving and responding to uke. These subtle shifts in your posture are key to making Aikido work, whether you go slow or fast. If you try to really stop moving, you will lose connection to uke and uke will have no difficulty regaining their balance and extricating themselves. Moreover, if you don't learn to notice and work with these subtle movements then you get a situation where it seems to work when you go fast and not when you go slow.

I think that this is what Chuck is talking about when he says, "Tori should be able to change with uke to maintain the control of the sente (initiative)." He's not saying that there is a particular path or stance for doing technique no matter what uke does. He's saying, as I understand it, that it's possible to adjust your technique to stay connected to uke, regardless of speed.

If you are good (or, more specifically, if you are more experienced than uke), you can control the speed of the technique as nage. That is, you can prevent uke from speeding up. On the other hand, if uke wants to speed up and manages to do it, nage had better stay with them or they will lose the technique.

Dennis Hooker 07-22-2003 08:31 AM

As always Clark Shihan is on the money.

In my own words I would say my first movement is to get to shakaku (dead angle) using irrimi or tenkan to attack the attack. I place myself in a position that requires uke to shift to a new defensive position because he/she is vulnerable. Using that shifting momentum I break uke's balance. If that shifting momentum is coupled with the momentum of the original attract then I have more to work with.

justinm 07-22-2003 09:40 AM

Hi Opher, looks like we are not going to agree on this one.

Interesting discussion though. I must say I find slow practice very rewarding. There is so much going on that sometimes we forget about the the journey, and just think about the end goal of putting uke on the floor. Slowing right down can be fascinating.

Justin

Chuck Clark 07-22-2003 11:11 AM

Hey Dennis... I just got back from doing a clinic in Portland. Great time! One of my favorite training partners is there now, a 35 year old Japanese named Yoko Sato. A yondan that continually creates really neat problems that I have to solve and gives great nonverbal feedback. Her husband, Steve Duncan, is one of my old hands. A remarkable rokudan that looks like a fence rail standing up. Wish you could have been there.

Justin, I have found (after many years of thinking that I needed to go "fast" to "overcome" an attacker) that I'm much more successful when I go "slower" and more "sensitive" than the attacker. You just need to know when to start, the distance, and when to change. The state of having no posture and no plans...Mushin Mugamae...is the key.

One other really important quality about knowing how to train slowly with strong intent is that you can truly see problems a lot easier and learn to solve them. The more of that you do, the better your pattern analysis and problem solving skills get.

The funny thing is... quite a lot of people think I'm going "fast" when I think I'm going "slow"... (there's a difference between "quick" and "fast"). I can remember a couple of my teachers saying similar things. Just goes to show you that if you hang around long enough just about anybody can learn...

Dave Miller 07-22-2003 04:57 PM

I may be missing something important:
 
Clark sensei, would you say, however, that just because uke can escape once the technique is stopped at some arbitrary point that there is necessarily a problem with the technique? As I understand it (and I am certainly open to correction) momentum, specifically redirecting uke's momentum, is the bulk of the energy that makes a technique work, be it slow or fast. Otherwise nage is "forcing" the technique by adding their own energy. Once that energy is taken away (by stopping momentum entirely) then nage essentially has no more energy to use in the technique.

Or am I misunderstanding something, Clark sensei?

:confused:

Chuck Clark 07-22-2003 08:47 PM

Dave,

My kuzushi has a very "Chinese" feel to it I've been told. Instead of redirecting force away from the combined structures of uke & tori, I tend to reflect uke's force back into them but vectored so that it is not "usable" by the uke for anything against me. There is very little to "no" force that can be felt coming from the tori when done properly. The force tends to cause their structure to lock up through the connection into the spine, pelvis, knees, etc. If I feel the need to get more distance from uke, the force is directed through the uke so that their body "throws" itself away from me. Both types should be understood. Lock up the structure to limit movement and also project the uke away from you. At any rate neither one take a great deal of momentum before you connect in order to take control and keep it.

I definitely think if the uke can disengage or gain their center back so they have decision making control over their next movement then there is a problem. Holes (or slack) in your technique or "suki" as they are known in Japan...

As was said above, hard to describe in words.

NagaBaba 07-22-2003 09:13 PM

Re: Loosing control?
 
Quote:

Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
How important is it in your aikido to have control all of the time? If you stopped moving at a random point in the technique, would you have control over your uke, or do you depend on the momentum of the movement to maintain control?

One must start with complete physical control of attacker using leverage in every moment of a technique. Controlling leverage is done simultaneously on the joints that lead to the center of attacker. Once those joints are correctly and completely locked we can use a tension made by to affect a center to create and maintain kuzushi.

This is very basic level.

It is not enough to master it only when uke helps and happily cooperate. Progressively, uke must have a freedom to resist, and make counters.

Next step, it is to create AND maintain physical control from dynamic prearranged attacks.

Then come random attacks.

During this processes of learning, other skills are developed, unconsciously. These skills will be used to ad some non-physical control of attacker.

Chuck Clark 07-22-2003 11:48 PM

Szczepan,

Your post above sounds like you come from my dojo. I think I remember commenting quite some time ago that I thought we had a similar outlook on budo.

We'd enjoy a visit if you ever get into the Phoenix area. I have always thought you made lots of sense (in your own inimitable style)and enjoy your posts.

Dave Miller 07-23-2003 08:18 AM

Quote:

C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
Dave,

My kuzushi has a very "Chinese" feel to it I've been told. Instead of redirecting force away from the combined structures of uke & tori, I tend to reflect uke's force back into them but vectored so that it is not "usable" by the uke for anything against me. There is very little to "no" force that can be felt coming from the tori when done properly. The force tends to cause their structure to lock up through the connection into the spine, pelvis, knees, etc. If I feel the need to get more distance from uke, the force is directed through the uke so that their body "throws" itself away from me. Both types should be understood. Lock up the structure to limit movement and also project the uke away from you. At any rate neither one take a great deal of momentum before you connect in order to take control and keep it.

I definitely think if the uke can disengage or gain their center back so they have decision making control over their next movement then there is a problem. Holes (or slack) in your technique or "suki" as they are known in Japan...

As was said above, hard to describe in words.

Thanks, Clark sensei. That helps me understand where you are coming from a little.

I have seen a Jiyushinkan video and had a training buddy for a while who studied Jiyushinkan. I like the system. Perhaps I'll get a chance to visit Tempe some day and see it first hand.

:)

NagaBaba 07-26-2003 12:34 PM

Quote:

C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
Szczepan,

Your post above sounds like you come from my dojo. I think I remember commenting quite some time ago that I thought we had a similar outlook on budo.

We'd enjoy a visit if you ever get into the Phoenix area. I have always thought you made lots of sense (in your own inimitable style)and enjoy your posts.

Thx for invitation Chuck. Looks like your dojo is long drive. But may be one day, who knows ;)


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