Quite often, students need to prove to themselves or others that a technique is effective. In the early stages of practice, this should really be avoided. Just trust that it has a proven track record of success.
After a certain level of confidence is attained on performing a given technique, the student finds it's ineffective against a certain uke. He questions the effectiveness of the technique.
Most of the time, it's not whether or not it's an effective technique. It's the uke who has rendered it useless. Uke resisted it thereby changing the required technique. The new student doesn't realize that and tries to force the technique he is trying to learn.
Uke has an important job to do and that is to HELP people learn the technique that they are practicing. Uke should go along with it and not resist it. This is not to say that he should be a dead fish, but to be flexible.
A more experienced Aikido practicioner, when faced with resistance, will simply change to a different technique in order to utilize uke's energy and not go force against force.
I agree that Uke should help go along with a technique to foster confidence in it, but the student will question the effectiveness of the technique regardless of how well it works in the dojo. The only way to truly prove the effectiveness of a technique to a student is to have them try it on an untrained uke. I don't mean they have to go out and start beating up on strangers- I've found that if, when play fighting with my friends, I use somewhat aiki-techniques(my little brother actually falls from kotegaesh's, which I thought was pretty much impossible in teh real world...hehe...then he bites my legs...to each his own fighting style, I suppose), and they tend to work fairly well(and, being aiki, they have a very low injury rate)
Also, I do think that while we need to learn to use our opponents energy, we also need to learn what the heck we ought to do with a stationary opponent. There will be times when someone is still attacking you, but not giving you any energy to work with. Real world uke will spoil your technique just as often as dojo uke. Thus, you need some way to get them to start giving you energy. When I was no-contact sparring my tae kwon do friend(which is a damned hard thing to do for a aikidoka anyway), I tried to get behind him so I could use the energy of his turning for an iriminage. I found that this could be a pretty effective technique, except that I wasn't skilled enough to find the direction in which his energy was turning. But this kind of technique- that motivates uke to move by virtue of nage's good positioning should be taught more often. We need to not only learn HOW to use an opponents energy, but also how to get them to give us their energy.
Well, thats my very offtopic $.02,
Who doesn't even do aikido anymore, unfortunately.
While I agree that there should be a way to test your techniques, I would caution against having people in the dojo resist techniques unless they really know what they are doing. I say this because I have resisted before. (It hurt a lot and I will try to never do it again.) I also was once sparring/playing (depends how you look at it I guess) with a friend who studies TKD. He resisted my kote gaeshi and really got hurt. The technique still worked, but I felt awful.
My two cents.
In my very moderate experience (2^ kyu) the best test of your tecnique comes when training with the most beginner.
They neither oppose you with all their strenght (which can be pretty easy, if you know the tecnique in advance) nor help you ( which can be even worse then opposing, as it leaves you with the persuasion of a correct tecnique then it is not).
It's a real eye opener to try ikkio on some newcomer and realize it doesn't work because you forgot the correct breaking of balance at the beginning (all that high rank people expect you to do so, so they istinctively put themselves in the correct position).
One of the most pleasant experiences i ever had in aikido came a year or so ago while i was paired with someone on his first lessons. We were doing katate dori iriminage and it was his turn, so I backed up a little and prepared to grab his wrist. He suddently came with shomen uchi ( it was the attack for the previous tecnique he performed with someone else, we swich partner at every tecnique), and I performed shio nage without even thiking. He was on the ground before I realized what had happened.
This way I learned two thing:
1) I had been wondering if I could perform an appropriate tecnique without being prepared to it (randori, as it is practised slowly or declared at my level didn't provide a satsfying answer). Well, I can. Not only i didn't expect shomen uchi, i was not even expecting an attack!
2) I can perform shio nage on someone who doesn't know that tecnique and he won't spin off.
It seems common for a guy on his first classes to have a tense and often STRAIGHT arm while doing a shomen strike.
Last time that happened, I made something between omote and ura (ikkyo) but my technique was wrong.
Now I think I figured out how senior students make newcomer's elbows bend - by keeping arms straight and turning the hips... therefore you kind of pull the outside of uke's arm towards yourself and push his elbow outward at the same time with another arm.
This transfers energy directly from the hip rotation into the elbow.
Alex wrote: "Also, I do think that while we need to learn to use our opponents energy, we also need to learn what the heck we ought to do with a stationary opponent. There will be times when someone is still attacking you, but not giving you any energy to work with. Real world uke will spoil your technique just as often as dojo uke. Thus, you need some way to get them to start giving you energy."
Is it really possible to attack someone without using energy? If your attacker is stationary are they really attacking you or are they simply stationary? Of course firearms change this situation.
If your uke is not 'giving you energy' then they are not attacking you. Simply freeze your technique in place until they start to move. Sometimes this will leave uke bent over in very awkward position that are unnatural. If they stay there for any period of time, strike them or let them stand there until they cramp. Uke's job is to attack realisitically and freezing in unnatural position is not realistic.
In a real situation uke will always stive to return to a balanced position. This is a conditioned response that we all learn in the first year of life. During a physical confrontation this conditioned response is hightened and uke will respond quicker and more abruptly to changes or perceived changes to his balanced state. When an uke stops their motion in training they are no longer attacking realistically. When was the last time you saw a fight where the initial attacker did one attack then remained bent over and unbalanced or just left their punching arm extended in space indefinetly? Doesn't happen. If your uke's do this they are not helping you train. If someone did this to you in a real life confrontation you would strike them and end the confrontation. Explain this to uke and show them when necessary.
One of the reasons people feel they need to test technique is because they are training with unrealistic uke's who don't attack continuously or uke's that just take a dive. As uke it is our responsibility to affectively train our partner. Furthermore, the opportunity for learning aiki arts is equally great when playing the uke or nage role. Ever notice that people that attack poorly have great trouble learning and those that attack well generally learn faster? This is not an accident.
If someone truly gives you no energy, than stay out of the way. If they wish to pursue, they'll come forward, sending some momentum forward. If someone can take an immovable stance with no openings while walking-- see if they can do it while running as you head for the exit... I think it's not important what technique you do, as long as you finish it. At my dojo, if you should "fudge" a technique, it's best to do something else. As one of my sensei said "if his attack gives you iriminage, perform iriminage. If his attack gives you ikkyo, do ikkyo." I'd say it really all depends on ma-ai and re-ai... if your timing or distancing won't allow you to do a technique, just do something else... don't think, just act... mushin, neh?
If a tecnique is applied, and the basics are perfect, it is almost impossible to resist. Master Thamby Rajah 9th dan, I trained with him. The guy is tiny but the biggest guys just could not resist his nikajo (nikkyo). Most middle range students like us, if someoine resists we can often apply a diffrent tecnique to counter his counter. Read total aikido we Soke Shioda, read the second to last chapter, his explains how his advance students ,learn to apply tecnique against resistance.
We had one guy come in once to our exeter class. He was a car mecanic about 6' 6'', probably about 25 stone heavy (sorry about imperiual measurements, its heavy) and the rumour was the his unscrewed car wheel nuts with his bare hands. With his hand relaxed, he would'nt go limp at the wrist like any normal hand. I wenty to apply nikajo on him, but to no avail, thus I put on sankajo and he was yelping like a baby. The head of our club got it on him with sheer movement. He brought him to his knees, just by cutting the nikajo through his weak line, his said he felt no pain in his wrist, he just felt his balance go and he slumped down. The master Thamnby Rajah guy I mentioned earlier, applied yonkajo in such a way that, I felt nothing on my wrist, but suddenly my knees gave way????,,,?? yeah wierd, someting to do with nerves in the anatomy. what we've gotta realise is that the tecnique (i.e. pain in the wrist etc etc, doesnt matter that much, its mainly the balance). Get the timing, distance and balance correct and the tecnique will be devastating.
But its not that easy.
I have always found training with beginners, especially those whom are fit and have some strength, very educational. This is because they are completely unpredictable and it is a real challenge to effect technique without hurting them.
I once tried a simple technique on one beginner which is a push along the weak line and they bent over in an arc until their head was an inch off the floor and then stood up again. I couldn't believe someone could do that, it was really weird, but it just goes to show you never know what is going to happen!
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