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Old 07-11-2001, 09:52 AM   #23
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
Location: Maplewood, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 137
Talking Good Uke/Bad Uke

Originally posted by ian

I can really sympathise with Richard, I've had the same problem myself and the only solution I can think of is to actually attack uke and then use his response.

Thanks for the sympathy Ian. Actually the response I like to use on occasion, especially if it is a guy, is one the late Peter Ting, Sensei, would use. Ting Sensei would use a special atemi in such cases, he would blow the uke a kiss! Talk about non-plussed. Other times he would go "Boo!"

My point is that in cases where uke has come to a complete halt to "challenge" your technique, there is no longer any need to do anything.

In one famous piece of film of O'Sensei, you can see where the Uke "took" the fall. The storm cloud of anger crosses O'Sensei's face and you see him speaking to the uke. The next time the same uke comes through, O'Sensei hangs on to him for just a bit longer before he "sends him on his way" with great emphasis. While this is not the exact same case as if someone comes to a complete halt, it does reflect the same poor attitude on the part of uke.

It is one thing when I am instructing to go through a technique step by step. It is quite something else when I am training. In the first case, I expect my "uke" to stand there in position while I explain the points needing to be covered. In the latter, I expect uke to give a good balanced attack so that I can work on my timing, flow etc.

The problem with many Aikidoka is that they are afraid of the ukemi from particular throws, so they pull their attack early so that they can take a "good" fall. This then puts their attack outside the range of effectiveness for nage, thus forcing nage to "apply" the technique.

Then there is the insidious "brown belt" problem, wherein the brown belts begin to "execute" techniques on the lower ranks and seek to stop the technique of the upper ranks. Of course I know that no one at the Aikiweb would ever do such a thing, but I have heard rumors.

Enough for now. Suffice it to say good Aikido technique is determined by the committment of all participants to serious and sincere training, not some type of "win/lose" scenario.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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