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Old 10-05-2005, 02:52 PM   #29
Amassus's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Musubi Ryu/ Yoshin Wadokan
Location: Hamilton
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 306
New Zealand
Re: committed attack/sensitive ukemi paradox

Great thread!

As I read through the posts I was thinking of my interactions in the dojo. I am often asked to be uke for the sensei's demonstrations during class. The sensei is also a work mate of mine (in fact he got me started in this crazy art) and as I have progressed through the grades, the friendship that we have built both on and off the mat has created a great environment for training.

I am always surprised by the level of intensity we can train at. I can attack him strongly, thinking nothing of the fall - in fact he will often not tell me what he is about to do - and know that my ukemi will protect me.

I took my first high breakfall from him.

Many posts spoke of trust. I couldn't agree more. The trust I have for my sensei was built in the first few months of my training, going slowly but always with the intention of an attack that expected to hit.

When I voice my amazment of how well my ukemi went on a particular training night, my sensei would say "It is because of the good relationship we have. We have trust."

I think Janet's question has been thoroughly answered. One must eventually let go of the idea that you will attack, then take ukemi. The two eventually become the same thing at high intensity.

At my last training session, I was asked to grab my senesi while we were doing a two-handed grab from the front. The response at the time was tenchi-nage. I had been practising the technique with my partner when sensei came over and said he would like to show us senior kyu grades (I have only been training for a few years) another version of tenchi-nage. He told me to attack him. I did so without hesitation, grabbing strongly, with the intention of controlling him. The instant I moved to attack and made contact, I found myself with feet flying out from under me, and I landed in a bizarre position on the ground. Not hurt, just feeling awkward. A great feeling. My body acted in such a way that allowed me to fall safely while my mind was still trying to catch up. I had never experienced that technique before so there was no way of knowing what was going to happen.
However, due to the trust I had for my nage, I was relaxed and didn't freeze the instant things felt different (to be honest I didn't even get the chance to decide when things felt different).

I certainly wasn't following a choreographed form in this situation. I simply attacked. The rest just happened.

Of course, as I get more and more positive experiences with this training partner, my ability to be an honest uke becomes better and better.

What is also interesting is that my ability to be a good uke for others has improved also. I trust that I can protect myself with most people, even the beginners that snap things on. I have learnt to read the small cues from them to know I need to do something to protect myself. This might be moving ahead of the pain therefore taking a roll or fall even though my balance isn't taken, it may be pointing out the the beginner to slow down.

Trust is a huge factor IMO.

Sorry if this deviates too much from the original question.

"flows like water, reflects like a mirror, and responds like an echo." Chaung-tse
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