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Old 05-04-2006, 05:54 PM   #125
Ken McGrew
Dojo: Aikido at UAB
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 202
Re: Instructor got mad because I didnt fall

There IS footage of students training under O'Sensei, training with each other, and not making a demonstration. There is also a good deal of footage of students of Doshu and 2nd Doshu training. At the beginning of 1st Doshu's Principles video there is footage of students training with very cooperative Ukemi. 2nd Doshu recently was featured in a show on the Discovery Channel about martial arts. Some American students were interviewed and videod while training. They had very cooperative Ukemi.

If you look at the quote I gave earlier from Saotome's Principles video, it is clear that he believes O'Sensei made a break from the earlier version of Aikido. This changed Nage and Uke practice. In fact, O'Sensei described this change in terms that could be considered an "enlightenment experience." If you train in a style where you are expected to resist, then you should do what is expected of you. If you prefer this resistance training, that's fine for you as well. This is not what Saotome teaches and it is not what he says O'Sensei taught him.

I am not trying to correct other people who follow what their instructor tells them to do. In particular I think my comments have no relevance to people who train a pre-war style. If you study a style where you are expected to resist, then I do not think you are being arrogant. If you study in ASU or a similar style, and yet you resist (unless Sensei has specifically told you to resist), then I think you are being arrogant. Many times I have studied with strong men who seem intent on massaging their egos by demonstrating their ability to prevent Nage from practicing the technique that Sensei has shown, when the technique requires movement from Uke (Irimi Nage is a good example), and yet Nage is not allowed to poke their eyes out. In answering whether the young man should have fallen down, I must do so within the context of certain expecations of Ukemi, that do vary from style to style.

But if you practice a post-war style, and especially if you belong to ASU, I think you should consider what I am saying. I am explaining the Nage and Uke relationship as I understand it, and am making arguments and pointing to evidence that supports these arguments. I went to a training with Saotome Sensei with a focus on teaching where he made very clear his expecations and told us from now on to practice and teach what he had shown us. That's what I am trying to do.

As I stated earlier, Uke should not simply fall down for no reason. But Uke should not resist either. Read the quote in the earlier post. It is rather straightforward. Look at the videos of O'Sensei's student, and the students of both Doshu. See for yourself if there is any resistace. Attacking hard is not resistance. This is the point. We never attack truly and Nage never responds completely. If we did people could die. Because it is not a "real" situtation, we must simulate a real situation. This is a quote from Saotome Sensei's Principles video. It is "simulated combat." When people attack completely there is momentum in their body. This makes it very easy to lead them. To simulate a true attack when training slower than full speed, you must follow as if you had momentum in your body. Too often we practice by asking Uke to grab our wrist. They clamp down with weight and strength. Then we try to move them. This is not real. This is not martial. This is at best an exercise. If it were real we would break their nose, break their knee, and then they would fall down in a very cooperative manner.

Those of you who study a different style than I do have no obligation, and perhaps no interest, in what the head of my organization or my teachers say. That's fine. Those who do care what he might have to teach you, I will leave you with my favorite quote from Saotome that I memorized at a seminar in Chicago, I love to feel powerful too, but I realize that "the more gentle I am, the more powerful I am." When Sensei throws people, and so more if it is a more martial application, it does not feel like force, or leverage, it feels light as a feather, and yet you can't stop yourself from falling. It is not fake. It is perfect connection. To get that good, he says, you must practice in the cooperative manner I have described.

Ken McGrew
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