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Old 05-08-2006, 10:21 AM   #23
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 688
Re: In the dojo, 90% of Aikido is uke

Szczepan Janczuk

The strange thing is, I read your post, and fully agree with the ideas behind it. But then I think about it in terms of an organized practice or learning process. And there I have the problem.

We have full agreement on the final goal - one should strive to be able to apply some technique in any attack situation, regardless of his attacker behavior, be he resistant, responsive or just unskilled and awkward. Anyone who does not strive for this goal is no longer practices Aikido as a Martial Art and should not claim any self defense improvement.
I also agree that Tori should always look at himself for the reasons a technique is not working. The concept of laying blame is wrong for one's Aikido, one should always look at ways to improve his own performance first.

Our disagreement is in the role of Uke for an organized practice. As I previously wrote, much of Aikido practice is a paired Kata. The more I advance, the more I understand that such a Kata requires cooperation form both partners. I will try to demonstrate this by giving a few examples, in addition to the cataloging done above:
As I wrote, the first part of being a good Uke is giving you the prescribed attack, not trying to hit near you to the left' right or front (I lost count of the number of times I had to stand in place and wait for a beginner Uke to attack me again and again until they were finally willing to try and hit me).
Another example I previously gave is a person who when acting as Uke attacks you differently then the exercise dictates (My Sensei had multiple experience with such cases when he was teaching at Uni).
Then there are the more subtle cases where only the directions of forces are changed: one is asked to grab and push and he grabs the same grab but pulls instead. One is asked to attack then pull back his hand (preparing a second hit), but he just punches and forgets his hand in front.

All of the above cases are examples where Uke did not follow the Kata, and has actually changed the situation. If are in a fight, sure, you should adjust to this change, modify your technique and act differently. But if you are in a lesson or practice, and wish to repeat the same situation a few dozen times to improve your reaction with a specific technique, such behavior would be destructive for you.

The second role of Uke is to give Tori feedback on his technique. The feedback does not have to be verbal (unless Tori requires it for him to understand). Many mistake this role as well
The most problematic for me today in this regard is an Uke who falls without a reason. I had some practices in which I felt my belt had thrown more people then me. Uke fell even when my technique had been very poor, and I had stopped it in mid air. How would you call this type of Uke?
There are multiple more behaviors of this type, but they were categorized above very nicely, so I would not repeat them.

Uke exists when practicing Kata. When one wishes to practice a varying situation like a fight simulation, he should practice it in the proper form -- Kyoshu or Randori. This is the right format for this very important type of practice. Even if for some reason, your practice does not include this type of training, you should find a route to increase the flexibility within the Kata (do this or that type of concept, etc.).


I recommend for reading on this subject:
and the following 2 articles.
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