Ellis Amdur wrote:
To "tank" is to take ukemi "as if" you are thrown. You throw yourself. Sometimes the teacher is aware of it and expects it because s/he sees himself as so potent and deadly that the student must move that way to survive. Other times, they are using the student as a "tool," to illustrate a principal. Still others actually believe they have the magic power, and that, with a wave of their hand, people simply fall.
I also find it interesting that I did this to an extent when I was a kyu grade, not because my teach requested or required it, but because (in-line with what has been said elsewhere) I simply knew no better, I responded in a very sensitive way to slight movements on his part, I can recall at one time him extending his arm for an atemi to my lower abdomen, at no point was he ever going to strike me but I knew that had he chosen to he could have and so I found myself jumping into a rather projected forward roll. I find that now, being much better at aikido and much better at 'ki' (well Tohei style Ki training) I wouldn't move like that, he'd probably actually have to hit me to make me move like that. The better I get at aikido the better I become as an uke. I'm also less likely to freely give my centre away while being an uke. Nage has to earn it now, I don't hand it to them (unless I'm being the previously mentioned uke-teacher and showing a student a technique). This of course isn't much of a problem when I uke for my teacher, he may be 64 but he's still physically in incredibly good shape (irrespective of his technical ability). When he visited us in Aberdeen last weekend I was his uke for ten exhausting minutes at the end of a lesson he taught. I only caught glimpses of stunned grins on the faces of my students whilst flying through the air, I suppose to them it must've been fun watching Mike Sensei getting thrown around like a rag doll
One very interesting thing he said to me about that afterwards was (paraphrasing): "To them you're the guy who stands at the front of the class and dishes out this sort of stuff, it's important for them to see that you can take what you dish out, more so even. An aikido sensei should always be able to take at least as much as, if not more, than he can dish out"
A few days later Ellis started this thread
Think I might have to get me a copy of that Ukemi from the ground up DVD and see how it compares to 'what sensei says'