View Single Post
Old 04-01-2007, 12:36 PM   #44
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 927
Re: Poll: How important is working with strong-gripped, "static grabs" in your aikido

Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
Training with someone clamped down hard on you is useful, but IME, is not a good way for beginners to learn. I've only used it once in any of my classes, and even then for only a few minutes... just to give students a taste of how it feels. It only took a few moments for tori to adjust. Once they did, they found it easier to deal with uke's strong, muscular grip. Uke found it more difficult to recover posture, remain dangerous, and to "hear" what was happening over the muscular "noise" in their own body.
I suppose that's why I try to make the distinction between a correctly strong grab and a purely muscular stupid one. I assume because we're all martial artists that we're not talking about the stupid kind, but that's not a safe assumption.

Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
Such a training methodology taught me to fight force with force, tension with tension, leverage with leverage. This is how I learned up to shodan, and it has taken me twice as long to unlearn as it did to inculcate my body with it.
You point out a very real pit-fall, that many find themselves in. It's been my experience that when you train with correct strength (or perhaps power/connection would be a better term?) that you must respond in kind if you attempt to overcome this kind of grab. This is something George mentioned above in his excellent post. At the risk of dragging this into the 'internal' pit of despair, if I grab someone very strongly using the kind of body connection I have been taught in Aikido, I can often be moved with some effort. If I grab using Ark's concept of the cross (particularly the back cross) it can be nearly impossible for nage to accomplish the technique *without engaging the same type of correct movement*. That's the real kicker for me, I'm not trying to out do nage by grabbing in such a way that they will never be able to throw/move me, but rather, I'm offering an environment in which they will be able to learn a very specific set of movements. Movements which are often counter intuitive and provide strange tactile feedback (to both parties). You simply will not stumble on this stuff from motion. I've used this example before, but at a nidan exam a few years ago I was struck by how one of the testers was only using his speed and 'slickness' for lack of a better term. Because he was faster than everyone else, they fell down. But he was not actually connecting to anyone. When called up to take ukemi, I just went faster than he was and he ran straight into my structure. His waza effectively crumbled around him. At that point I was told (during his test) not to resist him. Had his promotion been my decision, I would never have passed him, but it was not my decision to make.

Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
At this point in the conversation, I think it might be useful for the participants to define (very specifically) what they mean by "resistance."
That's a simple question with a complicated answer. For me, it depends a lot on what kind of exercise we're doing. Resistance within budo is always cooperative on some level. This doesn't mean collusion, but cooperation in the sense that I offer some barrier to uke's goal, but that I do so with the goal of improving nage's skills, rather than asserting my ego. It always means moving within the tempo of the exercise (if nage's going slow, I need to react at the same speed) and with a clear and constructive goal in mind. That goal can be an attempt to get to nage's center, to simply not be moved, or to not allow nage to move. If we're doing some kind of randori, then it's not so much resistance as focused intent as the roles of uke/nage are no longer in effect. It is after all, generally much easier to keep someone from throwing you than it is to throw someone who is also trying to throw you.

Finally, I think a lot of us in aikido often look for the easiest most efficient way to perform a certain task/technique. I am finding (both from my sword line, and some of the Aunkai influence) that *in our training* the simplest/easiest way is not always the most beneficial. Rather, one can often learn a lot by intentionally stacking the deck against nage and being forced to do things the hard way. An analogy would be lifting weights. If you build up to being able to bench press 250 lbs, 150 suddenly seems trivial.

Chris Moses
TNBBC, "Putting the ME in MEdiocre!"
Budo Tanren at Seattle School of Aikido
Shinto Ryu Iai-Battojutsu
  Reply With Quote