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Old 04-16-2002, 08:14 AM   #5
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
You asked ...

Originally posted by jk
Hi Chuck,

Could you provide a more detailed explanation of ukemi = sutemi?

Hmm. Purely my own speculation with some input from my teachers and other folks I respect. All this IMNSHO ...

In taking ukemi, unless you're willing to throw away your body (sutemi), then you're holding something back.

Note that I include in ukemi attacking as well as actually receiving attacks.

Unless you can punch, strike, hit properly, you can't give an honest, committed attack. Other components of that equation include committment, focus, intent.

As you train, you do so at varying levels of intensity, but uke's job is always to make an honest attack (within the confines of the training paradigm you and your partner agree upon), even at half or quarter speed. Unless the attack is committed and realistic -- if it is false -- the response is also false.

Sutemi is uke giving you his or her energy in that attack so you can use it to build the technique you're practicing. Note that this isn't necessarily tru in the _learning_ of techniques, but is necessary for the -practice- of technique.

Once the partners engage, uke must remain committed and 'dangerous' throughout, or else the atack simply fizzles out and then nage/tori/shite is left holding th ebag, so to speak. Again, uke must 'sacrifice the body' to maintain the pressure on his partner.

Then we reach the point of the throw or pin and again, sutemi is needed, I think, for uke to take the fall. If both players move at speed with full intent, uke must abandon the body in order to survive the response.

At any time, holding back, trying to protect the body, simply results in tension, misplaced focus, poor flow of energy.

Now, all that said (he rambled), such practice is not ALWAYS necessary, but should be, I believe, an integral, if somewhat advanced, part of every budoka's training as they progress.

The sooner uke learnes to give up the body to the throw, the sooner he or she truly learns that giving up the body is not surrender, it is being open to the experience, being compliant (ju), and, importantly, it allows uke to then be relaxed, energetic and capable of mounting (at need) a counter or reversal.


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