Re: VOE: Active Resistance
As a proponent of increasing levels of resistance as a practitioner I guess I better pipe in here to give an opposing view. I believe that all practice must provide resistance since even the act of "following" is a form of resistance. A good Aikido practitioner follows, then leads Uke. All Kaeshi Waza are exercises in good following in order to resist a technique done on you. In fact, all Aikido, according to one of my Shihan is Kaeshi Waza. I would agree with him.
To resist using muscling is also important. The entries and initiations of Aikido are meant to overcome the power of an attacker. If the attacker does not attack without using muscle and that results in a wimpy attack, it does nage no good. Without testing technique power against muscle power, you will never understand how to really do an entry or initiation correctly. You will never improve.
However, I do find that sometimes people do illogical or ineffective attacks. Generally, my response is an Atemi to the solar plexus, whether the attack has no power, uses power ineffectively, or illogical. However, the attack has to be exceptionally bad for me to react that way since even weak, illogical, and ineffective attacks are seen in real life. It is amazing how stupid violent attackers can be but, I have also seen those stupid attackers come out successfully against trained fighters because the attack was so stupid. So were they really so stupid in the first place? We might think that charging directly into the attackers when ambushed at close range might be a stupid thing to do but it often is the only way to survive the attack. Combat is an event that takes place in a flux. What seems stupid one point may not be so when seen in a longer time frame.
So, my point? Requisite variety. That is why we practice with all sorts of different people and expand our range of people with whom we practice.
As for the issue under discussion. I think having at least some people with whom you practice attack with lots of muscle, is very important to expand the range of experience and a way to learn correct technique. I don't like resorting to Atemi just because I can't move someone. That just being lazy. Instead, I study what I am doing and research why I can't move him or her. I must be doing something incorrectly since I see that my Shihan has no problems with these people or these circumstances.
I have also come to realize that to improve my Aikido means expanding the range of conditions under which any of my techniques will work. I remember one of my Shihan continuing to reprimand me for doing the Kaeshi Waza way too early. He wanted me to wait until the Kime stage before starting the Kaeshi Waza. Likewise, I have started having my students placed under harder and harder elbow locks in Morote Tori before starting any technique to improve their form and understanding of how Aikido attains its power.