Re: VOE: Active Resistance
Thanks again George. And to you Peter. I wish I could be as concise and well written as you George. I could be lazy and blame it all on English being my second language but I don't think that would really be true. I think you put what I wanted to say as well as it could. It does appear that we are all using the term "active resistance" in slightly different ways since I see Kaeshi Waza as being true active resistance. But then, when explained in your way, I have to agree with you that it may not be the best use of the words "active resistance."
I will think about how I use the term and reconsider my position on how the term is used. I will tell you later how I turn out. I hope you don't mind if I pull some of what you wrote for some of the things I write for my students, perhaps in its entirety. Of course, the citation will be there.
Peter, I never did get a chance to train with Yamaguchi Shihan but did do so quite a few times with Endo Shihan while in Hong Kong. I really did enjoy studying with him. My daughter, 12 at that time, even got to be his Uke during demonstrations of technique. I don't think she really appreciated the honour of doing so and she has forgotten now. I guess that was about 12-14 years ago.
Being in HK and being exposed to all those Shihan as they passed through the territories really has made me rather eclectic as well. But Kawahara Shihan is also rather eclectic in his approach and I watched the changes in view of a number of Shihan as they aged and changed how they did their Aikido.
As for the type of subtle active resistance you mentioned, Peter, I find that I was exposed to that type of resistance most through Kawahara and Ichihashi Shihans. They both seemed to have this thing where though they were both very strong, they were moved when the student did the technique correctly but they would quickly move to another position where they were getting into a superior position so that the student had to keep flowing continuously to ensure that the Sensei did not regain his balance. If you let them regain their balance, you couldn't move them again without starting all over. The Sensei would work just slightly above the speed that the student could handle so that it stretched the student. If you, as a student, stopped and then froze, you got a rap of a knuckle on the top of the head.
Especially with Ichihashi Shihan's mass and muscle, you had to do the technique absolutely correctly to even begin moving him and if you ever slowed down, there was no way to get him to start moving again without taking a knuckle rap on the head.
With Kawahara Shihan, especially with his rapid changes of direction, I had to actively resist the technique or I would be over-rotated and easily break something. If I didn't flow, the rapid change in direction would over-rotate me and I would lose all control of my own direction of movement and could easily get something broken. If I flowed to easily without putting enough resistance to keep from moving extremely fast, I would again over-rotate and lose control. If I didn't throw an Atemi where I could, I would never have the chance to block the Atemi that was coming towards me and I would be hit hard. Being Uke for Kawahara Shihan meant actively resisting purely for the sake of my own survival.
In some sense, I would say the same for all the Shihan that I have taken Ukemi. Even with Tohei Akira Shihan, one time I missed a chance to throw an Atemi during a public demonstration so I got a palm in my face that bloodied my nose. If I had thrown the Atemi, I would have stopped him from doing his own Atemi so I would simply have been thrown rather than having my nose busted.
Even happened with the old Doshu during his last Demos in the States. On the first technique the first time I attacked with a Morote Tori, I attacked too lightly and got over-rotated and landed on the back of my head rather than on my back. After that, I always attacked with full power and speed and enough resistance to keep myself in control of my own movement.
So, I guess I am not sure that what you explained as Yamaguchi Sensei's approach to active resistance is so unique. Perhaps you just don't see it as much with some of the other Shihan since they are more concerned with other aspects of Aikido. On the other hand, I may be totally off base with this idea.