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Old 01-07-2008, 04:23 PM   #21
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,225
Re: Sempai kohai differences

Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Trust is what the process is all about...So, when we do this...we don't have to "tank" the technique. We can be honest in our approach and work with them. Because we have invested more in them they can look past the moment of frustration...knowing that by trusting you, that you are doing what is best for them.

Anyway..easier said than done sometimes!
Hi Kevin,
I really like that first part about the process of developing trust. I'm often a distrustful person (simply because I know "stuff" happens; intentions are moot to me in this regard). Sometimes of myself and sometimes of others...usually of others. On one hand I think it's really helped my study of ukemi...I recall an accomplished judoka tossing me and nearly tearing my arm off. It made me prepare more to move with a more powerful force. Events like that definately have led to my tendancy toward "tanking," though too. Where the process kicks in is my gradual shift away from that. As uke training with kohai I'm always trying to apply just enough pressure to create a demand for focus and proper mechanics while not being overwhealming. When training with sempai, usually this means I'm trying my hardest to attack powerfully. In both cases I'm developing something. With the kohai I think I'm learning sensitivity of my partners' limitations. Over time, hopefully the training process creates a sense in me to know when I can step it up a bit. Being that it creates a more energetically dynamic situation, it means my ukemi must be that much more spot on and thus also a greater need for trust since as uke I'm purposefully allowing myself to be in a compromised situation (being hyperextended in some portion of my body). Shihonage for example can be real scarey. I have to trust that my partner is skilled enough to NOT put the back of my skull two inches below the surface of the floor or land on my neck as they fall over, etc.
The other side of that, as I see it, is that trust you spoke of wherein the kohai understands an overwhealming "uke" isn't trying to be a jerk. One of the more senior students at our dojo is a bear of a man. When he performs kaeshiwaza, it's almost always with a bit of vigor. I always hit the mat a little harder than I normally experience. At first it was almost bothersome. I never sensed any malice, just a profoundly powerful force which made me feel a touch of inadequacy from how obviously easy it was to counter my best efforts. Over time, I began to see how precise his efforts were. I was never hurt or even close to it. Despite hitting the mat a little quicker and harder than I expected, I've come to trust him considerably...thus, I'm also more receptive to his lessons.

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