Join Date: May 2006
Like anything there are time and places to resist. Honest resistance should just be a meaningful attempt to achieve your goal, whatever that goal is. In a drill context, this could me a single forceful attack. In a free form context, this could mean a single goal (I want you to punch me in the chest, I don't care how you get this done).
It is easy to stonewall a technique when you know it is being applied. So free form resistance is not a good idea there. Just make a good committed attack and allow your partner to do his technique. In judo, we would call this a throw line or uchi komi. When I fill in for the instructor, I have students do this, one will push the other will turn and throw. For the uke to resists the turn and throw would hurt the point of the drill. However, later, we might do a free form practice where we allow uke to resist. One person's job is to throw, the other person's job is to fight the grips off and stop the throw (at a varying level of resistance) Of course we take it a step even further to randori where the job of both partners is to throw each other. In bjj, we might train an armbar or sweep, then drill it with resistance. If you only drilled the armbar then told the uke not to allow the armbar, the nage would never get it. So instead we make the goal less restricted. The goal of the nage is to sweep or submit, and the goal of the uke is to maintain a top position of dominance. Again with varying levels of resistance. These are just a few examples of the many types and levels of resistance training we do.
I have seen no reason why these types of drills can not be applied to aikido. The aikido classes I have taken have chosen not to go this route. In the training I have had, the job of the uke was to throw a strike or attempt a grab with a varying level of intensity. At this point you would try to follow the lead of the nage and receive ukemi. This ment at advanced levels, if nage was not leading you stood there and looked at him. At lower levels, you are always expected to take the fall (kyu ranks should focus on the ukemi we are told). However, their is a odd duality that undermines the training (I feel). This stems from a desire that I can't quite relate to. I am often told that if I ever wanted to 'test' the instructor by hitting him, that I can choose to do so and then I can 'face the consequences' of my actions and better be prepared for a 'real response', then at the same time, I am told to throw a committed attack. It only seems logical then that I am either to throw a real attack and be injured, or a fake attack with no threat to the nage. You can see the confusion here. This had not existed in my combat sport training. If I am told to punch my partner in the face in kickboxing, then they expect me to really try to hit him. In bjj, if I am told my job is to take my partner down and his job is to stop me, then I am to do my best to take him down. I am not to throw a half assed double leg and let him work a defense. The time for that is understood during the introduction phase where I am told to go in slowly and let him do the technique, then I am told to resist, finally I am told to take him down.
This is a problem that has plagued my aikido training. Everytime I give it a shot I am plagued by this. To me, I feel I am being told to 'fake it'. That if they want to test themselves against a judo throw or a double leg I am to let them win or face the consequences (which is always a vague reference to eye gouging or some other type of bodily injury or quick ramping up of action).
It seems the problem is the goals of the drill are not defined, there is no exactly framework to work in. Its like I"m being told "You should be trying to hit me, but if you do hit me, I'm not going to be nice to you, so you better not hit me". It reminds me of the krav maga episode of fight quest. Where the female instructor would define the objectives of a drill, then change the objectives when it was doug's turn. Then point out there was no rules. But if he gouged the eyes out of one of her students, I bet she would not of accepted it as nice as she expected him to take her constant changing of the guidelines.
It reminds me of a friend of mine who wanted to roll with me. He decided he could beat me if we allowed groin strikes. I allowed it, put him in guard, he attempted a elbow to the groin, I swept him, maintained side control and punched him lightly in the balls. He was not happy. Apparently the rules went one way, not both. That is how I feel when I'm on the mat in aikido. That the rules go one way.
I'm sorry to rant, but it's been bothering me and reading this thread brought it out of me. I'm sure not all aikido is like what I have described, but for the ones that are, I think this is an easy fix. Define your goals in your drills. Don't lie about it, or give some vague response. Just say what you want the uke to do. If you want him to throw a punch and wait, then say so, if you want him to try to counter, say so. If you want him to keep trying to hit you until you submit him say so. There is no shame in it. Even in combat sports there are times you don't really try to hit each other. Just make the goals clear.