Re: Seishiro Endo Shihan - Montreal April 7 - 9 2009
In my understanding, the rationale for what you call "uke setup" is not to make life easier for the nage, or make him/her look good, although it certainly might seem that way. On the contrary: this training requires the uke to continue the engagement for as long as it is practically possible and martially reasonable, only give up when it makes sense and no opportunities for reversals are present (instead of "tanking"), and take ukemi from the best possible position for the uke so that s/he is then able to regroup and continue the attack. Incidentally, it is precisely due to this continuous engagement by the two practitioners that these beautiful-looking (and often frowned upon) soft high falls are possible, and these exercises can be an excellent teaching tool for demonstrating the necessity of such constant engagement, instead of tanking. Moreover, this type of ukemi can allow the nage to use more power in applying techniques, when the nage knows the uke can take it, thus enriching the training experience.
There's no question that the nage should be able to handle whatever comes his/her way from the uke. However, certain attempts to maintaining the attack on the uke's part can make the engagement more interesting, challenging and ultimately fulfilling for the nage (and, indeed, for the uke as well). The instructor needs to demonstrate this during class, assuming that it's in the instructor's interest to convey this principle to the students. How can the instructor demonstrate this, then, if the uke is not providing an appropriate attack? Certainly, an instructor of the ability you speak of can dump the uke on his/her butt, but how does that fit into the teaching? What have the students learned from this encounter? Should the instructor just say - well, I wanted to demonstrate a yokomen-uchi shiho-nage, but it really didn't make sense in the way this guy was attacking me, so I reverted to an irimi-nage instead. A valuable lesson, certainly, but this is not what the instructor wanted to teach at that particular point during the class. These students could really use some time practicing that yokomen-uchi shiho-nage; what is the instructor to do? Don't you agree that a "setup" is required for this teaching situation?
With best regards,