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Old 10-21-2009, 11:59 AM   #26
Rob Watson
Location: CA
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 698
Re: Measuring Internal Power within kata

Deja vu HIPS! At least from my lowly perspective. George Ledyard wrote a while ago about the types of uke (styles of being uke) and that rang a bell for me because I started getting some of that (different styles of uke) from my seniors a while back. Bells went off then and now.

Being uke for beginners I (we) take a 'dive' so the beginners can get the form. Even worse tha na dive becasue we actually move nage/tori (as uke) into the correct position (as best we are able with primarily physical but also verbal feedback) to guide them into the correct form. I like to call this role of uke the 'guide'.

As one progresses the role of uke gradually moves into the next phase in which uke keeps their balance and center and nage/tori really must execute technique with good posture and 'intent' (I steal this from the IT discussions because as the bells in my head go off this wors seems really to capture the essense of the 'something' beyond form) other wise uke just sort of stands there maintaining thier position. I like to call this uke role the 'mountain'.

Ratchet up to the next level and uke strongly maintains their position and provides what I'd call 'active immobility' as opposed to resistance (like reversal, etc). Uke can work on using intent to show openings for atemi or reversal without actually doing them. At this level the role of uke is akin to a 'monster'.

All of the above can be done in a regular class without deviating from what sensei is showing and expect us to work on. There is a progression for both uke and nage to escalate the level of 'resistance' and 'aliveness' while still 'following the program' of senseis instruction.

In free practice or during randori or jiyuwaza most or all of this can be deployed as appropriate for the relative and respective levels ofthe participants. Even reversal and atemi (the loving kind). Typically we concetrate on kata but also do randori towrds the end of each class and there is occasional jiyuwaza training. I think sensei uses randori to guage how well we have incorporated things into our 'core' as oppoed to a specific training method (I'm likely wrong about this).

At a certain point one can be as active in thier resistance as they want and still can't help but get handled.

Now, I'm not saying we are doing IT as others but I'm just saying things are starting to sound kind of familiar and maybe we are doing some IT without really knowing it (at least I'm a bit hazy on the matter for sure). Maybe sensei is really showing it but some of us are not really ready to see it (IT). I'm the first to admit there has got to be a better way but then again maybe slow and steady is the best ... crawl, toddle, walk then run - frustratingly slow, yes, but a 'better' way?

As long as our seniors are pushing us we will improve. I know some of our seniors are out 'making the rounds' with some of the folks on 'the list' and bring stuff back. We are all always looking to move things to the next level. Our eyes are open and so is the dojo.

The one thing that is most different about training in this dojo (compared to the others I've been) is the continued emphasis on moving slowly. Doing things slow really forces and allows one to focus on exactly what every part of ones body and awareness, as well as uke, is doing at every pont through the technique. This is hardest on uke because they have to maintain their 'integrity' throughout the technique (I mean integrity in the sense of the role they are playing at the time - guiding, mountain, monster).

Fun stuff. More to learn than one knows but imagination helps.


"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

Ultracrepidarianism ... don't.
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