Thread: Pain
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Old 01-01-2010, 12:57 PM   #78
tarik's Avatar
Dojo: Iwae Dojo
Location: Boulder Creek, CA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 565
Re: Pain

This has been an interesting thread to read. For some people, it really does hurt just to get on the mat. I think pain can be used as a learning tool, an obstacle, and as information.

In my training, we never rely on pain and we never deliberately inflict it. While resisting technique can be painful, pain is never the allowed to be the motivating factor for uke's movement, in part because how people react to pain is unpredictable, and in part because there simply are better ways.

Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
I might not be normal... but I actually had to be trained and often have to be reminded to move to avoid the pain in sankyo. Before I began to learn to move, I would not move even when a pin or lock hurt a great deal. In one instance when I was first learning someone was doing kotegaeshi and I would not go down. He said to me "I can make it hurt". And I looked up and said ,"you already are making it hurt.....You don't have my center." Now I know not too bright on my part but I was also not intentionally resisting I just felt no real reason to move, its just how my brain appears to be wired and I had not yet really come to understand how to be a good uke. But of someone gets my center and unbalances me right I'll go down like a sack of bricks. And generally get the "how the heck did I get down here?" feeling right before I start to laugh. When that happens I rarely feel a bit of pain or discomfort.
IMO, your response WAS good ukemi and your partner needed that feedback. In fact, I would bet that when he told you that he could make it hurt, you could have, without moving your feet, reached up with your other arm and poked his eyes out or crushed his throat. That's important feedback, because it means you could have hurt him also. If your life was on the line, would you trade your wrist for his eyes or throat? I would and he should presume that in a worst case scenario, some crazy, angry person might be so inclined.

Rather than correcting your ukemi, he should have been looking into what he was doing wrong so that he could 'take' your center and control you without reliance on the pain to get you to move.

Reliance on pain is.. well.. unreliable and unnecessary, which doesn't mean that there should be no pain or discomfort, just that it should be a side effect rather than 'how it works'.

You already described what it should feel like. Unfortunately, your partner (and maybe his teachers) blamed that on your lack of ukemi training rather than looking to their own inability to capture or steal your balance. It's an easy trap to fall into. In our training, we are constantly re-examining and re-avaluate technique, movement, and ukemi to check for inappropriate responses as compared to how trained and untrained people might react in 'real life', so to speak. We end up making a real study of how people move and react. I am always examining and evaluating this when I walk around.

Teaching you to 'go with the technique' is appropriate in that resistance is not the 'way out', but if not done with an awareness of when uke is really compelled to move or not. Moving with the technique simply to avoid pain rather than because your balance has been stolen (and you have no choice but to move or fall) can create an unfortunate model that, I think, makes it more difficult to learn to deal with people who haven't been taught to 'go with it'. To me, that's more akin to learning dance or cooperative gymnastics than a martial art, which is ok if that's what one wishes to learn.

Maarten De Queecker wrote: View Post
Untrained people will stand their ground and do their utmost to resist, in my experience.
IME, untrained people do one of three things. They resist, they move away, or they stand their ground and wonder why you're trying to inflict pain.

Good technique uses all three of these responses as appropriate rather than trying to force something specific (like a specific technique) upon such an uke, After all, technique is done WITH your partner, even if they choose not to cooperate with you, you should be choosing to cooperate and use their native responses instead of asking them to respond in a certain way.

Personally, I enjoy training with untrained people because their reactions are so honest and learning to deal with that without inflicting pain while still getting results is so educational. The most difficult thing about teaching new people is trying to help them retain those honest responses while adding some skill to their movement.


Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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