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Old 02-10-2010, 09:30 AM   #27
S Ellis
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Dojo: ASU of Sarasota
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 15
Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
I'm still unclear about how exactly you are expected to practice in YOUR dojo. This is surely crucial to the usefulness of any advice! Aikido is practiced with huge variance of intention, violence, sadism, acquiscence, performance and realism.
With my instructors, ukemi is easier because they are very controlled and direct and I can feel where they are compelling me to go. There is no question about timing, space, or speed because they are excellent and are beyond what I can currently perceive. However, all other students in my dojo at present are kyu ranked from first to six. I am third kyu. Students who have not been training as long as I have (which is not very long in the grand scheme of things) are generally just trying to figure out the techniques, so I generally flow and go where they want trying to get the feel for where they are taking me. With those students who are preparing for shodan, I generally begin slowly and speed up after it is obvious they have the technique. As we speed up, sometimes it gets a little crazier. Sometimes the technique works and sometimes it doesn't. There is no doubt that my intention is to strike and if they do not move or deal with the attack, they will be struck. No malice, no violence, and no sadism. As far as performance and realism. This is the problem. I have a good friend who refers to my practice as ballet. Primarily because I think he likes to see the expression on peoples faces when he asks me, "Are you going to ballet practice tonight?" At any rate, I do feel like I am doing ballet some days. I am working very hard not so much that the dance looks right, but that it feels right. I have found that my exprerience being uke helps me feel out how I should be moving as nage. As nage I want to be as smooth as possible, so I spend as much time as possible being as smooth an uke as I can be. This isn't at all realistic, and most definitely borders on performance as I am not only giving an attack and my weight for nage to deal with, but actively moving to go where I think they are taking me instead of resisting like a normal person would if they did not know or understand the kata or the concept of ukemi. I protect myself because I know if I do not move, one of us is going to get hurt. I don't think the average person who knows nothing about aikido and would resist would understand that they are about to be in some pain until the technique is applied and it is too late for them to do anything about it. If they start flailing around like a fish they open themselves up to even more pain. As uke, I know where to go and how to position myself to avoid said pain. Is that realistic? Unless you have practiced the art or other arts, you have no idea what is coming or how to protect yourself from what is coming. I don't understand how to give that experience to people without leaving myself in a more vulnerable position then I already do. Not sure if anything I just wrote makes any sense, but I tried.

Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
It might help to tell us WHY you like to practice aikido.
Because I am a fool that can't stand the gym, and likes to drink beer with people that I just got done striking, throwing, and pinning. I won't lie. I started because of the philosophy (or what I thought was the philosophy) and stayed for the art. Like everyone else here, it consumes me. The kind of fire your parents always wished you would have for something in your life. I can't imagine my life without it anymore.

Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
You also mentioned Atemi and how you found it to be effective : I'm presuming you mean effective against you when you attack. Do they smack you in the mouth? How do you find it effective? You see stars : do they punch you in the head?
I have been hit in the mouth. Yes, it is effective. My blocking reaction is that much stronger as a result. I have been punched in the head. Every time it has happened it has been as a result of me moving the wrong way. Nobody is coming to knock my head off maliciously, but if I walk into their attack, I deserve to see the stars. This has happened more often then I would like to admit.

Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
At risk of being booed may I suggest you're lazy? : do the work to find a middle way, apply enough to balance what they think they want from you.
Booooo! No just kidding. I am lazy. However, when you are moving a lot of weight, momentum does what momentum does. After reading all of the posts on this thread, I keep thinking that if there were a middle way, I would have found it at this point. I have been training lately with all of the advice of this thread in mind, and as others suggested I tried to find different speeds to work at. What I discovered is that I can initiate at any speed I choose, but how nage deals with the attack determines the speed at which I will be falling. It can start slow, but as my balance breaks I can only hold both my and nage's weight so long. When it does unravel, it happens pretty quickly. They adjust and so do I. When I am nage, the uke will determine the speed which I apply the technique. I have found that I have all kinds of gears. I was just looking at it the wrong way

At any rate, thank you for your post. Have a good day!
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