Blurring the Roles of Uke and Nage
Just did some interesting exercises to try to blur the "distinction" between uke and nage over the weekend during the ukemi class and I thought I'd share them here.
We started out with seated kokyudosa (uke grabs nage in ryotedori, nage connects with uke through the arm, nage "throws" uke then pins). Rather than nage throwing uke four times then switching roles, I had "uke" (the person grabbing) throw "nage" two times then "nage" (the person being grabbed) throw "uke" two times then switched roles. This had the effect of each person throwing the other four times in succession but twice as uke (the person grabbing) and twice as nage (the person being grabbed) -- kind of like a phase shift, if you would.
I then had them do the same but with both parties trying to do kokyudosa on the other with one caveat -- to be honest and open if the other person "gets" you regardless of what "role" (uke or nage) you were. This had the effect that both people were trying to connect and off-balance the other without the thought that "uke loses" or "uke always falls down."
We then did other exercises in this manner while standing with a few katatedori kokyunage variation leading into katatedori jiyuwaza -- with both parties trying to "throw" the other while remaining honest and open to being affected themselves.
I thought this was interesting in that some of us are very much attached to the role of uke or nage and that there seems to be an inherent difference when we grab versus when we are grabbed. It's also interesting how often we lose track of good aikido principles and end up in a sort of a wrestling match when we confront "opposition" during our techniques.
In any case, I thought this was an interesting exercise which I'm sure I'll be revisiting soon...