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Old 01-20-2011, 10:20 AM   #46
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,135
Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Zach Trent wrote: View Post
Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?
Let me start by saying that what I believe most aikido people do as katatetori is probably a poor attempt at what used to be the precursor to a strike directed to seize control over your opponent. I believe that the goal of katatedori is to achieve kuzushi; that is take balance and center. In grabbing your hand I am symbolically and and physically seizing your center. In my uke training I should first require of nage to take back her center or, if you're nage is good, never achieve kuzushi. For example, a good judo player can grab your lapel and dump you on your head before you can blink. This is kuzushi.

Next, I believe that most aikido people do not have a clue what to do after seizing nage's hand, even if they may achieve kuzushi. We are not competent in concluding our technique even if given the opportunity. The result of this situation if often inappropriate, if not dangerous, response to nage.

All that being said, yes, within a bell-curve of physicality good kihon waza may be succesffully applied to uke regardless of uke's response. The mechanics of kihon waza provide nage with a mechanical advantage over uke; the mechanical advantage often makes the engagement more dangerous if uke decides to resist. Think of playing tug of war but one side gets a pulley and anchor... However, it is not always the case that technique you are trying to apply is the technique that you may successfully apply. I think this situation has already been covered, but it is confusing for beginners who believe unsuccessful application of technique means failure; more probably, it was the improper technique applied to uke.

"Resisting energy" once referred to the polite chastizing of poor martial strategy and application in engaging your opponent. It was better than saying, "Idiot, don't give me you back. You're cutesy turn out of my ikyyo is going result in koppo." It reminds students that martial techniques and engagement has an ebb and flow of energy that can be used to one's advantage. Unfortunately, I think the term is now mostly an excuse for nage's poor technique and uke's lack of martial competence.

It is the role of sensei (or sempai) to step in during these confusing egagements and provide clear instruction to each partner as to how to understand their roles.
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