Re: My aikido is at the crossroads
I've held off replying until now because I wanted to see how others responded. This is an issue that I can certainly relate to, and it's really tough to know where to draw the line. It can be really frustrating when people have poor ukemi and try to hide it by saying you are too rough. It is not too rough to try to practice at a level that will help you improve. On the other hand, they might be right, and you might actually be too rough. There is a difference between effective technique and being rough, and at the risk of sounding patronizing, I'm not sure how many people at 4th kyu can tell the difference. Are they complaining because they are hitting the mat too hard, or is it because you are unnecessarily wrenching their joints and trying to muscle the technique? The trouble is, unless we train with you, we don't know. All I can do is invite you to train with me, and see for myself.
With regard to the shiho-nage issue, if people can spin out of it, it is not a very good shiho-nage. I think another poster said something about uke not knowing any better and going the "wrong way". I disagree. There is no wrong way, there is only poor technique. Uke should not have any choice about which way to go. I recently had a student in one of my classes complain about a beginner spinning out of shiho-nage. The only real response I had was to take the beginner and do shiho-nage on her a few times. She couldn't spin out. Anyway, keep working on it. Make sure you keep your hands low and in front of your center before you raise them up and turn. Don't try to reach forward or to the side. That should improve your technique.