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Old 08-15-2012, 10:12 AM   #61
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: ki testing...emphasis on both uke and nage getting stronger

All I have to say is that last week a newer student came to one of my classes. Big guy, very strong, very stable. Not a lot of experience and of skeptical nature. He grabbed on during one of my ki tests I was working on for the class and I could feel myself tighten up and react (poorly). I smiled, thanked him, corrected myself, and got on with it. That sort of honesty in attack is hard to find. And a god-send for me. Students quickly fall in to the trap of "taking ukemi" even with ki tests. It becomes part of the collusion, part of the game, and even when you try hard to avoid it, well, it can still creep back in. I am thankful as hell that our late founder of the style I study felt the Tohei Ki tests were indispensable and something to be done regularly. And that we were trained to push each other right up to failure and sometimes even past it. How else do you find the limits? How else do you find what you can improve? And my teachers always expected us to work on them, to grow them, to try new things, to explore. But the starting point was always the same. Shoshin ni kaeru. Return to the basics.

FWIW I think that what guys like Dan are teaching *are* the basics. The very foundation. The basics of the most basic. That doesn't make it easy. That doesn't make it simple to explain. But it is profound when faced with it directly. And undeniably powerful. And soft. And everything in between.

It doesn't mean I can do it well. Too much work left to do still. But... What a wonderful way of expanding the horizon in front of you.

Yeah, I love the ki tests. And while I get what the OP is saying, I'm not sure competitive is the right word anyway. Obviously we're trying to learn, not just destroy our students. Not "show up" the students or "show off" for the students. But in another way I do think of competition. With myself. Getting better. Sometimes it's also about pushing the student. Or maybe giving the student a reality check. So sometimes you do shut them down. Sometimes you push them past failure. It's not always going to be warm fuzzies if you are really trying to help people improve. For some, sure, they're motivated enough internally to get where they need to go. Others, not so much.

Shrug. Tis the reason I didn't post in this thread until now. It's a warm sentiment and a lovely thought, but not so much practical or workable for many. No, of course it's not about competition in some sense of the word. But it often needs a lot more "umph" and slapping around than it currently tends to receive, especially if we're going to continue to claim that this is a martial art with some degree of application.

So I shrug again. Carry on and have a lovely day...