Re: The Role of Uke in Aikido Training
Hello Ledyard Sensei, thanks for another strong article. I could shut up and train at this point, having read it - but since this is a discussion forum, I have one "yes, but..." to throw out there for discussion.
The method of attack for grabs described here is basically a "paused" throw. That is, at beginner levels, the uke is intending to throw but pauses just as he gets a connection to nage's center. I fully embrace this method - but my concern is, why shouldn't we consider pausing at other timepoints?
In this article, the idea of a strong grab with no connection to nage's center is criticized. But, as you point out, there is also work to be done before contact. So by the same logic as training the pre-contact stuff, nage should be engaged and capable at all stages of uke's attack, including earlier stages.
So, beyond the most elementary level, shouldn't nage be able to train with the "pause" at an earlier timepoint? As aikidoka, shouldn't we be ashamed to say, "unless you connect to me more fully, I can't do anything but strike?" Nage can take action before uke has done what he intends, so I think "simple" grabs (grabs that are not engaging nage's center) are perfectly valid attacks - nage just has to "come in" more to make up the difference. It's the same thing you've described but paused earlier.
Besides, an attacker who grabs may not be trying to throw - he may be "indexing" for a strike, or simply preventing nage from blocking a strike that is on the way. So, grabs that don't seek to strongly disrupt balance are worthwhile attacks too, yes? (But of course, I agree that as aikidoka we should focus more on the type of attack in this article.)