I hope the title is sufficiently inflammatory. Having the role of uke performed properly is critical for anyone who is trying to learn techniques and principles. Until someone really understands the techniques being practiced and the principles involved, letting the act as uke does them a tremendous disservice. My complete thoughts on the subject are at
And yes, I am wearing my asbestos undies.
Interesting blog, thanks for sharing.
From my perspective:
1. A good uke is simply someone who can protect herself and affect nage. I touched on a similar point in another thread, but we are moving away from qualifying uke beyond an assessment that uke has an obligation to [negatively] affect nage and protect herself from injury. Likewise, a good nage is someone who can protect himself and affect uke. In this sense, we have a parity of obligation and an outlet for both partners to experience aiki.
2. I do encourage the senior student to "lead" the technique. Because of the parity in roles, it is actually suprisingly easy to lead from eithe side of the technique - if fact much of our kaishi-waza progenates from uke accelerating the technique past nage.
3. I support hands-on training. At the end of the day, repetition is the best education. I think sometimes "good technique" and "real technique" are not the same thing. Kata is a tool that balances a prescribed scenario to allow repetition with accuracy and some freedom to experience the nuances of different engagements. Uke is simply limited by the number of aikido engagements she can remember.
The more I am exposed to serious fighters, the more I appreciate how stupid I must sound when I say, "you're not doing that right" to my partner. It's like making fun of Michael Jordan because he couldn't play baseball for the Chicago White Sox.