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Old 01-29-2014, 12:44 AM   #28
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 289
Re: The uke/nage paradigm

I've recently changed dojos, and the uke/nage paradigm is **very** different at my new dojo as compared to the old dojo. At the new place, uke attacks and hangs on with continued pressure placed on nage throughout the technique, even to the extent of 'giving my partner my weight,' as explained by one teacher (my apologies if I'm explaining it wrong, folks, I'm new there). That is regarded as a 'sincere' attack.

In contrast, at the old dojo, uke got 'one mistake,' and after that uke got hit if he or she resisted. Ukemi was supposed to be flowing to the point of weightlessness, and any time nage felt resistance, uke could get clobbered (to the point, once or twice in a decade of training, of blood on the mat when uke was high-ranking and pushing the envelope, and fairly frequently to mild smacks on the face if uke just wasn't paying enough attention). Lots of atemi. Uke hung on not so much to continue the attack, but to tie up one (or more) of nage's arms and to signal to nage that he or she didn't 'need' to place atemi because uke was paying attention. There was also the idea that, at the beginning of the technique, uke was the person who locked themselves into an attack with a preconceived notion of what was going to happen, and nage was nage because he or she remained open to the movement that came from the interaction, and could thus respond faster to changes by uke. Attempts by nage to 'do the technique to uke' was a role-reversal that allowed uke, with good ukemi, to respond by flowing into the role of nage and taking over the technique.

It's a frustrating, but fascinating, difference in perspective. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to sit down with any of the sempai or sensei at the new dojo and talk about their underlying ukemi philosophy yet.
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