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Old 09-28-2004, 10:22 AM   #12
Dojo: Seattle Ki Society
Location: Seattle
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 522
Re: Poll: How often do you strongly resist your partner's technique as uke during aikido training?

My feeling about this is, uke's job is to give nage what s/he needs in order to learn, which can (depending on the situation) be anywhere from fighting mightily not to be thrown, to practically throwing oneself. There's not going to be a one-size-fits-all answer that's appropriate for everyone from beginner to yudansha and every situation from learning a brand-new throw to debugging a testing technique.

I personally love resisting, especially if I can do it by not allowing my balance to be taken. But my teachers have been clear that I shouldn't indulge this to the point of not giving nage what they need in order to progress.

The exercise we particularly use to make this point is kokyu dosa. I know that my fourth-dan teacher can make herself completely immovable to someone at my level. I've seen her sit calmly while a strong man threw his whole body weight into trying to move her. (And when she got tired of this demonstration, she shifted slightly and he got to throw his whole body weight into the mat.) But when she takes ukemi for me, she only exerts herself to the point where I have to demonstrate my best technique in order to throw her, not to the point where I flatly won't be able to do so. (I actually had to coax her to demonstrate the full-resistance level, because I'm a scientist at heart and I wanted to know.) And she coaches the people at my level on how to figure out what that appropriate resistance is, when we train with someone junior to ourselves.

I admit, though, Ithe most sheer fun I have with kokyu dosa is taking ukemi for the first kyus. Yudansha can always throw me no matter what I do. People of my own rank and below need a careful choice of resistance level, because for the way we do kokyu dosa the student's ability to resist seems to slightly outstrip their ability to throw, so equal-skill practice can be discouraging. But the first kyus ask their juniors for the best (ki-based) resistance they can possibly give, and I have to say it tickles me pink when I can occasionally stop them, or at least make them really work hard for the throw.

Mary Kaye
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