Rob Cunningham wrote:
After reading this post, I decided to test the theory by asking some of the strongest (physically) students in the dojo to try to resist kotegaeshi by locking their wrists, slowly at first, then we moved on to full speed.
I found that, so long as you stay extended and calm, instead of trying to force the wrist over, no amount of wrist locking can stop the technique. In fact, the uke reported to me that the wrist locking only made the technique more painful, making them all the more willing to lay down on the mat. That was when we decided to stop our experiment.
The whole point of Ukemi is to learn how to avoid getting hurt. Locking anything is just an invitation to get injured.
I think the above is in accordance with my second point that I kinda guessed would draw criticism. I am not affraid to draw criticism if I see merit with something.
I have trained myself to do kote-gaeshi both the painful way and the more delicate way. Not claiming to be a master at it or anything, but practising with FORCE then moving back a tad can offer a little more insight, both to uke and tori. If you don't try it, you'll never know. I have also found that I can generally resist most Aikidoka's attempts to bend my own wrist - either with brute strength and stubbornness, or with sleight skill. Of course, the stubborn way will hurt more if tori is successful. Also, with a little practice, you can learn to bend uke's wrist in a less painfull way even though there is no attack and no moving balance to disturb, i.e, uke just standing there just clenching his wrist tightly and refusing to budge. But discovering the 'natural way' (NO PAIN) is dependent upon being able to do it the 'hard way' (PAIN) - sounds a bit daft, maybe, but that is what I have found after 20+ years.
I trained in the softer approaches for a long time, always believing it would one day work. Well, it doesn't work like that. Look at Judo - the master can play with you gently like a toy, but they did NOT learn to do that by practising gently. I now believe Aikido to be similar - if you want to be truly good at it. In analysis, it might not BE Aikido in the moment, but I think it can lead to BETTER Aikido.
What I am saying is: Aiki's 'gentle' philosophy can get in the way of 'hard' practical training.
Nothing wrong with the balance break, of course, but it works better if the resultant technique (kote-gaeshi or whatever) can be done with both finesse AND power, or the ability to add power even though you don't add power. To have that choice you need to train it.