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Old 05-17-2013, 11:21 AM   #12
George S. Ledyard
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Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,670
Re: The Role of Uke in Aikido Training

David Santana wrote: View Post
Ledyard Sensei, I knew something is wrong with how me and my friends have been training but I just don't know what it is.. after I read this article I finally realize how off-Aiki we have been. I totally agree with you on this and would like to share this article with my friends. would it be OK for me to translate this article and post it in my Dojo's website?
Feel free... just say where it came from.

I have a few questions..
1. "A grab should achieve kuzushi and have a strike(s) that go with it". do you mean an actual strike(atemi)? if yes, what do uke do when attacking with morotetori or other attacks that uses both hands?
Yes, I mean an actual atemi. But it doesn't have to be a real punch in training... What we used to do in training was simply tap our partner on the head to let him know he was open. You didn't have to punch his lights out to let him know. These are your friends after all...

The attacks that utilize both hands were meant to either set up a throw or set up a strike. Morotetori was just the inital piece of an old jiu jutsu move in which the elbow was locked and the opponent was thrown to the ground. At a later stage of parctice you could actually have your partner attempt that technique and you would see how that changes the timing etec of what you have to do. Mototetori itself is not an attack, it is a practice device.

On attacks like ryokatatori this either meant to acheive kuzushi as in a judo type throw or unbalance the opponent for a knee strike, or somesuch. Once again, at the higher levels you should ask your partner to actually try to get kuzushi and not just grab and hang on. It changes everything when you do that. To deal with attacks like this you have to be energized properly BEFORE the attacker touches you. In fact there is a whole study to be made of how you mess with the partner's mind before contact talkes place and how you screw up his ability to arrive at the focal point of his power. A great nage can make you feel like you never delivered a good attack. But if you can't attack worth a damn to begin with, it's not a set of skills your partner can practice.

2. regarding the correct body structure/posture, I have always thought that in aikido's kamae, our hands should always be in our center line and our head should always be facing in that direction. is this correct?
I would say initially that is more or less true. The hands are not limited to the center line only, as they might be holding a sword. If you envision a three dimensional box with the corners at the shoulder and the hips and about your forearm in depth, most of your arm movement will take place within that box. You are not limited to the plane of the center line. That is to teach your body how to develop proper structure.

At the higher levels, all that changes. Your body becomes an integrated unit and aligment is less important. One you understand how to balance the forces within your body, you can do things with your posture and alignment that would have been wrong earlier but they now work. This is the stage at which principle had been burned into your body to the point at which it is simply your default setting and you can let form go. This is the stage at which true free application of technique is possible. Since your are no longer limited by form, you can adapt your technique to any other form such as another style of martial art. Most folks don't get to this point... even most top teachers are masters of their form but haven't taken it beyond that. The REAL masters are the ones who have taken it to that level and in any given generation, there are only a few who get there. It's a good goal for the rest of us though. I can do it a little but at 61 years old I am running out of time to really get there. Right now it's more of an interesting exercise to play with, not something I could depend on in a life and death situation.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 05-17-2013 at 11:25 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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