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Old 01-15-2007, 07:56 AM   #6
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Re: Baseline skillset

Don Magee wrote:
There is a difference to me in the two video's. In Ueshiba's video, the movements are familiar to me, and I have experienced being unable to push your lift someone. In the second video. The uke seems to just hop away with the slightest movement, sometimes even where there is no contact.

I have never been in the presence of a man that can throw me without touching me, or knock me 6 feet back with a flinch of his leg. So I am skeptical and unable to comment on it.
Well, I was going to talk about that and I was waiting for an entre'.... so thanks, Don.

First of all, look at the Uke's in the Ueshiba video and watch how many of them are taking a dive or responding to hand gestures, too-light movements, etc. If you show that video clip to an experienced outsider, he's going to make a rude noise. Usually someone either makes a disparaging remark or they "believe completely because it's Ueshiba". In the actual chest and thigh bounces by Ueshiba (all I'm interested in, in this clip), I watch how Ueshiba does it, how much effort he uses and I factor in how much, if any, uke appears to be over-acting. I watch Ueshiba's hips, his head, and his feet. Regardless of Uke I can judge fairly closely, IMO, Ueshiba's power. It's OK... moderate... about what I would expect from someone that used to be very powerful but his now well into his 80's.

Sum is a Hong Kong guy and Hong Kong and southern Chinese uke's have an annoying habit of over-hopping to slight pushes. Sometimes they do it prematurely (they have that same teacher-student relationship and want to be 'respectful' to the teacher). So I watch Sum and his uke together at first in order to quickly judge whether it's all acting or if Sum has some real power, I immediately see that Sum has some real power, but the full extent of it I can't get an accurate feel for except in a couple of the demo's because of Uke's over-acting and because Uke is pushing stiffly and maintaining that stiffness so that Sum can utilize that stiffness during the bounce (Ueshiba's Uke will do that too, if you watch).

So anyway, I see Sum as being fairly powerful.... in that particular setup. If you tangle with someone like Sum, it will feel like you have run into an unstoppable metal robot because of the type of power he has built up through breathing, standing, movement exercises, etc. It's very weird when you encounter one of these guys... they're like nothing you've ever felt before.

That being said, I'll tell you a few of my other personal thoughts about Sum's abilities. These guys like to practice that particular type of "bounce away" over and over. They get very skilled at it... it's sort of a set-up. Then again, to be fair, one of the problems in Aikido is that it is full of set-ups as well and to a neophyte who doesn't understand all the proscribed attacks, behaviour, and responses, Aikido "effectiveness" appears to be much more than it is, often.

So we've got Sum using a very clever set of mechanics (and yeah, Ignatius, I'm not going to say what they are on a public forum), but in some ways he's like a martial artist that also does body-building (if you'll allow me to loosely say that these kinds of strength/skill development are akin to "body building", because it's an apt analogy). If the martial artist spends most of his time building his strength and doesn't do enough training in techniques, all that strength doesn't do him much good. This, unfortunately, has been the case with too many yiquan people... they have this enormous power, but they can't use it well (most of them), so yiquan has never become famous as a truly effective martial art (I could tell stories).

So from my view, I really like Yiquan as a body-training methodology. Anyone could use aspects of Yiquan-type systemic training and get pretty powerful (if they do it right.... same problem in yiquan in that the top guys don't want to *really* tell the full training secrets).

So all that being said, I agree Don... the show is distorted by the too-willing uke's. But from experience I'd say that you'd probably be a little shocked at how strongly they can knock you backward through the air.

Great point. Thanks for bringing it up.

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