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Old 11-17-2015, 08:38 AM   #19
Cliff Judge
Location: Kawasaki, Kanagawa
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,276
Re: Article: Ellis Amdur, "The Use of Weapons in Aikido Training"

One big difference between the koryu I have knowledge of and Aikido weapons is that there is a huge difference in the division of roles between uke and nage.

Yes, in AIkido weapons the shihan will demo the kata, and will be the winner often, and that's different than the way the senior role in koryu kata generally appears to be the loser. In Iwama Aikiken, there is the appearance that the kata resolves to awase, so neither student is learning to "win."

But there is the simple fact that there isn't a senior side and a junior side to the kata. It is common to only do junior-side of a kata for years before being taught the senior side in koryu systems. In every Aikido weapons system I have seen, students learn both sides at once and alternate as they are practicing them to burn the moves in.

This tends to make the kata more of a mutual exercise or dance. Both partners will unconsciously move to compensate for the other to keep the kata moving smoothly. They are too partnered, in a way, like they are two interlinked components in the same whirling, rotating machine.

I am not really saying there is anything wrong with this. It's just that there isn't a lot of space between what uke and nage are trying to accomplish, both in training the kata, and in the "story" of the kata they are performing.

I am also not saying that there isn't unconscious cooperation and collusion sometimes in koryu kata. It's just that there is a little mental distance. The junior student's angle is off, after a couple of years she KNOWS the angle was bad and she screwed that up, but she moves right on. The senior sees it too, in the back of his head he notes that there was an opening that could have been exploited, while adjusting his counter-move to keep the kata moving. But this is totally not the same thing as an AIkido sword kata where the goal is to do the kata.

One final thought about this is that if you get two people together to practice a sequence of Aikido kata, while their overall goal is to get the kata done, together, there is often this ego battle going on. One side is more powerful and coordinated than the other and, though they tell themselves they are helping their partner, they press the partner further than she wants to go, perhaps there is a bruised finger, perhaps form goes to hell. And then its the slower student whose fault it is, and the stronger partner feels proud about themselves. But this is false pride derived from a fake situation.

You'd not do this in a koryu art - it is important to manage the junior student's success, and they'll give you plenty to be proud of if you bring them up correctly. There are fewer opportunities to punk your juniors, also, because the senior has moves which are secretly winning moves.
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