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Old 07-21-2017, 11:29 AM   #27
jonreading's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido South (formerly Emory Aikikai)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,154
Re: Aikido against strong people...

It's been a while since I posted...

Several things come to mind with regard to this topic:
1. Ultimately, I think we need to understand one of the reasons martial training exists is to shorten the gap between power, skill, and experience in combat. The very answer we are pursuing (in martial training) is to be effective against adversaries who are stronger, better, and have more experience. While not wrong, I think we need to first be honest about what we are doing and whether this aspect is in our training goals (or not). While there should exist some expectation of failure in training, generally I believe a good metric of success is improving our ability to be effective against partners who maybe hold advantages in one of more areas of power, skill or experience.

2. Kata is not combat. Kata is a shape that two (or more) people agree to perform. Sometimes, our uke role breaks kata; sometimes our nage role breaks kata. Either partner deviating from kata results in that form being broken. If uke does not know kata, the failure rests with her. If nage does not know kata, the failure rests with her. if both break kata... you're not doing kata. For example, partners A&B are performing a kote gaishi kata. Partner B (uke), thrusts a punch out with no intention to hit partner A and no motivation to move in a continuation of the technique. Partner A tries unsuccessfully to continue kata, but ultimately decides to just "do something else." This is a broken kata in which neither partner did the kata. We need to be clear in our expectations and not confuse bad kata with a strong or skilled or experience uke who is just superior and requires better technique.

3. Learning is not "wrong". We sometimes over-identify that "throwing" is success and a partner who thwarts that outcome is "wrong". The role of the partner in most of our training is educational - she is a feedback tool who's job is to make you better. The problem is that "throwing" is not always an indicator of success and uke is not always helpful in making you better. Keiko is about creating a science experiment in a controlled setting to find and develop a reproduce-able solution. We need to be critical of learning, even when the experiment fails. We need to be conscious of our role in helping run the experiment to achieve accurate results.

Strong is a relative term. I am stronger than my son. This is a relative comparison, not a definite statement. In 8 years, my son will be stronger than I. In training, "stronger" should also be relative. If it's perennial, you have a problem...

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