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Old 05-19-2004, 12:19 PM   #15
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 632
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

David Valadez wrote:
Hi All,

Just wrote this up for our own dojo. Would like to get some opinions, if you don't mind, so as to take advantageo of a broader horizon.

Thanks you advance - yours,

"Some Guidelines Governing the Nage/Uke Dynamic"

The following guidelines have been written up so as to provide dojo members with a reference point concerning the living dynamic that is the Nage/Uke relationship. Note: These are just guidelines. All accurate understandings of the Nage/Uke dynamic have to be determined by specific contexts. Please use these guidelines in combination with the experience and insights you gain over the years of training when it comes to determining proper action within the Nage/Uke dynamic.

"General Guidelines For Being Nage"

- Nage must always account, in terms of intensity and applied energy, for the following qualities when determining how to throw, pin, or strike, etc., Uke: Uke's skill level, Uke's age, Uke's size, Uke's physical durability, Uke's current state of health and wellness; and the dojo's official position concerning the Senpai/Kohai model as it is relative to the Nage/Uke dynamic (see below). All things being equal, safety is the primary determining element for the Nage/Uke dynamic. Martial "reality," as (mis)perceived by any one member is NOT a determining element to be considered.

FL: When I first entered aikido practice I was looking for something that was immediate and physical, as a distinct contrast to my academic pursuits. Had I encountered something like this first paragraph, I would have concluded that I had come to the wrong place, as I this seems to be a highly intellectualized understanding that presupposes and reifies certain abstract constructs as "the living dynamic that is the Nage/Uke relationship," and "accurate understandings." The latter phrase also strikes me as disturbingly similar to the kind of language used in cults that deny any challenge to the approved group view as rooted in "inaccurate understanding."

FL: Is this document accompanied by an explicit statement of "the dojo's official position concerning the Senpai/Kohai model as it is relative to the Nage/Uke dynamic?" Who is the dojo? Is this a genuine collective entity, or is the use of the phrase "the dojo" merely an effort to add corporate legitimacy and authority to the views of a particular instructor? Again, this tone is reminiscent of patterns I have seen in a number or cultish or crypto-cultish groups and raises a number of red flags at the outset.

I could go on, but only because I've practiced for long enough to have some faint glimmer of the many, many subsequent inside references and unstated suppositions that underpin this document. Had it been my first exposure to aikido, I would have headed for the door.

None of the above addresses the rather detailed nature of the prescriptions contained in the document, or my views on the content of those prescriptions. My point is that the astonishingly didactic form of presentation is so very much at odds with the fundamental reasons why I embarked on -- and continue with -- aikido practice, that it would present me with an obstacle that would likely turn me away from that place of practice, if not of aikido practice in general, at the outset.

No doubt, that's a reflection of my own limitations and narrow understanding and not your intentions in crafting the document, but I doubt that I am alone in this.

As with taming an ox, don't try to train it to the yoke immediately. First, give the it a large pasture to graze in.

Best regards,

Fred Little
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