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Old 12-08-2012, 01:23 AM   #8
Walker's Avatar
Dojo: 鷹松道場|Takamatsu Dojo ATL
Location: ATL--GA
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 220
Re: Ukemi: pluses and minuses

I think this confusion about ukemi goes to the heart of so much trouble in the aikido community. Anyone in a koryu or other budo that keeps close the kata teaching model probably shakes their head in disbelief over this type of confusion. In the budo kata model, the uke side is the teaching/senior side, the side with greater experience. So the senior is almost always allowing the technique to function and guiding the interaction toward the ideal set forth in the kata. Does anyone think that armed with greater experience, ability and foreknowledge the uke is doing anything else? The senior knows the kata, is feeling for the application of correct principles and movement, and is providing the appropriate and safe ukemi for the benefit of the student who is trying to perfect the same. Whenever Daito ryu or Aikido abandoned that model of kata (or claimed there were no kata) and reversed the roles, I think the seeds of confusion were sown. It seems to me that aikido practitioners spend altogether too much time agonizing over the distraction of effectiveness because they've spent all their time trying to make "techniques" work in an unrealistic antagonistic environment instead of taking the time to learn the kata in the first place. As for evidence of that, you'll probably never hear a fellow aikido practitioner say, "The kata for shihonage goes like this." and get general agreement. Rather what you hear is, "X sensei teaches shihonage like this, but Y sensei says it goes like this." Or worse still: throw, throw, throw, "Dozo."

-Doug Walker
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