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Old 06-08-2005, 09:05 PM   #26
NagaBaba
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Michael, very good posts!!!
I'll add that stiff uke learns that way how to relax under extreme conditions, having not choice at all. Otherwise he will stay stiff forever. Sloppy uke learns how to develop real flexibility and strong body..

Initial poster have studied Kung Fu for several years. From my experience, to do ANY technique with ppl with such background is very difficult even for high ranking aikidoka. One can't choose between hard and soft, there is no choice at all. You do your best, that's it. We are not 8th dan down here.

Ppl with many years of martial background have their body and reflex well trained and unconsciously make technique very difficult to do only by different "body work", without any bad intend. Intelectual aikido explanation that they must follow tori leading to avoid get hurt has no martial meaning for most of them. They learn physically and must feel efficient technique. For some, takes years to change habits.

Nagababa

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Old 06-08-2005, 11:23 PM   #27
Janet Rosen
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
My personal opinion is that the "Goal" within Aikido should be trying to make one's technique more and more efficient so that there is less and less felt by uke. By pushing these limits while training "hard" and finding out what angles work best and what timing means and how important distance is while always pushing uke to the edge of their ability you get to feel all the permutations.

I think that if you try and be soft from the start of your training then you will have difficulty finding the angles/distance/timing above because uke doesn't get moved by you, but moves for you.

So, when you don't know the angles very well but still try to push uke to the edge then its HARD. When you are getting better at angles/timing/balance/etc...then your technique gets SOFTer.

In either case...the trust between shite and uke is important and without it I don't think you can get through HARD to SOFT.l
I have a feeling, Michael, that our differences are partly in how we use/define "hard" and "soft". Not entirely, but partly.
I agree that the goal is efficient use of body, energy, physics and that uke should feel nothing to resist (which is NOT that shite is a wet noodle!). I don't believe, after spent time as a member in 3 different dojos under various teachers, that it is necessary to start by being (what is my use of) "hard" which has to do with a form of training and attitude to the art that has nage/shite imposing a technique on uke. This can be the mode in dojos of every style and affiliation as far as I can tell, because of individual instructors. It is when uke feels this imposition overriding anything he is doing or can do that uke's mind and body develop fear, distrust, and tension that will carry over into both roles.
Don't know if I'm making sense, it's past my bedtime. I'll hit send and we can figure it out tomorrow!

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-08-2005, 11:51 PM   #28
maikerus
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
I have a feeling, Michael, that our differences are partly in how we use/define "hard" and "soft". Not entirely, but partly.

<snip happens>

It is when uke feels this imposition overriding anything he is doing or can do that uke's mind and body develop fear, distrust, and tension that will carry over into both roles.

Don't know if I'm making sense, it's past my bedtime. I'll hit send and we can figure it out tomorrow!
Mostly perfect sense Janet

I agree with you. If "hard" means uke gets scared, distrustful...then that is bad.

I see hard as a way of always trying to put uke to the edge of their ability and continuously pushing that envelope as they evolve. Its the teachers that can find that line and keep you on the "wow/trusting/challenging" side of it that are great.

cheers,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 06-09-2005, 01:53 AM   #29
batemanb
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

I deliberately left out what I think about hard and soft aikido in order to see what might follow. I think Michael has put some succinct explanations together in his last few posts. I like his definitions of hard and soft.

When I first started Aikido the dojo I trained in did soft Aikido, and I was informed that others such as (especially) the Yoshinkan did hard Aikido. Over the years I have been fortunate enough to spend time in other dojo's around the world and have been able to experience many varieties of Aikido. I have come to the conclusion that there is no hard or soft Aikido, there are hard and soft practicioners. For me, hard and soft is determined by the application of the technique, not the technique itself, i.e. hard is when tori adds a lot of himself to the technique in order to make it work, the pain occurs more form tori's input. Soft is when uke applies the technique to himself as a result of his own movement. The pain occurs when uke tries to fight the technique not me trying to apply it.

My 2 pence worth.

Rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 06-09-2005, 02:20 AM   #30
Bronson
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote:
...hard is when tori adds a lot of himself to the technique in order to make it work, the pain occurs more form tori's input. Soft is when uke applies the technique to himself as a result of his own movement. The pain occurs when uke tries to fight the technique not me trying to apply it.
This also fits with my current thinking of hard/soft (for lack of better terms).

In my own training I'm trying to remove as much of myself from the technique as I can...trying being the operative word

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-09-2005, 09:03 AM   #31
Ron Tisdale
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
This particular teacher is incredibly powerful whilst being very soft (isn't he Ron? ).
Yep! and a joy to train with...I never really felt at risk of injury. He would guide me into the perfect ukemi. really really fast.

I like Michael's, Szczepan's, and your definitions. I also remember feeling really good when one of the kyu ranks in the dojo told me he really appreciated training with me because he experienced that aikido didn't have to hurt. I had explained to him that at 43 or so, I couldn't afford to 'hang out' for the full technique every time...so I took ukemi. If a 4th dan is going to apply nikajo, don't wait for him to prove to you he can do nikajo...you already know the answer to that. So take the ukemi! It seemed to really free him up to learn rather than just trying to survive.

When I think of taking ukemi for the really good yoshinkan instructors I often feel like the ukemi is being channelled...if you follow the path of the technique, no pain...if you deviate from that path, its starts to hurt...if you REALLY insist on leaving the path completely...well, lets just say that trips to the hospital should be avoided when possible. The really great thing is that even newbies were able to find the path for ukemi when the top dogs were shite. I remember Mustard Sensei taking someone who had been training for about 2 months through a really fast, intense technique. Then he took ukemi for the newbie. Mustard Sensei's ukemi actually taught the waza! It was amazing.

Best,
Ron (still working on hard and soft, shite and uke)

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 06-09-2005 at 09:12 AM.

Ron Tisdale
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Old 06-09-2005, 11:24 AM   #32
Janet Rosen
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
I see hard as a way of always trying to put uke to the edge of their ability and continuously pushing that envelope as they evolve. Its the teachers that can find that line and keep you on the "wow/trusting/challenging" side of it that are great.
heheheheh. gotta love language. I'd say that's "difficult" and "challenging" and "what I want in a teacher"...but usually when I see the word "hard" qualifying aikido, this is not what I think of. Thank you for clarifying!

Janet Rosen
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Old 06-09-2005, 11:26 AM   #33
Janet Rosen
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Bryan Bateman wrote:
I have come to the conclusion that there is no hard or soft Aikido, there are hard and soft practicioners. For me, hard and soft is determined by the application of the technique, not the technique itself, i.e. hard is when tori adds a lot of himself to the technique in order to make it work, the pain occurs more form tori's input. Soft is when uke applies the technique to himself as a result of his own movement. The pain occurs when uke tries to fight the technique not me trying to apply it.
Yeah, this is pretty much how I define hard and soft.
And I find that inevitably when I 'try to make it work' is precisely when it doesn't....

Janet Rosen
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Old 06-09-2005, 11:56 AM   #34
Bronson
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
I see hard as a way of always trying to put uke to the edge of their ability and continuously pushing that envelope as they evolve. Its the teachers that can find that line and keep you on the "wow/trusting/challenging" side of it that are great.
Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
...but usually when I see the word "hard" qualifying aikido, this is not what I think of. Thank you for clarifying!
I agree with Janet. This doesn't fit my definition of hard aikido...more like good aikido

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-09-2005, 05:36 PM   #35
MaryKaye
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

For projecting throws (it's not as clear with joint locks) I personally think of "soft" technique as causing me to take ukemi with no more energy than provide in my attack, and "hard" technique as adding some of nage's energy. Uke can still hit the mat like a load of bricks from a very soft technique, but they have to have contributed the necessary energy themselves.

A soft technique is more likely to fail than a hard one if the attack is completely uncommitted, because uke may not provide enough energy for nage to work with. I have only seen our yondan fail at a technique twice (in 2.5 years of watching her) and both of them involved martially skilled aikido beginners who avoided giving her enough attack to allow the technique. (I don't doubt she could have done something different, but in teaching novices one often doesn't want to do that.)

Defining "soft" as "unchallenging" and "hard" as "challenging" just makes these otherwise useful descriptive terms into another pair of useless synonyms for "good" and "bad". Of the two dojo I train at regularly, the Ki Society is more soft and the Aikikai is more hard, but I don't think that's any demerit to either of them--just two interestingly different approaches. They're both (for this novice anyway) quite adequately challenging, though one focuses more on technical form and one on improvisational ability.

Mary Kaye
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Old 06-14-2005, 11:51 AM   #36
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Also, ask them to help you with the ukemi -- if it hurts THAT much, you are probably doing something wrong, too. (First hint: The closer you stay to Nage, the less leverage he or she can bring to bear on the joint.) You might be attacking with more sincerety and less "presence" than you are prepared to deal with -- a slow attack should result in a slower response, so you can learn the expected ukemi. And the expected ukemi is NOT the same as what you may be used to, trust me.

(I switch from MAF to WR (and back, since, due to geography), and have experienced about 6 years of Aikido training under Chiba's style, after 3 years or so of Akira Tohei's style.)


A little danger is a knowledge thing...

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Old 06-14-2005, 12:08 PM   #37
Roy Dean
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Stronghawk,

Awhile ago I posted a story about dropping by your dojo to observe a class, and seeing, in my opinion, abusive training methods. I've done my share of hard training in Aikido, Aikijujutsu, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and was shocked by the pain inflicted on earnest students who WILLINGLY GAVE THEIR BODIES to their partners in trust.

I would recommend checking out some of the other schools in town, including Aikido of Mission Valley, Sunset Cliffs Aikido, and Jiai Aikido. Feeling comfortable in your training environment is far more important than reputation or lineage. Best of luck to you.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean
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Old 06-14-2005, 07:24 PM   #38
aikigirl10
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Bronson wroteon't lie. If they don't let up call them an ignorant mouthbreather with carnal knowledge of wild pigs, kick them in the nads and walk out.

Is insulting really better than lying?
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Old 06-15-2005, 12:49 AM   #39
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Paige Frazier wrote:
Bronson wroteon't lie. If they don't let up call them an ignorant mouthbreather with carnal knowledge of wild pigs, kick them in the nads and walk out.

Is insulting really better than lying?

Paige,

I think he was joking............................though I may be wrong.


rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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