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Old 08-31-2006, 01:05 PM   #1
Don_Modesto
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When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

New thread for a tangent from http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10872 about an intransigent training partner and what to do about him.

Posters made the following points:
Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
I know you are trying to work a single technique, but my advice is to just change the technique. Make it work by just changing to something he is not resisting. Blend with him. It will make you better.
Quote:
Roman Kremianski wrote:
I personally like training with ukes like this. It's very...different. If you get too comfy and sheltered doing a previously easy technique on someone and all the sudden this technique fails on the resistant uke, then it really opens up your eyes. Not to mention you can work on alternatives.
I made the point...
Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
I agree and do this.

Unfortunately, you may run into the teacher's ego here. I've had more than one come by and chide me for doing something different than he had divinely dispensated to the class. Geez, at some point, the rubber's gotta hit the road. With TAKEMUSU AIKI the ideal, we can realistically ask if it's not explicitly prohibited in most teachers' classes.
What say you? When can one actually shift the prescribed technique?

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 08-31-2006, 02:22 PM   #2
Lan Powers
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

So far, in our dojo there haven't been toomany of thse instances you describe in the previous thread.
A few certainly, but usually the bit of extra "umph" into the execution , or conversely, the e-x-t-r-e-m-e slowness of performing the technique to "get it worked out" makes it clear that things aren't just not gonna work, or you are off in application.
Although, sometimes that comes to the fore ....dang it.

A couple of brash young men (usually is, right?) have tested the nage that way on our mat.
Sometimes they fly away and get to see how ukemi REALLY works. Othertimes Sensei will give them examples of "alternatives" that the nage is passing up to conform to what he is supposed to work on in that instance.
Either way, folks learn or thay eventually drop away. The drop-outs are probably the ones fated to that course in any event due to attitude (such as their behaviour that started all this anyway)
Lan

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Old 08-31-2006, 03:24 PM   #3
Nick Simpson
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

we are generally allowed to employ Henka waza if we botch it up or our timing is wrong (better than just stopping eh?)if uke is being an ass on purpose then we can use henka or sometimes just batter them (if their ukemi is upto it) though sensei will generally point out to them the error of their ways and why uke reacts in a certain way.

I remember training with a guy who claimed to be a boxer on his first session, the technique was ikkyo gone wrong so switch it to sankyo (so henka done on purpose) and the guy was fighting ittooth and nail, telling me that he would slow down if he was doing it etc etc. He was so busy fighting it that the sankyo really hurt him, he got the point after that (especially when sensei explained to him the importance of blending with the technique). Obviously I didnt intend to hurt him,I was just trying to make my technique work. To his credit he stuck around for a year and eventually made it to 5th kyu, though he was still a dickhead

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Old 08-31-2006, 04:03 PM   #4
grondahl
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

The training at home (in an Iwama environment) have much more structured feel than other dojo Iīve visited. Probably sloppy compared to those Yoshinkan and Shodokan types though.

We train alot of kihon waza. There is really no room for henka or kaeshiwaza during kihon. Both uke and tori has a set role, if one of the partners breaks the "rules" the learning opportunity of the waza that we are training is lost. Then were just training ourselves do things the wrong way.

So I guess it depends, when training kihon waza itīs a big no no, but during jiyu waza or your own training outside the regular schedule itīs a totally different case...
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Old 08-31-2006, 04:58 PM   #5
crbateman
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

My experience has been that you can usually employ an adaptation if the "partner" you are training with is advanced enough in his/her training to safely accept the unexpected. With a beginner, however, there may be a safety issue, so it is better to let the instructor deal with any issues of resistance or hesitation. In a more advanced environment, the issue may be one of attitude, rather than ineptitude. A seamless transition to a more effective technique may only need to be done once or twice before the resistant uke decides to stop testing you. Then, if necessary, a polite suggestion like "We'd better stick to the program, so one of us doesn't end up injured..." will usually ensure that the point has sunk in. Don't turn it into a competitive thing, however, because some people ignore common sense when such competition arises.

I also have a friend who bows out for a "potty break" when this sort of thing pops up. She says that uke usually gets the message.
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Old 09-01-2006, 02:40 AM   #6
xuzen
 
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

In the IDEAL (TM) world, an aikido practice is a role playing game. Uke initiates the attack, Tori defend and execute an aikido technique, at least that is how I would view kihon-waza training. Much like uchikomi training in judo... uke and tori exchange role to practice/perfect a textbook technique.

Things start to get muddy when noobs CONFUSED (TM) kihon-waza training with sparring and start to ask WHAT-IF questions. And I can assure you, these question can be from perculiar to down right silly and irritating.

Right now, my attitude is to keep them separate and tell the noobs as such. If they insist on their questions answered, I will ask them to patiently wait till JIYU-WAZA or RANDORI sessions. I'll be happy to perform "Research and Development" with them.

Boon.

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Old 09-01-2006, 03:20 AM   #7
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
What say you? When can one actually shift the prescribed technique?
Hello Don,

I would say, It depends...

In the daily training environment of my own dojo, students are not advanced enough to be able to apply henka-waza at will. Some of the yudansha are, however, and are at liberty to do so, except when participating in classes for beginners. Then it is the rule to do the waza being taught.

For me, henka waza are not oyo waza. They are specific techniques, which then become other, quite different techniques. A master at this sort of training was Seigo Yamaguchi, who would sometimes execute a waza almost to the point of ukemi, and then do something else quite different. It was very good for learning ukemi skills.

I think this training is good when tied with kaeshi-waza and when the line between uke and tori is so blurred that roles can be changed at will.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 09-01-2006, 05:53 AM   #8
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Whatever we do is on a very low level, due to the level of our students.

Sometimes sensei teaches kihon waza - kaeshi waza - henka waza even for beginners. One important idea is to break the paradigm of "nage always wins, just because uke attacks". Another idea is to show most common mistakes and how to deal with them.

Ideally every technique is henka waza, as you have to adapt it to size, speed and quality of uke and nage. If there is a new beginner, I as nage have the task to deal with his attacks and find a way to apply at least any technique or better adjust the required technique that it works. And if I do a mistake - starting with the wrong foot, expecting the wrong attack, there is no excuse for doing nothing. I have to protect myself and uke. I guess that is important to encourage comittet attacks.

Only if I fail to do the correct technique several times in a row, sensei will correct my mistake and/or show uke how to attack in this roll-play to allow me doing the technique of this exercise.

That is, what we were told on 4th kyu level and we have to improve techniques on an ideal uke as well as on uncomfortable ones to get forward.

That does not mean, that wwe do sparring or permanent resistence in normal classes. Most kihon waza looks like I know it from other dojo.

And expectations are somewhat higher than results

Just a few thoughts from beginner, which is a little bit on his DO.

Regards

Dirk
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Old 09-01-2006, 07:59 AM   #9
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
Ideally every technique is henka waza, as you have to adapt it to size, speed and quality of uke and nage.
Dirk
I agree. I never do exactly the same technique twice. It will be contrary to aikido principles. As beginner you may be forced to change technique if the level of difficulty of attack is too high, but I'd say that this way one will never master techniques in very small details. And those details make whole difference between artist and artisan, and may be between life and death......

More one is advanced, less frequently he must change a technique, rather do small adaptation(directions, joints maniputation, distans, shifting weight vertically and horizontaly...etc.) and still preseving general shape of movement. That how one can learn all richeness of aikido.

Sugano sensei teach to observe what happens BEFORE contact. I'd say that if one master this aspect, technique is done before contact -- nage knows what and how he will react to attack.

Nagababa

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Old 09-01-2006, 08:09 AM   #10
DonMagee
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

When I studied aikido, one thing I noticed was that my instructor and his instructor would always tell us to 'play'. They would show a technique or concept, then tell us to play, and proceed to walk around correcting bad form. So I guess I've always had the idea of just doing 'something' instead of standing there with an unworking technique.

I also come from the beleif that as long as uke is honest, uke is never wrong. A good uke should simply give a good honest attack, and then respond honestly to nage's actions. A lot of people seem to want uke to follow along like a prescribe dance number with a logical conclusion. I think it is fine to fail. If you are not performing right, uke should not fall down. However, if uke is not honest and gives bad attacks, then he is counter productive. It is a fine line to walk. Usually though even a dishonest attack can be turned into an honest response by simply changing what you are doing. He keeps giving you a hard time with his knife hand? Go to his head or his other arm. If he says he could of stabbed you tell him it's a good thing he has a wooden knife :-). Of course if you dont have the confidence or ability to change your technique, simply ask the teacher to do it for you. It sounds like some uke's have too much ego and can't see training as training, but instead see it as winning and losing. They want to win your kata. Make sure to thank them after you change the technique and throw them. Give them a hug, and let them know you do not perceive what you just did as winning.

Currently I spend most of my time in sport based drills. We are shown a technique, given a small amount of time to practice it with no resistance (and by no resistance I mean none). After 1 or 2 minutes of this we start to resist it. The resistance grows over a minute or two until we are now in a goal based drill. (My goal is to sweep to the mount, your goal is to pass my guard). I find this the most effective way for me to learn a new technique. So when I do get a chance to practice aikido, I love a 'tough' uke to give me a hard time.

- Don
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:30 AM   #11
Ron Tisdale
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
The training at home (in an Iwama environment) have much more structured feel than other dojo Iīve visited. Probably sloppy compared to those Yoshinkan and Shodokan types though.
The little time I spent in an Iwama dojo (under Patricia Guerri) was as structured as the Yoshinkan training I am more familiar with. I don't believe I saw any sloppy technique at all. In fact, because I am used to not being as formal outside of my normal context, I was brought up short by my partner's focus at the beginning of the first waza / exercise. I went in fairly casually, as I have seen in many dojo outside of the Yoshinkan, but her focus immediately told me that was a big no no. I backed off, and started again properly.

Best,
Ron

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Old 09-01-2006, 03:22 PM   #12
Don_Modesto
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote:
In the daily training environment of my own dojo, students are not advanced enough to be able to apply henka-waza at will. Some of the yudansha are, however, and are at liberty to do so, except when participating in classes for beginners. Then it is the rule to do the waza being taught.
Hi, Peter. Thanks for responding. This strikes me as a sound way, and it's how I like to train. But as I seem to recall you saying once before in the context of SHU-HA-RI, one's ability to progress in this depends very much on one's teacher, and not all are as secure as yourself in granting this flexibility.

Having taught language at a level deeper than the typical EIKAIWA, let me ask you this, Peter: Do you think we could posit aikido pedagogy as largely parallel to the Audio-Lingual Method, i.e., lots of pattern practice and occasional role plays, as opposed to the Communicative Method which emphasizes communication over form?

Quote:
I think this training is good when tied with kaeshi-waza and when the line between uke and tori is so blurred that roles can be changed at will.
Yes. A rarity, though. I was fortunate enough to find a partner I could do this with once at the USAF Winter Camp here in Ft. Lauderdale. It was a gas, but folks were coming down out of the bleachers to ask us what we were fighting about.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:23 PM   #13
Don_Modesto
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
I never do exactly the same technique twice. It will be contrary to aikido principles. As beginner you may be forced to change technique if the level of difficulty of attack is too high, but I'd say that this way one will never master techniques in very small details. And those details make whole difference between artist and artisan, and may be between life and death......

More one is advanced, less frequently he must change a technique, rather do small adaptation(directions, joints maniputation, distans, shifting weight vertically and horizontaly...etc.) and still preseving general shape of movement. That how one can learn all richeness of aikido.

Sugano sensei teach to observe what happens BEFORE contact. I'd say that if one master this aspect, technique is done before contact -- nage knows what and how he will react to attack.
Nice post.

Don J. Modesto
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Old 09-01-2006, 03:33 PM   #14
Don_Modesto
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote:
I also come from the beleif that as long as uke is honest, uke is never wrong.
Nice sentiment. I agree. But it's really hard keeping oneself honest, isn't it. Man, trying to give an honest attack neither cooperating nor trying to beat down NAGE, a hard nut to crack!

...er, in a manner of speaking...

Quote:
Currently I spend most of my time in sport based drills. We are shown a technique, given a small amount of time to practice it with no resistance (and by no resistance I mean none). After 1 or 2 minutes of this we start to resist it. The resistance grows over a minute or two until we are now in a goal based drill. (My goal is to sweep to the mount, your goal is to pass my guard). I find this the most effective way for me to learn a new technique.
Yes! Excellent!

Don J. Modesto
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:55 PM   #15
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote:
Having taught language at a level deeper than the typical EIKAIWA, let me ask you this, Peter: Do you think we could posit aikido pedagogy as largely parallel to the Audio-Lingual Method, i.e., lots of pattern practice and occasional role plays, as opposed to the Communicative Method which emphasizes communication over form?
Hello Don,

When I did my EFL training, the accepted wisdom was to use the audio-lingual method for beginners and the communicative method for advanced students and I'm sure you see the idea behind this. Similarly, people who are used to training in set patterns do not have a clue what Yamaguchi is doing and then, at some point, if they train long enough, they 'get' it. For me Yamaguchi's training is like thinking in Japanese. I can do it but cannot really trace the steps taken or isolate the method used to achieve this. I think henka are pointless unless the kihon or oyo, the building blocks, are so internalized that they just 'pour out', so to speak.

And in response to another comment, of course, each waza is slightly different, but these slight variations of the same waza are not henka waza, at least as this term is understood in Japanese.

Best wishes,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 09-10-2006, 07:11 AM   #16
kokyu
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
Whatever we do is on a very low level, due to the level of our students.

Sometimes sensei teaches kihon waza - kaeshi waza - henka waza even for beginners. One important idea is to break the paradigm of "nage always wins, just because uke attacks". Another idea is to show most common mistakes and how to deal with them.
I am in 2 minds about henka waza.

On one hand, it embodies dynamism, in that the roles of tori and uke are not always fixed... they are part of a whole, exchanging positions in a natural way...

On the other hand, it leads down the path to competition - basically aikido vs aikido. In real life, if I am ever attacked (e.g. in a mugging), I would hope it's not by another aikidoka... and openings that I provide would invite a conventional attack in the form of a punch or kick... thus, I might prefer to concentrate on responses to those type of attacks (or avoid giving openings to those type of attacks), instead of worrying that the attacker would try to initiate a nikyo or some other aikido waza.
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Old 09-10-2006, 10:02 AM   #17
Alec Corper
 
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

depends.....
what is the goal of the training at any given moment?

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Old 09-10-2006, 01:11 PM   #18
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: When is HENKA WAZA hunky-dori?

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
I am in 2 minds about henka waza.

On one hand, it embodies dynamism, in that the roles of tori and uke are not always fixed... they are part of a whole, exchanging positions in a natural way...

On the other hand, it leads down the path to competition - basically aikido vs aikido. In real life, if I am ever attacked (e.g. in a mugging), I would hope it's not by another aikidoka... and openings that I provide would invite a conventional attack in the form of a punch or kick... thus, I might prefer to concentrate on responses to those type of attacks (or avoid giving openings to those type of attacks), instead of worrying that the attacker would try to initiate a nikyo or some other aikido waza.
Your arguements are well taken.
I am not worried to be attacked unprovoked by an aikidoka, although some are out there...
But even if you are attacked with a punch, it could be a jujutsuka or hapkidoka, a kung-fu fighter or any other training similar techniques and might use the first little mistake to counter your technique.

And more over many aikidoka seem not to know, what to do, when the opponent is not trying to advancing to them physically, but threaten other persons, stealing or doing other harm.

There are good reasons to to start too early and/or too often in kaeshi-waza or henka-waza.

I was corrected by Peter, when I was saying "every technique is henka-waza". He is right as always, but I still think, there is a floating border between variation and henka-waza.
And more over, every technique is kaeshi-waza, as every attack in kihon-waza, could be the initiation of an aikido-like technique.

Best regards

Dirk
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