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Old 05-15-2007, 04:38 PM   #26
John Ruhl
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
Well, a lot of special teams, even one's that train in Aikido, hide their faces. But are these two videos both demonstrating "following." The reason I'm asking, where I come from "following" is almost a dirty word, as it denotes choreographed fantasies that border on huge self-attachment and all the delusions that go with that. Assuming this thread is trying to talk about something else, I'm wonder what that something else is.

dmv
David -

If "following" is relevant to aikido, surely it is best demonstrated in a case where nage does not know what uke is going to do. In the first video (which is more like a dance; I'd love to know what the context of that video was, and is it really being abused by being taken out of context?) clearly nage knows what uke is going to do. In the second video, maybe nage knows, maybe nage doesn't. If not, then maybe there was some real (non-choreographed) following/blending/fitting in there.

Doe that sound like a reasonable way to look at it?

-John
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Old 05-15-2007, 04:42 PM   #27
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Hi Ed,

Thanks for taking a stab at entertaining my slant on the thread. To me, when I hear the word "following" especially in the phrase "uke should follow nage" I hear "uke moves their own body, even outside the logic of the energy print being studied." If this is what folks mean by following, I would stick to my above summation and suggest that the video you posted does not offer a sample of that kind of "following." I would say an example of this kind of following can be seen in the first video but not in the second one. Since you saw following in the third video, can you let me know if you see it in the first and second video as well, and would you also be kind enough to define it to describe in words (so we can see what you are looking at) - please/thanks.

take care, talk soon,
dmv

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Old 05-15-2007, 04:46 PM   #28
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Hi John,
Well, I'm just trying to find a common understanding of the topic at hand. If I'm understanding you correctly, you seem to be suggesting that following knowing and not-knowing is relevant to a correct understanding of "following." Can you let me know if this is in terms of uke following or in terms of nage following - please/thanks. Can you also let me know where in the videos you are looking so I can get a visual on what you are referring to - please/thanks. (Also, please note that a third video has been posted - if you could use that one too, that would be great for the discussion in my opinion.)

Thanks so much,
dmv

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Old 05-15-2007, 04:53 PM   #29
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

how about this?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejaFySPwM-M

Alfonso Adriasola
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Old 05-15-2007, 05:15 PM   #30
John Ruhl
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
Can you let me know if this is in terms of uke following or in terms of nage following - please/thanks. Can you also let me know where in the videos you are looking so I can get a visual on what you are referring to - please/thanks. (Also, please note that a third video has been posted - if you could use that one too, that would be great for the discussion in my opinion.)

Thanks so much,
dmv
David -

My apologies, I had forgotten this thread was about uke following, not nage. I still think "knowing what's about to happen" is relevant to the discussion, though. If uke knows what's going to happen, then I think uke is usually busy learning how to move in order to preserve self, minimize openings, and maintain the ability to react martially. If uke doesn't know what's going on, then uke has the additional challenge of needing to feel what's about to happen or is happening, and react accordingly (with the goals stated above).

Is there anything wrong with "following", if in its full implementation it is the latter? I guess if you think it also means "giving nage your center" as well, then I can see where that's bad. I think there is "following" that is preservationist, rather than defeatist, in nature.

In the first clip, well, I don't think the goals I stated are high in the minds of the participants.

In the clip from your site, uke knows what technique is going to happen, so I think it falls under the first description. Nage and uke know best what was really happening, so I'll ask you whether uke was being martial or giving in.

In the second clip... it's just so hard to tell from video of a demonstration. If only I could have force sensors on every square inch of each persons body, and measurements of tension in their limbs, and 3-D video reconstruction... aikido is amazingly complex.

(Take everything I write with a large grain of salt... I've been doing aikido for only a couple years, so all my thoughts are still forming and are highly subject to good guidance!)

-John
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Old 05-15-2007, 05:26 PM   #31
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Quote:
Anne Marie Giri wrote: View Post
You know, I don't think this is very fair behavior. If your new white belt had been training as long as your sensei then I think the results would have been quite different. You can easily frustrate someone's technique when they are less skilled than you.
Fair on whose part? I think it's just a case of not wanting to have one's wrist broken!

Quote:
Christopher Gee wrote:
I do not mean to play devils adovcate here, but, are you in some way suggesting that full sustemi (over the top) ukemi are not necessary? I would suggest that you feel the technique of other styles of Aikido before making a judgment that this Ukemi is not necessary. You have knowledge of one flavour of Aikido, as I did, dont have a blinkered approach and see what others have to offer.
No, Chris, I don't mean that in the slightest. This post was just meant to be a sharing of my newbie joy at learning a bit more and seeing something in practice that had never really clicked with me.

I don't know enough to criticise my own flavour of Aikido, let alone anyone else's.

Cheers.
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Old 05-15-2007, 05:31 PM   #32
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

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Alfonso Adriasola wrote: View Post
I wouldn't call this following as much as "filling" or as much as maintaining connection. I realize that some folks say that "following" is about filling or maintaining connection but I would suggest that they are not at all the same thing, as following is often about closing huge yin wholes with yang energy where as the former two are about harmonizes yin and yang energies.

dmv

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Old 05-15-2007, 06:02 PM   #33
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

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John Ruhl wrote: View Post
David -

My apologies, I had forgotten this thread was about uke following, not nage. I still think "knowing what's about to happen" is relevant to the discussion, though. If uke knows what's going to happen, then I think uke is usually busy learning how to move in order to preserve self, minimize openings, and maintain the ability to react martially. If uke doesn't know what's going on, then uke has the additional challenge of needing to feel what's about to happen or is happening, and react accordingly (with the goals stated above).

Is there anything wrong with "following", if in its full implementation it is the latter? I guess if you think it also means "giving nage your center" as well, then I can see where that's bad. I think there is "following" that is preservationist, rather than defeatist, in nature.

In the first clip, well, I don't think the goals I stated are high in the minds of the participants.

In the clip from your site, uke knows what technique is going to happen, so I think it falls under the first description. Nage and uke know best what was really happening, so I'll ask you whether uke was being martial or giving in.

In the second clip... it's just so hard to tell from video of a demonstration. If only I could have force sensors on every square inch of each persons body, and measurements of tension in their limbs, and 3-D video reconstruction... aikido is amazingly complex.

(Take everything I write with a large grain of salt... I've been doing aikido for only a couple years, so all my thoughts are still forming and are highly subject to good guidance!)

-John
For me, referring to the Irimi Nage video, as I am still waiting for folks to point to places in the videos where they think following is occurring, in Irimi Nage in general, folks often tend to do the kind of following I have a problem with during the initiation of the first kuzushi. Often we see folks making circles around nage all on their own accord. Here is an example of that. In the first throw we do not see following, and in the second throw we see the following I was critical of:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Qa4tMeI1o

Again, I do not think we see this kind of following in the "ninja" video or in my video, but we do see it in the first video (throughout). For the video of ours, I would say that my uke was not "going off balance" but was being taken off balance, so I would not equate that with the following I am referring to. For the throw, of course there was some conscious choreography but this was due to uke's inability to take the full throw. In that case, he was more allowed to position himself - which is a necessary learning stage, one that in time is pulled out of training (quite different from "following" which tends to mark all training as it remains a hallmark of said training). My understanding of Irimi Nage is the same as seen here - but even here we can see Nage ALLOW uke to position himself as part of the learning phase for the involved ukemi:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE4jkH204pM

Here we can see Tissier not waiting for uke to position himself - where the skill as uke is presumed - note Irimi Nage at 1:06:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MIVo68o6Sg

In neither case, do you see uke "following" nage as I described above (as a contrast to shed more light on what we are trying to talk about).

thanks,
dmv

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Old 05-15-2007, 06:24 PM   #34
John Ruhl
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

David -

I completely see what you're talking about now. Given your definition of "following" (and I can't come up for a better word for it right now), I agree with you on all counts.

I was thinking of a different definition of "following" above... and unfortunately I can't think of a word to replace that one with either!

I was talking about uke following the evolution of the (actual, real) technique as it happens in order to take good ukemi and be martially aware. You're talking about uke following his understanding of what is supposed to happen next in order for nage to pull off the technique.

Do you have a better word for my version? I'd love to know it.

Big difference, and I think you're right on about all the videos. Thanks for posting them.

-John
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:10 PM   #35
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Well, the situations where I described it happening had to do with learning stages, particularly ones related to the safety restrictions that come with still learning how to take ukemi at high/fast levels of training. I do not know if I am comfortable thinking about things outside of these occurrences, but within these circumstances I often referring to this as "fulfilling the energy print of the tactical narrative." I'm not sure this is such a good description, but with enough practice and reference points made along the way, folks seem to get what I'm referring to as they look to move beyond such allowances.

thanks,
dmv

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Old 05-15-2007, 07:54 PM   #36
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

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Graham Old wrote: View Post
I practice Ki Aikido and had a great lesson on Wednesay.

Sensei was talking the value of correctly "following" and I must confess that I was having trouble appreciating what he was saying until he demonstrated it. He showed how some arts (e.g. Hapkido and, I think, some Aikido schools) perform Kote gaesh and Shiho nage differently to us, by working against the joint.

I'd seen the Hapkido Kote Gaesh before and thought that it looked really effective, However, when it was tried on us and we followed properly, it just didn't work. We kind of slipped out of it and moved into a nice kokyu nage.

Anyone have any thoughts on 'following'? (I should note that I've only been doing Aikido for around 8 months, so go easy on me if I've made any naive assertions above!)
One of the biggest difference in practice between most styles and the Ki Society is the way uke attacks. The uke is expected to remain relaxed and extend ki throughout the attack. Most styles use strength in the attack, while the Ki Society uke is taught to hold softly and relax.

This difference is because Koichi Tohei noticed that the founder always told his attackers to attack with strength, but he himself held softly. After experimenting, K. Tohei discovered that a relaxed attack was actually much stronger than an attack that used only strength. You might be able to use strength vs. strength against an uke who is weaker, but if the uke is extending ki, balanced and relaxed, the only way you can complete the technique is to really do aikido.

According to the Ki Society these techniques work IF done correctly. That is a very big IF. There are a lot of ways a nage can lose the lead during a technique. If they tense up and lose the lead, then the uke can take over the lead and reverse the technique.

This idea of both nage and uke extending ki gives rise to the practice of mutual training. Both partners are extending ki and helping each other to relax during the technique. If nage tenses up during the process then the uke can take the lead and roles are reversed.

I think the idea of being relaxed rather than being tense and using strength was what Mr. Old was trying to express when he said "following".

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Old 05-16-2007, 02:47 PM   #37
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Hi David,

Quote:
Assuming this thread is trying to talk about something else, I'm wonder what that something else is.
I was referring to this last sentence of yours...that something else is very rare, in my view. I like the clip you posted..."following" is not how I would refer to that, though. Joining, musubi, connected...those are the words I would use to describe your initial clip.

Best,
Ron (hope you are well...PM with the LEO progress!)

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Old 05-16-2007, 04:28 PM   #38
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

I agree with everyone.

Well, OK...

For me, some components of following would be:
Uke actively maintaining a connection to nage
Uke trying to match his movement to nage's
Uke being in position for kaeshi-waza if there are openings.

So with that as a starting point of sorts:

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Since you saw following in the third video, can you let me know if you see it in the first and second video as well, and would you also be kind enough to define it to describe in words
Do I see following...

In the first video yes, but... sometimes there doesn't seem to be any leading. I think if you're doing that kind of excercise, the boundaries of who is leading and following can become blurred. There certainly seems to be connection there, as Ron observed. It would seem to be setting up a bit of a straw-man to say "Aha! Look at this video! People moving when they don't need to! I told you following was bad!"

In the second video maybe, but... I found it difficult to see very much at all. On a couple of occasions it looks like the attacker is trying to move into position to recover his balance etc but much of the time his co-ordination and contact with the ground seem to be severed instantaneously and that's that.

In the third video, I say that insofar as uke is trying to move with nage, rather than attacking and then letting his balance / centre / position be destroyed and doing nothing to help himself, he is following. I think it's fair to say that nage's technique forces uke to move at, or beyond, his limits in order to keep up with the movement but uke is trying to stay with the technique and that's following for me. Say at the point of the initial entering and blending, uke moves with the turn rather than simply planting his feet and trying to stay where he is. If uke doesn't follow then I'd guess nage doesn't need to complete the irimi nage movement in order to make uke fall, if that's what his goal is.

Quote:
Ted Ehara wrote:
I think the idea of being relaxed rather than being tense and using strength was what Mr. Old was trying to express when he said "following".
I would agree that's part of it, but I would also guess that he was thinking about putting yourself in a good position as uke, rather than allowing yourself to be left in a bad position. Shinhonage and kotegaishi would both be good examples I think.

I looked for a kotegaishi clip on David's site, which I would guess would show uke striving to get to a good position and not quite making it before he was flipped, (needless to say: ) but I think the principle is the same.

From a ki aikido perspective (note to self: stop saying that!) I think that you could look at the ki style techniques as as an attempt to answer the question: "how do you throw some one that follows you perfectly?"

[sound of Ed running for cover...]

Best,

Ed

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Old 05-16-2007, 06:46 PM   #39
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

We have a kote-gaeshi on video here - it's the sixth technique on the clip:

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/v...ietesttwo.html

fyi,
dmv

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Old 05-17-2007, 01:25 AM   #40
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Hello David,

Thank you.

Yes, I remember this one now. I think that in another thread which concerned kotegaishi, you used this as a good example of why it was important to deal with the "other" hand/arm in kotegaishi. My point would be, if uke wasn't following, he wouldn't be in a position to bring the "other" arm into play and that consideration wouldn't arise.

However, I'm just watching videos, maybe I'm wrong. I can conceive of an interaction where, from the initial connection / blend / whatever all movement by uke is involuntary and they're not following anything because they're just falling.

To me, the ukes in the clip that you've just posted seem to move freely when they need to (which would also be a component of following for me.) Do you feel something different as nage?

Best,

Ed

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Old 05-17-2007, 07:10 AM   #41
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Quote:
Graham Old wrote: View Post
I'd seen the Hapkido Kote Gaesh before and thought that it looked really effective, However, when it was tried on us and we followed properly, it just didn't work. We kind of slipped out of it and moved into a nice kokyu nage.
I have tried Hapkido and trained with several people who have done a lot of it. Basically, their 'kote-gaeshi throw' is just for show. Their real one is just to wrench and smash your wrist up, no throw. As uke falls they twist more, smash your elbow into the ground, and punch and kick and lock. And if the kote-gaeshi fails, they kick you then try it again. Can't speak for all Hapkido of course. Less finese, perhaps, but rather more 'practical'. I wonder, could you follow it 'properly'?

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Old 05-17-2007, 02:39 PM   #42
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Quote:
Ed Stansfield wrote: View Post
Hello David,

Thank you.

Yes, I remember this one now. I think that in another thread which concerned kotegaishi, you used this as a good example of why it was important to deal with the "other" hand/arm in kotegaishi. My point would be, if uke wasn't following, he wouldn't be in a position to bring the "other" arm into play and that consideration wouldn't arise.

However, I'm just watching videos, maybe I'm wrong. I can conceive of an interaction where, from the initial connection / blend / whatever all movement by uke is involuntary and they're not following anything because they're just falling.

To me, the ukes in the clip that you've just posted seem to move freely when they need to (which would also be a component of following for me.) Do you feel something different as nage?

Best,

Ed
I would say, perhaps I do feel something different. Granting for learning curve allowances, and the fact that for me techniques are not self-defense scenarios, I would say that uke can only move as freely as they accept that they are just falling. When an uke cannot accept that he/she is falling, or that he/she is about to launched into the air, or propelled backwards, etc., they cannot move freely at all, and this is noted, with more skilled nage, when restricted to Kihon Waza training, by said uke often being MOVED into place in a most obvious way or being allowed to move themselves in a most obvious way. It all depends upon the temperament of the nage. I have done both, and do both, according to the skill level of the uke. For folks that I feel need to move beyond not being able to accept what is happening to them, I MOVE them. For folks where this would be too unsafe, I let them move themselves for example. It all depends.

I feel in the following video you can see examples of all of these things:

http://www.senshincenter.com/media/aihanmi1.mov

Perhaps if we take a suwari-waza video, where uke is more clearly not mistaken for running around (e.g. following), we might see how uke, in most cases, is just expected to meet the initial logic of the given attacking energy, and then after that, not let the intended target fall victim to nage's tactical architecture. Not much more. Please see the following videos - a good accompaniment to the other Irimi Nage video since Sean is more skilled now at ukemi than in the first video and I feel better throwing a bit harder since we are lower to the ground - the kids, as you can imagine, know nothing of "following."

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/v...wariirimi.html

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/vids/version2.html

Okay, all that said, I am not at all suggesting that "following" does not take place in martially valid settings. The tactic that leads an attacker to "follow" is a valid part of sound strategy. So it makes sense that one would practice it in various places, even in Kihon Waza settings, where an uke might even "follow" to fulfill the logic of a tactic that works off of that following. An example of this is when nage gives yin energy to have uke inspired to give yang energy, but this is done for nage to deliver his/her own yang energy at the time/space where uke's yang energy is transitioning back to yin again (e.g. the way Liddell knocks folks out with that right cross). However, in my opinion, whenever we practice such things, we need to make sure we are not taking things so far that we end up violating the reasonableness of the scenario. For example, it is unreasonable to expect uke to run more around you than to continue to run straight forward along their initial trajectory if they have not been touched at all or touched in a way that would turn them. In this case, this would not be "following" as I described it here, this would simply be "goofy."

my opinion,
dmv

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Old 05-17-2007, 02:48 PM   #43
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Excellent series of posts and vids. Thank you...

Best,
Ron

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Old 05-17-2007, 04:24 PM   #44
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
I would say that uke can only move as freely as they accept that they are just falling. When an uke cannot accept that he/she is falling, or that he/she is about to launched into the air, or propelled backwards, etc., they cannot move freely at all
Lots to think about here! Your point, I think, is that if uke is "holding on" to a fear of falling, or to a desire not to fall, then that "holding on" is the thing that stops them from moving freely. And of course, I wouldn't disagree. However, do you think there is a tension between this type of free movement and the type that uke might employ to flow into kaeshi waza? In other words, if free movement as uke is about acceptance that you will fall, are falling, have fallen, how does that square with positioning yourself for the reversal of nage?

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Perhaps if we take a suwari-waza video, where uke is more clearly not mistaken for running around (e.g. following), we might see how uke, in most cases, is just expected to meet the initial logic of the given attacking energy, and then after that, not let the intended target fall victim to nage's tactical architecture. Not much more.
The suwari waza videos are good examples of your point, for sure.

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Okay, all that said, I am not at all suggesting that "following" does not take place in martially valid settings.
I certainly appreciate this point. However, your point, as I understood it earlier was that "following" tended to denote choreography and self attachment and this seems to me to be a separate issue to the martial validity point. While I can see that a "following culture" can lead to those things (as can many Aikido training methods perhaps...) I wonder whether it is always the case that following (in the way I've tried to describe it in previous posts) must always lead down that road...

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
For example, it is unreasonable to expect uke to run more around you than to continue to run straight forward along their initial trajectory if they have not been touched at all or touched in a way that would turn them. In this case, this would not be "following" as I described it here, this would simply be "goofy."
And yet, as us "running arounders" will atest, strangely compelling:

Thanks for the replies.

Best,

Ed

Last edited by Ed Stansfield : 05-17-2007 at 04:25 PM. Reason: spelling...

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Old 05-17-2007, 11:25 PM   #45
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Re: Natural Movements and Following

Hi Ed,

Let me be clear about something… When I say "move freely," especially at intermediate to higher levels of training, I mean that uke can move easily within the movement allowed by Nage's response. I do not mean to suggest that uke is free to move any ol' way they can or want to. So, it is not that uke "chooses" to move in a way that is accord with Nage's response. It is that in order to remain fluid, flexible, dynamic, etc., in his/her ukemi movement, Uke needs to become one (at ever level) with what Nage is allowing. By accepting it as his/her own, uke makes Nage's permitted movement their "chosen" movement -- but this is nothing at all like selecting it from a plethora of options. In fact, it is really about moving beyond choices altogether, even beyond the need for choices. It's about having all you could ever need or want with what is immediately presenting itself.

Now, if we can understand this "freedom of movement" as being completely open and thus identifying with whatever movement Nage's response is allowing or generating, and not a matter of Uke picking one choice of choreography from a gambit of many, we do indeed have to reanalyze how we may commonly think of Kaeshi-Waza training. This is what I have done at least, as I do not like to think that everything is as simple as "every move has a counter."

Please let me try and make sense of this -- for me. I have not had to put this into words yet, though I have been practicing this way for many years now. Here goes…

Coming from not seeing Kihon Waza as self-defense techniques or scenario training, I do not see Kaeshi-Waza as practicing counter techniques. Related to this fact is that I do not practice or design Kihon Waza that by their nature allow for Uke to choose what they are going to do or not do. For many reasons, especially for spiritual reasons, I try to understand uke in Kihon-Waza as only having one choice before him/her: Do you accept what is happening to you or are you burdened by fear, pride, and/or ignorance to resist it?

In terms of counters, or in terms of taking advantage of any openings in one's performance of a given technique, I look to live training environments for that kind of training -- not Kaeshi-Waza training. In such environments, in my experience, a person doing an attack that is being counter with an Aikido-based tactic most often finds openings in that Aikido-based response not within said tactic's architecture but rather in the timing, spatial, and structural weakness of the practitioner's skill. If no such weaknesses present themselves, or if the attacker's own skill level is incapable of capitalizing upon such weakness, trying to "choose" to counter from within the structure of the Aikido-based technique is only going to get you out of the frying pan and into the fire. This is because, contrary to common assumption, Aikido tactics are not only designed to overcome said types of resistance but also they actually rely on that resistance to fully achieve most martial accomplishments (e.g. kuzushi, angle of cancellation, etc.). Granted, before one can generate power, for example, said resistance only takes away from one's capacity at fulfilling the logic of a throw or pin, however, after one gains things like the necessary power, said resistance only helps to have the body treated as single unit and thus more ready to be manipulated as a whole by things a simple as a single contact point and/or by a manipulation of momentum, etc.

Here, in my opinion, is a video of that.

http://www.senshincenter.com/pages/v...roteikkyo.html

If you look to the Ikkyo Ura section of the clip (the last part), especially the slow motion part, you can see my uke looking to get out of what's coming and having the end result be what I described above. If you look at the first rep, especially if you go frame by frame, you can see that Uke's foot turned into the ukemi. In my book, this is an Uke trying to be ahead of the game, as his initial and prescribed attack was supposed to be straight ahead. Because of Uke neglecting his attack for the sake of "smoothing his landing," I had to move Uke further outside of his now turning foot -- to put before him only acceptance or non-acceptance. Uke, who thought he would be able to get one thing, got another. Not getting what he thought, his body/mind reacts to it come the next rep. Because he's stuck not being able to accept, he forces himself into the resist/retreat dichotomy of habitual reaction that comes to us whenever we are before Fear (e.g. fear of the unknown, fear of not being in control, fear of injury, etc.). Steven, my uke, due to his own personal history, looks to resist the ukemi (vs. retreating from it) in an effort to slow down the fall, to find the smooth landing he wants and is that alone that he will "accept." He is no way going to step around like last time! Not going to make that mistake again! What happens? He plants straight this time, but he plants really hard -- to put on the brakes, so to speak. The resisting foot, in its attempt to slow the turn and descent down only works to establish the kuzushi angle more cleanly and more quickly -- as the foot comes to mark very clearly what is outside the base of support from what is inside the base of support. What happens then? Well, instead of simply hitting his shoulder a bit more than he wanted to, like in the first rep, because his resisting foot actually accelerated the kuzushi, he cannot handle the landing and he hits the other part of the intended target: his face. After that, because he's just a third kyu, I let up, only threatening his shoulder a bit when he steps around, and only hinting at the face target when he steps straight and resists. What he is trying to find, and what I am trying to have him find, is to step straight without rejecting the turn that is about to happen or that is happening. Until he can do that, he's going to be bounced between hitting his shoulder and/or his face, or he's going to rely upon me lightening his training (which is fine, but only temporarily -- for him).

Now, back to countering and Kaeshi-Waza. So, what is Kaeshi-Waza for me? It's just one more training environment meant to hone the body/mind according to Aikido principles and other universal traits of martial movement (e.g. groundedness, fluidity, unfettered mind, etc.). However, Kaeshi-Waza does something better than any other training environment in Aikido. It works to reconcile our attachment to self-identity by problematizing the ultimately false dichotomy of "attacker and defender." It does this by challenging us with the truth of aiki. In other words, one's Kaeshi-Waza will always suck, will always be without Aiki, until one can reconcile the false dichotomy of "attacker and defender." Before that, movements will be choppy, without fluidity, lacking in power and grace, etc -- things that demonstrate a lack of skill in such practice. Since I'm not countering technique when I'm doing Kaeshi-Waza, and since I'm only look to challenge myself with transcending the false dichotomy of "attacker and defender" and the ultimate delusion that has me attached to my self-identity, openings are granted by Nage to Uke in Kaeshi-Waza at determined points in the movement, points meant to amplify and expose my self-attachment. In Kihon-Waza, these openings are not prescribed as in Kaeshi-Waza, rather, if there are openings, if Uke is allowed to choose where and when to move, they only occur as part of learning allowances. In live training environments, again, openings are not determined in their place and time like in Kaeshi-Waza, but unlike in Kihon-Waza they are only the product of a weakness in skill (relatively speaking). They are not about learning allowances -- though we do learn from them. So, the short answer to your question: We let Uke have his/her choice at prescribed places and times in Kaeshi-Waza -- we present an opening.

On your final point, no of course not, a path is not inevitable in its destination. I would agree.

Thank you,
dmv

David M. Valadez
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