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Old 03-09-2008, 10:10 AM   #1
Nafis Zahir
 
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Resistance

Do you think that resistance in Aikido training, when you are the uke, is sometimes a good thing? I don't mean as a way to show someone that you can resist, but as a means to show the person proper technique or to use their hips more. I do this from time to time, and more so with senior students. So far, I have been thanked for "helping" the person correct what they were doing wrong. Maybe that's because I'm in my own dojo. At seminars, where you train with people you don't know, not everyone is as receptive to this kind of training. Keep in mind that I don't do it every single time, but rather once or twice so that the person can see it, feel it, and then continue to work on it throughout their training. What are your thoughts on this?

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Old 03-09-2008, 11:24 AM   #2
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Not against that specific technique

I think that some resistance can be one way of practicing aikido. But it is important not to resist the particular technique practiced at the moment - because that is almost pointless, and an aiki mood would really be for tori to immediately switch to another technique.

But uke can be sort of generally resistant - not just yield to whatever tori is doing. Still, this kind of practice can easily lead to nobody learning anything at all, so it has to be done with moderation.

Another way of polishing one's techniques is in kaeshiwaza, countering techniques. A properly done aikido technique should really not be possible to counter - but that's easier said than done

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Old 03-09-2008, 12:17 PM   #3
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Resistance

I think that offering resistance as uke is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing. However what I see as a problem is the attitude of "helping them to see what they are doing wrong". This way of thinking is very egotistical, arrogant and can hinder growth and learning. Reflecting on my past experiences when I attempted to "correct or help" tori, I see now that it was I who did not understand what they were trying to do. Even people who are kohai may see small details in techniques and a lack of vision coupled with arrogance can be harmful. In my experience as tori, the biggest obstacles to my learning has been all the teaching.

Mr. Stefan commented:
"But it is important not to resist the particular technique practiced at the moment - because that is almost pointless, and an aiki mood would really be for tori to immediately switch to another technique."

I don't agree with that. I think that if uke resists and tori switches to another technique then tori is missing a chance for growth and learning by avoiding the problem.

You also stated that "Another way of polishing one's techniques is in kaeshiwaza, countering techniques. A properly done aikido technique should really not be possible to counter - but that's easier said than done."

I completely agree that a properly done aikido technique cannot be countered, and that a good way of polishing one's techniques can be through the use of kaeshiwaza. However, the attacker must still provide the initial attack with resistance. If he just remains passive and waits to counter tori's technique, then isn't he in fact...tori?

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Old 03-09-2008, 12:24 PM   #4
crbateman
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Re: Resistance

I think a lot would depend on one's definition of "resistance". I generally do not throw myself, as I think it is important for my training partner to know when and if his/her technique, in fact, works. I think too much training is done with overly-compliant ukes, which perpetuates the notion that any technique is good enough, or the idea (to outsiders) that Aikido is hokey and/or ineffective.

Understand that not throwing oneself is entirely different than trying not to be thrown.
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Old 03-09-2008, 02:57 PM   #5
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Resistance

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
I think that if uke resists and tori switches to another technique then tori is missing a chance for growth and learning by avoiding the problem.
I was probably unclear. What I regard as rather pointless resistance is when uke knows that tori should do a specific technique, and resists that particular technique forcefully, in a way that is contrary to how an attacker would or should behave.

For example, both ikkyo and shihonage involve bringing uke's arm up. Some uke resist it by pulling their arm down with great strength and commitment - even before the aikido technique reaches the moment when to lift uke's arm. In such a case, tori should not fight this force, but join it, which would lead to another technique - and that technique, agreeing with the direction of uke's force, is a piece of cake.

To me, that is quite meaningless. Also, by such behavior uke is actually weakening him- or herself, by committing to resist a certain technique and thereby becoming extremely vulnerable to other techniques.

Am I making sense?

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Old 03-09-2008, 03:41 PM   #6
Nafis Zahir
 
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Re: Resistance

Quote:
Clark Bateman wrote: View Post
I think a lot would depend on one's definition of "resistance". I generally do not throw myself, as I think it is important for my training partner to know when and if his/her technique, in fact, works. I think too much training is done with overly-compliant ukes, which perpetuates the notion that any technique is good enough, or the idea (to outsiders) that Aikido is hokey and/or ineffective.

Understand that not throwing oneself is entirely different than trying not to be thrown.
This is an excellent point. I don't resist to be egotistical. but I do it so that my partner can make some good corrections. I do that because I see too many senior yudansha, who have developed bad habits over the years. I'm sure many of them did because they just didn't care. But others did because they were never shown, and the expectation of them eventually realizing what was wrong is what has held them back. I might also note that I generally do this with students who are approaching the black belt level so that they have good habits that they continue to work on, as I also do.

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Old 03-09-2008, 04:08 PM   #7
HarlieG
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Re: Resistance

I'm also not keen on the word 'resistance'. I learned early on that if you hunker down with muscle to prove a point to nage, it is a quick path to getting injured. I've seen it happen all the time....uke starts 'resisting' and nage, because they can't figure anything else out to do, puts all their weight, muscle into achieving the desired end....and ouch...it is all fun and games until someone gets hurt!

(I was at a seminar once and was in a line where a high level yudansha tried to prove a point to a much larger, but less knowledgable white belt....and the yudansha almost lost his arm for his effort. Honestly, it made me laugh because the same white belt had just thrown me...and I could see he was nervous...and I could see he really didn't get the technique...and it wasn't really the place to try to correct him, so I just let him lead me where he would....the yudansha was so mad and came to the back of the line and ask me "did he hurt you too?" I said "No, but I'm just a girl." :~) )

To be honest, I find that varying the speed of the attack (maybe a little faster, maybe a little slower) does wonders for freeing up nage's mind (and muscle). Works a lot better than 'resistance'. And, it makes sure that I'm doing my job as uke...keeping an attack that is true to the technique being taught....

DG
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:21 PM   #8
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Re: Resistance

In the Aikido that I teach, resistance is imperative in training, because if Uke can indeed resist a technique, Aiki was not accomplished, and that feedback needs to be given. By the time a technique is "applied", or "realized", if Uke has their balance and control over their own ability to resist and/or manifest a counter etc., something that was supposed to occur, did not.Technique is the simple result and resolution of a successful process. That is Aikido.

This is at a certain level of training, to be sure. But without knowledge of that kind of process, Nage is simply "doing something to Uke" and that is jujutsu, not AIkido. For me, anyway.

Larry Novick
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Old 03-09-2008, 06:13 PM   #9
Michael Hackett
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Re: Resistance

This would be a great place for George Ledyard Sensei to chime in. I had the privilege of training with him at the Aiki Expo '05. We were doing kata dori sumi otoshi and I simply wasn't getting it. Ledyard Sensei was like trying to push a Buick! He was, by deftinition, resisting me. After a couple of tries, he corrected what I was doing and then dropped like a rock. Obviously he could have countered anything I was doing, but he gently resisted my technique and then showed me how it was supposed to work. I was grateful to him and remain so. Maybe he can explain if, when and how resistance can be a good training tool.

Michael
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Old 03-09-2008, 06:44 PM   #10
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Re: Resistance

Being aware of kinesthetic sensitivity, connection (musubi), position (tsukuri), and loss of balance (kuzushi) allows Nage to find "the path of no resistance" inspite of whatever Uke is doing.

For me, that is proper Aikido, coupled with what we term Kinesthetic Invisibility. It is the ability to move with Uke and connect in such a way as to take away all feeling that "something is being done to them." Without that feeling present, there is nothing to resist, nothing to counter. Resistance on Uke's part is imperative, because that's the only way Nage will know if what they are doing is real, and the path of no resistance has been actually found.

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Old 03-09-2008, 08:35 PM   #11
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Re: Resistance

I think these are two very good posts.
Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
In the Aikido that I teach, resistance is imperative in training, because if Uke can indeed resist a technique, Aiki was not accomplished, and that feedback needs to be given. By the time a technique is "applied", or "realized", if Uke has their balance and control over their own ability to resist and/or manifest a counter etc., something that was supposed to occur, did not.Technique is the simple result and resolution of a successful process. That is Aikido.
Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
Being aware of kinesthetic sensitivity, connection (musubi), position (tsukuri), and loss of balance (kuzushi) allows Nage to find "the path of no resistance" inspite of whatever Uke is doing.

For me, that is proper Aikido, coupled with what we term Kinesthetic Invisibility. It is the ability to move with Uke and connect in such a way as to take away all feeling that "something is being done to them." Without that feeling present, there is nothing to resist, nothing to counter. Resistance on Uke's part is imperative, because that's the only way Nage will know if what they are doing is real, and the path of no resistance has been actually found.
In our method, resistance is both necessary and imperative towards ones development and understanding. In our dojo I differentiate between "tense" resistance that is merely muscling to stop Uke's movement as well as another type of resistance that is more "relaxed" and based upon adapting to your partner's movement and using that movement to execute successful kaeshiwaza.

Imho both are helpful, but it is important for students to understand the purpose of each type and where it can be applied as a learning tool. Muscling down, though often dangerous when in an actual fight, is still quite a common reaction to a technique or movement that is "detected" (iow Kinesthetic Invisibility was not achieved).

Imho part of Aiki waza study involves how the joints and muscles interoperate and align and waza should teach how one utilizes natural mechanisms in the physical structure to execute kuzushi and kake, even if Uke attempts tense muscular resistance. When one muscles down there are 2 options, go in the direction of the resistance and execute a different waza, or use the resistance as a means of finding the correct pathways and rotations required to have the initial waza work as it should.

In the case of resistance through relaxation or adaptation, one attempts to cancel his partner's waza and execute his own by joining with his partner's motion and creating/exploiting flaws in movement or execution. Many may not call this "resistance" but it is, in that one does not simply allow the waza to be executed unless it is correct and truly takes the balance of ones partner.

The only difference here is while the former is resistance by tension, the latter is resistance by adaptation or correct relaxation.

Just my 2 cents.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:36 PM   #12
Lyle Bogin
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Re: Resistance

My policy as uke is to resist to assist. Fighting in an art with a reciprocal format isn't all that helpful.
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:55 PM   #13
Aikibu
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Re: Resistance

Just as importantly...Let's not forget about speed and surprise...In my experiance I think it is critical how to learn to execute Waza/Randori at full speed...

Timing is everything...A step too slow or too fast and you can forget about executing or blending with Uke...

Surprise in Randori in a small sense helps build Martial Awareness
and you learn not to think but to act appropriately dispite the desire to "seize up"

William Hazen
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:51 PM   #14
John Matsushima
 
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Re: Resistance

Yes, there are many different levels of resistance, but who is to say what is the "right" way of resisting? Everyone resists differently, and by practicing with many different types of resistance we can learn many aspects of the technique in different ways. Therefore, if we attempt to "teach" tori with our resistance and instructing him on how to go about executing the technique, all we are doing is teaching him how to deal with someone who is exactly like me. (What are the odds of that?) All to many times in my experience, I have "taught" an inexperienced tori how to do the technique properly, practiced it over and over again with them while giving a good amount of resistance, only to watch them get stopped easily but the next uke. Why? Because the next uke's resistance is not the same as mine. So, I say that if you are not the teacher, then you shouldn't be teaching. The uke's "role" is simply to attack the tori. Period. And an attack without any resistance is not an attack.

An important aspect in dealing with attacks is acceptance; accepting that this is what I have to deal with, and accepting my own ability and limitations.
Now, as was mentioned, if go to do an ikkyo or shihonage and someone stops me by pulling down with strength and commitment, and I cannot do the technique, then the real fact of the matter is that I lack in the ability and know-how to deal with this type of resistance. We can't go blaming uke every time we get stopped. It would be better to ask for help, do a little introspection, or keep practicing until we can transform our techniques and ourselves.

I think there are two main types of resistance. The first type is where the person A seeks to do harm to person B and will resist any means of defense. This is the type that we seem to be speaking of, which consists of many levels of strength, speed, direction, force, etc.
The second type is when person A withdraws an attack, or has not even committed to any attack at all and resists person B's technique by attempting to escape, withdraw, becoming immovable, etc. This type of resistance will stop any Aikido technique every time unless person B is forceful and applies the technique with strength. Many times this occurs when a technique is dead, or when uke is hesitant, or when uke is egotistical and sees himself and the defender, the winner in a "you can't get me" mindset. If this type of situation is encountered, then I find it best to become yielding, and give up. My "failure" to execute a technique on someone of this nature actually results in a mutual win, which is the way of Aikido.

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Old 03-09-2008, 10:54 PM   #15
DonMagee
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Re: Resistance

Like anything there are time and places to resist. Honest resistance should just be a meaningful attempt to achieve your goal, whatever that goal is. In a drill context, this could me a single forceful attack. In a free form context, this could mean a single goal (I want you to punch me in the chest, I don't care how you get this done).

It is easy to stonewall a technique when you know it is being applied. So free form resistance is not a good idea there. Just make a good committed attack and allow your partner to do his technique. In judo, we would call this a throw line or uchi komi. When I fill in for the instructor, I have students do this, one will push the other will turn and throw. For the uke to resists the turn and throw would hurt the point of the drill. However, later, we might do a free form practice where we allow uke to resist. One person's job is to throw, the other person's job is to fight the grips off and stop the throw (at a varying level of resistance) Of course we take it a step even further to randori where the job of both partners is to throw each other. In bjj, we might train an armbar or sweep, then drill it with resistance. If you only drilled the armbar then told the uke not to allow the armbar, the nage would never get it. So instead we make the goal less restricted. The goal of the nage is to sweep or submit, and the goal of the uke is to maintain a top position of dominance. Again with varying levels of resistance. These are just a few examples of the many types and levels of resistance training we do.

I have seen no reason why these types of drills can not be applied to aikido. The aikido classes I have taken have chosen not to go this route. In the training I have had, the job of the uke was to throw a strike or attempt a grab with a varying level of intensity. At this point you would try to follow the lead of the nage and receive ukemi. This ment at advanced levels, if nage was not leading you stood there and looked at him. At lower levels, you are always expected to take the fall (kyu ranks should focus on the ukemi we are told). However, their is a odd duality that undermines the training (I feel). This stems from a desire that I can't quite relate to. I am often told that if I ever wanted to 'test' the instructor by hitting him, that I can choose to do so and then I can 'face the consequences' of my actions and better be prepared for a 'real response', then at the same time, I am told to throw a committed attack. It only seems logical then that I am either to throw a real attack and be injured, or a fake attack with no threat to the nage. You can see the confusion here. This had not existed in my combat sport training. If I am told to punch my partner in the face in kickboxing, then they expect me to really try to hit him. In bjj, if I am told my job is to take my partner down and his job is to stop me, then I am to do my best to take him down. I am not to throw a half assed double leg and let him work a defense. The time for that is understood during the introduction phase where I am told to go in slowly and let him do the technique, then I am told to resist, finally I am told to take him down.

This is a problem that has plagued my aikido training. Everytime I give it a shot I am plagued by this. To me, I feel I am being told to 'fake it'. That if they want to test themselves against a judo throw or a double leg I am to let them win or face the consequences (which is always a vague reference to eye gouging or some other type of bodily injury or quick ramping up of action).

It seems the problem is the goals of the drill are not defined, there is no exactly framework to work in. Its like I"m being told "You should be trying to hit me, but if you do hit me, I'm not going to be nice to you, so you better not hit me". It reminds me of the krav maga episode of fight quest. Where the female instructor would define the objectives of a drill, then change the objectives when it was doug's turn. Then point out there was no rules. But if he gouged the eyes out of one of her students, I bet she would not of accepted it as nice as she expected him to take her constant changing of the guidelines.

It reminds me of a friend of mine who wanted to roll with me. He decided he could beat me if we allowed groin strikes. I allowed it, put him in guard, he attempted a elbow to the groin, I swept him, maintained side control and punched him lightly in the balls. He was not happy. Apparently the rules went one way, not both. That is how I feel when I'm on the mat in aikido. That the rules go one way.

I'm sorry to rant, but it's been bothering me and reading this thread brought it out of me. I'm sure not all aikido is like what I have described, but for the ones that are, I think this is an easy fix. Define your goals in your drills. Don't lie about it, or give some vague response. Just say what you want the uke to do. If you want him to throw a punch and wait, then say so, if you want him to try to counter, say so. If you want him to keep trying to hit you until you submit him say so. There is no shame in it. Even in combat sports there are times you don't really try to hit each other. Just make the goals clear.

- Don
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:07 PM   #16
Jonathan
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Re: Resistance

Resisting nage is a very tricky thing. Too often it is merely the mechanism whereby one aikidoka asserts their "superiority" over another. Resistance also usually takes significant advantage of the fact that uke knows in advance what nage is going to do. Even very junior aikidoka can defeat a senior aikidoka's technique if they know ahead of time what he/she is going to do. Resistance also creates tension and a certain inflexibility of mind.

In my experience, there have been mighty few times when resistance from my uke has truly been instructive. Sometimes, it has been downright injurious. I have torn the tendons of a few uke who suddenly tried to halt or escape my technique. And it has been, in my experience, the higher-ranked aikidoka who seem the most prone to misusing resistance - usually because there is a strong attitude of "only my way" in these aikidoka and/or a need to justify their rank in the eyes of those equal or junior to them.

I don't usually actively resist other aikidoka in a contradictory way. Generally, when they move wrong they don't take my balance, or they return my posture and balance to me. When this happens, I naturally feel heavier and harder to move. Even very new students can feel this. This kind of "resistance," however, doesn't leave nage feeling like their technique was defeated. They don't feel like uke has interfered with what they were attempting to do, but rather that uke simply responded to what they were doing. I find this induces nage to think, not about what a hard time uke is giving them, but about the effect of their actions upon uke. Instead of fracturing nage's focus, as contradictory resistance usually does, the kind of "resistance" I give usually encourages nage to focus more intently upon the form and effect of their motions.

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Old 03-10-2008, 04:16 AM   #17
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Resistance

Quote:
Jonathan Hay wrote: View Post
And it has been, in my experience, the higher-ranked aikidoka who seem the most prone to misusing resistance - usually because there is a strong attitude of "only my way" in these aikidoka and/or a need to justify their rank in the eyes of those equal or junior to them.
I have that experience, too. I do hope that I'm not one of them...

There is a lot of competition going on in aikido dojos, although this is a non-competing martial art.

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Old 03-10-2008, 07:01 AM   #18
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Re: Resistance

Already well said. Compliments and agreement.

Depending on the level of training, resistance is esstential to feel the connection, the energy, the blending, and the balance.

Lynn Seiser PhD
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:03 AM   #19
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Resistance

I think Don and everyone else brings up some excellent points. Jonathon also hits on what I would call an excellent way to resist...if someone is trying to throw me by pushing directly into my power without draining it, it becomes counter productive for me to just fall. That would be tanking. But if a newer person is anywhere near the "correct" angle, of course it becomes necessary to give them some feeling of accomplishment. Very fine lines to stay within.

One of the hardest things for me in aikido is to establish appropriate levels of contact with each and every partner, from the moment we meet. And that can vary not only by partner, but also by association, dojo, event, waza, etc.

Best,
Ron

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Old 03-10-2008, 08:11 AM   #20
charyuop
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Re: Resistance

It depends on who you have in front of you and what you mean as resistance. I give you an example.
Let's take an iriminage as example. I attack Nage and he enters behind me. From there if Nage is an experienced Aikidoka would make no sense in me putting my head on his shoulder, go round and round and the lie down for him. He would learn nothing from it, or better he wouldn't improve his Aikido.
When I do Uke for Sensei or Senpai (very experienced) I do put resistance in my role...of course if I can since they are so good compared to me that it is hard to actually "get them". But they have actually to move my head and have me walk, otherwise I stay there (well more than stay there, turn and attack them). When they start moving me around I try to run away, not that I ever manage to. When they place the other arm in front of me I use my hand to try and block their arms giving them as much resistence as I can. As I said, not much success because they are way too experienced for me to give them what I would like to.
When the technique arrives to the end and I lost all my balance and I feel I am going down, well then I take Ukemi...no use in resisting there (even tho Sensei says I wait too long and I wait for the pain to come before taking Ukemi...and maybe he is right...gotta work on that).
When I work on another guy who is more or less the same level as me I start easy. When I see that he can manage rather well the technique, I start "creating" him some problems. If it is too much, he himslef will ask me to tone it down a little bit...and the same works for him when he is my Uke.

Apart from the fact that if Uke gives you something to work on puts in the practice alot of fun, it is useful too. We all like a Uke that is 100% Uke, but he has no use for our purposes, which is to learn. If Uke tries to block you the technique will no longer go smooth and that is when you tend to start becoming "the hulk" and using all your muscles. An Uke who opposes resistance is the Uke which will force you not only to learn a technique, but to learn to actualle blend with Uke and adjust your position/movements to let the technique flow smooth and not use muscles.

If Iriminage is called the "20 year technique", I think Uke should be called "the lifetime technique". Becoming a good Uke, help perfectly your Nage (not too easy, but not too hard so that Nage won't learn anything), avoiding to get hurt, keeping your center and feeling the whole action to be able to counter...and why not, make very graceful and "good looking" Ukemi is as much a hard task as being a good Nage (if not harder).
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:37 AM   #21
charyuop
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Re: Resistance

Oops I was forgetting...
If I manage, I don't mean stop, but create some resistance for Sensei it is not only useful for him, but for me too.
As a Uke I would have the chance to feel on me how Sensei adjusts to that new situation, how he moves his body, how he changes his arm movements and so on.

It happened to me last Saturday during a kokyunage. As long as my Uke was attacking my center was perfect, but when his attack was a bit deeper I was having a lot of trouble. I was the one who asked him please to attack deeper and not to go down easily so that I had to work a way to get to his center.
That doesn't mean he had to turn in a piece of wood and get hurt. He still was flowing with the technique and put his safety first, but he was providing me what I was needing in that moment to work on mostly. Had he gone on and offer me an attack that didn't give me any trouble I would have never known how hard was for me to do that technique in another situation.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:11 AM   #22
Aiki1
 
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Re: Resistance

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
One of the hardest things for me in aikido is to establish appropriate levels of contact with each and every partner, from the moment we meet. And that can vary not only by partner, but also by association, dojo, event, waza, etc.
I agree, Ron. That's why I tell people all the time that learning to -practice- Aikido properly is an art unto itself.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:05 AM   #23
charyuop
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Re: Resistance

As Sensei told me once, if Aikido was easy we wouldn't spend decades on the mat to learn it.
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:31 AM   #24
Larry Cuvin
 
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Re: Resistance

At our dojo, as uke we are taught to act as mirrors of our nage...to try to accurately reflect the condition of his mind and body coordination. By extending Ki (which is our form of resisting), the nage should be able to find the holes in the technique being learned. I think this is most beneficial if both the uke and nage is approximately at the same skill level as they could continue to challenge their partner to the next level.
I agree that advanced students and sensei should offer the appropriate level of "challenge" to their students.

Plus Ki
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Old 03-10-2008, 11:59 AM   #25
DonMagee
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Re: Resistance

Quote:
Larry Cuvin wrote: View Post
At our dojo, as uke we are taught to act as mirrors of our nage...to try to accurately reflect the condition of his mind and body coordination. By extending Ki (which is our form of resisting), the nage should be able to find the holes in the technique being learned. I think this is most beneficial if both the uke and nage is approximately at the same skill level as they could continue to challenge their partner to the next level.
I agree that advanced students and sensei should offer the appropriate level of "challenge" to their students.
Not to pick on you, but this is exactly why I have no idea what is expected of me as uke. What would you want from me? A single committed attack? Should I attempt to use my ki to prevent myself from being moved (rooted?), should I use my ki to prevent my arm from being moved or bent? Do I flow with nage and move where he wants me to go? Do I keep focused on my center and attempt to throw solid committed attacks without giving my balance away? Do I blend with nage and use his movements to guide him into my own reversal?

I have heard so many different things ment by 'extend ki' that I have no idea what would be the desired goal in the context of a drill. This is in stark contrast to the very detailed instructions given to me in sport training (attempt to take him down, try to hit him in the face, throw punches at 50 percent speed at his chin, block 3 jabs, throw 3 jabs, try to clinch, attempt to hold down your partner in side control while he tries to escape, etc).

I have been told to extend ki in the context of a ki test (unbendable arm, unmovable, un-liftable, etc), in the context of a strike (focus though the attacker like a laser beam at the wall across the room), as a push (move from the center), as a means of balance, etc. I could attempt any one of those things, or all of them, or something else. I could throw a single strike/grab, I could free form attack, I could really try to hit my partner, I could throw a non threatening blow that would never hit, and still meet the types of training in which I have been told I was extending ki.

I guess these kind of explanations (use more ki, etc) just stonewall me. I am a scientific learner. I like exacting responses (keep your hands up, you are flat footed, you did not take his balance first, etc) and exacting requirements from me (punch him in the face as fast as you can, grab and attempt to lift your partner off the ground, throw harai goshi 10 times as fast as you can, take this guy down and submit him, etc). Every time I show up for aikido class, I have no idea what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, every time I ask I am made to feel like a smart ass thug who wants to fight (which is questionable).

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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