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Old 08-25-2000, 10:35 AM   #1
Paul
Location: Edinburgh
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 46
Scotland
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Please forgive me if this is an old topic, if you have gone over this time and time again but to me this is a very personal subject.
In my club one of my kohai has a problem with ukemi. My kohai fears injury from tobi ukemi and indeed will not take them. I have tried many things from simply increasing the difficulty of the ukemi until it is tobi to a ten step ukemi programme, from a wonderful article in the asian martial arts journal my a Mr Wolfe, everything has failed. The sitaution has gotten so bad that the student stepped of the mat during summer, pretending to be injured, so as not to be hurt. And indeed is often hurt due to disengaging to early from a technique. Please be aware before a host of "time is the answer" replies land on the forum my kohai is first kyu and will be taking the aikikai grade next summer, probably with a stranger unaware of the ukemi problem. It pains me that this students is very upset because of this situation. To conclude the problem is not technical which the student isn't lacking but mental, one of the exercisese tried required the student to leap over my arm. Fear is the only problem.

Regards Paul Finn
Edinburgh
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Old 08-25-2000, 12:10 PM   #2
Shipley
Dojo: UBC Okanagan Aikido Club
Location: Kelowna
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 94
Canada
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I don't know if this is something that you've already tried, but Bookman sensei in his video on ukemi does a really neat intermediate step where the aikidoka learning to fall uses a kneeling and crouched down partner as a support. The whole fall is done very low to the ground with a lot of support. When teaching ukemi I've found it helps considerably with those who find the fall intimidating. Rather than do a poor job of describing the process I think I'll just suggest you find a friend with the video so you can see it for yourself.

I hope this is helpful,

Paul
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Old 08-25-2000, 12:35 PM   #3
Paul
Location: Edinburgh
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 46
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Fear

The ten step programme I used, as with all such things I suppose, starts easy with the partner doong solo work on the floor, then kneeling, standing, rolling, falling etc etc. everything goes fine until the student needs to "jump into the unknown" as it were. It is this confrontation with fear which is the problem I need thoughts/comments on this. Has anyone went through this or is anyone going through this? Thanks in advance.

Regards Paul

Regards Paul Finn
Edinburgh
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Old 08-25-2000, 01:36 PM   #4
Russ
Dojo: Pacific Aikido Kensankai
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Hey Paul,

Without being cynical I'd have to say, from what you describe, that your kohai's problem is not your problem. To clarify that statement, you say his/her technique is good, the fear is a mental thing, so IMO all you can do is set a good example for your kohai technically, and when dealing with your own fear.

There was a good thread on fear in the Spiritual section about six weeks ago that would give some differing perspectives.

With the hope that it may help your kohai I highly recommend a book by a man named Jiddu Krishnamurti called Fear. Off topic for aikido, very on topic for fear! His teachings definitely gave me a better perspective on what exactly fear is.

Good luck

Russ
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Old 08-26-2000, 10:34 AM   #5
DJM
Dojo: Two Rivers Dojo, York
Location: York, England
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 47
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Quote:
Paul wrote:
<snip>
In my club one of my kohai has a problem with ukemi. My kohai fears injury from tobi ukemi and indeed will not take them. I have tried many things from simply increasing the difficulty of the ukemi until it is tobi to a ten step ukemi programme, from a wonderful article in the asian martial arts journal my a Mr Wolfe, everything has failed. The sitaution has gotten so bad that the student stepped of the mat during summer, pretending to be injured, so as not to be hurt. And indeed is often hurt due to disengaging to early from a technique. Please be aware before a host of "time is the answer" replies land on the forum my kohai is first kyu and will be taking the aikikai grade next summer, probably with a stranger unaware of the ukemi problem. It pains me that this students is very upset because of this situation.
Paul,
I won't pretend to be anything approaching an expert in Aikido - but two things strike me here. One is that your student shouldn't be going into a grading, of any sort, if their ukemi are poor (for whatever reason, mental or physical). It's such an important part of Aikido that it should to be ranked as equally important as the techniques..
The second thing is that I think it's probably counter productive to allow your student to 'step off' without a valid reason, from both an attitude point of view, and of lost training time..

From my limited experience I can only suggest three possible solutions, possibly working together. The first, if the student's ukemi is good, is to not allow them to withdraw from the technique - in the sense of applying it strongly enough that they are forced to take instinctive ukemi. This should convince them that they can do it, though of course this only works if their ukemi IS good enough for this..(I'd argue that if they're Ikkyu it should be..)
The second thing, depending on the personality of the student, is to come right out and tell them they won't be taking their shodan. Depending on the person involved, this might remove some of the pressure from their practice..
Lastly, it could be worthwhile to sit down with the student, and try and work through the fear issue - find out where it stems from. Maybe even some form of counselling - may seem extreme, but if their fear is so very strong it might be impacting other areas of their life as well..?

I wish you and your student the best of luck in dealing with this issue.

Peace,
David

Sunset Shimmering,
On Water, Placid and Calm,
A Fish Touches Sky
--
David Marshall
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Old 08-26-2000, 12:22 PM   #6
akiy
 
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Quote:
DJM wrote:One is that your student shouldn't be going into a grading, of any sort, if their ukemi are poor (for whatever reason, mental or physical). It's such an important part of Aikido that it should to be ranked as equally important as the techniques..[/b]
Just wanted to say that, in my mind, ukemi is the most important part of aikido practice.

Sometimes it takes someone willing to throw the kid into the deep end of the pool. Maybe this student needs to just be thrown around a whole lot?

-- Jun

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Old 08-26-2000, 06:55 PM   #7
guest1234
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i've seen this before, but now i have a chance to ask: how does a student get to just short of shodan and (other than those with medical restrictions) be unable to fall safely?
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Old 08-26-2000, 07:00 PM   #8
Nick
Dojo: Aikido of Greater Atlanta
Location: Atlanta, GA
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afraid of falling? all you can do is fall.

-Nick

---
Nick Porter
"Do not fall into the trap of the artisan who boasts twenty years of experience, when in fact he has had only one year of experience-- twenty times."
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Old 08-26-2000, 10:52 PM   #9
Dan Hover
Dojo: Bond Street Dojo/Aikido of Greater Milwaukee
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Ai symbol Fear is my ally

No straight forward answer, as this opens a lot of other questions that everyone else seems to be asking. such as how did they reach ikkyu not knowing or is unwilling to take ukemi, Although the big highfalls aren't necessary, basic falls are. When a student reaches ikkyu in any martial art, then is not the time to try to correct a defiency that needs to be checked in their first few months of practice. Did this person suffer an injury which may somehow contribute to this fear? Or does this problem lie in the realm of the ego? 10 step programs in Aikido as in everthing else require the participant to want to change. or else it is just you wasting your breath and energy when you could be training either yourself or your students who want to learn. In yoshikan and in all the USAF tests I've seen Ukemi is a graded event where you can fail, even your shodan test.

Dan Hover
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Old 08-28-2000, 12:41 PM   #10
Paul
Location: Edinburgh
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I will try to shead a little light on the subject of how do you reach ikkyu with such problems? I don't know, this is probably my driving force in trying to correct the issue. My kohai's technique is very good, nobody agrues over that point. Basic ukemi is also good allowing the student to roll out of kote gaeshi etc which is abused in that it is a means of escape. Only tobi ukemi is a problem, and yes the student has suffered injuries due to being unable/willing to taki tobi ukemi. The student may also have injured themselves on purpose, so you can see how serious the situation is. Our club prizes ukemi above all and my kohai is an exception which has gotten out of control.


Regards Paul
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Old 08-28-2000, 12:51 PM   #11
Dan Hover
Dojo: Bond Street Dojo/Aikido of Greater Milwaukee
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Quote:
Paul wrote:
I will try to shead a little light on the subject of how do you reach ikkyu with such problems?
My kohai's technique is very good, nobody agrues over that point. Basic ukemi is also good
Only tobi ukemi is a problem, and yes the student has suffered injuries due to being unable/willing to taki tobi ukemi. Our club prizes ukemi above all and my kohai is an exception which has gotten out of control.


Regards Paul
Is tobi ukemi really required? We have to remember that Ukemi is there to protect Uke. So if there is a substitute ukemi that they could take, to prevent further injury, by all means they chould take it. but if the problem lies out of ego and fear, really only time will tell. without being there to witness for ourselves it is hard for us (the forum) to give really good advice. My personal thoughts on the matter is if it isn't really necessary why make an issue of it? I mean I've had students that didn't want to take ukemi at all.Not because they couldn't, but because they wouldn't. But that is a whole together different beast.

Dan Hover

of course that's my opinion, I could be wrong
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