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Old 04-22-2009, 01:13 AM   #1
"Ki Sun"
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Dead Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

I have been doing Aikido for about 3 months now and have started to question the actual effectiveness of the art.

I am well aware of the MANNY arguments about Aikido and if it is an effective means of self defense.

The reason I have started to question is that we where practicing defense of a strait punch, on my second attack as Uke I instinctively assumed a kickboxing pose (I trained in kick boxing for a few year) and went to attack a Sho Dan in the requested manner, the Sho Dan completely frose and didn't know what to do… I immediately apologized and explained it was "instinctive" pose I assume for attacking and all was forgiven.

But if that Sho Dan was attacked in the street would they react the same? I don't think Sensei would but it has made me "second guess" Aikido as a method of self defense (I won't stop doing it because I like the idea of harmony and a fluidity with your opponents)

So after all that rambling… is there a respectful way for me to ask Sensei if to demonstrate these technique "at speed" (preferably with me as Uke) I am worried this will sound like a challenge or be seen as disrespectful. I am not good with words and would hate to offend anyone.
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:13 PM   #2
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

Be careful what you ask for, for you might just receive it.

I have tried to genuinely strike my teacher on many occasions over the years. I am still trying ... Now as a teacher myself, I do not mind if a student really tries to tag me.

I first need to know that the student's ukemi is good enough to receive back what that person puts out. I still have to operate in a manner that insures the safety of the student.

I love Ikeda Sensei's statement about don't ask if Aikido works, but as if your Aikido works. We all are works in progress, but I have experienced enough instances of really good teachers having no problems making their Aikido work for me to stick with it and dedicate myself to trying to do the same.

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:22 PM   #3
jason jordan
 
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

Well put Mark. The first time I trained with my Sensei I had already been training for years with other sensei....But after the first Kotegaeshi "I knew" he wasn't one to mess with.

No pain in my wrist (The tatami was another thing) very fast, (I lit felt the breeze) and it all happened very quickly.

That Shodan on the other hand....LOL I.d.k?
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:23 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

What is usually not explicitly stated is that in most dojos we are really doing a two person kata: the attack, technique, etc have set, idealized forms in order for the student to integrate basic movements into her brain/body. So if a junior student comes at me with a different posture or attack, well I wouldn't freeze but I would certainly correct them.
Having said that, there IS a time and place for "what if" questions posed respectfully.

Janet Rosen
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:30 PM   #5
Neal Earhart
 
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I have been doing Aikido for about 3 months now....

is there a respectful way for me to ask Sensei if to demonstrate these technique "at speed" (preferably with me as Uke).
Good luck with that...after 3 months of Aikido, I highly doubt your ukemi skills are anywhere near good enough for such a "demonstration"...
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:53 PM   #6
"Brent Magnusson"
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

Whoa, easy with this one.

I would never ask my teacher, Donovan Waite shihan, to show me something at "full-power" or "at speed".

That is just asking for all sorts of hurt, yikes.

Be careful what you wish for, indeed.

... Good luck with this one.
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:17 PM   #7
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

I asked one of my seniors once to show me how katate mochi sokumen iriminage ni really worked. During class I just couldn't figure out how it could work.

So he put his hand out, and asked me to grab and push. So I did. He stood there looking at me, and again asked me to push ... harder. So I did. Then he asked me to REALLY PUSH...

When I woke up, I still didn't know HOW the waza worked, but I was no longer doubtful that it did indeed, WORK.

My senior was nidan then. Now I am nidan. I still don't think I'd want to be on the recieving end of the head instructor's full power, full speed waza...and he's pretty good at taking care of uke. But full speed and power...yikes, no thanks. 2 herniated discs in my neck is enough, thank you.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-22-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
Marc Abrams
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

The first time I tested my teacher was after I had been training for three months. I had a long history of studying "hard" arts and fighting sports. I always wondered why nobody who was serving as uke for sensei ever really tried to clock him. The cro-magnum part of my being decided to put that to the test when I was called up to serve uke for him. The attack was a shomenuchi. I launched myself into a full-hilt strike to his head. The next thing I was aware of was my flying into the air and into a padded wall. It felt like I had jumped off of a three story building onto a trampoline. Every ounce of force I applied to him came back at me in spades. As I was shaking the cobwebs out of my head I looked at him smiling at me saying "just go like this" [he went through the Ikkyo Irimi movement that he had so generously shared with me!]. I was hooked from that moment and am still trying to attain that level of execution of a technique.

Janet's comment is spot on. Just because we practice in a safe manner does not mean that it cannot work in a real life encounter.

A teacher is responsible for the safety of one's students. Insuring that lessons are learned and experienced in a safe manner is a minimum requirement in developing students of good character and skill. In all of my years training directly with my teacher (Imaizumi Sensei) I have never observed or heard of anyone becoming injured from him, regardless of the circumstance.

Marc Abrams
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:25 PM   #9
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
So after all that rambling… is there a respectful way for me to ask Sensei if to demonstrate these technique "at speed" (preferably with me as Uke) I am worried this will sound like a challenge or be seen as disrespectful. I am not good with words and would hate to offend anyone.
Yes, there is a good way to do it. Tell your instructor you are interested in a training when second and even third attack is possible( when a technique against first attack fails ). It is called henka waza.
In some dojo it is a part of regular practice.

The actual speed/power of your attack has secondary importance if Nage(this who execute a technique) has enough training under his belt. In higher level of practice, the difference between the roles (Nage/Uke) is not clear, because you may recover from a technique and initiate a new one and it also can be countered etc...etc... This kind of practice we call kaeshi waza and should be practice regularly, however not by fresh beginners.

Nagababa

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Old 04-22-2009, 03:28 PM   #10
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

BTW I'm very surprised by all the responses from your folks, there is nothing challenging in his question. It is quite normal that beginners have such doubts and any instructor should be able to explain physically how it is working.
If somebody is offended I believe he shouldn't be teaching aikido.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:40 PM   #11
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

I don't find anything challenging in his question...

He stated he is a beginner. My instructor is 7th dan. You want a 7th dan to throw a newbie full speed and full power? Heh, I don't think so...like I said, *I* don't want him throwing *me* that way...

Another one of my seniors came from shotokan. His way of selecting a teacher then was to basically sucker punch them. I think he actually tried that twice...

Thick skull he has...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 04-22-2009, 04:57 PM   #12
Aikibu
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

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Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
I don't find anything challenging in his question...

He stated he is a beginner. My instructor is 7th dan. You want a 7th dan to throw a newbie full speed and full power? Heh, I don't think so...like I said, *I* don't want him throwing *me* that way...

Another one of my seniors came from shotokan. His way of selecting a teacher then was to basically sucker punch them. I think he actually tried that twice...

Thick skull he has...

Best,
Ron
Ha Ha He must be Irish like me...In my case after I woke from my temporary coma up I realized that I didn't really need to test if if worked anymore.

I think everyone should experiance that just once...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

William Hazen
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Old 04-22-2009, 05:04 PM   #13
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

i had been studying about a month when I cornered A senior yudansha in the dojo with a "real" situation and kinda owned him and he really couldn't answer the question.

Then "sensei" walked in and they turned to him and asked him to assist with answering my question.

He did and I got the answer I was looking for and was sold. It was a painful lesson, but one that impressed me enough to stick with studying under him.

Saotome Sensei essentially laid me out. I am sure he doesn't remember it at all as it was all in a days work for him, but it certainly left an impression on me.

If I were asked that question, I am always happy to answer as well. You have to remember that aikido is a methodology to train "aiki" not necessarily to be used in the full context of: (insert reality scenario here).

When someone asked me what would I do against a kick boxer, for example, I reply with...well I get to use the same rules you do right?

Same with the eye gouging, groin kicking, and weapon scenarios.

Sometimes you get the reply back...well that is not what I asked, I wanted to know what "aikido" you would use.

we then get into the philosophical discussion about why that is really not a logical question to ask and why you would constrain yourself in this situation and why there is no really pure aikido solution to anything in the physical context.

It certainly is a difficult topic though to explain to a beginner that looks at the methodology from a simplistic context.

It is like discovering a hammer for the first time and thinking "what a useful tool!" "What can I use it for?"

and then you proceed to approach everything that looks like it might work with and pound on it.

A perfectly logical question for someone that has just discovered it.

A seasoned carpenter knows though that not everything is a nail!

Of course, everyone knows that analogy, but I think we tend to forget that beginners (and even not beginners) tend to not see things the same way we do.

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Old 04-22-2009, 11:31 PM   #14
Buck
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

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Anonymous User wrote: View Post
I have been doing Aikido for about 3 months now and have started to question the actual effectiveness of the art.

I am well aware of the MANNY arguments about Aikido and if it is an effective means of self defense.

The reason I have started to question is that we where practicing defense of a strait punch, on my second attack as Uke I instinctively assumed a kickboxing pose (I trained in kick boxing for a few year) and went to attack a Sho Dan in the requested manner, the Sho Dan completely frose and didn't know what to do… I immediately apologized and explained it was "instinctive" pose I assume for attacking and all was forgiven.

But if that Sho Dan was attacked in the street would they react the same? I don't think Sensei would but it has made me "second guess" Aikido as a method of self defense (I won't stop doing it because I like the idea of harmony and a fluidity with your opponents)

So after all that rambling… is there a respectful way for me to ask Sensei if to demonstrate these technique "at speed" (preferably with me as Uke) I am worried this will sound like a challenge or be seen as disrespectful. I am not good with words and would hate to offend anyone.
There is allot a myths about Aikido. Many of the myths came out of Aikido, but with the advent of BJJ a new myth was created. It came about because Aikido didn't accept the challenge.

My opinion, with some fact. There are two types of Aikido, pre-war and post-war. Pre-war Aikido's focus was to "own" your opponent. Pre-war Aikido was based on factual combat tested and proven techniques.

One of O'Sensei's teacher was one hell of a bad-ass warrior. His fighting exploits didn't play, you didn't "own" a player, you killed him where he stood. O'Sensei's teacher wasn't "a nice guy/fighter" he was a real fighter, not some "entertainment/prize fighter," If he were alive today, he would be the most feared man at Pelican State.

He was disliked by most of O'Sensei's students, because of his tough bad-ass kill your ass personality. But they respected him. They knew he a real warrior. And some of them knew, that he was employed by other towns to rid their towns of gangs, murders, and other dangerous criminals plaguing them. This teacher of O'Sensei was the only law some of these towns had.

This teacher of O'Sensei's carried a concealed straight blade knife in his clothing that was unsheathed that continually cut into his gut. He once had in a fight was hit by an object that knocked some teeth out in a real street fight, and he spit them out with, without any thought, as if it was old chewing gum. He didn't flinch or miss a step and defeated the attacker.

He was also caught taking a bath by 3 or so guys with swords looking to kill him for revenge for killing their friends or family members. They caught him in the bath. These guys feared him that much that the attacked him in the bath. All that O'Sensei's teacher had to defend himself was a bath towel against guys with samurai swords.

He also got into a fight with a western boxer on a train. The boxer never had a chance.

O'Sensei's teacher fought his whole life, not one on one in a ring for the entertainment of others. He fought from his life many times against more then one attacker. He didn't fight 10 fights and take the money and run. He didn't stop fighting and "owning" guys who wanted to kill him when he reached 40. He continued into his 60's.

What did art did this teacher use, was it BJJ, or MMA. Nope that would have gotten him killed. He never went to the ground, he never had to. The martial combat system this teacher used is what O'Sensei based Aikido on. In fact, O'Sensei's pre-world war Aikido had changed very little from what he learned from his teacher. O'Sensei's post-war Aikido, what is mostly practiced and seen to day, is for fighting even though it still didn't change the original techniques O'Sensei had learned much. O'Sensei felt a need to take a proven combat fighting system and make it more acceptable to the modern Japanese society as a self-defense, and not a combat system, or into entertainment for $$$$.

Today, not everyone who practices Aikido do so to kick-ass. Please. It is an art. It has a vision and that isn't about blood-letting, glove and cup, mouth-guard, refereed violence that people are willing to pay to watch. So that MMA posers can feel "they are all that" going into Aikido dojo and playing games.

I went to an Aikido dojo once in a bad part of town. A small group of us (the Sensei, a middle rank, and me) walked to our cars late after class. There was a car parked near ours playing it up, loud music, sitting on cars that where not theirs looking for prey, and dealing. When they approached the Sensei he asked them to get off his car nicely. That was their cue and the ones on his car made the move to attack him. He threw one of them over the hood of the car, and that was enough to stop the others for a moment and get everyone's attention. I am sure they thought the were dealing with a character out of a Steven Seagal movie. He then cautioned the rest of them if they didn't go somewhere else that they would wish they had. I thank God they didn't pull a gun. But this Sensei deals with this type of stuff regularly he says. I experienced that last year. So please let's cut the b.s. about Aikido not being effective.

Aikido is effective, it is the person that is either effective or not using Aikido. Just like BJJ, and MMA. Not everyone who practices MMA or BJJ is worth a darn, and even though they think they are they are not Gracie or they favorite figher. Eventhough, so many think they are. That MMA/BJJ myth is far worse than any of the Aikido myths.

Last edited by Buck : 04-22-2009 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:44 PM   #15
Buck
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

The other thing is the Sensei you spoke of should have thrown you, even if you can't take a fall. Of course it would have to be on a big fluffy thick Hollywood stunt type of mat. Cause regardless if it was pre or post war Aikido and he threw you, and you don't know how to take a fall, you would be in an emergency room waiting for them to put you in plaster. don't think so even experienced Aikidoka get broke in practice from taking falls. http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15949

Last edited by Buck : 04-22-2009 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 04-23-2009, 01:13 AM   #16
ChrisHein
 
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

You should go up to your sensei and say, "hey can I really throw a punch at you, and you do that technique".

That would be the best way to solve it.

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Old 04-23-2009, 03:22 AM   #17
JRY
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

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Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Whoa, easy with this one.

I would never ask my teacher, Donovan Waite shihan, to show me something at "full-power" or "at speed".

That is just asking for all sorts of hurt, yikes.

Be careful what you wish for, indeed.

... Good luck with this one.
wow... I was at a course that Donovan Waites took, and got to feel his kotegaeishi. amazing experience. I wouldn't like to be on his receiving end for 'full power'
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Old 04-23-2009, 05:17 AM   #18
Amir Krause
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

I wrote such a message many times before - Aikido is a simplified concept, not some magic. When an Aikidoka fights or performs, it is he who fights, not Aikido. No magical ability changes him\her.

Hence, I do not get the idea of generalizing from one single situation with a single person to the system.

There are so many explenations to the situation you faced, and you immidiatly jumped to the most inclusive one,why? Example for other exlenations?:
- The Shodan saw you are not attacking according to Kata, and was going to start explaining, thus did not respond to your attack.
The Shodan was not at his best that day \ time (happens to all, inlcuding Olimpic level athlets)
- That Shodan may be a poor performer \ has yet to understand how to generalize from Symbolic attacks (the typical Aikido methodology to actual attacks.
- The dojo you are at is less oriented towards S.D. and makes the above generalization more difficult.
- Your Sensei (or at least the his Sensei) is not so good if real applications are in mind

In the context of the Dojo I train at, I do not see any problem in asking Sensei for a solution to a problem, or asking Sensei (or any Sempai) to demonstrate something faster, suggest a solution to a situation etc. The person asking is likely to be invited to feel for himself, if Sensei thinks he will be up to it.
In fact my Sensei still loves sugh chalenges (even at his early 60s), and us Sempai often start converging once we find any "interesting" problem and each of us tries to solve it on his own.
But Reigi (behavioral politness rules) differ between Dojos.

Amir
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:46 AM   #19
JO
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

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Whoa, easy with this one.

I would never ask my teacher, Donovan Waite shihan, to show me something at "full-power" or "at speed".

That is just asking for all sorts of hurt, yikes.

Be careful what you wish for, indeed.

... Good luck with this one.
A friend of mine told me about watching Donovan and Claude Berthiaume going at it at high speed and intensity many years ago at a seminar. He said he was happy to only be watching. Considering how injury prone this friend is, that was probably wise.

To go back to the original poster. The question for your sensei is not disrespectful. Just be sure to ask it respectfully. From the tone of your post I would say you should have no trouble managing that. Depending on his skill level and the emphasis he puts on martial training, you may or may not be satisfied with his answer.

My first teacher was Claude Bethiaume, I never felt the need to test his technique. It has always seemed so obvious that he could handle anything I could come up with. However, I have a few aikido friends, some quite a bit higher ranked than me, with which I like to explore these kinds of questions and I try to encourage the lower ranked members of the dojo to "test" me a little from time to time. It helps that we have a free practice period once a week which I usually use to work on jiyu waza. Have had some great fun with former judokas during some of those classes.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:16 PM   #20
"RobWatson"
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

I witnessed a pair of 5th dans (Hauer & Flynn) going at it with gusto. Quite amazing and inspiring and scary, too.

Never crossed my mind to 'test' Shibata I. Shihan ...I did slap his foot once on accident (I think it was already broken or badly strained) but he just kept on with what was going on.

I'd have to say for the most part the techniques were demonstrated at speed - maybe during beginners class things were slowed down a bit but not by much. Half hearted attacks usually resulted in more agony that full on action ever got. At least that is the way I remember events as a 3 kyu ~10 years ago.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:59 PM   #21
Shany
 
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

I attack my Sensei (When demonstrating a technique) pretty much the way anyone on the street would. Not because I want to prove a point, or that I want to test my Teacher, no.. just because, sometimes, you have to, It helps build more confidence, it refines your technique, and enhance the senses. Doing Aikido slow and secure all the time is great, but sometimes, speeding up things really give different results.

I also do surprise attacks on my Sensei (and other Aikidokas) in the middle of our practice, it's sooooo much fun!

A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:41 AM   #22
Grant Buhr
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

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Shany Golan wrote: View Post
I also do surprise attacks on my Sensei (and other Aikidokas) in the middle of our practice, it's sooooo much fun!
lol

"Not now, Kato!"
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Old 05-02-2009, 08:27 PM   #23
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

Quote:
Shany Golan wrote: View Post
I attack my Sensei (When demonstrating a technique) pretty much the way anyone on the street would. Not because I want to prove a point, or that I want to test my Teacher, no.. just because, sometimes, you have to, It helps build more confidence, it refines your technique, and enhance the senses. Doing Aikido slow and secure all the time is great, but sometimes, speeding up things really give different results.

I also do surprise attacks on my Sensei (and other Aikidokas) in the middle of our practice, it's sooooo much fun!
Sounds like a good way to get hurt to me.

We often do waza quickly, fast, hard, etc.

I just don't think I need to either feel full power/full speed from a relatively young, still quite fiesty 7th dan. He can throw me quickly, or hard, but preferably not both at the same time, and not full on. Maybe someone under 47 without herniated discs in their neck would feel differently.

As to surprising people...I tend to dump people pretty hard who do tha to me. They rarely do it twice. Sometimes people end up going to the ER after stuff like that. I can understand doing that for a limited period of time (such as preparing for a dan test), but on an ongoing basis? I think that is just begging for an issue.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 05-03-2009, 02:57 AM   #24
Buck
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

Quote:
Shany Golan wrote: View Post
I attack my Sensei (When demonstrating a technique) pretty much the way anyone on the street would. Not because I want to prove a point, or that I want to test my Teacher, no.. just because, sometimes, you have to, It helps build more confidence, it refines your technique, and enhance the senses. Doing Aikido slow and secure all the time is great, but sometimes, speeding up things really give different results.

I also do surprise attacks on my Sensei (and other Aikidokas) in the middle of our practice, it's sooooo much fun!
Shany,

Good for you, no guts, no glory. You find out what works and what doesn't. You don't learn much if you don't commit to your attack. Wet fish attacks yield little. Sure at first there are bumps and bruises sometimes on the receiving end of a give it your all real attack, but that is like any contact sport. You don't get thrown on mat as thick as a mattress, you don't build your cardio standing around playing touch tag. With a good hard attack your Sensei learns, and then you learn. Kudos to you!

Last edited by Buck : 05-03-2009 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:43 AM   #25
Shany
 
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Re: Ask sensei to demonstrate "at speed"?

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
Sounds like a good way to get hurt to me.

We often do waza quickly, fast, hard, etc.

I just don't think I need to either feel full power/full speed from a relatively young, still quite fiesty 7th dan. He can throw me quickly, or hard, but preferably not both at the same time, and not full on. Maybe someone under 47 without herniated discs in their neck would feel differently.

As to surprising people...I tend to dump people pretty hard who do tha to me. They rarely do it twice. Sometimes people end up going to the ER after stuff like that. I can understand doing that for a limited period of time (such as preparing for a dan test), but on an ongoing basis? I think that is just begging for an issue.

Best,
Ron
Ron,

I am well aware of my body, when I know and feel that I can do an attack (demonstrating a live one with my teacher) than I'll do, of course there are chances of getting hurt due to unintentional hit from a technique by my Sensei, but they are very rarely.

Not only that, when I help my Sensei demonstrate a "live" attack, it helps my sensei, helping me (how to take ukemi to a higher level), help the student who watch how the timing of an execution should be like and how to take ukemi from it.

We usually do 2-3 times fast/hard than again slow and soft.

when working with higher rated ranks, we work on fast pace and sometimes slow pace, when working with kids, its slow pace only, guiding them and showing them and let them figure stuff on their own.

Buck has said it well that "You don't learn much if you don't commit to your attack" this is true. However in the sense of Aiki, it's not true, since hurting other is like hurting your self. so the right balance is needed (fast/hard & slow/soft).

It's been like that for the past 3 years, so pretty much I know how to work with my sensei, and I doubt new-commers will try that, since they will probably get hurt.

A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind
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