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Old 07-24-2009, 09:34 AM   #51
Anjisan
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Ai symbol Re: Progressing with Ukemi as well as Waza.

Quote:
David Henderson wrote: View Post
Why does it follow that if you are in an organization where "waza" is tested that the issue "therefore" becomes one about testing ukemi?

Isn't it just as valid to turn it around -- "since many of us are in organizations where ukemi is not tested, the issue therefore is whether waza needs to be tested?"
Whether or not any of the above is tested for is ultimately up to the Shihan for that organization. However, ukemi at a minimum is about self preservation both within and outside the dojo.

One is much more (IMHO) to use his/her ukemi skills outside the dojo than any of the waza techniques. Further, testing for ukemi will assure not only that the individual Aikidoka of a skill level, but also other students that that Aikidoka can take a certain level of ukemi (Shodan for example).

I am not asserting that there is always a gap, but there certainly can be under the current structure. One can have an ukemi ability level that is "good enough" to get through the ranks, but significantly falls short of the equivalent waza skill level required for Shodan.

Finally, one will only go as far in Aikido as the individuals that they train with--specifically------the ukemi level. One can be surrounded by very senior teachers who teach outstanding waza, but without those individuals who can take that increasingly complex ukemi--you will hit a ceiling.
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:52 AM   #52
C. David Henderson
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Re: Progressing with Ukemi as well as Waza.

Quote:
Jason Rudolph wrote: View Post
Whether or not any of the above is tested for is ultimately up to the Shihan for that organization. However, ukemi at a minimum is about self preservation both within and outside the dojo.

One is much more (IMHO) to use his/her ukemi skills outside the dojo than any of the waza techniques.
In my experience both these points are true.

Quote:
Further, testing for ukemi will assure not only that the individual Aikidoka of a skill level, but also other students that that Aikidoka can take a certain level of ukemi (Shodan for example)
.

OK, this is where you might be right, but there are some implicit assumptions about the value of testing. That it can have value I don't doubt.

But, for example, making sure one regularly practices breakfalls (or other fundamentals of receiving technique), and holding one's self to high expectations (gauged against one's own ability), might arguably be sufficient without testing to accomplish the same thing. It should in any event underlie any effort to prepare for an ukemi test.

Quote:
I am not asserting that there is always a gap, but there certainly can be under the current structure. One can have an ukemi ability level that is "good enough" to get through the ranks, but significantly falls short of the equivalent waza skill level required for Shodan.
I'm sure you're right about this possiblity -- I'm curious -- do you have examples in mind from your own experience?

In any event, whether there's a problem that needs a response is a somewhat different qustion that what response is needed. Testing is one possiblity, but I'm not sure its a magic bullet.

Quote:
Finally, one will only go as far in Aikido as the individuals that they train with--specifically------the ukemi level. One can be surrounded by very senior teachers who teach outstanding waza, but without those individuals who can take that increasingly complex ukemi--you will hit a ceiling.
I'm frankly very lucky, as Sensei has always had outstanding ukemi (judged on multiple criteria), so I'm probably not in a good position to take a position here.

I would be interested, and I think it's on-topic, if you could say more about "that increasingly complex ukemi," because this doesn't sound like you're saying "increasingly fancy" ukemi.

Regards,

cdh
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:32 AM   #53
jonreading
 
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Re: Progressing with Ukemi as well as Waza.

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Why do you suppose ukemi shouldn't be tested curriculum?
Amongst other arguments, the two that seem to rise to the top for me:
1. Ukemi is taughts differently within different organizations and even dojo. To boot, individuals may be more or less proficient at ukemi given uncontrollable circumstances (injury, age, handicap, etc.) It would be difficult to objectiviely qualify the ukemi performance.
2. Ukemi is something sensei see every class. I prefer to burden sensei with the obligation to evaluate test candidates and hold back students who are deficient in ukemi skills, preventing them from testing.

Ukemi is fundamental to training. If a students tests and there is doubt as to the [relative] level of ukemi competency, that student should not test.
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:57 PM   #54
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Progressing with Ukemi as well as Waza.

No offense, but this sounds like a test one cannot fail. In which case, it's not a test (to me, anyway).

Someone can perform well in class but not on a test...in which case they should fail. And then test again, until they are able to perfom in that enivironment as well as in class. Just my opinion (I do spectacularly bad on tests now, as compared to other environments).

Some of this is of course an organizational bias...I came up under a system where you could indeed fail (and I did at least once), so I am biased. I feel that environment helped me.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:37 PM   #55
C. David Henderson
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Re: Progressing with Ukemi as well as Waza.

Hi Ron,

Then do you think ukemi needs to be tested? In fairness, Jon is defending the position that it needn't be.

I also failed a test once, and I think it helped me too (in that uncomfortable long run).

For me, though, I think my ukemi got better over time mostly because it had to in response to the "testing" recieved in class.

Regards,

cdh
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Old 07-25-2009, 08:41 AM   #56
Anjisan
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Smile Re: Progressing with Ukemi as well as Waza.

Quote:
David Henderson wrote: View Post
In my experience both these points are true.

OK, this is where you might be right, but there are some implicit assumptions about the value of testing. That it can have value I don't doubt.

But, for example, making sure one regularly practices breakfalls (or other fundamentals of receiving technique), and holding one's self to high expectations (gauged against one's own ability), might arguably be sufficient without testing to accomplish the same thing. It should in any event underlie any effort to prepare for an ukemi test.

I'm sure you're right about this possiblity -- I'm curious -- do you have examples in mind from your own experience?

In any event, whether there's a problem that needs a response is a somewhat different qustion that what response is needed. Testing is one possiblity, but I'm not sure its a magic bullet.

I'm frankly very lucky, as Sensei has always had outstanding ukemi (judged on multiple criteria), so I'm probably not in a good position to take a position here.

I would be interested, and I think it's on-topic, if you could say more about "that increasingly complex ukemi," because this doesn't sound like you're saying "increasingly fancy" ukemi.

Regards,

cdh
I have certainly experienced individuals since I have been training whose Ukemi does match up with their rank. This has occurred at dojos as well as seminars.

I have never thought that testing was a "magic bullet" in Aikido or in any other aspect of life--but it can be a guide. I do know what you mean though. However, it can indicate a correlation between rank and ability both for the Aikidoka to help (in addition to feedback from peers during regular training also--I know) them gage where they are and for the others who train for them, on where there should expect them (as an Uke) to be.

By "complex" I am referring to staying with Nage during a sequence of moves, being able to stay in control of one's body, be able to stay connected. If one is connected then one has a better chance of a reversal on Nage. Finally, above all, be able to expect the unexpected, the direction that one didn't see coming (shhhhh.....it could even be a breakfall--whoa I know, but not to be fancy, but because that was what felt appropriate in the moment) or the mistake that Nage might make since we are all human and few of us are Masters.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:02 AM   #57
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Re: Progressing with Ukemi as well as Waza.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote: View Post
No offense, but this sounds like a test one cannot fail. In which case, it's not a test (to me, anyway).

Someone can perform well in class but not on a test...in which case they should fail. And then test again, until they are able to perfom in that enivironment as well as in class. Just my opinion (I do spectacularly bad on tests now, as compared to other environments).

Some of this is of course an organizational bias...I came up under a system where you could indeed fail (and I did at least once), so I am biased. I feel that environment helped me.

Best,
Ron
I prefer to think sensei recommends for testing students who should not fail to meet the requirements of the test, not necessarily cannot fail. Everyone has a bad day and a test environment is different than a class environment. I advocate the burden of assessment lies with sensei to evaluate the relative chance of success for a test candidate and only recommend those candidates who have a chance of demonstrating competency on the test. If sensei knows a candidate will not perform competently on a test, she has an obligation not to recommend that student for testing.

I generally find that good ukemi does not differentiate between a test and class; that is, a student who performs good ukemi usually does so in any environment, taking ukemi from a number of students. Hence the reason why I do not necessarily devote time in a test to "test" ukemi. Instead, I simply ask partners to each perform the technique, demonstrating both sides of the uke/nage relationship.

I would not recommend a student who could not perform tenkan to test for Rokyu, nor would I recommend a student who could not roll. It's a tough conversation to have with the student for sure but it maintains the integrity of testing...

As a side note, many students are proud of their tests; they believe if they pass a test they performed well. These students publish videos or photos of their tests for all to see their prowess. Then you see the video and you think..."dear God, how could he have possibly passed this test? Did I just see this idiot grab the blade of a bokken? That dude rolls like a square wheel!" Then the snickering begins...member "IMAbadass" logs on and the entire forum knows the guys is inept because of his video test. I don't need to continue (because most of us just need to remember highschool ) to imagine the embarrassment and hurt IMAbadass feels.

There is a very small margin in a test between illustrating a candidate's need to train harder and embarrassing a candidate in front of his peers (or worse, a seminar...). Some students respond well to a dose of humility, others don't. I expect my students to be competent in ukemi [relative to rank] before we even talk about testing. I want to test my students to the extent of their skills, without demanding certain failure. If I recommend a student to test knowing they cannot succeed, I am abusing the trust of that student.
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:06 PM   #58
Anjisan
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Cool Re: Progressing with Ukemi as well as Waza.

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I prefer to think sensei recommends for testing students who should not fail to meet the requirements of the test, not necessarily cannot fail. Everyone has a bad day and a test environment is different than a class environment. I advocate the burden of assessment lies with sensei to evaluate the relative chance of success for a test candidate and only recommend those candidates who have a chance of demonstrating competency on the test. If sensei knows a candidate will not perform competently on a test, she has an obligation not to recommend that student for testing.

I generally find that good ukemi does not differentiate between a test and class; that is, a student who performs good ukemi usually does so in any environment, taking ukemi from a number of students. Hence the reason why I do not necessarily devote time in a test to "test" ukemi. Instead, I simply ask partners to each perform the technique, demonstrating both sides of the uke/nage relationship.

I would not recommend a student who could not perform tenkan to test for Rokyu, nor would I recommend a student who could not roll. It's a tough conversation to have with the student for sure but it maintains the integrity of testing...

As a side note, many students are proud of their tests; they believe if they pass a test they performed well. These students publish videos or photos of their tests for all to see their prowess. Then you see the video and you think..."dear God, how could he have possibly passed this test? Did I just see this idiot grab the blade of a bokken? That dude rolls like a square wheel!" Then the snickering begins...member "IMAbadass" logs on and the entire forum knows the guys is inept because of his video test. I don't need to continue (because most of us just need to remember highschool ) to imagine the embarrassment and hurt IMAbadass feels.

There is a very small margin in a test between illustrating a candidate's need to train harder and embarrassing a candidate in front of his peers (or worse, a seminar...). Some students respond well to a dose of humility, others don't. I expect my students to be competent in ukemi [relative to rank] before we even talk about testing. I want to test my students to the extent of their skills, without demanding certain failure. If I recommend a student to test knowing they cannot succeed, I am abusing the trust of that student.
I think that it is great that there is an expectation that one's ukemi be on par with the rank that one is testing for at your dojo. Based on conversations with others as well as in my personal experience, I unfortunately have--more often I would hope--have found that not to be the case.

It just has not been emphasized and a gap between the two skill sets can then appear. Perhaps in the interest of inclusiveness waza is sometimes given priority over ukemi which can take more athletic ability once one goes above basic. While everyone is certainly not going to be a gymnast in a hakama, I would like to think that many AIkidoka have more ukemi ability than they give themselves credit for.

At the end of the day either there is a pool of Aikidoka who have a gap between their waza and their ukemi because ukemi is not emphasized beyond the basic--ala good enough. OR, there isn't that much of a gap and individuals have the ability, but just don't "want" to or are "afraid" (despite their advanced rank) to take more advanced ukemi even it holds others back and a smaller group are left to fill the void.
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