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Old 02-09-2010, 10:53 AM   #26
edshockley
Dojo: Aiklikai of Philadelphia
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Sorry to weigh in so late but at 6'8" tall and 235lbs I obviously have spent my aikido career grapping with the same issues. Lots of great advice. I would just add that my practice has been to first simply follow the lead to be sure that my partner understands the technique. This translates into placing my arm and body in a position of kuzushi for the first few throws even if the uke doesn't create it. I was taught that, especially working with yukusha, this posturing allows them to experience the technique and adjust their body and position. I attack strong but slow, maintaining pressure throughoyut the ukemi and increase the speed as my partner appears to gain facility. After a series of successful throws then I feel for a place to either reverse or escape but rather than doing so I borrow a tactic from Osawa Shihan and indicate that spot with increased pressure. (He paused at that moment then allowed me to continue. When he threw he emphasised the same moment. When I got the message then the moment of pause appeared later in the technique.) Finally, when/irf uke is comfortable then I simly attack and respond, confident that my partenr will not be overwhelmed. My goals always are to allow nage to practice in whatever way he chooses and to attack until escape becomes prudent then rise to attack again. I look forward to all of us big guys training together at a seminar or summer camp. There's a seven footer over at Yousef Meter Sensei's Syracuse dojo. It would be quite a site and great fun to perform shihonage without crazy sinking tactics.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:30 AM   #27
S Ellis
 
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Dojo: ASU of Sarasota
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
I'm still unclear about how exactly you are expected to practice in YOUR dojo. This is surely crucial to the usefulness of any advice! Aikido is practiced with huge variance of intention, violence, sadism, acquiscence, performance and realism.
With my instructors, ukemi is easier because they are very controlled and direct and I can feel where they are compelling me to go. There is no question about timing, space, or speed because they are excellent and are beyond what I can currently perceive. However, all other students in my dojo at present are kyu ranked from first to six. I am third kyu. Students who have not been training as long as I have (which is not very long in the grand scheme of things) are generally just trying to figure out the techniques, so I generally flow and go where they want trying to get the feel for where they are taking me. With those students who are preparing for shodan, I generally begin slowly and speed up after it is obvious they have the technique. As we speed up, sometimes it gets a little crazier. Sometimes the technique works and sometimes it doesn't. There is no doubt that my intention is to strike and if they do not move or deal with the attack, they will be struck. No malice, no violence, and no sadism. As far as performance and realism. This is the problem. I have a good friend who refers to my practice as ballet. Primarily because I think he likes to see the expression on peoples faces when he asks me, "Are you going to ballet practice tonight?" At any rate, I do feel like I am doing ballet some days. I am working very hard not so much that the dance looks right, but that it feels right. I have found that my exprerience being uke helps me feel out how I should be moving as nage. As nage I want to be as smooth as possible, so I spend as much time as possible being as smooth an uke as I can be. This isn't at all realistic, and most definitely borders on performance as I am not only giving an attack and my weight for nage to deal with, but actively moving to go where I think they are taking me instead of resisting like a normal person would if they did not know or understand the kata or the concept of ukemi. I protect myself because I know if I do not move, one of us is going to get hurt. I don't think the average person who knows nothing about aikido and would resist would understand that they are about to be in some pain until the technique is applied and it is too late for them to do anything about it. If they start flailing around like a fish they open themselves up to even more pain. As uke, I know where to go and how to position myself to avoid said pain. Is that realistic? Unless you have practiced the art or other arts, you have no idea what is coming or how to protect yourself from what is coming. I don't understand how to give that experience to people without leaving myself in a more vulnerable position then I already do. Not sure if anything I just wrote makes any sense, but I tried.

Quote:
Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
It might help to tell us WHY you like to practice aikido.
Because I am a fool that can't stand the gym, and likes to drink beer with people that I just got done striking, throwing, and pinning. I won't lie. I started because of the philosophy (or what I thought was the philosophy) and stayed for the art. Like everyone else here, it consumes me. The kind of fire your parents always wished you would have for something in your life. I can't imagine my life without it anymore.

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Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
You also mentioned Atemi and how you found it to be effective : I'm presuming you mean effective against you when you attack. Do they smack you in the mouth? How do you find it effective? You see stars : do they punch you in the head?
I have been hit in the mouth. Yes, it is effective. My blocking reaction is that much stronger as a result. I have been punched in the head. Every time it has happened it has been as a result of me moving the wrong way. Nobody is coming to knock my head off maliciously, but if I walk into their attack, I deserve to see the stars. This has happened more often then I would like to admit.

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Michael Douglas wrote: View Post
At risk of being booed may I suggest you're lazy? : do the work to find a middle way, apply enough to balance what they think they want from you.
Booooo! No just kidding. I am lazy. However, when you are moving a lot of weight, momentum does what momentum does. After reading all of the posts on this thread, I keep thinking that if there were a middle way, I would have found it at this point. I have been training lately with all of the advice of this thread in mind, and as others suggested I tried to find different speeds to work at. What I discovered is that I can initiate at any speed I choose, but how nage deals with the attack determines the speed at which I will be falling. It can start slow, but as my balance breaks I can only hold both my and nage's weight so long. When it does unravel, it happens pretty quickly. They adjust and so do I. When I am nage, the uke will determine the speed which I apply the technique. I have found that I have all kinds of gears. I was just looking at it the wrong way

At any rate, thank you for your post. Have a good day!
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:37 AM   #28
S Ellis
 
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Quote:
Ed Shockley wrote: View Post
I attack strong but slow, maintaining pressure throughoyut the ukemi and increase the speed as my partner appears to gain facility. After a series of successful throws then I feel for a place to either reverse or escape but rather than doing so I borrow a tactic from Osawa Shihan and indicate that spot with increased pressure. (He paused at that moment then allowed me to continue. When he threw he emphasised the same moment. When I got the message then the moment of pause appeared later in the technique.) Finally, when/irf uke is comfortable then I simly attack and respond, confident that my partenr will not be overwhelmed. My goals always are to allow nage to practice in whatever way he chooses and to attack until escape becomes prudent then rise to attack again.
Fantastic advice. Thank you, Ed. I hope to run into you at camp sometime.
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Old 02-10-2010, 10:29 AM   #29
Budd
 
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Dojo: Taikyoku Aikido
Location: Williamsville, NY
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Hi Scott, just chiming in. I don't consider myself a big guy, but at 5'9" and 215, I'm pretty solid, with low center of gravity and along with the frame I have some grappler tendencies from my childhood through my early 20s. Two things I like about your line of inquiry is the way you're asking the question to get insight and then responding to each person. There's plenty of folks that already "know" the answer to the question they're asking and are really just looking for agreement. In addition, I get the feeling you are on a continuous process of "working it out" and I think that's a fantastic attitude to hold onto, no matter what avocation or art you're into.

Anyways, soapboxiness aside - my response would be to keep along with genuinely trying to "connect" to the other person, as it sounds like you're trying to do. An additional component is to train yourself to be responsive, not because you're forced to go somewhere, not because you're helpless (though you may feel like it), but that ukemi is your way of receiving the technique to facilitate their training and keep yourself safe, composed and ready/able to counter/respond instantly.

This is a tricky balance because it is absolutely tailored to who you're working with. Someone that's just figuring it out, you can help them by giving up your center more - forcing them to feel it through the connection you're imposing on them (think of it, uke is the receiver, one who "fits in", but they typically establish the connection through which nage "enters"), while still being composed and able to respond . . there's a lot of room for study, there. Someone that's more aggressive, you still enable their training, but you keep yourself safe and if they have a clue, they'll understand that you aren't a helpless dummy that they can have their way with.

But I think it comes from giving a clean "attack" by which you create the connection (starting from a dumb force that someone can work with - hence the somewhat rudimentary nature of basic aikido attacks), nage trains to enter it appropriately (ideally off-balancing you before contact is even made), you enable the training by continuing to "fit in appropriately" with the connection and nage finishes the engagement.

There's a lot of room for interesting study in this space . . but it's admittedly leaving aside some of the less "structured" components involving randori, testing in a more free form environment, working things out against other martial arts/practitioners (all additionally important areas of training in the combative developmental sense, but YMMV) . . and to be honest, within the aikido space and partner practice, I think the above considerations are among the most important, especially as related to how you're training your body to relax, generate soft power, etc.

Anyways, thanks for getting me thinking and spewing forth - good luck in your journey!
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:42 AM   #30
Michael Douglas
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Hi Scott, that was a long reply!
I did read it, thanks.

Maybe some things are worked out now ... it only remains to go train.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:41 PM   #31
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Quote:
Scott Ellis wrote: View Post
Fantastic advice. Thank you, Ed. I hope to run into you at camp sometime.
Yes. Excellent post. Excellent UKEMI.

(Hi, Scott!)

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:19 PM   #32
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

At only 6' and 220 I'm not exactly large-but I have other things going for me that make me feel large. I think all aspects of large (frame and weight or both) are a great opportunity to help people.

1. Having a large frame (say 6' 3" or so) can pose a challenge for those doing rote waza. As the big guy, YOU are in a more experienced position-almost by default. After all, you have felt many people try things on you your whole career. It is more than likely that most others have not had the same percentage of experience with such a size difference or power differential as you. That presents an opportunity to help.
Leveraged based jujutsu is not the same on large levers V small. Aiki waza is not the same on large frame V small. Then you have other things many times outside aikido waza; kicks, punches and certain throws where entries have to be different on larger men.

2. Large in size but not frame presents a whole different set of problems, but with the same opportunities to share and help.

I think it its sad to see some guys "just" exploit their size over and over. Of course you need to be mindful of your own training, but at a certain point its worth spending at least some of the time helping others grow.

Hello Don and Bud (respectively, fine examples of frame vs size and the dilemmas they can present)
Cheers
Dan
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:49 PM   #33
S Ellis
 
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Quote:
Don J. Modesto wrote: View Post

(Hi, Scott!)
Good day to you, sir. I look forward to seeing you on the mat soon. Hopefully, one of these Sunday's coming up in the near future. Thank you again for coming to our dojo and teaching recently. I have much to learn. Thanks again.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:50 PM   #34
S Ellis
 
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post

I think it its sad to see some guys "just" exploit their size over and over. Of course you need to be mindful of your own training, but at a certain point its worth spending at least some of the time helping others grow.
Right on! Thank you, Dan.
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Old 02-15-2010, 01:27 PM   #35
felipe_3
Dojo: Kynsei Ryu
Location: Montecristi
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Ecuador
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Re: The Problem with Being a Big Guy

hola no entiendo muy bien lo que quieres decir pero yo tambičn soy grande bueno yo peso 200lb y mido 1,90 meters
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