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Old 06-14-2010, 11:46 PM   #1
Daniel Lloyd
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One very confused Aikidoka

Thank you all who left advice and their opinions. It has helped me a lot. Going to Aikido tonight to fix the problem. Thank you.

Another question, when I'm performing Tenkan, if uke is resisting - but for the sake of teaching - I find that I have Yonkyo performed on my arm/wrist (skinny wrists and arms).

To ease the problem I've dropped my centre before I tenkan, but I was wondering is there any other advice I could get about this?

(any help would be awesome! )
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:08 AM   #2
Michael Varin
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

I'm assuming you are talking about katate dori tai no henko and possibly other techniques that begin in a similar manner.

Chances are your arm is not properly coordinated with your body movement and very likely is not at the most advantageous angle either.

One thing that I recommend is to leave your hand in place and move your body to your hand, so that your palm is actually on your belt knot, then turn your body, extending your arms as you come out of the turn.

You can then bring this feeling into the technique when you perform it with your hand further away from your center.

As far as the angle of your arm, you want it in the same plane as uke's, almost like you could fold your elbow into his.

Here is one of my friend's videos that might help you.

He has a lot of other videos with very clear explanation of various aikido techniques that you may find helpful, so take a look around his website.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:46 AM   #3
dps
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

In the video that Michael refers to, notice that Chris's arm, as he turns, is not straight, his elbow is bent making his arm into a semicircle. As he turns he maintains the arm as a semicircle. Also notice how he bends his wrist.

David
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Old 06-15-2010, 05:17 AM   #4
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
In the video that Michael refers to, notice that Chris's arm, as he turns, is not straight, his elbow is bent making his arm into a semicircle. As he turns he maintains the arm as a semicircle. Also notice how he bends his wrist.

David
The semicircular arm as he moves is an application of unbendable arm.

David
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:53 AM   #5
Robert Calton
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

I also have slight hiccups with my tenkan. I have a tendency to pull, keeping the force of the turn in my [tensed] arms and shoulders rather than connecting with and moving from center.

What has helped me is a slight inward rotation of the hips and a simultaneous inward curving of the wrist that is being grabbed - this creates the kuzushi needed to initiate the now blended turn from the hips. I've also found staying relaxed through all of this is likewise of key importance (ki importance, heh heh...)

The video is a very good choice, and gives something to think about in regards to the initial step-in/step-behind. I've never really considered that aspect of it, thanks for posting it!

Good luck with everyone's tenkan!

Last edited by Robert Calton : 06-15-2010 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:00 AM   #6
phitruong
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

move in as in irimi. think of punching uke's gut with his/her own elbow then tenkan. you need to disrupt uke's structure and balance before tenkan. if you can't then you got nothing. watch this video and see what Ikeda sensei did to the ukes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e2gz1L4xkE

the question you need to ask tenkan is to turn in circle, where is the center of the circle? you or uke? which is better, you move around uke or uke moves around you?
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:29 AM   #7
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
the question you need to ask tenkan is to turn in circle, where is the center of the circle? you or uke? which is better, you move around uke or uke moves around you?
In a martial sense, the situation dictates where the center is located. You should be good at all three: you are center, attacker is center, mid-point between you and attacker is center.

Between environment, obstacles, buddies of the attacker, and weapons, your choices of movement may be limited. You may have to move the attacker around you, you may have to move yourself around the attacker, or move both you and the attacker.

None of them are "better" as all three should be trained, along with disengaging and re-engaging, and vertical levels. In the aikido area, this is why *good* randori training is necessary. You train engaging someone, disengaging if a more imminent threat is present, re-engaging, various center points in pivots, and using mid-vertical level (going to one knee).

Of course, there should be a lot more being trained ... which brings us back to the original topic, tenkan.

Backing out, moving backwards, stepping out of a tenkan are all common issues that create problems. To try to correct that, turn the spine first. Think of the spine as being free in your body.

1. Imagine stretching the spine upwards and downwards and that it's a straight line. Now imagine the spine turning (clockwise or counterclockwise) in place.

2. Once you have that, start turning the upper body (from both shoulders all the way down to the "V" area between the hips) around the spine. Don't curve or kink the spine.

3. Then at a point where the upper body turn starts pulling the hips, complete the turn. Don't move the hips first or second.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:47 AM   #8
phitruong
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
In a martial sense, the situation dictates where the center is located. You should be good at all three: you are center, attacker is center, mid-point between you and attacker is center.
this is true, but what have you seen as common practice in aikido? for me, i saw alot of getting out of the way, i.e. moving around uke, but not enough moving through uke.

Quote:
Backing out, moving backwards, stepping out of a tenkan are all common issues that create problems. To try to correct that, turn the spine first. Think of the spine as being free in your body.
problem is not many know how to connect their arms to their spine in a relax manner, then connect uke's arm to uke's spine to make one unit out of both nage and uke. this is what Ikeda called "unity". once you achieved unity, you move uke move.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:09 AM   #9
niall
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
2... start turning the upper body (from both shoulders all the way down to the "V" area between the hips) around the spine. Don't curve or kink the spine.

3. Then at a point where the upper body turn starts pulling the hips, complete the turn. Don't move the hips first or second.
I don't know what this is Mark. It sounds like an interesting exercise for body awareness. But it's not aikido. No aikido teacher I know would agree with you.

In aikido you always move from your hips. Always. If the shoulders move first you can be blocked easily. I don't know Ikeda Sensei but in Phi Truong's link you can clearly see he moves very smoothly from his hips and his shoulders follow. All the shihan I know do it this way.

Last edited by niall : 06-15-2010 at 09:23 AM.

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Old 06-15-2010, 10:03 AM   #10
MM
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

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Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
I don't know what this is Mark. It sounds like an interesting exercise for body awareness. But it's not aikido. No aikido teacher I know would agree with you.

In aikido you always move from your hips. Always. If the shoulders move first you can be blocked easily. I don't know Ikeda Sensei but in Phi Truong's link you can clearly see he moves very smoothly from his hips and his shoulders follow. All the shihan I know do it this way.
Let's first look at the Ikeda video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8e2gz1L4xkE

Notice at the very beginning to the 0:06 second mark that Ikeda's hips stay straight forward while his shoulders turn. What you can't see but I bet he's doing is that he's also turning his whole body from shoulders to V around his spine.

At 0:36-0:37, he deliberately shows shoulders and hips together and how that movement is bad, or difficult.

Watch his shoulders and you'll see that they initiate a turn one way or the other before his hips move. The problem (for beginners to see) with Ikeda is that he's got an integrated body and therefore his movements are smooth and hard to catch. While in quick movements, it may look like he's moving with hips first, I'd bet he isn't. Check out 0:46-0:48 and notice his hips don't move from straight forward.

Now, back to, "I don't know what this is Mark." I didn't either until I met someone who had aiki to a decent level. It was completely foreign to me. And most aikido teachers I knew never taught it nor did they know about it. NOTE: I'm not saying I had bad aikido teachers. AT ALL. I had some of the best modern aikido teachers that I'd recommend to anyone.

"But it's not aikido. No aikido teacher I know would agree with you." I would completely agree with you if we are talking about modern aikido. Ellis recently brought up a very good point in another thread about the benefits of modern aikido. I agree with him. I also think some schools are turning out some very good, high level jujutsu people. And there's nothing wrong with that. High level jujutsu skills can be awesome to have. There's some very respectable martial artists out there that fall into this category.

But, it's not the aiki of the founder of aikido. That aiki is something that is missing from modern aikido. NO blame placed here - that's a can of worms I don't want to open.

Anyone ever look at the pictures of Ueshiba in the Budo book (1933 or 1938, I forget which one) where he's showing sword work? Ever notice how Ueshiba's hips are forward toward the attacker *except* when he's giving an opening to the attacker? Then they are not forward but one hip is opened. Ever wonder why?

Watch Shioda here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROXaswf5OWo

At 0:28-0:29, his shoulders turn but his hips are forward.
At 0:36-0:38, his shoulders turn, but his hips are forward as he's moving forward.
At 1:03-1:04, he tosses to his left but his hips are still forward.

Look at all the clips of the giants like Shioda and Shirata and slow them down. Watch their shoulders and hips and see which actually moves first. In randori, movement is very fast and ever changing, so it's hard to see sometimes. But, at points, it's ever so obvious.

Why is it that Ueshiba and the giants of aikido move and feel differently than modern aikido shihan? It's been suggested that when the translation of how to move was done, "move from hips" didn't really mean "hips" at all. I don't know. Might be worth finding out, though.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:38 PM   #11
niall
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Thanks for your reply Mark. Your profile doesn't say if you have a rank in a martial art. I have been doing aikido for nearly thirty years and I called you on this because this is not an either/or thing. It's not a difference between ryuha. You are just giving wrong information. Any beginner reading this is going to be confused. If you or anyone else moves their shoulders first you will be blocked. Guaranteed. If you want to do a different esoteric way of training it's cool. But it's not cool to use this aikido forum and this aikido question to tell other people to do the same. I'll say it again. In aikido we nove from the hips. Always.

Last edited by niall : 06-15-2010 at 01:52 PM.

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Old 06-15-2010, 05:13 PM   #12
MM
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Quote:
Niall Matthews wrote: View Post
Thanks for your reply Mark. Your profile doesn't say if you have a rank in a martial art. I have been doing aikido for nearly thirty years and I called you on this because this is not an either/or thing. It's not a difference between ryuha. You are just giving wrong information. Any beginner reading this is going to be confused. If you or anyone else moves their shoulders first you will be blocked. Guaranteed. If you want to do a different esoteric way of training it's cool. But it's not cool to use this aikido forum and this aikido question to tell other people to do the same. I'll say it again. In aikido we nove from the hips. Always.
I'd agree that modern aikido people reading my posts will be a bit confused. I stopped training in modern aikido a couple of years ago. I'm currently training in Ueshiba Morihei's aiki...do. Or rather training in the aiki that made Ueshiba Morihei great as a martial artist.

30 years is quite a bit of time, especially getting to train in Japan. You have experiences that few will get to have. Nothing but respect from me for all that you've done. But, I'll still disagree with you. It isn't wrong information, but good, solid information regarding training in aiki. Modern aikido people will not understand it. Heck, I didn't when I was first introduced to aiki. To quote someone else, I didn't know that I didn't know. I'll just ask that you keep an open mind and do some research. Maybe one day we'll cross paths and have a great conversation in person.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:15 PM   #13
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

I think the real problem here is that this is not what a new, confused student needs to hear. You are making things more clouded instead of simplifying. Simplification is what is needed here.

Your path is yours Mark, and you are entitled to it. However for a new student of Aikido, you should curb your enthusiasm for the eccentric teachings.

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Old 06-15-2010, 10:49 PM   #14
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

hi Daniel,
You need to start tenkan with strong extension mind and body, sometime its easy to present your hand casually and allow uke to control you before you are even starting the technique (ultimately this is what we might want to do but its a hard starting point)

The second thing is that learning by failure can be tough. Instead ask your uke to help you learn by gripping just hard enough that its a challenge but not so challenging that you can't move correctly. Its a good learning experience for them as well to have this sensativity

dan

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Old 06-16-2010, 08:43 AM   #15
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
It's been suggested that when the translation of how to move was done, "move from hips" didn't really mean "hips" at all. I don't know. Might be worth finding out, though.
Wasn't the original "move from your center", which got translated into "move from your hips" as most typically see that as our center? Not quite the same things though are they?
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:55 AM   #16
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

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Chris Hein wrote: View Post
Your path is yours Mark, and you are entitled to it. However for a new student of Aikido, you should curb your enthusiasm for the eccentric teachings.
I think a new student of aikido who comes to an online forum for help with techniques is probably barking up the wrong tree, tbh. Or even a not-so-new student.
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:08 AM   #17
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
At 0:36-0:37, he deliberately shows shoulders and hips together and how that movement is bad, or difficult.
I have to question your analysis of what he was showing there. His point was surely that your center being properly aligned behind your held wrist will make the technique possible. He was showing that it is bad to turn away from the attack, and then pull in an attempt to move uke.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
The problem (for beginners to see) with Ikeda is that he's got an integrated body and therefore his movements are smooth and hard to catch.
Assuming this is true, maybe you could make a video to more explicitly show and explain these elements. I would be curious to see exactly what you mean by "hips stay straight forward" and "shoulders initiate the turn."

While Ikeda is very good, there is nothing in that clip that I find remarkable, and nothing at great variance from most of the aikido I have experienced.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote:
Ever notice how Ueshiba's hips are forward toward the attacker *except* when he's giving an opening to the attacker? Then they are not forward but one hip is opened. Ever wonder why?
Because he's in hanmi.

Power and alignment come from the ground up.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:16 AM   #18
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Extend into uke's grip (ask for the difference between extend and push at your dojo if you're unsure) and tenkan

Keep the level of uke's hand at a height that is comfortable for YOU to work with.

HTH,

Ruth
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:09 AM   #19
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

When I first read the OP I thought of Ikeda's videos too, thanks for the post, Phi! I just have 2 points to add, one is in line with what has already been said: Michael Varin's suggestion could be described as working towards the idea of your hand being on the surface of a ball, which is attached to your center. Center moves the ball, hand finds freedom by consequence. His suggestion makes this imagery almost literally true as a first step. (Putting your body up to your hand makes your belly the ball that your hand is on the surface of. Training makes the ball bigger, extending away from your physical body)

The other point is fuel for the "what moves first" fire. If you are moving from your center, your middle could make a really small movement that is invisible, but the upper body could be driven a visible distance because of it. But that doesn't mean the shoulders moved first. (I'm thinking of a wheel, where a point on the rim moves a lot due to a very small angular turn.) But I'm just throwing that out there, I don't know enough to address what has been said specifically.
Also I used to think moving from the hips and moving from the center were the same thing. Then I realized there is absolutely no reason that would be the case, after I loosened up a bit.
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Old 06-17-2010, 03:49 PM   #20
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

Quote:
Jonathan Wong wrote: View Post
The other point is fuel for the "what moves first" fire. If you are moving from your center, your middle could make a really small movement that is invisible, but the upper body could be driven a visible distance because of it. But that doesn't mean the shoulders moved first. (I'm thinking of a wheel, where a point on the rim moves a lot due to a very small angular turn.)
.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1fi3...eature=related
methink, center/hara/dantien moves first which drives everything else. notice, what his other hand pointed to.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:37 AM   #21
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Re: Difficulty with Tenkan

For a beginner it is easier to understand movement from the center by moving the center with large visible outside movements. As time goes by he then can work on making the large outside movements smaller and smaller until they become small inside movements of the center.

David
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Old 06-19-2010, 06:20 PM   #22
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Re: One very confused Aikidoka

Quote:
Daniel Lloyd wrote: View Post
Thank you all who left advice and their opinions. It has helped me a lot. Going to Aikido tonight to fix the problem. Thank you.

Another question, when I'm performing Tenkan, if uke is resisting - but for the sake of teaching - I find that I have Yonkyo performed on my arm/wrist (skinny wrists and arms).

To ease the problem I've dropped my centre before I tenkan, but I was wondering is there any other advice I could get about this?

(any help would be awesome! )
I just read the entire thread and there is a lot of good information and pointers from all; even those that appear to conflict. Keep in mind that everything is relative and what may appear different to one may just be the same thing from the other side or other end of the same situation, etc.

With all that esoteric type babble said ( ) how about looking at it from a different view. Instead of focusing on what to do with uke's strong grasp, try focusing on moving from center first (which is attached to hips, but center moves first) and simply just pivot around uke's point of contact to effect a disbursement of uke's energy and subsequent taking of balance - just think about it,

Greg
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