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Old 12-26-2010, 07:47 PM   #26
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
People internally make judgments about each other everyday, every moment. We gauge our world in this way. However, a student to go out with the intent to test his fellow class mate; IMO they are over stepping their boundaries. The teacher is the one with the experience and the credentials(at least she/he should have) to be putting tests upon their students. I truly feel deshi are over stepping their bounds to be testing their fellow students openly or intentionally. IMO, it goes into the category of; work on your issues before seeking out the issues in others.
For the student being "tested" by their fellow student I guess see it as a blessing that some one is "testing" you. Because, not only are YOU working on your issues, but your partner is too...all the training for you, and none for them! lol
Interesting angle that you put forward, your own level of understanding and personal opinion, and good luck with that. There is no shame or underhandedness in testing each others abilities, how else can we learn and improve? As long as it is done with the right mind, constructive and not destructive.
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Old 12-26-2010, 07:53 PM   #27
RED
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
Interesting angle that you put forward, your own level of understanding and personal opinion, and good luck with that. There is no shame or underhandedness in testing each others abilities, how else can we learn and improve? As long as it is done with the right mind, constructive and not destructive.
Here is my problem:
If you put yourself in a position to test any one's abilities, then you first must be saying in yourself that you are "in a position" to be testing. Thus you think yourself better, or of greater knowledge than the one being tested. Because if we are being intellectually honest, only one considers themselves with greater knowledge in Aikido can be in a position to gauge those with less knowledge. If we are all equals and testing each other, well that's the blind leading the blind, if we are being intellectually honest. Therefore only some one of greater knowledge is in a position to gauge the skills and knowledge of some one else. And I think that person is Sensei. Therefore if you put yourself in a position to judge another classmate, you must first in yourself consider yourself your classmate's better, else it is the blind leading the blind.

Last edited by RED : 12-26-2010 at 07:58 PM.

MM
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Old 12-26-2010, 07:57 PM   #28
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
We might have some difference in meanings when we describe relaxed holds. I also said I wasn't sure I understood you correctly. That was why I asked for you to elaborate. I gave an example I commonly think of as good pound-for-pound grabbing power. I think a powerful grip/hold can be pretty relaxed, relatively speaking.
Given your counter example of "real" holds, I could always be wrong, however I don't think my view is unrealistic because I also have experience (relatively slight though it is) with people who have been successful in "da street" with their fighting.
Let me be clear, I'm no bad-ass (if anything I spent time avoiding such efforts), but I'm not completely ignorant in these matters either.
Dear Mathew
No offense taken as non was intended, this is a forum by Aikido lovers worldwide giving us the opportunity to exchange views and ideas. It is always difficult to chat with someone without being face to face. Many mis-understandings flare up and arguments can easily arise. I am just making a comment based on my 30 plus years of addiction to Aikido is all. I do not claim to be a great leader or sensei, I am just an avid student of Aikido for life. Let all take note that if someone's comments offend or upset you, it may well be that deep down it shook up your core beliefs, and might cause you to change your viewpoint eventually. This can cause anger to rise in defense of your ingrained understanding at that time. Open up to others viewpoints and re-evaluate as you all go.
Enjoy the journey.
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:04 PM   #29
kewms
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
Interesting angle that you put forward, your own level of understanding and personal opinion, and good luck with that. There is no shame or underhandedness in testing each others abilities, how else can we learn and improve? As long as it is done with the right mind, constructive and not destructive.
*shrug* I'm too focused on developing my own abilities to really worry about anyone else's. (Except when I'm the person teaching the class.)

As for testing a potential teacher, I've been fortunate enough to study with teachers who are well beyond my ability to actually test them. If you don't feel that testing your teacher would be pointless, perhaps it's time to find another teacher.

Katherine
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:08 PM   #30
RED
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
*shrug* I'm too focused on developing my own abilities to really worry about anyone else's. (Except when I'm the person teaching the class.)

As for testing a potential teacher, I've been fortunate enough to study with teachers who are well beyond my ability to actually test them. If you don't feel that testing your teacher would be pointless, perhaps it's time to find another teacher.

Katherine
Kind of my point.
If you have to test your teacher, IMO you haven't chose your teacher wisely. I think there should be no doubt walking on that mat.
And only the person in charge should be testing any one's ability. To test some one you are putting yourself in a position that states that you "know better" than the person being tested. Unless you are the Sensei or instructor, you are being quite arrogant in my opinion.

MM
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:26 PM   #31
Andrew Macdonald
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

interesting idea but why are you using a wrist grab to test skill, and then making a leap to aikido working on the street

when i train i use the wrist grab as a controled way to investigate and practice how to deal with an incoming force in a controlled way. because of this i require people to apply pressure/force in a direction that i can use, the tightness of the grip can be as relaxed or a tight as the person wants, but without the incoming force there is nothing for me to work with

I never tell people that someone is going to grab them in the street in such a manner, and i think it is a very dangerous thing to teach the wrist grab as a practical technique. if someone grabbed my wrsit in the street, (all my life i have never been attacked by someone only grabbing my wrist) doing an irimi nage on them might not be the first thing i try i would go for a simple release.

however, i do tell people to break down the technique and look at how they are working with a forcecoming in, then when we move to striking attacks they hopefully can see the same mechanics at work and learn some thing that is more directly applicable
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:01 PM   #32
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
And only the person in charge should be testing any one's ability. To test some one you are putting yourself in a position that states that you "know better" than the person being tested. Unless you are the Sensei or instructor, you are being quite arrogant in my opinion.
I don't think it's bad for peers to challenge each other. Or is that not what you had in mind?

Katherine
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:13 PM   #33
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Apologies in advance in case this comes across as a bit blunt:

There seem to be some unusual definitions of "a tight grab" as well what constitutes "a relaxed grab" as well as the power of such a grab. A tight grab doesn't need reams of explanation. If you ask me to grab you tightly, I'll try to grab you tightly.

Perhaps this sounds too simple, but imagine your opponent is going to follow up the grab with a punch or other attack with any of their unoccupied limbs. Alternatively, imagine you have multiple opponents and your attacker is one of many attempting to stop you moving so they can all lay into you. In the role of the attacker, is your grab the kind of grab that would succeed in securing that arm, stopping their movement or dragging someone into an alleyway? Can you do any of the above with a light grab and if so, is that basic?

The founder was well known for letting people (often high-ranking martial artists) grab tightly (Tenryu for example) and many of his direct students do likewise as a method of kokyu development. Whether other people use this kind of training is up to them. What I don't get is some of the illogical statements people are making to invalidate this practice and elevate their own.

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Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
A uke that holds with relaxation, with their centre in their hand/s, full intent on the objective and a completley free to move body, is a completely different animal than the 'tight grabber'. find one of those to test yourself against, they are very easy to move if the principles of aikido are followed and almost impossible to throw if they are not.
Mark, is your definition of grabbing lightly the same as my definition of grabbing tightly? The tight grabs I described above can be done very strongly by weak old masters using aiki alone – but it is still a tight grab, particularly when you give them something to work with by trying to muscle out of it. If this is not your meaning, I guess what confuses me about this post is that I find the opposite scenario: people grabbing tightly with the purpose of immobilising (by muscle or aiki-magic) make it a lot harder to move whereas people grabbing lightly (even if ironically to maintain their freedom of movement – which I also don’t get btw) are usually easy to move even with just a little regular muscle. I understand that in certain ki-forms, there are exercises involving this kind of thing but I think this is a different kind of practice to the basics the OP was talking about. If your opponent is "relaxed" as in only lightly attacking, they can't strike so easily because their physical (and “intentional”) connection isn't strong enough to stop you moving somewhere safer and they can't stop you striking them for the same reason: the attacker only has a tenuous connection that can be broken easily. Usually, the worst the attacker can do is to give up and flee if you mistakenly try to apply a waza to an attack that poses little danger.

It seems to me that if you're going to do a technique on someone who only has a light grab, it has to be this scenario: a fully committed attack in which the opponent is intending to get a solid immobilising grab but you only allow the light grab.

Also I'm not sure what is meant by "centre in their hands." The most basic, easy-to-explain kind of centre is the centre of gravity.

Kind regards to all

Carl

Last edited by Carl Thompson : 12-26-2010 at 09:17 PM. Reason: "grip" vs "grab" usage consistency
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Old 12-26-2010, 09:55 PM   #34
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
I don't think it's bad for peers to challenge each other. Or is that not what you had in mind?

Katherine
Now playful challenge is something different to me than test. People who are peers mucking about is all good and fine. But the concept of "test the abilities of" is what I don't like. The progress of a student may only be gauged by his better in my opinion. This is the Sensei's position.

MM
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Old 12-26-2010, 10:52 PM   #35
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
Dear Mathew
No offense taken as non was intended, this is a forum by Aikido lovers worldwide giving us the opportunity to exchange views and ideas. It is always difficult to chat with someone without being face to face. Many mis-understandings flare up and arguments can easily arise. I am just making a comment based on my 30 plus years of addiction to Aikido is all. I do not claim to be a great leader or sensei, I am just an avid student of Aikido for life. Let all take note that if someone's comments offend or upset you, it may well be that deep down it shook up your core beliefs, and might cause you to change your viewpoint eventually. This can cause anger to rise in defense of your ingrained understanding at that time. Open up to others viewpoints and re-evaluate as you all go.
Enjoy the journey.
Hi Paul,
No worries! I wasn't offended, and I hope I didn't come across as offensive! I gave a specific example in response to specific remarks (not the original post, which I didn't see much to disagree with) hoping to get more information on what you meant by relaxed holds, or at least to get some direct view on my example. You replied by suggesting I was being unrealistic and I then replied to that by suggesting I have a basis for understanding the realities of "street" attacks. We've still not discussed the concept of realistic or relaxed grabs any further because rather than address my specific questions, now you seem to be suggesting I'm being closed-minded.
I try to live by your last two sentences. I can't re-evaluate my views without direct feedback.
Take care,
Matthew

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Old 12-27-2010, 12:13 AM   #36
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Here is my problem:
If you put yourself in a position to test any one's abilities, then you first must be saying in yourself that you are "in a position" to be testing. Thus you think yourself better, or of greater knowledge than the one being tested. Because if we are being intellectually honest, only one considers themselves with greater knowledge in Aikido can be in a position to gauge those with less knowledge. If we are all equals and testing each other, well that's the blind leading the blind, if we are being intellectually honest. Therefore only some one of greater knowledge is in a position to gauge the skills and knowledge of some one else. And I think that person is Sensei. Therefore if you put yourself in a position to judge another classmate, you must first in yourself consider yourself your classmate's better, else it is the blind leading the blind.
Dear Maggie Schill
You are really going in direction that is so confrontational and agressive and nothing to do with my post or me, and more to do with you, where you are at in life at this point in time. If you do not like what I have to say, do not read my comments and feel free to go somewhere else. Good bye and good luck to you.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:20 AM   #37
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
*shrug* I'm too focused on developing my own abilities to really worry about anyone else's. (Except when I'm the person teaching the class.)

As for testing a potential teacher, I've been fortunate enough to study with teachers who are well beyond my ability to actually test them. If you don't feel that testing your teacher would be pointless, perhaps it's time to find another teacher.

Katherine
Not my point at all Katherine Derbyshire, totally yours. Not what I had to say, but your own opinion of what you think I said. Some comments here by some people are way off the mark as far as I am concerned, but good luck to you. Some can understand what I said others find it a convenient place to anonymously attack others opinions. If it makes you happy, go for it. Enjoy. I will not be wasting my time trying to explain myself to people who do not wish to understand. I am placing my thoughts on this bulletin board so others can read and agree or disagree. My life is too busy to bother with naysayers. Enjoy your journey.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:30 AM   #38
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Hi Paul,
No worries! I wasn't offended, and I hope I didn't come across as offensive! I gave a specific example in response to specific remarks (not the original post, which I didn't see much to disagree with) hoping to get more information on what you meant by relaxed holds, or at least to get some direct view on my example. You replied by suggesting I was being unrealistic and I then replied to that by suggesting I have a basis for understanding the realities of "street" attacks. We've still not discussed the concept of realistic or relaxed grabs any further because rather than address my specific questions, now you seem to be suggesting I'm being closed-minded.
I try to live by your last two sentences. I can't re-evaluate my views without direct feedback.
Take care,
Matthew
Dear Mathew
Sorry, the last comments from me were directed mainly at prior comments which were getting a bit way out there, and way off the mark. I do agree wholeheartedly with giving uke something to work with while training, but not trying to completely stop them.
I also find that gripping hard sometimes, allows both parties to get a good idea of where they are, and what they may need to polish to improve. This is something that does not work at all when the other person (sensei or student) has a good understanding of the techniques of Aikido. This comment was placed as a guideline to bettering oneself, and also your partner, during training. It is only my personal viewpoint, but it seems to have brought out some anger issues with some folks. Sorry about that.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:34 AM   #39
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Kind of my point.
If you have to test your teacher, IMO you haven't chose your teacher wisely. I think there should be no doubt walking on that mat.
And only the person in charge should be testing any one's ability. To test some one you are putting yourself in a position that states that you "know better" than the person being tested. Unless you are the Sensei or instructor, you are being quite arrogant in my opinion.
Maggie
The snide remarks and agressive comments from you are getting stale very quickly. Go away, or do I have to make a formal complaint to Jun? Your choice.
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:32 AM   #40
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

To Sensei Araki-Metcalfe,

I'd just like to say thanks for your original post. It makes me want to visit your dojo.

Carl

Last edited by Carl Thompson : 12-27-2010 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:21 AM   #41
Mark Freeman
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Apologies in advance in case this comes across as a bit blunt:

There seem to be some unusual definitions of "a tight grab" as well what constitutes "a relaxed grab" as well as the power of such a grab. A tight grab doesn't need reams of explanation. If you ask me to grab you tightly, I'll try to grab you tightly.

Perhaps this sounds too simple, but imagine your opponent is going to follow up the grab with a punch or other attack with any of their unoccupied limbs. Alternatively, imagine you have multiple opponents and your attacker is one of many attempting to stop you moving so they can all lay into you. In the role of the attacker, is your grab the kind of grab that would succeed in securing that arm, stopping their movement or dragging someone into an alleyway? Can you do any of the above with a light grab and if so, is that basic?

The founder was well known for letting people (often high-ranking martial artists) grab tightly (Tenryu for example) and many of his direct students do likewise as a method of kokyu development. Whether other people use this kind of training is up to them. What I don't get is some of the illogical statements people are making to invalidate this practice and elevate their own.

Mark, is your definition of grabbing lightly the same as my definition of grabbing tightly? The tight grabs I described above can be done very strongly by weak old masters using aiki alone -- but it is still a tight grab, particularly when you give them something to work with by trying to muscle out of it. If this is not your meaning, I guess what confuses me about this post is that I find the opposite scenario: people grabbing tightly with the purpose of immobilising (by muscle or aiki-magic) make it a lot harder to move whereas people grabbing lightly (even if ironically to maintain their freedom of movement -- which I also don't get btw) are usually easy to move even with just a little regular muscle. I understand that in certain ki-forms, there are exercises involving this kind of thing but I think this is a different kind of practice to the basics the OP was talking about. If your opponent is "relaxed" as in only lightly attacking, they can't strike so easily because their physical (and "intentional") connection isn't strong enough to stop you moving somewhere safer and they can't stop you striking them for the same reason: the attacker only has a tenuous connection that can be broken easily. Usually, the worst the attacker can do is to give up and flee if you mistakenly try to apply a waza to an attack that poses little danger.

It seems to me that if you're going to do a technique on someone who only has a light grab, it has to be this scenario: a fully committed attack in which the opponent is intending to get a solid immobilising grab but you only allow the light grab.

Also I'm not sure what is meant by "centre in their hands." The most basic, easy-to-explain kind of centre is the centre of gravity.

Kind regards to all

Carl
Hi Carl,

I dont think your definition and mine are the same. I didn't mention grabbing 'lightly', not sure where that comes from, a forum is a bit like chinese whispers, things get distorted along the way. I mentioned 'relaxed', with full intent, free to move etc.

I have no problem with people practicing with whatever level of grip that they like, if aikido is valid it has to work with all levels of strength and types of attack.

What I am certainly not advocating is some limp/relaxed hold that has no intention, that would be a complete waste of everyones time.

The hold itself is only one aspect of the whole person. If uke holds with a relaxed grip (and I realise it is the word relaxed that is causing the problem for some), but with their mind on the target, basic standing or dynamic movement, makes no difference. Then they are in a position to follow nage's movement with ease. If uke's structure/co-ordination is correct throughout, then any use of 'muscling' a technique, runs into a big problem, as it is very difficult to throw a whole person with something as ineffective as tense arms.
When I am teaching, I constantly use this method to find the point at which the student is 'going wrong'. This method relies on co-ordination and a non-fighting mind. Uke's job is to follow the truth in the movement, to decide nothing and provide the intent for nage to work with.

I have been working with trying to understand and practice this as taught to me for quite a while. In the begining I was really into the training and what my teacher was doing, but I must admit, I was sceptical that it had any martial merit, it all seemed a bit 'soft'. It took me about 5 years before I began to see the logic behind it all. Now, I wouldn't want to go any other way, unless it could be proven to be more effective.

If I want to test myself against 'strength', my assistant teacher is a 'Dry Stone Waller' by trade, he lifts and places rocks, hammering and chiselling when required. He has a grip that can cut your circulation off If I ask him for the sake of demonstration to 'apply a serious grip'' he knows what is coming next. For me the throw is easy, for him the fall is much harder than if he stayed relaxed and co-ordinated.

As for the 'centre in the hands' point. If your hands are not an extension of your one point/hara/centre/dantien, then you do not have the mind/body structure that is required to manifest the elusive aiki/IS that is much talked about. The hands must be connected to the ground, through the centre (not the centre of gravity/although it's in approximately the same place) This I realise, is the most problematic part of reaching higher levels of competence in aikido. If I am uke and am following someone's technique, if their hands are not an extension of their centre then they have 'lost'. Not that it's about winning and losing of course, just trying to constantly improve.

Not a full explanation, by any means, but maybe enough to gauge where you are on this continuum. I could just cop out and say 'it has to be felt', it does. Hopefully, this might clear up some of the tangents that this thread has gone off on.

regards

Mark

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Old 12-27-2010, 06:21 AM   #42
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Hello Mark,

A question.

Quote:
Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
If I want to test myself against 'strength', my assistant teacher is a 'Dry Stone Waller' by trade, he lifts and places rocks, hammering and chiselling when required. He has a grip that can cut your circulation off If I ask him for the sake of demonstration to 'apply a serious grip'' he knows what is coming next. For me the throw is easy, for him the fall is much harder than if he stayed relaxed and co-ordinated.
Have you asked your 'Dry Stone Waller' to grip you with 'intent'? Or does he know how? If he does, how would this differ from him gripping you without 'intent'? How have you taught him the difference?

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 12-27-2010, 10:33 AM   #43
Mark Freeman
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Mark,

A question.

Have you asked your 'Dry Stone Waller' to grip you with 'intent'? Or does he know how? If he does, how would this differ from him gripping you without 'intent'? How have you taught him the difference?

Best wishes,

PAG
Hi Peter,

I guess we could enter into an 'exactly what does intent mean' discusion here , however, to try and answer your question - the 'intent I ask for, when demonstrating is for him to grip as hard as he can and try and prevent me from moving my arm. So from a martial attack point of view it's pretty low level stuff. It is really only a test to show that a relaxed co-ordinated mind/body beats a strong arm grab each time.

Now once the test moves into dynamic movement, then uke's attack may still have the 'death grip' on the end of his arm and his intent would change to one of forward momentum and a desire to control nage in some way. Once we are here then aikido is enough to deal with his attack.

Yes there is a difference between holding with and without intent, holding without intent, seems to me to be a bit of an oxymoron, if there is no intent, why hold? I guess everything comes down to exactly what is it you 'intend' to do with the action of grabbing.

For me, my practice now is much more weighted in the what the mind is doing, now that I seem to have got the physical side pretty well up to scratch. So I am very interested moment by moment as to where my mind/ki/intent is.

My main point that was trying to get across is that once you engage the muscles in the tension required to give a really strong grip, then the total body relaxation I am searching for goes, also the tension is in the mind as well, it becomes fixed, both the mind and the body can become 'choked' on the point that they are trying to control. My aim is to be completely free to move 'on balance' with non-resistant ukemi. This I can only do with relaxation.

My Dry Stoner is a second dan, so he knows the difference, but he still needs plenty of reminding

Peter, you know my teacher, if I don't hold or attack him with full intent (particularly with weapons), he's not going to cut me any slack. So I do as I'm instructed. When he holds me, it is like being held in the jaws of an imaginary vice, you don't feel a thing, until you try and do something!

Not sure if that answers your question, but it's a bit more to go on. I find it easy to demonstrate, but not so easy to put down onto pixels.

regards,

Mark

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Old 12-27-2010, 11:29 AM   #44
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Ai symbol Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

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Hi Carl,

I dont think your definition and mine are the same. I didn't mention grabbing 'lightly', not sure where that comes from, a forum is a bit like chinese whispers, things get distorted along the way. I mentioned 'relaxed', with full intent, free to move etc.

I have no problem with people practicing with whatever level of grip that they like, if aikido is valid it has to work with all levels of strength and types of attack.

What I am certainly not advocating is some limp/relaxed hold that has no intention, that would be a complete waste of everyones time.

The hold itself is only one aspect of the whole person. If uke holds with a relaxed grip (and I realise it is the word relaxed that is causing the problem for some), but with their mind on the target, basic standing or dynamic movement, makes no difference. Then they are in a position to follow nage's movement with ease. If uke's structure/co-ordination is correct throughout, then any use of 'muscling' a technique, runs into a big problem, as it is very difficult to throw a whole person with something as ineffective as tense arms.
When I am teaching, I constantly use this method to find the point at which the student is 'going wrong'. This method relies on co-ordination and a non-fighting mind. Uke's job is to follow the truth in the movement, to decide nothing and provide the intent for nage to work with.

I have been working with trying to understand and practice this as taught to me for quite a while. In the begining I was really into the training and what my teacher was doing, but I must admit, I was sceptical that it had any martial merit, it all seemed a bit 'soft'. It took me about 5 years before I began to see the logic behind it all. Now, I wouldn't want to go any other way, unless it could be proven to be more effective.

If I want to test myself against 'strength', my assistant teacher is a 'Dry Stone Waller' by trade, he lifts and places rocks, hammering and chiselling when required. He has a grip that can cut your circulation off If I ask him for the sake of demonstration to 'apply a serious grip'' he knows what is coming next. For me the throw is easy, for him the fall is much harder than if he stayed relaxed and co-ordinated.

As for the 'centre in the hands' point. If your hands are not an extension of your one point/hara/centre/dantien, then you do not have the mind/body structure that is required to manifest the elusive aiki/IS that is much talked about. The hands must be connected to the ground, through the centre (not the centre of gravity/although it's in approximately the same place) This I realise, is the most problematic part of reaching higher levels of competence in aikido. If I am uke and am following someone's technique, if their hands are not an extension of their centre then they have 'lost'. Not that it's about winning and losing of course, just trying to constantly improve.

Not a full explanation, by any means, but maybe enough to gauge where you are on this continuum. I could just cop out and say 'it has to be felt', it does. Hopefully, this might clear up some of the tangents that this thread has gone off on.

regards

Mark
I think that maybe one has to differentiate between "relaxed" and "whimpy" for starters. One certainly can be "grounded" without being a sack of sand. I would think that an attacker is not going to just grab and hold on for dear life any more than their grab will reflect, "Hey, you do you have the time?" From the Uke's perspective,what is the purpose of the "attack" or in this case, the set-up? It really isn't anything by itself.

This is a place where it seems Aikido training falls down in that what is really possible in a very very short amount of time, within that maai is often not conveyed to students. Sometimes it is because AIkido is all the instructor (and many of the students probably) has ever really known and thus, can't really punch or kick anyone. Is the purpose of the grab to intimidate-probably, is it to control or manipulate--ala don't move or move over here? Or is the Uke threatening to punch Nage in the body or face, headbut, knee, or kick--if so, I would think that it would happen pretty quickly, within 2 seconds of being grabbed

In other words, besides the obvious connection practice--why is Uke even grabbing and what are their options, not just what are Nage's options. We in AIkido often tend to develop a very narrow "tunnel vision" as far a looking at all these options for Nage because we often--too often in my belief-- train in the "one and done" attack, not realizing that Uke has a lot of options as well both before and during the "connection".

So "martial intent" I believe, does play a profound role in conveying these "possibilities" and these can be conveyed through the grab in particular and the overall interaction-posture, eyes, where is the other of Ukes hands-I would hope up near ones face just for prudent training anyway (keeping both hands involved as they say) let alone playing the role of an attacker.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:32 PM   #45
dave9nine
Dojo: Aikido Institute - Oakland
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

hi,
regarding the discussion about grip/grab...

from reading, it seems that some people make a couple automatic associations that i'd like to question or at least add to:

1. if a grip/grab is tight, this tightness travels up, and the rest of the grabber's body is necessarily tense/rigid/stiff, etc. (and thus, assumedly, they are unable to take good ukemi)

this creates the inverse:

2. if a grip/grab is light, the grabber is necessarily poised/in position to take better ukemi.

i think both of these assumptions are off for one reason:
it is possible to grip tightly, and yet, to isolate the wrist and hand so as to keep the rest of the arm (and thus body) supple and relaxed. just because the grip has tension doesnt mean it has to travel all the way up the arm and through the body.
i first encountered this principle while riding public transit;
if anyone has had to stand in a moving subway car/bus, holding on to one of the overhead hoops or bars while the train car wiggles and sways, they have felt this principle: the grip needs to be tight to hold on to the bar, but if the tight grip is allowed to travel up the body, the body will be easily be swayed by the movign car, making for a pretty bumpy travel; however, if the tight grip is isolated, and the rest of the arm (and shoulder, body, etc) is relaxed, then the body can stand quite relaxed while the arm (through the grip) acts as a buffer.
(i hope i explained that alright )

i have to some degree been able to develop this ability on my path, and i have found that it has helped my ukemi tremendously.

on the other hand, i have felt grabs from others in different styles who have been taught to grab lightly for the sake of 'sensitive ukemi' and, while they did display a particular type of connectedness, i generally found them to be ironically disconnected from the martial reality of what we were doing...

also, ftr, i think it was clear that the OP's comment about 'testing' nage is not a challenge to the sanctity of the authority that Sensei holds; i agree with some that if we as training partners are not testing and challenging each other, then what are we doing? there are ways to challenge/test as friends and mates, without carrying the connotations of "arrogance" that some want to attribute in a blanket way.

just my 2 pesos.
thanks!

-dave
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:58 PM   #46
RED
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
Maggie
The snide remarks and agressive comments from you are getting stale very quickly. Go away, or do I have to make a formal complaint to Jun? Your choice.
Go ahead, get Jun. I haven't said anything wrong.
I'm not being rude to you on any personal level. I wasn't angry at your post, I just disagree. Wasn't even aware you were upset. Thought there was a discussion going on here.
Apparently not agreeing with you means aggressive. I don't see where I was snide. I thought I was respectful in my disagreement.
Please point out where you found disrespect with my posting, else how can I communicate with you in the way in which you preferred to be communicated with?
I disagree with you. I gave my reasons plainly why. Where is your aggression coming from?

Last edited by RED : 12-27-2010 at 01:06 PM.

MM
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:01 PM   #47
DH
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Testing can happen at a touch...and it is over. It does not have to be rude.

Intent is not your "intentions" or "intending" to do a thing. And grip strength is never an issue when you understand aiki. It's only valid as an inhibiting factor for the "straights" (those without a properly trained bujutsu body). For those with martial understanding it is a non-issue. Why? You are not responding to the grip in the first place. Only the straights do that.
Secondarily, grip-at least bujutsu gripping- is not in the hand it is in the body. There is a reason that "Aiki in yo ho" originates with the hara, the hand opening and closing is activated by the breath. You can “actively grip,” moving them in any manner of fluid connections with a relaxed body, and that grip feels very powerful.

Moving, even with intent, is not enough. Moving with properly trained intent is the way. Intent is only "King" when it is precise and cognitively aware. Any lack whatsoever causes the effect of your movement to fail incrementally, whatever your lack. So intent has to be built, created, to activate everything correctly. All else can just be vain muscular movement. Sure, you may intend to do something...or worse happenstance created something correct. We all know that familiar... "I had a good day at the dojo...but I don't know why”…sort of thing. Which for us should be a swear word. When we fail we should know HOW we failed, WHY we failed, or we are just not aware....and that...is a slap in the face.
If by this point we are unaware of our scapulars separating, or shoulders disconnecting and rising under stress or our chest engaging with our shoulders, or we default to the martial artists "one side weighted" dance, or our hips are tied to our knees and our shoulders tied to our hips....it doesn't say much for our previous training and body awareness does it? And one needs to consider what in Tohei's "one-point model" would ever fix that and when?

People can go on and on with all sorts of opinions on the net and talk about who's who and who can or cannot do what....but in person..."our bodies never lie." They reveal our true understanding. Self awareness can be hard won. And "self-awareness" -in the face of everyone you are exposed to moving just like you- doesn't help get you very far either...
There is a reason so many of the Budo axioms like "Push when pulled" work. But they were meant to be axioms that work on the "straights"...not on us. At the end of the day when the straights touched hands with someone who has a bujutsu body- read: "a better understanding of what the body is really capable of," there was supposed to be no further debate. It was never meant to be the budo people themselves now "moving like the straights."
It is for this reason we see so many budo teachers of all types -with decades in -moving just like the straights and now meeting certain individuals and being neutralized and handled on contact despite their best efforts. I have not met the Budo teacher yet, who after touching hands and contesting; wanted to continue moving the way they did when they walked in the door.
And no we didn’t need aggressive testing to test that ability. As most have reported here...they knew instantly. Why? We... are the ones who are different (created from our training), removed from the way the normal folk..."the straights" move. Moving with a bujutsu awareness in our mind and bodies. And it has not one, single, thing, to do with technique...it is Aiki, kuzushi on contact; which is created by the body, soft, fluid, and relaxed and instantly and continuously powerful, without shape, This is the way of aiki. As Sagawa expressed....in my tag line and Ueshiba repeated and demonstrated, continually..
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 12-27-2010 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:05 PM   #48
David Yap
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Hi all,

I have come to a stage that I need to test my own ability and level of understanding and I can only do so with the help of my partner(s). I am grateful for their continuing tests; without which, I don't think I would be motivated to invest my time in the art.

Joe Hyams (Zen in the Martial Arts) wrote:

"A dojo is a miniature cosmos where we make contact with ourselves - our fears, anxieties, reactions, and habits. It is an arena of confined conflict where we confront an opponent who is not an opponent but rather a partner engaged in helping us understand ourselves more fully. It is a place where we can learn in a short time about who we are and how we react in the world. The conflicts that take place inside the dojo help us handle conflicts that take place outside.."

The real world can be stressful, maybe more stressful than a strong wiselike grip.

To all uke (partners) - thank you for all your "tests"

David Y

Last edited by David Yap : 12-27-2010 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 01:11 PM   #49
RED
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
Dear Maggie Schill
You are really going in direction that is so confrontational and agressive and nothing to do with my post or me, and more to do with you, where you are at in life at this point in time. If you do not like what I have to say, do not read my comments and feel free to go somewhere else. Good bye and good luck to you.
Are you making personal assumptions about me based on the fact I have an opinion contrary to your own?
I thought we were discussing two contrary points?

I didn't think I was being confrontational. I was clarifying my opinion to be better understood. I have nothing against what you said, accept I have a counter point to it.
Don't take this so personally, and I'd kindly ask your rebuttal to not be of a personal nature either!

Last edited by RED : 12-27-2010 at 01:17 PM.

MM
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:02 PM   #50
aikidoaddict
Dojo: Aikido Alliance Australia Inc.
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Way off the mark here, sorry. I am very happy with my mentor and guide thank you kindly. It was meant for helping someone to find find a good teacher not test the one you already have and enjoy.
Paul
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