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Old 01-07-2011, 03:58 PM   #51
Mark Gibbons
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Re: uke collusion

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
....

Ikeda controlled 2 ukes. How did he do it? If no one knew for sure then probably no one was doing the right physical things. Or then again, maybe an element of (some degree of) collusion was involved and the demo is not really a good one. And so on. Worth dissecting.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman
Well when Sensei repositioned us, I was just slightly tighter in my belly muscles, just slightly more forward and just a little bit up and floating off my heels. Also, I was rotated just a bit left forward maybe 1/4 inch. It didn't take much to make it work. My nage was a very good 4th (maybe 5th) Dan in front of a crowd, they wouldn't have any problem moving me.

What would you do with an uke to make suble positioning changes so that they could be moved easily even though they were supposed to be very stable and you were no longer touching them?

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:20 PM   #52
Mike Sigman
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Re: uke collusion

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Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
Well when Sensei repositioned us, I was just slightly tighter in my belly muscles, just slightly more forward and just a little bit up and floating off my heels. Also, I was rotated just a bit left forward maybe 1/4 inch. It didn't take much to make it work. My nage was a very good 4th (maybe 5th) Dan in front of a crowd, they wouldn't have any problem moving me.

What would you do with an uke to make suble positioning changes so that they could be moved easily even though they were supposed to be very stable and you were no longer touching them?
Well, I didn't see the demo (is there a vid, BTW?), but the basics are fairly simple (much simpler if you've done all this before; not so simple if you're not used to connecting your body to your middle, but give it a try).

To over-simplify the setup, imagine that each of your arms have a big block of (non-cold) ice frozen around each one and your left arm (and ice block) is resting on a shoulder-level table on your left side and your right arm (and ice block) is resting on a shoulder-level table on your right side. IF your arm is extended and held in such a way that moving your middle is connected to the ice blocks, you can make the ice-blocks slide on the table without having to use the local arm/shoulder muscles. If there is a slackness (say a loose shoulder joint) between your middle and the ice-block, your middle will have no control over the ice-block on that side, right?

So what happened was that you didn't understand the principle, so you didn't really know what was expected of you. Uke (the loose one) didn't understand the idea, so he was providing a poor connection for you and thus you couldn't control his center with your center. And naturally there are angles in which it is easy to move uke (usually toward his back "gate" between the legs or the front gate) and angles in which it is almost impossible to move uke (like if you try to off-balance him in the direction of his supporting foot).

So Ikeda's demonstration sounds pretty valid and kokyu-correct to me, but if you and uke don't really understand how to do it then it can be frustrating. I've heard that Ikeda Sensei often says something indicating to "make one" with uke or "tension to uke", etc..... this is what it means. There has to be a solid connection between you and uke or you can't control his center with the movement (or intention) coming from your center. Also, it's easier to move an uke when he has a firm two-handed grip on you; a one-handed or just a solid connection where arms touch will naturally limit your control angles.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:43 PM   #53
Mark Gibbons
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Re: uke collusion

Hi Mike,

There's some misunderstanding. I was one of the ukes. I was trying to take nages center and kept bouncing stuff off. Sensei came over to help, positioned us and things worked for nage.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:58 PM   #54
Mike Sigman
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Re: uke collusion

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Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
Hi Mike,

There's some misunderstanding. I was one of the ukes. I was trying to take nages center and kept bouncing stuff off. Sensei came over to help, positioned us and things worked for nage.

Thanks,
Mark
Hi Mark:

Well, OK, then, if you were Uke, your job would have been to set up a plausible resistance in order to give Nage a chance to figure out the mechanics. Be certain that there is indeed a nice solid connection between you and Nage so that he gets a chance to figure it out. If someone wants to do "realistic resistance", that's probably something that should be for later down the road when Nage has the principle, the skill, and the practice behind him so that he should be able to handle the scenario.

BTW, if I'm Uke, I can "take Nage's center" so that he can't move... but I'm not helping him learn if I do that.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:58 AM   #55
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: uke collusion

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Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
"Very few people I encounter take good ukemi. "
George...this is such a general statement.
We all try so hard to be good ukes. At our dojo much emphasis is placed on the roles of uke and nage. Yet we all have our limitations in both roles. Isn't that what makes Aikido so interesting?
My training as nage is to accept each uke as them come...some fall to soon, some resist illogically, some are stiff and unnatural, some selfish and afraid and some are from uke heaven. Each uke in each instance offers me an opportunity to see myself in that moment and watch and move and be...
Aikido is that connection of me and uke...I may feel frustration or judgement and then I can go back to my center and really connect...again... the next time I may lose my center and get yet another opportunity to reconnect...
I am hoping to come to your seminar in New York. It will be nice to meet you.
Mary
Mary,
I realize I sound harsh at times. But I spent so long training really seriously, very hard, and completely stupidly that I really want to get across that the way most folks train, and ukemi is the most important part of this, will not result in understanding what really high level Aikido is.

I don't wish to get into a discussion of who amongst the prominent Aikido teachers I think really had the goods and who didn't. Lots of folks simply adore certain teachers that I don't think are actually very good. So that wouldn't be productive.

But I have had a chance to train with a number of non-Aikido teachers like Don Angier, Toby Threadgill, Howard Popkin who function at an extremely high level. These folks can have you headed towards the floor and you barely felt anything. Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, my own teachers, can rest a hand on your shoulder and your balance will break while your brain is saying to you "that can't be working..." Don Angier once let me grab him repeatedly as hard as I could. I then buckled and ended up sitting on my ass and I never felt anything. Not the irresistible force some powerful Shihan can generate but no discernible force. I just moved and fell down. I was twice his size and he was totally relaxed. It was effortless.

That is the kind of Aikido I want. I now know how to go about it, thanks to these great teachers. When I see how they developed their skills and how they pass them along to others, I can see how much of what folks are doing in Aikido (and what I used to do myself) will not ever result in that kind of skill because it is imprinting exactly the wrong things.

So, it's not a statement about any student's value or effort. It is perhaps a statement about the level of instruction that allows folks to train in ways that are not productive. But mostly I just want folks to get out and experience what's available from outside of Aikido proper and see how these folks train. It's a real wake-up call for us I think.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:31 PM   #56
Rob Watson
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Re: uke collusion

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Don Angier once let me grab him repeatedly as hard as I could. I then buckled and ended up sitting on my ass and I never felt anything. Not the irresistible force some powerful Shihan can generate but no discernible force. I just moved and fell down. I was twice his size and he was totally relaxed. It was effortless.

That is the kind of Aikido I want. I now know how to go about it, thanks to these great teachers. When I see how they developed their skills and how they pass them along to others, I can see how much of what folks are doing in Aikido (and what I used to do myself) will not ever result in that kind of skill because it is imprinting exactly the wrong things.
Let's not forget Don Angier is an elderly gentleman and still produces exquisite execution.

Don't forget Jan 15-16, 2011 at Aikido of Diablo Valley (Concord, CA) hosts Don Angier for a seminar.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

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Old 01-09-2011, 02:09 PM   #57
Shadowfax
 
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Re: uke collusion

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, my own teachers, can rest a hand on your shoulder and your balance will break while your brain is saying to you "that can't be working..." Don Angier once let me grab him repeatedly as hard as I could. I then buckled and ended up sitting on my ass and I never felt anything. Not the irresistible force some powerful Shihan can generate but no discernible force. I just moved and fell down. I was twice his size and he was totally relaxed. It was effortless.

That is the kind of Aikido I want.
Meee too.
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Old 01-09-2011, 11:48 PM   #58
Linda Eskin
 
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Re: uke collusion

This is a really interesting and timely discussion for me, personally, as I will be participating in a seminar with Ikeda Sensei later this week. I'm only a 4th kyu, so hardly in a position to be judging the correctness of anyone else's technique, but I do try to provide useful feedback (physically) by not going unless there's good reason to (appropriate to Nage's level, of course). I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities to mull these issues at the seminar. (And I hope we get to do that exercise! Now you've got me curious.)

Linda Eskin - Facebook | My AikiBlog

"Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 01-10-2011, 12:04 AM   #59
Mike Sigman
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Re: uke collusion

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
But I have had a chance to train with a number of non-Aikido teachers like Don Angier, Toby Threadgill, Howard Popkin who function at an extremely high level. These folks can have you headed towards the floor and you barely felt anything. Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei, my own teachers, can rest a hand on your shoulder and your balance will break while your brain is saying to you "that can't be working..." Don Angier once let me grab him repeatedly as hard as I could. I then buckled and ended up sitting on my ass and I never felt anything. Not the irresistible force some powerful Shihan can generate but no discernible force. I just moved and fell down. I was twice his size and he was totally relaxed. It was effortless.

That is the kind of Aikido I want. I now know how to go about it, thanks to these great teachers.
George, you should start a thread on the topic. You should be able to do the sort of thing that Angier did by now. In other words, I know personally that you have enough information to do it, but if I had to guess, I'd bet you're suffering from "TMI from TMS"... "Too much information from too many sources". It's been know to confuse many people, particularly perennial seminar goers who listen to one guy one weekend, another guy another weekend, a third guy next month, etc. It's actually pretty simple, although it still involves your having to recoordinate the way you think about moving. But what I'm saying is that you have the information and you should be able to lay out the logic like an algorithm. Give it a go sometime.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:29 AM   #60
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: uke collusion

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
George, you should start a thread on the topic. You should be able to do the sort of thing that Angier did by now. In other words, I know personally that you have enough information to do it, but if I had to guess, I'd bet you're suffering from "TMI from TMS"... "Too much information from too many sources". It's been know to confuse many people, particularly perennial seminar goers who listen to one guy one weekend, another guy another weekend, a third guy next month, etc. It's actually pretty simple, although it still involves your having to recoordinate the way you think about moving. But what I'm saying is that you have the information and you should be able to lay out the logic like an algorithm. Give it a go sometime.

Best.

Mike Sigman
Hi Mike,
I am fairly good at puling stuff together from a wide variety of sources. I get fairly consistent exposure to the different threads I am pulling from.

No question that I am interested in making it all my own, which means what I am doing isn't exactly like what any of my teachers are doing. That's intentional and I am fine with it. I look at what I can do today and even a couple of years ago i would have had no idea how to do it. So, I am pretty happy with how things are going.

So, yes, I can now do some of what Angier Sensei does. But his skill at it is still staggering. I never got to train with Okamoto Sensei but from what I have seen and been told, he probably has a touch like Angier Sensei's. Kuroda Sensei at the Aiki Expo is the only other person who I have felt who has a touch that light. You are going to the floor and you didn't feel anything. So far, the internal power folks I have trained with can drop you with a lot of result for the effort but none has the soft touch that a Kuroda or an Angier has, at least I haven't seen it. Blowing you across the room effortlessly, yes. But not the soft touch these guys have.

So, I have a certain "quota" in my head. There are a number of things that I have been trying to do for a long time. Each year, I expect to get a few more down. That's how I keep from going totally nuts over the stuff I don't know. Can I do things today I couldn't do five years ago, a year ago, last month, yesterday? I can do all sorts of stuff now that even a few weeks ago, I couldn't do or didn't realize that I could.

So, yes, i think you are correct that I have the information. I am i fact putting it togther and based on results, it seems to be valid. But I am not convinced that I necessarily put it together anything like the way anyone else has. Maybe, but I am not sure. Anyway, I am also not sure it makes a difference if I do, as long as my Aikido is accomplishing what I want it to.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:59 AM   #61
Mike Sigman
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Re: uke collusion

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
So, yes, i think you are correct that I have the information. I am i fact putting it togther and based on results, it seems to be valid. But I am not convinced that I necessarily put it together anything like the way anyone else has. Maybe, but I am not sure. Anyway, I am also not sure it makes a difference if I do, as long as my Aikido is accomplishing what I want it to.
Hi George:

Well, there's only one basic set of principles to these things, although there are of course many levels of skills, incomplete "systems", hard approaches, soft approaches, you name it.... but there's only one set of principles. Chinese, Japanese, etc., all the same thing. Ki is the same thing as Qi.

Try to explain things to others (even on the internet). It will force you to think, to forumlate and articulate what you know. Plus it will give other people inspiration to think out loud, compare, share, etc.

Best.

Mike Sigman
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:04 AM   #62
Mike Sigman
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Re: uke collusion

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George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
So, yes, I can now do some of what Angier Sensei does. But his skill at it is still staggering. I never got to train with Okamoto Sensei but from what I have ...
Ack, forgot to respond to this bit. George, the trick you described is nice (as I understand your description), but bear in mind that a lot of the ki/kokyu tricks that are out on the circuits are great training devices (as long as they're explained; if not explained, they are carnival shows), but they won't work on someone who has similar or better skills. In fact, my opinion is that a number of the interesting tricks can either hit a dead-end if tried against a real expert in the same skills, or they can get you into trouble because you committed your ki in a direction to perform a trick and therefore opened yourself up to the other person's ki/kokyu control. So be careful what you wish for.

Best.

Mike
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:42 PM   #63
jonreading
 
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Re: uke collusion

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Mark Gibbons wrote: View Post
I think that too many aikido ukes are trained to move for anything and will, especially when rank and social expectations enter the picture. So is what I think I saw and felt really going on? Is this behavior helpful for learning aikido?

Regards,
Mark
I am a firm believer that uke resolves technique. In learning technique I think we have a firmness to provide feedback on the mechanical application of technique and a sensitivity to feel the technique. I think as our mechanics corrode we put pressure on our uke to ignore the ineffective mechanics and develop a hypersensitivity to the technique. I am sure that politics plays a role in applying pressure to uke...

Sensitivity can help you learn the aiki part of aikido. My stance on this says first learn mechanics, then get gooey. You see instructors like Ikeda sensei to learn the gooey stuff. He (and you) are not at the seminar to review your kihon waza; that is something you do in class and your sensei is responsible to teach. At a later level everything is kihon waza, blah, blah, blah.

Now, as uke we need to remain honest in our offensive actions. Truth is most of us do not know how to be offensive in aikido. We hide behind a number of excuses... But we should work hard to leave no suki in our attacks just as we work hard to remove suki from our techniques.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:52 AM   #64
Amassus
 
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Re: uke collusion

One of the ways around uke collusion...go train with someone who does not practise aikido.

I did this today, a friend of mine has some background in stick fighting and other striking arts and he was happy for me to visit him and let me try and move him around.
I really enjoyed it.
Firstly, when I applied a classic aikido technique, he would often move differently to a trained uke. I still disrupted his balance but how he reacted to this differed to normal.
Secondly, we trained as peers, he was not overly polite, and made attempts to regain balance and avoid putting himself in a vulnerable position. No social pressures/hierarchies.
Thirdly, I asked about the ways he was taught to strike and applied aikido principles to deal with those strikes...with reasonable success.

A really valuable experience IMO.

Dean.

Last edited by Amassus : 01-19-2011 at 12:55 AM.

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