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Old 01-08-2011, 04:23 AM   #1
Zach Trent
Dojo: Integral Dojo
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bad technique vs. resistance

Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:54 AM   #2
Mark Freeman
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?
Hi Zach,

aikido should work 'especially' when someone gets super rigid and muscled up. When they do that, they lose co-ordination. The hard part is not fighting their resistance. Nage's practice is to remain calm, centred and relaxed and through sensitivity find the place of no resistance (it's always there, just sometimes the opening is small). Your teacher is the one to show you the way through this.

just a thought,

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 01-08-2011, 05:28 AM   #3
carina reinhardt
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Hi Zach,
I agree with Mark just stay calm and very relaxed, if it does not go in one direction, change it just a little bit, there must be one where you can take him
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:11 AM   #4
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

It is so easy for uke to resist when they know exactly what you are going to do. Have you asked your instuctor about this situation?

Mary
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:35 AM   #5
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

I love people who resist, it makes my waza easier......
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Old 01-08-2011, 08:57 AM   #6
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

yes, Tony, I agree that's really important to develop our movement and technique, but Carina's comment reminds me of when I did
exactly what Mary recommends.

Yamada Sensei had missed a previous seminar date for a medical or dental reason he was in Florida, which is quite far away so he showed up for his next scheduled seminar in New Haven even though his foot had been broken (someone had fallen on it, maybe in a demo...)
Yamada Sensei has great technique, great kokyu ryoku,
but sometimes these things happen.

Anyway, he brought two of his main assistants with him and
had them demonstrate the important points he was instructing
us about. Then came time for questions.
Now I wasn't anything like one of his favorite students, but he had a special concern for any of us who were teaching, and I was, at a YMCA in the city where I live in Stamford, between New York and New Haven.
A friend of my husband's and mine I had just met back around 1980 was in Aikido class in the summer prior to teaching kung fu in the fall, his teacher had retired passing on the
authorization to Clyde and another student who was to teach
it as "Chinese exercises" at the Greenwich YMCA.

I explained my situation to Yamada Sensei, and asked if the person raises his or her hand to strike shomen uchi and they have a lot of weight or extension in it, what do I do, I'm having trouble turning it back to do ikkyo.

Then an example of compassion and great kindness. Forgetting
to have his assistants do the technique, Sensei took a step, though
one of his feet he was supposed to stay off....

You're the teacher, you have to do the technique. So step
back, change the technique.

It seemed to be advice to let uke's force dissipate a little, then
ikkyo can indeed be done.

Carina , I hope you like this little example. Did Yamada Sensei
visit Gran Canaria? I might have seen it one year on a seminar
schedule.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:00 AM   #7
Diana Frese
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

I meant to compliment Mark's post too and thanks for the
question, Zach.
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:45 AM   #8
Zach Trent
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback:

I guess I wonder about the nature of ukemi- if ukemi means to recieve then why on earth would you ever resist?

Sometimes nage does not have my center, but that doesn't mean i resist him- I dunno
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:25 AM   #9
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback:

I guess I wonder about the nature of ukemi- if ukemi means to recieve then why on earth would you ever resist?

Sometimes nage does not have my center, but that doesn't mean i resist him- I dunno
Practise hard very often, every session, while you are young, intensity is important to understand where your mistakes, problems are....
I instruct my uke's to always resist me when teaching waza, to attack hard and hit or grab me with all their strength, if they do not, it always ends up in press ups till they are sick of them!! That makes them hit me or grab me hard, which refines my waza and also theirs. Lackadaisical training is for those who want to cop out of the training they do not desire.....
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:31 AM   #10
Diana Frese
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

wow another great topic, this time from uke's point of view. I
hear this all the time, even before I get back on the mat
my friends are all talking about it. How as uke can you bring
out the best in your training partners? And as nage, what do you
do when you find your training partners don't have your best
interests in mind, to put it mildly.....?
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:32 AM   #11
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?
There are basically three ways to do technique. First, is simply bad application. It involves overpowering the resistance with your own physical power. It can only be done on partners with whom you have the advantage of size and strength. It's pretty much a no-brainer that any martial art that only allows you to prevail against smaller, weaker attackers isn't terribly useful. So, do not train this way.

Second is external power which would be efficient application of force on the partner's weak lines combined with movement to get yourself off his strong lines (that's over simplified but basically covers what most folks do in their Aikido). It can work but a stronger, faster attacker still has an advantage so the only folks you see who can really do this are generally very strong men and a few really strong women. Smaller folks or folks who don't have a ridiculous structure really cannot do this kind of technique. Since most people train this way, the issue of collusion on the part of the uke becomes important because his or her collusion is required for most folks to succeed doing technique this way.

The third way is "aiki" / internal power. As previously stated here many times, just about everyone thinks their style or their teacher is doing this. But the fact of the matter is that the kind of truly effortless technique, done with complete relaxation, that one would see in a Yamaguchi, Saotome, Ikeda, Endo, Mary Heiny etc is fairly rare. This kind of technique does not rely on that kind of great physical power and therefore one can get better and better as one gets older, unlike external power which one loses as ones body ages and one loses muscle mass.

If really high level "aiki" skills are what you wish the end point to be... then you have to start with exercises that develop those skills. You will not develop these skills magically one day training externally. I know since I wasted about 25 years training in a way that one day I realized would never result in the skills my own teacher had.

So, at the beginning, if your partner is resistant, you will respond with tension. It is the only way at that stage you will be able to get an outcome that looks like what your teacher just demonstrated. Every repetition will imprint incorrect habits that are difficult to break later on. This is one of the reasons that Aikido is screwed up. Either my uke tanks or I use superior force to produce something like what my teacher just showed. Since those two alternatives pretty much apply to many teachers as well, finding the right teacher who isn't doing either of these is crucial to doing high level Aikido.

This totally ties in with the discussion of what a good uke is doing.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 01-08-2011 at 10:34 AM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:45 AM   #12
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

(simultaneous posts) I agree with Tony, but have another
question. My friends have experienced times when people
will just stop them in order to say they are doing it wrong.... I
guess in that case, ask the teacher what he or she meant, how
her or she meant it to be done.

No wrist push ups yet, but I have to do aikibunny hops thru
the snow to get the mail my husband phoned to say was there from
yesterday's storm on his way downtown to tax class. Any job in a down economy....No vehicle on the road makes for interesting physical training... Oil is running out so my training is getting
wood from all the stashes back in the woods, in the snow,
porch is full of repair projects... but you guys on Aiki web make
life interesting, educational and inspiring. Can't wait to train!
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:49 AM   #13
Zach Trent
Dojo: Integral Dojo
Location: Tel Aviv
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Thank you Sensei Ledyard-

I always appreciate what you contribute to a discussion.

I remember that we had a wonderful conversation about Aikido helping one to overcome fear in one's daily life at a ASU summer camp a few years ago.

That conversation has stayed with me and now I am researching using Aikido as a trauma healing curriculum for youth who have experienced domestic violence.

I sincerely hope to come to Seattle sometime and train with you- the class you taught at summer camp was also quite powerful for me.

Thank you Sensei,
Zach
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:55 AM   #14
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

(another simultaneous post, this shows it's an active topic....
Great!)

thanks Peter, you have great teachers and great experience, I
remember the first time I saw Yamaguchi Sensei. He was
laughing, uke was scrambling, Yamaguchi Sensei would just shift
balance a little and uke went from one technique to another
as he tried to get up, ikkyo to kotegaeshi, etc. irimi nage
uke was just running close to the ground shifting direction and
still couldn't get up. Yamaguchi Sensei looked totally relaxed,
and laughing ho ho ho like Santa Claus. I've seen the others too
and they're great.

I'm going to follow both themes of advice here.... whatever I can
manage to do. Thanks, everyone.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:57 AM   #15
Tony Wagstaffe
Location: Winchester
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post
(simultaneous posts) I agree with Tony, but have another
question. My friends have experienced times when people
will just stop them in order to say they are doing it wrong.... I
guess in that case, ask the teacher what he or she meant, how
her or she meant it to be done.

No wrist push ups yet, but I have to do aikibunny hops thru
the snow to get the mail my husband phoned to say was there from
yesterday's storm on his way downtown to tax class. Any job in a down economy....No vehicle on the road makes for interesting physical training... Oil is running out so my training is getting
wood from all the stashes back in the woods, in the snow,
porch is full of repair projects... but you guys on Aiki web make
life interesting, educational and inspiring. Can't wait to train!
The "o" sensei syndrome me thinks here...... I just love these people, I'll let on a bit and just say the angle of the dangle, and the least line of resistance.............
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:03 AM   #16
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Another simultaneous post.... Sorry Ledyard Sensei, I got the
names mixed up. I read you are coming to Bedford Hills, we
would like to go but as of now, transportation problems, also
short of cash. We're in building trades and they are way down...

in Zach's simultaneous post he mentioned ASU so here is
something that really impressed me early on about Saotome
Sensei's seemingly effortless technique. He was laughing too,
and had two ukes push him all the way down to the ground, I
think he sat there for a moment, then just got up and they
went flying. There seemed to be no effort at all.

We'll see if I can get there to class. The trades could pick up,
someone from here might give us a ride, I'll try to think
positively...
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Old 01-08-2011, 11:18 AM   #17
ChrisHein
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post

-Snip-
Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"
-Snip-

the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop."
-Snip-

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?
Good questions. You need to understand the difference between form, and application in order to answer this question.

No one technique works 100% of the time. If there were such a technique we would only do that one, and no one would ever beat us in a fight. But there's not, so we practice several different techniques.

When doing a form, uke has to provide the proper context for that form. If it is a form where uke pushes you, he must push. If it's one where he pulls then he must pull. If uke isn't providing the right energy for the specific technique of the form, then that form won't work.

So if your uke doesn't know how to provide the right energy, you should simply ask him to relax, not resist, and do the form the teacher asked you to do.

But as you said, in application, if they resist your technique, a new situation will arise, one where you can use another technique. In application you will flow from one technique to the next, because you can't expect any one technique to always work.

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Old 01-08-2011, 12:22 PM   #18
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Dianna,
Just keep looking at the video, there are many clues in there.....
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:40 PM   #19
carina reinhardt
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post

Carina , I hope you like this little example. Did Yamada Sensei
visit Gran Canaria? I might have seen it one year on a seminar
schedule.
No, Yamada Sensei does not visit Gran Canaria he goes every year to Mallorca, also an island but not Canary Island, Baleares Island, Yamada Sensei also goes every year to Barcelona.
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:52 PM   #20
kewms
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Mary Eastland wrote: View Post
It is so easy for uke to resist when they know exactly what you are going to do. Have you asked your instuctor about this situation?

Mary
This. At my dojo, it's better to take the opening that presents itself rather than attempting a technique even though uke's energy is completely wrong for it. (And at some point Sensei will come along and explain to uke why his attack does not allow the desired technique.) But different dojos have different training etiquette.

Katherine
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:44 AM   #21
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
This. At my dojo, it's better to take the opening that presents itself rather than attempting a technique even though uke's energy is completely wrong for it. (And at some point Sensei will come along and explain to uke why his attack does not allow the desired technique.) But different dojos have different training etiquette.

Katherine
I just let them find out for themselves.....
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:30 AM   #22
Ketsan
Dojo: Zanshin Kai
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?
You're using your shoulders and arms too much. Stop focusing on technique and sort your body out. Your arms should be just two ropes that are moved by your hips and spine.

If someone can lock down your technique it means you have a noisy body that gives off too many signals. Of course if you have a quiet body then you don't need technique you just throw them on the floor and there isn't much they can do about it and in fact the more they try to do something the more amusing it gets for you.

Hence "there are no techniques in Aikido" you learn the body skills, shut your body up and throw them on the floor as you please.
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Old 01-11-2011, 05:53 AM   #23
Amir Krause
Dojo: Shirokan Dojo / Tel Aviv Israel
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
Hi- I'm sorry if this has been discussed to death...but I have a question and situation I am curious to hear your ideas about.

Um...In Aikido...what is the difference between someone resisting energy and you doing a poor technique?

I worked with a guy doing Shihonage the other day and I could only move him slightly before I felt a lot of resistance----"I was like man my technique is not good"----but my instincts were like "I ain't gonna fight this guy" so I moved him as far as I could and then changed sides.

I wasn't frustrated, just curious- the guy says "You want me to stop resisting? I find it helps me learn when people resist, but I can stop." I said, no, you just do what you want to. Its cool.

When I felt the resistance I noticed other techniques that were opening up...but it wasn't what the teacher showed so I just kept failing at Shihonage.

What do you guys think? Should your techniques work even when someone gets super rigid and muscled up?
To my own understanding, you should not move into resistance. Regardless of using internal or external force, your movement should feel free even when UKe is resisting.
But, this is much easier said than done, especially once Uke knows your technique, and is on a level comparable to your own.

As a general rule, once you face resistance is starting to build in a particular direction, your technique should shift a little to either go around it, or tunnel through it or roll over it, depending on the exact situation , while generating power that is harder to follow and resist. Or, if the resistance is too strong, you may wish to use it to get into another technique.

It is pointless to practice a technique directly against resistance, since if you can do that, you could simply grab the guy and throw him with force - and the technique is not needed.

Quote:
Zach Trent wrote: View Post
Thanks everyone for your suggestions and feedback:

I guess I wonder about the nature of ukemi- if ukemi means to recieve then why on earth would you ever resist?

Sometimes nage does not have my center, but that doesn't mean i resist him- I dunno
Training with the existence of resistance, is not the same as working directly against resistance. As mentioned above, one should be able to do his Aikido even when Uke is resisting, it would not be the Kata Senei showed, but it would be Aikido.

And Ukemi is not just simple recpetion, it is a much more subtle issue, which is at least as important to "martial effectiveness" as doing the techniques.

Amir
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Old 01-11-2011, 11:13 AM   #24
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
To my own understanding, you should not move into resistance. Regardless of using internal or external force, your movement should feel free even when UKe is resisting.
But, this is much easier said than done, especially once Uke knows your technique, and is on a level comparable to your own.

As a general rule, once you face resistance is starting to build in a particular direction, your technique should shift a little to either go around it, or tunnel through it or roll over it, depending on the exact situation , while generating power that is harder to follow and resist. Or, if the resistance is too strong, you may wish to use it to get into another technique.

It is pointless to practice a technique directly against resistance, since if you can do that, you could simply grab the guy and throw him with force - and the technique is not needed.

Training with the existence of resistance, is not the same as working directly against resistance. As mentioned above, one should be able to do his Aikido even when Uke is resisting, it would not be the Kata Senei showed, but it would be Aikido.

And Ukemi is not just simple recpetion, it is a much more subtle issue, which is at least as important to "martial effectiveness" as doing the techniques.

Amir
Students need to have permission to allow their technique to be what it "wants to be" rather than training themselves to force their partners into some predetermined form demonstrated by the Sensei. Otherwise you are simply training them to force their techniques and killing their sensitivity. Very bad martial arts.

If you consistently find you can't get the technique shown on a given partner, ask the teacher for help. See what he does when he or she throws your partner. I usually say "show me" when someone says they are having trouble. Often I see that the uke is giving an attack that doesn't lend itself to what I had shown. So, I explain this to the student and show the uke how to deliver the kind of attack that makes what I was teaching make sense. I also let the nage know that he wasn't stupid for not being able to do that particular technique.

This is so important... so much of our training is about trying to pound a round peg into a square hole. It's crazy and doesn't ever result in a decent level of skill. Training should be about, first developing the sensitivity to tell whether the hole is round or square and responding appropriately and then later, understanding how to get the partner to create the shape you want him to be in, preferably without him being aware that you did so.

Anything else will simply result in either manhandling the partner into the shape you want, or having uke collude so that your stuff works.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:39 AM   #25
Amir Krause
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
This is so important... so much of our training is about trying to pound a round peg into a square hole. It's crazy and doesn't ever result in a decent level of skill. Training should be about, first developing the sensitivity to tell whether the hole is round or square and responding appropriately and then later, understanding how to get the partner to create the shape you want him to be in, preferably without him being aware that you did so.
I agree with all that has been said in your answer (no idea why you chose to comment on my statements).

I would point out, however, that while the idea you stated in the section I quated is 100% correct. The actual order of learning apears to always be: technique first, opportunity identification much later.
Thus, using your analogy, most of the time, it is the role of the sensei to verfy the shape of the hole and peg matches, and only at rather later stages, the students starts to grasp this issue.

All the ideas I mentioned in my previous post, do come much later on, after the student identifies the shape early on, and then finds the angle of the peg which can match.

Amir
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