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Old 03-21-2011, 11:48 PM   #26
Josh Reyer
 
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
And, by extension, I am simply following through with the logic of this thread: If we are ready to say there are a multitude of uke out there that do this, then we should have the gumption to say that that means there are a whole lot of shihan out there that are taking advantage of this. Yet, in reality, we never make that jump. We never see the logic through.
Mainly because that is bad logic. That there are many uke who tank says nothing about the ability of the small percentage of aikidoka who make up the population of shihan.

Josh Reyer

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:00 AM   #27
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Maybe we don't hang out with the same shihans. The shihans I've taken even a little ukemi from (Kanai, Yamada, Chiba, Berthiaume, Waite, Konigsberg, Doran, DiAnne) were all extremely solid and had no trouble handling me. They certainly weren't waiting for me to jump. A couple of them I've had the chance to attack fairly strongly and had my nearly 170 pounds tossed back pretty hard. One of the best compliments I received in my first years of training was having Donovan Waite compliment my ukemi after coming at him with everything I had and being bounced back with kokyu nage.

In a demonstration and especially when being used as an uke by the instructor, I think it is best to keep the ukemi clean and "stylized" in such a way that you help show what is being taught. My own instructors, I've actually trained with (such as in seminars or when they have taken turns teaching), in which case I've "played" a little more, even occasionally stoppping them in their tracks, but that's different from demonstrating a technique.
I'm speaking generally, though I gave a specific experiment one can run for themselves via youtube. I'm not limiting this to a group of subjective experience.

We can't have it both ways. We can't have all these over-acting uke's out to make nage look good and then all these shihan that aren't taking advantage of it - unless we want to say that these over-acting uke are only training with non-shihan.

Oh well, like I said, folks are all ready to point out the over-acting uke and talk about how bad they are for Aikido, etc., but few want to make the next step in logic and point out how bad it is for nage - even shihan nage - that don't squash this bug from the get go.

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:01 AM   #28
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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Mainly because that is bad logic. That there are many uke who tank says nothing about the ability of the small percentage of aikidoka who make up the population of shihan.
Like I said, run the youtube experiment - get your sample from the All Japan Demonstrations, and then see if you are willing to keep the critique going. I'm not talking about a majority of folks. I had used the word "multitude." Additionally, I'm not talking about percentages. I'm talking about our general unwillingness to keep the critique going once it hits the shihan level.

Last edited by senshincenter : 03-22-2011 at 12:04 AM.

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Old 03-22-2011, 06:10 AM   #29
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

I wouldn't assume people aren't making critiques, they just tend to be private or limited to smaller conversations. There's a lot of politeness, but it doesn't extend to what's inside your head, which affects decisions one makes when choosing a teacher, and to a lesser extent when traveling to seminars.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:32 AM   #30
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

Then let us be as polite to these uke as well.

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Old 03-22-2011, 10:49 AM   #31
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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I'm speaking generally, though I gave a specific experiment one can run for themselves via youtube. I'm not limiting this to a group of subjective experience.

We can't have it both ways. We can't have all these over-acting uke's out to make nage look good and then all these shihan that aren't taking advantage of it - unless we want to say that these over-acting uke are only training with non-shihan.

Oh well, like I said, folks are all ready to point out the over-acting uke and talk about how bad they are for Aikido, etc., but few want to make the next step in logic and point out how bad it is for nage - even shihan nage - that don't squash this bug from the get go.
I disagree with some of this. Your youtube experiment is limited in what it can show. You can't feel the shihan, you can,t ask them to explain why they choose to demonstrate what they demonstrate. The shihan I have felt, I have taken classes from and have an idea of the what and why of their aikido. That makes them a much better starting place for discussing ukemi styles.

I don't think the shihans with the light flying uke are "taking advantage" of anything. They have taken their training, and their students with them, in a particular direction. To know why, you'd have to ask them. That type of training has little interest for me, and I stay away from it. But then I occasionnally disregard my own sensei's advice on how to take ukemi if I find it's a little too "light". I'm hardheaded that way.

I've had visitors that outrank me visit our dojo and complain that I was countering their technique. They ask why. I answer because I can, you're wide open. They add that I'm not acting in the harmonious spirit of aikido. I say that you can't create harmony without having something unharmoniuous to harmonize. They slam me down on the mat hard with a judo style sutemi. So much for assumptions about other peoples training.

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Old 03-22-2011, 10:55 AM   #32
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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I've had visitors that outrank me visit our dojo and complain that I was countering their technique. They ask why. I answer because I can, you're wide open. They add that I'm not acting in the harmonious spirit of aikido. I say that you can't create harmony without having something unharmoniuous to harmonize. They slam me down on the mat hard with a judo style sutemi. So much for assumptions about other peoples training.
You are building yourself The Reputation JO Very soon nobody will want to practice with you.... good times, good times..

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Old 03-22-2011, 11:44 AM   #33
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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I disagree with some of this. Your youtube experiment is limited in what it can show. You can't feel the shihan, you can,t ask them to explain why they choose to demonstrate what they demonstrate. The shihan I have felt, I have taken classes from and have an idea of the what and why of their aikido. That makes them a much better starting place for discussing ukemi styles.

I don't think the shihans with the light flying uke are "taking advantage" of anything. They have taken their training, and their students with them, in a particular direction. To know why, you'd have to ask them. That type of training has little interest for me, and I stay away from it. But then I occasionnally disregard my own sensei's advice on how to take ukemi if I find it's a little too "light". I'm hardheaded that way.
As I said, if we can't assume things about the shihan when we watch them, then we can't assume things about the uke either. Yet, we do the latter all the time without doing the former. And, that is my point. There's obviously a bias here, and consistency is being waved aside.

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Old 03-22-2011, 12:19 PM   #34
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

While I think it would be dishonest to pretend that none of the difference in people's willingness to criticize ukes vs the teacher is due to the difference in power and prestige of the individuals, I don't think it's the only reason.

When you see a nage with an overly 'helpful' uke, you don't know what nage WOULD or COULD do if the uke was acting differently. I have myself occasionally practiced at seminars with ukes who flung themselves all over the place to a rather alarming and confusing degree if I twitched my arm or scratched my nose or something. In fact most of us have far more opportunities to practice with a teacher's ukes than with the teacher, which I think is also very relevant to our willingness to make judgments. But it doesn't mean that that practice was indicative of my actual ability.

So we don't actually know if the teacher actually _needs_ that, or just likes it for some reason, and without knowing the teacher better and knowing what ideas they're exploring in their aikido practice, I can't discount the possibility that their choice to allow or encourage such ukemi may have nothing to do with lack of ability on their part to deal with less 'helpful' ukes. Of course it very well might, but I have no way of knowing one way or another. It's also possible that they first learned to deal with uncooperative ukes and then later their personal interest went elsewhere. Or it's possible that they don't actually want their ukes to fling themselves about quite like that but have inadvertantly taught them to by making the techniques painful enough. I just can't tell, unless I've seen them with an uncooperative uke.

It often means that what they're interested in teaching in their aikido is of less interest to me personally, though, so I would tend not to be inclined to care as much whether they're genuinely good at the things I want to know or not, since I'm unlikely to search them out to train extensively with them either way.

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 03-22-2011 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:39 PM   #35
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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Very soon nobody will want to practice with you....
You exagerate. I have a feeling there will be at least one Polish godan that'll still train with me

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Old 03-22-2011, 08:54 PM   #36
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

Bassia, I agree with you to a point. Where I disagree is this; if you criticize the ukes of shihan X at a big demo, you are criticizing shihan X. It is safe to assume he has picked his favorite ukes for a big demo and that what they do is a direct reflection of shihan X's training methodology and philosophy. I for one don't feel anyone was unfairly criticizing ukes and leaving shihans off the hook. I mean the ukes in a demo tend to be fairly unknown and any criticism will have shihan X's name tied to it. As in : "Look what shihan X's ukes are doing!"

So David, I assume just as much about a shihan as his ukes/students when I see things I am unimpressed by, it's just that overacting ukes are one of the more visible oddities found in the aikido world, and because of that they attract a lot of comment. You're the one that started a thread about beautiful ukes ruining the art after all.

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Old 03-22-2011, 10:52 PM   #37
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

Yeah, Jonathan, I can't stand them. They are ruining the art. But, that thread for me could have easily been titled, "Shihan that encourage and/or allow beautiful uke are ruining the art." ;-)

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Old 03-23-2011, 12:51 AM   #38
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEDaC...eature=related
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:35 AM   #39
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

Well - I do think that a good uke makes tori "look good", but not by falling over by himself or being overly cooperative!
A teacher of mine often talks about how a great uke is supposed to give the best he can, attack honestly, not block and "be in the contact". That does not make it easier for tori but it does enable him to do the best technique he can. So for me - yes, uke can make tori better and I don't think it's a bad thing if understood like this!
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Old 03-23-2011, 08:13 AM   #40
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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As in : "Look what shihan X's ukes are doing!"
Yes, I do agree with that. As often as not people don't even know who the uke is; they're comparatively anonymous (at least compared to the teacher), so it's clearly far more a criticism of the teacher than of the uke as an individual.

My point though was more that I don't know WHY a teacher has produced a bunch of ukes that do that, if it's to make him 'look good' (although I'm not sure it does particularly make someone look good to have ukes appear to be throwing themselves for no reason) or for some completely different reason.

So I may say I wish the ukes didn't do that when they were practicing with me, or that I don't find it as interesting or helpful to my own learning when watching a demonstration done like that, without claiming anything specific about their teacher's personality or technical abilities (e.g. that he's incompetent or a show-off or lazy or whatever else I have heard people conclude).

Last edited by Basia Halliop : 03-23-2011 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:14 AM   #41
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

Why go outside of aikido to criticize, when we have videos like this up?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE_9w...rec_grec_index
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:22 PM   #42
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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Yeah, Jonathan, I can't stand them. They are ruining the art. But, that thread for me could have easily been titled, "Shihan that encourage and/or allow beautiful uke are ruining the art." ;-)
I understand what you mean, but I think the term "beautiful uke" is much more general than the type of ukemi that you describe.

I mean, I would consider this this beautiful uke, but I don't get the impression that the shihan would be in trouble if uke resisted more. I think uke would be in trouble and it would look less beautiful if they resisted more. Is this type of ukemi ruining the art? Or is this not beautiful?
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Old 03-23-2011, 02:33 PM   #43
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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Why go outside of aikido to criticize, when we have videos like this up?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE_9w...rec_grec_index
My goodness. You know where I stand.

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Old 03-23-2011, 02:37 PM   #44
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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I understand what you mean, but I think the term "beautiful uke" is much more general than the type of ukemi that you describe.

I mean, I would consider this this beautiful uke, but I don't get the impression that the shihan would be in trouble if uke resisted more. I think uke would be in trouble and it would look less beautiful if they resisted more. Is this type of ukemi ruining the art? Or is this not beautiful?
Yeah, my opinion would be the same. It's my take on things. I don't think we can throw folks that are standing straight up prior to throwing them unless we are from the beginning stronger than they are. If this Aikido works, it works only for when you are stronger than your attacker. That ukemi requires that uke be standing straight up or nearly straight prior to being launched. A person that is standing straight up is in too much possession of their full strength. Hence, it works, but only for when the attacker's full strength is not greater than ours. That is a lesser Aikido. I mean, would you go learn an Aikido that from the onset says, "Come learn an Aikido for when you are always stronger than your attacker!" No. No one would. But that is what you are getting when you look to employ that ukemi.

Hence, beautiful uke are ruining the art.

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Old 03-23-2011, 03:26 PM   #45
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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Yeah, my opinion would be the same. It's my take on things. I don't think we can throw folks that are standing straight up prior to throwing them unless we are from the beginning stronger than they are. If this Aikido works, it works only for when you are stronger than your attacker. That ukemi requires that uke be standing straight up or nearly straight prior to being launched. A person that is standing straight up is in too much possession of their full strength. Hence, it works, but only for when the attacker's full strength is not greater than ours. That is a lesser Aikido. I mean, would you go learn an Aikido that from the onset says, "Come learn an Aikido for when you are always stronger than your attacker!" No. No one would. But that is what you are getting when you look to employ that ukemi.

Hence, beautiful uke are ruining the art.
First I thought I understood what you meant, but now I'm not so sure.

I have difficulty in understanding this in relation to the discussion about beautiful uke. Do you mean that beautiful uke are a warning sign than shihan's aikido only works because he is stronger than uke? On the other hand you seem to suggest the opposite too: beautiful uke try to hide shihan weakness.

Sorry, I don't understand.

Last edited by Dave de Vos : 03-23-2011 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:35 PM   #46
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

I'm saying that a culture is rising around ukemi. That culture is spreading and spreading - such that more and more people are taking this type of ukemi. This ukemi is coming to be seen not only as "beautiful" but also as "right" and "preferred." In other words, the culture for this ukemi is coming to adopt the status of truth. It's becoming the dominant culture.

What is problematic however is that for this ukemi to work, to manifest itself, uke for the most part is thrown from state of balance - not from a state of being off balance. When you are thrown from a state of being off balance, you don't fly through the air so nice and you don't land so nice either - it's ugly. Fewer and fewer people are trying to be ugly.

I would imagine, if not already, a growing majority will look at ugly ukemi and think nage is crap for it, when in fact, they are doing the more authentic Aikido (i.e. the Aikido that does not require you to be stronger than your attacker).

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Old 03-23-2011, 06:12 PM   #47
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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I'm saying that a culture is rising around ukemi. That culture is spreading and spreading - such that more and more people are taking this type of ukemi. This ukemi is coming to be seen not only as "beautiful" but also as "right" and "preferred." In other words, the culture for this ukemi is coming to adopt the status of truth. It's becoming the dominant culture.

What is problematic however is that for this ukemi to work, to manifest itself, uke for the most part is thrown from state of balance - not from a state of being off balance. When you are thrown from a state of being off balance, you don't fly through the air so nice and you don't land so nice either - it's ugly. Fewer and fewer people are trying to be ugly.

I would imagine, if not already, a growing majority will look at ugly ukemi and think nage is crap for it, when in fact, they are doing the more authentic Aikido (i.e. the Aikido that does not require you to be stronger than your attacker).
How about uke safety? Do you mean ugly but safe ukemi?
Do you know an online video example of ugly but correct ukemi (resulting from correct aikido where beautiful ukemi would not be possible)?
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:54 PM   #48
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

See the Beautiful Uke thread - I posted some there.

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Old 03-23-2011, 06:59 PM   #49
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

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... problematic however is that for this ukemi to work, to manifest itself, uke for the most part is thrown from state of balance - not from a state of being off balance. When you are thrown from a state of being off balance, you don't fly through the air so nice and you don't land so nice either - it's ugly. Fewer and fewer people are trying to be ugly.
David, thank you for clarifying in your past couple of posts what it is you meant by your OP.
I do see what you mean, I think, if I may paraphrase? : that ukemi based on big swooping rolls either requires a nage who can actually overpower uke rather than achieve kuzushi, or else for uke to make a decision to disconnect and take such a lovely roll.
And as someone who can't do those rolls anymore, and who tries her best not to disconnect, yeah my ukemi is "ugly" but to reply to Dave's f/u question, it is also safe. It is for the most part falls as soft and round as possible, but also slappy and hard if they need to be. Efficient.

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Old 03-23-2011, 07:02 PM   #50
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Re: Being Uke - Make Instructor Look Good?

To add to my above post.... frankly, if someone applies that form of iriminage on me, I'm not following and sliding around and getting up again, I'm being driven straight down to the mat face down on the initial move. It takes a younger, fitter, lither human than I do do the ukemi that is EXPECTED on that technique. It's one reason I was happy to no longer train at a dojo that does that style of iriminage.

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