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Old 05-30-2011, 08:55 AM   #126
graham christian
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Hi Alberto.
Thanks for the reply. I was worried you had gotten too annoyed. Your explanations of the techniques are vivid enough for me.

However, as I suspected, you have a limited view of what they are and thus understandably you come to such conclusions. (Don't take this the wrong way)

This is a good example of conclusions based on level of understanding, experience and ability. All good.

Regards.G.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:57 AM   #127
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Hi Alberto.
Thanks for the reply. I was worried you had gotten too annoyed. Your explanations of the techniques are vivid enough for me.

However, as I suspected, you have a limited view of what they are and thus understandably you come to such conclusions. (Don't take this the wrong way)

This is a good example of conclusions based on level of understanding, experience and ability. All good.

Regards.G.
Graham, I am totally with you. I know my aikido sucks. What makes it worse, is that I am trying to work on a realistic attacker.

You have to understand this. I do have a boxing background, and I did indeed had over 30 official matches (though not as a pro) so I do know that one of those boxers I met on the ring, you would never get an hold of their arms without firstly paying a price that at times may be forbidding.

Thence, when I got fascinated with aikido, I could not remove from my mind how unrealistic its default training is.
Moving from a space where you get hit for real to another one where young ladies play shihonages on flaccid arms... it's quite a leap...

In boxing gyms I got hit squarely on my face nearly every day. Guys that tall and who punched without qualms. Fast, determined, capable of facing you even if you went lateral. I don't contend you can get an hold of their arm eventually. What I am saying is that our current aikido training doesn't prepare us for this scenario in the least.

An appalling shortcoming, because in our western modern world, that's our ideal case scenario: competent striker punching fast. It's a challenge, it's a big challenge. Our pupils are not ready for this scenario. They may only think they are, but they are not.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:17 AM   #128
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

I really appreciate your time Graham, and I also know that you know infinitely more about Aikido than myself. I know this and also when I don't openly state it, yet I am still keenly aware of this.

I just want to be sure you can identify with myself first, because I don't want to sound ungrateful.

Try to think for a moment you are this guy, Alberto. This is a guy who 20 years ago for about 4 years, got punched in his face nearly every day. He was used to physical confrontation that left no space for graciousness.
Now, he comes here among folks who say to him, who has been hit on his face by hooks uppercuts jabs and right punches in every fashion, saying to him that our secret is atemi, and that doing an atemi could work...
What will such a guy think? he will remember when he was punching furiously a good "incassatore" (dunno the English term) who couldn't care less of my best shots, go figure an atemi, and who kept coming, still charging, still dangerous, still offending...

He then sees these young ladies grabbing the arm of a guy who opposes no resistance and who turn around as if they were making a dancing pace. He sees guys being "attacked" by ukes who evidently think that hitting somebody on his forehead with the side of one hand is gonna be effective. He sees attackers who always stop to accommodate a technique. he sees guys who seem to have one arm only.
He sees folks that have never experienced what being hit squarely by a punch means, speculating that they may survive a combination of 6 boxing strikes delivered with bare hands in a span of less than 2 seconds, in order to win the day placing an atemi on such a foe...

Think where I come from, and you will understand why I say that I _know_ that 90% of the aikidokas I saw in dojos, would fare pretty poorly with a vaguely competent striker.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 05-30-2011 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:51 AM   #129
graham christian
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post
I really appreciate your time Graham, and I also know that you know infinitely more about Aikido than myself. I know this and also when I don't openly state it, yet I am still keenly aware of this.

I just want to be sure you can identify with myself first, because I don't want to sound ungrateful.

Try to think for a moment you are this guy, Alberto. This is a guy who 20 years ago for about 4 years, got punched in his face nearly every day. He was used to physical confrontation that left no space for graciousness.
Now, he comes here among folks who say to him, who has been hit on his face by hooks uppercuts jabs and right punches in every fashion, saying to him that our secret is atemi, and that doing an atemi could work...
What will such a guy think? he will remember when he was punching furiously a good "incassatore" (dunno the English term) who couldn't care less of my best shots, go figure an atemi, and who kept coming, still charging, still dangerous, still offending...

He then sees these young ladies grabbing the arm of a guy who opposes no resistance and who turn around as if they were making a dancing pace. He sees guys being "attacked" by ukes who evidently think that hitting somebody on his forehead with the side of one hand is gonna be effective. He sees attackers who always stop to accommodate a technique. he sees guys who seem to have one arm only.
He sees folks that have never experienced what being hit squarely by a punch means, speculating that they may survive a combination of 6 boxing strikes delivered with bare hands in a span of less than 2 seconds, in order to win the day placing an atemi on such a foe...

Think where I come from, and you will understand why I say that I _know_ that 90% of the aikidokas I saw in dojos, would fare pretty poorly with a vaguely competent striker.
Hi Alberto. I do get it. As I mentioned before my friend I started with was an amateur boxer and had similar questions.

The fault is with Aikidoka who think for example that doing kotegaeshi on tsuki equals doing the same on a boxer.

90% of boy racers would fare pretty poorly in a formula1 car. You will never change that, it's all part of learning.

There are reasons for doing the techniques in the way they are done so it is not that which is at fault.

It is looking at the correct reasons why that leads to a better understanding.

I'm not saying that all teaching is perfect but as a student I have a responsibility to understand the difference rather than dismiss or see it as useless.

To turn against doesn't bring added understanding it merely takes you off of your path.

Regards.G
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:50 PM   #130
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post

There are reasons for doing the techniques in the way they are done so it is not that which is at fault.
Ok but what is it? I have already heard a couple of times before about a reason being there for our training being so biased towards un-combativeness, but every time they allude to it, for some reason they don't explain this reason openly.

For a guy who comes from a boxing background, and who learned how highly educative physical clash can be, it seems irreplaceable - confrontation against vigorous resistance, a tonic like no other!

Once you have experienced it, once you sipped that type of training, learning by trial and errors within a highly combative training setting, all the rest seems ghastly.

I don't know if what I say makes some sense too.

Maybe one needs to have been there - do you know, that nostalgia, that ancient Greek "nostoi", that inability of the fighter to accommodate himself ever again into common life once he has been through combat...
I think it's a splinter of that - once applied the appropriated proportions.

thence we speak two entirely different languages where I am at fault in both cases: I can't understand aikido, and I can't make myself understood either when I advocate the beauty of vigorous fighting training, because maybe only if one has been there one understands it (btw I think safety concerns are something I always showed considerable respect, however).

Now that I cannot boxe anymore, and now that I got fascinated by aikido, I keep dreaming an aikido where they would allow me to learn by intense physical confrontation.

I will never find that dojo.
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Old 05-30-2011, 07:45 PM   #131
graham christian
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post
Ok but what is it? I have already heard a couple of times before about a reason being there for our training being so biased towards un-combativeness, but every time they allude to it, for some reason they don't explain this reason openly.

For a guy who comes from a boxing background, and who learned how highly educative physical clash can be, it seems irreplaceable - confrontation against vigorous resistance, a tonic like no other!

Once you have experienced it, once you sipped that type of training, learning by trial and errors within a highly combative training setting, all the rest seems ghastly.

I don't know if what I say makes some sense too.

Maybe one needs to have been there - do you know, that nostalgia, that ancient Greek "nostoi", that inability of the fighter to accommodate himself ever again into common life once he has been through combat...
I think it's a splinter of that - once applied the appropriated proportions.

thence we speak two entirely different languages where I am at fault in both cases: I can't understand aikido, and I can't make myself understood either when I advocate the beauty of vigorous fighting training, because maybe only if one has been there one understands it (btw I think safety concerns are something I always showed considerable respect, however).

Now that I cannot boxe anymore, and now that I got fascinated by aikido, I keep dreaming an aikido where they would allow me to learn by intense physical confrontation.

I will never find that dojo.
Alberto. Therein lies the conflict in doing a martial art the purpose of which is harmony.

The answer for me lies in the concept of budo. For me in budo there is no fighting, no oppositional mind. Thus my Aikido is soft.

Does this equal no intense physical confrontation? No. The attacker can be as intense and physical as they like.

Budo in this way is very intensive and requires great discipline. However it would thus be called more the art of no fighting.

It would however be called the art of finishing off quick time.

And when you can do that you then have choice and can afford to be compassionate in such circumstances.

Regards.G.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:39 AM   #132
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post
... I keep dreaming an aikido where they would allow me to learn by intense physical confrontation. ...
I experience there are a whole lot of dojo where learning is practiced "by intense physical confrontation". - But: This physical confrontation is not looking and not feeling like Boxing.
Can be holding tori so he just can't move. I think this the usual confrontation in aikido in the beginning.
Can be deliver the usual attacks very fast, so tori can't adjust himself. Or can be deliver those attacks very strong, so tori can't get ouf the way ( ... lateral ...)
Can be drawing back the attack very fast, like karateka do.
Can also be delivering combinations which come near boxing.

Over the years there is - in the aikido I know - a whole lot to learn by physical confrontation or challenges.
If you train in a dojo where you not find things like this I think it is due to the dojo or the line of aikido they teach. Not to aikido in general.

But you will never in no dojo find the same "feeling" or "vibrations" you find in a boxing gym. The "feeling" of aikido is different. Methods are different. Techniques are different. Ways to learn are different. ... aikido is different.

Last edited by Carsten Möllering : 05-31-2011 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:39 AM   #133
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Well at least I have worked out this thing - for the first time in my life gee!

With the provision that by the term "combat" I don't imply any parallelism with warfare (that would be ridiculous, and insulting to those who have been in warfare indeed), I think it's the following what happened to me:

The secret is never to be in combat (in my case, intense boxing confrontation).
If you have been there once, you will never forget it and you will never be able to adjust any more to any more relaxed setting.

Being still valid the previous provision, it's like what has been reported as a strange phenomenon occurring to veterans - thus it is no longer just a quirk of mine, evidently: I found a legacy where it belongs. This seems what happened to me, and that makes me feel unadjusted.

Normal life (in my proportion: normal "dojos") invariably seems insufficient then. You keep being haunted (though in this case in a "pleasant" way, not in a compulsive one) by combat memories. You long for it, also if you know your training capabilities have vanished long ago. You dream of resuming them.
You have been there. Nothing will be the same ever again.

Don't go there!

And now, what shall I do?
"What I am, I don't know. I roam, oppressed by my memories" (The Vedas)

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 05-31-2011 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:18 AM   #134
Carsten Möllering
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

hmmmm I'm not sure if it's so easy.

We have people practicing aikido who did boxing before like you.
We have students who did full contact karate.
One student of my teacher is a full contact kickboxing champion.
Christian Tissier, one of the shihan of our federation, did kickboxing.

And: Not being able to reintegrate into society after being at war is part of a psychological trauma.
I hope you didn't suffer something comparable?!
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:48 AM   #135
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Carsten Möllering wrote: View Post
hmmmm I'm not sure if it's so easy.

We have people practicing aikido who did boxing before like you.
We have students who did full contact karate.
One student of my teacher is a full contact kickboxing champion.
Christian Tissier, one of the shihan of our federation, did kickboxing.

And: Not being able to reintegrate into society after being at war is part of a psychological trauma.
I hope you didn't suffer something comparable?!
No, it's not PTSD - war may induce that, from what I read. I stated my provision that my feeling is not comparable with warfare exactly because it's not something that fitts precisely into that pack - boxing does not induce PTSD.

However, it is combat - so probably it may induce something akin: sort of a need for intensity in physical training, so that once you have been into intense physical confrontation, a normal aiki dojo seems a nuisance.

I don't argue that nostalgia for combat, that makes you feel not adjusted any more to more relaxed training settings, is something that is supposed to be induced in anyone who has been in boxing matches. I am saying that probably in some of them, it may occur.

It doesn't present itself like a stress disorder, with as such would be invested with obsessions, deja vu, flashbacks. Nothing of that occurs to me, for instance. It simply presents itself in a more "pleasant" way - everything seems pale compared to my previous experience: everyday on a ring with guys hitting me and me hitting them.
When they face me with an uke who accommodates me and who refuses to move in a natural combative fashion, I feel there is something fake in it that I cannot reconcile with, with any finality.

In working out why I feel this thirst for a more combative version of aikido, where i can learn by trial and errors being flung into direct confrontation, I am supposing for the first time in my life it may be sort of a depleted version of that pack of phenomena: the "veteran" who finds normal life (ie: normal dojos) insufficient.

perhaps, as I have worked out this, it may be benefical for you also - evidently, some folks who have been in boxing combat, may feel this way. I mean: good to know, allright: it may happen, some of them may feel this way...!
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:39 AM   #136
Janet Rosen
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Alberto, I don't have anything specific to add but wanted to say that it has been fascinating reading your posts and how the process of writing/answering questions over a period of time has really been changing/deepening your insight into your situation. It's an inquisitiveness and willingness to stay engaged on the issue that many folks wouldn't have - very cool.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:46 AM   #137
graham christian
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Hi Alberto.
Good news. I'm glad you have recognised what you have. All I can say is well done.

If I'm reading you correctly it sounds to me like it's coming to terms with a readjustment. Like someone who is used to one environment who has now moved to another. Of course not as drastic as war when the person moves from that environment into civil society.

It's one of those apparent paradoxes where when you are faced with life threatening things daily (as in war) some feel more alive. Similarly when you are faced with a non-stop real attack it tends to wake you up.

Regards.G.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:10 AM   #138
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Hi Alberto.
Good news. I'm glad you have recognised what you have. All I can say is well done.

If I'm reading you correctly it sounds to me like it's coming to terms with a readjustment. Like someone who is used to one environment who has now moved to another. Of course not as drastic as war when the person moves from that environment into civil society.

It's one of those apparent paradoxes where when you are faced with life threatening things daily (as in war) some feel more alive. Similarly when you are faced with a non-stop real attack it tends to wake you up.

Regards.G.
First of all, let me thank Janet.
I am at times at odds in my attenpts to define to myself and to others what puzzles me with most aikido dojos, and I am always fearing that I may be perceived like an "aikido basher" (if anything like that exists lol) whereas my efforts are genuine and I do am interested with Aikido a lot.
So it is refreshing reading that Janet realizes that I am not conveying a polemic message, but a sincere attempt to work out things, driven by a real interest with aikido.

I have been reproached at times by my fellow ukes because I had a tendency to act too freely, or not to follow sensei's directions closely enough, because when trying a technique I never cease experimenting and if a movement that has not been prescribed comes natural to me, I do it. No matter what. Then if I am uke, tori fails.
They start considering you like a guy who is not into the "spiritual side of aikido"

I would like to add also that Graham has here described exactly one of the elements that belong to my feeling - "some feel more alive": it's also and precisely that, and it is why I said many times that facing an uke that moves aggressively and in a truly combative manner is a tonic. You feel you're alive, you feel actually you're being treated like a real human being and not like a dummy. An attacker that is combative is a honour.

When in most dojos I see a session training that goes as it often goes, i feel like I have wasted my time and that I'm not doing anything alive, exactly, but entirely fictional.

I go to a dojo, lesson lasts 60 minutes, sensei speaks 20 at first oftentimes.
Then he illustrates a technique, and a few more minutes go.
Then we should try it, in a mostly static setting. During this time, which is invariably short (maybe 3 minjutes) you are supposed to:
1) try the technique. This with the implication that often, if another technique flows out of your hands, your uke complains -thenceforth you realize you have no option to act naturally, to act... alive!
2) then also uke must become tori and try the technique.
3) suddenly, the sensei claps his hands, and illustrates some detail that maybe is not even your weak spot at that moment but the mistake of someone's else. We wait a few more minutes. Then back to 2 minutes of technique, once me another my uke.
4) the sensei changes technique, and spends 3 or 4 more minutes to illustrate it.
5) repeat the "algorithm"

At the end of the day, you have been in a dojo to train at best 15 minutes.
I don't feel alive.

ps one day I was attempting a waza asking my uke to let me do only a part of the technique, and yet to attack me in a truly aggressive manner. I had to conquer the right set of my hands on his arms as he moved naturally, without completing the technique. It imemdiately seemed something more real. After 3 attempts, uke said :"it's better we stop or it may end badly" - that is, he felt that a Martial apprpach was not natural and anyway displayed in a controlled environment, but as something that might eventually yield a true fight.
He never worked out this was a problem of his own perception, and not an intention of mine. Yet, since then I had to come to terms with the fact that my ukes could misunderstand me that much.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 06-01-2011 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:24 AM   #139
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

I cannot remember all those japanese names...
In the ps above the technique was as follows: uke attacks me pushing me with both hands, I have to place one of my hands in the inner of one of his elbows, the other on the outer of his other elbow, and attempt a projection.

I asked him to attack me rushing towards me, grabbing my lapels with real intention,and then attenpting either to push me or pull me with the TRUE intention of overturning me, of pushing me on the ground for real.

I placed my hands under this attack and it seemed combative in effect, when i failed he left his hold of my lapels and i said to him "again again, go on go on, don't stop! attack me please, again, don't stop!"

he thought i was in for a fight, evidently.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 06-01-2011 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:34 AM   #140
Michael Varin
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post
I go to a dojo, lesson lasts 60 minutes, sensei speaks 20 at first oftentimes.
Then he illustrates a technique, and a few more minutes go.
Then we should try it, in a mostly static setting. During this time, which is invariably short (maybe 3 minjutes) you are supposed to:
1) try the technique. This with the implication that often, if another technique flows out of your hands, your uke complains -thenceforth you realize you have no option to act naturally, to act... alive!
2) then also uke must become tori and try the technique.
3) suddenly, the sensei claps his hands, and illustrates some detail that maybe is not even your weak spot at that moment but the mistake of someone's else. We wait a few more minutes. Then back to 2 minutes of technique, once me another my uke.
4) the sensei changes technique, and spends 3 or 4 more minutes to illustrate it.
5) repeat the "algorithm"

At the end of the day, you have been in a dojo to train at best 15 minutes.
I don't feel alive.
Sorry, Alberto. Your dojo sucks.

I realize that I was very lucky to find an excellent instructor initially, and to be able to define my own training since then.

But having said that, I am still somewhat concerned that you want aikido to answer question that it cannot.

Or more accurately, you want aikido to answer those questions in ways that it cannot.

You will have to look deeper and reflect on exactly what it is that you want out of your training.

With your level of inquisitiveness, I have very little doubt that you will find the answers... However, they may not be what you currently expect them to be!

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:39 AM   #141
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

I want aikido. But I want it training in a combative situation.
Dojos, at least here, don't offer me that - they really are structured like above 60 minutes, at best you train 15 - in a good day

So I am here, bumping my head against a wall, in order to find how I can learn aikido in a combative manner without anyone available to teach me aikido in such manner.
For, certainly, I cannot relocate to Serbia for that!
http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...nad+ikras&aq=f
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:46 AM   #142
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post
I cannot remember all those japanese names...
In the ps above the technique was as follows: uke attacks me pushing me with both hands, I have to place one of my hands in the inner of one of his elbows, the other on the outer of his other elbow, and attempt a projection.

I asked him to attack me rushing towards me, grabbing my lapels with real intention,and then attenpting either to push me or pull me with the TRUE intention of overturning me, of pushing me on the ground for real.

I placed my hands under this attack and it seemed combative in effect, when i failed he left his hold of my lapels and i said to him "again again, go on go on, don't stop! attack me please, again, don't stop!"

he thought i was in for a fight, evidently.
I don't remember what this technique is called either... maybe just kokuynage? When in doubt it's kokyunage.

But anyway, what you describe here would not be at all uncommon in our dojo. I fail at techniques all the time and sometimes also get thrown by uke, and my partners don't think we are heading for a fight because of that.

Just last night, practicing a form of tenchinage with a guy with a judo background, I asked him to recover his balance if he could. The result was that he found himself in a position to throw me more than half of the time I tried the technique.

Sounds like you might have ended up at an aikido dojo where people aren't used to that kind of practice...

Pauliina
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:59 AM   #143
crazyaikidoka
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Dear Aikiweb-community,
yeahhh ... that's my first entry. First I want to make an excuse to all English native speakers ... I try my best to transfer my thoughts to more or less understandable English
Resistance is a problem I think everybody faces during Aikido training - sooner or later. I'm practicing Aikido for more than 12 years (not that long thinking of people who are practicing for several decades ...) and giving lessons on a weekly basis for approx. 6 (?) years. In the beginning of my "teaching-carrer" I sometimes had students who wanted to test me and resisted. I tried to show them, that I'm "better" then them, forcing techniques and being frustrated afterwards when they didn't work (and they worked nearly never ... One time I hurt a young student and that was the point when I changed my way of dealing with resistance. Now, for me forcing techniques is same bad habit than resisting. There is a way of "constructive resistance", but in my opinion this can only be performed by Aikidokas who are quite experienced. Teachers might give resistance within a technique to teach students, but it has to have a goal! Resistance just to demonstrate how "bad" somebody's Aikido is, is like having nothing understood in AI. For me it's much more challenging to lead Tori within the technique - WITHOUT resistance and without explanations. AND - at the same time - let tori feel the force and direction of uke's attack. The UKE is the TEACHER (I learnt from my teacher), there are a lot of excellent and a lot of lousy teachers on the tatami ....
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:05 AM   #144
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Probably Paulina. I cannot find a video with that, at least not now.

But see:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qR3A5EvXjU
if I do that in a dojo, uke will fall. If i do that on a freind of mine out of a dojo, he doesn't fall in the least. He stays there, or recovers his arms rechambering and punches me.

This difference between the ideogram and a real situation is what I want to avoid, the reason for (or what I mean by) saying: I need to train in a "combative" setting.

Real attackers, Paulina, are like your judo partner: they do recover their stance, immediately, and they hit back with a vengeance...

For all those superb iriminage I did in dojos, with ukes falling - I can't forget when I tried that on an old friend of mine from the boxing times: he didn't move by an inch - whereas in the dojo all my ukes fell, wow...

I don't want to learn how to succeed - I want to learn how to fail, and fail, and fail, until by failing over and over again against a combative attacker, then I understand finally how to adjust my body for a real situation where I am supposed to deliver aikido.

And I am failing magnificently well, I must say....
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:29 AM   #145
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Yes, failing repeatedly is the way to get better. I agree completely.

If you talk about this with dojomates, can you get them to understand that idea? You might find a couple of people to experiment with maybe? Also I think it's great that you still practice with old boxing buddies, keep doing that!

There is a good reason for taking light and easy ukemi sometimes. (I suspect that you already know this, so please ignore if that is the case). One of the things we want to develop in aikido is the skill of executing the techniques with relaxed arms and upper body. If a beginner is given too much resistance or an attack that is too intense, they invariably tense their arms and try to force the technique to work. So you have to increase the intensity gradually and appropriately to the level of the people practicing. I think that is just common sense really.

Unfortunately sometimes people stay there and start to think that that is the aikido way of practice and anything else is not aikido. Personally I think the next step should be to be able to stay relaxed even though the attack is a bit more intense or uke resists during the technique. And then you can build from there to increasing levels of difficulty.

As to the link: There are several possibilities with any technique - 1. you don't execute it perfectly, so it doesn't work 2. you try to do a technique that doesn't fit the circumstances, so it doesn't work 3. the technique is just not a good technique, so it doesn't work. The fun is in trying to find out which of the above applies I think.

Pauliina
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:20 AM   #146
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Pauliina Lievonen wrote: View Post
Yes, failing repeatedly is the way to get better. I agree completely.

If you talk about this with dojomates, can you get them to understand that idea? You might find a couple of people to experiment with maybe? Also I think it's great that you still practice with old boxing buddies, keep doing that!

There is a good reason for taking light and easy ukemi sometimes. (I suspect that you already know this, so please ignore if that is the case). One of the things we want to develop in aikido is the skill of executing the techniques with relaxed arms and upper body. If a beginner is given too much resistance or an attack that is too intense, they invariably tense their arms and try to force the technique to work. So you have to increase the intensity gradually and appropriately to the level of the people practicing. I think that is just common sense really.

Unfortunately sometimes people stay there and start to think that that is the aikido way of practice and anything else is not aikido. Personally I think the next step should be to be able to stay relaxed even though the attack is a bit more intense or uke resists during the technique. And then you can build from there to increasing levels of difficulty.

As to the link: There are several possibilities with any technique - 1. you don't execute it perfectly, so it doesn't work 2. you try to do a technique that doesn't fit the circumstances, so it doesn't work 3. the technique is just not a good technique, so it doesn't work. The fun is in trying to find out which of the above applies I think.

Pauliina
What among many things I am trying to do (besides clarifying things to myself), is to convey the feeling of a positive legacy to an environment that doesn't seem to understand what I am talking about.
Ther reason it is not easily understood is twofold: one, evidently I am not good enough at it. Secondly, if you have never been there one cannot appreciate the full extent of this thing, and it's noone's fault then.

What I am trying to convey is the way I learned boxing - and I was good at it (long ago).
Now, whereas it's true that one cannot expect aikido to be like boxing (this has been repeated to me many times, and believe it or not I got it), there is actually something precious too in what I am saying - because no one becomes unadjusted without having also good arrows in his quiver: you don't forfeit the whole quiver because you do know that a few of its arrows ar darn good.

You learn by failing.
You don't learn by succeeding, neither you succeed by succeeding. You learn by failure, and you succeed escalating an excruciating ladder of failures.

In my boxing times, the confrontation was ruthless. My "ukes" had no qualms, not even when sparring.
I remember my first sparring days, I was trying to be considerate towards my opponent. Then Lucio, as we were having a coffee in a bar after training said to me: "you were downplaying, weren't you?". Well, yes, that guy was smaller than me and I didn't want to hurt him. He said "fregatene, sbattitene - sconocchiali proprio", which may translate into "don't give a damn about this, don't give a s*hit about this - break them without mercy".

What does it mean? The atmosphere - our ukes were not a joke.

Now, if you train with an uke that attacks you without any regard, and who refuses to accommodate you in the least, you fail and fail and fail and you get pushed, bruised, bumped, turned, brought down, (in boxing of course also punched lol).
When you are over two things happen to you, or better 3:

1) you feel you have been into something very real and you feel that your body, regardless of all your failures, has learned. You feel this in every single fiber of yours.
2) you may have hangovers - many times after my boxing training routine I had to stay at home laying in bed with the sensation i was about to vomit and my head and bowels hurting for the blows - this is negative but I can't tell you how much it made you feel you could take the real thing.
3) the next time you are on the ring, you are already better - little by little you realize you are getting acquainted to the thunderstorm - there comes a day, and wonj't take long, when you can start dancing into fire.

Nothing compares to that.
Having ukes that are not aggressive (they want to make you succeed... but a good uke wants you to fail - not intentionally, but merely by acting ina manner that is not geared to appease you), means taking away from us the build up of this sensation, which is something that, once you have experienced it, it makes you feel any other training approach to martiality is not the right one.
But as said, one needs to have been there to understand why point 3 has such a value, so self-evident for those who trained that way.

This is why I, nonetheless, insist about a different training, with ukes much more aggressive rather than accommodating. But it's hard to convey my message.

You can be a beginner, and yet be thrown into fire. Initiation by fire.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 06-01-2011 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:44 AM   #147
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

He is charging, I try to escape, pam - I see the mat. I am getting up, pam! I see the mat again - I try to roll away and get up as I am almost standing - pam! i see the mat again. I am confused, I understand nothing. How can I manage in this thunderstorm? I am supposed to do a nikkyo but I have no idea - how can I do a nikkyo in this situation?
I try - i get a smack on my face, a finger into my eye and pam - i see the mat again.
I make desperate attempts, at first using blunt force, other times grappling into the void - pam - i see the mat again.
I grab his wrist he pulls it back i lose my grip, pam, i get two smacks on my face, pam i see the mat again.
I grab again a wrist, i know i must be fast, but i have placed my hands in the wrong way - oh no darling, what do you want me to do rub your tummy? You did it wrong, so - PAM - you see the mat!
I try again this time a hand is placed corrctly but this wrist doesn't turn, why i cannot understand maybe because - pam i see the mat again!

then you go home. You rethink over and over the whole thing. It's engraved deeply into your flesh and mind now.
You realize your possibile errors. Tomorrow is another day, you will see the mat again, but this time you will try a new trick. Pam and you see the mat again!

Repeat algorithm. Over and over again.

One day you place a wonderful nikkyo - because you have realized that the way to a good nikkyo is paved of burning obstacles, and that if you don't manage thos efirst, you will NEVER place a nikkyo on a REAL attacker.

Pam - he sees the mat.

Aikido learned with the contribution of a boxing legacy.
You don't learn as you succeed during the day in the dojo. You learn by failing utterly and ingominously against the complete holistic challenge, when at night you think it over. You learn while the owls croak, as you lay in your bed.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 06-01-2011 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:01 PM   #148
sakumeikan
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post
I really appreciate your time Graham, and I also know that you know infinitely more about Aikido than myself. I know this and also when I don't openly state it, yet I am still keenly aware of this.

I just want to be sure you can identify with myself first, because I don't want to sound ungrateful.

Try to think for a moment you are this guy, Alberto. This is a guy who 20 years ago for about 4 years, got punched in his face nearly every day. He was used to physical confrontation that left no space for graciousness.
Now, he comes here among folks who say to him, who has been hit on his face by hooks uppercuts jabs and right punches in every fashion, saying to him that our secret is atemi, and that doing an atemi could work...
What will such a guy think? he will remember when he was punching furiously a good "incassatore" (dunno the English term) who couldn't care less of my best shots, go figure an atemi, and who kept coming, still charging, still dangerous, still offending...

He then sees these young ladies grabbing the arm of a guy who opposes no resistance and who turn around as if they were making a dancing pace. He sees guys being "attacked" by ukes who evidently think that hitting somebody on his forehead with the side of one hand is gonna be effective. He sees attackers who always stop to accommodate a technique. he sees guys who seem to have one arm only.
He sees folks that have never experienced what being hit squarely by a punch means, speculating that they may survive a combination of 6 boxing strikes delivered with bare hands in a span of less than 2 seconds, in order to win the day placing an atemi on such a foe...

Think where I come from, and you will understand why I say that I _know_ that 90% of the aikidokas I saw in dojos, would fare pretty poorly with a vaguely competent striker.
Alberto,
From your description of the dojos you train in or trained in
you must have been in pretty bad dojos.
You seem to think that the women are weak etc. I know I few ladies who would soon put you right on that premise.One lady in particular many years ago reduced me to a pulp.She was pretty tough.Learnt me a valuable lesson.Do not take anybody or anything for granted.
Cheers, Joe.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:10 PM   #149
abraxis
 
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Alberto,
From your description of the dojos you train in or trained in
you must have been in pretty bad dojos.
You seem to think that the women are weak etc. I know I few ladies who would soon put you right on that premise.One lady in particular many years ago reduced me to a pulp.She was pretty tough.Learnt me a valuable lesson.Do not take anybody or anything for granted.
Cheers, Joe.
Joe,
I agree with you completely. I recently returned to practice after a long time away but before I did I did a survey of dojos within a one hour drive of home. I decided on a dojo where the Shidoin is a woman:-- not because of her gender but because her Aikido is great by any standard and she is a wonderful teacher. She also has a very good way of making our practices relevant to real world situations.
Best,
Rudy

Last edited by abraxis : 06-01-2011 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:16 PM   #150
hughrbeyer
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Re: bad technique vs. resistance

Quote:
Alberto Italiano wrote: View Post
I have been reproached at times by my fellow ukes because I had a tendency to act too freely, or not to follow sensei's directions closely enough, because when trying a technique I never cease experimenting and if a movement that has not been prescribed comes natural to me, I do it. No matter what.
So Alberto, I respect your goals and your commitment to the honesty of the attack, but I think you're going at this the wrong way.

Good or bad, your dojo is your dojo. I agree with the other posters that much of what you're doing would be totally acceptable in other dojos, but you aren't in other dojos. And you're not going to change your dojo in any significant way--you don't have the recognized position to do that.

Furthermore, I think you're missing the goal of this type of aikido practice. My sensei says, "If you practice chaos, you learn chaos." Chaos comes naturally. The whole point of slower, less confrontational practice is to learn movement that does not come naturally. If you continually do what you want, instead of what your sensei is teaching, you'll end up learning what you already know. You'll never learn to move your body in a different way or deal with the attack in a different way.

And there is a different way. Boxing works because it is a highly constrained situation. It's a game. By the rules of the game, there's only one opponent, in a constrained but clear space, and you have to fight him. If you accept the rules, you end up with a ma-ai that is way too close for aikido. That's why those fast combinations work so well--at that distance a boxer can land a series of punches without committing themselves.

I have a video of my sensei dealing with a boxing-style attack which I never really understood until now (thank you) and until I'd tried boxing myself. Every time uke throws a punch, closing up the distance, he parries and opens it up again. He's not playing the boxer's game. After a few of these he's in a position for a throw. Just one example of how you don't have to buy in to the boxer's assumptions.

Given all that, I think you'd do better to fix your attitude towards your dojo or leave. If you stay, accept their approach and training methods, limited though they are, while you're in their class. But surely there are other young guys who would be interested in more vigorous practice. And maybe some of your boxing friends would be interested in learning some aikido. Practice after class, or meet up at the boxing gym if you have to. Do your exploration on your own, with like-minded friends. Maybe that way you can have your cake and eat it too, as we say.
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