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Old 01-27-2012, 07:08 AM   #1
chillzATL
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testing (skill) aikido

I'm spinning this off from the "the goal is not to throw" thread. In the last few pages there has been mention of the testing of skill that went on in the kobukan days. This has been brought up many times before, but apart from mention of some occasional sumo play time, there has never really been anything released to support the idea that the way they practiced looked any differently than what most all of us are doing today. It seems that the uke/nage roles were in full effect and O'sensei's spiritual underpinnings were as prevalent as ever. It seems quite obvious that the mode of practice was not like that of judo. So I'm curious as to what form some of you think this testing took?

Some of the basics that come to mind are:

1. Uke's would attack with real weight/force, but without throwing their centers around willy nilly.

2. uke's didn't move if there was no kuzushi and would actively take their balance back of it were lost.

3. Uke's would look for holes in the connection and technique, stopping nage or employing counters when found.

There are others as well. Your thoughts?
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Old 01-27-2012, 07:45 AM   #2
PeterR
 
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

I think you pretty much nailed it. Practice could be pretty severe or not depending on who trained and when. In fact you can find the same finger pointing then as you do now.

One thing though is that several of the early students came from a Judo background (or sumo) and had tested themselves under pretty extreme circumstances. They were learning techniques for their own sake and knew what they could do.

When Tomiki called Aikido training an eyeless tiger he was referring to students that knew only Aikido. Other older students of Ueshiba addressed the problem through other means than competition such as particularly rigorous training. Either way there was an attempt by some to test character rather than just the techniques.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:16 AM   #3
NathanMishler
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Another thing I wonder (maybe this is best for a different thread, if so I'll start one) is how best TO test yourself? How do people here do it?

I personally have been inspired by the threads of the last few days to start forging my aikido more seriously when I can, with resistance or with uke taking their center back or I'm not sure what. The thing though is it can be hard. Trained Ukes know how to stop a technique "I know what you are going to try to do, so I am going to stop it." That can be good training for switching up techniques, but I get the feeling that the "testing" described here is not the testing of kihon, but of testing aiki. Or maybe of testing other things!

So! Who here does it, and what is most successful?
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:46 AM   #4
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post

Some of the basics that come to mind are:

1. Uke's would attack with real weight/force, but without throwing their centers around willy nilly.

2. uke's didn't move if there was no kuzushi and would actively take their balance back of it were lost.

3. Uke's would look for holes in the connection and technique, stopping nage or employing counters when found.

There are others as well. Your thoughts?
You just described my personal approach to ukemi. I wouldn't call this "testing", just basics of good training. Of course, I modulate the intensity of points 2 and 3 depending on the skill of my partner and how much I trust them. Some people in aikido seem to have a low tolerance for frustration.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:21 AM   #5
Marc Abrams
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

From the people that I have spoken to who were training there, the "testing" took many different forms based upon certain situations. For example, the rivalry between the Tokyo and Iwama students was quite intense. Ellis recently wrote about one instance where someone tried to break his elbow. Things that go on when a video camera is rolling tend to be very different than when there are no cameras recording the events. The glaring exception to that is the modern day phenomenon of senseless people acting poorly so that they can be on "reality" tv. .

I am not suggesting that rivalry "testing" is desirable and think that this can be a dangerous situation to be avoided. Aikido waza practice entails some degree of cooperative practice. That is a far cry from using techniques in a kumite situation. I personally like the model of practice in shindoryu. That model is based upon a progression from kata, to bunkai kumite (various levels of sophistication and a variety of responses on both sides), to kumite. When Aikidoka approach a similar training paradigm, the bunkai kumite can surprise many because the dawning reality of "uke chooses technique" conflicts with desires and wants. In a kumite situation, I frequently use Imaizumi Sensei's quote of "if you move properly, many times you do not need technique."

I think that there are many valuable training paradigms out there that can allow us to receive verification of our skill and ability levels that can avoid a competition based upon defeating your opponent. If you can keep yourself as your greatest opponent, you are always open to learning from others, regardless of the external results.

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:40 AM   #6
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

I'll try to say again what I said previously. If the roles of Uke and Tori are pre-established and the attack and defense pre-defined then the pressure testing suggested by the OP are pointless and tend to lead to stupid competition. By stupid I mean muscular force as opposed to real skill (IP or jutsu). I agree with Marc that rivalry testing is dangerous, especially when one party offers their body to be used a s some type of crash test dummy. In respectful kumite both parties are simultaneously uke and tori, neither knows what will happen, and locking your hands on to someone and applying static force probably means a severe blow. Testing in it's proper place is noncompetitive, unless both parties agree to a rule based competition. Thats OK, but its not budo, its sport, and thats fine too, if you want to be a winning athlete.
However, if you are pursuing a path of either self development or actual combat skills, or possibly both (my understanding of budo, not to be forced upon anyone else), then testing some a partner offers you to help you escape delusion and nonsense. I like Marc's last comment " If you can keep yourself as your greatest opponent, you are always open to learning from others, regardless of the external results." Words of truth Marc, not bad for a New Yorker ;-)

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:03 AM   #7
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Nathan Mishler wrote: View Post
The thing though is it can be hard. Trained Ukes know how to stop a technique "I know what you are going to try to do, so I am going to stop it." That can be good training for switching up techniques, but I get the feeling that the "testing" described here is not the testing of kihon, but of testing aiki. Or maybe of testing other things!
Of course it can be hard. That's the point.

If uke is allowed to stop a technique, nage has to be allowed to respond appropriately, including both atemi and changing techniques. But I don't think "stop nage's technique" is a useful training metaphor for uke, either. How about "attack nage's center?"

No, this kind of training doesn't look much like kihon.

Katherine
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:08 AM   #8
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
I'll try to say again what I said previously. If the roles of Uke and Tori are pre-established and the attack and defense pre-defined then the pressure testing suggested by the OP are pointless and tend to lead to stupid competition. By stupid I mean muscular force as opposed to real skill (IP or jutsu).
Thanks for the reply, Alec.

I disagree with the above statement. There are some people in our dojo that get a different kind of practice from me than others. I will attack them in much the same way as the examples I gave in the first post. It does not devolve into a wrestling match or a competition and everything happens within the boundries of the technique, but they are given real resistance to work against and they know that if they give me my balance back, I'm going to stop them. I don't seek to fight them the entire way or do anything I can to prevent them from doing the technique, but if I see openings or feel obvious tension that I can grab hold of, I'm going to take them and they know this. I obviously do not do this with everyone, as most people aren't ready for it, but the people that get it, appreciate it. I do it for them, not for me and I appreciate when I get the same in return. At the end of the day they know that they were actually doing what they thought they were doing and not just going through the motions. If they feel they are musculy when doing this, it's on them to put in the time to work that out of their bodies and eventually out of their techniques, but again, they know this.

That's the type of testing (plus more) that I imagine went on in the kobukan days, but I wanted peoples thoughts about that and any evidence anyone might have to support or dispute that.

Last edited by chillzATL : 01-27-2012 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:11 AM   #9
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

I was yaking with a friend of mine who was commenting what would happen were Stan to pull off another series of Aikido friendship seminars today. A lot of ground has certainly been covered since then, and a host of training methods have come to attention of the Aikido community.

I don't really think its needed but it is interesting to see how Stans efforts were seminal in getting different groups to open their minds to others approaches to aiki and means to train, that has been taken up and forwarded as people in the community who have continued to meet because of those experiences.

The one thing I think that would be unique were they to occur today would be a type of and level of... testing...that heretofore not been experienced by most teachers in aikido. This would no doubt further the narrative taking place in the community right now in some very interesting ways. I think it would also further cement Stan's effort in bringing the community together and bridging style and arts.
Dan
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:50 AM   #10
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Nathan Mishler wrote: View Post
Another thing I wonder (maybe this is best for a different thread, if so I'll start one) is how best TO test yourself? How do people here do it?

I personally have been inspired by the threads of the last few days to start forging my aikido more seriously when I can, with resistance or with uke taking their center back or I'm not sure what. The thing though is it can be hard. Trained Ukes know how to stop a technique "I know what you are going to try to do, so I am going to stop it." That can be good training for switching up techniques, but I get the feeling that the "testing" described here is not the testing of kihon, but of testing aiki. Or maybe of testing other things!

So! Who here does it, and what is most successful?
IMO, if you take and keep uke's center, no level of training will stop any technique regardless of how well it is known or prepared for. Fun part starts when two people of similar skills interact to take and keep their respective centers

Greg
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:57 AM   #11
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
IMO, if you take and keep uke's center, no level of training will stop any technique regardless of how well it is known or prepared for. Fun part starts when two people of similar skills interact to take and keep their respective centers

Greg
which is another level of testing that I imagine took place in the old days. It's one thing to take a persons center who doesn't know how to hide it (or isn't even aware of it period), it's another when someone knows how to move physically to keep it away from you and yet another when someone can seemingly do nothing yet you can't find it, much less get it.
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:25 AM   #12
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
I'll try to say again what I said previously. If the roles of Uke and Tori are pre-established and the attack and defense pre-defined then the pressure testing suggested by the OP are pointless and tend to lead to stupid competition. By stupid I mean muscular force as opposed to real skill (IP or jutsu). I agree with Marc that rivalry testing is dangerous, especially when one party offers their body to be used a s some type of crash test dummy. In respectful kumite both parties are simultaneously uke and tori, neither knows what will happen, and locking your hands on to someone and applying static force probably means a severe blow. Testing in it's proper place is noncompetitive, unless both parties agree to a rule based competition. Thats OK, but its not budo, its sport, and thats fine too, if you want to be a winning athlete.
However, if you are pursuing a path of either self development or actual combat skills, or possibly both (my understanding of budo, not to be forced upon anyone else), then testing some a partner offers you to help you escape delusion and nonsense. I like Marc's last comment " If you can keep yourself as your greatest opponent, you are always open to learning from others, regardless of the external results." Words of truth Marc, not bad for a New Yorker ;-)
This thread is gold.

Aikido is training to deal with life and death situations. You really don't want to create "realistic" tests for it. My sensei taught me that if you are ever faced with such a situation, the aikido you sincerely trained for will come out naturally and spontaneously. It may not look like shihonage (or any other "technique"), but it will be appropriate for the situation.

I am incredibly grateful to be living in a peaceful and secure corner of the world where this has not been my reality to date. Not everyone is so lucky. If I grow old and die without ever having to "test" my aikido, I will not be unsatisfied.

Having said that, I'm all for cutting through delusion if there is a safe way of doing it. I'm with the rest of you on your strategies for doing just that. I don't see it as a competitive thing either.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:44 AM   #13
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Some of the basics that come to mind are:

1. Uke's would attack with real weight/force, but without throwing their centers around willy nilly.
And without announcing previously which attack he is going to do. Feinting and combinations are allowed.

Quote:
2. uke's didn't move if there was no kuzushi and would actively take their balance back of it were lost.
Of course

Quote:
3. Uke's would look for holes in the connection and technique, stopping nage or employing counters when found.
Of course.

also I'll add

4. Nage will try to avoid his waza stopped or countered by uke, countering his counters or disengaging if necessary.

Rinse and repeat 1 to 4 until harmony is restored by nage... or not.

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Old 01-30-2012, 11:02 AM   #14
chillzATL
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Thanks for the reply Demetrio. Now, how much of what we've laid out so far do you think existed within the Kobukan dojo of old? This dojo produced people of ability, people who could "do".
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:15 AM   #15
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Thanks for the reply Demetrio. Now, how much of what we've laid out so far do you think existed within the Kobukan dojo of old? This dojo produced people of ability, people who could "do".
I think much of it was not needed at that time, mostly because any japanese adult at that time had years of school with judo and/or kendo as PE under his belt.

Kobukan students had the foundational attributes/skills for martial arts well developed even before joining. People today is different.

Last edited by Demetrio Cereijo : 01-30-2012 at 11:20 AM.

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Old 01-30-2012, 12:00 PM   #16
mathewjgano
 
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
Some of the basics that come to mind are:

1. Uke's would attack with real weight/force, but without throwing their centers around willy nilly.

2. uke's didn't move if there was no kuzushi and would actively take their balance back of it were lost.

3. Uke's would look for holes in the connection and technique, stopping nage or employing counters when found.

There are others as well. Your thoughts?
This fits with my understanding of training too. One of the things that attracted me to the Aikido I experienced was the ongoing assessment/feedback I saw as embedded within the practice. When I was a kid I took a "punch-kick" art and didn't feel like I got any real-time feedback...granted it was training geared for kids, but it left an impression. Another factor I really like about what I've experienced is the rotation of partners so you can see/feel various stages of development as well as various body types and personality types, all of which inform how your partner moves to some degree or another.
To this list I would only add that as uke, I was always very glad when nage would give me pointers for how to attack better. Also, nage miht be more aware of an opening they had inadvertently created and would tell me to try to take advantage of it, which helped me be more mindful of possible openings which of course would help me help them in their practice.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-30-2012, 07:07 PM   #17
PeterR
 
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
I think much of it was not needed at that time, mostly because any japanese adult at that time had years of school with judo and/or kendo as PE under his belt.

Kobukan students had the foundational attributes/skills for martial arts well developed even before joining. People today is different.
These arts I have to point out used competition as testing for skill levels.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:46 AM   #18
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

i liked the sumo type of test. there is no nage and no uke in that test. you and your partner just grab each other in a judo stand-up hold, then proceed to see who can unbalance/move the other person, no throw of any kind needed. sort of push-hand, without using hands/arms. hmmm maybe this is a bit more advance than basic test.

the other question is what level of test should be conducted so as not to introduce tension and bad habits? to me, this is much more critical than what to test. which lead to the question, what are the goals of the test? sorry, the engineer/scientist in me came out. to test you need to state the goals, constraints, methods, and analysis of results.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:53 AM   #19
Amir Krause
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Many of the comments above are right to the point, i think you should seperate your "skill test" to the following phases, (trying to reconstract the way I learned and trained over the years):
1. Full Kata: Uke attacks in pre-decided form, Tori responds in pre-decided form
For starters try to give Tori the responsibility for the harmony. Uke attacks exactly as he should (form should include Uke "plan" to continue post the attack if Tori does not interfere, which should make sense related to said attack). At this step, UKe is to follow Tori lead exactly, regardless of force, but Uke will not put himself into the technique without a lead.
Once Tori got the first phase, at the second phase, Uke will not move into an iferior position willingly. If Tori wishes to lead Uke into a position he feals to be inferior, Tori has to have the advantage that forces it (kuzushi/leverage/aiki etc.). In this stage, both should use about the same level of force and speed.
Once Tori progressed in the second phase - Uke may start looking for "holes" - if he can get away from the techique or switch his attack etc.
Since the situation is pre-known to both parties, utilization of extra force or speed must be taken away from the equation for this stage.

2. One move Kata: Uke attacks in pre-decided form, Tori responds in any technique he decides upon
Here, Uke does not know which technique Tori will use each time, this centers the attention on the first touch, "give aways" (Tori signaling his intended response) and Tori getting his initial advantage.
The later step of this phase allows Uke to slightly adjust his attack (e.g. exact direction or shorter / longer step in a punch ) if he sees Tori moving before the critical point

3. One move Randori (free): Uke attacks as he decides, Tori responds as he wishes
This type of practice should move the focus to Tori situational grasp and longer range sensitivity - when is Uke attacking? along which line exactly?
Note, Uke should be limited to very few steps prior to attacking, otherwise inexperianced people may get you to strange situation of attacking in a distance Tori should not stand at.

4. Move on to non-competitive "free play" Randori or Kyshu
here you can find the writing of my teachers to help you:
http://www.freewebz.com/aikido/lecture/unit6.htm
emphasis - this is non competitive way for sparring, it is not important whom won the first move, or who won more moves. At least for the first few years the idea is to learn to move and get to the position and Kuzushi, the technique itself is secondary. Later the movement should also help to "shape the attack" (as Marc wrote above movement comes first).

Amir
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:13 AM   #20
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

I'm a big fan of having purpose in your attack. My biggest problem is being told to "throw a strike" or "cross hand grab". I much prefer to be told "try to take me down" or "Try to hit me in the stomach"

Having purpose makes it easier to attack realistically and thus makes my balance and counters natural. This can still be done with stylized attacks, but it gives uke a goal other than "stick your arm out and be ready to fall down"

It reminds me of a post I made a few years ago http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...6&postcount=62

- Don
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:49 AM   #21
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
I'm a big fan of having purpose in your attack. My biggest problem is being told to "throw a strike" or "cross hand grab". I much prefer to be told "try to take me down" or "Try to hit me in the stomach"

Having purpose makes it easier to attack realistically and thus makes my balance and counters natural. This can still be done with stylized attacks, but it gives uke a goal other than "stick your arm out and be ready to fall down"

It reminds me of a post I made a few years ago http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...6&postcount=62
Forgot about this one too http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpo...7&postcount=60

- Don
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Old 01-31-2012, 11:08 AM   #22
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Thanks for the discussion so far folks. It seems like many of us have similar ideas about the nature of cooperation of aikido and the progression of resistance that it should have. Makes one wonder how aikido earned the reputation that it has earned.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:25 AM   #23
Amir Krause
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

After practice last night, I realized I should clarify some points reagrding my suggestions:

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Many of the comments above are right to the point, i think you should seperate your "skill test" to the following phases, (trying to reconstract the way I learned and trained over the years):
1. Full Kata: Uke attacks in pre-decided form, Tori responds in pre-decided form
For starters try to give Tori the responsibility for the harmony. Uke attacks exactly as he should (form should include Uke "plan" to continue post the attack if Tori does not interfere, which should make sense related to said attack). At this step, UKe is to follow Tori lead exactly, regardless of force, but Uke will not put himself into the technique without a lead.
Once Tori got the first phase, at the second phase, Uke will not move into an iferior position willingly. If Tori wishes to lead Uke into a position he feals to be inferior, Tori has to have the advantage that forces it (kuzushi/leverage/aiki etc.). In this stage, both should use about the same level of force and speed.
Once Tori progressed in the second phase - Uke may start looking for "holes" - if he can get away from the techique or switch his attack etc.
Since the situation is pre-known to both parties, utilization of extra force or speed must be taken away from the equation for this stage.

2. One move Kata: Uke attacks in pre-decided form, Tori responds in any technique he decides upon
Here, Uke does not know which technique Tori will use each time, this centers the attention on the first touch, "give aways" (Tori signaling his intended response) and Tori getting his initial advantage.
The later step of this phase allows Uke to slightly adjust his attack (e.g. exact direction or shorter / longer step in a punch ) if he sees Tori moving before the critical point

3. One move Randori (free): Uke attacks as he decides, Tori responds as he wishes
This type of practice should move the focus to Tori situational grasp and longer range sensitivity - when is Uke attacking? along which line exactly?
Note, Uke should be limited to very few steps prior to attacking, otherwise inexperianced people may get you to strange situation of attacking in a distance Tori should not stand at.

4. Move on to non-competitive "free play" Randori or Kyshu
here you can find the writing of my teachers to help you:
http://www.freewebz.com/aikido/lecture/unit6.htm
emphasis - this is non competitive way for sparring, it is not important whom won the first move, or who won more moves. At least for the first few years the idea is to learn to move and get to the position and Kuzushi, the technique itself is secondary. Later the movement should also help to "shape the attack" (as Marc wrote above movement comes first).

Amir
First I would like to add something about speed- alll the Kata exercises should be practiced in multiple speeds: start at medium speed, a level at which you feel convinient with your technique but not too easy and your Uke does not have too much time to think of his attack, you should slowly increase the speed as you progress, and get to high speed too. Only once you feel both you and the Uke got the high speed limitations well enough, you should both get back to very slow speed (multiple counts per movement) - working very slowly is great for identifying holes and feeling the subtelities, but you must have a good Uke, and both realize the realities of high speed in order to keep the low speed realistic (changes of direction, movement and posture are too easy in very low speed, and unless well understood might invalidate the whole practice).

Second - purpose/intent - As Don mentioned, these are very important

Third - test not only grabbing situations but also attacks (Shomen, yokomen and then long backhand punch - Karate Oouzuki, then reverse hand punch and then short front hand punch, then you can move on to kicking) . Be sure you have multiple "cooperative technical solution" for those situations before you start, and that you understand the realistic distance for these attacks (Uke should not reach you without some movement).

Most important in the way I learned and trained, this is not "skill test", this is the way we learn and train from the start . For skill tests, we have multiple practices with the teacher close at hand to watch and stop or as Uke.
For example, last night practice started with a short Kyushu session, only 3 rounds this time (lately we incresed the number of rounds to around 10 and over 30 minutes, each round with different partners) . We normally play this somewhat similar to sparring, both sides engage and attack at will, and as they desire: mostly punches, but kicks are also allowed, and for beginners/peole on an Off day, Shomen\Yokomen uchi attacks are also practiced, with a few strungulations and other grabs to spice things up. As a rule, the more junior practicioner is required to attack whenever he can (vetrans normally reciprocate evenly, though are not obliged to). Further, currently, getting out of techniques and/or reversing them is OK for all the practitioners (our current beginners have a few months under the belt, and ost of the group is much further advanced). Yet - we keep the power levels very low, and people should not force a technique or excape (some beginners still try, some like me are teaching them to better their ways with softness ).
Afterwards we moved on to Kata, I worked with a beginner partner, who was much lighter then me. I think this could provide some additional insight, since given my advnatage in size, power and skill, I could have interferred with any technique of my partner, at almost any stage. Yet, had I done that, he would have only come out of this practice with dispair and would not have gained a thing.
The Kata decide upon by Sensei was a technique against shomen kiri with boken. We started working on getting out of line on time, here we worked on my Uke not getting too far away, nor moving before hand (in both cases he would get a slight slap from the boken), then we worked on the technique - at first, I was helping him in every step of the way, up to moving him around with my hand while he tries to lock it, and slowly slowly, I let him do things one at a time, and let him feel the concequences of failing - if he got no kuzushi and did not control the boken - I would respond with an appropriate cut. If he over indulged in getting the sword from my hand, and forgot the rest of me, I sent him to the floor - all done slowly and without force - teaching and explaining. When I made a mistake in my techniques, I showed it to him and told him how he should react ( I recall an example of throwing him in a way he still had control of boken - I showed him he should cut back).
This is a way of teaching with instant feedaback from Uke on your actions as Tori, adjusted to your actions. Of course, it is much easier to do when Uke is much more experianced ( a short while later, Sensei corrected some technique of mine just by being my partner for a few repetitions of him and then me).

So for you - go slow - do not try to jump from 0 to 100 in a single session, there is a well paved road on how to train this way, it is not an issue of testing aikido skill, rather of training with live feedback.

Good luck with your new attempts, tell about it as you try
Amir
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Old 02-01-2012, 03:23 AM   #24
Alec Corper
 
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

I like Amir's posts. This style of practice is very similar to the external aspects of sparring in Chinese boxing all the way from light tap to out cold or busted ribs. I probably missed the point of the OP, so I went back and read it again. My understanding of pressure testing is more akin to what Dan does and also what is done in Chen CMA. Before you get into any kind of combat testing you first need to lock in the internal structure. I have fought with many good fighters in the past who now I would consider to be lacking in internal skill (Aiki or Jin, names not so important). They could still kick ass and take names so to speak but I thought we were seeking something else. To me all the pressure testing of combat is only useful after the internals are mastered or you lock in bad habits which will get you a long way but eventually stall. Without those kinds of practice most of us would learn more about combat from the street than from the dojo.

If your temper rises withdraw your hand, if your hand rises withdraw your temper.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:31 AM   #25
chillzATL
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Re: testing (skill) aikido

Quote:
Alec Corper wrote: View Post
I like Amir's posts. This style of practice is very similar to the external aspects of sparring in Chinese boxing all the way from light tap to out cold or busted ribs. I probably missed the point of the OP, so I went back and read it again. My understanding of pressure testing is more akin to what Dan does and also what is done in Chen CMA. Before you get into any kind of combat testing you first need to lock in the internal structure. I have fought with many good fighters in the past who now I would consider to be lacking in internal skill (Aiki or Jin, names not so important). They could still kick ass and take names so to speak but I thought we were seeking something else. To me all the pressure testing of combat is only useful after the internals are mastered or you lock in bad habits which will get you a long way but eventually stall. Without those kinds of practice most of us would learn more about combat from the street than from the dojo.
Thanks Alec. I would say that I agree with everything you said here. For the thread, which I probably wasn't descriptive enough in my OP, I was hoping to get some discussion of what sort of pressure testing went on in the old days, not so much about what we think it should be today. Though that's actually worked out great. If the people that are considered to have gotten "it" from O'sensei and most of the ones who are more highly regarded in a general budo sense came from this period, what were they doing differently? There is little evidence to support the idea that their mode of practice was any different than ours today, repetition of techniques. So what was it? Was it feeling O'sensei regularly? I doubt that they understood him any better. Was it that combined with a progression of physicality or aliveness in the training? The way aikido is practiced is often dogged on both the external and internal fronts, but in both cases the "old days" seem to be the bright spot in aikido history and this thread was my round about way of digging into that.
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