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Old 04-28-2012, 07:43 PM   #1
"Whitch way"
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My aikido is at the crossroads

I,ve been studying aikido for about three years now and I,m currently a 4thkyu , so here's my story our dojo offers numerous day and night classes weekly but due to my job I,m forced to attend day classes with an occasional sat. Class with sensei. Now the daytime classes are beginner classes taught by yudansha sandan and higher there's usually 6 of us in classes weekly 2 4th kyu,a 5th kyu and 3. 6th kyus the higher ranks are split up with the beginners the youngest being 30's the rest 50 plus in age the older ones complain and bitch there injured go easy on them ect. No problem but when I,m uke they lay the hammer on me and when I return the waza the yudansha and ukes bitch at me for going to hard.so what do I do change my class schedule or go along. Thanks
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:04 AM   #2
dps
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

Seems like a perfect opportuinity to learn some.


http://www.thefreedictionary.com/patient

pa·tient (pshnt)
adj.
1. Bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance with calmness.
2. Marked by or exhibiting calm endurance of pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance.
3. Tolerant; understanding: an unfailingly patient leader and guide.
4. Persevering; constant: With patient industry, she revived the failing business and made it thrive.
5. Capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; not hasty or impulsive.
6. Capable of bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation, or annoyance: "My uncle Toby was a man patient of injuries" (Laurence Sterne).
n.

Last edited by dps : 04-29-2012 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 04-29-2012, 06:28 AM   #3
Mario Tobias
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

This situation is common in any dojo and you need to be careful about how to deal with the situation.

1. If same rank or sempai, it is reasonable to put the same level of intensity that they are putting on you. I'm not yudansha but have been practicing decades and I have decent ukemi. I've experienced a lot of yudansha just because they're wearing a black belt that they can throw you intensely but complain when it's their turn to get thrown the same way. Pretty unfair I should say, maybe this is one of the instances the color of the belt matters. Methinks they as nage should'nt throw how they throw if they can't take it when it's their turn.

2. If lower rank, you need to be careful how you deal with them especially the beginners. What I do is "teach" them proper technique. You normally get hammered because beginners are usually rushing the techniques. When it's my turn as nage, I intentionally slow down the technique and stress the important points by body language and expect them to follow the same. If they still rush, I remind them to slow down and follow proper form rather than rush. In extreme cases, I tell the person directly that the technique is rough and I don't have problems telling them this. Remember, it is your body and you need to protect it always no matter what. If they complain, you also have a right to complain.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:13 AM   #4
Shadowfax
 
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

So what is the problem? Are the people who are "laying the hammer on you" throwing you too hard for your skill level? The tell them to ease up. You have the right to see that you are safe as much as they do. If not then what is the big deal? If the ukemi of your uke cannot stand up to hard throws then ease up. You don't have to throw hard in order to gain from the training. In fact I find that as I teach myself to lighten up (for the sake of our beginners) I find that I am becoming even more aware of small internal things that I would never notice if I was just pounding on ukes. It is so hard to slow down and lighten up but it is valuable training. In fact I currently often don't even complete the throw and just take uke to the point of unbalancing in order to work on not being attached to/focused on the throw which should only be the result of a well executed technique and not the technique itself.

Personally I love to be thrown hard but often will not allow someone much junior to me to throw me hard because I don't feel that they can do so safely. If I get hurt I can't train. Iv'e already had a couple of injuries and they have been due to juniors whose technique is not safe enough for fast throws. And the fact that my ukemi was not quite good enough to save me from such. And this could be one of the issues with a few of your training partners as well.

And when you are in your 50's you will understand a bit better. Injuries are easier to come by and slower to heal. I'm only in my early 40's and am finding this to be true.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 04-29-2012 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:05 AM   #5
lbb
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

I'm with Cherie. Aikido training isn't a tit-for-tat situation, so it doesn't make any sense to look at how hard you're being thrown vs. how hard you're throwing. If someone is performing waza on you at a speed or intensity that doesn't work for you, they need to lighten up. If you're performing waza on someone else at a speed or intensity that doesn't work for them, you need to lighten up. The two things aren't related, though.

Overenthusiastic beginners sometimes do need a bit of reining in, but it's got to be done the right way. One good non-judgmental way to do this is to point out that when uke attacks with a lot of speed and force, it's hard to respond slowly and gently -- an advanced practitioner can sometimes do this, but at your level or my level, it's difficult to do (often impossible), no matter how much you might want to. The force and speed of our waza is much more dictated by the force and speed of the attack, so if uke is saying "You're throwing too hard, go easy," it's worth looking to see if they're swinging for the fences in their attacks. If that's what's happening, you can say something to them, such as, "I'm not trying to throw you hard, but when your attack is very fast and strong, my response is going to be too, whether I want to or not. How about if we just slow it down a bit?" Likewise, when you're uke, if you find them "bringing the hammer down" on you, consider your own attack. They're beginners! They don't have control! So, don't hand them a situation where their lack of control is more likely to result in injury to you.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:29 AM   #6
hughrbeyer
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

Good advice. Also, consider the following psychological experiment:

You get two subjects. Create an apparatus so that each subject has their thumb under a lever controlled by the other person, so that each person can apply pressure to the other's thumb, but they can't see each other. Tell them to do nothing but press on the other person's thumb with the same intensity that the other presses on theirs.

Invariably, what happens is an escalating cycle of increasing pressure so that both sides are very quickly mashing the other person's thumb as hard as they can.

Moral of the story: Don't assume you have it worst. Even if you actually do, don't assume it's intentional.
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:35 AM   #7
"Which way"
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

Thanks for the replies so far but I need to clarify a little bit.I can take the ukemi fine but I just don,t see how I,m going to get better training this way.
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Old 04-29-2012, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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Thanks for the replies so far but I need to clarify a little bit.I can take the ukemi fine but I just don,t see how I,m going to get better training this way.
Why do you think that throwing hard and fast is better than slowing down and focusing on accurtate and correct movement? This is a topic I have been struggling with for a while. Not because I think fast is better but because it is so hard to slow down for me. And the faster I move the more aggressive I am and the more often I fail. Yet when I slow it down and feel the technique things go much better both for me and for my training partners. This really is a topic you need to address with your sensei. I have been fortunate to have a teacher who really makes me focus on slowing down and doing correct technique instead of just slamming my partners around.

Sensei Matt often says slow is smooth smooth is fast.

You can't go fast until you can be smooth. At 4th kyu... I guarantee you that you are not yet smooth. I am approaching 2nd kyu and I know I am not smooth. I can sometimes throw with a ton of power but boy if uke is not on their game I could really hurt them because I'm simply not that good.

And as sensei says in class... if you break your ukes you soon have no one to train with and thus you can't practice.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:22 PM   #9
"Which way"
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

Here are some training examples that I deal with in class daily :ukes trying to spin out of shionage in turn I go into kotegaeshi second turning there body out of ikkyo transferring into sankyo or yonkyo and lastly trying to put on nikkyo and before I can apply it there tapping out and the instructor sees this and tells me not to transfer into another technique and he demonstrates on them they try to spin out he takes them down to the Matt but when I do I,m being to rough WTH.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:47 PM   #10
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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Here are some training examples that I deal with in class daily :ukes trying to spin out of shionage in turn I go into kotegaeshi second turning there body out of ikkyo transferring into sankyo or yonkyo and lastly trying to put on nikkyo and before I can apply it there tapping out and the instructor sees this and tells me not to transfer into another technique and he demonstrates on them they try to spin out he takes them down to the Matt but when I do I,m being to rough WTH.
I take it that this is what happens mostly with the lower ranks. Then either a) your technique is incorrect and is causing them to spin out and you need to slow down and focus on getting that right or b) they don't understand how to take the ukemi yet and that is up to sensei to teach and you are only confusing them more by changing techniques.

And if they are taping out early in nikkyo then you are probably causing them pain without actually correctly or effectively applying the technique. And again this means you need to slow down and work on correct form.

And I say all of this because I have experienced the same problems you are describing and these have been the solutions/answers to them in my case. In other words the problem is not your training partners the problem is you and you really are being too rough. Sucks don't it?
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:09 PM   #11
Stephen Nichol
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

I am going to +1 Cherie on this for the same reasons she says: Been there, done that, got the lecture from Sensei... the whole class gets the lecture... every time she demonstrates techniques.

Sensei shows us very slowly. She takes the time to explain each angle of every part of the body, foot work, hip/hara, arms/elbows - no shoulders please. She does the technique with Uke very slowly and several times each time repeating key areas to focus on and other aspects to mindful be of.

Then we all get up and tend to do it a little to a lot faster anyway... because we think/feel we are doing it slower than we actually are. We make many mistakes because we cannot feel them happening while they are happening... because we are not going slowly enough.

You cannot change the others in your class. You can only change yourself.

Slow down, learn to do shihonage properly. I still make mistakes with this technique when I do not enter deeply enough to take balance, turn fully so that the uke's wrist comes to their shoulder and then almost let them fall as opposed to throwing them. Slow it down so you can 'feel' that balance go, follow your lead...

Any time your partner can 'turn' out of a technique, you are doing it wrong. No offense, we all do it wrong for a long time until we slowly, very slowly start to get parts of it right.

Take your time. Learn to take your partners balance right from the start and keep it, lead it for the rest of the technique... while you do it slowly. Ask your Sensei/Sempai for a slow and details explination of what they are doing (if they do not already do that for you.)

When you start to get it working this way you will be so happy that it 'works' more frequently that you will not care who you practice with because you can 'make it work' on them. You can take the older people to the point of throw because you have their balance the entire time and then 'choose' to not throw them because you know they do not like it or cannot handle it. That is 'ok' too.

But when you do get to train with someone who can take the throw.. you will really appreciate being able to do properly with as few mistakes in it as possible. You will feel those mistakes starting to 'creep' in and you will slow down and stop yourself from doing the technique poorly, not throw your partner and instead say... "may I start again please? I did not catch your balance right and would like to try to get it again."

I hope that helps.
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Old 04-29-2012, 06:56 PM   #12
lbb
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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Here are some training examples that I deal with in class daily :ukes trying to spin out of shionage in turn I go into kotegaeshi second turning there body out of ikkyo transferring into sankyo or yonkyo and lastly trying to put on nikkyo and before I can apply it there tapping out and the instructor sees this and tells me not to transfer into another technique and he demonstrates on them they try to spin out he takes them down to the Matt but when I do I,m being to rough WTH.
Hey, do you think you could maybe break up your narrative a little? That whole thing was one big run-on sentence!

Kidding aside, here are my thoughts:
  • I doubt that your ukes are "trying to spin out of shionage". Spinning out of shihonage is a good way to get hurt, so why would someone ever do it unless they didn't know any better? In fact, from what I've observed, most newbies "spin out", as you put it, or try to turn the opposite way from the way they should. I did it as a newbie. Anyone else? Show of hands? I see it so often that I have to believe that the right way is simply counterintuitive. So, performing shihonage on a newbie is challenging; you should expect that, and be prepared for them to do the wrong thing. It just goes with the territory.
  • Doing henkawaza (changing techniques) with beginners is not a good idea, certainly not in the free-form way that you're doing it. Their ukemi just isn't developed enough to respond to it safely. So, you're taking a situation where uke failed to do the proper ukemi for the set technique...so you respond by changing to another technique...for which they're even less ready to do the proper ukemi. My, my, this will end well.
  • To your earlier comment: "I can take the ukemi fine but I just don,t see how I,m going to get better training this way" -- well, I guess it depends what you mean by "getting better". One of the standard bits of aikido PR is that it allows you to respond to an attack non-violently, controlling and not harming your attacker, etc. For many people, this is an important part of why they chose aikido. Maybe it isn't for you, but if it is, have you considered that dealing with these less-than-ideal ukes is an important part of your training? If you can't handle a well-intentioned 6th kyu who doesn't want to hurt or be hurt, what do you think you're going to do when faced with a real attacker?

It's not easy always working with juniors -- but remember, part of the reason why it's hard is because it requires you to get your own stuff squared away. And working with juniors is how juniors become seniors -- or they will, if their seniors (and that means you) put the work in on them.
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Old 04-29-2012, 07:37 PM   #13
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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Thanks for the replies so far but I need to clarify a little bit.I can take the ukemi fine but I just don,t see how I,m going to get better training this way.
would you like some cheese to go with the whine?

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 04-29-2012, 08:29 PM   #14
"Which way"
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

A lot to take in before next class thanks a lot everyone.and Phil is that all you got ?slow day huh.
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:04 PM   #15
Jonathan
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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the older ones complain and bitch there injured go easy on them ect. No problem but when I,m uke they lay the hammer on me and when I return the waza the yudansha and ukes bitch at me for going to hard.so what do I do change my class schedule or go along.
If this is so, then you ought simply to tell them that what goes around comes around. If they wanna' play hard, then they ought to be able to take whatever they are dishing out. If after telling them this they still blast away on you, then fulfill your promise and have at 'em! If they back off, then you must as well.

If no one sees the situation as you do, your perception of things might be askew. It sounds like everyone is on your case. Maybe they are seeing something in your behaviour to which you are blind. Just a thought.

I had a student who was constantly slamming his training partners around but when it came time for him to be on the receiving end of things he quickly complained of roughness. It was obvious to everyone but him that he couldn't take what he was dishing out. Even after I spoke to him about the situation he couldn't seem to see the problem. Eventually, the tension he created between himself and everyone else caused him to leave the dojo. I suspect he went away convinced that he was utterly blameless, persecuted unfairly by everyone in the dojo. I hope you can be clearer about yourself than this fellow was.

I agree with those who are telling you it is too early in your training for you to be throwing hard. At the level you're at, speed obscures mistakes and weakness in technique (to you, not to those with whom you're training). Slow down and study what you're doing and you will find not only your technique improving but your partners following your example.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 04-29-2012, 11:38 PM   #16
Mario Tobias
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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Here are some training examples that I deal with in class daily :ukes trying to spin out of shionage in turn I go into kotegaeshi second turning there body out of ikkyo transferring into sankyo or yonkyo and lastly trying to put on nikkyo and before I can apply it there tapping out and the instructor sees this and tells me not to transfer into another technique and he demonstrates on them they try to spin out he takes them down to the Matt but when I do I,m being to rough WTH.
Agree with the above posts. Beginners don't "try" to spin out of shihonage....it is an automatic response by uke to incorrect technique. It can happen even to very experienced aikidoka working with very new beginners. It is a common situation for shihonage.

I don't want to assume but it looks like your instructor at that particular day is rather new a teaching since beginners can spin out of his technique. To correct this mistake is very simple, you bend your knees to match uke's height (if smaller than you) or extend more (if taller than you). bottomline, you need to adjust so that you and uke are almost same height to prevent uke from spinning out. Sounds trivial but unless you know the answers, you'll just be stuck wondering what's wrong.

It's also not good practice to change to another technique if the original technique doesn't work but that's just my opinion. you need to work with your partner to understand why the technique is not working. It's very easy to get frustrated if the technique is not working and switch to another technique to compensate and regain face to you and your partner. You learn backwards or nothing this way, unless its henka waza practice.

If uke does try to intentionally spin out, read again the above. there's no way they'll be able to with correct technique.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 04-29-2012 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 07:06 AM   #17
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

Dear Which way:

I wonder what it is like training with you? When I am bitching about my ukes in my head I am not accepting "what is". When I come back to "what is" I find I can always be a better uke and nage by focusing on myself.

It happens during training...my ego has some stuff to say. The pleasure I get from training is proportionate to how much time I spend in my head.

Every Uke is a gift. I am provided opportunities to grow.

It would be sad for you and for me if I dressed for class and there were no other people there. I am grateful for whoever comes to class. Each person provides a new challenge for me to become better at Aikido and to become a better person.

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Old 04-30-2012, 07:26 AM   #18
dps
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

If uke is able to stop or counter any technique then you are doing the technique wrong, you do not have them unbalanced at the beginning of the technique to effectively finish the technique.
The first thing you do is unbalance uke then do the technique.
dps

Last edited by dps : 04-30-2012 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:00 AM   #19
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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I,ve been studying aikido for about three years now and I,m currently a 4thkyu , so here's my story our dojo offers numerous day and night classes weekly but due to my job I,m forced to attend day classes with an occasional sat. Class with sensei. Now the daytime classes are beginner classes taught by yudansha sandan and higher there's usually 6 of us in classes weekly 2 4th kyu,a 5th kyu and 3. 6th kyus the higher ranks are split up with the beginners the youngest being 30's the rest 50 plus in age the older ones complain and bitch there injured go easy on them ect. No problem but when I,m uke they lay the hammer on me and when I return the waza the yudansha and ukes bitch at me for going to hard.so what do I do change my class schedule or go along. Thanks
smash them, smash them, smash them........

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:14 AM   #20
Belt_Up
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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Beginners don't "try" to spin out of shihonage
I've come across one who does, so there are probably more. Not many try to do it, so it probably is incorrect technique (no shame, we've all been there) but it's possible one uke has tried to do it repeatedly and others have seen and copied it. With proper application of the technique, though, it shouldn't be possible.

It should be possible to test for it if you begin the technique and then stop. If they're doing it on purpose, they'll spin while you've stopped, and you can politely ask them what they're playing at. If they stop when you do, then it's your technique driving their spin.
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Old 04-30-2012, 05:14 PM   #21
robin_jet_alt
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

I've held off replying until now because I wanted to see how others responded. This is an issue that I can certainly relate to, and it's really tough to know where to draw the line. It can be really frustrating when people have poor ukemi and try to hide it by saying you are too rough. It is not too rough to try to practice at a level that will help you improve. On the other hand, they might be right, and you might actually be too rough. There is a difference between effective technique and being rough, and at the risk of sounding patronizing, I'm not sure how many people at 4th kyu can tell the difference. Are they complaining because they are hitting the mat too hard, or is it because you are unnecessarily wrenching their joints and trying to muscle the technique? The trouble is, unless we train with you, we don't know. All I can do is invite you to train with me, and see for myself.

With regard to the shiho-nage issue, if people can spin out of it, it is not a very good shiho-nage. I think another poster said something about uke not knowing any better and going the "wrong way". I disagree. There is no wrong way, there is only poor technique. Uke should not have any choice about which way to go. I recently had a student in one of my classes complain about a beginner spinning out of shiho-nage. The only real response I had was to take the beginner and do shiho-nage on her a few times. She couldn't spin out. Anyway, keep working on it. Make sure you keep your hands low and in front of your center before you raise them up and turn. Don't try to reach forward or to the side. That should improve your technique.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:38 PM   #22
"Which way"
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

The shionage spin outs are not happening as much now that I,m stretching them out.here lately it,s been my ukes grounding out on wrist/arm static (not moving) techniques. my only cure is to not let them fully grab me before I move if I let them latch on they ground out and it's a rough day.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:19 PM   #23
robin_jet_alt
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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The shionage spin outs are not happening as much now that I,m stretching them out.here lately it,s been my ukes grounding out on wrist/arm static (not moving) techniques. my only cure is to not let them fully grab me before I move if I let them latch on they ground out and it's a rough day.
Well again, this is just practice... I'm still working on a lot of things too.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:27 PM   #24
Mario Tobias
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

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The shionage spin outs are not happening as much now that I,m stretching them out.here lately it,s been my ukes grounding out on wrist/arm static (not moving) techniques. my only cure is to not let them fully grab me before I move if I let them latch on they ground out and it's a rough day.
that's the aiki part of it. no matter how grounded they are you still should be able to move them by correct body manipulation with using minimal strength. look at the other side and be thankful that they're grounded, that you can't move them yet since that is part of learning aiki and part of learning aikido. Frustration is part of the game. It does not mean that if you get the technique "right" as what you perceive to be right that what you are doing is actually correct. train a few more years and you will understand.

what you are actually doing is ki no nagare already, when your ukes are doing katai training. You will progress much faster if you start from katai to ki no nagare but progress lesser if the other way around but that's just my opinion.
http://www.iwama-aikido.com/levels.html
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:21 AM   #25
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Re: My aikido is at the crossroads

I suggest that you use uke as a mirror to reflect your tension and bad technique. When you find uke spinning out of shiho nage, slow the technique down, stop when you hit that point, identify what you're doing wrong and fix it, then continue. It requires that you communicate with uke and ask that they tell you what they're feeling, because 9 times out of 10, uke is doing what you're telling them to do,

Uke is rarely the problem, and problem uke's are a great opportunity to find our mistakes and fix them.

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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