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Old 05-01-2012, 12:48 PM   #1
chubbycubbysmash
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Resistance?

I was wondering what everyone else's take on resistance and how teachers should address it in the practice of Aikido.

I was reading some threads and it seems (at least to me~but tones in text are often lost so I could be vastly, vastly wrong) that the general consensus is that higher rank should be able to MAKE lower rank fall and lower rank should give resist or counter if he has the opportunity or just feel like it, and if higher rank can't do it, it's his/her fault.

But... doesn't it allow more room for injuries and fighting, which Aikido is supposedly (or at least that's how I have been perceiving it) against? If an uke refuses to fall and you force them to do so, couldn't you end up breaking their joints or hurting them? Whose fault is it then? Is it uke's for resisting or nage's for forcing the throw even when it's dangerous? How do you decide whether an uke can take it or not? There are older high dan ranks who just can't do breakfalls anymore safely, so is it still fair game to try and make them?

I always thought it was so that we could learn the techniques cooperatively, and not turn it into a competition. If it's understood between nage and uke that you are helping each other train by giving a bit of resistance to help eachother fine tune their techniques, I think that's fine--but sometimes I find people who deliberately go around trying to resist and test people and it causes injuries.

Recently, we've had a frequent visitor (around 3rd kyu) who has often repeatedly tested other students, be they higher or lower rank. We were in a basic ukemi class doing randori (learning to break fall in groups safely) and when it was his turn to be thrown, he began jabbing a higher rank in the ribs with his elbows, grappling him, and refused to fall (which he has done frequently to other members as well before). Higher rank is a very sweet guy who is non-confrontational, and did slow down and gently force the issue until he downed the 3rd kyu, but Sensei got SO mad that he called the guy out on the spot and told him that our exercise was not about countering, and our dojo does not promote confrontation and countering, and if he sees him doing it again then he will have to respectfully ask him to stop practicing here.

Of course, this was only after the guy had been warned multiple times in the past about his behavior, but hasn't stopped. I wonder what the proper protocol would be then?

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts!

Last edited by chubbycubbysmash : 05-01-2012 at 12:50 PM.

I'm not brave or smart or particularly generous, but I'll take my values and live by them--and that is my standard measurement of strength.

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:37 PM   #2
dps
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Josephine Fan wrote: View Post
.....If an uke refuses to fall......

Uke does not have that choice.

dps
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:52 PM   #3
chubbycubbysmash
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post

Uke does not have that choice.

dps
I think they do... especially when someone has an injury or is not up to the skill level where they could safely take ukemi for the intensity of a particular throw. Of course, there are some to do it to test, but that can CAUSE injury to one or both parties. Unless... we're advocating not giving uke a choice at all and just forcing a technique regardless of uke's skill or ability physical fitness?

That's where my curiosity lies--when does it stop becoming cooperative practice and starts becoming an issue of whether or not you could down a person?

I'm not brave or smart or particularly generous, but I'll take my values and live by them--and that is my standard measurement of strength.

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:59 PM   #4
dave9nine
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Re: Resistance?

sounds like your Sensei already established the protocol. after that, it's the guy choosing to be a ______, probably out of some ego trip or whatever.

"If it's understood between nage and uke that you are helping each other train by giving a bit of resistance to help eachother fine tune their techniques, I think that's fine--but sometimes I find people who deliberately go around trying to resist and test people and it causes injuries."

also sounds like you understand well enough what the proper place of resistance should be..
to me, the bottom line is, are people being nice and friendly, or are they going out of their way to be confrontational and competitive etc?... for me the latter goes against aikido training principles, whereas the former can indeed foster an environment where people can test and learn and grow together..

you will find that this issue is a huge one for Aikido, and you will keep coming back to it..
good luck!

-dave
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
chubbycubbysmash
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Dave Lewin wrote: View Post
sounds like your Sensei already established the protocol. after that, it's the guy choosing to be a ______, probably out of some ego trip or whatever.

"If it's understood between nage and uke that you are helping each other train by giving a bit of resistance to help eachother fine tune their techniques, I think that's fine--but sometimes I find people who deliberately go around trying to resist and test people and it causes injuries."

also sounds like you understand well enough what the proper place of resistance should be..
to me, the bottom line is, are people being nice and friendly, or are they going out of their way to be confrontational and competitive etc?... for me the latter goes against aikido training principles, whereas the former can indeed foster an environment where people can test and learn and grow together..

you will find that this issue is a huge one for Aikido, and you will keep coming back to it..
good luck!

-dave
Thank you so much for the response! That's how I feel too--if everyone is nice and trains with a mutual understanding of giving a bit of resistance, then that's fine and I think it would help development a lot. Just... not if people are going to go and be outright aggressive and confrontational.

I have just been confused by seeing a lot of flip-flop on both sides of this topic, on and off the mat (and on the interwebz.)

Resistance/countering DOES seem to be an issue I keep seeing over and over and over again... I've heard people who do Aikido brag about dislocating shoulders, elbows, breaking noses, etc when uke's resist or when they're countering their nage. and I don't know if that would be something I'd be proud of, I guess.

I'm not brave or smart or particularly generous, but I'll take my values and live by them--and that is my standard measurement of strength.

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Old 05-01-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
DonMagee
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post

Uke does not have that choice.

dps
I'd say a good uke doesn't have a choice. A bad one can decide to do whatever he wants and a unwary nage can end up without a clue.

- Don
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" - Albert Einstein
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:13 PM   #7
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Re: Resistance?

I like resistance, to a point. Resistance allows me to find the weaknesses in my technique and work on them. If someone keeps poking me in the ribs, it's probably because I'm not moving correctly, or my posture is off, or there's too much tension in my technique.

I've been to dojo's where all I have to do is touch uke and they fall down, that doesn't teach me anything.

That being said, the person in the most danger of resistance is the one resisting. A skilled nage will change technique because that's what uke is asking for. An unskilled nage will try to force the technique and may injure uke. Uke should resist enough to help teach nage, if it turns into a test of strength, or a contest of who's more macho and can take the most pain, someone will get injured.

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:29 PM   #8
Rob Watson
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Re: Resistance?

Resistance is not the same as countering. Compliance is not the same as taking a dive. Working together for the benefit of mutual development takes myriad forms which can include resistance, countering, compliance and even taking a dive - and much more. The right tool at the right time can do great works.

"In my opinion, the time of spreading aikido to the world is finished; now we have to focus on quality." Yamada Yoshimitsu

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Old 05-01-2012, 03:37 PM   #9
chubbycubbysmash
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Tom Quinn wrote: View Post
I like resistance, to a point. Resistance allows me to find the weaknesses in my technique and work on them. If someone keeps poking me in the ribs, it's probably because I'm not moving correctly, or my posture is off, or there's too much tension in my technique.

I've been to dojo's where all I have to do is touch uke and they fall down, that doesn't teach me anything.

That being said, the person in the most danger of resistance is the one resisting. A skilled nage will change technique because that's what uke is asking for. An unskilled nage will try to force the technique and may injure uke. Uke should resist enough to help teach nage, if it turns into a test of strength, or a contest of who's more macho and can take the most pain, someone will get injured.
Really awesome point about correcting posture but I think maybe the resistance you're talking about in the beginning is more on extension (as in, not fall until you need to, i.e. not just fall at a touch), and not "resisting for the sake fighting back" which is the kind of resistance I'm talking about.

In the case with the visitor we had, nage was doing iriminage, uke was already bending backwards when he grabbed onto nage's throwing arm with the outside arm, and then started jabbing with the elbow with the other. Unless nage did the technique SUPER fast, anyone could have probably done that... only, both nage and uke were next to a wall with 4 more uke's advancing... I don't think it was the right or safe place to be "testing" in that capacity then. =/

Last edited by chubbycubbysmash : 05-01-2012 at 03:38 PM. Reason: grammar... eh...

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Old 05-01-2012, 03:53 PM   #10
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Resistance?

I couldn't help but notice David Alexander Sensei (a prominent student of Saito Sensei) has been on Aikiweb recently. Here is one of his old articles on the subject of resistance:

Quote:
KOKYU-RYOKU is much stronger than muscular power, and eventually the techniques become almost effortless, even against strong resistance.
http://www.iwama-aikido.com/resist.html

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Old 05-01-2012, 03:57 PM   #11
chubbycubbysmash
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
I couldn't help but notice David Alexander Sensei (a prominent student of Saito Sensei) has been on Aikiweb recently. Here is one of his old articles on the subject of resistance:

http://www.iwama-aikido.com/resist.html

Regards

Carl
Thank you so much for the link--checking it out right now!

I'm not brave or smart or particularly generous, but I'll take my values and live by them--and that is my standard measurement of strength.

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Old 05-01-2012, 08:04 PM   #12
PeterR
 
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Re: Resistance?

I think the point is that you have to learn how to train and that includes the role of uke. It helps if there are clear levels of resistance and even clearer lines where they are to be used.

1. It is a trivial manner to shut down a technique you know is coming. If we always did that the technique would never get learnt.

2. If there is absolutely no resistance tori will never feel how the technique really works and the technique would never get learnt.

The role of uke has to be taught as much as the role of tori.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:02 PM   #13
graham christian
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Re: Resistance?

Yes, resistance alone leads to damage in my view. Thus one of the major principles of Aikido is non-resistance.

Teaching this from day one is imperative from my view otherwise it is merely a shell of Aikido which is being done.

But non resistance takes some getting and so it is a scale of progress and ability but nonetheless it should be shown that resistance is futile and neither acceptable, desired or needed. All done without pain or damage.

Peace.G.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:07 PM   #14
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Re: Resistance?

I must add that there is a joy in playing at full-resistance and even a greater joy when you are able to pull off a technique under those circumstances.

I can not agree that non-resistance is a major principle of Aikido. If it was the training would be superfluous (why apply technique).

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:10 AM   #15
dps
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Don Magee wrote: View Post
I'd say a good uke doesn't have a choice. A bad one can decide to do whatever he wants and a unwary nage can end up without a clue.
Exactly, a good uke will give a realistic dedicated constant attack at whatever speed the level of practice calls for without holding back or anticipating nage's technique.

This will enable nage to practice techniques and priniciples.

dps

Last edited by dps : 05-02-2012 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:46 AM   #16
Mario Tobias
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Re: Resistance?

I echo robert's post above. A lot of people I think have different understanding of how training with resistance should be done.

In my view, for static practice, static should be just that...static. Uke should offer some resistance to nage for nage to feel where the lines are with least resistance for him to do the technique properly. Static resistance is different from testing or countering. Countering/testing aims to shut down nage's technique and this will lead to nowhere if nage doesnt understand the technique. Mutual cooperation between partners happens in 3 ways: one if uke offers too much resistance, lower it down a notch for nage to find the technique where least energy is used; second, as both you and your partner get proficient with technique, offer more and more resistance for you partner to work with so that your techniques will get refined. third, as you get really proficient, you can spice up training by testing your partner or test to point out openings but it should be in this progression imo.

IMHO, offering static resistance and resistance with countering/testing are two separate practices with totally different learning outcomes. People think these 2 are the same so they mix them up. Uke should understand what practice nage wants or needs. Does nage want static resistance because he just wants to learn technique or do you test him because you want to point out openings in his techniques.

If nage does not understand the "lines" in the techniques, offering countering will not make him learn. Offering countering while nage just wants static resistance would lead to injuries as nage will just force the technique. There is a time to use one or the other but both of you should be sensitive to the fact what practice one person is trying to play and this is regardless of rank. Often, there are misunderstandings/injuries because this kind of "miscommunication" happens between uke and nage.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 05-02-2012 at 07:00 AM.
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Old 05-02-2012, 07:54 AM   #17
phitruong
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Re: Resistance?

good uke is worth their weight in gold....well maybe copper or possibly aluminum. good uke knows when you need it, how you need it, and how much you need it. really good uke would buy you foods and drinks afterward.

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Old 05-02-2012, 08:04 AM   #18
Marc Abrams
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Re: Resistance?

Traditionally, the uke is in the role as the teacher. What follows from there is obvious.... What kind of teacher would you like to be? When you can begin to ask that question to yourself, you can begin to understand one important part of that role. At another level, the uke is practicing the process of receiving the intent, energy and force from the nage. What you do with what you receive is also important in developing the ability to better connect with your partner and use that connection in a constructive manner.

Marc Abrams
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:41 AM   #19
dps
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
good uke is worth their weight in gold....well maybe copper or possibly aluminum. good uke knows when you need it, how you need it, and how much you need it. really good uke would buy you foods and drinks afterward.
And massage your feet.

dps
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Old 05-02-2012, 09:12 AM   #20
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
Traditionally, the uke is in the role as the teacher. What follows from there is obvious.... What kind of teacher would you like to be? When you can begin to ask that question to yourself, you can begin to understand one important part of that role. At another level, the uke is practicing the process of receiving the intent, energy and force from the nage. What you do with what you receive is also important in developing the ability to better connect with your partner and use that connection in a constructive manner.

Marc Abrams
Traditionally it really depended on what was being done. For sure in Kenjustu uke was more often than not the senior but again it depended on what was being taught. In jujutsu training (which includes aikido) you often spent alot of time receiving the technique before you started performing it yourself.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-02-2012, 10:34 AM   #21
Marc Abrams
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Traditionally it really depended on what was being done. For sure in Kenjustu uke was more often than not the senior but again it depended on what was being taught. In jujutsu training (which includes aikido) you often spent alot of time receiving the technique before you started performing it yourself.
Peter:

In my opinion, part of the problem with our training model, was the change away from the uke being the teacher (this was/is the predominant model in koryu- from which modern budo evolved from). When the uke is in the role as the teacher, that person is in the perfect position for guiding the nage in improving the execution of techniques. The teacher can increase resistance, change things up, etc. as part of a training paradigm. Without that awareness, the uke frequently acts in a manner that is essentially nonsensical when they are acting against the execution of a technique.

As a teacher, I frequently intervene when a student is acting "dumb" in the role of uke. For example, last night, one relatively new student (almost one year of study) was resisting the execution of a technique in a manner that was not smart. After a verbal explanation as to why he was not acting like an intelligent attacker, he soon resorted back to what he was doing. I had him attack me and when he did the same thing, he suddenly felt an atemi in the ribs which was integrated into the execution of the technique. Frequently, the body learns before the mind . I spend a lot of time teaching my students how to be a good uke. That means making a good attack without stupid openings; receiving the technique while maintaining connection and structure; and taking ukemi in a safe manner.

Our training paradigm is essentially a two-person kata practice. When both people take their roles seriously, the level of training can always increase, without unnecessary risk of injury, or devolving into some cooperative, delusional space where everyone feels good....

Marc Abrams
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:30 AM   #22
Rob Watson
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Re: Resistance?

One seemingly trivial example ... tai no henko ... when nage simply presses forward they run into all kinds of power or 'resistance' which is just a moderately connected uke. Uke does nothing except maintain their balance and posture (internal connection if you will) and nage cannot do the most simple of movements. This is true even when uke is a small child and nage an adult. Usually 'stupid' nage just powers through the resistance - easy to do against small children but not so easy with adults.

This is not resistance in the slightest ... nage is simply doing the technique completely wrong. Amazing to watch the uke that simply 'folds' and lets nage do the technique anyway ... fast forward a few months and nage has learned not one danged thing. Fast forward a few years and there is a spanking new shodan that cannot even do tai no henko correctly. Since tai no henko is a foundational drill (in Iwama lineage anyway) this is a huge problem and must be set aright from day one.

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Old 05-02-2012, 12:27 PM   #23
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Re: Resistance?

To echo some thoughts...
1. Resistance and countering are different. Countering and kaishi waza are different. We need to make sure chastising "resistance" is not chastising countering or kaishi waza. We also need to make sure uke understand when countering and kaishi waza are and are not appropriate.
2. Resistance is an indicator of improper kata. The more I hear good aikido people describe technique, the more I believe that resistance is just a product of poor kata. I like the thought of moving away from the notion of "non-resistance" and into the notion of "Did you see sensei push against uke? No? Well, then you are not moving correctly."

As for the original post, I believe each dojo has its own level of "opposition". Uke plays an integral role in learning kata and practicing waza. I think its important to express where your dojo stands and how students may train within the established levels of opposition. When in Rome...
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:07 PM   #24
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post

Uke does not have that choice.

dps
I disagree. Depending on the technique, if you cannot effectively move uke, then its on to another technique, and so on until he has submitted (tapped out).
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:26 PM   #25
phitruong
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Re: Resistance?

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I think its important to express where your dojo stands and how students may train within the established levels of opposition. When in Rome...
scream out loud "THIS IS SPARTA!" then kick the other bugger in the chest?

*sorry couldn't help meself. will now put on my toga and head over to the senate floor with Marc for a Caesar party*

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