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Old 10-30-2012, 05:44 AM   #1
Mariska Poiesz
 
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Difficult uke or bad technique?

I have been having trouble training with one of the other students at our dojo.
When we train together I find it very difficult to practice the technique asked of us on him. I feel as though he is risting too much for technique's to work, but maybe I can't get controll over the situation because my technique is bad.

For example, yesterday we were practising morotedori iriminage. He places a very fierce morotedori that quickly moves into a yonkyo. That yonkyo still hurts the next day.
From that attack I can move into a kotegaishi or an ikkyo, but not directly into an iriminage. (Kokyonage is also difficult with him) I've asked him to calm down a bit so that I can figure out the best approach to his attack, but even then I feel as though I am not executing the technique right, and other techniques seem to make more sense when dealing with him. When we speed up again I can barely apply the iriminage and I have to use strenght. However my iriminage seems to work with other people.

After class I've spoken to some other people about him and they also find him a difficult and anoying training partner.

Am I being too sensitive?
Are other uke's not resisting enough during my irimi, making me think I can apply the technique while in reality I can't?
Or if his way of taking ukemi is the problem, how can we get him to ease up and relax?

We are both 4th kyu, going for 3rd end this month.

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:15 AM   #2
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

HI Mariska:

If I am having trouble with a technique with an uke I ask the uke for what I need like you did. For example, "Could you slow down and not grip so hard because I can't move?" Then we can progress together so that I can understand it a bit better. If they forget and go back to their habit I might need to ask again. Some techniqes are very difficult.

If I am doing freestyle and a technique doesn't seem to be working...I pay more attention to my uke and let them go in the way they are heading with some guidance , of course. ;o)

After more practice hard techniques and difficult ukes make more sense. Good luck with you test.

Last edited by Mary Eastland : 10-30-2012 at 06:16 AM. Reason: spelling

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Old 10-30-2012, 07:43 AM   #3
lbb
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

It sounds like mostly a case of a bad uke to me, particularly given that you've been clear with him about what you need. At the same time, good ukes don't (usually) just happen, and people who are strong and can grip like iron don't turn into good ukes unless they've had someone explain to them what uke's role is. Uke's role is to execute the attack they're supposed to, with a speed and intensity (strength, if you will) that gives nage something they can work with, given their level, to execute the technique they're supposed to. Those are the conditions that allow nage to train. If you're acting in such a way that nage can't train (and therefore learn to handle attacks with greater speed and intensity), you're a bad uke -- but only if you've had that uke role explained to you in that way. So I'd put it back on the sensei and sempai, at least to start with. If he has received that explanation, and he either rejects it, or thinks it doesn't apply to him, or thinks that it makes training "not realistic" (or, worse yet, he uses the "not realistic" judgment as a fig leaf for a self-indulgent ego-gratification game of "You can't handle my attack, I'm better than you, neener neener neener"), then he's a bad uke.

Dealing with a bad uke can be very tough, depending on the dojo. My sensei really frowns on nage who color outside the lines -- for good reason, because it's an easy way for a bad uke to get hurt, and also it can become a convenient excuse for nage to be lazy and fail to learn to deal with more difficult attacks. But then, when he calls people up for ukemi, he's absolutely devastating on any kind of "bad uke" behavior: attack him in such a way that it would be very hard to do the technique he's "supposed" to do, but easy to do another technique, he'll go with plan B and uke will get schooled. So we don't get people with ingrained "bad uke" habits like that. I guess I've circled around to the same point, and it's back on the sensei. If your sensei doesn't mind if you do a different technique, that's what I'd do, I guess.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:46 AM   #4
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Mariska Poiesz wrote: View Post
I have been having trouble training with one of the other students at our dojo.
.
1. Uke is always right.
2. in other cases look at the point number 1

Of course some people will always find a million cheap excuses to justify their poor technique, don't be misled.

Your partner is very right to introduce ‘difficult' attacks; his job is to guide you out of your comfort zone. This is only way only changes can be done in your body, because such situation force you to find new solutions, and consequently it means a jump to higher level of understanding aikido.

Normally in correct aikido practice the ratio of successful techniques should be not higher than 1 to 50, it means that 49 tries you should fail miserably to get one technique working OK (doesn't mean perfectly of course..). Also using muscles is very good, you have to find a way to use them correctly
Being you, I'd practice as much as possible with this person.

Kind regards

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:17 AM   #5
Basia Halliop
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
This is only way only changes can be done in your body, because such situation force you to find new solutions, and consequently it means a jump to higher level of understanding aikido.
'New solutions' = possibly a different technique than the one you originally intended? I can see the benefit of learning to feel the attack and quickly find the most efficient and effective technique for a given attack...

Or the technique you meant to do, but done differently than you were originally doing it? I can also see the benefit of learning to feel the attack and figure out how to close holes and make a given technique work regardless of uke's attempts to counter or be difficult...
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:48 PM   #6
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
'New solutions' = possibly a different technique than the one you originally intended? I can see the benefit of learning to feel the attack and quickly find the most efficient and effective technique for a given attack...
This is of course ‘the easiest' solution and in application you are using it. However when technique is imposed by instructor you can't switch a technique all time you encounter some difficulty -- this way you will never deeply learn this particular technique.
Example of ‘new' solution: until today you were usually waiting to receive an attack. So when attack touches you, it is too late to apply a technique and you had a difficulty to do whatever…So you are forced to introduce a new dimension to your practice -- just before the attack touches you, you change position of your body in such way that it is you who is deciding how attacker ends his attack. Once such new concept is incorporated into your existing techniques, suddenly the context of interaction changed. Now you are able to deal more easy with ‘difficult' attacks.

Without practicing with ‘difficult' attacker you will never discover new dimension of the practice and will stay forever at very low, comfortable level of practice, because nothing push you to do it.
Quote:
Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
'New Or the technique you meant to do, but done differently than you were originally doing it? I can also see the benefit of learning to feel the attack and figure out how to close holes and make a given technique work regardless of uke's attempts to counter or be difficult...
Yes, closing openings is a very direct benefice of such practice, but 99.99% of aikido population has no idea what ‘opening' is, as they practice over cooperated techniques. And they don't understand why they should close it, their uke will throw himself to the ground every time, regardless what Nage is doing.

Other direct benefice is to face ourselves under pressure, sometimes in dangerous situation and with a lot of adrenaline. So here you have a chance to take a look at yourself, and truly see who are you. You can observe your emotions, what choices you are doing and later you have a chance to think why you did it. Than you can look at your attacker and you may perceive he is also a human being struggling with very similar issues and in reality you both you are not such different…it helps a lot to get rid of usual dualistic perception of the reality…
These are a very basic first step on the Path…

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:34 PM   #7
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
1.
Of course some people will always find a million cheap excuses to justify their poor technique, don't be misled.

Your partner is very right to introduce ‘difficult' attacks; his job is to guide you out of your comfort zone. This is only way only changes can be done in your body, because such situation force you to find new solutions, and consequently it means a jump to higher level of understanding aikido.

Being you, I'd practice as much as possible with this person.
I don't think the OP is looking for excuses but exploring the situation to better understand what is going on.

That said, I agree that it is important for uke to offer more resistance as directed by the instructor. Aikido training has do be done in a cooperative manner lest someone get injured. An uke who after being asked to "lighten up" but refuses isn't helping nage learn anything but how to be a bully. If the uke is not offering some guidance, some kind of direction as to how nage can overcome the additional resistance then the uke is not helping and is only creating a hostile training enviornment where again someone could become injured. Based on what the OP stated, there being issues of the same nature with other students, I would be inclined to beleive that the uke is doing a disservice to his/her training partner.

I like working with folks that will challenge the level of my Aikido. Working with those folks is frustrating but a tremendous pleasure all the same. But there is a difference in challenging someone to perform better and being a bully on the mat.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:40 PM   #8
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

The short answer is "both".

Good technique will work against someone locking you out and applying yonkyo with morotedori. My sensei used to do it to me all the time, and working out how to deal with it has helped my technique a lot.

Having said that, when my sensei did this to me, it wasn't in order to make me screw up, it was to help me to learn how to move correctly, and he helped me to do this. If this uke isn't doing this, or can't do this, then it really isn't helpful.

What I would do when training with him is to grab a senpai, and get them to work with you to show you how to deal with this kind of attack. Once you learn, it is really quite manageable.

FWIW, the kind of ukemi that really bugs me is where they grab you lightly, and the minute you move an eyelash, they let go and jump away from you as if you have have punched them. Those people are really hard to work with.
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:02 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Normally in correct aikido practice the ratio of successful techniques should be not higher than 1 to 50, it means that 49 tries you should fail miserably to get one technique working OK (doesn't mean perfectly of course..).
"Normally...correct..."
Not in any dojo or in any field in which I've actually learned anything.
I don't know of any endeavor in which a person is supposed to learn by being unsuccessful 98% of the time. You have to be allowed to develop the gross movements by practicing them fully, not by being repeatedly stymied in them.
Others have posted here the very apt analogy that you cannot learn to drive if every time you start to press the accelerator the instructor hits the brake.
I've heard it suggested by others who are very good teachers that 80-90% success rate is what slowly develops knowledge and ability, the proportionally much smaller failure rate being where the manageable challenge to hone skills lies.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:40 PM   #10
Michael Hackett
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

I think NagaBaba is correct in detailing the benefits of having a resistant Uke, but both the OP and her troublesome Uke are both mid-range kyudansha. At that stage it is easy to thwart the learning process of Nage - Uke knows the attack and the technique. I think it preferable to lighten up and allow Nage to develop the gross movements without excessive resistance. I define excessive resistance is that resistance that is so overwhelming Nage is stymied. I often ask my partner, regardless of rank, to increase resistance as we go along and I find that helpful for my own training. If I get stymied then, I have to find a way within myself to make it work without resorting to henka waza.

Michael
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:56 PM   #11
Basia Halliop
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

2% success, 90% success.... I think the optimum varies from person to person and is different at different stages of learning or different kinds of practice. For me I usually seem to learn best somewhere in between those two extremes. Two much success and I'm missing too many opportunities to see problems and just building bad habits, but too little and when something does actually work I can't remember what I did differently that time let alone compare it do what I did the last time it worked and it's all just lost anyway, nothing sticks... For me there needs to be enough of both success and failure to be able to compare somehow what was better with what was worse. Though some days it's mostly failure (experimenting with some particular opening or tricky part or person) and other days it's mostly success (cementing something in your reflexes or muscles so you can do it without conscious thought).
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:18 PM   #12
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

My way of handling that sort of situation is to just work as best I can until sensei comes by and then look at sensei and say "I can't seem to make this work. Can you show me how to do it and help me figure out what I am doing wrong?" Most times sensei will use my partner to demonstrate. Partner if he really does have a problem with his ukemi will get corrected by sensei and I never look like I am accusing them of attacking me wrong. And if the problem really is me then sensei will see and correct that as well.

Between 4th and 3rd kyu is about when my teachers started saying well, if you can't do that technique because of the ukemi you are receiving then do something else. Now just past 2nd kyu I am beginning to see more of the thought on observing what it is ukes attack is requiring as a response and doing that rather than trying to force a specific technique to work when the attack might not warrant it. On the other side we also are spending a lot more time examining what uke's role is and how to improve our ukemi so that we can be a good training partner.

One observation I have made many times is that not enough attention is given to teaching people what uke's job is and how to be a good training partner so that your nage can learn and so that you can as well, while taking ukemi. Fortunately my teachers are giving more attention to that aspect of training. Might be something you could request as a subject for class some time.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:10 AM   #13
Mario Tobias
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Hi Mariska,

Looks like bad uke to me. Of course, uke always has the right to make it difficult for nage to do the technique but in this case there is a difference between

1) giving proper resistance,
2) reversing the technique, stopping the requested technique

these are 2 different practices. Both uke and nage need to understand first what kind of practice they want to do and agree. for 1) this practice is more for learning/understanding lines of forces and lines of least resistance. For a 4th or 3rd kyu I would assume the practice is more on 1). In this case uke should not attempt to reverse the technique but just give enough resistance to nage for nage to understand the technique and where it is most efficient for him to do the requested technique.

practice 2) is more for advanced aikidoka. If uke is trying to stop nage from doing the requested technique, then nage should attempt a different technique more suitable to uke's position at that moment.

It looks like in your case you are trying to practice 1) while your uke is trying to practice 2). Of course nothing will be learnt this way.

both practices achieve different outcomes. uke plays an important part. Unless both of you have mutual understanding of achieving either 1) or 2) then you will have difficulty practicing

If you are still having problems, ask uke to give you constant resistance and not reverse the technique if you want to practice 1). If you want to practice 2), ask uke if you have openings during the technique which he can take advantage of.

It is not bad technique in the sense that you do not yet understand the technique for a properly resisting partner. Moreso, it is much difficult to get the technique right for a partner stopping you from doing the technique so it is not your fault.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 10-31-2012 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:25 AM   #14
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

2 people in a row have talked about "doing a different technique" now. Personally, I'm against this. If it's a good technique, it will work regardless of how much uke resists (unless uke attacks with yokomen-uchi instead of morotedori or something extreme like that).
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:39 AM   #15
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
2 people in a row have talked about "doing a different technique" now. Personally, I'm against this. If it's a good technique, it will work regardless of how much uke resists (unless uke attacks with yokomen-uchi instead of morotedori or something extreme like that).
Yes exactly what I think. Also there are very good spiritual reasons for that, if somebody is interested in such personal development. After all, we are not learning techniques just to know the techniques? It would be very superficial approach, and surely O sensei didn't create aikido as another form of jujutsu?

The goal is to use those techniques as a tool to change ourselves as human beings, to be more perfect and to be able to perceive correctly the reality. I think prof. Peter Goldsbury has written, in one of his essays, about it - once you master some activity(ikebana, tea ceremony, martial art etc…) to the perfection, you have quite a good chances to perfect yourself during this process. That is why, on technical level, we have to work hard to produce a perfect technique. And it would be impossible if you constantly switch the techniques just because it is ‘easier' to deal with problem.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-31-2012, 05:59 AM   #16
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
"Normally...correct..."
Not in any dojo or in any field in which I've actually learned anything.
I don't know of any endeavor in which a person is supposed to learn by being unsuccessful 98% of the time. You have to be allowed to develop the gross movements by practicing them fully, not by being repeatedly stymied in them.
Others have posted here the very apt analogy that you cannot learn to drive if every time you start to press the accelerator the instructor hits the brake.
I've heard it suggested by others who are very good teachers that 80-90% success rate is what slowly develops knowledge and ability, the proportionally much smaller failure rate being where the manageable challenge to hone skills lies.
And what is the result on the character of Nage if his attacker is falling down every time for nothing? He creates in his head plenty of false ideas. I.e. I don't need to use the muscles to throw somebody -- of course!!!! Uke is jumping down by himself! And because of constant repetition of the success, the physical feedback from uke reinforces this idiocy.

It is not all. Such Nage then see in all other combat sports people struggling hard to throw somebody, but him, no! He is doing it effortless….EVERYTIME!......the conclusion? Our art is superior to others! Also morally superior, as he can realize his ideals without violating or beating other people…

And he develops a false pride, false perception, lack of respect, false confidence in his martial abilities…etc…we are talking here about perfect human being…

So Janet, what exactly did you learn with 90% of success? After all these long years of training, can you face with confidence stronger, violent, full of hate, possible with weapon, attacker on the street?

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:06 AM   #17
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

The way I see it, being willing and able to adjust and change technique is a form of self development. Instead of being tied to a specific outcome, when things don't go as we planed, we can simply adjust and go with the flow. It has come in quite handy in real life situations. It does not mean that you have to always change what you planed on doing but it is nice to have the ability.

As far as I can see being attached to doing one technique when the attack obviously would respond better to another one and forcing it is more jujitsu than being willing to change.

But we all have our own take on what we want to get out of our training and how we want to train.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:15 AM   #18
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Michael Hackett wrote: View Post
I think NagaBaba is correct in detailing the benefits of having a resistant Uke, but both the OP and her troublesome Uke are both mid-range kyudansha. At that stage it is easy to thwart the learning process of Nage - Uke knows the attack and the technique. I think it preferable to lighten up and allow Nage to develop the gross movements without excessive resistance. I define excessive resistance is that resistance that is so overwhelming Nage is stymied. I often ask my partner, regardless of rank, to increase resistance as we go along and I find that helpful for my own training. If I get stymied then, I have to find a way within myself to make it work without resorting to henka waza.
I don't believe there is something special with mid-range kyudansha. Everybody, regardless his level, has to face the situation where his present abilities are far from sufficient to deal with the attack. Immediately, your ego stop growing, and you are finding yourself in ‘right place'. I'd say, it is true even more for high ranking folks.

Second process that is starting in your head is --" all what I've learned until today is not good enough to deal with THIS! -> here we have 2 possibilities
1. People quite practice
2. Such person changes completely his approach to training, to incorporate ‘new' (new for him) aspect of art.

It plays a very similar role to Koan in Zen training. Without hitting THE wall with no results, the breakthrough is not possible. Your progressive approach also will not provide desired results at this level.

Nagababa

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Old 10-31-2012, 07:14 AM   #19
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
The way I see it, being willing and able to adjust and change technique is a form of self development.
That's a good generalization, but we're talking about a specific case here. Speaking to the particulars of this case, I think that it really isn't for a student of your own rank, who is supposed to be acting as your uke, to make the decision that it's time for you to self-develop and learn to be willing and able to adjust and change technique. Your fellow student, your peer, is not the one to make decisions about your training -- even with the best of intentions, which is often not the case. Let's not kid ourselves, there are a lot of people who use the guise of "helping" as a fig leaf for ego-gratifying displays of their own superiority.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:27 AM   #20
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

I agree with, Mary M. If this was happening in my class. I would stop it and use it as a teaching oppurtunity as many times as it presented.

Many students come in with their own ideas. Which is wonderful if they want to teach them at their own dojo.

When you come to our dojo...we train in a certain way and we spend a lot time teaching how to uke and nage because we have ideas about how to train. So if a person shows up to train at our dojo we want them to try hard to do what we are teaching. A third kyu might not understand enough about the idea of what is being taught to teach it themselves.

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Old 10-31-2012, 09:27 AM   #21
Janet Rosen
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
And what is the result on the character of Nage if his attacker is falling down every time for nothing? He creates in his head plenty of false ideas. I.e. I don't need to use the muscles to throw somebody -- of course!!!! Uke is jumping down by himself! And because of constant repetition of the success, the physical feedback from uke reinforces this idiocy. ...
So Janet, what exactly did you learn with 90% of success? After all these long years of training, can you face with confidence stronger, violent, full of hate, possible with weapon, attacker on the street?
You are positing an extreme in which uke detaches and falls down. Did I ever say that?

I am positing a moderate training path in which uke stays attached and gives feedback, body to body, appropriate to the level of the partner. Incrementally correct movement by nage shows as a reaction in uke. Uke doesn't try to make nage fail - uke's body guides nage to correct movement.

Note the OP is talking about folks who are still working on basic kihon waza. An attack that is always faster and harder than can be handled is not a learning experience.

Last edited by Janet Rosen : 10-31-2012 at 09:29 AM.

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Old 10-31-2012, 10:21 AM   #22
Basia Halliop
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

Quote:
You are positing an extreme in which uke detaches and falls down. Did I ever say that?

I am positing a moderate training path in which uke stays attached and gives feedback, body to body, appropriate to the level of the partner. Incrementally correct movement by nage shows as a reaction in uke. Uke doesn't try to make nage fail - uke's body guides nage to correct movement.
This makes sense to me. There needs to be some kind of feedback for any person or animal to learn something. No one, either humans or animals, learns behaviour patterns by seeing the same response regardless of what they do. That goes both ways -- all success or all failure, either way there's no information in that, and consequently no learning. I don't know how to express it without going mathy, but you need at least two values to encode information! A computer that had only 1s or only 0s wouldn't be a computer, it would be a plastic and metal box.

I suppose that doesn't actually mean uke has to go down, but you have to at least be able to see somehow which of your attempts were somewhat better than your other attempts. It's like playing a game of 'hot' and 'cold' -- you're unlikely to get anywhere if don't know if you're getting closer or further, if you aren't told anything until you're actually 'there'.

I also want to point out that switching techniques to one that's easier in a given situation is only easy if you know how to do it. When I was 4th kyu I found that extremely difficult! You don't automatically see the opportunities, let alone see which one will work best. I totally agree that it doesn't make sense to always do that, but it's still an actual skill and takes work to learn and doesn't necessarily come easily or automatically to everyone.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:22 AM   #23
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
The way I see it, being willing and able to adjust and change technique is a form of self development. Instead of being tied to a specific outcome, when things don't go as we planed, we can simply adjust and go with the flow. It has come in quite handy in real life situations. It does not mean that you have to always change what you planed on doing but it is nice to have the ability.

As far as I can see being attached to doing one technique when the attack obviously would respond better to another one and forcing it is more jujitsu than being willing to change.

But we all have our own take on what we want to get out of our training and how we want to train.
It depends what kind of Jujutsu you're refering to? I've never been taught to force any technique. If a technique doesn't work, you change, you adapt or if its kata you work out where you went wrong, you don't try and compensate with strength or brute force. Jujutsu techniques when performed correctly, even against resistance, should require no strength.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:25 AM   #24
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

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Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
I also want to point out that switching techniques to one that's easier in a given situation is only easy if you know how to do it. When I was 4th kyu I found that extremely difficult! You don't automatically see the opportunities, let alone see which one will work best. I totally agree that it doesn't make sense to always do that, but it's still an actual skill and takes work to learn and doesn't necessarily come easily or automatically to everyone.
It's also a bit dicey if uke is also relatively inexperienced, and particularly if he/she seems to be locked in to the idea that things will go according to a certain script (as seems to be the case here - uke knows what's coming). Switching the technique calls for different ukemi, and unless uke also has the skill to switch, he/she is more likely to not take proper ukemi and be injured.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:32 PM   #25
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Difficult uke or bad technique?

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Mariska Poiesz wrote: View Post
From that attack I can move into a kotegaishi or an ikkyo, but not directly into an iriminage. (Kokyonage is also difficult with him) I've asked him to calm down a bit so that I can figure out the best approach to his attack, but even then I feel as though I am not executing the technique right, and other techniques seem to make more sense when dealing with him.
To me it sounds like in this particular case uke's grip maybe has a push, or pull, or twist, that's in the wrong direction for the technique that is being practiced. It might well be that uke isn't even aware of that but is just trying to grip the way he thinks he should. Asking him to grip less hard might not help if the direction of the grip isn't useful for that particular technique. In that case I think it's time to ask a more experienced dojomate or teacher to give more detailed feedback to the uke. Or to give more detailed advice to the tori about how to move into the technique from such an attack.

I've noticed that really quite often "stubborn" ukes are just simply not aware enough of what they are doing to be able to succesfully change their attack to a more appropriate one. Asking uke to lighten up for example only works if uke knows how to lighten up. That's not a given.

Another example that just came to my mind is this one guy who used to grab in katatedori with an overextended arm and locked elbow. Obviously this isn't safe ukemi since the elbow can easily be injured, and difficult to deal with if tori is relatively inexperienced. It took someone physically moving this guys arm to a less overextended position for him to realize that this is what everyone meant when they asked him to "relax your arm".

My experience has been that sure over the years there have been a few people with an attitude problem who came and went through the dojo. But the vast majority of people in the middle kyu ranks, which is what we were talking about here, are well meaning and just simply somewhat clueless.

It's much more helpful to give people feedback of the sort of "look, your pushing to my outside while you grab, try to push to my center" "let your shoulders stilll be moveable even if you grab hard" "after the shomenuchi, allow your feet to still move, don't glue them to the floor" etc. when they're uke, instead of assuming that ego is involved if uke feels resistant, in my experience.

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