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Old 09-12-2013, 01:46 PM   #26
Bill Danosky
 
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

There is some perfect ratio of impressing noobs with the effectiveness of Aikido : killing them, but no one really knows what it is. Varies widely, depending on the martial-to-art ratio or "fluff factor" of your dojo. And the expectations of the student. Sometimes you get a little challenge, and a "brisk" response is what they actually want. Do that with the average pre-retiree and you have probably lost a practice partner.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:00 PM   #27
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Does any of this make sense?
It makes sense, but it also sounds more like a theoretical aspiration rather than something one might actually expect to happen on a regular basis.
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:35 PM   #28
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
That's good in theory, but in order to lead them, they'd have to be totally compliant, right? So how is that "a perfect test for your aikido"? And if they're not totally compliant, and they don't know how to take ukemi, how do you practice your techniques -- really practice them, not just wave your hands -- without injuring them?
I may be misunderstanding, but I don't see how doing a technique to a totally compliant uke will test or teach me anything. If I can't lead a non compliant uke, I need to examine what I'm doing, or not doing, that's causing the disconnect.

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:49 PM   #29
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Benjamin Edelen wrote: View Post
That is the least sustainable plan in the history of martial transmission. Sagawa is certainly Takeda's true heir.
lol!

Since, per Kimura, Sagawa didn't think anybody but Kimura was learning...I would have to rank this as one of the sassiest truisms of the aiki world...
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Old 09-12-2013, 02:58 PM   #30
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Tom Quinn wrote: View Post
I may be misunderstanding, but I don't see how doing a technique to a totally compliant uke will test or teach me anything.
Well, that's part of my point. The other part of the point is, just how do you do a technique to a big, strong, fast, non compliant, clueless "uke" without hurting him/her?
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Old 09-12-2013, 03:06 PM   #31
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
Also, the whole selling point of DR, and thereafter, aikido, is different. It's all about being--or appearing invulnerable. Throwing people with a just a twitch of the body. God-like powers. Just like the comic book ad that first got me interested - "throw people with mystical energy!" DR and aikido, at least among it's founders and leading lights, was an exercise in grandiosity, in posturing and impressing both onlookers and one's own students.
This thing that Chris Li quoted captures another important part of it:

Quote:
During training Sokaku Takeda sensei would never allow techniques to be applied to him. Because of that, in front of Takeda sensei I only practiced in applying techniques to others. I was told “Would a Bushi ever allow a technique to be applied to them?” by Takeda sensei.
Chief among everything he had to offer, Takeda was selling a romantic notion of olden times to late-Meiji / Taisho / early Showa students. Because people wanted to be in touch with that and they also weren't widely knowldgeable in what it actually was.

I am betting that if you interviewed typical budoka in Japan from those periods, you would not find many of them (who were not actually involved with one of the old systems at the time) had any idea what the traditional training structure of a classical jujutsu dojo was. The idea that the teacher threw the students around most of the time would probably seem likely to them.
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:31 PM   #32
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well, that's part of my point. The other part of the point is, just how do you do a technique to a big, strong, fast, non compliant, clueless "uke" without hurting him/her?
I thought that was what pain compliance was for. It doesn't work on real opponents but it gets ukes moving.

Off topic question: When shite/nage really lights us up, why do we smile or laugh?

Last edited by Bill Danosky : 09-12-2013 at 04:32 PM. Reason: Thought I'd better add a smiley to that one.
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Old 09-12-2013, 04:58 PM   #33
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

I remember my instructor telling me that he could have as good a practice with a beginner as with an experienced student. I find that this goal can actually be achieved. Treating an attack as serious, and moving the same way one would with another uke, is the key. As an Aikido instructor I sometimes see my student's technique decline slightly when working with a new person : ( The focus probably goes from "doing my best" to "helping the new person." The truth is, people learn by observation. If my technique is weak, then my partner, a new student, will not be learning the best either. Now, if someone has trouble with taking Ukemi, then, a good throw can still be done. I teach my students to throw at normal speed, and then slow down a the end to le the beginner fall on their own. I disagree with the statement made that a better person is necessary for development. It is ideal, in general, but I have only my students to practice with mainly, and I have improved, so obviously it is not necessary. Even if a new person stays one day, as long as they know the attack, you're golden. To do your BEST technique, with a beginner, that is a real achievement.

Last edited by heathererandolph : 09-12-2013 at 04:59 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:14 PM   #34
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
This thing that Chris Li quoted captures another important part of it:

Chief among everything he had to offer, Takeda was selling a romantic notion of olden times to late-Meiji / Taisho / early Showa students. Because people wanted to be in touch with that and they also weren't widely knowldgeable in what it actually was.

I am betting that if you interviewed typical budoka in Japan from those periods, you would not find many of them (who were not actually involved with one of the old systems at the time) had any idea what the traditional training structure of a classical jujutsu dojo was. The idea that the teacher threw the students around most of the time would probably seem likely to them.
I think you're right that most folks were likely ignorant as to the difference.

OTOH, the "romantic notion of olden times" really didn't work for Takeda. He was kicking around teaching the sword, but making very little money - nobody was interested in "olden times" martial arts.

Having a loan on his house, he needed to make some money - so he started teaching jujutsu. Mostly, he taught to police or military in the towns he passed through, since they made up the bulk of the people who could actually afford his very substantial fees. Those types weren't very romantic - they were more practically oriented.

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-12-2013, 08:56 PM   #35
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well, that's part of my point. The other part of the point is, just how do you do a technique to a big, strong, fast, non compliant, clueless "uke" without hurting him/her?
That is precisely why it is a great learning experience. I get to develop my subtlety and effectiveness with people who don't know what's going on.

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Old 09-12-2013, 09:31 PM   #36
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

Of course, pairing beginners with beginners presents problems, but never pairing beginners with beginners presents problems too -- like preventing experienced students from getting to work with other people at their level. It seems to me that the real solution to the problem is to make sure everyone works with everyone.

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Old 09-13-2013, 05:38 AM   #37
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Of course, pairing beginners with beginners presents problems, but never pairing beginners with beginners presents problems too -- like preventing experienced students from getting to work with other people at their level. It seems to me that the real solution to the problem is to make sure everyone works with everyone.
Actually, I addressed that in the blog post. One way I have seen it handled is that practice is divided into sections, with one for beginners to train by practicing with seniors, and another section where they train by watching the seniors train with each other. The seniors get to practice with each other, and the beginners get to see the techniques performed at a high level of skill. The beginners benefit because they develop an eye for good technique that they can bring to their own training.

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Old 09-13-2013, 06:08 AM   #38
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Well, that's part of my point. The other part of the point is, just how do you do a technique to a big, strong, fast, non compliant, clueless "uke" without hurting him/her?
Big strong and non compliant is what helps me develop my technique. Fast will get them hurt, I just tell them to slow down.

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 09-13-2013, 07:05 AM   #39
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Bill Danosky wrote: View Post
I thought that was what pain compliance was for. It doesn't work on real opponents but it gets ukes moving.
I guess. On the other hand, I'm reminded of a fairly recent comment in one of those threads (perhaps the author will speak up) in which the author observed that the pain compliance is limited when you're dealing with someone who doesn't know how to comply -- that is, what to do to alleviate the pain (the specific example given was nikkyo, and how many people stand there with anguished eyes because they just don't know what to do).
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Old 09-13-2013, 07:06 AM   #40
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Big strong and non compliant is what helps me develop my technique. Fast will get them hurt, I just tell them to slow down.
OK, that's a good point -- but I'm sure you'll acknowledge that taking "fast" out of the equation changes things significantly (in terms of being able to do a technique properly and effectively without hurting the noob).
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:00 AM   #41
Cliff Judge
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
I think you're right that most folks were likely ignorant as to the difference.

OTOH, the "romantic notion of olden times" really didn't work for Takeda. He was kicking around teaching the sword, but making very little money - nobody was interested in "olden times" martial arts.

Having a loan on his house, he needed to make some money - so he started teaching jujutsu. Mostly, he taught to police or military in the towns he passed through, since they made up the bulk of the people who could actually afford his very substantial fees. Those types weren't very romantic - they were more practically oriented.

Best,

Chris
Right - and students came to him because he offered the skills and power of the bushi of olden times. There were certainly other types of training, more modern and more practical, that they could have sought out.
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Old 09-13-2013, 08:31 AM   #42
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I guess. On the other hand, I'm reminded of a fairly recent comment in one of those threads (perhaps the author will speak up) in which the author observed that the pain compliance is limited when you're dealing with someone who doesn't know how to comply -- that is, what to do to alleviate the pain (the specific example given was nikkyo, and how many people stand there with anguished eyes because they just don't know what to do).
Something's really wrong if your ukes can stand there while you execute nikkajo/nikkyo.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:07 AM   #43
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Something's really wrong if your ukes can stand there while you execute nikkajo/nikkyo.
And some people are just highly resistant to the pain. Pain compliance yonkyo for example has zero effect on me. Yonkyo that locks my structure works just fine, but pain compliance is at most a mild annoyance. If you're relying on pain with me or someone similar, you're in trouble.

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Old 09-13-2013, 09:13 AM   #44
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Right - and students came to him because he offered the skills and power of the bushi of olden times. There were certainly other types of training, more modern and more practical, that they could have sought out.
You really seem stuck on this point, but no, I don't think that was a major consideration for people like the police, who were his major market.

Mostly, it was his badass reputation.

Best,

Chris

Last edited by Chris Li : 09-13-2013 at 09:20 AM.

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Old 09-13-2013, 09:27 AM   #45
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Something's really wrong if your ukes can stand there while you execute nikkajo/nikkyo.
So, you just break their arm?
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:33 AM   #46
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
OK, that's a good point -- but I'm sure you'll acknowledge that taking "fast" out of the equation changes things significantly (in terms of being able to do a technique properly and effectively without hurting the noob).
Absolutley, fast is for higher level practice, when you know how to protect yourself, not for noobs.

"Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men" - Thomas Henry Huxley
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:46 AM   #47
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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You really seem stuck on this point, but no, I don't think that was a major consideration for people like the police, who were his major market.

Mostly, it was his badass reputation.

Best,

Chris
You don't think that police officers wouldn't be interested in studying the legendary powers of the bushi? Now available from this short mean guy who is staying up at the ryokan on the hill there, at a ten-day seminar for the low low price of only three yen per student? You, too can restrain your suspects with the powers of Minamoto Yoshitsune himself, handed down through the fearless Takeda clan of Aizu domain! Learn the secret power that will allow to lift any man - even GERMANS! - who grab your wrist! To immobiliza multiple attackers with the press of one finger! To immediately sense an attack from behind and instantly neutralize it!

The police were modernizing all over the country around these times, right? You don't think studying with the old jujutsu guy was kind of folksy for professional law enforcement?
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:05 AM   #48
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
You don't think that police officers wouldn't be interested in studying the legendary powers of the bushi? Now available from this short mean guy who is staying up at the ryokan on the hill there, at a ten-day seminar for the low low price of only three yen per student? You, too can restrain your suspects with the powers of Minamoto Yoshitsune himself, handed down through the fearless Takeda clan of Aizu domain! Learn the secret power that will allow to lift any man - even GERMANS! - who grab your wrist! To immobiliza multiple attackers with the press of one finger! To immediately sense an attack from behind and instantly neutralize it!

The police were modernizing all over the country around these times, right? You don't think studying with the old jujutsu guy was kind of folksy for professional law enforcement?
Actually, no, most police departments, then and now, had their own dojo and were already training in some kind of Japanese Budo, many with much more established and recognized lineages.

Of course, there was some branding going on, that's fairly standard in Japanese Budo and Ueshiba participated in that as well, but I don't see it as a major factor for Takeda's target market.

Why would they be lifting Germans, anyway?

Best,

Chris

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Old 09-13-2013, 10:12 AM   #49
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Actually, no, most police departments, then and now, had their own dojo and were already training in some kind of Japanese Budo, many with much more established and recognized lineages.

Of course, there was some branding going on, that's fairly standard in Japanese Budo and Ueshiba participated in that as well, but I don't see it as a major factor for Takeda's target market.

Why would they be lifting Germans, anyway?

Best,

Chris
If the police departments had their own dojo and training programs already, then obviously branding is everything with regards to Takeda, because why else would you train with a guy who would demand "would a bushi allow a technique to be applied to him?" There were no bushi and hadn't been for some time - bushi were a thing of the recent past.
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Old 09-13-2013, 10:18 AM   #50
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Re: Beginners should not be allowed to act as uke.

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You don't think that police officers wouldn't be interested in studying the legendary powers of the bushi? Now available from this short mean guy who is staying up at the ryokan on the hill there, at a ten-day seminar for the low low price of only three yen per student? You, too can restrain your suspects with the powers of Minamoto Yoshitsune himself, handed down through the fearless Takeda clan of Aizu domain! Learn the secret power that will allow to lift any man - even GERMANS! - who grab your wrist! To immobiliza multiple attackers with the press of one finger! To immediately sense an attack from behind and instantly neutralize it!

The police were modernizing all over the country around these times, right? You don't think studying with the old jujutsu guy was kind of folksy for professional law enforcement?
The police already trained various budo. Such training is, and was, required for them. The police dojo were one of the big venues for keeping training going during the Meiji era once the samurai class was disbanded and the professional budo instructors became unemployed.

Frankly, the fact the Takeda didn't get a permanent job from any of the bigger city police departments is kind of suspicious. Those departments needed lots of ongoing instruction, and if Takeda was really as awesome as the stories claim, surely one of the departments would have taken him on. Japanese police are extremely practical that way.

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