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Old 04-24-2006, 06:08 PM   #1
Tommy_S
Dojo: Aikido society Zagreb
Location: Zagreb
Join Date: May 2004
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Croatia
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Confused What to do...?

I don't know if this was discussed here before....

I have a problem...

During the past few years, I've encountered several people in our beginners class that would always deliberately resist when somebody would try to show them the technique. I sometimes assist our instructor, and during the last class (beginners), I tried to help one guy that obviously had problems with one technique. When I tried to help him and show him the technique, the guy was very stiff and he was resisting to the technique so much that we ended up more like we were practicing judo or some sort of wrestling (or fighting on the street) instead of training Aikido. It was almost like he was trying to start a fight to see who is stronger when I tried to apply the technique on him.

Later when instructor showed him the same technique, he didn't resist (or at least I didn't notice it.)

What should I do if this happens again? What to say to a person like that?

PS. I apologize for my bad English...
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Old 04-24-2006, 06:59 PM   #2
Michael O'Brien
Dojo: Nashville Aikikai
Location: Nashville, Tn
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Re: What to do...?

No need to apologize, I think your english is very clear and understandable.

You might try explaining to them that Aikido is not about resistance or meeting force with force but about blending with the attack. Perhaps have them watch while you go through the technique with their training partner, pointing out "See how when he attacks here we don't 'fight' here, but I receive the attack and redirect the energy into the technique we are practicing."

I don't know if that helps but maybe it will give you something to think about.

Harmony does not mean that there are no conflicts,
for the dynamic spiral of existence embraces both extremes.
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Old 04-24-2006, 10:04 PM   #3
giriasis
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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Re: What to do...?

First of all you English is very good, and I understood what you were asking very clearly.

Every now and then we have new folks join our dojo who do the same thing. This happens for a few reasons. First, they are new to martial arts in general and think that his what they are supposed to do. Second, the are not new to martial arts and want to find out if "aikido really works." Third, they are new to aikido and are afraid to fall.

I have discovered that it is best to look at this situation as an opportunity rather than opposition. As an opportunity take the time as nage to explore their energy (or lack of it) and find a way to move around to perform the instructed technique. I've found even with the very strong men of the second variety mentioned above that they usually are happy to see that you made them fall. This requires a lot of patience and a some skill on the part of nage. It's really important to not allow this to turn into a "pissing contest." (American slang for one person trying to do better than the other.)

Also, a part of a way of dealing with this is explaining to them the martial reasons for taking ukemi in a certain way. It can be a simple as, "if you stay stiff like this you leave these openings: x, y and z." "As uke you're learning to protect yourself and center." or "As uke, we move in this manner so that eventually you can learn to counter my technique." I've found that these explanations work well when people appear to have a better understanding of martial arts (i.e. they come from karate, judo, etc.) But these, don't work as well, if you can not succeed at the first example.

Also, if they appear to not be resisting when the sensei comes over find a way to tell the sensei that your experience extreme resistence and don't be embarrased that you can't perform the proper technique. For example, "I do not know how to do this when they lock out their arm like this..." And then demonstrate what uke is doing. Usually, the sensei will show you how to work with their energy.

I hope that helps.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:41 AM   #4
Dirk Hanss
 
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Dojo: Aikidoschule Trier
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Re: What to do...?

Quote:
Tomislav Spilek wrote:
Later when instructor showed him the same technique, he didn't resist (or at least I didn't notice it.)
Seemingly you have a good sensei, who uses the resistence of uke to make the technique perfectly smooth.

At our dojo the elder beginners (4th and 3rd kyu - out of 6) are told, they should be able to make a technique to a new beginner, so that it works smooth and get uke fall, even if uke does not know, what to do at all. Honestly - we try our best and sometimes it works well. Mostly it is just awful.

Before you use any other advice, you should ask your sensei, what is allowed.

It just happened yesterday evening after some 6th kyu tests, that Sensei was busy with administrative works - singing certificates, etc. and asked me to lead the class. So my idea was just to play a little bit with techniques, that were not part of the tests and we did some variations on ushiro-waza ikkyo.

One of our fresh 6th kyu is working in the construction area and is quite strong. While I was trying to explain he took me with a very firm grip - so it was too late to do the technique in a way I wanted to show. Twice I hade to do a kotegaeshi and once I had to use another variation of ikkyo - which is the rule in our dojo: if you are not able to do a specific technique, you should be at least able to do any technique of your syllabus. I just said a few words during the short training and afterwords I tried again to explain him, that at least, if we are learning a new technique, he should just be there, but let nage move to study the details, without applying any force.

Another possibility is to make the technique with a little bit more power, which is not good for improving your skills, but teaches him - "The stronger you think you are, the harder is the technique, you have to take." - Never cause any injury, but showing that some pain is just the logical consequence of force in the attack is sometimes a good teacher. And sometimes then I make a joke and tell him: "Be friendly to your nage - otherwise I will come back and test the technique again on you!"

They are all young guys from 16 to 40 years - our two ladies are very soft uke, even if one of them is famous for her strong techniques - and they know, that I would not harm them. So even if it sometimes hurts, it is always in a friendly manner. The guys are willing, they are just sometimes stronger than they want to be.

If there would be someone, who I think doesn't like me, I would not do anything, but leave it to Sensei, until he accepts my authority.

Just a few thoughts.

It is very difficult to teach a soft aikido and give the students confidence in effective techniques. Even many ofthe living and former shihan started with strong effective techniques and had to recognise after more than 20 years, that you can have the same effect with asmooth technique. And some taught smooth techniques and had to realise that some of their nidan and sandan did not learn to fight at all.

Best regards and good luck with your resisting kohai


Dirk
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Old 04-25-2006, 04:06 AM   #5
Mark Freeman
Dojo: Dartington
Location: Devon
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Re: What to do...?

Good advice given already.

you may want to add that the reason for non resistance is to save yourself from a lot of pain in the future. This often doesn't make sense to a beginner, as we do not apply techniques at full speed/power. If you are non resistant you can follow the technique you can avoid pain by making ukemi and therefore escape any pain. A stiff resistance will only lead to tears later on.
I admit it can be difficult when a newcomer is physically strong, to get them to fully understand this, particularly if they want to see if this aikido stuff is not just a bunch of wusses in skirts.

All part of the learning process Tomislav, you ended up fighting fire with fire, and got into the judo-ish stuff you mentioned. As a teacher you can't really afford to get into this type of contest without seriously questioning your own 'aikido'.

Aikido is non contention, don't fight what the other person wants, find out where they 'want' to go then take them there!

Good luck

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 04-25-2006, 05:42 AM   #6
John (King John)
 
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Re: What to do...?

I am in agreement with all these replies. My contribution would be remind uke that standing and simply locking solid someone's wrist is not a real attack. Even ai hanmi should have movement, like knocking down the defending hand in order to strike.
However you'ld get a lovely nikkio

Grab my arm.....The other arm.....MY other arm
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Old 04-25-2006, 06:09 AM   #7
Dennis Good
Location: Baltimore Maryland
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Re: What to do...?

I want to start by thanking Tommy S for starting this thread. It just caused me to realize something that I've always known and always done but never really thought about. Aikido doesn't work by fighting resistance but by going with it. I've always been taught and have taught in my classes that if it gets to the point of too much resistance in the technique, to not fight it and go with the resistance into another technique. What my revelation is, is that we never really trained for that in a dedicated manner. In judo classes they practice this. They will teach Harai O Goshi, then they will teach O Soto Gari, then they will teach you how to transition from one to the other if the first fails. We have done this from time to time but perhaps if we trained in this manner a little often it could be very beneficial. I think I am going to start teaching this way a little more, when I'm not teaching kata. Just a thought.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:14 AM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: What to do...?

I always tell beginners, and remind advanced people, that being a good training partner is a lot harder than learning the techniques. A training partners need to know just how much resistance to give to let the other person practice their technique but not to give it to them. It is easy to resist when you know what's coming. Have compassion for the difficulty they may be having. Its part of learning to be a good teacher.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:50 AM   #9
Ed Shockley
Dojo: aikikai of Philadelphia
Location: philadelphia
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Re: What to do...?

I am confused by the response of Dennis Good. You talk about henka waza and kaeshi waza very clearly (changing from one technique to another) but seem to say that it is not taught in your dojo? I know that it is a test requirement in most federations that I visit so wonder if you simply missed those classes or come from someplace where it is not required for 1st kyu and dan testing? two ideas that I will add for the resisting uke are, 1) train very slowly and search for the spot that creates kuzushi (breaking of balance) 2) move slightly just before the point of grabbing so that uke has already begun sinking and cannot therefore lock down.
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:00 AM   #10
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: What to do...?

Quote:
Dennis Good wrote:
I want to start by thanking Tommy S for starting this thread. It just caused me to realize something that I've always known and always done but never really thought about. Aikido doesn't work by fighting resistance but by going with it. I've always been taught and have taught in my classes that if it gets to the point of too much resistance in the technique, to not fight it and go with the resistance into another technique. What my revelation is, is that we never really trained for that in a dedicated manner. In judo classes they practice this. They will teach Harai O Goshi, then they will teach O Soto Gari, then they will teach you how to transition from one to the other if the first fails. We have done this from time to time but perhaps if we trained in this manner a little often it could be very beneficial. I think I am going to start teaching this way a little more, when I'm not teaching kata. Just a thought.
Dennis,

it would be harsh to say "You probably don't, we definitely do". I guess that would be misregarding the little part "in a dedicated manner".
We are encouraged from low kyu grades on to feel the power and to do henka waza. My sensei says: "Until shodan you should have learnt to do at least one aikido technique, even on a resisting uke, at sandan level you are expected to change in a way to do exactly the technique that was requested, how resistent the uke is."

Even in kihon waza we are allowed to change the technique, if it is uke or our own mistake - we have to do a technique. Of course not permanently. In general the technique in kihon waza should be the standard technique, but any other technique is better than none. But of course this is not sparring, even not henka waza or kaeshi waza.

@Seiser sensei: You are absolutely right, Lynn, but does it help in dealing with a resisiting uke? I can tell him "a high ranked aikidoka in the U.S. always says ...", but if is not able or willing to understand his role, I have to find a way to teach him. Or maybe I just missed your point.


Kind regards Dirk
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:23 AM   #11
SeiserL
 
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Re: What to do...?

Quote:
Dirk Hanss wrote:
@Seiser sensei: You are absolutely right, Lynn, but does it help in dealing with a resisiting uke? I can tell him "a high ranked aikidoka in the U.S. always says ...", but if is not able or willing to understand his role, I have to find a way to teach him. Or maybe I just missed your point.
Please, I am a perpetual student, so it is Sempai.

While I would agree that it is your role to teach, if the other person want to progress in Aikido (or anything) it is their role to learn.

Keep explaining the nature and purpose of Keiko (training). I never get anything on the first hundred presentations. I think i used to be that resistant uke, because I didn't know how to relax. Be patient and compassionate.

Their resistance to you, and yours to them, is more mental than physical. Perhaps as you accept and relax more, they will too.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-25-2006, 09:38 AM   #12
Dirk Hanss
 
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Re: What to do...?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
Please, I am a perpetual student, so it is Sempai.

While I would agree that it is your role to teach, if the other person want to progress in Aikido (or anything) it is their role to learn.

Keep explaining the nature and purpose of Keiko (training). I never get anything on the first hundred presentations. I think i used to be that resistant uke, because I didn't know how to relax. Be patient and compassionate.

Their resistance to you, and yours to them, is more mental than physical. Perhaps as you accept and relax more, they will too.
Thank you, sempai.

That's a good advice and will help me and hopefully Tommy, too

Dirk
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:05 AM   #13
Dennis Good
Location: Baltimore Maryland
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Re: What to do...?

I'm a shodo"thug" and proud of it, but I have noticed that our curriculum has many differences while still sharing a common thread with other styles of aikido. It's not that henka waza is not taught and it is not that we don't practice it however the majority of practice comes in the form of doing a technique in a vacuum, that and randori. This is like a middleground between the two. My point was to add MORE emphasis to this part as a teaching approach. A lot of the mindset I have seen has been "I am practicing technique X because that is what the instructor wants" and they will fight for the technique but if it were presented by the instructor as do technique x, but if that fails transition into y or z it will re-enforce to the student that it is OK as well as limit the ability of the uke to anticipate and resist because they will not know exactly what is coming.

PS. The dedicated manner that I mentioned was not to slight anyones dedication. It was more along the lines of dedicating more time to this type of practice and instruction in a systematic way, not just be encourage to do it when the time comes. In a perfect world the technique would just be there and work flawlessly every time but I am definitely not perfect.

Last edited by Dennis Good : 04-25-2006 at 11:09 AM.
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