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Old 05-16-2006, 04:17 PM   #1
nodmines
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"Tanker" uke

When I train in a different dojo, I frequently get paired up with an uke who will try to resist the technique to the extent that I am not able to execute the technique without using unnecessary force. I am not sure if they are trying to do a sincere ukemi or just being plain rude. I usually execute techniques without too much tension but when confronted with a "tanker uke", I feel like I don't have much choice but to tense up and use a little bit of force just to seize their center.

My understanding of good ukemi is being able to give sufficient resistance to the nage to accomplish the technique and not to totally prevent the nage from completely executing it. After all, aikido is not a strength contest. Moreover, if nage is expected to blend with uke, is uke not expected to "blend" as well rather than resist? Any comment or violent reaction will be appreciated.
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Old 05-16-2006, 04:31 PM   #2
Robert Rumpf
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Re: "Tanker" uke

I suggest that you get accustomed to such ukes.

You need to learn to either let your technique fail gracefully, or to do techniques so that resistance doesn't affect the outcome, or to swap techniques into something that your partner is not expecting (or that their resistance provides the opening for), or to use atemi to disrupt their resistance. Maybe there are other options too...

I agree with your instincts, in that I find that applying more force (and sometimes speed) is counterproductive when I try to improve a particular technique.

I'm pretty surprised that you haven't run into this issue before, but I'm sure it will by no means be the last time this happens.

Good luck,
Rob
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Old 05-16-2006, 04:49 PM   #3
nodmines
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Thanks for your comment Rob. I think instructors should also emphasize good ukemi when demonstrating a technique. My observation is that some senseis give more weight to showing how to be a good nage and less on good ukemi. This should minimize the problem on bad ukes.
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Old 05-16-2006, 04:51 PM   #4
MaryKaye
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Re: "Tanker" uke

You could look at this as an opportunity to patiently work on relaxation. Eventually you may be able to get through that way, but if you respond to resistance with force you aren't learning how.

Or, especially if you are working on a technique that's new to you, you could consider saying bluntly "Please don't resist so hard this time, I need to feel what this technique is like when it's working."

My teachers say that if uke knows what technique to expect, and nage is not allowed to change technique, nage may not be able to overcome uke's resistance; but this is unfair on uke's part, as the situation is stacked in his favor. You'll need to consider your own dojo culture to find the best way around this. Sometimes asking for a more committed attack is a better path than asking for less resistance. Stonewall resistance often involves an attack that was not committed in the first place.

I get regularly chewed out for being the uke in your story, and on examination, I'm often withholding energy from the attack so that I don't let nage compromise my balance. An uke who is doing this benefits, in my opinion, from hearing complaints about it.

Mary Kaye
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Old 05-16-2006, 04:54 PM   #5
Robert Rumpf
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Quote:
Arnold Mina wrote:
Thanks for your comment Rob. I think instructors should also emphasize good ukemi when demonstrating a technique. My observation is that some senseis give more weight to showing how to be a good nage and less on good ukemi. This should minimize the problem on bad ukes.
I agree completely. There is also the problem most students don't even do what they're taught. I know I don't, even when I try.

Good luck,
Rob
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Old 05-16-2006, 05:44 PM   #6
nodmines
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Quote:
Or, especially if you are working on a technique that's new to you, you could consider saying bluntly "Please don't resist so hard this time, I need to feel what this technique is like when it's working."
I'll try to be more vocal next time. I'm sure we all agree that aikido practice is a give and take proposition. If uke prevents the nage from getting a feel of the technique, I believe learning stops at that point, unless we're trying to learn a different martial art.
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Old 05-16-2006, 05:50 PM   #7
akiy
 
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Hi Arnold,

If I were in such a situation at a different dojo than where I usually train where I was having true difficulties in practicing what was presented, I may call over the instructor and ask politely how I should go about handling such an uke.

Different dojo (or, heck, the same dojo on different days) may ask for different motivations for uke, perhaps for the sake of working on a different aspect/approach of/to aikido. So, when I go to a different dojo, I try to see what sort of approach they're taking to training and do my best to understand their context and to try to learn from their approach. What one dojo may judge to be "bad" may, in fact, be the modus operandi for another dojo, due to the fact that they're working on something different from what I am used to at my "home" dojo; what I consider "good ukemi" where I currently train may very well not be what they consider "good," after all.

I do understand that having someone holding on strongly may be frustrating, though. I've certainly had to work with such!

Just my thoughts.

-- Jun

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Old 05-16-2006, 06:01 PM   #8
Lyle Bogin
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Re: "Tanker" uke

I try to talk my way out of it if I get stuck. Usually by asking for corrections. All of a sudden, my technique lives on!
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Old 05-16-2006, 06:20 PM   #9
Lan Powers
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Funny the differance between terms even.....I use the term "tanker uke" to be the guy who dives for the ground without you actually affecting their balance or getting to the point where youare actually in control of the interaction.....I:E: Tanking

I call the uke's you have described "lumps".
FWIW
Lan

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Old 05-16-2006, 06:43 PM   #10
nodmines
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote:
Hi Arnold,

If I were in such a situation at a different dojo than where I usually train where I was having true difficulties in practicing what was presented, I may call over the instructor and ask politely how I should go about handling such an uke.

Different dojo (or, heck, the same dojo on different days) may ask for different motivations for uke, perhaps for the sake of working on a different aspect/approach of/to aikido. So, when I go to a different dojo, I try to see what sort of approach they're taking to training and do my best to understand their context and to try to learn from their approach. What one dojo may judge to be "bad" may, in fact, be the modus operandi for another dojo, due to the fact that they're working on something different from what I am used to at my "home" dojo; what I consider "good ukemi" where I currently train may very well not be what they consider "good," after all.

I do understand that having someone holding on strongly may be frustrating, though. I've certainly had to work with such!

Just my thoughts.

-- Jun
Jun, thanks for your advice. It's funny but it is usually the newbies or the juniors who do it. From my experience, the sempais are more flexible in their ukemi. Maybe they are more aware of the fact that aikido techniques are dangerous when coupled with force, so they are more compliant in ukemi.
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Old 05-16-2006, 06:48 PM   #11
nodmines
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Quote:
Lan Powers wrote:
Funny the differance between terms even.....I use the term "tanker uke" to be the guy who dives for the ground without you actually affecting their balance or getting to the point where youare actually in control of the interaction.....I:E: Tanking

I call the uke's you have described "lumps".
FWIW
Lan
I called them "tank" because they make themselves heavy when you start applying the technique. Some call it "sinking their center". Simply put, they resist!
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Old 05-16-2006, 07:08 PM   #12
Qatana
 
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Newbies will naturally resist technique, even ones who are "good" followers. They have to learn how to relax into the technique, their bodies will tense up just because this is all new to them. Many of them *think* they have to resist. So when you are not only working in an unfamiliar dojo, these beginners are working with an unknown partner, and possibly cannot help that they are freezing out your technique.

Q
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:23 PM   #13
odudog
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Interesting that this would come up now. I was having this same discussion with a friend of mine via email who is a sandan. He used to visit other dojos during his kyu periods and ran into this a lot so now he doesn't visit any dojos anymore. I think that the uke is being incorrect by doing this, for in my opinion, if it was a truly sincere attack, I would have never have let uke get a hold of me in that manner for as soon as he touched me, my hand would already be moving so he would never be able to get his body or grip set and as weak as I am this is very crucial to my techniques so I concentrate on using my speed a lot. Also, would he like it if I started to apply a lot of atemi just to get him to loosen up? There is one guy in my dojo who is like this. He was working with another guy who was just as big if not bigger than him and the second guy started to apply a lot of atemi or apply the locks more aggressively than was needed. The "tank" got mad. Can you believe this? And just for my 2 cents worth, uke setting his body before the technique is not considered ukemi. Ukemi means to receive with the body and uke is receiving anything with his body if he prevents me from practicing the technique.
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Old 05-17-2006, 02:02 AM   #14
xuzen
 
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Re: "Tanker" uke

I used to think of such problem as well previously. Again kata practice is just a reenactment of a supposed response, it is not real battle, so a word to the "tanker uke";, lighten up, as it is not a life and death struggle.

In kata practice tori and uke already know what each other are doing. If uke is actively resisting and expect tori to go through the technique forcefully, then he is not really helping.

As an Tori, you are to learn the movement and hopefully, after doing sufficient enough of times, the technique gets into your muscle memory. As for uke, your job is allow/help tori to practice/perfect the said technique through you.

Nowadays, in my own practice if an uke decide to be a 'tanker', I let him be, I just do what I have to... if I can't do it properly, so be it. In my mind, I am clear that kata practice is just kata, should not be taken as the end all and be all.

How do I know then, whether my aikido works or not with resistant uke? I invite them for a round of randori/ jiyu waza afterwards. It is much more difficult to resist and be 'tanker uke' when you do not know what your tori will be doing next, and where your tori can change to other more appropriate techniques when he deem more appropriate.

Parctice hard, have fun.

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Old 05-17-2006, 02:23 AM   #15
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Quote:
Arnold Mina wrote:
I usually execute techniques without too much tension but when confronted with a "tanker uke", I feel like I don't have much choice but to tense up and use a little bit of force just to seize their center.
How about relaxing more, then use your body more to affect his posture, rather than trying to use more force (which I interpret as muscle).

There's already been some good suggestions here, asking the instructor where you're gouing wrong is always a good one. It may be that they have a particular uke to check out visitors, I wouldn't worry about it though, use it to your advantage as a learning tool, oh, and relax more and use your body not your muscle .

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:49 AM   #16
philipsmith
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Re: "Tanker" uke

maybe the uke just doesn'y get it in the sense that he (its almost always a he) feels that Aikido is only worthwhile if it can be performed against full resistance.

I've come across this attitude several times and really the only way to deal with it is to make effective technique, ideally in an extremely relaxed manner. Usually understanding eventually follows.
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Old 05-17-2006, 04:06 AM   #17
crbateman
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Re: "Tanker" uke

You will always encounter ukes who provide different levels of resistance. Part of the "blending" nature of Aikido requires that you, as nage, align yourself with the level of energy being expended by uke, and coordinate yourself accordingly. Most ukes, as they gain experience, will better understand the give/take nature of this practice, and will modulate themselves to neither give in too easily (by throwing themselves without nage's execution of proper technique) nor resist too much (by not giving a committed and realistic attack or by mandating that nage use excessive force). Training is practice for uke (as much, if not more than nage) and it takes time to develop the necessary skills and finesse. It's important that uke takes this responsibility seriously, and with as much intent and joy and energy as does nage. Some learn fast, and others never learn. That is the nature of people.
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:14 AM   #18
Richard Langridge
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Re: "Tanker" uke

I agree with this. In my first 2 months of training I was very tense as uke. I thought it wasn't that much of a problem because I was supposed to be giving nage resistance. However, as soon as I learned to relax a bit, I suddenly realised how much there was to learn from feeling through a technique as uke. I still need to work on my problem of tensing up, but the more I relax the more I learn.
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:47 AM   #19
Dennis Good
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Re: "Tanker" uke

While everything said here is definitely true many times, I'm going to play devils advocate here for a second. It is possible that where you usually practice, the uke's are too compliant. It is hard to tell without seeing and feeling the technique. I always try to uke for my students to feel the technique because that will allow me to feel where the problems are. Most of the time it is in the initial kuzushi or a pause after the initial kuzushi. Both will allow the uke to settle their weight and regain their balance. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:07 AM   #20
ruthmc
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Re: "Tanker" uke

My thinking on this one has changed a bit recently

Nowadays I feel that as nage it is part of my job to ensure that I encourage uke to attack me. If uke simply clamps and holds, there's no attack, so I have to change that situation to my advantage by encouraging uke to attack.

It can be done sublty or overtly, depending upon the level of understanding of the uke in question

Sometimes I wonder just how deep and subtle this art can get

Ruth
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:44 AM   #21
Mark Freeman
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Quote:
Ruth McWilliam wrote:
Sometimes I wonder just how deep and subtle this art can get

Ruth
Very very deep and very very subtle

Approaches to dealing with resistance definitely changes over time and greater understanding.

If uke offers resistance it only has an effect if there is something to resist against. If the resistant uke meets no corresponding resistance from nage, what can he do?

Ruth is right, if uke just 'camps down' on a grab there is no attack to deal with. Stop, smile, and wait for some movement, then lead them to a mutually agreeable conclusion
If you can be a split second ahead of uke, they either continue to 'reach' for the disappearing target or they stand with a handfull of air.
Lead uke's mind, their body will follow

It is not easy to be completely non resistant, it takes alot of practice and focus on overcoming deeply ingrained habits.

Aikido is practiced by beginners in one way, by intermediates in another, and yet a different way by the very experienced.

Some things cannot be fully understood until you reach the next level. And even then there is always more to discover.

Only when you can be completely non resistant can you have the freedom to apply resistance 'as needed'

My aim is to be simultaneously like rock and water, not there quite yet, but a good reason to get me into the dojo.

Just a few thoughts,

regards,
Mark

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Old 05-23-2006, 01:04 PM   #22
nodmines
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Re: "Tanker" uke

This happened to me last night during kokyu dosa. My partner heavily clamped and held both of my wrist against my knees. I tried to lift my arms but was unsuccesful, so instead of forcing my way out of it, I entered and did morote tori sayu nage on him. He was surprised when I shifted to a different technique. I didn't want deviating from the usual form of kokyu dosa but I felt changing the technique to sayu nage was necessary to show my partner that by clamping me down, I was able to find an opening.
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Old 05-23-2006, 05:53 PM   #23
Aiki LV
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Re: "Tanker" uke

When I've had these experiences I try to analyze where the person is coming from based upon subtle clues. People have different ukemi just as they have differences when being nage. Many times peoples body language reveals a lot. This is just me, but I find it is usually one of four reasons.... (1) They are afraid or unsure of their falling capability and hold back for fear of not being able to safely negotiate the ground. (2) They are inexperienced and don't know the role of uke is to give an honest 100% attack. (3) Something is off with your own movement, timing, technique, etc. (4) The person acting as uke knows what you are going to do because they are experienced and blocks you on purpose to be a jerk. People with some type of ego problem or power issues seem to be the biggest offenders in this category from my experience. These are just my thoughts on the subject from my limited experience, they might or might not help. Good luck and Happy training.
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Old 05-23-2006, 09:29 PM   #24
rtist
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Re: "Tanker" uke

Perhaps I'm not fully understanding the initial question. What is the problem training with an uke that resists? It has been my experience that when I can't get a technique to work it is MY fault not uke's. I must find a way to make it work. When there is a struggle you have already lost. To me this is the real cool part about aikido - finding the way (and trying not to break a sweat doing it).
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Old 05-24-2006, 02:43 AM   #25
Amir Krause
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Re: "Tanker" uke

As strange as it might seem, Reading this post, I wish to return to a previous discussion and support the opinion I disagreed with:
Quote:
Such concept as 'bad uke' simply doesn't exist
see: http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...highlight=role


Quote:
if nage is expected to blend with uke, is uke not expected to "blend" as well rather than resist
Once you start blaming Uke for not blending with you, and expect him to assist you in performing the Kata, you should think of the above quite. Aikido is a martial art, and Tori should learn to create the harmony and opening.

In general, I would have agreed with the concept proposed by Jun. When you are practicing a Kata, you should follow the intentions of the teacher for this particular Kata. One of the most memorable practices I had was with a substitute teacher (senior student of my teacher) who encouraged our aggressiveness throughout half the practice, then asked us to practice semi randori - evading and countering an attacker freely, all of us responded in this exercise in hard and aggressive manner, and were then reprimanded for not using Aikido. As an advanced student (today) I keep this lesson in memory and often ask my Uke to be harsher and interfere with my technique, when he does, I try to relax and do a better, softer technique.

One could get into a situation in which he can not do anything. Obviously, in such a situation we do not learn nor improve. There is no shame in admitting this and asking Uke to lower the wall for a while and letting you learn. But, if this is the case, you should know it was your inadequacy and not Uke.

Amir

P.S.
you could also take a look at:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...highlight=role
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