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Old 08-15-2001, 02:53 PM   #1
guest1234
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Challenges

As long as we are so desperate for topics, maybe this one will get a few responses: what do you find particularly challenging in Aikido right now, and besides the obvious (practice practice practice...) what are you doing for that challenge?
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Old 08-15-2001, 03:10 PM   #2
Carlos
Dojo: Yamato
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Smile challenge

Collen,

Since I saw Tamura sensei seminary, I tried my best to control the uke center.

Better center control is to me, now, the most difficult aspect of Aikido.

The second is to keep myself relaxing all the time during the technique.

regard's


Carlos

http://aikido.paginainicial.com.br
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Old 08-15-2001, 06:22 PM   #3
mj
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Well, I suppose the hardest thing for me is getting out of the frame of mind 'Beat My Attacker!'.
And on the rare occassions I do get out of that state of mind, I get told off for being to casual

As to your second question (pushy)
I try to be nicer.

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Old 08-15-2001, 07:23 PM   #4
guest1234
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I think mine is the opposite: my ukes don't seem to believe my atemi will connect with their body/face, and I end up hitting a fair number of them, which really makes me feel bad Since I'm not all that big, hitting an attacker (I feel instinctively) is probably not my best option anyway. Which is probably why I can repeatedly hit my uke and not get a movement out of the way by the fourth turn---don't think it hurts them that much. What I'd like is to have them sense that it is in their best interest to MOVE, something that I sense quite easily when the roles are reversed. So I'm trying to figure out how to project that 'watch out' feeling vs. 'the world is my friend'. Maybe you could suggest a way to be a mouse that roars?
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Old 08-15-2001, 07:34 PM   #5
guest1234
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PS I've already asked the ukes that I can why they let me hit them, and they just laughed and said they don't know...
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Old 08-15-2001, 08:25 PM   #6
ilgulamc
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well ca, your problem is that when you do atemi you don't extend your ki. That is why your ukes are not afraid by your atemi and don't move. Atemi practice in my opinion is both mental and fisical. When you apply atemi 'think' about hitting the the spot for real and the uke is going to move. Or you can as well hit sensitive spots, like the nose, the eye, or the throat and the uke is going to move automaticly as a reflex.
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Old 08-15-2001, 10:41 PM   #7
Ari
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
I think mine is the opposite: my ukes don't seem to believe my atemi will connect with their body/face, and I end up hitting a fair number of them
I have a similar problem, except that I nearly always miss I can't even pretend to want to hit my practice partner. They're always telling me to seriously try and connect. I think it might be an aversion that's stuck from sparring in TKD, where people actually *were* trying to hurt you.

The most challenging thing for me by far is actually the teaching method - Sensei will demonstrate a technique a couple of times (fast then slow/both sides) then we'll pair off to do it, and I'm not a visual learner at all. Someone telling me to "step back with your right foot" is much easier for me to get than actually watching someone step back with their right foot and trying to copy. If that makes any sense. We're not supposed to talk much, which makes it harder. I've improved a little by starting to focus on just one aspect of the technique each time it's demonstrated, like what nage does with their right hand, and look for a different thing each time. Still a darn slow learner though.
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Old 08-15-2001, 11:36 PM   #8
guest1234
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Thanks, Stilanzo, I will try the Ki thing (I'm already hitting soft parts )...and Ari, in return I'll offer a suggestion that might work for you (not sure, as I tend to learn best by feeling): one sensei I had told beginners to concentrate on four basic foot movements (shuffle, where you move forward a step keeping the same foot foward, like ice skating; cross-step, a 'normal' step where the back foot comes forward to become the front foot; tenkan; and shift, turning 180 degrees on the balls of your feet). He told us to look first at his feet as he did a technique and talk to ourselves saying the steps. We always started in left hamni, but that's something you could also note and say to yourself. Many a night I'd get up thinking to myself: shuffle-tenkan-shift (katate dori shihonage ura)or cross step-tenkan-cross step (irimi nage)...
with a preset shorthand for the steps, you can note them faster than trying to spell out steps forward with right foot, turns to left bringing left foot back....
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Old 08-16-2001, 04:19 PM   #9
Mona
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Re: Challenges

Quote:
Originally posted by ca
what do you find particularly challenging in Aikido right now, and besides the obvious (practice practice practice...)
uh..well..
*ahem*
Ever since this guy threw me so hard (when nobody was expecting it!) on the tatami, and i hurt my neck and had a back and a neck ache for days, i've had this phobia of falling down. So i guess my biggest challenge now, as stupid as it may seem, is performing a proper ukemi again. I say again because, before that "tragic accident" , my ukemi were almost perfect.

~ Mona
Quote:
Though there are many paths at the foot of the mountain, all those who reach the top see the same moon.
_ Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 08-16-2001, 08:21 PM   #10
shadow
Dojo: Aiki Kun Ren (Iwama style)
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ive only been doing it a year or so.....im a very tall fellow, im learning new things all the time, generating power, extension, etc, but something i have trouble with is when raising my feeling....i always lift my weight from my centre, causing me to be top heavy, and in extreme cases, lose my balance. So basically at the moment i am working on finding my centre and keeping my feeling lowered into my abdomen. Harder than I thought, considering of course i tower over most of the other people.

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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Old 08-16-2001, 08:51 PM   #11
guest1234
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Hi Mona,
Yeah, it's hard getting back into it after a hard fall I think ...not sure which is harder, trusting nage again or trusting your own ukemi ability...I guess a good trustworthy nage goes a long way to recovery...good luck!

Damien, I have the exact same problem! except I'm short somehow I still end up with my center somewhere over my head...but on those times we can actually keep it lower, isn't it amazing?
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Old 08-17-2001, 09:22 PM   #12
Ari
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
Ari, in return I'll offer a suggestion that might work for you (not sure, as I tend to learn best by feeling): one sensei I had told beginners to concentrate on four basic foot movements
...
with a preset shorthand for the steps, you can note them faster than trying to spell out steps forward with right foot, turns to left bringing left foot back....
Thanks Colleen, will definately try that. I was working on my atemi last night and actually did hit someone who wasn't moving quite fast enough *sigh* you can't win either way
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Old 08-18-2001, 11:37 AM   #13
mariko nakamura
Dojo: Dobunkan Japan
Location: Toyama Japan
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The challenges I'm having now are kind of hard to describe. My sensei calls it itsugu and itsuganai. First of all, istugu is desirable. Itsuganai I suppose could be like a kata or taisabaki(footwork). Very mechanical, not much feeling. Like when you give the hardest, fastest atemi and your leading foot hits the floor very hard and stops your momentium(did I spell that right??). Istugu is the feeling of always moving forward no matter what your doing, ie. stepping sideways, spinning, standing in musubi kamai.
Another challenge is following freely. We do this exercise where you close your eyes and touch the back of your partners hand while they move all over and you have to keep total contact always concentrating on the basics; keeping your center, move from the knees, no big wide sweeping steps etc.. Sensei calls this ukemi. He says that anybody can do the tobi ukemi or gymnastic ukemi but virtually no one can perfect this ukemi.
Anyways...pretty hard stuff for me right now.
Another couple of months and its old hat(haha).

Mick
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Old 08-18-2001, 01:25 PM   #14
Steve Speicher
Dojo: Aikido of Central Ohio
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Mick,

The exercises you mentioned sound very interesting (itsuganai and ukemi), would you be able to post any more information, or are you aware of a spot on the web that might have more information on these exercises?

Thanks,

-----------------------------
Steve Speicher
May I ask what is meant by the strong, moving power (hao jan chih chi)? "It
is difficult to describe," Mencius replied. -- Mencius IIA2

403-256 BCE
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Old 08-18-2001, 03:58 PM   #15
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
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Question Most Challenging

After 25 years the challenges are:
Ukemi, Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Sankyo, Yonkyo, Gokkyo, Kotegaeshi, Kokyunage, Zenponage, Kaitennage, Irimi-Nage, etc. Every day I find something new about something "old".

I suppose the major challenge from my end of the temporal spectrum (I am now officially in my 55th year) is to stay fresh in my training and not rely upon what went before.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 08-20-2001, 07:44 AM   #16
mariko nakamura
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Hey Richard I really like your answer. I haven't been doing it for that long yet but I think I can relate. I just came home from the dojo tonight and all I did for 2 hours is shomen ikkyo sawari waza. Sensei said it was all wrong and I couldn't even make a 5 kyu fall down. Yesterday was futai, I wonder what tommorow will be.
I'm sorry Steve but I don't think you will find anything on the net. I just checked and I couldn't find anything. I really wish sensei would check this site out. His english is good enough I think. Itsugu is really hard to explain. Just whenever youre training, Always concentrate on feeling grounded(extend your ki into the ground), but not to the point when your legs become heavy. Try moving from your knees instead of your feet. This is what sawari waza is really intended for, to teach your body how to move from the knees.
When you step, especially atemi, always feel that you can still move forward but dont. Try not to plant your foot.
A good ukemi exercise is to take a belt and have your partner move with it(all over the place, up down circles) keep the tension on the belt at all times. When your partner stops moving there should still be tension.
I hope you can understand this, Im sorry Im not very word smart. We really need somebody to invent the cyber dojo, I think it could be a lot more fun.
later on!
Mick

Mick
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Old 08-20-2001, 10:15 AM   #17
L. Camejo
 
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Cool Re: Challenges

Quote:
Originally posted by ca
As long as we are so desperate for topics, maybe this one will get a few responses: what do you find particularly challenging in Aikido right now, and besides the obvious (practice practice practice...) what are you doing for that challenge?
Hi all.

I think Aikido always presents challenges to us, even in things we think we already know, there are always new ways and higher levels.

My main challenge recently has been in coordinating mind and body to the point where I can react to any attack at any speed, from any direction and still keep control of my centre and plunge uke into a vaccum and take control.

Sort of practicing "mushin" (no mind) I guess.

I've realised that it becomes really valuable when dealing with Martial Artists who are very advanced in other styles of MA, especially striking ones. At that level, by the time you see the person move it's already too late, so I'm working on a degree of Ki and thought sensitivity as well I guess.

Am I making sense here?

Well anyway, that's my challenge and my contribution.

Masakatsu Agatsu
L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 08-20-2001, 12:37 PM   #18
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
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Ai symbol

Quote:
Originally posted by mariko nakamura
Hey Richard I really like your answer. I haven't been doing it for that long yet but I think I can relate. I just came home from the dojo tonight and all I did for 2 hours is shomen ikkyo sawari waza. Sensei said it was all wrong and I couldn't even make a 5 kyu fall down. Yesterday was futai, I wonder what tommorow will be.
later on!
Mick
Mariko -
Do I ever understand the frustration! Sometimes I think my students fall down just to "humor the old man", at which point I tell them not to do that as I need to practice also.

Allowing Uke to throw themself to the ground is very difficult, especially when Uke knows what you are going to do and "pulls" the attack at the very last moment, then you find yourself stuck. I suppose you may have been doing everyone's "favorite" reach for Uke's arm to catch it as it descends. Timing, timing, timing.

However, a piece of "wisdom" from my "hippie" youth, "Out of frustration comes understanding". I usually add the codicil "we just do not know when".

Itsugu - think of it being as if boulders or oak trees or mountains could walk.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 08-20-2001, 06:40 PM   #19
MikeE
 
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Wow. Richard, that was deep.

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
Dojos
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Old 08-20-2001, 08:46 PM   #20
Richard Harnack
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Quote:
Originally posted by MikeE
Wow. Richard, that was deep.
Mike -
I am glad to see you were able to "fathom" the thought.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 08-30-2001, 09:51 AM   #21
BrokenKnees
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Hi everyone,
I've just started Aikido and this is my first post here. Well anyway, I've just made 6th kyu and the greatest challenge I face at every single Aikido class is this concept of "softness".

I come from a background of "hard" style MAs. I have black belts in both karate as well as Tang Soo Do, both of which prepared me for attack (or defence) with a general dose of stiffness and a generous kiai. The end result is like I'm going to "explode" into action.

Now this Aikido thing is so totally cool ... and confusing.

Almost everytime I uke or even nage, I'm told by conscientious seniors that I gotta loosen up. "You're too hard" is a constant refrain.

I guess I just got a whole lot more to learn
Cheers,
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Old 08-30-2001, 03:45 PM   #22
guest1234
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Hi Mark,

Congratulations on your test! I think it is really amazing to feel the power and control in a soft touch, especially when it is coming from a giant nage...
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Old 08-30-2001, 07:16 PM   #23
BrokenKnees
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Thanks Colleen the test was quite an eye-opener, and for this unfit 37-year-old, quite a lung-bruning experience too

I may not be a "giant" nage by caucasian standards, but by my dojo's asian standards, my 1.72m - 80kg frame seems to draw a lot of attention from well-meaning seniors If I happen to be nage, I always seem to be using too much force. If I happen to be uke, they love showing the nage "how to handle a big guy".

Frankly they're right though. A few days ago, I had a 6th kyu try to cause me pain with a sankyo. He actually looked genuinely surprised that it wasn't causing me pain. That is, until a brown belt showed him the way to cause a "big guy" pain

Of course, it ended up being my fault, cos, well, I was just "too hard". Does anyone here have any suggestions on how to "soften up"?
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Old 08-31-2001, 02:41 AM   #24
JJF
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by BrokenKnees Does anyone here have any suggestions on how to "soften up"?
You probably heard it before: Practice practice practice. I've been at it for a couple of years now, and it's slowly beginning to help.

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 08-31-2001, 05:43 AM   #25
ian
 
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Broken Knees, (P.S. this is all my own opinion, though it is based on a fair bit of experience).

Practise is definately beneficial, but it has to be the right kind of practise. This isn't just dependent on what you perceive to be happening when you watch your sensei, it is what you are thinking out whilst you do the technique. It is probably difficult to appreciate at the moment, but it may help if you keep the following in mind:

- we learn techniques in the dojo in a standardised form. But once you know the techniques we are not trying to 'force' a particular technique on the uke. It is uke who 'decides' the technique. i.e. it is ukes force which we are exploiting - they go down, take them down, they go up, take them up.

- get a feel of what uke is actually doing. If you provide force in the technique remember that this allows uke to direct YOU in the direction you are forcing things and thus enables a counter technique.

- blend with uke i.e. use the same timing as uke, and don't pull or push, use the force they are applying.

However, using the appropriate technique can only come when you got a thorough grip of the techniques, so the best thing is to try not to force uke - but this requires certain motion by uke to do a particular technique i.e. if they do resist an ikkyo and try to stand up, let them stand up and put on sankyo or katagatame.

I could explain more but this is getting a bit long-winded!

Ian
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