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Old 07-02-2001, 07:00 AM   #1
ian
 
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dynamic vs. stationary

This is mainly as a reply to David's comment in another thread about whether strong stationary or dynamic co-operative tehcnqiues are best, though I would welcome comments/criticisms as I haven't been instructing very long:

I have the lucky situation of having started with a more stationary style of aikido, and and now training with people who do a very dynamic and more cooperative style of aikido. I too have wrangled with this, and here is my view:

- it is good to start with stationary techniques (particularly grabs). This allows you to develop this idea of keeping your hand in your centre to enable you to use your whole body (ki, centre, whatever you call it), to overcome direct application of strength by uke. Morote dori attacks especially are good to demonstrate this. Also helps develop a type of hip movement where you move your body around the point of strength rather than trying to use arm strength to use your arm.

- once people are proficient with this movement is increased. Later on, develop the sense of timing and reaction (to strikes and grabs). This necessitates uke having to 'turn off' i.e. not being 'co-operative' but just commiting to the attack strongly and aggressively, and not having any thought of reaction to a defence (i.e. they should think the attack is going to land on nage).

I think if you learn how to use your body from stationary initially, if you ever get caught in the situation where people do resist or change during a dynamic attack you can then generate body movement (and it becomes a natural response to a stationary situation). However the dynamic response should be your first line of defence (as part of aikido to me is the instantaneous reaction to an attack, and uke feeling that you were there one second, and then you dissapear).

Ian
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Old 07-02-2001, 10:03 PM   #2
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Hi Ian;

The problem with a solely dynamic/cooperative approach is that it is a poor teacher of body dynamics. My experience of dojos that emphasize the latter approach is not that good.

Last night I invited a Nidan with 15 years with Osaka Aikikai to observe class at Shodokan Honbu. Afterwards in a private tatami room over the Izakaya consuming beer and ramen we discussed the differences between what he saw and what he does. Discussion means pushing the tables aside and as quietly as possible demonstrating. Their approach, which I will see first hand next week, is to start with a firm grip in order to understand how the body works and then latter to bring in the dynamic body movement. I am not sure what you mean by stationary since nage does move his centre and uke is moved.

Our approach, although we use on occaision, a similar solid grip, is to rely on full resistance randori to give our clue as to what does or does not work. We also use kazushi in just about everything.

Both styles are very dynamic but both work through stages which I would refer to as non-cooperative. The end result is good effective Aikido.

So yes - I agree completely with your post.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-02-2001, 11:50 PM   #3
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I SHOULD keep my mouth shut, since you two are way above me in the food chain. However...
I would disagree that ki no nigare or flowing or come-to-hold or whatever you would call dynamic is cooperative in the sense that I get from your posts: that it is not 'real', there is no resistence or attempt to make nage make it work.
I believe that the reason uke moves in ki no nigare is to avoid losing connection with nage (a. because attack was after all the goal and b. to lose connection means to lose uke's own sense of timing and movement of nage, leaving uke open for an unpleasant surprise by nage), and to avoid stopping in a place that leaves them open to other attacks or techniques. They move because movement is life and the chance to gain the advantage and reverse nage, to stop and struggle is just trading blows and muscle strength.
I do think static/stationary training is important because it teaches the weak points in stregth and balance, and is easier for beginners because timing is not an issue. But since timing is important, dynamic training is also important.
I do think that it is important to realise that the techniques may not look the same, since one starts with a fairly well balanced uke and so other things may need to be done to unbalance uke initially, that would occur as part of leading him in dynamic.
Long winded, sorry, but I dislike a moving uke being referred to as cooperative rather than realistic. When I get an uke that likes to make sure he is always balanced and takes at most one step (usually looses connection almost as soon as it is made) I stop once I am out of their reach--even if the technique has not been done---and just smile at them. Usually by the fourth time they are motivated to actually move to get me. Some blackbelts I know will do a very unpleasant alternative technique with a value-added pin if uke looses connection. I think the reason Aikido works with a moving uke is not because the uke 'lets' it work, but because Aikido is working as it was designed.
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Old 07-03-2001, 12:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR
Our approach, although we use on occaision, a similar solid grip, is to rely on full resistance randori to give our clue as to what does or does not work. We also use kazushi in just about everything.
Peter, could you clarify what you mean by full-resistance randori? I hate to nit-pick but the comment caught my eye and it don't ring exactly true to me. What am I missing here?
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Old 07-03-2001, 12:32 AM   #5
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I really don't think there's such a thing as a "static attack" because the human structure is always moving. Not only the muscles involved in breathing but the opposing groups which keep the body pointed in (more-or-less) the desired direction, etc.

There must be some degree of energy committed to the attack or it's just "holding hands" and there is no need for aikido.

Possibly some people are not taught to use the energy or ignore it in order to create their own energy that's supposed to overwhelm the uke ... I dont' understand the concept of a static attack. I'm not even considering the worth of an attack that some use where uke gives their partner lots of momentum to use for whatever they want by just running at their partner with the intent to be thrown down.

Of course there are varying degrees of force that should be applied depending on the skill level of the person you're with.

All attacks are essentially ki no nagare. There's just differing amounts of force, speed, and movement depending on the intent of the training.

Chuck Clark
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Old 07-03-2001, 01:24 AM   #6
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Hi Chuck;

Always glad to see you chiming in.

Neither Ian nor myself refered to a static attack - and I dare say we both would agree with you that there is no such thing.

I would also like to emphasize that dynamic training is very important to my Aikido. Just last night Nariyama's advanced class was almost entirely Naga no kata - you may know these better as the first 14 techniques of the Dai Yon.

The point I (and also the Aikikai guy last night) was trying to make is that sometimes the level of cooperativity between nage and uke are emphasized to such and extent that one can not learn the physical mechanics behind effective techniques.

The take home message is that one can not exclude one form of training for the other. The old refrain of balance again.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-03-2001, 01:30 AM   #7
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Hi Erik;

It's a Shodokan thing.

The lowest level is similar to Ju-waza with resistance increasing up to the point where it is total and counters are allowed.

The randori is one on one, with or without one person armed with tanto.

It's a great eye opener as to what works for you and what you need to work on. Just wish I was better at it.

Clarification aside - what doesn't ring true about it?


Quote:
Originally posted by Erik


Peter, could you clarify what you mean by full-resistance randori? I hate to nit-pick but the comment caught my eye and it don't ring exactly true to me. What am I missing here?

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-03-2001, 08:05 AM   #8
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I think this is a very hard topic and no doubt I am going to expose the flaws in my thinking here. If I may list the advantages and disadvantages as I see them:
AIKIDO WITH A STRONG/STATIONARY UKE
ADVANTAGES:
Uke develops strong forearms (personally, I believe strength is important, if you disagree think about the experience of receiving nikkyo from your sensei)
Nage has much better control over uke ie uke can't chose not to blend because he is completely controlled
Students at a brown belt level are clearly capable of defending themselves
Students have precise technique with powerful movements
DISADVANTAGES:
Quite stilted movements, decreased range of techniques
Why do aikido if you are not going to be free flowing?
AIKIDO WITH COOPERATIVE UKE (sorry colleen)
ADVANTAGES:
Developing sophisticated flowing movements from an early stage
Emphasis on creativity
DISADVANTAGES:
Nage can get away with sloppy technique for years
Takes many years to develop self defense skills, if ever, in some cases - remember even the most famous soft sensei (eg Tohei) started out as very hard
Often breeches basic principles of self defense - turning back, awareness etc

In summary I think if you practice against resistance then you will have much better martial skills, but that is not what aikido is about and you may be missing the essence of the thing (if anyone finds it please tell me).

David McNamara
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Old 07-03-2001, 08:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by davoravo
Takes many years to develop self defense skills, if ever, in some cases - remember even the most famous soft sensei (eg Tohei) started out as very hard
Often breeches basic principles of self defense - turning back, awareness etc
Its the old point that to get were Ueshiba M. ended you have to make some effort to follow his path. There by the way is a great comment in Ohba Shihan's biography by Shishida Shihan on Ueshiba M.'s difficulty in flowing from one technique to the other and why in Tomiki's opinion Ueshiba's Aikido changed to the larger circles. For context it was Ohba that attacked Ueshiba M. for real in front of the Manchurian Emperor. http://www.shobukai.be/ under Aikido
Quote:
In summary I think if you practice against resistance then you will have much better martial skills, but that is not what aikido is about and you may be missing the essence of the thing (if anyone finds it please tell me).
Some would say that Aikido as Budo is primarily about fighting skills. Not one of his main deshi originally went to Ueshiba because of his philosophy and his fame in Japanese circles had nothing to do with his religious beliefs.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-04-2001, 07:10 AM   #10
ian
 
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Just a few quick responses:

1. Though strength is important, I feel it only makes up for aspects of the technique/extension that are weak. I do a fair bit of strength training (for this reason!) but the only way I can stop even the weakest members of my club doing a good nikyo/sankyo on me is if I use extension (i.e. my whole body).

2. Colleen - I'm surely not that high up in the food chain - and I'm a big believer that everyone's experience in aiki is different and therefore valuable. I'm still blushing from the complement, which can't be good for my karma.

3. If full resistance (including counters) is used it would be a very difficult situation as basically I would extend through everyones technique and it would be pretty hard to achieve anything. By stationary I mean using full strength (but no aiki/extension) to pin/hold an opponent. Admittedly it is rare, but it does teach you how to maximise body power, and people do try to pin you (stationary) to either intimidate you or to set you up for another attack e.g. a knife stab by a friend (their friend , not yours!.

Seems I've opened up a can of worms - we may be arguing about semantics. Thanks for your feedback anyway - it's definately worth trying different things just to get a broader experience. Also, its made me realise why randori can sometimes be poor - if the technique is not good the uke can just stand there not doing anything, making aikido a bit obsolete.

Ian
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Old 07-04-2001, 07:13 AM   #11
ian
 
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P.S. like the shodokan site Peter (though I don't speak German!)

Ian
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Old 07-04-2001, 05:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR
Clarification aside - what doesn't ring true about it?
Nothing in regards to the practice but the terminology doesn't work for me. I know I'm being picky but full resistance implies a number of things which to my way of thinking probably isn't what you are doing.

For instance, I would be surprised if you thought of countering as resistance. Resisting locks out a lot of effective counters and makes many techniques more potent than they otherwise might be. In fact, it tends to lock you up thereby making you more vulnerable than you otherwise would have been.

There's a lot more I could go into but I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think the words full resistance do your practice justice and I'm not buying that it's an accurate representation of what you do. There's a better term somewhere.

Quote:
Davoravo wrote:
AIKIDO WITH A STRONG/STATIONARY UKE
ADVANTAGES:
Students at a brown belt level are clearly capable of defending themselves
I had to think about this one a bit. My own experience is that people who work exclusively against a more stationary uke are more capable of executing a given technique against the attacks they practice against. I might go further and say that when compared against the other extreme it would even appear that they have stronger/better technique. The problem, in my experience, is that competent people usually don't attack in a static way, nor do they flop for you. So ultimately, the very practice that looks strong is really just as limited in it's own way.

Personally, I don't think either extreme by itself is a terribly good thing.
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Old 07-04-2001, 08:24 PM   #13
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Hi Erik;

To clarify then.

Resistance is attempting to defeat the technique.

Muscle is an option but usually body positioning and movement, and looking for the possiblity to counter are much more effective.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-05-2001, 04:38 AM   #14
ian
 
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I'd agree with previous comments (including my own initial comments) about practising in different ways to improve the ability to deal with different attack types.

Also, I do most of the aikido training to deal with the 'average' street attack - which to me usually involves someone who doesn't leap around, but does try to use strength (rather than efficient use of their body) to attack.

However, its good getting an insight into other reactions people have (e.g. we used to have weekends where different martial arts would train together). Also, one of the hardest people to demonstrate with is very good at relaxing their shoulders (done Kung Fu previously), making some techniques more difficult.

Ian
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Old 07-05-2001, 12:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR
Resistance is attempting to defeat the technique.
Hi Peter.

I think we are talking macro/micro level aikido here. I don't see defeating a technique as having meaning other than as a method of improving technique. I'm fine with this by the way.

I've run into plenty of strong/stubborn people who could defeat a specific technique (particularly when they knew what was coming), yet were wildly vulnerable to alternatives. They were defeating a technique but on a macro level it was pretty useless stuff as I'm not really in much danger (good center training though). The uke's that are really good are the one's who can take your center with the attack or drill you thereby ending the confrontation on a macro level if you aren't doing things correctly. Conversely, if I control center, the application of a specific technique doesn't have quite as much meaning either.

This is the crux of my issue with static training. People resist at points that you couldn't in a dynamic perspective and then think they are doing something they really aren't.

I'm still thinking it isn't resistance that you are practicing. I'll wander down to the Tomiki folks in the near future and see what they say about it. This sort of conversation works better in person.

Last edited by Erik : 07-05-2001 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 07-06-2001, 08:40 AM   #16
ian
 
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Yep, well said. It is definately for centre training; problem sometimes with fast moving stuff is sometimes you see people using arm energy instead of centre energy, and to me the static stuff gets you back into correct body movement.

I was discussing this with a friend the other night and the conclusion was that aikido involves many differnt things and it is good to practise in many ways to develop different aspects - that's why I think training with lots of instructors is very useful.

Ian
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Old 07-06-2001, 04:53 PM   #17
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I guess I'm still confused by what is meant by 'resistence' ... I'm on the small side and even if I wanted to risk body parts resisting a big nage (who might be tempted to respond with dangerous muscle rather than improved technique) I probably wouldn't be much of a speed bump. But my formative 'uke training' instead makes me an uke that moves. At my current dojo at first several partners commented that they couldn't tell if they were getting it right because I was too easy to move; then they started to look at where I was moving, and realized they were wide open for reversal if I wanted to take it. Now those same ones look not for can they move me/throw me, but have an awareness of our relationship and who is more balanced in it.
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Old 07-06-2001, 05:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
I guess I'm still confused by what is meant by 'resistence' ... I'm on the small side and even if I wanted to risk body parts resisting a big nage (who might be tempted to respond with dangerous muscle rather than improved technique)
Yes, indeed. I recently had the pleasure of strength over improved technique. I'm big enough that I make a healthy speed bump and not too long ago I locked up on a guy. I was trying to make a point of where he broke connection. He didn't get that the only reason he had my arm was because I gave it to him. Anyways, he nearly broke my arm (I yelped and slapped which scared him I think) and still doesn't have any idea of how badly he was doing things. He even lectured me. My own damn fault as I know better but I really expected him to get what I was trying to tell him. It was sooooo obvious.

Still, it was worth it for the lesson. Next time I'll just counter it or go with it.
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Old 07-06-2001, 05:59 PM   #19
Richard Harnack
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Question "Static" "Dynamic"

I couldn't resist, nor could I let it flow by.

In Seidokan we use "static" training in the first stages of learning a technique, regardless of rank or level of difficulty. This is so that both Nage and Uke learn the major points of the technique SAFELY. Once everyone is up on the basics, then the attack is given with more movement behind it at a speed approriate to the level of training.

As to "resistance" or "resisting a technique", if Nage has the technique correct from the beginning, Uke is putting themself at risk of injury.

I have had students from other styles of Aikido attack then stop the attack completely and stand there "resisting". Most times, once I have evaded their "attack" I stand there and look at them. Usually this elicits a response such as, "Aren't you going to do the technique". Depending on my mood at that moment in time I may say kindly to them, "I am sorry, I obviously misunderstood my role, I thought I was the Nage." When I am in not such a good mood, I might say, "I will when I have a real attack".

Since on these occasions I am usually in a white belt, I will allow the other student to teach me their expectations. Then I try to follow their style as well as possible.

My point is, for safety's sake, starting from a "static" attack/defense and moving into increasingly more dynamic attacks/defenses is the way most Aikido is taught.

As to "resisting", I have seen too many people needlessly injured because they thought they could challenge their partner only to have their partner increase the amount of force to overcome the resistance. Don't fall down for any old slop, but do know when to take the ukemi.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 07-06-2001, 06:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by ian
Yep, well said. It is definately for centre training; problem sometimes with fast moving stuff is sometimes you see people using arm energy instead of centre energy, and to me the static stuff gets you back into correct body movement.
Ya know, I agree completely. These days home is a super-flowing dojo and most of our kyu ranks have a limited grasp of things like center and grounding.

On the positive side they flow quite well. You might debate the martial side of what they do but I bet they're terrors on the dance floor.

Last edited by Erik : 07-07-2001 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 07-06-2001, 11:39 PM   #21
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Cool

hey fellas. decided to drop a line of this one.

look at it in the terms of a japanese sword (or any sword for that matter). First, you start with this hard, unyielding piece of grunt, then it is heated into a softer state. when all is said and done, you have quite a weapon on your hands.

Always be well,
Bobby David
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Old 07-11-2001, 09:34 AM   #22
ian
 
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To me, if the technique is not over with very quickly (with blending) what many people (unaquainted with martial arts) naturally try to do is to pull their limbs into their body to protect themselves. i.e. you can blend with someone when there is stong direct movement, but if they (uke) ever realise you're trying to do something they try to resist everything and keep pretty still (or pull backwards). Therefore, although we often practise some 'blending' on uke's part for training, this is just training until we can move with uke e.g.

if we do ikkyo, but they resist as they realise they are going down (and we weren't fast enough or didn't blend well), as they start to rise we allow them back up & do another technique (e.g. irimi-nage or kote-gaeshi etc). However we can't learn everything at once so its pointless saying 'try to go against everything I do', else it does become dangerous.

When I refer to resistance it is a static technique where uke just focuses on pinning you arm/hand in one place and tries to hold it there (unrealistic, but an important aspect to deal with) - I don't mean just being awkward.

I can really sympathise with Richard, I've had the same problem myself and the only solution I can think of is to actually attack uke and then use his response.

Ian
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Old 07-11-2001, 10:52 AM   #23
Richard Harnack
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Talking Good Uke/Bad Uke

Quote:
Originally posted by ian

I can really sympathise with Richard, I've had the same problem myself and the only solution I can think of is to actually attack uke and then use his response.

Ian
Thanks for the sympathy Ian. Actually the response I like to use on occasion, especially if it is a guy, is one the late Peter Ting, Sensei, would use. Ting Sensei would use a special atemi in such cases, he would blow the uke a kiss! Talk about non-plussed. Other times he would go "Boo!"

My point is that in cases where uke has come to a complete halt to "challenge" your technique, there is no longer any need to do anything.

In one famous piece of film of O'Sensei, you can see where the Uke "took" the fall. The storm cloud of anger crosses O'Sensei's face and you see him speaking to the uke. The next time the same uke comes through, O'Sensei hangs on to him for just a bit longer before he "sends him on his way" with great emphasis. While this is not the exact same case as if someone comes to a complete halt, it does reflect the same poor attitude on the part of uke.

It is one thing when I am instructing to go through a technique step by step. It is quite something else when I am training. In the first case, I expect my "uke" to stand there in position while I explain the points needing to be covered. In the latter, I expect uke to give a good balanced attack so that I can work on my timing, flow etc.

The problem with many Aikidoka is that they are afraid of the ukemi from particular throws, so they pull their attack early so that they can take a "good" fall. This then puts their attack outside the range of effectiveness for nage, thus forcing nage to "apply" the technique.

Then there is the insidious "brown belt" problem, wherein the brown belts begin to "execute" techniques on the lower ranks and seek to stop the technique of the upper ranks. Of course I know that no one at the Aikiweb would ever do such a thing, but I have heard rumors.

Enough for now. Suffice it to say good Aikido technique is determined by the committment of all participants to serious and sincere training, not some type of "win/lose" scenario.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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