Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

aikido articles


dojo search
image gallery
links directory

book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews


rss feeds

Follow us on

Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Training

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Thread Tools
Old 10-17-2006, 01:48 AM   #1
shadowedge's Avatar
Dojo: Sensei Aikido Dojo / Marikina Metro Manila
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 115
Can you learn without ever being UKE?

I have a friend, a long time aikidoka as well, who recently had the misfortune of suffering from a condition that caused him to give up any form of strenuous physical activity.

Doctors tell him to lay off exercise, jogging, push ups etc. basically anything that can cause physical fatigue, and anything that'll get adrenaline rushing.

He hopes to continue training in Aikido depite all that. I keep advising him to obey the doctors, but he asked me something that I'd like to ask you all.

He believes that since Aikido teaches us to conserve energy and and to be calm (~Munen Mushin~) right? He said that the only really strenuous aspect of Aikido trainning is whenever you are the Uke.

He basically wants to continue trainning only only as Nage, because of his condition. I was wondering, can anyone learn without being uke? Is that even advisable?

Please share your thoughts.

Last edited by shadowedge : 10-17-2006 at 01:49 AM. Reason: spelling correction
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 04:15 AM   #2
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,224
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

This is just my personal opinion, practicing only as nage is to have a 'half-practice'. A person (even a longtime aikidoka) cannot hope to study or understand without the experience of being uke; and why? Because there are so many things to forget! This may be a time for your friend to focus on breathing exercises, or individual weapon suburi (without force). Your friend could also practice tenkan and irimi exercises. Our physical condition is always the ground for our practice, and an opportunity to be creative. Good luck.
In gassho,
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 06:34 AM   #3
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

we've had the uke question thread before some-time, but not with a direct problem like this.

I don't feel qualified to answer this - since I've always done my uke obligations.

However I would say yes, you can learn effective technique without being uke, just as you can learn to drive without being a piece of tarmac.

I think though, even as nage, there is potential for injury, stress and physical demands. It is probably a matter of degree. If this is not probing too much could you tell us the exact nature of the condition - it seems that there would be long term health effects associated with not exercising and not having stressed. It is likely that, if they can walk, they can do aikido in some form, but they may find it frustrating trying to concede to these conditions of no-stress/no exercise. Also, is someone prepared to be uke for them without being nage?

Last edited by ian : 10-17-2006 at 06:40 AM.

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 07:07 AM   #4
Amelia Smith
Amelia Smith's Avatar
Dojo: Martha's Vineyard Aikido Club
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 154
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

My doctor has recently ordered me off ukemi for a few months, and I am not happy about it! However, I am planning to go to weapons practice (your friend should be able to do that, too) and take an occasional class in which I will just be nage.

Most of the really high-ranked, older instructors, the Shihan, hardly ever take ukemi, at least as far as I've seen. They seem to keep learning and developing their aikido anyway, but I don't think it's a good idea at lower levels.

Maybe practicing as nage only is better than not practicing at all, but if it were a permanent condition, I would probably go over to an art that I could participate in fully, like Tai Chi or Iaido.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 11:18 AM   #5
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

I think to get the full deal you should do both sides. That being said I think there is a lot more to being uke than taking a fall. If his training partners are informed and sensitive to his condition they could practice a little control and only take him to the point of a balance break.

He may have to deal with the fact that his practice will drastically change. A gentleman in our dojo had cancer, after all the chemo and radiation he just wasn't able to train with the same intensity. He was faced with the choice of quitting or accepting his new current level of ability and attempting to work up from there.

He may also find that another style or an entirely different art that won't demand so much physically may be the way to go. Better to do something different than to waste away on the couch.

I wish him luck,


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 11:53 AM   #6
Eric Webber
Dojo: Aikido West Reading
Location: Reading, Pa
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 261
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

Regardless of the philosophical implications of the question, I think the physiological question must be considered for your friend. I get cranked up when throwing. Yes, I know, I am supposed to be relaxed all the time. But you know what? I'm not. I have to learn to stay relaxed, which means I have to go from being not relaxed to a state of relaxation. If my doctor told me not be adrenalized due to health conditions, I'd stay off the mat, or be prepared to drop over dead doing what I love.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 12:28 PM   #7
Dojo: TNBBC (Icho Ryu Aiki Budo), Shinto Ryu IaiBattojutsu
Location: Seattle, WA
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 927
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

Rene Vencer, Jr wrote:
Doctors tell him to lay off exercise, jogging, push ups etc. basically anything that can cause physical fatigue, and anything that'll get adrenaline rushing.
Sounds like aikido is out based on what you wrote there. Even as nage, he's going to run into situations that will cause physical fatigue and get adrenaline going. Perhaps he should look into tai chi. Similarly some forms of iaido can be very relaxing/contemplative. Others like the one I study are typically a harder workout than your average aikido class. Sorry to hear about your friend's condition.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 12:46 PM   #8
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 788
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

Ever take a kyu test? The testee is usually not asked to take ukemi, yet almost everyone gets worn out by them - gasping, sweating, and red heads abound. Throwing can definitely be stressful.

My concern is with the diagnosis. It sounds fishy to me, unless it is a very short-term thing. Going through the rest of one's life in fear of a 150 bpm heart rate is practically a prison sentence. No sex, no exercise of any kind... it would even prohibit doing simple work or playing with a dog or kids, probably. Like someone else said, being absolutely sedentary is terrible for one's health. It leads to heart disease, obesity, deterioration of bone, muscle and connective tissue, and all kinds of resulting/related problems. I think your friend should seek other medical opinions.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 01:46 PM   #9
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

And who is going to train with him?

There's only so much bending over backwards (yeah there was a feeble attempt at a pun) that your partners will be willing to take.

You throw me I throw you - give and take. I just see a total drag on the rythm of the class.

There are forms of yoga that could give you the same benefit as non-physical aikido - you sure can not learn any useful aikido without some sort of physical effort on both tori and uke's end.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2006, 06:10 PM   #10
Janet Rosen
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 4,339
Re: Can you learn without ever being UKE?

there was a one yr period between knee injury and surgery when i felt too fragile to fall/roll or to commit to doing full throws as nage. my training agreement w/ my partners was, regardless of role, to move slowly (rate of breathing) and take any given encounter to the point of kuzushi then back off. So as uke I might have my balance taken to the point where i'd stretch nicely, maybe have to take a step, maybe bending to slap mat w/ a hand or just tap my thigh loudly, etc and as nage i'd work on openings and position and center and connection etc. this may not be a longterm ideal practice for the young and fit :-) but anybody should be willing to train w/ a partner this way for 10 or 15 minutes, and your friend may find it eminently satisfying. I sure learned a lot!

Janet Rosen
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Learning How to Learn Aikido akiy Teaching 60 06-01-2009 05:19 PM
Best way to learn Dominic Toupin General 17 01-31-2005 04:33 PM
The Telescope DaveO General 11 07-16-2004 10:11 PM
Children who don't want to learn Kung Fu Liane Teaching 22 05-08-2003 01:41 AM
Who is the best to learn from? justinm Teaching 3 01-31-2003 06:14 AM

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:33 PM.

vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2024 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
Copyright 1997-2024 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate