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Old 10-29-2001, 03:43 PM   #26
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Well first of all we are talking about doing techniques completely different from what the teacher of the moment is asking the class to do. With out a doubt there must be an adjustment based on both tori's and uke's body type but that should be within the framework of what was asked.

Consider this scenario, which happens in nearly every class:

1. Teacher's uke attacks during demonstration
2. Teacher responds appropriately to attack
3. Your uke attacks differently

Will you tell your attacker they are doing it wrong? This is too selfish and wasteful.

Will you pretend your uke is the teacher's uke? This is fantasy, not martial art.

Will you respond to your attacker as the situation demands? If you can accompish this and nothing else, you've nothing to worry about.

Rule #1: "Get out of the way." Not "Copy the teacher."

Well I know where you are trying to go with this (see above) but freestyle is where at least attack or defence is unpredicatable.

Unless your aikido school trains time travel and psychic powers, you presume too much.

Is your teacher flawless? Or maybe you are not very observant? Perhaps you are unable to learn from others' mistakes.

Well considering my level of experience compared to my teacher - the answer is yes.


Fair enough. But not all of us are in the same boat, and arrogance has nothing to do with it.

Anyhow, I fail to see what your above quote has to do with some yahoo deliberately doing his own thing against the wishes of the person teaching the class.

Nobody gets it perfectly right. Whether they fail by accident, or on purpose, is none of my business.
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Old 10-29-2001, 08:42 PM   #27
L. Camejo
 
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Ai symbol Re-centering on the point

Hi all,

I have some questions that I think stem from the original question.

1)-Is an Aikido class a practice scenario geared towards learning and understanding techniques in a controlled atmosphere, led by an instructor who has some degree of insight into what is going on? Or is it a free for all where someone attacks you with full resistance putting you in a position to execute "whatever works", hoping that it might be the technique that the guy in front of the class had just demonstrated? If the latter is true, then why are we even in class, that can be done on the street with a book on Aikido techique.

From the beginnning I was taught that training was just that... practice. Harmonious practice at that, except in cases where specifically instructed to resist to provide a bit of realism, or in the case of Randori. Whenever someone decided that Aikido was a contest of power and ego between Uke and Tori it generally ended up in a wrestling match on the ground, after which these same individuals became airborne for extended periods while helping the instructor demonstrate the next technique

2)-In the same way the uke benefits from partner practice by having to do proper ukemi, shouldn't he/she also benefit by learning how to attack properly, and in a controlled manner?

The people in my dojo attack as well as most that do striking arts alone (some are even sensei of striking arts). For those who have no MA experience besides Aikido, this ability has been the result of partner practice geared towards mutual benefit for both Tori and Uke. When someone attacks wrong YOU TELL THEM or show them how to do it properly.

Instructors are human, they also make mistakes, but sometimes the only way to do things correctly is by understanding the myriad ways of doing them incorrectly.

So either way the instructor guides you towards what is right, even if his execution may be wrong. I believe when one has a problem with a teacher, inform that teacher of your problem, or leave and form your own class if you know better. Aikido is the epitome of freedom of expression, and the Instructor is there to ensure the safety of everyone, especially in the execution and practice of technique.

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 10-30-2001, 03:47 AM   #28
Jon S.
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Just some thoughts

Just thought I'd share my thoughts.

With many techniques there is a very fine line between having an injured joint, and having nothing at all. This is a big reason for cooperative practice - avoiding injury. Unless you are confident in the amount of control you have, you shouldn't seek to reverse techniques against an uncooperative uke - except if you're specifically practicing that way.

When I've encountered such situations, sometimes I remind the uke that it's easy to resist if they know what technique is going to be used, but that 'striking for distraction' can be a very effective way for me to momentarily take their mind off the idea of resisting - during which time I can slam the technique on. They usually get the idea. If not, when he resists, I focus a strike at him - I don't even have to make contact but a kiai helps the effect, and he softens up for an instant as he anticipates being struck, during which time I complete the technique. I point out how well it works and tell him to just imagine how distracted he'd be if I really had struck him. I also explain how I could use a strike to amplify the pressure of the technique I'm attempting to execute, but in doing so control would be compromised and this would likely cause injury. They usually understand now that their resistance is meaningless.

Either that or I'll make him permanant uke and pair him up with advanced students. I explain that being uke is where you really learn to get a 'feel' for the techniques if you try, and that he should learn to be a good uke. This is good for the advanced students too because, as has been discussed, it challenges them to harmonize with uke in order to find an effective technique.

Usually, to start, I just tell them to stop resisting because it's not what we're doing right now.

Jon

"not all who wander are lost"
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Old 10-30-2001, 10:20 AM   #29
Richard Harnack
Dojo: Aikido Institute of Mid-America
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"Difficult Students"

I have very few hard and fast rules in my dojo, however, two that I do have are:
1) No "horseplay"
2) No practicing of any other fighting styles on the mats before, during or after class.

By "horseplay" I originally meant the general goofing off behavior that the children would normally engage in. However, recently I have had to remind some of the "adults" in my dojo of the rule. Sigh...

While I do not have anything against other self-defense styles, we are an Aikido Dojo strictly, thus Tai Chi, Muay Thai, Kenpo, etc. have no place on our mats except by way of demonstration by qualified competent instructors in those arts.

Past these two rules, I remind my students to not attempt an attack for which they are not ready with the proper ukemi. Too often some students who "resist" a technique either do not know how to fall properly when the nage gets it "right", or they think they are just being "real".

In the former instance, if the student does not know the ukemi or is afraid of it, I ask and instruct them to learn to take the fall rather than trying to fight it. It becomes Nage's duty then to guide Uke into the fall safely, not take advantage of Uke and "throw".

In the latter case, I often find Uke "pulls" their attack at the last possible second in their attempt to make it "real". I then ask them if they were really going to connect. Many times I will have them attack me exactly the same way they did their partner. This gives me a feel for what they are actually doing and to provide the appropriate feed-back. On a few occasions, I have simply stood there only to have their "real" attack miss me completely. Usually they do not repeat this particular error.

As an instructor, however, it is your duty to treat all your students with respect and fairness, even the "difficult" ones.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 10-30-2001, 04:13 PM   #30
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1)-Is an Aikido class a practice scenario geared towards learning and understanding techniques in a controlled atmosphere, led by an instructor who has some degree of insight into what is going on? Or is it a free for all where someone attacks you with full resistance putting you in a position to execute "whatever works", hoping that it might be the technique that the guy in front of the class had just demonstrated? If the latter is true, then why are we even in class, that can be done on the street with a book on Aikido techique.

This is a false dichotomy. Otherwise, one might chide you for practicing "whatever doesn't work"

From the beginnning I was taught that training was just that... practice. Harmonious practice at that, except in cases where specifically instructed to resist to provide a bit of realism, or in the case of Randori.

There is nothing particularly realistic about resistance. If you are providing something to be resisted, you have something to work on.

2)-In the same way the uke benefits from partner practice by having to do proper ukemi, shouldn't he/she also benefit by learning how to attack properly, and in a controlled manner?

Which is more proper, an apple or an orange? Whose technique needs your full attention, yours or your partners'? There is (probably) an ancient Japanese saying which applies here, and can be translated to "don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

The people in my dojo attack as well as most that do striking arts alone (some are even sensei of striking arts). For those who have no MA experience besides Aikido, this ability has been the result of partner practice geared towards mutual benefit for both Tori and Uke. When someone attacks wrong YOU TELL THEM or show them how to do it properly.

To say that "your specific attack precludes repetition of the demonstrated response" seems reasonable. "You attacked wrong" is a joke. Maybe I am splitting hairs.

But, with either of these responses, you refuse to accept what you were offered. I know that many Aikido people like to lecture on the evils of the ego; how does this fit in?

Instructors are human, they also make mistakes, but sometimes the only way to do things correctly is by understanding the myriad ways of doing them incorrectly.

So either way the instructor guides you towards what is right, even if his execution may be wrong.


Right! What then is the difference between the student and the teacher? The direction of the tuition payment.

I believe when one has a problem with a teacher, inform that teacher of your problem, or leave and form your own class if you know better.

I don't have any problem with people who make mistakes. I do have a small problem with people who claim to be perfect but are unwilling and/or unable to demonstrate. And I have a big problem with their simple-minded advocates, who should know better than to repeat such things.
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Old 10-30-2001, 05:13 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by [Censored]
[b]And I have a big problem with their simple-minded advocates, who should know better than to repeat such things.
Well you talk the talk but do you walk the walk. I just have a vision of what this attitude would get you in a certain dojo in the back streets of Osaka. Somehow I believe that if you ever got there you would behave as a perfect gentleman.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-31-2001, 05:36 PM   #32
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Well you talk the talk but do you walk the walk. I just have a vision of what this attitude would get you in a certain dojo in the back streets of Osaka. Somehow I believe that if you ever got there you would behave as a perfect gentleman.

I haven't done anything that a calm and rational person would find offensive. I've merely put some people in position to correct themselves, or appear foolish in their opposition. Does this method sound familiar?

And I promise you, I have never been mistaken for a gentleman.
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Old 11-15-2001, 07:11 AM   #33
ian
 
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I have the same problem a bit in my dojo, usually the beginners. Often they do not realise what we are trying to achieve, and throwing them around is not an option. Usually I say that practise is practise of a particular technique and that aikido forms a whole, in which you do the technique appropriate to the situation, therefore outside randori the uke needs to attack in a certain way.

I think a misunderstanding with training is that the type of attack (e.g. shomen-uchi) is the important thing which decides the technique. However really it is the 'style' of attack which is important i.e. are they pushing forwards, pulling backwards (withdrawing), turning away from you, lifting their elbow etc.

Now, I have changed instruction to indicate WHY we do this particular technique rather than another. This helps uke to understand that if they move in a completly different way, practising this technique doesn't make any sense. For example; uchi sankyo I often say that it is from a strong grab where uke is putting a lot of strength into the grabbing arm - thus the elbow tends to comes out and the arm is fixed, allowing plenty of space for nage to slip underneath into a perfect sankyo.

I think it is very important to learn APPROPRIATE technique rather than the same technique from any attack (for example, it would be very dangerous to slip under ukes arm if his arm was in close to his body as Nage would probably end up in a choke hold).

Randori to me is the culmination of this practise where APPROPRIATE technique is used (rather than as many techniques as one can think of).

Ian
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Old 11-15-2001, 07:13 AM   #34
ian
 
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NB when demonstrating a technique, if the attack is not appropriate to the technique I am going to demonstrate I do whatever technique is suitable at the time. After this I either ask for a different 'style' of attack, or sometimes just get a different uke. I have now got to know who leans forward, who leans backward, who tries to use strength and who will disconnect ASAP. I hope his provides a better view of what should be done in Aikido technique for my students* (it is also often quite dramatic 'cos the uke goes exactly where they least expect).

Ian


(* I also hate to say 'the attack should be different' too much, 'cos it sounds like an excuse)

Last edited by ian : 11-15-2001 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 11-15-2001, 08:07 AM   #35
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Thumbs down I agree

Quote:
Originally posted by ian
(* I also hate to say 'the attack should be different' too much, 'cos it sounds like an excuse)
I really agree with this one...

It should not matter if the attack was strong or weak, fast or slow, the technique could be done either way as long as the priciple is correct.

Heheheh... I used to use that excuse so many times... Now that I think of it, it's just a way of me covering up my weaknesses.


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Old 12-07-2001, 03:50 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally posted by PeterR


Well sure - but I remember having Shihan watch me with a guy who I felt was deliberately trying to mess me up. When Shihan did the technique - uke responded near perfectly.
This happens a lot. It is because we all trust the teacher more than other students. We're willing to go more with his technique because there is not as much fear involved.
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Old 12-07-2001, 04:42 AM   #37
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Re: "Difficult Students"

Quote:
Originally posted by Richard Harnack
I have very few hard and fast rules in my dojo, however, two that I do have are:
1) No "horseplay"
2) No practicing of any other fighting styles on the mats before, during or after class.

While I do not have anything against other self-defense styles, we are an Aikido Dojo strictly, thus Tai Chi, Muay Thai, Kenpo, etc. have no place on our mats except by way of demonstration by qualified competent instructors in those arts.
We have the same horseplay rule in our dojo. (It's written on the wall, heh) However, I would encourage you to relax/change the second rule.
I studied kenpo before the soft style of Kodenkan Jujitsu I do. Practicing and mixing kenpo in with Jujitsu allowed me to learn more quickly. I could appreciate the same principles of balance, smoothness, breathing, circular movement etc. when I practiced Jujitsu. I felt this need to practice to find where the energy was different and where it was the same. I am seeing now, how one technique in one art flows to a technique in the other art. Training in Jujitsu has made my kenpo better because I learn the same principles from a different point of view. Also, other people in the dojo benefit from seeing things in a kenpo way and questioning how Jujitsu would respond to it or just feeling subtle differences at times.
People that have experience in other arts need to find a way to tie it into the new art they practice. Guiding this process can be a challenge but I think ignoring the need is a mistake. Especially, going from a very hard style to a very soft style or vice versa is difficult and if I was told not to practice my art when I saw pieces of it all around me, then it would drive me nuts. I mean, an art becomes a part of you...I can't walk down the street without checking my balance and my centering now.
I can understand your wanting to keep the mat environment controlled and safe. But why restrict students from doing it all together? I mean, as long as it is safe and not contact sparring and such?
I guess I can't expect to change your mind but if you understand why I personally needed to find a dojo that was open to other styles of martial arts then that's the important thing. All martials arts are not the same but sometimes you forget which "style" you are doing and that's a good feeling.

~Jon
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Old 12-07-2001, 03:31 PM   #38
Arianah
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PeterR:
Quote:
Well sure - but I remember having Shihan watch me with a guy who I felt was deliberately trying to mess me up. When Shihan did the technique - uke responded near perfectly.
unsound000:
Quote:
This happens a lot. It is because we all trust the teacher more than other students. We're willing to go more with his technique because there is not as much fear involved.
Sadly, this kind of thing happens maliciously as well. There is one person in my dojo in particular that likes to compete with me, so he often resists technique to prove to me that he is stronger and better than I (though we're pretty evenly matched). One time we were doing kokyu dosa and he continually changed his grip on my wrists to fight with me when I was trying to "throw" him. Sensei saw this and came over to stop this "wrestling match." My partner became a perfect gentleman when Sensei paired with him. I was relieved when Sensei told him, "No, I don't want you to give me any less resistance than you did her," and promptly tossed him over. He was much easier to deal with after that because he realized that Sensei knew that he was fighting me excessively to prove a point, not to challenge and help me.

Arianah

Last edited by Arianah : 12-07-2001 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 12-07-2001, 08:22 PM   #39
Richard Harnack
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Smile Kokyu dosa

Sarah -
Your story about your Kokyu Dosa partner brought back some memories for me!

When I was just a green nikkyu, I would get paired with this one gentleman in Los Angeles who would grip my wrists, sit calmly and smile. He would not do anything to counter me or "trick" me. Most of the time I felt as if I would stand a better chance with a 3'x3' brick wall!

Kobayashi, Sensei, would come over and show me what to do. He would stand and watch and coach, and slowly I began to improve. At least I began to take this man over maybe once every ten times. One day he and I paired up and as soon as he grabbed, I smiled back and took him down. At that point he smiled at me and went to someone else. My lesson was done. Of course this took roughly a year or so for that to happen.

No moral here (really!), just a fond memory of early frustration with Kokyu Dosa.

Yours In Aiki,
Richard Harnack
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Old 12-11-2001, 09:15 PM   #40
Edward
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Very diffcult partner

Since it is difficult to get the perfect partner in this world, I would rather have one who resists or tries to act difficult than one who would throw himself on the mat before I even do any technique at all. In fact, both types can be frustrating, but at least the first one is an obstacle or a challenge that you might feel motivated to overcome, by using technique or brutal force, no matter. But I can't think of any way to overcome the latter type. Sometimes I stop the technique in the middle and watch my partner take his "fake" ukemi, but these people are usually shameless and this does not discourage them from doing their thing. This is what I consider a "very difficult partner".
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Old 12-11-2001, 10:51 PM   #41
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Re: Very diffcult partner

Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
This is what I consider a "very difficult partner".
Nothing like someone becoming the unholy rubber uke or falling down right in the middle of shihonage.
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Old 12-12-2001, 09:00 AM   #42
Steve
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Re: Very diffcult partner

Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
Since it is difficult to get the perfect partner in this world, I would rather have one who resists or tries to act difficult than one who would throw himself on the mat before I even do any technique at all. In fact, both types can be frustrating, but at least the first one is an obstacle or a challenge that you might feel motivated to overcome, by using technique or brutal force, no matter..
True story:

Visiting instructor. Short but very skillful. Kokyo dosa with large, very strong student who enjoys confounding underlings with his strength and mass. Big Guy latches onto sensei's wrists and sits like a mountain. Sensei can't move Big Guy with muscle or technique -- so he leans forward and kisses him on cheek. Big Guy moved.

Steve Hoffman
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That's going to leave a mark.
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Old 12-12-2001, 10:31 AM   #43
Edward
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Re: Re: Very diffcult partner

Quote:
Originally posted by Steve


True story:

Visiting instructor. Short but very skillful. Kokyo dosa with large, very strong student who enjoys confounding underlings with his strength and mass. Big Guy latches onto sensei's wrists and sits like a mountain. Sensei can't move Big Guy with muscle or technique -- so he leans forward and kisses him on cheek. Big Guy moved.
That was definitely a very risky technique. The big student might have liked the idea, and the instructor would have thus been in deep trouble
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