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Old 05-17-2007, 01:26 PM   #1
"Painful Practice"
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Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

OK, we have a group of people in our dojo that started training at about the same time, about two years ago. At this point we have one guy that is still consistently hurting his ukes during practice. It seems like in the midst of performing the movement, he gets lost in it and can't control how much force he is putting out. Hence, no one wants to train with him. I know what we are doing is martial and we should expect some knock arounds. soreness and bruises, but you also need to be cognizant of your Uke's strengths and weaknesses too, right?

At one point in your training should you be waking up and saying "hmm, I am hurting people, maybe I need to focus on control instead of just the movement?"
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:13 PM   #2
Eric Webber
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

Your first day on the mat...
...and every day thereafter.

One can develop very effective martial art technique without hurting a partner out of carelessness. Needs to be stressed from the beginning and throughout training by teachers and training partners.

Personally I find folks are most dangerous when they start to develop a little bit of technique/power, again around 1st kyu, and and while feeling their way through shodan.
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:21 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

Is your chief instructor not cognizant of the situation?

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:22 PM   #4
ChrisMoses
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

Hurting people isn't cool or martial, it's mean and irresponsible. Accidents happen, but a pattern of behavior isn't an accident. I'd bring it up with your instructor.

Chris Moses
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Old 05-17-2007, 03:25 PM   #5
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

I believe our Sensei has had talks with him. He straightens up at those times and we have some good training sessions. After awhile, it starts back up again!
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Old 05-17-2007, 05:14 PM   #6
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

I demonstrated technique for my students with an seven year old girl as my partner. I showed them that I could be gentle and effective. Now, when my students start to get a little rambunctious, I smile and say "Seven year old."

In my opinion, aikido isn't for being tough and taking on all comers. It's for dealing gently with a kid who's having a tantrum and lashes out at you, or with Grandma when she's off her meds.

"The only difference between Congress and drunken sailors is that drunken sailors spend their own money." -Tom Feeney, representative from Florida
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Old 05-17-2007, 07:45 PM   #7
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
At one point in your training should you be waking up and saying "hmm, I am hurting people, maybe I need to focus on control instead of just the movement?"
IMHO, at every point, of every minute you are training. First and always control the self. Only secondary is the control of the uke.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-18-2007, 05:36 AM   #8
Amanda
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

It's possible he simply doesn't realise how strong he is relative to his partner.

Of course this depends on the type of damage he's doing
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:54 AM   #9
Marc Abrams
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

An important thing to assess is the etiology behind the hurting of the uke. Many years ago, I had a student who was physically small and neurologically impaired. He got to the point where he was capable of executing joint-lock techniques so as to be able to cause injury. He began to over-compensate for his problems by hurting people when executing techniques. Speaking to him did not change the situation. I sat him down and explained the situation. I told him that he had to develop better self-control in martial arts and that in order for him to return to Aikido, he had to take Tai Chi for a minimum of two years. If after two years he wanted to return to Aikido, then he had to come back with a letter of recommendation from his teacher. Needless to say, he did not return. I believed that was important that he continue training, but in an art where the capacity of self-awareness could continue to grow, but without the high risk factor of injuring a lot of his fellow students in the process.

Now, I am careful to explain on a regular basis to ALL of my students about the important relationship that must be established and honed between the nage and uke. They must develop a real capacity to remain soft and centered so as to be able to connect with energy and intent of the other person. The uke must be sincere in attacking in a real, yet safe manner. That means that after the genuine attack, the uke must be sensitized to what is happening so that the uke can shape to the response in a manner that allows the uke to remain safe; experience and provide feedback as to the Aiki and correct nature of the technique, and at a higher level, move to the point where shaping to what the nage does, opens up avenues to apply techniques, attacks, take-downs, etc.. The Nage must learn how to overcome the fear-based, tension response set. The nage must move in a relaxed, centered manner so as to shape to the attack, while gaining a tactical advantage by the nature of the movement. This movement must have some component of an "atemi" and achieve Kazushi. The technique must be done in a connected, centered, stable, soft manner so as to remain truly connected to what the uke is doing and responding to so that the technique can be executed cleanly in a manner that does not cause undue injury by being disconnected and unnecessarily rough with the uke. Both Nage and Uke are responsible for signaling both pain and when to stop a technique, movement. Both parties are responsible for their own safety and the safety of the partner. If a person cannot learn to live with this level of mutual responsibility, then that person is simply not welcome to train at my school.

At my hombu dojo, one of the three main ways to get dismissed from the school is injuring someone due to intent and or gross negligence. There is an important trust that must occur between uke and nage in order to be able to attack and respond in a genuine and sincere manner. A lack of trust leads to poor learning and unnecessary injuries.

Just my 2 cents

marc abrams
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:26 AM   #10
ChrisMoses
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

For whatever reason, I find that this sort of thing is tolerated in aikido dojos a lot more than some other arts. There are some people who train at my old aikido dojo who, while they don't train in ways that injure their partners, do train in a manner that I would consider unfair to their partners, often exploiting the pre-arranged nature of the encounter to their own advantage. Where I train now, that kind of thing would get you thrown out very quickly.

A couple months ago I stopped by the judo/jujutsu class where I train now (they train some nights, we train others). I was working on some newaza with a newer 'kid'. We were supposed to just be going for position, this wasn't for points. Anyway, he was kind of spastic and going pretty fast. After a while the instructor came over and worked in with us. I rolled with him for a while and it was obvious he was feeding me openings and working with me while simultaneously giving me appropriate resistance. Then he worked in with the 'kid'. Kid was going WAY too fast, hopping all over the place, no control etc... Instructor tells him to cool it and slow down several times. Then all of a sudden, he flips the dude onto his back, plants his knee in the middle of his sternum and starts dragging him up around his knee by his gi lapels. You can hear the air being forced out of the kid's chest, and the instructor says in a strong but not angry tone, "You are going too fast, and if you keep doing this you or someone you are working with will get hurt. You will slow down, and you will train safely on my mat. Do you understand the words I'm saying and agree to train in this manner? Please tap the mat if you do." By this point he's going purple, taps the mat. And then it's over. If there are rules as to what is appropriate to do in a dojo, the instructor is responsible for enforcing those rules.

Chris Moses
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:18 PM   #11
jonreading
 
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

We have enough injury in training without someone trying to hurt people. If this problem student is hurting people, sensei has an obligation to inform the student of the issue and attempt to reconcile it. Students in the dojo have an obligation to tell the problem student, "I choose not to work with you because you may uneccessarily injure me." If the problem student chooses not to respect the wishes of his (or her) fellow students, and the problem student chooses not to adhere to the reconciliation put forth from the sensei, then I believe that student should not have a choice to stay in the dojo.

We train in a dangerous martial art. We need a safe haven in which to train. If a student threatens that haven, they should not be allowed to remain. We too often have "lost puppy syndrome" and keep people around the dojo who are a threat to the well-being of our students.

If your problem student was clearly told that he must change his ways, and he did not, then he is not worthy of your mat or training.
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Old 05-19-2007, 12:48 PM   #12
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

Uke is not the enemy, not ever, not for any one of us. We willingly enter into dynamic relationship with another based on agreements or trust. You prove nothing hurting uke. No more than breaking a friends wrist who has stretched out their hand to shake yours.
This is bullying. Ego bullying. But be aware that the man(?) perpetuaing this painful behaviour is also being bullied by HIS ego. Invariably I have discovered that when people are hurting one another they are engaging in some form of fantasy in their head. Some fantasy about ' the battlefield' or 'real life'. Well, what the f#$*, training is real and these are our agreemens:
Uke is never wrong. Uke brings your death. Injuring another is strictly forbidden.
However, sometimes uke takes on the mental posture of nage (by attempting to be in 'control', for want of better words). Here is an example:

In the dojo where I formally practiced a student was taking reckless and excessive ukemi that was generated by himself and forcefully thrown into the way of others. I can't count the number of times I told this guy (and the dojo cho) 'you're throwing yourself. You're going to hurt someone'. He severely broke a young womens leg by landing on her after he had thrown himself (ego alert) and the dojo response was, 'gee, he feels really bad.It was an accident. I mean, I feel sorry for him". Are you kidding me, I thought. 'He should feel like hell for a really long time.' In my view, his concience was doing what the dojo leadership could have, requiring his compliance with basic tenets of practice. Feeling bad is not enough. Change is required.

Too often people are afraid to hurt someones ego by demanding that they change their habits. If the ego isn't 'injured 'in this instance, the ego will injure.

Play safe with your partners.

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 05-19-2007 at 12:51 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:34 AM   #13
""Painful Practice""
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

Thank you so much for all of your advise and wise counsel!
Since my first posting, the person has left our dojo. I am not sure of how this happened nor the circumstances around the leaving, I can only a good guess why!
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:29 AM   #14
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

Quote:
Anonymous User wrote: View Post
Since my first posting, the person has left our dojo. I am not sure of how this happened nor the circumstances around the leaving, I can only a good guess why!
Things happen as they do.

Perhaps now your next posting will be from a different screen name (your own).

Lynn Seiser PhD
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We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 05-21-2007, 11:52 AM   #15
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Red face Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

I would like to confess, in the hope that it might help with dealing with this problem.
I have been training for almost ten months, and sometimes, I hurt my partner. Of course, they tell me, I apologize, and I try my best not to let it happen again. I find that there are two reasons for it.
The first one il a lack of self confidence. I have a very poor coordination (in spite of having trained in shotokan for thirteen years before I switched to A´kido), and I know that I usually need more time than the average person to learn a new technique. So sometimes, I do not realize that I finally got it! And I often find it hard to believe that those apparently subttle and delicate moves have the potential to hurt like hell. I am used to kicking and punching.
Another reason is that, again because of my lack of coordination, I need to concentrate hard on not forgetting any detail of the technique. While concentrating on the technique, I forget my partner. Ouch.
There, I said it. The people I hurt sometimes are still my friends. I just wanted to let you know that an apparently brutal person is just sometimes a bit lost.
I hope it helps.
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Old 05-25-2007, 04:39 PM   #16
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

Quote:
Marie Noelle Fequiere wrote: View Post
I would like to confess, in the hope that it might help with dealing with this problem.
I have been training for almost ten months, and sometimes, I hurt my partner. Of course, they tell me, I apologize, and I try my best not to let it happen again. I find that there are two reasons for it.
The first one il a lack of self confidence. I have a very poor coordination (in spite of having trained in shotokan for thirteen years before I switched to A´kido), and I know that I usually need more time than the average person to learn a new technique. So sometimes, I do not realize that I finally got it! And I often find it hard to believe that those apparently subttle and delicate moves have the potential to hurt like hell. I am used to kicking and punching.
Another reason is that, again because of my lack of coordination, I need to concentrate hard on not forgetting any detail of the technique. While concentrating on the technique, I forget my partner. Ouch.
There, I said it. The people I hurt sometimes are still my friends. I just wanted to let you know that an apparently brutal person is just sometimes a bit lost.
I hope it helps.
It does help. Especially when one can be open to communication about it.
When I was a first year student ( and beyond, I suspect) many people commented at different times that they felt I was going to 'break their'..........fill in body part here! Different than yourself, I am highly coordinated and I came from a competitive sports background and a rough neighborhood. Certainly I wasn't interested in breaking anyones wrist or skull, or overly crafted hair-do. I was interested in practicing strong and imbalancing movements and I relied on the skill of my partners to learn ukemi and to be as interested in learning the technique as I was (and vise-versa) . Sometimes they needed to appropriate new skills to handle the moment. Sometimes I needed to shift my technique to be less brutal. But it was in the context of learning in cooperation and the words were said to one another. We responded. That is good training in my experience. Sounds like you are there too.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 05-25-2007, 05:35 PM   #17
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Grr! Fights as one trains

I am of the people who think that nothing is developed if are not trained, and that one fights as one trains. Even so, a powerful technique does not have to hurt "unnecessarily" to uke.

During practices with uke, one is due to emphasize in generating imbalance and in the control of the attack. If a good control exists, the pain generation is secondary, but it is not due to discard like an important OPTIONAL tool that in extreme situations.
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Old 05-26-2007, 11:32 AM   #18
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: Fights as one trains

Quote:
Renzo Roncal wrote: View Post
I am of the people who think that nothing is developed if are not trained, and that one fights as one trains. Even so, a powerful technique does not have to hurt "unnecessarily" to uke.

During practices with uke, one is due to emphasize in generating imbalance and in the control of the attack. If a good control exists, the pain generation is secondary, but it is not due to discard like an important OPTIONAL tool that in extreme situations.
I am one who believes that one will develop in exactly what they train. In other words, you get good at what you practice. What you practice is up to you.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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Old 07-06-2007, 08:53 AM   #19
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

I stopped training just under a year ago (after 15 years in Aikido) for precisely this reason. Instead I have been doing a non-contact sport which has helped as it builds strength, flexibility and skill

My body has now recovered, my injuries have healed, and I've regained strength, muscle mass, and flexibility.

For many years I was told that the reason why I kept getting hurt was my fault. I wasn't aware that being slightly built was something I had a great deal of genetic choice over! And if some big strong tori decided he was going to rip my arms from their sockets, I could not stop him, or speed my ukemi up to lightening speed

The decision to stop training and the resulting health benefits I have gained have proven to me that Aikido (as it is taught in the dojos in my locality) is simply not worth the damage it does to my body.

However, there are many positive things I have learned from my time which I've taken with me, having ben fortunate to meet some highly competent instructors and students during my training If I could only train with these people I would start training again Regrettably there are too many folk who don't care / don't understand Aiki and I'll never risk putting my body in their hands again.
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Old 07-10-2007, 04:32 PM   #20
Michael Meister
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Re: Controling Yourself AKA be nice to your Uke!

I really enjoyed reading this thread, especially the more philosophical post. Its just amazing. However I do not like the point finger, however nicely worded they are. Yes, there are those stupid bastards, that never learn. But in my experience, those get sorted out and of the mats pretty fast.
Yes there are awkward people out there, that use to much strength, because they have so much, they cannot dose fine enough. There are the people that are stiff and erratic in their movement, because that's just the way they are. It's not your fault, but it's not their fault either. And however hard everyone tries, it takes time to overcome, sometimes months, sometimes years.
Of course, when you tell them of, it most likely and certainly should become better, but just as likely it will slip back sooner or later. Again, it's not your fault and it's not their fault, it's just human. Tell them again, make them aware, and work on it.
And sometimes remember how you started out, definitely helps me...
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