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Old 10-12-2015, 11:51 AM   #1
carpeviam
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Ushiro

I've always found ushiro to be an unwieldy, unnatural attack, and I've heard a lot of other people complain about it as well. It makes me wonder, what is its purpose in the aikido curriculum? Is it related to a for-real attack? What are the lessons inherent in this set of techniques? Is there a particular historical reason for its being there?
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:07 PM   #2
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Re: Ushiro

I am sorry what is ushiro - for me it just means backwards/behind.

Last edited by PeterR : 10-12-2015 at 12:18 PM.

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Old 10-12-2015, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: Ushiro

The way it was put into combative context for me is essentially: uke is trying to seize you so his friend can come up and stab you.
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:41 PM   #4
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Re: Ushiro

If you are talking about a cross-lapel choke from behind its quite an effective controlling attack - what makes it feel cumbersome is if it is instigated from the front starting with a hand-grab. Certainly there is a lot of travel time but name one standard aikido attack that doesn't suffer some sort of problem. Try the same attack approaching from behind and to the side. Counters are still pretty much the same.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:47 PM   #5
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
The way it was put into combative context for me is essentially: uke is trying to seize you so his friend can come up and stab you.
Yes - a controlling attack.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-12-2015, 12:55 PM   #6
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
If you are talking about a cross-lapel choke from behind its quite an effective controlling attack - what makes it feel cumbersome is if it is instigated from the front starting with a hand-grab. Certainly there is a lot of travel time but name one standard aikido attack that doesn't suffer some sort of problem. Try the same attack approaching from behind and to the side. Counters are still pretty much the same.
In the Aikikai and related groups, ushiro techniques are a family that involve attacks that start with the type of wrist grab you describe, or one of those "cloth of the shoulder" grabs - and uke is going around for the other hand, the other shoulder, or a choke.

FWIW, interesting to me, Daito ryu has sets of "actual" ushiro kata, where uke starts off directly behind you and takes a couple of steps forward before making a specific attack.
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Old 10-12-2015, 02:52 PM   #7
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
In the Aikikai and related groups, ushiro techniques are a family that involve attacks that start with the type of wrist grab you describe, or one of those "cloth of the shoulder" grabs - and uke is going around for the other hand, the other shoulder, or a choke.

FWIW, interesting to me, Daito ryu has sets of "actual" ushiro kata, where uke starts off directly behind you and takes a couple of steps forward before making a specific attack.
Shodokan has a number of those in their formal kata also and the particular attack you describe.

If you look at my gif in the upper left you see one of my favourite techniques - the ushiro-ate - which is why I was a bit confused with the original question.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-12-2015, 05:06 PM   #8
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Re: Ushiro

All martial arts seem to have some form of practice for someone grabbing them from behind.

Some groups will start from static, and I find this is a good feedback mechanism. I can check my alignment pretty easily. It's not more martial, as anytime someone does grab you from behind it's quickly turning into a throw.

The larger more flowing stuff, I make it a series of exercises to see if I can stop someone from getting behind me. It's worthwhile for me to have this intention as I shift, step, or turn.

I've played either one with my eyes closed.

Some of the reversals for throws like Iriminage do come out of Ushiro ryotedori, Ushiro ryokata Dori, Ushiro kubishime, or Eri Dori. (Trying to keep it clear). Peter gives a great example, Ushiro Ryokata Dori very probably is Ushiro Ate done full out.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:44 AM   #9
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Re: Ushiro

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John Hillson wrote: View Post
Ushiro Ryokata Dori very probably is Ushiro Ate done full out.
Now that has me a bit curious.

Ushiro-ate is part of the randori no kata which as the name implies is a core technique (variations also allowed) of the full-resistance randori Shodokan is known for. I surprised a very strong judo player (beefy Japanese sandan) using it as a counter to what could have been a life flashing before my eyes throw. In that case it was a more static variation but I am in love with the faster more dynamic variations which when done right are unbeatable. As usual timing is everything but the combination of spinal manipulation and kuzushi make this technique special in my eyes. Hmmm - topic of next Saturdays class.

Anyhow - it's a little hard for me to envision a more full out version especially form the clips and images I found for Ushiro Ryokata Dori. I am prepared to be corrected since I am aware of the limitations of images and clips.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:38 AM   #10
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
Now that has me a bit curious.

Anyhow - it's a little hard for me to envision a more full out version especially form the clips and images I found for Ushiro Ryokata Dori. I am prepared to be corrected since I am aware of the limitations of images and clips.
I was interrupted while writing. You haven't any need to be corrected. I meant the exact opposite; that our attack, ushiro ryokatadori when done full out is Ushiro-ate. You're in an interesting position to test my theory on that, whether or not our practice is a representation of a means to reverse ushiro-ate.

I was shown versions using kubishime, or ushiro ryotekubidori and doing much the same leading down motion. I assume these are still Ushiro-ate variations?

I find it interesting that this movement is one of the atemiwaza, but any strikes are less obvious than with the other variations (at least to my eyes).

Last edited by rugwithlegs : 10-13-2015 at 05:48 AM. Reason: More
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Old 10-13-2015, 06:07 AM   #11
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Re: Ushiro

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John Hillson wrote: View Post
I was interrupted while writing. You haven't any need to be corrected. I meant the exact opposite; that our attack, ushiro ryokatadori when done full out is Ushiro-ate.
Got it.

Quote:
I was shown versions using kubishime, or ushiro ryotekubidori and doing much the same leading down motion. I assume these are still Ushiro-ate variations?
Well interestingly part of last Saturday's lesson focused on the elbow control as a transition point for four techniques. Mae-otoshi (forward throw), Shihonage, Ushiro-ate and a non-standard variation of the latter which was a kubishime. In that case the atemi was very clear with the upper arm making good contact with the neck before completing the choke.

Quote:
I find it interesting that this movement is one of the atemiwaza, but any strikes are less obvious than with the other variations (at least to my eyes).
Well in Shodokan parlance any irimi technique could be classed as an atemi waza - usually much more clear for the omote versions. Still to address your point for the ushiro-ate the shote makes contact with the soft point just in front of collar bone and applies a downward push along with the backwards pull. The end result is a collapsing of the spine. As you know atemi in Japanese martial arts is not necessarily percussive and in aikido is more likely to affect the spine rather than bloody a nose.

Last edited by PeterR : 10-13-2015 at 06:19 AM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-13-2015, 07:38 AM   #12
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Re: Ushiro

1. Rear control attacks should be devastating. Across a variety of arts, rear control attacks are desirable and difficult to defend. I would advocate that aikido rear attacks should be effective.
2. O Sensei used rear attacks starting from the rear - several of his techniques in Budo Renshustart from a rear control (not starting from the front). This is different than how we typically initiate ushiro waza.

The extended front initiation was something added in later, more like a movie-style handcuffing experience. Sometimes we cheat and never really let our partner "get behind" us to begin with... We make them start in front and run around to our rear and we simply turn and never let them get a rear position. While a good intention, I think this is probably not technically a rear defense, since your partner is never really behind you. It may be good movement, but different than a rear-initiated attack.

As an observation that helped me with my perspective of ushiro waza... If I am using aiki to affect my patner on contact, then regardless of where she touches me, I should be able to unbalance her without moving. This would allow me to apply aiki from any point of contact, even the rear. I believe this is very difficult to actually do.

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Old 10-18-2015, 10:04 PM   #13
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Re: Ushiro

Typically, when you are looking at a kata technique and you say to yourself, "Nobody would ever really attack someone that way." What you should probably do is think about if the attacker is merely the first, or initial attacker, merely meant to immobilize you while another bad guy is coming up from another direction to do something very nasty to you, e.g. stab you in the belly/chest, cut your head off, put a rope around you to do something less immediately painful but probably more long-term horrible to you and so forth. The idea of these is to render the initial attack ineffectual while still being ready for the other guy.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 10-21-2015, 05:22 AM   #14
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Re: Ushiro

Not all techniques in Aikido have martial/fighting purpose.
Ushiro waza is to improve posture/shisei and work with the 'backside' of your center.

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:54 AM   #15
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Re: Ushiro

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Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Not all techniques in Aikido have martial/fighting purpose.
Ushiro waza is to improve posture/shisei and work with the 'backside' of your center.
Not sure I can agree with the bold face of this statement.

By techniques I imagine something that can be applied in our martial art - with some being more effective than others. Drills and exercises are a different matter.

Some attacks (ushiro is considered an attack) do have other benefits I suppose but it really is a stretch to consider those benefits the main purpose. Of course I consider aikido a martial art.

Back in the day (when I was a young and impressionable 35 years old) I was told that much of aikido is defending against a lightly armed attacker. More specifically a lot of the wrist grabs are to prevent the drawing of a knife. Knives being much more of an issue in those days than swords, guns and pepper spray. Itinerant traders used to wrap their bellies is stiff cloth for a reason. Anyhow - if I was of the nasty persuasion grabbing a hand trying to draw a knife and then whipping around back for a choke so my partner in crime can do his bit is not that far out of the realm of possibility. It makes even more sense if my victim tries to get away rather than confront me - the back could become more accessible. Ushiro, as I now understand, is a stylised form of that.

Last edited by PeterR : 10-21-2015 at 06:56 AM.

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Old 10-21-2015, 07:09 AM   #16
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Re: Ushiro

Why would you practise for a situation that should not happen in the first place?

Why would you allow someone to 'reach' your back when he initially attacks from the front? Like your knife example... When that happens you made a few mistakes already...

Nikkyo was developed to free your wrist/arm to draw your sword (the opponent tried to block you from drawing it by grapping your wrist).

different angle: you really want to fight in suwari waza...hanmi handachi...these training techniques serve a purpose, but they are not (directly) martial...

Last edited by Tim Ruijs : 10-21-2015 at 07:20 AM.

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* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 10-21-2015, 07:49 AM   #17
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Why would you practise for a situation that should not happen in the first place?

Why would you allow someone to 'reach' your back when he initially attacks from the front? Like your knife example... When that happens you made a few mistakes already...

Nikkyo was developed to free your wrist/arm to draw your sword (the opponent tried to block you from drawing it by grapping your wrist).

different angle: you really want to fight in suwari waza...hanmi handachi...these training techniques serve a purpose, but they are not (directly) martial...
As part of the discussion. All that you mention above have a martial origin - it really is up to you if you want to continue training in them. I am pretty sure I will never be attacked by a rabid knife wielding attacker but its fun and the lessons learnt permeate to all my aikido. Hence I would make the same point if you wished to train for that.

Suwariwaza is an interesting case which I had been reviewing recently. Oshitaoshi (ikkyu) from suwariwaza allows one to perform safely a far more brutal version (straight down) then would be possible from standing. I don't have to refer to palace etiquette to justify that training mode.

Back to ushiro - there are may reasons for turning away not all of them good but we are talking about an attacker trying to gain control of your arm and back. I was just mentioning that there are circumstances (ie. more than one attacker) that things could go south very quickly with the turning away more the attackers hope than the victims incorrect action.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:00 AM   #18
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Tim Ruijs wrote: View Post
Why would you allow someone to 'reach' your back when he initially attacks from the front? Like your knife example... When that happens you made a few mistakes already...
someone tried to handcuff you, perhaps? someone bumps into you, while his/her partner pick your pockets from the other side as you turn around to face the one who bumped into you? in the universe if infinite possibility, lots of things can happen.

Quote:
different angle: you really want to fight in suwari waza...hanmi handachi...these training techniques serve a purpose, but they are not (directly) martial...
saw a bunch of bjj and ufc fights where one person on his/her knees, the other on his/her back in a compromised position, suwari waza, anyone? i have always wondered if folks who practice bjj would automatically go into guard mode with their spouses?

we were practice weapons outside (which we usually do), in the grass, last week. it was morning and the grass was still wet. i took too long a step, slip, fell, then roll onto my knees, while my partner still came at me with a weapon. i am thinking hanmi handachi? i am also thinking about ham-n-cheese sandwich, with a side of sweet potato fries, for lunch; oddest thoughts came to mind in moment of stress.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:08 PM   #19
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Re: Ushiro

I am not saying ushiro techniques were meant to have anything to do with this, but I have noticed that untrained people, when you put an ikkyo on them, will tend to pivot at their waist and give you their back, turning your technique into an ushiro attack.
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:10 PM   #20
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Re: Ushiro

I would advocate that achieving a rear position in grappling and striking is desirable in most open-ended sparring/fighting situations. The effectiveness of the position makes it desirable and this is evidenced in any number of sport fight clips in which fighters work pretty hard to get that position. I think rear attacks are not only a desirable attack, but it is something most grapplers find themselves defending quite often.

I think we should not confuse "want" with "can"; there are a lot of things I want to do, but I can't. I don't want a fighter take my back, but sometimes I can't stop her. Whether I lose that position because I made a mistake or my partner gave me a good attack, I don't think we should dismiss defending the position. Rather, that they are good attacks should give us something concrete to resolve through our best management. Like Cliff pointed out, we often see inexperienced partners poorly manage their body movement, which results in degenerating their position - evidence what they did was not the best decision, given the situation...

Last edited by jonreading : 10-21-2015 at 12:21 PM.

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Old 10-21-2015, 02:22 PM   #21
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Re: Ushiro

Are we really arguing about whether an attacker would want to grab someone from behind? What's next, the blueness of the sky?

Now, I'll agree that the way ushiro attacks are generally taught is often not all that realistic, but how realistic is it to always expect to confront an attacker face-to-face, from approximately one or two steps away?

As an exercise, try this:

Uke attacks, starting with a prescribed attack, and adding complexity from there. Nage can do any appropriate technique. After throwing, nage doesn't move, just stops in whatever the finish position for the throw was. Uke attacks again from wherever they ended up. Repeat.

Next, add multiple attackers. Still sequentially, not all at once, but they can come from wherever they happen to be, toward whatever part of nage happens to be exposed.

Katherine
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Old 10-21-2015, 03:53 PM   #22
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Re: Ushiro

I think the criticism is that ushiro techniques are "training for a failure scenario." To which the obvious reply is, stuff happens, why not be prepared for it on general principle? Though we don't do much ground fighting in Aikido and that's a highly celebrated failure scenario, so it seems a bit off in that respect.

I think there might be a similar criticism, to wit, "why are we training to allow uke to grab one hand and then run around behind us before we execute a technique?" Which I think was the original question of this thread, and I don't think we've really had a good answer in this thread.
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Old 10-21-2015, 04:40 PM   #23
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I think there might be a similar criticism, to wit, "why are we training to allow uke to grab one hand and then run around behind us before we execute a technique?" Which I think was the original question of this thread, and I don't think we've really had a good answer in this thread.
I would have thought we execute the technique while they are running around.

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Old 10-21-2015, 06:39 PM   #24
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I think the criticism is that ushiro techniques are "training for a failure scenario." To which the obvious reply is, stuff happens, why not be prepared for it on general principle? Though we don't do much ground fighting in Aikido and that's a highly celebrated failure scenario, so it seems a bit off in that respect.

I think there might be a similar criticism, to wit, "why are we training to allow uke to grab one hand and then run around behind us before we execute a technique?" Which I think was the original question of this thread, and I don't think we've really had a good answer in this thread.
As I see it, multiple attackers (or at least the possibility thereof) are one of aikido's fundamental assumptions. As such, one would want to avoid going to the ground at all costs, and the likelihood of at least one attacker being able to get behind you is quite high.

As for the "why train to allow uke to run behind" question, I think that's a (valid) criticism of specific ushiro training methods, not of ushiro technique generally. And so the only reasonable answer is "so don't train that way." There are plenty of much more plausible ways to create a ushiro attack scenario.

Katherine
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Old 10-22-2015, 03:47 AM   #25
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Re: Ushiro

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
I think there might be a similar criticism, to wit, "why are we training to allow uke to grab one hand and then run around behind us before we execute a technique?" Which I think was the original question of this thread, and I don't think we've really had a good answer in this thread.
Exactly.
Aite does not run around tori. The initial attack is to grab the arm and go for the center line of tori (i.e. frontal attack) with the other arm. Tori however moves slightly to the side and turns so aite cannot reach the center line anymore. When (and only when) tori decides to aite can enter the back to attack with choke (kubeshime etc).
Aite has to adapt his/her initial attack because tori starts changing the situation by moving. During that change aite's strategy becomes attack the side or back of tori.
Kuzushi: aite's mind is off balance...

BTW martial arts training cannot prevent the freak attack. Like someone using a firearm in a train, explosives in marathon...bla bla
When you are not aware of being attacked, you initially are victim of the situation. Martial arts, traditionally, is about learning to fight....
at least fo me, before everybody attacks me on that one too ;-(

Last edited by Tim Ruijs : 10-22-2015 at 03:51 AM.

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