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.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Voices of Experience

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!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-27-2007, 03:39 PM   #1
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,852
Offline
VOE: Active Resistance

Hi folks,

Just thought I'd start a new thread in the (quiet) Voices of Experience forum.

What are your thoughts on active resistance from uke during regular keiko?

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2007, 07:11 PM   #2
Steven
 
Steven's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento - Seikeikan Dojo
Location: Orangevale, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 607
United_States
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
What are your thoughts on active resistance from uke during regular keiko?
Hmmm -- I guess we first have to define or figure out what you mean by "active resistance". Can you elaborate a bit more?
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2007, 10:37 AM   #3
akiy
 
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 5,852
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Hi Steven,

Examples of active resistance for me include uke's feeling what nage is doing and directly opposing it, using "muscle" to overpower nage's technique, and generally doing what it takes to "thwart" was nage is trying to accomplish.

Of course, there may be other examples of such -- these are just a few that came to mind...

-- Jun

Please help support AikiWeb -- become an AikiWeb Contributing Member!
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2007, 11:38 AM   #4
R.A. Robertson
Dojo: Still Point Aikido Center
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 292
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

[quote=Jun Akiyama;190743]Hi folks,
[\]What are your thoughts on active resistance from uke during regular keiko? [\]

Jun, I think just about anything that remains safe and respectful is fair game. But it should be appropriate to the lesson at hand. A moderately capable uke can sabotage nearly any specific technique, if that's their goal. If nage is forced to stay in form, the odds are very much stacked against them. You can learn a lot that way, but you usually wind up learning technique rather than aikido...

When nage is free to be as adaptable as necessary, then uke can be free to try whatever resistance they want.

It takes two to resist, you know.

Ross
  Reply With Quote
Old 09-28-2007, 01:58 PM   #5
Steven
 
Steven's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Yoshinkan Sacramento - Seikeikan Dojo
Location: Orangevale, CA
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 607
United_States
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
Jun Akiyama wrote: View Post
Hi Steven,

Examples of active resistance for me include uke's feeling what nage is doing and directly opposing it, using "muscle" to overpower nage's technique, and generally doing what it takes to "thwart" was nage is trying to accomplish.

Of course, there may be other examples of such -- these are just a few that came to mind...

-- Jun
Thanks Jun .. I'll need to chew on this for a bit, but look forward to other folks thoughts.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2007, 05:05 PM   #6
Mark Uttech
Dojo: Yoshin-ji Aikido of Marshall
Location: Wisconsin
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,218
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

general resistance when one is a kyu rank isn't really necessary to advance one's technique. In the kyu ranks one is "learning" to be uke, and "learning" to be nage. Aikido is an educational system. As one progresses, naturally one is going to run into more and more resistance, especially at the yudansha level.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2007, 02:55 PM   #7
RonRagusa
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 679
United_States
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
aiky wrote:
What are your thoughts on active resistance from uke during regular keiko?
Resistance, to have any beneficial effect, must be both logical and quantitatively appropriate. Logical resistance arises naturally as a consequence of flawed application of a technique. For instance, if nage fails to take uke's balance then a logical consequence of that failure will be uke being able to resist nage's attempt to finish the throw or immobilization. Applied in this manner resistance becomes another teaching tool offering the student effective feedback on where improvement in application is needed.

For resistance to be valuable as a teaching tool, it must be applied in an appropriate manner for the level of nage's experience and ability. This should be self evident to any instructor and needs no further elaboration.

From what I have seen and experienced over the years most of what passes for resistance on the mat consists of uke grabbing or executing a blow and ceasing all motion. Never mind that uke is open to any number of lethal responses from nage, not moving or being moved becomes an end in itself. As long as nage is limited to the technique being practiced, a sufficiently large or experienced uke will have the advantage of foresight and will usually be able to maintain immovability. This type of behavior is stymies learning and is not permitted on our mat.

Ron
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2007, 09:22 AM   #8
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 613
United_States
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
Ron Ragusa wrote: View Post
Resistance, to have any beneficial effect, must be both logical and quantitatively appropriate.

Never mind that uke is open to any number of lethal responses from nage, not moving or being moved becomes an end in itself. As long as nage is limited to the technique being practiced, a sufficiently large or experienced uke will have the advantage of foresight and will usually be able to maintain immovability. This type of behavior is stymies learning and is not permitted on our mat.

Ron
My view would be that the key is in this last paragraph. If uke is not resisting in a way that also closes any openings nage might be able to exploit AND creating a new opening which uke can exploit, the resistance is inappropriate and counterproductive for both partners' training.

As one of my instructors notes from time to time, if one begins fencing training with a serious instructor, it is common that the new student is not permitted to free fence against anyone but the instructor for the first six to eighteen months of practice, precisely because the alternative will create inappropriate conditioned responses to nonsensical attacks that interfere with the creation of appropriate conditioned responses to substantive and meaningful attacks. That was certainly my experience when I studied fencing with the late Maestro Charlie Schmitter at Michigan State University.

Best regards,

Fred Little
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2007, 04:59 PM   #9
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

As a proponent of increasing levels of resistance as a practitioner I guess I better pipe in here to give an opposing view. I believe that all practice must provide resistance since even the act of "following" is a form of resistance. A good Aikido practitioner follows, then leads Uke. All Kaeshi Waza are exercises in good following in order to resist a technique done on you. In fact, all Aikido, according to one of my Shihan is Kaeshi Waza. I would agree with him.

To resist using muscling is also important. The entries and initiations of Aikido are meant to overcome the power of an attacker. If the attacker does not attack without using muscle and that results in a wimpy attack, it does nage no good. Without testing technique power against muscle power, you will never understand how to really do an entry or initiation correctly. You will never improve.

However, I do find that sometimes people do illogical or ineffective attacks. Generally, my response is an Atemi to the solar plexus, whether the attack has no power, uses power ineffectively, or illogical. However, the attack has to be exceptionally bad for me to react that way since even weak, illogical, and ineffective attacks are seen in real life. It is amazing how stupid violent attackers can be but, I have also seen those stupid attackers come out successfully against trained fighters because the attack was so stupid. So were they really so stupid in the first place? We might think that charging directly into the attackers when ambushed at close range might be a stupid thing to do but it often is the only way to survive the attack. Combat is an event that takes place in a flux. What seems stupid one point may not be so when seen in a longer time frame.

So, my point? Requisite variety. That is why we practice with all sorts of different people and expand our range of people with whom we practice.

As for the issue under discussion. I think having at least some people with whom you practice attack with lots of muscle, is very important to expand the range of experience and a way to learn correct technique. I don't like resorting to Atemi just because I can't move someone. That just being lazy. Instead, I study what I am doing and research why I can't move him or her. I must be doing something incorrectly since I see that my Shihan has no problems with these people or these circumstances.

I have also come to realize that to improve my Aikido means expanding the range of conditions under which any of my techniques will work. I remember one of my Shihan continuing to reprimand me for doing the Kaeshi Waza way too early. He wanted me to wait until the Kime stage before starting the Kaeshi Waza. Likewise, I have started having my students placed under harder and harder elbow locks in Morote Tori before starting any technique to improve their form and understanding of how Aikido attains its power.

Rock
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-17-2007, 07:28 PM   #10
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Bob Galleone talks about the difference between "attacking the person and attacking the technique".

When you here people talking about doing "resistive training" you are usually hearing someone who is "attacking the technique". My favorite version of this is the ever popular attack known as "shomen-uchi-you-can't-do-ikkyo". This is an attack which bears a surface resemblance to shomen uchi but without the intention to really strike. Instead it's sole purpose is to stop the technique which the attacker already knows is coming because the teacher demonstrated the technique. Interestingly, they are mutually exclusive... if it's a good strike, it's not tense.

Remember, if you are tense you are feeling you, not the other guy.
50% of of ones practice time is spent as the uke. If one is doing something totally different when he is uke from what he is trying to do as nage, the body just gets confused. Training in Aikido should be about removing all tension from the mind and the body. It makes no sense at all to strive for relaxed, fluid, quick and responsive technique when in the nage role and then turn right around and attack with the opposite. Most folks who think they are "keeping it real" by resisting their partners are imprinting tension over and over. Their attacks lack real power and speed because they are so tight. When they execute grabbing attacks, they are completely unable to protect themselves from the atemi because they are trying so hard to stop your technique that they can't respond fast enough to protect themselves.

Aikido as a martial art is about striking the opponent, off balancing the opponent and then striking him, off balancing him and throwing him followed by a finishing blow, or in some instances, a restraining technique. Defending against these is about kaeshiwaza (reversals) and has nothing to do with "stopping" anything. Offense and defense are one in Aikido.

Tension robs one of speed and power and it doesn't work anyway unless it is used against someone else being tense.

In point of fact, I do not happen to believe that Aikido is supposed to be about "fighting" anyway. People would develop an understanding of aiki one hell of a lot quicker if they let go of this idea that the whole thing is about "beating" someone else.

If, after many years of training, one gets to the point at which he wishes to test his understanding of how aiki principles work, then go ahead, ask someone to resist. If it's Aiki, he won't be able to access his strength anyway. But if you want to indefinitely postpone your understanding of aiki, then go right ahead and keep on white knuckling your partner and shutting them down.

Training Tip: If when you train, it sounds like you are having difficulty on the commode, you're too tense.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2007, 01:30 AM   #11
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
If, after many years of training, one gets to the point at which he wishes to test his understanding of how aiki principles work, then go ahead, ask someone to resist. If it's Aiki, he won't be able to access his strength anyway. But if you want to indefinitely postpone your understanding of aiki, then go right ahead and keep on white knuckling your partner and shutting them down.

Training Tip: If when you train, it sounds like you are having difficulty on the commode, you're too tense.
Nice post George. Thanks.

I guess the one point that I would like to continue discussing is the point you made about "after many years of training,". While I also felt that way a number of years ago, I am beginning to shorten that "many years" to "many months" because I feel that if one is teaching Aikido from a principles basis rather than a techniques basis, you need to get into that resistance mode a lot sooner. This is in order for the student to really understand what the principle being taught is about.

Again, I want to stress that I do not consider "locking down" to be the only form of resistance but that flowing with the technique is also a form of resistance. I do feel that the flowing form of resistance in Kaeshi Waza should be left for a number of years in many cases but this too has its purpose in teaching certain principles like that of orthogonality in movement. The Tai No Tenkan exercise is one, for instance, in which resistance through flow is paramount and that is one of the earliest exercises taught in Aikido.

Correct understanding of Kokyu Dosa requires Uke to resist by trying to lock down at progressively faster rates. Correct understanding of the use of Kokyu also requires Uke to resist by trying to lock down, especially in doing Kokyu Ho from Morote Tori. Of course, like the old saying of Masakatsu, Agatsu, Katsu Haya Hi, learning the form for the exercise requires slow and easy but once the form is learned, without strong resistance, the exercises simply seem to become exercises in wasted motion. Once the form is learned, without significant resistance, Uke and Nage are just going through the motions.

Yeah, I might be overstating my point but I don't think too much. I really do get my students to start giving higher levels of resistance to each other much earlier than a lot of other teachers, I guess. I do so because I want my students to understand why the principles are important and how they are used. It also helps by providing the students with good modelling on how to provide each other with the right type of resistance for later on when I am not there to give them guidance. That resistance becomes important for good research.

So, yes. I do start the students giving each other a significant level of resistance from early on.

Rock
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2007, 07:14 AM   #12
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,004
Japan
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Hello Rocky,

Did you ever train regularly with Yamaguchi Seigo Sensei?

George is a student of Saotome Shihan, so I think he understands the issues of active resistance, as expressed by Yamaguchi Sensei. I had the honour of training with Yamaguchi Sensei in the later part of his life. I am a student of wine & champagne and Yamaguchi was like an old vintage, with depth and flavours that were not apparent at first sight, something like vintage Krug. I took uke for him on many occasions and he clearly wanted active resistance, but of a much more subtle kind than simply attempting to shut down a technique.

In my time I have trained with Chiba, Kanai, Kanetsuka, Tada, and now my own teacher Kitahira. I have attended camps and seminars taught by Saito (elder), Shirata, Arikawa, Tamura and Yamada (New York). In my opinion none of these approach the issue of active resistance quite like Yamaguchi, which is perhaps why he has attracted a crowd of believers, agnostics and straight atheists.

Best wishes,

Peter G.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2007, 07:20 AM   #13
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote: View Post
Nice post George. Thanks.

I guess the one point that I would like to continue discussing is the point you made about "after many years of training,". While I also felt that way a number of years ago, I am beginning to shorten that "many years" to "many months" because I feel that if one is teaching Aikido from a principles basis rather than a techniques basis, you need to get into that resistance mode a lot sooner. This is in order for the student to really understand what the principle being taught is about.

Again, I want to stress that I do not consider "locking down" to be the only form of resistance but that flowing with the technique is also a form of resistance. I do feel that the flowing form of resistance in Kaeshi Waza should be left for a number of years in many cases but this too has its purpose in teaching certain principles like that of orthogonality in movement. The Tai No Tenkan exercise is one, for instance, in which resistance through flow is paramount and that is one of the earliest exercises taught in Aikido.

Correct understanding of Kokyu Dosa requires Uke to resist by trying to lock down at progressively faster rates. Correct understanding of the use of Kokyu also requires Uke to resist by trying to lock down, especially in doing Kokyu Ho from Morote Tori. Of course, like the old saying of Masakatsu, Agatsu, Katsu Haya Hi, learning the form for the exercise requires slow and easy but once the form is learned, without strong resistance, the exercises simply seem to become exercises in wasted motion. Once the form is learned, without significant resistance, Uke and Nage are just going through the motions.

Yeah, I might be overstating my point but I don't think too much. I really do get my students to start giving higher levels of resistance to each other much earlier than a lot of other teachers, I guess. I do so because I want my students to understand why the principles are important and how they are used. It also helps by providing the students with good modelling on how to provide each other with the right type of resistance for later on when I am not there to give them guidance. That resistance becomes important for good research.

So, yes. I do start the students giving each other a significant level of resistance from early on.

Rock
Hi Rocky,
I'm sure we are actually in agreement...

I am absolutely against "collusion" on the part of the uke. Uke's job is to attempt to maintain good structural integrity and balance and to deliver clean energy, with intention, to nage's center.

Doing this effectively actually requires relaxation rather than tension. When most folks say active resistance, they actually manifest that in their practice as physical tension. This just isn't good martial arts, although it will make it hard, if not impossible for newer folks to relax enough in their waza to develop an understanding of aiki. For senior folks, that tension actually makes it easier to move the uke rather than harder.

When I grab a nage, I am quite relaxed. But I have good structure. If he collides with that structure in attempting his technique, I do not move. I don't consider this "resistance" since I am actively connecting to nage's center and not cutting of my connection in any way. Nage is simply colliding with my structure and needs to run the energy of the technique in a way that doesn't do so.

I expect uke to be able to protect himself or herself at all times. Uke should be able to parry any atemi and should be looking to execute a kaeshiwaza at any instant. Tense ukemi doesn't allow that. Ukes who attack with the intention of stopping nage's technique rather than delivering a good attack, invariably are open and cannot protect themselves. The only thing that should prevent uke from being able to parry, counter strike, or reverse, is kuzushi and if nage has kuzushi, uke should be taking the fall, not putting himself in danger by fighting at that point.

In order for students to ever really get past the jiu jutsu side of the art and get to some understanding of aiki, practice must necessarily be cooperative. I have a couple large and very strong 1st kyu boys training with me. They are quite capable of shutting down the smaller students, even ones at the lower dan rank levels. It takes some real skill to be able to handle these fellows without using a lot of strength. There is simply no function in having them simply shut down their partners over and over. I see this happen a lot, especially to women students who don't have that kind of strength.

Practice is not a competition. It is a cooperative form of training in which each person has a role and that role is designed to help the partner develop an understanding of specific principles and imprint them properly in the body. If a competitive aspect exists in the practice too early, I do not believe that the students will learn how to relax their minds and their bodies properly. What most folks mean by "active resistance" is really a competitive mindset in which I see my role as "beating" my partner, usually by stopping his technique. In my opinion that is training with improper intention.

I take a lot of my inspiration on this from watching the Systema folks. I look at what they accomplish using their training methodology and the sophistication level of their top guys, most of whom trained with Vlad for only about 7 or 8 years and then I compare it to most Aikido and we are simply not in the ballpark.

I take a look at what my teachers do on the mat and how few students have any idea how to do what they are doing and I fault the training. We trained hard but stupid. I really believe that there is a better way. I look at what Endo Sensei is doing and I think that he is much more likely to develop students who understand aiki on some level and those students will be physically healthier and not so trashed as my peers are.

When uke strikes it should be with the intent to deliver that strike with speed and power, if possible actually making contact with the partner. When uke grabs, it is his or her job to grab the nage's center, to attempt to grab the whole body. The point in both cases is to connect, to have "atari" or connection to nage's center. Whereas, a good attack might result in nage not being able to throw, or even move, it isn't the intention of the uke to stop him but merely to do his part of the interaction with good structure and balance and not give that up unless nage "takes" it away. I don't consider that resistance because there is no intention to resist but rather the intention is to deliver the best attack possible to nage's center while protecting ones own suki or openings.

I also do not consider kaeshiwaza to come under the heading of "resistance" since it doesn't involve stopping or blocking the flow of energy within the technique. It actually requires good matching ukemi or it will not succeed.

I think this is probably mostly a terminology issue. I'm trying for terminology that makes it clear to both partners what their roles are and defines the ultimate point of the training to be about connection and ridding the mind and the body of tension.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2007, 08:08 AM   #14
Peter Goldsbury
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Peter Goldsbury's Avatar
Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,004
Japan
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Hello George,

Endo Sensei was in the Yamagchi clan.

Perhaps you should explain more clearly how active resistance is related to Saotome Shihan's training methodology. Yamaguchi Sensei never explained it.

P A Goldsbury
_______________________
Hiroshima, Japan
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2007, 03:31 PM   #15
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Thanks again George. And to you Peter. I wish I could be as concise and well written as you George. I could be lazy and blame it all on English being my second language but I don't think that would really be true. I think you put what I wanted to say as well as it could. It does appear that we are all using the term "active resistance" in slightly different ways since I see Kaeshi Waza as being true active resistance. But then, when explained in your way, I have to agree with you that it may not be the best use of the words "active resistance."

I will think about how I use the term and reconsider my position on how the term is used. I will tell you later how I turn out. I hope you don't mind if I pull some of what you wrote for some of the things I write for my students, perhaps in its entirety. Of course, the citation will be there.

Peter, I never did get a chance to train with Yamaguchi Shihan but did do so quite a few times with Endo Shihan while in Hong Kong. I really did enjoy studying with him. My daughter, 12 at that time, even got to be his Uke during demonstrations of technique. I don't think she really appreciated the honour of doing so and she has forgotten now. I guess that was about 12-14 years ago.

Being in HK and being exposed to all those Shihan as they passed through the territories really has made me rather eclectic as well. But Kawahara Shihan is also rather eclectic in his approach and I watched the changes in view of a number of Shihan as they aged and changed how they did their Aikido.

As for the type of subtle active resistance you mentioned, Peter, I find that I was exposed to that type of resistance most through Kawahara and Ichihashi Shihans. They both seemed to have this thing where though they were both very strong, they were moved when the student did the technique correctly but they would quickly move to another position where they were getting into a superior position so that the student had to keep flowing continuously to ensure that the Sensei did not regain his balance. If you let them regain their balance, you couldn't move them again without starting all over. The Sensei would work just slightly above the speed that the student could handle so that it stretched the student. If you, as a student, stopped and then froze, you got a rap of a knuckle on the top of the head.

Especially with Ichihashi Shihan's mass and muscle, you had to do the technique absolutely correctly to even begin moving him and if you ever slowed down, there was no way to get him to start moving again without taking a knuckle rap on the head.

With Kawahara Shihan, especially with his rapid changes of direction, I had to actively resist the technique or I would be over-rotated and easily break something. If I didn't flow, the rapid change in direction would over-rotate me and I would lose all control of my own direction of movement and could easily get something broken. If I flowed to easily without putting enough resistance to keep from moving extremely fast, I would again over-rotate and lose control. If I didn't throw an Atemi where I could, I would never have the chance to block the Atemi that was coming towards me and I would be hit hard. Being Uke for Kawahara Shihan meant actively resisting purely for the sake of my own survival.

In some sense, I would say the same for all the Shihan that I have taken Ukemi. Even with Tohei Akira Shihan, one time I missed a chance to throw an Atemi during a public demonstration so I got a palm in my face that bloodied my nose. If I had thrown the Atemi, I would have stopped him from doing his own Atemi so I would simply have been thrown rather than having my nose busted.

Even happened with the old Doshu during his last Demos in the States. On the first technique the first time I attacked with a Morote Tori, I attacked too lightly and got over-rotated and landed on the back of my head rather than on my back. After that, I always attacked with full power and speed and enough resistance to keep myself in control of my own movement.

So, I guess I am not sure that what you explained as Yamaguchi Sensei's approach to active resistance is so unique. Perhaps you just don't see it as much with some of the other Shihan since they are more concerned with other aspects of Aikido. On the other hand, I may be totally off base with this idea.

Rock
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2007, 07:03 PM   #16
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello George,

Endo Sensei was in the Yamagchi clan.

Perhaps you should explain more clearly how active resistance is related to Saotome Shihan's training methodology. Yamaguchi Sensei never explained it.
Hi Peter,
Thanks for the input...
I think that Endo Sensei's approach is different than Saotome Sensei's. I see what Endo Sensei is doing as being rather like what I think happens when Systema meets Aikido. It has the form of Aikido but the goal of training is to reprogram the Mind and Body, removing all vestiges of mental and physical tension from ones life. He approaches ukemi exactly the same way he approaches the nage's role. Resistance, if it is in the form of tension is actively discouraged.

I think that for Endo Sensei, martial effectiveness might be a by product of proper training but clearly not the main point. I think he is far more interested in an Aikido that would realte to ones everyday life than worrying about that least likely of all events, an actual violent confrontation with an attacker.

I think that this is precisely the attitude of Systema, which actually has another Russian name which translates "to know yourself". They see what they do as a mental and physical health system with fighting ability being a byproduct of the training.

Saotome Sensei wasn't quite as clear about the uke / nage roles. In much of my Aikido career, there was a distinct dichotomy between what I did as uke and what I did as nage. Sensei was more overtly concerened with martial effectiveness, I think as a result of his travels where he observed a marked decline on that aspect of the art. He let us train with a lot more intensity and muscularity than I currently do with my own students. This resulted in having a group of seniors who will not baqck away from an incoming threat, who wil move straight in under the sword etc. This is a crucial trait for any execution of Aikido technique.

But we were also allowed to be incredibly rigid and tense. We shut each other down, used more power than our partners could handle in a relaxed fashion, attacked harder than or partners could receive without some mental and physical tightening or collapse of projection. In other words, we trained hard but we trained stupid in my opinion.

When taking ukemi from Sensei one was encouraged to attack as hard as one could. But that didn't mean being dumb about it. You were expected to attack in a manner that allowed defense at any instant if nage chose to strike. Focusing too much attention and energy on trying to stop a particular movement would result in an imbalance that Sensei would instantly point out with an atemi. If one was prepared to defend at any instant during the attack, ones intention to "get" Sensei was pretty much irrelevant. If one is to be aware of ones openings, one has to be sensitive to changes in the mind and body of the opponent / partner. He uses that need for connection to move your mind which in turn gets you to move your body (pretty much my working definition of "aiki").

It was great taking ukemi from Sensei that way, but I do not think we should have trained that way with each other. To the extent that any of us have a take on what Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei are doing (and by extension what I have seen via videos of Yamaguchi sensei and felt from Endo Sensei and Gleason Sensei) it has taken us almost three decades of training to get there. I do not think that this should be necessary. Obviously, not everyone in Aikido can function at the most etheral levels of skill, but I do think that virtually everyone can do hsi or her Aikido with some degree of "aiki".

I am very influenced by the Systema methodology. They never go faster than they can execute their movements without tension. If they start to tense up, they slow down. If something hurts enough to cause tension, they back off. The emphasis on the training is discovering all of the places we carry our tension and shifting things to get a release. Eventually, their senior folks get to the point at which they can function at very high speed and channel a great deal of impactive energy without any tension (or injury) at all. Vlad's seniors, who are uniformly greatly skilled, trained with him for under ten years for the most part. I look at what they can do in ten years and compare it to what most Aikido folks are doing and it isn't in the ballpark.

In the long run, even if the interest is in attaining functional martial skill, I think that Endo Sensei's training will get the student to a higher level sooner, than how I trained when I was younger. Once one has learned to receive the energy of an attack in a composed and relaxed fashion and the principles of connection have been deeply imprinted, then one can take the energy up to whatever intensity one wishes, add the applied technique back into the mix, and one should have a very effective martial artist, assuming that was the goal.

It's all an experiment... I am asking my students to train differently from the way I myself trained. I hope the result will be more people who get to some level of competency, sooner, perhaps with a few who end up better than I am. I am 55 and will have only one shot at this. If I am wrong, I won't get a "do-over". I have told my students this and they are on-board with the experiment. So far I am very happy with the results. But twenty years from now, it may turn out that other people understood what it took better than I and my students will be off at their seminars trying to fill in the blanks that I left them.

Rocky,
I hope this clarifies some of what my thinking is on this issue. The terminology thing is merely a matter of what works in terms of instruction... If you say "resist" to the average person, he will use muscular tension to do so. I prefer explanations which people don't already have an association for that doesn't actually fit what i am trying to get them to do. An example is Ikeda Sensei's "pick" or "pick them" which is his way of saying "pick them up". I prefer to use the term "float them". Most folks think they know what picking something up means and it usually resembles OSHA approved lifting techniques at best. So I prefer "float" because most people would associate the word with something effortless, that rises almost of its own accord; which is precisely the feeling I want them to have. Floating the partner isn't a term that makes people tense up, but picking them up is...

So I don't use resistance because it doesn't result in the right feel in the body and it doesn't give the proper feeling of intention that I want the students to have when they train. We probably mean exactly the same thing when we use various terms but I can't say the same thing for how my students understand them.

Last edited by George S. Ledyard : 10-19-2007 at 07:15 PM.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2007, 07:50 PM   #17
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Works for me George. And I will take that point about conceptual baggage with certain words under advisement. I can see now why you would choose to use a word other than active resistance.

I guess my views have been coloured by the way the word resist has been used on me by my previous martial arts teachers. It is also coloured by the way I had to learn to resist in Judo, Karate and Kendo in my younger days. It was always a matter of resisting by getting out of the way and flowing with the attack since my opponents were always adults and there was no way a five to ten year old person was going to out-muscle a full-grown adult.

I guess I do understand the issue over here in North America is a little different. Kind of like the difference between International Football and North American Football - finesse and speed versus pure power.

Rock
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-20-2007, 11:54 AM   #18
George S. Ledyard
 
George S. Ledyard's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido Eastside
Location: Bellevue, WA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 2,639
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
Hiroaki Izumi wrote: View Post
Works for me George. And I will take that point about conceptual baggage with certain words under advisement. I can see now why you would choose to use a word other than active resistance.

I guess my views have been coloured by the way the word resist has been used on me by my previous martial arts teachers. It is also coloured by the way I had to learn to resist in Judo, Karate and Kendo in my younger days. It was always a matter of resisting by getting out of the way and flowing with the attack since my opponents were always adults and there was no way a five to ten year old person was going to out-muscle a full-grown adult.

I guess I do understand the issue over here in North America is a little different. Kind of like the difference between International Football and North American Football - finesse and speed versus pure power.

Rock
Absolutely Rocky,
If the folks I am talking about ever had to actually compete in anything, they'd get destroyed because of the tension and it's lack of speed and flexibility but since it's Aikido practice they can indulge themselves by using far too much strength to show their partners that they can't do their technique. Good Judo is an excellent example of what I am talking about ukemi should be. There are some clips of the great Mifune up on YouTube. These young guys twice his size can't throw him and he's as relaxed as can be. Then every once in a while, he launches them, without an ounce of tension. It's a beautiful thing to see.

When I train, I often have folks ask me how I got so "fast". I have to reply that I am not fast but that most of the folks in Aikido are pretty slow. I am a 300+ pound guy. There is simply no way I should be faster than a 175 pound fellow. But everyone is so tight and they don't have particularly good body mechanics to boot and they end up being quite slow. While I am not a believer in making Aikido competitive generally, I do think that the experience of competing would give a lot of these folks a whole new idea about what they should be doing. (Although I haven't competed, I worked out a lot about how to move by trying to get Saotome Sensei. I've never gotten him empty handed but I have a few times with weapons.) Tension is the enemy of speed and you sure as hell need to have speed to compete in arts like kendo, karate and judo.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
AikidoDvds.Com
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2007, 04:08 AM   #19
Rupert Atkinson
 
Rupert Atkinson's Avatar
Dojo: Wherever I am.
Location: South Korea, Yongin
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 801
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

I like training against resistance and find there are valuable lessons to be learned therein. However, this is not ideal training for Aikido (George's Shomen-uchi explained above is a good example of what results from this mindset) but it is good for getting the 'mechanics' of it better. Rather than resistance, I prefer to go for what I call 'real-attack'. Sounds simple, but it is not as no one seems to do it. Simply, teach a defence against rear strangle (Eg kata-dori ushiro kubi-shime). But first, TEACH THE STRANGLE. So, have your students strangle and take each other to the ground. Next, practice the defence lightly. As you continue, increase the pace/power of the attack and see if you or your students can still get out of it. Uke's job is to overcome tori; tori's job is to get out of it. What often happens at first is that uke overpowers tori. Then, tori figures it out - and it can work 'pleasingly' well against a good attack. But, and it is a big but, uke can develop and hone his attack with purpose - meaning - tori also gets better. It is what we should all be doing, but many have gotten lost along the way, in my opinion.

Try other atacks too - grab like a vice ... (but resistance here will prevent learning as it will turn into a wrestling match - just hold tight, not fight) and so on.

Last edited by Rupert Atkinson : 10-29-2007 at 04:11 AM.

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-29-2007, 01:38 PM   #20
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Kuwait
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

After having written a response in the "Teaching Context" thread, I thought about what I had written and realized that part of what I had written should be over here, especially after reading Rupert's posting. He brought up a very good point on which I would like to expand.

The point was that the grabbing attacks and various strikes are Aikido techniques, however, they are often not taught in a way that the students can do them correctly nor effectively. As such, the type of resistance given in a Morote Tori, for instance, is not done correctly for Morote Tori. Or, the type of resistance given in a Katate Tori attack being countered is not a correct or effective form of resistance. Likewise, the Shomen Uchi attack is done in an ineffective manner or is done in a way that leaves too many opening for a fast counter-strike.

Why such a condition exists seems IN PART to be due to some instructors getting stuck at a level of progression in which a training technique has become institutionalized. Yes, it is useful for teaching Awase and other principles to have the attacker use a slow raising of the arm to simulate Shomen Uchi or for Uke to grab Morote Tori from the front rather than the 90 degree and behind position or for Uke to always grab for Ushiro techniques by attacking from the front or for Uke to always attack Shomen Uchi from (depending on which school you are from) either Ai Hanmi or Gyaku Hanmi. However, if you get stuck doing all practice that training exercise way, you will have a difficult time to understand the application of those principles. To learn to be effective and do things correctly in the application of Aikido principles, at some time, you have to practice a little more realistically. The attacks have to become a little more realistic and some oomph has to be added to the attacks.

To practice against all training form of attacks is like practicing Kaeshi Waza only against techniques where Uke intentionally creates an opening for Nage rather than Nage creating an opening through the manipulation of slack.

I am not advocating that all attacks should be done realistically either. That would not result in efficient or effective training since it would most likely result in "fighting" and there would be little practice of principle understanding and application. Even in those forms of learning which focus on sparring, like Kendo, we use singular form-based attacks to first learn how to do certain techniques under a controlled situation. Then the instructor increases the difficulty by increasing the correctness of the attack, followed by counters to the counter until a true unscripted sparring level is reached.

So, an example of the progression for Morote Tori is:
1. attack with both hands simultaneously and lightly and slowly on the forearms without moving to 90 degree position;
2. increase grip strength and speed;
3. attack with a push-pull pressure of the hands on the forearm with a slow slip of the top hand up to the elbow to lock the arm;
4. make a dynamic attack moving to 90 degree position to complete attack (Kime);
4. increase grip strength and speed of locking the elbow;
5. attack with a fast grasp iterative push-pull grasp into Morote Tori with locking of elbow and moving to 90 degree position;
6. place enough force on elbow to drive Uke face to the ground and move quickly enough to keep Uke from pulling away from the Morote Tori (sparring level).

Rock

Last edited by Rocky Izumi : 10-29-2007 at 01:41 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-30-2007, 03:41 AM   #21
Rupert Atkinson
 
Rupert Atkinson's Avatar
Dojo: Wherever I am.
Location: South Korea, Yongin
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 801
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

If you like the idea of 'real attack' I have a bit more about it on my discovering-aikido website in the contents section.

Too add a bit more here, I believe that all the atacks we do, katate-dori to shime-waza, are in effect counters to techniques. For example, think of kata-dori ushiro eri-dori (single hand catch + rear lapel catch) - while we typically start like this, it is far more realistic to think of it as an escape from irimi-nage. So, the next step is to MAKE it an escape from irimi-nage. So, uke tries irimi-nage slowly from this catch, and then stronger, and then stronger, and tori sees if he can escape from it and do a technique, or not. It is not a fight, but a learning progression. And no one does this (except me - so you saw it here first!). If you look at it like this, every technique you do against an attack is no different to doing a technique against a technique thus everything you do is in effect kaeshi-waza. Think about it.

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2007, 11:24 AM   #22
R.A. Robertson
Dojo: Still Point Aikido Center
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 292
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
[\] If you look at it like this, every technique you do against an attack is no different to doing a technique against a technique thus everything you do is in effect kaeshi-waza. Think about it.
I'm pretty sure I've heard something like this before... (-;

The question is, does "kaeshi" in this sense mean "counter," or "reversal?"

When people practice counters, resistance is likely. When people do what is needed to allow energy to flow freely in the system, the energy naturally reverses at times. I would say, rather than doing a technique *against* a technique, you do a technique *with* a technique, and the energy may recirculate.

Ross
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2007, 12:00 PM   #23
R.A. Robertson
Dojo: Still Point Aikido Center
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 292
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Anytime we try to do something to someone that they don't want done to them, it's normal for them to resist. We train as tori not to resist attacks, but to flow with them. If we do the same with uke, then we have efficient training for both partners, but we may lose the chance to encounter the normal human response of resistance.

Any time we do ikkyo, shihonage, koshinage, or some such to our partner, it's natural for them to resist or counter or try to escape. After all, why should it be fair for tori to evade but not uke? As our "technique" improves, we may get to the point where we overwhelm uke with an "irresistible force." Maybe we take the initiative and uke never gets it back. Whatever, in this case uke never had a chance, even though we are doing something to them that a normal human being would prevent if they could. This is what commonly passes for good aikido.

On the other hand, we could study how to move with uke no matter what they do, and never offer resistance. If we do nothing to oppose uke or counter them, they have nothing to resist. In my opinion, tori is the component in the system that is responsible for keeping resistance out of the system.

This is most easily explored in jyu situations, but by no means is it inappropriate for kihon and kata waza. In kata, we do have to accept that to work on a specific form, uke must now supply the kind of attack and continuation that will allow for the natural reversal of energy in the system that results from tori moving in accord with the flow.

For example, if uke grabs kosa dori, tori does nothing until uke pushes or pulls or twists. If ikkyo is prescribed, uke is instructed to supinate tori's arm, as if to begin shihonage (shihonage being a legitimate attack form). If tori moves *properly* with this gesture, keeping posture and containment, uke will be unable to complete the shihonage and so withdraws and recovers. If tori now moves into the open spaces allowed by this recovery, ikkyo happens. But note that it happened because in order to supinate tori's arm, uke had to pronate their own arm. Uke did ikkyo to herself..

In this paradigm, joint locks, kuzushi, and ukemi may happen, but these are not the objective, nor even the metrics of success. Instead, we aim for the elimination of resistance through matching of movement, and the preservation of equilibrium and flow for the whole system.

Ross
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2007, 03:41 PM   #24
Rupert Atkinson
 
Rupert Atkinson's Avatar
Dojo: Wherever I am.
Location: South Korea, Yongin
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 801
United Kingdom
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Quote:
Ross Robertson wrote: View Post
I'm pretty sure I've heard something like this before... (-;

The question is, does "kaeshi" in this sense mean "counter," or "reversal?"

When people practice counters, resistance is likely. When people do what is needed to allow energy to flow freely in the system, the energy naturally reverses at times. I would say, rather than doing a technique *against* a technique, you do a technique *with* a technique, and the energy may recirculate.

Ross
Absolutely - and it sounds like you have heard it before. It is all good stuff, as long as you and your partner know what it is you are aiming for, what it is you are doing, and how it all fits in with everything else. The enigma is that the ultimate purpose is to do stuff without fighting against uke - using his energy, but the problem is that training soflty is not the easiest way to approach it (though some do that, and so did I in a couple of schools for a long time). So, if you start to have uke offer some firm attacks or even resistance then you start to play and learn about how to deal with it etc. For me, I learn more this way and find it a lot more interesting. But the problem with resistance is that people start to wrestle, then, aiki is dead. Stop, start again, until you figure it out. And, it is best if you figure it out for yourself ... it is a slow process though. I am nowhere near where I would like to be, but that is what makes it so interesting and keeps me going at it.

  Reply With Quote
Old 10-31-2007, 05:16 PM   #25
Aiki1
 
Aiki1's Avatar
Dojo: ACE Aikido
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 346
United_States
Offline
Re: VOE: Active Resistance

Chiming in here on a subject near and dear to me. It's a bit long....

For me there are so many levels and aspects to this subject that I spend a fair amount of time thinking about it and working with it on the mat. It's integral to all of our training.

I think of Aikido as "the path of No resistance" -- on the part of "nage" - but even resistance can be used in some instances in a "harmonious" or appropriate way, so I think it's difficult to sort out in any simple manner.

My thoughts tend to start with the notion that there is a difference between:

Learning Aikido
Practicing Aikido
Performing/Demonstrating Aikido
Teaching Aikido, and
Doing Aikido

Specifically defining the training/practice agreements in each scenario define the context of "supportive and mutual learning." But, I think part of understanding one's practice experience is understanding that people may resist because of several possible reasons (an incomplete list and in no particular order....) :

-- Uke is a naturally tense person
-- Uke feels the need for continual proof that Aikido "works"
-- Nage is doing the technique wrong, or poorly, which gives Uke the opportunity to counter, change, or stop the process
-- Nage is using physical force, which gives a reference for Uke to react against
-- Nage is trying to "do something" to Uke, trying to change or alter their natural flow rather than properly "be with them" or as I might say, "connect with their Ki"
-- Nage is going slowly which gives Uke time to do anything they want to
-- Uke knows what Nage is going to do, which gives them to opportunity to alter the process
-- Uke has the opportunity to completely step out of the interaction, give no attack, or go limp, because for whatever reason, they can
- Uke approaches the interaction as an opportunity to mess up Nage from the beginning, thus not "really" attacking

For me, if one is responding to Uke with "Aiki", the following principles are present and the above, i.e., resistance, is less likely, or in a theoretical sense, impossible, to occur or to get anywhere:

Musubi
Tsukuri
Kuzushi
Release

When this particular process is more difficult to enact, as the skill of the attacker increases, we move more into a process of:

Connect
Blend
Track
Lead/Redirect
Resolve

In my style this is generally all in the service of Kinesthetic Invisibility (a term coined by my late instructor Don O'Bell), or giving no physical reference through connection, flow, moving from center rather than hands, and Ki rather than muscle. Done correctly, there is nothing to resist. If we meet resistance, chances are we just need to clue into one of these elements that we are probably neglecting, and pick up the process again from there and follow it through to its natural conclusion.

All this depends, though, on how the participants.... participate - especially in the dojo - in terms of what I think of as Levels of Practice:

- Uke going along
- Uke tracking for reference or quality of technique
- Uke giving some resistance
- Uke giving real resistance if possible
- Uke trying to counter if possible

Coupled with the intention of practice in terms of what one is dealing with - what I think of as Levels of Attack:

- Static
- Dynamic
- Aggressive

With the Intent To:

- bother
- intimidate
- immobilize
- grapple
- rob
- hurt
- fight (untrained)
- fight (trained fighter - fakes, non-committal, set-ups etc.)
- create Chaos

Basic practice is often grounded in the agreement that Uke will flow with Nage if Nage is performing properly. That way, Nage will be getting coherent feedback for doing things "right." As one's level of experience and ability grows, the "what-ifs" and higher skill levels of attack become more part of the process, and we then give feedback of various sorts regarding things like openings in defense, how to deal when someone gives you a difficult time, or higher levels of Kinesthetic Invisibility. But it all depends on experience, and the practice context and agreement. At some point, we use a training exercise I call Chaos Aikido -- where Nage is put in a position of not having good maai, they're being dominated in some way, they're in a bad position etc.... then -- how to recover and do Aikido anyway. I think these are differences in practice and application that need to be addressed in any full training program.

Therefore, for me, resistance is an important mechanism for feedback in training. Appropriate resistance is one way of letting Nage know that they are applying force and not going with your flow, or that they are trying to "do something to you." At a higher level, resistance is important because ultimately it is one of the most significant tools of understanding whether or not one's Aikido is actually effective, that is to say, if Uke - can - resist - effectively, then something "could be done better" meaning "more in harmony." Also, at a certain level, one needs to know what to do when one meets all kinds of reactions to the process. In real life, as they say, chaos reigns. Throughout this whole training process, there are many ways to use what happens when resistance is successful, or not, to learn a number of very important things.

Anyway, these are some of my thoughts/meanderings about training.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Budo Bear Patterns - Sewing pattern for Women's (and Men's) dogi.



Reply


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 Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Train of thought Ketsan General 35 12-04-2006 07:13 AM
Poll: How active are you in your aikido dojo's community? AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 15 07-24-2006 08:26 AM
Past Nage Waza In Aikido Dennis Hooker General 3 10-12-2004 03:24 PM
resistance in training Paula Lydon Training 8 08-29-2003 03:19 PM
Training, Form, Effectiveness and Resistance L. Camejo Training 4 10-15-2001 08:58 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:52 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 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