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Old 07-28-2008, 10:41 AM   #26
John Matsushima
 
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Location: Miura, Japan
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Re: being a good (bad) uke

I have found that I have some different viewpoints within myself on this issue. In my own practice, I take the view of dealing with whatever uke gives me whether its heavy resistance that makes it difficult for me, or the uke that just falls down at the mere sight of my powerful ki. It's not any one uke, but the fact that everyone is different and forces me to keep my own style open that challenges me the most. So in that sense, as I stated before, i don't consider anyone to be a bad uke anymore than i consider a rainy day to be a bad day. That being said, i do appreciate though, when the uke doesn't bloody my nose when i make a mistake.

I don't like the ideas of assigning roles to people because unless everyone is trained the same way in how to play these roles, it doesn't work, and then the practice breaks down to one person saying to the other "you're not playing your role".

HOWEVER, I have noticed in the practice of children that they face many of the same problems and issues that adults do in practice, maybe even more since they don't understand the complex moral and philosophical issues. I see the resisting each other, stopping the others techniques,blaming each other, trying hard to beat each other, trying to "help" each other by saying "no, you're doing it wrong!", and in the end, nothing is accomplished. They can't even do a proper tenkan or irimi, but it always seems to be the other kid's fault. It seems so childish, but hey, they're children! The funny thing is I have seen adults do the exact same thing.

So what I tell the kids is that one that is nage is trying to practice and learn the technique properly, so uke should try to help by cooperating. This seems to work well with the children an facilitates their skill and technique. I think many dojos, including the Aikikai Hombu dojo, adopt this approach to how uke's should act.

I'm not sure that this is the best approach for adults though. I think that for children the idea of learning harmony and cooperating with others in a positive environment is ideal, while for adults it is the idea of learning harmony and cooperation in a chaotic, sometimes cruel world.

So, in adult training,if a good uke is one that cooperates, then there is no conflict; no pain, no gain. If ukes are trained on how to react and attack properly, then they become just that; trained, conditioned attackers.

I'm not sure what the right answer is, but my focus is more on being a good nage.

-John Matsushima

My blog on Japanese culture
http://onecorneroftheplanetinjapan.blogspot.jp/
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:02 PM   #27
mathewjgano
 
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Re: being a good (bad) uke

What do you folks think about the idea of uke "dialing it back"? What are good things to keep in mind for that and when it is not a good idea to do? In my own sense of ukemi, I'm always trying to reach through my structure (from hara outward) to create enough slack for kaeshi, but then not perform kaeshi. As long as I'm reaching through my structure into the connection with nage, i almost feel like I can't really do any wrong as uke...not that that is the reality of things of course.
Another thought I've been having lately as to why some folks might tank more than others (myself probably being one of them) is having a heavier focus on ukemi (which is itself a practice in yielding powerfully). Obviously we don't want to sieze up when nage has superior positioning/power, so we yield and try to move with nage...that's my take on ukemi at any rate. If you talk to a lot of folks they describe themselves as focusing more heavily on one role than another and i wonder if "tankers" might be more likely to identify with the uke side of things. Any observations or thoughts on those ideas? I'd appreciate it.
Take care all,
Matt

Last edited by mathewjgano : 07-28-2008 at 03:07 PM.

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Old 07-28-2008, 04:12 PM   #28
jennifer paige smith
 
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Re: being a good (bad) uke

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
What do you folks think about the idea of uke "dialing it back"? What are good things to keep in mind for that and when it is not a good idea to do? In my own sense of ukemi, I'm always trying to reach through my structure (from hara outward) to create enough slack for kaeshi, but then not perform kaeshi. As long as I'm reaching through my structure into the connection with nage, i almost feel like I can't really do any wrong as uke...not that that is the reality of things of course.
Another thought I've been having lately as to why some folks might tank more than others (myself probably being one of them) is having a heavier focus on ukemi (which is itself a practice in yielding powerfully). Obviously we don't want to sieze up when nage has superior positioning/power, so we yield and try to move with nage...that's my take on ukemi at any rate. If you talk to a lot of folks they describe themselves as focusing more heavily on one role than another and i wonder if "tankers" might be more likely to identify with the uke side of things. Any observations or thoughts on those ideas? I'd appreciate it.
Take care all,
Matt
Well, I ain't no tanker, but I sure do focus on the ukemi side of things. For me it is a skill in active listening with my entire body intelligence. My experience is that, at a certain point, my moves became informed from the wisdom of the techniques themselves and not from instructors, unless that instructor was also a skilled listener and therefore can transmit aikido in such a way that I can also hear it through their aligned words and movement. I believe it relates to listening, which anyone can develop from day one.

When it comes to Aikido I don't want to be an 'Ugly American', telling Aikido "all about it", imposing my views on the culture of the technique itself. Aikido is it's own language and I wish to be fluent in it. The only way I've discovered how to do this is to listen,practice,listen,practice..etc......My teachers revere my ukemi and I take that as the highest compliment surpassed only by my students calling me Jensei .

Best

Last edited by jennifer paige smith : 07-28-2008 at 04:15 PM.

Jennifer Paige Smith
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