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Old 02-26-2002, 08:21 PM   #1
Chocolateuke
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
Location: Middle of nowhere in California 14 miles from Buellton
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Unhappy old ukes being hard

Hi I was recently promoted to 1st kyu. today at practice I was paired up with another 1st kyu, I been working whith him for a long time we started together. but today working with him I had a lot of trouble doing the basics. i have had trouble with him before but then id somehow get it right about 2 weeks later and have no trouble again but then 6 mounths later have trouble again on different stuff. I once asked one of the black belts whats wrong with me and he asked me to try it on him and I was fine I asked if he was faking it, and he said no and that some people are just harder then others. I would ask around to try it on different people who are more or less flexable and it would work. the scary thing for me is I am having toruble on the basics. any thoughts?? I try and try and eventually get it but its harder on this one partner.

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 02-26-2002, 08:58 PM   #2
guest1234
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Hey Dallas,

Congratulations on your promotion! It sounds like it is not so much the basics that are troubling you, but getting even the basics to work with a particular partners. These are my thoughts on partners it is so hard to make things work on, when it works well with others even more senior (and who tell you that you are doing it correctly):

1. sometimes this is just not the ideal technique based on body differences: his arm length is twice yours, or his height is half yours, etc...yes, you may evenetually get there, but it is much more challenging, no matter what your rank.
solution: just keep working at it...and be glad for the challenges.

2. sometimes, either consciously or unconsciously, for a variety of reasons, uke is not giving an attack designed for the technique to be done. Yes, I know there are schools of thought that say you can do any technique no matter what. But I think if we are going to use uke's energy, then we sometimes need to modify or even abandon what was shown to use what uke is giving us, if uke either doesn't understand what the attack needs to be or is not interested in helping you do the technique shown. Even small, low ranked individuals can 'shut down' very large senior partners, all it takes is an incorrect or insincere attack, or a willingness to put one's self in danger (from atemi/ kick/ etc).
solution: ask your partner to try something different in his attack or ukemi. My choice of words is along the lines of 'it would help me, I think, if you could ----- (attack more slowly/quickly, with more/less force, try a little more to strike here, etc...I would avoid words like 'you are not attacking corectly'); alternatively, "would you mind attacking (in whatever way you would like)" or "I'm working on connection on this part, could we both try to maintain connection here..."

3. sometimes it is just not your day, and it happens with this particular partner.
solution: keep trying. If need be, try to have a more positive mind-set when working with him. I find things work best when I actually really like my partner, so when I find myself with one who doesn't lead my list of friends, I really concentrate on having good feelings towards them before I start my technique.

anyway, some thoughts from someone well below your rank! Once again, congratulations.
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Old 02-26-2002, 09:58 PM   #3
Chocolateuke
Dojo: Muhu Dojo
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Talking

you well behind my rank?? not likly even if you were a 10 th kyu with knowlege you have which you share you still know more of aikido than some shodans I am sure of it. you could well, teach the 1st kyus stuff they dont know. anyways thanks for your reply, and it makes me wonder how often a sensei has trouble with technege?? any sensis could answer that. and CA I really areally liked your reply and you proably already have exceeded my rank even if you dont have the belt or certifercit but you cerntly have the knowlege and attitudes above me. thxs again.

Dallas Adolphsen
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Old 02-26-2002, 10:07 PM   #4
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Hopefully some of them will join in here, but for what it is worth: we have two very outstanding 6th dans at the dojo where I train. Very. Very, Very. And they are very kind about chosing even low ranked ukes to demo. But the ukes, for a variety of reasons, do not give the attack or the senseis don't get the technique (personally, I think more often the former than the latter) and so in amongst several say, irimi nages is tossed a kote gaeshi or something. I prefer to think that if at a certain point you can always do the technique you want, no matter what uke is giving you, well, these guys would not need to sometimes toss in an alternate technique. So, if that means anything, I have often seen rokyudans 'do something else' with a 5th kyu uke.

oh, and thanks , I just run my mouth a lot. That and my, er, endearing personality , make me a real treasure around the dojo...
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Old 02-27-2002, 01:00 AM   #5
Bronson
 
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Congrats on your shiny new promotion Dallas.

I once asked my sensei about this very problem. He, like Colleen, said that sometimes uke just doesn't give the proper attack for the technique and that it isn't that hard to stop the technique from working if you know what's coming. His solution for me was to do something completely different than what uke was expecting. Example: if you are practicing a technique that would apply if uke had forward energy (tenkan whatchamanage) and he wasn't giving that energy there's a good chance he's pulling back, in which case there are any number of good irimi techniques to take him off his feet.

The particular guy I did this with got up and proceeded to tell me that I was doing the wrong technique. Sensei saw the whole thing and stepped in and said I did exactly the right technique for the attack given. This happend a couple more times and the guy finally got the message and started giving the right energy for the technique being practiced (in case you couldn't tell my particular style isn't one of the ones that says you can do whatever technique with whatever attack )

Befor you do anything though I'd suggest discussing it with your sensei and follow any suggestion he may have.

Congratulations again,
Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 02-28-2002, 12:32 PM   #6
Don_Modesto
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Takemusu Aiki v. Waza

Quote:
Originally posted by ca
We have two very outstanding 6th dans at the dojo where I train. Very. Very, Very. And they are very kind about chosing even low ranked ukes to demo.
One thing that impressed me greatly about Mary Heini (sp?) when she was in Gainesville a while back, was how she asked for an uke without indicating anyone in particular. Tthen, with all the variables obtaining, proceeded to do her chosen technique the first time. The second time, uke always knows what to expect and usually cooperates (and, as you know from your own observations, the first time is often less than felicitous.)

Osensei is said not to have constrained himself to such a pedagogical discipline. He was infamous for never doing the same technique twice while demonstrating. Takemusu aiki? It has been suggested by more than one, that Osensei was a wonderful exemplar, but not such a wonderful teacher.

Quote:
But the ukes, for a variety of reasons, do not give the attack or the senseis don't get the technique (personally, I think more often the former than the latter) and so in amongst several say, irimi nages is tossed a kote gaeshi or something. I prefer to think that if at a certain point you can always do the technique you want, no matter what uke is giving you, well, these guys would not need to sometimes toss in an alternate technique. So, if that means anything, I have often seen rokyudans 'do something else' with a 5th kyu uke.
We observe this guiltily, perhaps (Nietzsche admonishes, "The great epochs of our life come when we rechristen our evil as what's best in us"). Some teachers dun students for using demonstrated techniques as a springboard for practice rather than a model. It sometimes happens that our strengths become our weaknesses. To the credit of Osensei's deshi, they have embraced pedagogical principles, broken down techniques for our benefit, and taught in a principled, consistent manner. Is technique now the hobgoblin of our practice? Why would we do the demonstrated kote gaeshi, e.g., when uke's body/attack/force determines kaiten nage to be the appropriate technique? Do we forsake the goal--takemusu aiki--for the path--technique?

Don J. Modesto
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Old 02-28-2002, 01:26 PM   #7
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We do the demonstrated technique for a variety of reasons, from respect for the instructor to some ukes don't take well to big surprises. And that is why I think, if we are to do as is usually asked, and try to perform the technique demonstrated, uke has a vital role in attacking in a way appropriate for nage to do the demonstrated technique (unless it's jiuwaza or randori, then uke can do whatever uke feels like doing).
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Old 02-28-2002, 01:34 PM   #8
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Oh, and Heiney Sensei may have chosen the technique based on who she saw jumping up to uke. They can often be pretty good at sizing up an uke---thought not always...

I recall a seminar where Hooker Sensei noticed some of the ukes not respecting atemi. He stopped us to briefly discuss the foolishness of that, and that only in America would uke, when seeing a blow coming, move his face toward it rather than get it out of the way. He then called up one of the yudansha from our dojo, a Japan-born Korean who trained in Japan before coming here. Hooker Sensei motioned for a tsuki, and as he brought his hand up for atemi, uke ran his face into it . I guess he thought the non-American would make the point, and in some ways he did, as he proceeded to run into Hooker Sensei's hand three more times while the rest of us watched...
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Old 03-01-2002, 05:34 AM   #9
andrew
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chocolateuke
, and it makes me wonder how often a sensei has trouble with technege??
I remember one of my teachers demonstrating a pin, explaining uke could not get up, and receiving a gentle kick to the back of the head as uke managed a judo roll out of it.

Of course, once that happened once, he was never going to let it happen again.

andrew
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Old 03-01-2002, 06:11 AM   #10
L. Camejo
 
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Thumbs down

Quote:
Originally posted by Chocolateuke
anyways thanks for your reply, and it makes me wonder how often a sensei has trouble with technege?? any sensis could answer that.
Hi all,

Congratulations on your successful grading Dallas and on a very interesting thread.

In our dojo we tend to subscribe to the idea that any technique can work on any attack. Of course that doesn't mean that you try to force a kotegaeshi when the attack and body motion of the attacker clearly indicates that nikkyo would work best during free practice or out in the street.

Having said all of that, I have not seen sensei in my dojo (myself included) have too much undue pressure with techniques. If the uke is hard as you say or gives an improper attack and we have any difficulty we tend to reset our mindset and return to raw basics. After that the technique ALWAYS works.

By basics I mean that 90% of the time the reason why the technique does not work is because of improper avoidance or kuzushi (balance breaking) on the part of tori. I am yet to see an Aikido technique that does not work when uke's balance is properly and totally disrupted and we tend to practice with resistance to our techniques regularly.

Generally if a technique is not properly applied in our dojo outside of kata practice, no-one is going to take a dive for you. We take it as a challenge to truly apply the principles we have learnt. If the principle is sound the technique should work, even under resistance and improper attack. It just calls for a bit of self evaluation and readjustment sometimes.

My 10 cents.
Happy training.
L.C.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 03-01-2002, 09:03 AM   #11
Lyle Bogin
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Some uke's need to be manipulated through your sense of what THEY want you to do. When uke is strong, knows what you are about to do, and determined to block your technique, this is may be the only open door.
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Old 03-01-2002, 05:16 PM   #12
bcole23
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True understanding in how to be a good uke takes a long time. You're practicing something where you know what's coming. As uke, you must remember that you're there to help nage learn the technique. So a one mindedness on the appropriate attack is important. If you give the wrong attack, then it's hurting instead of helping.

BUT , you must also learn to give appropriate responses. By seeing the atemi come 1,000s of times you generally get the hint that you're not gonna get popped in the face my most people. (this is a bad thing, in higher levels, you should absolutely get hit if you don't do something about the atemi) As uke you must keep an open mind. When you go to grab someone, you don't do it with the intention of rolling off nage's right/left side. Doing so makes it EXTREMELY hard to actually learn a technique correctly. You attack with the intention of attacking someone. How many times have I just stood there while a shomen uchi just went harmlessly by without even moving?

Aikidoka are often in the mindset of harmony. But good wouldnt exist without evil, and you must learn the offensive mindset to be a good uke and as nage to know when you're leaving yourself open.

Now, when you start aikido, uke must help nage learn how the energy flows, so there is a lot of help going on there. But as you get better the help goes away. However, many ukes like myself have a hard time understanding where a nage is on that path of progression, or how to really help nage with this aspect of Aikido. When I first started I was very gung-ho about attacks. "Always give a good strong attack" was my motto. Now it's more, "Always give an honest attack, pare your [power/speed/secondary attacks] by nage's experience and ability.

Being a good uke is hard.


[This disjointed thought brought to you by bcole23]
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Old 03-01-2002, 05:24 PM   #13
bcole23
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I must also say something here about intention.

Once you have harmonized with someone, if your intention is to be victorious, to overcome your attacker, to win, or to make sure that you get your way , uke will immediately pick up on this and react. As nage you must be accepting of what nage is giving you. When you become tense uke will pick up on it and react. Living calmness. I'm sure many have practiced with sensei where you're like "I don't really know when I lost! One moment I was attacking him, intent on causing harm, and the next moment, the confrontation was just gone.."
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Old 03-02-2002, 03:18 AM   #14
Johan Tibell
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Quote:
Originally posted by bcole23
(this is a bad thing, in higher levels, you should absolutely get hit if you don't do something about the atemi)
I agree with you, how about atemis without any (good) way to block, ie your hands are busy or aligned in such a way that you can't block the atemi. How should one react to them? Just food for thought...

- Johan
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Old 03-02-2002, 02:01 PM   #15
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
We do the demonstrated technique for a variety of reasons, from respect for the instructor to some ukes don't take well to big surprises.
Thank you for this Colleen, it made me think and evaluate. My thoughts follow:

"Respect for the instructor"...I think would have to cut both ways. An instructor should respect students' levels and needs, too. Should a nidan train the same as a gokyu? In the beginning, you work to acquire a vocabulary of techniques, and rote repetition is the chosen pedagogy. Switching techniques according to the need of the moment is like studying grammar, rather than just vocabulary.

Part of this "respect for the instructor" is cultural. The Japanese feel that students should be seen and not heard. We operate, for better or worse, within that context. I once watched a Japanese high school chemistry teacher turn from the blackboard to his notes, ask if there were any questions, and turn back to the blackboard to continue lecturing without looking up to see whether any students had raised their hands. Thoroughly socialized by 15, none had.

Pedagogy for the Jpn is very much "jug/mug" with the teacher the jug, filling up the eager little mugs with knowledge. Modern research into education suggests greater paths of efficacy along the lines of leading students to structure knowledge in their own way, rather than simply soak it up. This is very discomfitting to teachers educated under the paradigm of absolute teacher control and responsibility, and I've watched supervisors of freshman teachers struggle to get them to implement class plans turning over more control and responsibility to the students. But it may not be popular to suggest that O sensei-tutored shihan have anything to learn about teaching (even as other commentators tread but gingerly suggesting that shihan improved on the master's teaching)...

"Some ukes don't take well to big surprises" Of course you would consider uke's level when switching techniques, but I've never seen an instructor tell uke what he intended doing before uke attacked. Uke has to be up to the task, and this, too, is part of uke's education.

Indeed, I find that switching techniques acts as a very economical reality-check. We cooperate so much in aikido, that not doing what is expected, affords you for a moment, a blank slate. If you suspect that uke cooperates or resists too much, his/her reaction to a fresh stimulus will give you insight into what is happening.

Quote:
And that is why I think, if we are to do as is usually asked, and try to perform the technique demonstrated, uke has a vital role in attacking in a way appropriate for nage to do the demonstrated technique.
I agree, but this is as much the problem as the solution. As someone above noted, good ukemi is very difficult (given the Scilla and Charibdas of mindless-compliance and intransigence.)

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 03-02-2002, 04:21 PM   #16
JPT
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I've also had (& expect to have) trouble with techniques. As somebody else said you should flow into a different technique. I can guess how you feel about it as it used to depressed me that I couldn't get the techniques to work first time. However I gave up worring about it after I saw "Rendevous with Adventure" right at the end O'Sensei does a techinque on the reporter, he starts off doing an nikyo then moves into a ikkyo but it doesn't look very smooth. It is my personnel view that O'Sensei had some trouble with first techique (Most likely because of the reaction of his inexperienced uke) so he moved into something else. If its good enough for O'Sensei....
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Old 03-03-2002, 05:55 AM   #17
Reuben
 
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In some cases though I don't think it's a matter of pliability or age. It's all a matter of attitude and whether they want to learn or not.

I know a lot of ppl whom i practice with who have reached high standings in their profession which means they'll probably quite old and believe that whatever they do is right(some of them anyway).

There's this one older person whose name i won't mention who was a total horror to practice with. He resisted every movement and seem intent in proving that my technique was wrong. The problem was, we weren't doing full speed techniques so of course if he resists, me being a lowly sho dan won't be unable to do much. And it was horrible being unable to throw him with him giving that stupid grin that said haha u suck. And then my sensei walked through and asked me what was wrong? To my mistake i just said nothing and gave my opponent a full force shiho nage(i imagined myself breaking the ground with a sword) and he fell pretty hard. I immediately felt guilty and apologised over and over again and then he said you're strong huh in a very sarcastic voice. Then it just got worse, he started throwing me in a very haphazard way like pulling my hand down in shiho nage before it reached my shoulder and obviously using his brute strength. I got hurt and cried out and he just kept at it. his shiho nage entering was completely wrong too!

Only now i realise i was making a mistake. I thought i should just bear with it and get over it, it's part of your training and ukemi. if you do good ukemi u won't get hurt. But this was where i was wrong, I should have told him that he was hurting me. It would have been the only responsible thing. But oh how i hate him and this other 1st kyu who seems to be of the same predisposition. Everyone still treats him with respect cause he's a 'professional'. Whatever... I still have problems containing my distaste whenever i see one of them no matter how hard i try to 'love' them.

Then when back in the car, i told my sensei about it and he said oh he's old, he's bound to be like that, he's actually trying to get his 2nd dan. And his son chirped in oh that buffalo! And we all had a good laugh and i forgot about it.

Don't know how i would deal with it the next time i see him though.
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Old 03-03-2002, 01:48 PM   #18
Lyle Bogin
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Such hardcases are, IMO, and excellent training tool to enhance your capacity for relaxation and controled action.

If I am in a situation that is so obviously competitive, I try to take a deep breath, and perform smooth measured techniques that are more effective than simply painful or abrubt. It seems to me that the real problem is my threat to my senior's authoritry. So, I try to be polite in my execution of techniques.

If you can throw a resistant uke while still being considerate of their well being I think you have really accomplished something. It is more likely that he will respect you as you have shown respect to him. The tough part is, you must genuinely feel like you don't care to be the "winner", only to be a partner in a mutually beneficial relationship.

I always refer to my sensei if I absolutely cannot get a technique to function, and he is always very responsive. It is a great way to break the tension while training, and shows you are really interested in learning. What a great opportunity, a lesson from your sensei that will help you be able to apply effective technique to a truely resistant opponent!
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Old 03-03-2002, 08:30 PM   #19
Reuben
 
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However i feel that the more you resist, the more likely u're gonna get hurt. Yes if the technique is good u'll be able to throw the resistant uke, but there's a high possibility of injuring him. Even highly ranked senseis(for example Shirata again who is 10th dan) still broke his opponent's arm because the guy resisted.

When the guy resists, he provides you more energy to work with, the more energy in a good throw, the more dangerous it would be no matter how well intentioned the technique is. A slow kokyu ho would always be safer than a fast kokyu ho if done at the same level of expertise.

They are a good test to training but somehow I'm not willing to take the unpleasant risk of hurting my training partner. For example this person also holds on when u throw him, if u don't whip ur hand up to free your hand you would fall too. But this movement in turn because of the stored energy in holding back would affect his ukemi. Well whatever it is, he's a lousy partner.
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Old 03-03-2002, 09:17 PM   #20
guest1234
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Yeah, Reuben, that wrist-whip thing was one of the first things I noticed in Aikido. My first sensei would often 'hold' his uke in an almost thrown position while instructing the class on ukemi, or on a point of the technique, then 'release' him that way---even did it to me once, at around day 8 of my training (my fall was not quite as pretty as his usual uke ). A couple of my larger friends like to hang onto me during their falls, and I'm always warning them to let go of me or I'll make them let go (I figure a couple of held-onto falls tests my balance, after that it's just risking my back)...they laugh, I do it, we both laugh, they stop...
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Old 03-03-2002, 09:58 PM   #21
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I noticed I missed a couple of things...as for hitting (senior) ukes with atemi, at my first dojo you were expected to connect with atemi any uke who didn't move, just more gently with beginners. I like that we did that, I think it encourages a better focus and sensitivity. It does make it hard when you move, though...the place where I am now it caused some real complaining from my partners that I actually aimed for their face and expected them to move.

Johan, what I would say about blocking atemi if your hands are otherwise occupied, is: 1. except morote dori, when you would be holding nage's one arm with your two hands, usually only one of uke's hands is occupied, and in the case of morote dori, you should be slightly off-line and fairly well controlling nage's initial movement by your stronger hold. 2. even if your hands are somehow occupied, I wouldn't focus on a block (ouch) so much as avoidance of atemi---if you can, brush it aside, move your body out of the way, if you have to, take the fall...

and Lyle, I'm so envious...you have the most amazing sensei to show you how to manipulate a resistant uke's intentions...


Last edited by guest1234 : 03-03-2002 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 03-04-2002, 02:32 AM   #22
Tim Griffiths
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Quote:
Originally posted by Reuben
However i feel that the more you resist, the more likely u're gonna get hurt. Yes if the technique is good u'll be able to throw the resistant uke, but there's a high possibility of injuring him.
I don't agree. Rather, the more uke resists, the more careful and gentle tori has to be in order not to harm uke. The more correct the technique has to be. The risk of injury shouldn't be higher, as tori should modify the technique to reduce the risk.

Quote:
When the guy resists, he provides you more energy to work with, the more energy in a good throw, the more dangerous it would be no matter how well intentioned the technique is. A slow kokyu ho would always be safer than a fast kokyu ho if done at the same level of expertise.
I don't understand - why would a resistive uke require a faster kokyu ho?

In most cases, I would say a resistive uke provides less energy to work with.

Tim

Last edited by Tim Griffiths : 03-04-2002 at 10:29 AM.

If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 03-04-2002, 09:01 AM   #23
bcole23
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On the subject of connecting with atemi's.

An atemi is to break balance, concentration, gain an opening, etc. Proper application of atemi is to be studied as an integral part of technique, not something thrown in as an afterthought. If an atemi is done correctly, it doesn't have to connect (at least to the face).

Here's a good exercise. Put your fist in someone's face. They should just stand there.
Now invade their personnal space with a fist in their face. You should get a reaction. It's not something easy to explain, but a person can instinctively tell wheather something is a threat or not.

Now atemi's to the ribs are a different matter. They kinda have to connect.

At the Utah Aikikai, I was performing randori with their advanced students. (I was in Utah for a week) I had one of their shodans in a wonderful morote/kata dori (judo grab) which he was unable to blend with. But a well placed kick (atemi) to the midsection (gut) was a perfect atemi for the situation; I was most impressed.

How much thought/practice/importance do other dojo's place on atemi's in every day practice? I've heard that O-senseis atemis were very vigorous..
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Old 03-04-2002, 09:12 AM   #24
bcole23
Dojo: Eagle Rock Aikido, Ammon, ID
Location: Ammon, ID
Join Date: Oct 2001
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In most cases, I would say a resistive uke provides less energy to work with.
Most of the time a "resistive" uke refers to doing static techniques. It's not less energy, it's less dynamic energy, more static energy. Many techniques require movement. Some things just don't work from static (or require the use of well placed atemis and blends). So nage has to get things moving. Well, if uke is hell bent on not moving and doesn't listen to what his own body is saying, he can get hurt trying to prove he can shut you down. Most people don't have this stoopid reaction to pain, but we know what happens when ego gets involved.

I don't think the previous post was talking about not doing correct technique or having any inclination to do harm.
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Old 03-04-2002, 09:21 AM   #25
Andy
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Quote:
Originally posted by bcole23
Many techniques require movement. Some things just don't work from static
Which techniques require movement and do not work from a static position?
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