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Old 07-02-2010, 12:31 AM   #26
David Yap
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Robert Hidalgo wrote: View Post
That is essentially why the Judo throw worked ...Judo forcibly takes a person's balance ...it lacks the finesse of Aikido..and Judo is largely static rondori. But I admit it showed my level of frustration that I resorted to that. Sensei told me in such a situation he would simply disengage and wait for the next attack...
Hi Robert,

I think you missed Marc sensei's point. Kuzushi is the key principle of aikido and many other MA. If you can do kuzushi from a static attack, then it will be almost effortless with a dynamic attack. Anyone (even smaller than you) can resist you with the prior knowledge of your intention; more so when you telegraph your intention by use of force. The point is about timing - he knows what you are about do but he doesn't know when you are going to do it unless you allow him to feel what you are doing. Your choice of a training partner is good and you should focus on finding the path of least resistance. Since you are a Shotokan guy like me, instead of an actual atemi as suggested by Marc sensei, try applying the principle of Hikite when doing wrist grabbing techniques.

Ossu

David Y
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Old 07-02-2010, 06:47 AM   #27
lbb
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Robert Hidalgo wrote: View Post
I read with interest the thread about Aikido in real situations and that is what led me to this question - how can one make their Aikido work on someone with this natural size and strength?
This made me think about something that my sensei says from time to time: "'When' is most important. 'Where' comes next, and 'what' is last." That line tends to come out when he sees his students getting mired down in the 'what' -- the technique we're supposed to execute, the end result we're supposed to get to -- and putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. His point is that the timing is the most important thing, and next is position and orientation, and if you don't get those right, getting to the 'what' is difficult at best.

Applying that to a situation where your opponent (or partner) has great physical advantages over you, it seems to me that you don't neutralize that advantage by choosing the "right" technique -- it's got to be a matter of impeccable timing and tai sabaki, first and foremost. Those two things would constitute your advantage in the situation, and if you can get them right, against a bigger and stronger opponent, you've got a chance of being able to use some technique effectively.
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Old 07-02-2010, 10:34 AM   #28
jonreading
 
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Kick this guy out. Imagine how devastating he will be if he sticks to aikido!! (just kidding)

I haven't seen a couple of comments:
1. Humans have a bell curve of size. Aikido works well within the bell curve, but as you move farther outside the curve into the extreme ranges, you have to make necessary adjustments to interact. Just as this large guy has special handling, so do our smaller friends (for example, adjusting nikyo to grab fingers instead of a wrist).
2. It is not this guy's fault that he is big. We recoil from large partners and sometimes [incorrectly] assume the guy is meaty, oxen, and stiff. Oh, and purposefully obstinent.

There is already some good advice out there so I won't dwell on re-iterating posts related to the above obersations, I make this comment - disguish with your partner when you are learning and when you are training. Leanring = figure out how to do it; training = practice it to work. During learning, discourage resistance and emphasize cooperation. During training, train - if your uke is being difficult, change. Also, there is nothing wrong with re-inforcing to your partner that you can competently deal with resistence (especially if you have prior martial experience or senority in aikido).

Eventually, giagantor will either get the message that muscle isn't everything, or he won't. You have a unique ability to assist this guy to not only learn aikido, but learn more about his body's strengths and weaknesses.

This is one of those things that as the original post mentioned, we don't like the reality that size matters. Size does matter, we just have a larger bell curve in which we can operate. It also directly addresses our fallibility because its tough to admit failure when a particularly difficult uke thwarts our aikido. Grrrr. It must be them. Grrr.
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:14 PM   #29
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

I read somewhere, probably on this forum...

If your technique is not working. It is never ukes fault. Look more closely at your technique and find out why.

If he is able to reverse you then you must have left an opening. Find it and close it.

I usually ask my partners to reverse me, if they can, specifically so I can find those holes. To me a big guy like this would be a goldmine of opportunity to learn not to rely on strength or pain compliance.

People that tend to be harder to move can really teach you a lot if you look at training with them as an opportunity to learn rather than an irritation.
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Old 07-02-2010, 01:40 PM   #30
Aiki1
 
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Situations like this are always an opportunity to go deeper into the real principles behind the techniques, and even more important, the art itself.

Principles deal with variables like size and strength differently than technical answers do. If it happens too soon in one's practice, it isn't necessarily supportive, but if one is at certain level or stage in the training or learning process, it can be invaluable to run up against this kind of resistance etc., even if the intent is not always as clean as it could be.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 07-03-2010, 01:19 AM   #31
Michael Varin
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

I guess I'm a little surprised at how dismissive people are being about the size issue.

Weight does give someone an advantage. If they know how to use that weight the advantage is even more significant.

By the way, if you can't deal with a large uke in kihon waza, good luck dealing with a large opponent who has the intent of actually defeating you.

-Michael
"Through aiki we can feel the mind of the enemy who comes to attack and are thus able to respond immediately." - M. Mochizuki
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Old 07-03-2010, 07:13 AM   #32
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
If your technique is not working. It is never ukes fault. Look more closely at your technique and find out why.

If he is able to reverse you then you must have left an opening. Find it and close it.
Cherie is so correct. I think this is worth repeating.

Regarding the OP:

1. Have you ever thought of calling your 8th Dan Sensei over during these interchanges to show the best way of dealing with this situation?

2. As said before - without kuzushi there is no Aikido. As a Judo man you should know this. In Judo no waza is effective if kuzushi is not established and maintained throughout the execution of the waza. The same goes for Aikido - the only difference is the use of tegatana as the primary point of contact and the ma ai is different. Check your technique, are you establishing kuzushi? Are you maintaining it throughout or is it being lost somewhere?

3. I would take this person as a gift in training. By being larger and a bit difficult he is challenging you to perform at a higher level than you have been able to muster so far. If you have sound principles then his resistance should help your technique not hinder it (hence option1 above - that is a litmus test). If your body structure is not aligned with and supporting your point of contact with your partner it will be very difficult to generate kuzushi, movement or anything else.

If principles are sound static or moving does not really matter.

Use the opportunity to be even better than before.

Best
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
http://www.tntaikido.org
http://www.mushinkan.ca
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Old 07-03-2010, 08:24 AM   #33
Robb
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Michael Varin wrote: View Post
I guess I'm a little surprised at how dismissive people are being about the size issue.

Weight does give someone an advantage. If they know how to use that weight the advantage is even more significant.

By the way, if you can't deal with a large uke in kihon waza, good luck dealing with a large opponent who has the intent of actually defeating you.
Exactly. Hence the reason for the original post. I was able to defeat him using Judo because my Judo is good....it shows me my Aikido needs (much) work. I just needed to change my mindset on the approach to my waza...this situation will only make me better.
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:51 AM   #34
NagaBaba
 
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
He needs to lighten up, and co operate with you.At your level you need to train wisely not get involved in trials of strength.
I agree with Joe here. One needs to learn a lot of sophisticated skills to be able to deal with such situation. It takes few years cooperative practice.

In any case, aikido training is based on cooperation and efficiency of techniques is only marginally important byproduct of our practice.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:57 AM   #35
RED
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
OMG. Saito Morihiro who said you should practice only kihon waza until sandan?
Wow, a lot of schools don't follow that advice I'd say. I've been with teachers who were his direct students who don't even follow that advice.
Not saying it is bad advice of course, I see how useful the static practice is.

Does your school only perform from static the first 10-15 years of training? When do you incorporate realistic attacks into training?

MM
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Old 07-04-2010, 02:31 PM   #36
Flintstone
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Does your school only perform from static the first 10-15 years of training? When do you incorporate realistic attacks into training?
No, not being an Iwama stylist myself. I would say we incorporate them pretty early in our training.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDmFu5dFXGY
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:24 PM   #37
Chris Li
 
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Wow, a lot of schools don't follow that advice I'd say. I've been with teachers who were his direct students who don't even follow that advice.
Not saying it is bad advice of course, I see how useful the static practice is.

Does your school only perform from static the first 10-15 years of training? When do you incorporate realistic attacks into training?
IIRC, Saito got to sandan in around three years, which may put that quote in a different light. Even today, most university club students can get to nidan in 4 years.

Best,

Chris

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Old 07-04-2010, 04:11 PM   #38
RED
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Quote:
Alejandro Villanueva wrote: View Post
No, not being an Iwama stylist myself. I would say we incorporate them pretty early in our training.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDmFu5dFXGY
Ah, I see.

One of the Sensei's I've had the pleasure to train with was an uchi deshi of Saito during his Iwama period. He definitely did incorporate them earlier than san dan.
But what Chris said below brings light to what Saito might of meant, considering he received sandan in a much shorter time.
Sandan in my style means finished student, it takes a very long time.
They are just titles in the end I guess.

MM
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Old 07-04-2010, 05:19 PM   #39
C. David Henderson
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

All of which begs the issue. The point being that kihon practice is not for sixth kyu's and children. Try asking Alejandro a different and more pertinent question -- what does he see as the value of basic practice for, say, a sandan. I suspect the very martial techniques in the video he posted are not built on fifth-kyu kino nagare. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my guess.

Regards

David Henderson
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:21 AM   #40
ruthmc
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

I taught my class last Friday on this theme

What to do when technique fails? 99% of the time it's simply because you didn't take uke's balance.

There is a large bag of Aikido 'tools' available to us to enable us to take uke's balance, and you just have to learn what each one is and how to use it (appropriately).

I'll try to get a class synopsis onto my blog at some point soon, rather than going into depth about it here

However, IMO large folk who resist are an absolute gift, as I can try out all my Aikido tools on them and see which ones need sharpening Great fun

Ruth
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:18 PM   #41
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

+1 on that. I have the pleasure to train fairly regularly under Murashige shihan here in San Diego and more often than not his teaching involves techniques for kuzushii from static requiring the uke to resist/grab as hard as possible. While we all may agree an attack like that is neither practical/martial, the focus is on learning proper methods of kuzushii. Occasionally a nage will resort to something else, like atemi out of frustration with a really strong uke, but that's fine with me, I stick to the program. In motion things happen too fast and other factors like uke's speed/direction come into play so it's hard to build up/understand the fundamentals.

Pat

Quote:
David Yap wrote: View Post
Hi Robert,

I think you missed Marc sensei's point. Kuzushi is the key principle of aikido and many other MA. If you can do kuzushi from a static attack, then it will be almost effortless with a dynamic attack. Anyone (even smaller than you) can resist you with the prior knowledge of your intention; more so when you telegraph your intention by use of force. The point is about timing - he knows what you are about do but he doesn't know when you are going to do it unless you allow him to feel what you are doing. Your choice of a training partner is good and you should focus on finding the path of least resistance. Since you are a Shotokan guy like me, instead of an actual atemi as suggested by Marc sensei, try applying the principle of Hikite when doing wrist grabbing techniques.

Ossu

David Y
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:36 PM   #42
Conrad Gus
 
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

Out at the lake a few weekends ago, my best friend and I were goaded into a "king of the dock" competition by our kids. He is very big and strong, and I am very average. He doesn't know aikido.

During the contest, I was very wary to use any of my aikido skills, as I didn't want to dump him onto the corner of the dock (or get dumped myself). Indeed, that happened later with my son and his son and my son was bruised pretty bad -- a full sized adult would have been messed up.

So we pushed each other respectfully and his strength and size won out in the end. I think my kids were disappointed because they wanted to see the aikido instructor do some magic! I don't know what would have happened if I had gone into full aikido mode to win the contest (that even sounds weird), but I think there would have been an injury. I would have felt awful hurting my best friend and ruining our cabin getaway.

Situations on the mat are very much like this. We train cooperatively because the techniques can be very, very dangerous and we don't want to hurt each other. When someone wants to "test" me or compete with my technique, I do the same thing as when I was on the dock that day -- I let it go (whether they know it or not). I may look bad (or not), but it's a small price to pay to save them from getting hurt.

As we gain deeper insight into aikido, these situations become less frequent and less intense, to the point where we are at the level of your sensei who can still execute a technique safely against a large uke who is resisting. I have seen (and felt) this from senior teachers time and time again, so I know it is possible with continued training. I can also do it quite often against people that are only a little bit bigger than me or not resisting too much! In the meantime, struggling to force a technique to work or doing something stupid like hitting the guy is just going to create conflict in the dojo. That kind of training is not only dangerous, but also very unpleasant.

I believe O Sensei said that aikido is always life and death, not to be fooled around with. When my students show interest in "playing" or competing with each other, I try to kindly remind them of this fact.

Having said that, dedicated study of kaeshi-waza between senior students is a completely different matter. I think most people would easily grasp the difference in tone and intention between the two situations. At 5th kyu I think your sensei should tell the big guy that he needs to develop sensitive ukemi. Remember, no matter how big you are there is always someone bigger.
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:09 AM   #43
Benjamin Mehner
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Re: Larger/stronger opponent

This whole thing reminds me of something I heard from a music teacher once. "Speed is the last ingredient." To me this means we should take it slow and easy until we know well enough. Don't know if that helps at all.

Let silence be my mantra.
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