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Old 12-16-2010, 06:38 PM   #1
aikidoaddict
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Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:51 PM   #2
kewms
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Just know that the other person will judge *your* aikido by how you grab them.

Katherine
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:44 PM   #3
Ketsan
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.
My teacher gets the biggest guy in the dojo (and it's a dojo of big guys) and gets him to attack my morote dori and I have to move him while he's trying to stop me moving and I have to move him in such a way that uke feels nothing.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:17 AM   #4
Abasan
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

and if you can't grab that sensei no matter how hard you try, you're on to something special.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 12-20-2010, 02:37 PM   #5
Mark Freeman
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.
Hi Paul,

although I like the thrust of your post, there is one point I can't agree with and that is the 'grab someones wrist tight' part. It doesn't matter what move is performed, post grab. It is the tightness part I have the issue with. When you grab with tightness, there is tension, where there is tension there is no relaxation. It is just too easy to move someone who is tense. This is quite a complex issue as some styles practice with much more 'force' than others, some go for full resistance and some for full compliance and all points in between.

In my own experience, a uke that uses strength to grab, does not have the required freedom to follow with non resistance in a completely on balance way. It is the lack of sensitivity to every subtle movement that makes them prone to be easily moved.

A uke that holds with relaxation, with their centre in their hand/s, full intent on the objective and a completley free to move body, is a completely different animal than the 'tight grabber'. find one of those to test yourself against, they are very easy to move if the principles of aikido are followed and almost impossible to throw if they are not.

Personally, I think it is a difficult job for a beginner to gauge the level of a teacher. If the teacher has any resonable level of aikido, they should be able to deal with a beginners grip.

Anyway, you are right about the basics needing to be right, I'd much rather spend time looking deep into them than building an arsenal of flashy techniques.

I'm not sure about aikido having 'secrets' though, there are things that some don't know (yet) and there are things that some don't see even if it is there to see, but secrets? who is holding on to them?

regards,

Mark

Success is having what you want. Happiness is wanting what you have.
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:52 AM   #6
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

An uke that holds relaxed is like my son, daughter or wife holding my hand. There is no intent, and with no intent there is no need to protect yourself. There must be action to cause reaction. A parked car poses no danger, yet a moving one does.
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:54 AM   #7
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

I do believe that Aikido does hold "secrets". Why else do we train and struggle all our lives to unfold the mystery of it all?
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:55 AM   #8
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

We do not need to agree on anything except our fascination and passion for Aikido. It is many things to many people, enjoy the journey and evolve. Good luck all.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:59 AM   #9
David Yap
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Just know that the other person will judge *your* aikido by how you grab them.

Katherine
Hi Katherine,

IMO, it is other way round - the other person will judge your aikido by how you react to his/her grab or attack.

Regards

David Y
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:29 AM   #10
Anjisan
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Ai symbol Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
An uke that holds relaxed is like my son, daughter or wife holding my hand. There is no intent, and with no intent there is no need to protect yourself. There must be action to cause reaction. A parked car poses no danger, yet a moving one does.
I agree. One of the things overall, that seems to get neglected in most Aikido training is the role of the Uke. Specifically, not only staying connected and "in the moment" with Nage so that reversals are possible, but also "Martial Intent" or in a way "Malicious intent" in an acting sort of way. Many Aikidoka, especially if that is the only art that they have ever known--in my experience--have a more difficult time playing the role of a good attacker- who means to do harm (safely of course--but true to form). The attacker by their very nature is by definition not coming to the interaction from the same frame of reference as the Nage. To not keep that in mind, in my opinion does a disservice to Nage's training.

Moreover, I always tell my fellow Aikidoka, especially new students and the class when I am privileged to have a captive audience when I teach, is to explore the role of Uke a fully a possible ( that may mean being open to breakfalls if appropriate of if Nage wants to work on them, having vigor in ones attack, looking for a second opportunity to attack during the interaction to avoid the "one and done Aikido mindset, etc) in every way, every time one is on the mat. Because father time will rob you of you ability to take the type of ukemi that you want to take or is required long before he touches your waza. The sands keep running though the hourglass.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:46 AM   #11
kewms
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
David Yap wrote: View Post
Hi Katherine,

IMO, it is other way round - the other person will judge your aikido by how you react to his/her grab or attack.

Regards

David Y
Both are true. The person grabbing will judge nage by their response to the grab. That was the OP's point.

My point is that the person being grabbed will also judge uke by the nature of their grab. Often people who feel the need to "test" someone in this way don't realize how much they are revealing about themselves.

Katherine
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:50 AM   #12
kewms
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
An uke that holds relaxed is like my son, daughter or wife holding my hand. There is no intent, and with no intent there is no need to protect yourself. There must be action to cause reaction. A parked car poses no danger, yet a moving one does.
A parked car with poor brakes on a hill poses a great deal of potential danger.

If there is no intent, there is no attack, and no need (or opportunity) for aikido practice.

But "intent" and "relaxation" are not opposites. A relaxed grab can still contain a great deal of intent, and in fact contains a great deal more potential danger than a strong, rigid one.

Katherine
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Old 12-24-2010, 02:50 PM   #13
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
An uke that holds relaxed is like my son, daughter or wife holding my hand. There is no intent, and with no intent there is no need to protect yourself. There must be action to cause reaction. A parked car poses no danger, yet a moving one does.
I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean regarding holding in a relaxed way. Would you be willing to explain a bit more?
My understanding is that relaxed grips like that of a baby, for example, are ideal because they allow for greater diversity of pathways for the intent to manifest through. I would agree simply standing there holding onto someone without any further intent isn't very good...if anything, it seems to invite a strike to the grabbing hand so nage has less dead weight attached to the arm/wrist.
A parked anything poses little danger unless it somehow has greater inertia and you smack into it. And once you've smacked into it, better hope it doen't start rolling on top of you or, still connected, move you somewhere you don't want to go.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 12-25-2010, 10:29 AM   #14
RED
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Here's a great way to test the ability of a student: train with them as you would anyone else. What's up with the trickery? And why would some one who's not the Sensei have any right to judge the progress of a beginner?

MM
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Old 12-25-2010, 10:39 AM   #15
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

A parked car poses a lot of danger if there's a bomb inside it..

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:40 PM   #16
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Alex Lawrence wrote: View Post
My teacher gets the biggest guy in the dojo (and it's a dojo of big guys) and gets him to attack my morote dori and I have to move him while he's trying to stop me moving and I have to move him in such a way that uke feels nothing.
Do not give up, keep working it and eventually it will happen.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:42 PM   #17
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Maggie Schill wrote: View Post
Here's a great way to test the ability of a student: train with them as you would anyone else. What's up with the trickery? And why would some one who's not the Sensei have any right to judge the progress of a beginner?
In life we humans do this everyday.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:43 PM   #18
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Inocencio Maramba wrote: View Post
A parked car poses a lot of danger if there's a bomb inside it..
Yes, even a parked car can be dangerous. Well done, good point.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:46 PM   #19
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I'm not sure I understand exactly what you mean regarding holding in a relaxed way. Would you be willing to explain a bit more?
My understanding is that relaxed grips like that of a baby, for example, are ideal because they allow for greater diversity of pathways for the intent to manifest through. I would agree simply standing there holding onto someone without any further intent isn't very good...if anything, it seems to invite a strike to the grabbing hand so nage has less dead weight attached to the arm/wrist.
A parked anything poses little danger unless it somehow has greater inertia and you smack into it. And once you've smacked into it, better hope it doen't start rolling on top of you or, still connected, move you somewhere you don't want to go.
I look forward to the day that a real attacker on the street will hold you in a relaxed way. That method may apply in the dojo to assist you with practice, but I have never seen or heard of this happening on the street, or in real life. Good luck to you.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:49 PM   #20
aikidoaddict
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
An easy non-aggressive way to test yours and others level of ability, understanding, and knowledge of Aikido.
Just grab someone's wrist tight and have them perform Irimi Tenkan. If they are able to do this quite easily with no force, without trying to hit or distract you, then they have a good level of knowledge and understanding. If it is difficult, then more work is obviously required.
You can use this small simple test throughout your Aikido journey to gauge yours and others level of improvement (or lack of).
This is also a very good way to assist in finding a good teacher as well, just ask if it is OK first. Any decent teacher will just smile and offer both wrists to you, so you can choose which one to grab.
I strongly believe that the "Secrets of Aikido" are in the basics.
Do not make the mistake of rushing past the basics to try and obtain all those flashy techniques.
If your basics are weak, then so shall your Aikido be.
Enjoy the journey.
I am very interested in how this comment of mine has produced many various and interesting thoughts and opinions. Keep it up, and well done.
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Old 12-25-2010, 08:53 PM   #21
RED
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

People internally make judgments about each other everyday, every moment. We gauge our world in this way. However, a student to go out with the intent to test his fellow class mate; IMO they are over stepping their boundaries. The teacher is the one with the experience and the credentials(at least she/he should have) to be putting tests upon their students. I truly feel deshi are over stepping their bounds to be testing their fellow students openly or intentionally. IMO, it goes into the category of; work on your issues before seeking out the issues in others.
For the student being "tested" by their fellow student I guess see it as a blessing that some one is "testing" you. Because, not only are YOU working on your issues, but your partner is too...all the training for you, and none for them! lol

MM
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Old 12-25-2010, 10:55 PM   #22
David Yap
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Both are true. The person grabbing will judge nage by their response to the grab. That was the OP's point.

My point is that the person being grabbed will also judge uke by the nature of their grab. Often people who feel the need to "test" someone in this way don't realize how much they are revealing about themselves.

Katherine
Hi Katherine,

There is a difference between a honest/sincere attack and an attack that is intended to "test" the nage. I had been chided by past senior instructors for "pussy" attacks and taking "charity falls" and had been also chided for "attacking wrongly" by the same people when I was unable to collude with them. Ironic, isn't it?

David Y
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Old 12-26-2010, 12:00 AM   #23
kewms
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
I look forward to the day that a real attacker on the street will hold you in a relaxed way. That method may apply in the dojo to assist you with practice, but I have never seen or heard of this happening on the street, or in real life. Good luck to you.
I think you and I have different understandings of "relaxed grab."

The relaxed grab that my teacher demonstrates would be very unpleasant indeed to encounter "on the street."

Katherine
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Old 12-26-2010, 12:42 AM   #24
Janet Rosen
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

The "death grip" some people have used on me to try to "test" my ability to do tai no henko is neither how it would be " on the street" ( where grabbing my wrist in itself would serve no purpose; it only makes sense as an intro to some form of dynamic movement to do something to me) nor martially is it an effective aikido attack because it doesn't connect to my center or affect my structure. A properly "relaxed" grab with intent is an attack on my center AND gives me something to respond to.
Maggie, I also agree with your point. When I'm in class, I'm trying to follow what my instructor is demonstrating AND work on what is my particular issue - I try to be respectful that my partner likely has his own issue and we should not presume to impose our personal training goals or interests on our partners.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 12-26-2010, 02:23 AM   #25
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Non-aggressive way to test ability and level of understanding.

Quote:
Paul Araki-Metcalfe wrote: View Post
I look forward to the day that a real attacker on the street will hold you in a relaxed way. That method may apply in the dojo to assist you with practice, but I have never seen or heard of this happening on the street, or in real life. Good luck to you.
We might have some difference in meanings when we describe relaxed holds. I also said I wasn't sure I understood you correctly. That was why I asked for you to elaborate. I gave an example I commonly think of as good pound-for-pound grabbing power. I think a powerful grip/hold can be pretty relaxed, relatively speaking.
Given your counter example of "real" holds, I could always be wrong, however I don't think my view is unrealistic because I also have experience (relatively slight though it is) with people who have been successful in "da street" with their fighting.
Let me be clear, I'm no bad-ass (if anything I spent time avoiding such efforts), but I'm not completely ignorant in these matters either.

Last edited by mathewjgano : 12-26-2010 at 02:37 AM.

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