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Old 03-10-2011, 11:07 AM   #26
Alex Megann
Dojo: Southampton Aikikai
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
Forgive, but I have to read the thread later. Here, though, is some more stuff I've been thinking about:

Check out these videos and see how many times, if any, the uke fall the same way...? It seems to me that they fall differently every time. It might seem like a small detail, but I see it as a big pointer. It points to the forms being alive.

Granted, ukemi is a trained response, and much is learned about the art through uke's role, and undoubtedly kihon waza can be considered a paired form, but my opinion is that it should still be a living thing, and as such, it should be subject to the infinite variety that is the hallmark of life.

What we see instead, more and more, is a paired collusion, one were a silent deal is made, wherein nage agrees to employ architectures that allow uke to do their beautiful ukemi over and over again (the same way!), as uke agrees to allow nage to do their loose and open architectures over and over again. The result is so cosmetic, so sterile, so artificial.

All spontaneity is gone for the sake of having open hakama fly through the air. In an art where Takemusu Aiki is held up as an ideal, and in a practice where spontaneous training and/or live training environments is used less and less today, it would seem that this collusion in the name of beauty is the last nail in the coffin for Aikido.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxHIR...&tracker=False

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7Cfp...&tracker=False

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-dYF...&tracker=False
David,

I apologise for starting to hijack your thread...

Thanks for pointing us to those wonderful clips. Your point is very well made - ukemi should be an honest reaction to the technique that is happening right now.

Alex
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Old 03-10-2011, 11:39 AM   #27
sakumeikan
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Attilio Anthony John Wagstaffe wrote: View Post
According to most of the attacks I see in aikido, not only would you be a Dutchman Joe, but Italian, Spanish, Greek, German, and dare we say it "English"?....
Tony,
Just to put the record straight I am from Glasgow originally!! Call me a Zulu, Pygmy , Mongolian , Innuit , anything other than an Englishman! Cheers, Joe .
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:00 PM   #28
john.burn
 
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Re: Beautiful Uke

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Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
Nope. It looks like stylized ukemi.
Have to agree, when I'm on a course I can usually spot the Birankai and UKA guys a mile off - not saying there's anything wrong with their ukemi, but it is very stylized and mostly they all move the same way no matter their size.

And before this degenerates further, it's merely an observation. Some, but not all of the people in my own club fall the way I do, it works for me and my body, if their build is close to mine it works, if it's not, it doesn't and they find their own way.

Best Regards,
John

www.chishindojo.co.uk
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:34 PM   #29
Hellis
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Tony,
Just to put the record straight I am from Glasgow originally!! Call me a Zulu, Pygmy , Mongolian , Innuit , anything other than an Englishman! Cheers, Joe .
Now Now Joe

All those nationalities, Tony could have been real bitchy and called you ``British `` now that covers just about everything, does it not.?..

Henry Ellis
British Aikido History
www.british-aikido.com
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:49 PM   #30
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Henry Ellis wrote: View Post
Now Now Joe

All those nationalities, Tony could have been real bitchy and called you ``British `` now that covers just about everything, does it not.?..

Henry Ellis
British Aikido History
www.british-aikido.com
Ha! thought that would get Joe's eye..... oooochh eye

Sorry Joe....... Scotts person....
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:56 PM   #31
Ketsan
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Re: Beautiful Uke

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Mark Freeman wrote: View Post
Hi Alex,

I guess I am not sure about your definition of 'highly responsive' it sounds like you are describing 'overly responsive' especially if they are throwing themselves without any imput from you. I know personally I want to feel that I have had at least something to do with their fall/roll

And about them getting hurt, what is it they or you do for that to happen, just curious. Are they unable to ukemi correctly to escape the technique or is the technique being 'over' applied?

I must get out more and experience some of this

I have had students who have come to me from different styles and they haven't been taught to 'follow' the technique in the way that we have. They are pretty immobile, and difficult for the lower grade students to cope with. However, once you know what you are doing they are easily dealt with too.

My guess is that we train in different ways to try and reach a similar end goal.

regards

Mark
By highly responsive I mean they stick to you like glue and move with you allowing you to do things that you couldn't possibly do without their assistance. For instance if they attack morote dori they'll allow you and in fact help you to pick themselves up so that you don't have to cut forward with the elbow; you can just pick your hand up and somehow they end up wobbling about on tip toe despite being six inches taller than you.

Or say if you make ikkyo you can make them do the rabbits foot or pecking hen thing. You know you can bounce them up and down and either they thump the mat with their rear foot much like an alarmed rabbit or they kinda bob around like a hen pecking at the floor occasionally slapping it when all they need really do is either put their hand or foot down. With a little practice you can choose which one they do and move between them.

It's often in these kinds of positions where they're most vulnerable to serious heapage. They're too busy pecking, thumping or wobbling to react to what you're doing.
With this type of ukemi the taisabaki tends also to be massive which gives uke time to step somewhere and then throw themselves clear. Literally from wobbling about on tip toes they then step back and throw themselves into a break fall.

The way I've been taught to do technique is more about small, tight, efficent taisabaki and depending on the grade your at, lots of hips with less hips and more witchcraft as you get more advanced. It's all about breaking balance on contact and I know everyone will now say "but that's true of all Aikido" and I would suggest that anyone standing on tip toes or hopping around on one foot i.e placing the minumum surface area possible on the mat without falling over has not had their balance broken.

Well if you dump hips that are used to moving around people much bigger than you and that don't want to be moved into someone standing on tip toes without giving them warning of what's coming via massive taisabaki they're going to be collecting air miles. Where as one of our guys literally falls into a ball and rolls they kinda stretch out trying to get back on balance or worse they try to step back into it while flying backwards.
Usually the first bit of them that hits the mat is their upper back and their legs don't stop moving until their feet are touching the mat.

Same same if a guy is hopping around doing the funky chicken and you catch him in the right part of his bounce you end up whipping him into the mat and the middle of next week.
If anyone's done TKD it's just like when you time their bounce just right and then kick their legs out from under them.

The other danger is when uke makes tenkan to face tori like on something like tenchi nage. In most dojo uke with this ukemi come around of their own free will, in our dojo we whip them round with our hips in a movement I call "stiring the cauldron".
So whereas our guys stand there and are brought round beautiful ukes only add to the whipping motion and the come around somewhat faster than they're used to and usually they just slip over or they gain air miles that they weren't expecting.
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:46 PM   #32
Insane Duane
 
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Re: Beautiful Uke

This is a great topic! I have seen many "trained seals" at various dojos. I think this is detrimental to the nage. How am I to know if I am doing the technique properly if the uke is in "auto ukeme" mode? Sure, resisting a properly done technique will be detrimental to your joints but that doesn't mean you should stop your attack! When training with advance aikidoka I give an honest attack and expect the same. If I feel an opening I take it so the nage will learn. It's not about ego, it's about leaning. If I leave an opening in one of my techniques I want to know about it while I'm on the mat, not on the street.

I understand what Alex was talking about. Sure, there will never be a "normal" attack on the mat because of our training BUT there could still be some semblance of realism. I have found that it comes down to the dojo. The ones that focus on the self defense (martial) aspect usually don't have "trained seals" (i.e. going through the motions) and are more alive due to honest attacks.

One last note: Some one mentioned reversals. I have found that most techniques that allow you to reverse it are not done properly. I have seen shihonage done where it was very easy to reverse/stop it from happening and when done differently (properly in my opinion) prevents this from happening. Of course if you know what is coming you could be a "bad" uke and prevent him from doing a particular technique.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:35 PM   #33
JO
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Interestingly, I just had a discussion on this topic with someone who commented on my nidan exam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2ktVfruPnQ

He felt I wasn't blending enough and sent me this link, in a private message, to give me an idea of what he meant by good blending:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ4Lqc6K97Q

My response was to point out that one of the big differences between the exams, was the behaviour of the ukes. In his example, the techniques are nice and smooth but uke is doing half the work. In my exam, the ukes are still attacking cooperatively, but there is much more weight behind their attacks and I even have to change up techniques when they refuse to just fall over.

On a seperate note, one should be careful of idealizing "real" attacks or ukemi as if this meant anything. I often deal with people who give an untrained response, their called beginners and tend to fall like stiff boards, though there are exceptions. People from other "throwing/takedown" oriented arts like judo have their own training, but it could also be considered stylized. One thing I'll say about judoka though is that they tend to be quite good at not falling. I mean, what is considered a good fall in aikido is an instant loss in a judo match.

What I try to work on is not giving up your center, make nage work for it. I spent much of Wednesday night showing beginners not to fall over when giving a shomen strike, but to be ready and in a position to strike again. Why is this so hard a concept for newbies to catch. And why is it that even beginners with some prior training in striking arts still give the stiff, leave the arm hanging there strikes. You'd think they would try give us the benefit of their experience. Need to find some people with boxing experience, they're usually less inclined to be overly cooperative (I speak from having a sister that used to do kickboxing and something her club called streetwise jiu jitsu).

I try to maintain my center and keep myself in a position to counter-attack, whetherr or not I do depends on who I'm training with and the type of training (basic waza vs jiyu waza). But I rarely go through a turn with someone without showing them a few holes in their technique, even in basic waza. I'm working on getting my partners to do the same back to me. But some stubbornly keep jumping over my back in koshi nage or continuing with the ukemi even after I have stopped moving. Still not sure why.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 03-11-2011, 01:39 AM   #34
sakumeikan
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
For all we know, David can be refering to those who take ukemi to Chiba or maybe Isoyama sensei.

To my eye it seems that "Chiba-stylists" also take a very distinct kind of ukemi.
As a Chiba Sensei student for over 40 years the reason behind the method of ukemi used in Birankai is one of safety.Uke is encouraged to keep chin tucked in [this protects the head ].The legs are kept straight , together and up in the air, thus protecting the spine in particular the base. We also keep our eyess /attention at all times on our partner.A form of Zanshin training. We do not believe in a ukemi that includes a Uke rolling directly over his/her head.If this type of ukemi is done , one cannot see the partner for a split second.It can also be dangerous inasmuch that injury can occur if someone fall
s or is thrown on top of the other person doing a rolling rear ukemi. in particular on a crowded mat.Regarding Ukemi , we are encouraged
to full absorb the waza of the partner, use the ukemi as body conditioning, before hitting the deck.In this way the spine , joints get a good workout.We do not collapse while taking ukemi.We try and keep contact and stick to our partner until there is a total breaking of posture ,then and only then should ukemi take place .
Cheers, Joe.
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:16 AM   #35
Eva Antonia
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Hi all,

why being so severe on "colluding ukes with flying hakamas"?
From time to time people can do aikido not only to improve their martial efficiency but also to have pure and simple physical fun. Flying some meters after a well applied sumi otoshi or kote gaeshi and landing on your feet to immediately re-attack is something that just makes you happy and daydream about it five days later.

So if ukes do sometimes but not always exaggerate their responsiveness just for the bliss of flying, that shouldn't be a nail in aikido's coffin.

You don't go to church only to pray, but also to sing!

Best regards,

Eva
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Old 03-11-2011, 03:35 AM   #36
grondahl
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Thanks for the long answer. I must point out that I never questioned the functionality of "Chiba-style" ukemi, I just used it as a example that it isn´t just the very soft fluffy dance-like aikido that has stylized ukemi. And that "tanking" uke probaby exists in all lineages.

I must confess that I have taken beutiful ukemi instead of the real deal several times in my aikido training. Mostly because I was focusing on developing certain aspects of my ukemi. Lets just say that I have done alot more high falls than I have been thrown.

I have for instance taken high falls from kotegaeshi, and we all know that it´s impossible to throw someone in that way from a kotegaeshi.

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
As a Chiba Sensei student for over 40 years the reason behind the method of ukemi used in Birankai is one of safety.Uke is encouraged to keep chin tucked in [this protects the head ].The legs are kept straight , together and up in the air, thus protecting the spine in particular the base. We also keep our eyess /attention at all times on our partner.A form of Zanshin training. We do not believe in a ukemi that includes a Uke rolling directly over his/her head.If this type of ukemi is done , one cannot see the partner for a split second.It can also be dangerous inasmuch that injury can occur if someone fall
s or is thrown on top of the other person doing a rolling rear ukemi. in particular on a crowded mat.Regarding Ukemi , we are encouraged
to full absorb the waza of the partner, use the ukemi as body conditioning, before hitting the deck.In this way the spine , joints get a good workout.We do not collapse while taking ukemi.We try and keep contact and stick to our partner until there is a total breaking of posture ,then and only then should ukemi take place .
Cheers, Joe.

Last edited by grondahl : 03-11-2011 at 03:41 AM.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:51 AM   #37
JO
Dojo: Aikikai de l'Université Laval
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
I have for instance taken high falls from kotegaeshi, and we all know that it´s impossible to throw someone in that way from a kotegaeshi.
I disagree. A breakfall can be the safest ukemi for kotegaeshi, especially if you press forward as the attacker and try to come around and swing at nage. In such a case it can take too much time to fall back if the kote gaeshi is done quickly and then your wrist takes all the force. It is rather rare that I feel the need to fall that way on kotegaeshi, but with some nages it really is the way to best protect my wrist.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:21 AM   #38
grondahl
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Many times high falls are easier than rolls but I still don´t think that tobu ukemi can be faster than just dropping straight down (ie a short breakfall).
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Old 03-11-2011, 06:35 AM   #39
Flintstone
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Peter Gröndahl wrote: View Post
Many times high falls are easier than rolls but I still don´t think that tobu ukemi can be faster than just dropping straight down (ie a short breakfall).
Agreed. Fastest (and safest) ukemi from kotegaeshi is a fast drop down.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:12 AM   #40
OwlMatt
 
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Alex Megann wrote: View Post
You mean this kind of thing?

I have the highest regard for Takeda Sensei, but I understand that in his school (Aikido Kenkyukai) ukes are encouraged to be extremely responsive, for better or for worse. In this clip, at least, I see lots of beautiful flying through the air, but a shortage of actual attacks that you would have to get out of the way of...

Alex
Uke are supposed to be responsive. What they are not supposed to do is defeat themselves, and that what it looks like they are doing here. You can see moments (like the fall taken at 1:16) where the uke appears to be falling on purpose in a way that is not at all responsive to the technique being applied.

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Old 03-11-2011, 08:38 AM   #41
senshincenter
 
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Re: Beautiful Uke

I understand where you all are coming from. Those things you mention are also things I am not a fan of. However, while those things may be related, I'm trying to point out something different. I'm looking at the absence of variety, a variety which on its own tells you something is a alive - as its absence tells you something is dead.

I'm suggesting everyone burn their copy of Donavon Waite's "Ukemi," and start allowing what's happening to happen (or, to acknowledge/expose that nothing is happening).

David M. Valadez
Visit our web site for articles and videos. Senshin Center - A Place for Traditional Martial Arts in Santa Barbara.
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:45 AM   #42
grondahl
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Do you think that this variety always should be present?
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:46 AM   #43
Tony Wagstaffe
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
As a Chiba Sensei student for over 40 years the reason behind the method of ukemi used in Birankai is one of safety.Uke is encouraged to keep chin tucked in [this protects the head ].The legs are kept straight , together and up in the air, thus protecting the spine in particular the base. We also keep our eyess /attention at all times on our partner.A form of Zanshin training. We do not believe in a ukemi that includes a Uke rolling directly over his/her head.If this type of ukemi is done , one cannot see the partner for a split second.It can also be dangerous inasmuch that injury can occur if someone fall
s or is thrown on top of the other person doing a rolling rear ukemi. in particular on a crowded mat.Regarding Ukemi , we are encouraged
to full absorb the waza of the partner, use the ukemi as body conditioning, before hitting the deck.In this way the spine , joints get a good workout.We do not collapse while taking ukemi.We try and keep contact and stick to our partner until there is a total breaking of posture ,then and only then should ukemi take place .
Cheers, Joe.
I would very much concur with that statement Joe!! I have always thought ukemi is to escape possible injury, not to make nage or tori to look good. I understand ukemi is to receive the waza not anticipate it with acrobatics.....
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Old 03-11-2011, 08:52 AM   #44
phitruong
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Re: Beautiful Uke

i think that many aikido practices use ukemi as a way to save oneself to folks train to a point of built-in instinct; thus, you see the same sort of ukemi over and over. however, if you train ukemi as a way not only to save oneself, but a countering throw, similar to sutemi, then things would look different depends on the situation and energy given.

incidentally, from my point of view, unattractive ukes (you know who you are) raise no feeling of love and harmony with me.
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:03 AM   #45
grondahl
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Building on Phi´s post.

I train in Iwama-style. We like to slam each other to the tatami as much as the next guy, but training hard with powerful throws tend to teach uke to escape pain and injury more as Pavlov´s dogs rather than an alive response. It can become a problem in jiyuwaza and kaeshiwaza-practice.
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Old 03-11-2011, 09:14 AM   #46
Tenyu
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Re: Beautiful Uke

David V,

How often do you devote class time to freestyle simultaneously for both nage and uke? I know having beginners isn't conducive to it but having a separate advanced class could help facilitate that.
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Old 03-11-2011, 10:36 AM   #47
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Eva Röben wrote: View Post
You don't go to church only to pray, but also to sing!
This. Big flying ukemi is one of the things that makes aikido unique and enjoyable. Why not appreciate it while you're physically able?

More prosaically, if you never practice the big falls, then you'll be in a lot of trouble if you encounter a situation that requires one.

My own view is that uke should, as my teacher puts it, respond, but not amplify. Refusing to budge when your face is being mashed by someone's arm is just as unrealistic as flying halfway across the dojo at the lightest touch.

Katherine
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:12 AM   #48
JO
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
This. Big flying ukemi is one of the things that makes aikido unique and enjoyable. Why not appreciate it while you're physically able?

More prosaically, if you never practice the big falls, then you'll be in a lot of trouble if you encounter a situation that requires one.

My own view is that uke should, as my teacher puts it, respond, but not amplify. Refusing to budge when your face is being mashed by someone's arm is just as unrealistic as flying halfway across the dojo at the lightest touch.

Katherine
I am in Kanai sensei's lineage. I love big flying ukemi. It's just that I like it as a response to a powerful throw. Nage should make me fly, my job is to survive the landing.

The proper response to an arm coming to your face is to duck under it or sidestep it, or as I often do, simply block it with my arm. For a big aerial ukemi, nage's going to have to connect to my center and move all of me, not just scare me.

I don't like throws based on fear. Though I sometimes take that kind of ukemi as self preservation. But that kind of aikido doesn't impress me.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 03-11-2011, 11:17 AM   #49
JO
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
David Valadez wrote: View Post
I understand where you all are coming from. Those things you mention are also things I am not a fan of. However, while those things may be related, I'm trying to point out something different. I'm looking at the absence of variety, a variety which on its own tells you something is a alive - as its absence tells you something is dead.

I'm suggesting everyone burn their copy of Donavon Waite's "Ukemi," and start allowing what's happening to happen (or, to acknowledge/expose that nothing is happening).
Do you have an example of dead ukemi. What is your opinion of that 3rd kyu test I put a link to.

Variety might mean aliveness, but might also mean overreaction to nage's every little move. Responsiveness can be overdone, and is a greater threat to aikido's quality in my opinion.

Jonathan Olson
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:23 PM   #50
Insane Duane
 
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Re: Beautiful Uke

Quote:
Jonathan Olson wrote: View Post
Interestingly, I just had a discussion on this topic with someone who commented on my nidan exam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2ktVfruPnQ
First, congtats on receiving your nidan rank. I Received mine on Dec 2010. A couple points on this video (from my opinionated perspective). You appear to be stiff and rely on strength vs technique. Testing anxiety? I get it until I'm too tired to care (which is when the testing truly begins). I also noticed some ukes leaving there arms extended after a punch and also stopping after the initial attack waiting for you to do the technique. There also seems to be a lack of intensity in the ukes' attacks, especially considering you are testing for a Dan rank. You also seem to ignore the ukes until one engages you (which caused you to be startled when attacked by two ukes. This is probably due to the way the testing was set up (all the ukes where in your maai almost the whole time which would be typical in a randori vs one on one attack scenario)).

Quote:
He felt I wasn't blending enough and sent me this link, in a private message, to give me an idea of what he meant by good blending:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ4Lqc6K97Q
In this video the test appeared to be very formal with a very stringent way of doing things (attacks are almost identical every time). It looked great but in my opinion this could be a disservice to the nage in a street fight scenario since everyone attacks differently. I prefer a more ruff and tumble type of training then picture perfect training.

Quote:
My response was to point out that one of the big differences between the exams, was the behaviour of the ukes. In his example, the techniques are nice and smooth but uke is doing half the work
I agree

One last note: Be careful with your ponytail. I had one and it was used against me on many occasions. I finally cut my hair short and I have been enjoying the freedom for many years.
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