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Old 11-25-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
dapidmini
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do a technique or flow into one?

I heard that we aren't supposed to DO a technique, but we FLOW into one.. but many times when training, I as a beginner, find myself in a position unsuitable to do the technique Sensei is teaching. I wanna know what you do when that happens (if ever), would you flow into a different technique or stops and start from the beginning? or is it just me??
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:05 AM   #2
kewms
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I heard that we aren't supposed to DO a technique, but we FLOW into one.. but many times when training, I as a beginner, find myself in a position unsuitable to do the technique Sensei is teaching. I wanna know what you do when that happens (if ever), would you flow into a different technique or stops and start from the beginning? or is it just me??
As a more advanced student, it would be a good idea to do something else. You don't want to be in the habit of giving up and starting over.

As a beginner, though, your repertoire of alternatives is somewhat limited, plus you need to learn how to get into the right position for a given technique. So you might need to start over. But I'd suggest asking your teacher for his advice: it might also depend on what he is trying to teach at any given time.

Katherine
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:28 AM   #3
Shadowfax
 
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

When you are a beginner your uke should be giving you an attack that allows you to work on the technique that has been specified by your teacher. Later on down the road in your training you get to start exploring and sometimes if the situation indicates that the technique you are supposed to be working on won't work you find the one that will.

But yes the goal is to get to the place where you are not doing aikido to your partner but that the aikido just naturally happens as you blend with the attack. I'm just at the point of starting to really explore that area of training myself.
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:02 PM   #4
Mario Tobias
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

just my theory.

If you get stuck into a technique, you can still try making it successful by finding another line of attack or line of weakness from uke. We also have omote and ura versions of a technique. But you will find later on that omote and ura although "pure" in kihon waza can be mixed dynamically in a single technique depending on your situation. If you get stuck, do not force the technique, try finding another line, make adjustments and do the opposite version. The body, although strong is several directions is weak in several others. The fun is in trying to find these lines of weakness.

also as chiba sensei said, in any technique you need to answer 3 Ws: when, where and what. The 1st W when is the most important while What is the least important. The technique that you do doesn't actually matter (as long as it works). "When" is the timing, entry aspect: : "where" is your distance, position relative to uke: "what" is the actual technique.

You need to address the 1st 2 Ws first in order to make a specific technique successful. If not it wont work. Depending on the 1st 2 aspects, a technique is more natural to do than another so why force a more unnatural technique than the more natural one.

But if you really want to make a predetermined technique work, answer the when and where first, make adjustments and practice, practice, practice. A lot of people make mistakes in just standing there when they get stuck and trying to make the technique work. it wont. You need to adjust and move!

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 11-25-2011 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
lbb
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I heard that we aren't supposed to DO a technique, but we FLOW into one.. but many times when training, I as a beginner, find myself in a position unsuitable to do the technique Sensei is teaching. I wanna know what you do when that happens (if ever), would you flow into a different technique or stops and start from the beginning? or is it just me??
Semantics. What one person means by "FLOW into" a technique is not what another person means by it. Don't get caught up in semantics like this that are prone to interpretation. Use clear, unambiguous terms, and ask others to do the same when explaining things to you. I'd argue that it is what people at any level need, but as a beginner, it's a necessity.
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:01 PM   #6
robin_jet_alt
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Semantics. What one person means by "FLOW into" a technique is not what another person means by it. Don't get caught up in semantics like this that are prone to interpretation. Use clear, unambiguous terms, and ask others to do the same when explaining things to you. I'd argue that it is what people at any level need, but as a beginner, it's a necessity.
I couldn't agree more. Pure semantics.

In terms of when you should change your technique into something else, yes, you should be able to do this to match the situation eventually, but as a relative beginner, this is a bit unrealistic. If you find that your partner is spoiling your technique by ending up in a position that makes it difficult to practice, maybe you could have a word with them and get them to help you practice the technique that sensei demonstrated.
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:50 PM   #7
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I heard that we aren't supposed to DO a technique, but we FLOW into one.. but many times when training, I as a beginner, find myself in a position unsuitable to do the technique Sensei is teaching. I wanna know what you do when that happens (if ever), would you flow into a different technique or stops and start from the beginning?
I've done both, but it depends on the situation. If as nage I'm trying to show how an attack by kohai is a little off in one direction or another, then I will do something different as an example of what feels more natural. Whenever training with sempai I stick to the form we're working on, which often means starting over from the beginning (focusing particularly on the moment of contact since theoretically i should be able to move in nearly any way from that point onward; that's the point from which i should have enough control to move how I want - i.e. do the waza selected). Sempai uke tend to correct me as I go so each moment in the sequence is based on a more or less sound understanding of the one just before it. Usually they'll stop to point something out, but then let me try working on it a few times before stopping again. It depends though. When the point is to practice flow, we tend to stop less; when the point is to practice something more technical, we tend to stop more to work on that idea that each sequence is predicated from adequate principles of form. Different personalities also have different approaches to how much to let me/kohai feel their way through the form of the movement. Some folks stop a lot; some not so much.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:54 PM   #8
Tim Ruijs
 
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I heard that we aren't supposed to DO a technique, but we FLOW into one.. but many times when training, I as a beginner, find myself in a position unsuitable to do the technique Sensei is teaching. I wanna know what you do when that happens (if ever), would you flow into a different technique or stops and start from the beginning? or is it just me??
The essence of Aikido practise is that eventually your are able to create the situation you want. be it for training purposes or combat survival. In the beginning this is very hard (and why many say Aikido will not be effective until after several years of practise). At first you will need to learn forms than focus on details in the technique, etc. At a later stage you start to be able to move/react freely and choose what you want to do until eventually this is second nature and you do not choose, but flow into a technique that follows naturally. I do not think it is very fruitful to flow into techniques in the beginning as many important aspects are missing or at least not properly 'tuned in' to eachother.

So in order to progress Aikido uses stylised techniques in which the roles are clear and boundaries are set. This creates a safe context in which you can practise and get comfortable. As a child you do not start out writing poetry...first you learn letters, words, sentences, meaning, etc.... Aikido is similar (as are many other things)

In a real fight:
* If you make a bad decision, you die.
* If you don't decide anything, you die.
Aikido teaches you how to decide.
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Old 11-25-2011, 03:01 PM   #9
Janet Rosen
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I heard that we aren't supposed to DO a technique, but we FLOW into one.. but many times when training, I as a beginner, find myself in a position unsuitable to do the technique Sensei is teaching. I wanna know what you do when that happens (if ever), would you flow into a different technique or stops and start from the beginning? or is it just me??
1. It's definitely not just you!!!

2. Ideally one would be able flow into another technique, however this is in most dojos NOT what is being called for during basic practice.

3. I would suggest neither starting over nor changing techniques. I would suggest pausing - maybe muttering to uke "hand on a sec, I need to make an adjustment" - identifying what needs to be changed to put yourself in a suitable position, putting yourself in the suitable position, and proceeding. Next time try to get into that position! Common position problems you can correct could include being too far away so your arms are overextended and you have no place to move, or having your center and feet aligned away from where you are actually aiming to go with uke.

Janet Rosen
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:42 AM   #10
Aikironin21
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

The answer, is ikyo! Find ikyo!

Through the teachings of all the people I have trained with, I am of the belief, Ikyo is the first technique for a reason. Look at AIkido! Even the most exerienced highest rank, still basically practices the same techniques as the newest beginner. No matter how many ranks you have promoted through, you will always practice the first one, ikyo.

I started Aikido, looking for one or two techniques, to use for self defense, to supplement, not replace, what I already learned in Kaj. I didn't pick ikyo, however, I picked sankyo, because I saw more potential for wide use in application with sankyo. After over seventeen years of training in Aikido, I learned I was wrong. I should have concentrated on Ikyo! From the humble beginnings of Ikyo, all other techniques become available. Just as someone on forum has said, the what, or technique isn't as important as the when and where. If you train, to wind up at ikyo before going on to the specific technique, you have, in a sense trained in all the techniques. When you get side tracked or lost in a technique, find ikyo, and you will be able to flow into whatever technique you are working on.

That being said, if you want your Aikido to flow, stop counting! We learn techniques in a piece by piece method, that sort of instills a 1,2,3,... pattern of performing a technique. The semantics of flow come in because you can make 1,2,3... flow or rhythmic. The problem is, Aikido, and in fact most movements in most martial arts, aren't really done in the 1,2,3,... condition, no matter how little pause you may try to put in between the steps. I try and tell people to stop thinking 1,2,3,... and maybe replace it for Go! As long as you keep thinking of your techniques in parts, your analytic mind tends to steer the ship, and your techniques will have starts and stops in them, even if very small in duration. These starts and stops or pauses breed openings, and even confusion.

We all learn our techniques in pieces and parts and then put them together. The key is, once you have learned the whole, throw away the 1,2,3,... . You don't need it anymore. If you practice your techniques from this viewpoint, your techniques will begin to flow. Add to this, the base of finding ikyo, and you will inevitably flow to ikyo when attacked, and flow to whatever technique the situation calls for from there with little or no thought at all. Isn't that what we all strive for ?

Under stress, everything is exaggerated . Seconds seem like minutes, and the subtle stop in your technique, becomes you standing there holding some guy's hand as he punches you in the face with his other hand.
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Old 11-27-2011, 02:28 PM   #11
graham christian
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Quote:
David Santana wrote: View Post
I heard that we aren't supposed to DO a technique, but we FLOW into one.. but many times when training, I as a beginner, find myself in a position unsuitable to do the technique Sensei is teaching. I wanna know what you do when that happens (if ever), would you flow into a different technique or stops and start from the beginning? or is it just me??
Sounds like you have already answered your own question.

1: Teacher showing technique.
2: You find yourself in a position unsuitable to do it.

Positioning is out. Movement is out. Forget technique, concentrate on your positioning. Ask from that viewpoint.

So obviously you don't try to do another technique, that's a cop out.

The main reason I find people do this is because they are concentrated and determined to do the technique. The technique is the end of the motion, you could say step 4. Get steps 1,2 and three right first and then , and only then, can you'flow' into the technique.

Regards.G.
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Old 11-28-2011, 06:07 AM   #12
ryback
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

As a beginer it would be best if you stop at the exact moment of difficulty and try to figure it out or ask guidance on how to do it right.At an advanced level of course, it is necessary to be sharp and...creative because that's what you will need in a real fight, so at an advanced level one should do another technique if he experiences any resistance or other difficulty...

Last edited by ryback : 11-28-2011 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 03:45 AM   #13
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

My humble personal understanding of it - without any claim whatsoever to any final interpretation.

Techniques should flow out of you like water from a tap.

Whatever situation faces you, and whatever position you find yourself when facing that given situation, not only you should have already a formal techinque suitable to be placed in that specific case, but more significantly your training ought to be so complete and so tough, that the techiniques comes out of yourself by itself, without any thought about it.

It should happen so simply because the type of physical connection you got confronted with is so engrained with a related response or counter-movement that the technique is not applied but, rather, it just "happens" - it flows out of you like water from a spring. You don't think about it - it occurs, like a lightening in the sky.

In this regard the type of training you mention, namely that of trying one given technique and stopping as soon as it fails (your mistakes, or whatever reason) is actually the wrong way to train - forgive me for being so opinionated about this, for I know this is the prevalent kind of training. Yet, in my perception, any pupil who fails a techinque that is being taught, should immediately attempt (and be openly encouraged to attempt) something else whatever (caveat: that is aikido... not, say, biting uke's nose or punch him in his teeth) - and this exactly in order to achieve that ripeness of the internal principle accordingly to which you don't place a technique insofar as it is prescribed, but insofar as it is the one that spontaneously comes out from you.

safety measures must still apply, for safety must be your #1 concern.
Yet, when you fail, you should not stay there as we often do like frustrated puppies, but get used to attempt a second technique - in this latter case, the one that flows spontaneously out of you.

You may fail at both, true: but at least you get used that when in a real attack something fails, you may have no option to give it a second rehearsal and you must not stay there gaping at your opponent wondering what to do now - in a real situation, that's precisely the instant you may get maimed.

Achieving this awareness in combat is in fact, in my humble perception, even more important than achieving formal perfection in any given technical ideogram or scheme.
I don't mean I personally have it. I only mean that any training you do, no matter how, should firstly promote this type of awareness: do something.
Do some hecking something...

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 01-04-2012 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:18 AM   #14
Dazzler
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

My view on this is that if a beginner is shown something that is part of a planned & structured lesson then this is what they should do.

In simple terms, if you practice a right cross and you can't get it right doing a left hook probably won't help improve your right cross one iota. Sure it may work quite well but presumably you practice a right cross...to improve your right cross?

If your goal is instant gratification with a downed 'opponent'...sure, change the technique and thats definitely a good idea in a 'real' situation....but in a training situation with a target of improving technique, if you are unable to do X find out why (no pun intented) - doing something else will never improve X otherwise.

Obviously it does depend on the training culture...if its not part of a planned and structured lesson but perhaps a randori based class then that changes things,

Happy New Year all btw....

D
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:31 AM   #15
hughrbeyer
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Not only that, but it assumes you can throw a decent left hook. The trouble with Alberto's approach is that it assumes anything that flows out of you naturally is any good when you're a beginner. It's not. The beginner's first task is to learn to move in ways you find profoundly unnatural, because you've never moved that way before. That's why kata exists.

Once you've made the previously-unnatural movement patterns natural, then maybe you can get creative with them.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:42 AM   #16
Alberto_Italiano
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

Quote:
Hugh Beyer wrote: View Post
Not only that, but it assumes you can throw a decent left hook. The trouble with Alberto's approach is that it assumes anything that flows out of you naturally is any good when you're a beginner. It's not. The beginner's first task is to learn to move in ways you find profoundly unnatural, because you've never moved that way before. That's why kata exists.

Once you've made the previously-unnatural movement patterns natural, then maybe you can get creative with them.
I invariably find somebody who disagrees with me lol but i am fine with that, it may have to do with two things:
1) i am a very bad aikidoka
2) i am a bit unconventional and creative in my points of view, so i can seem what i am not, namely a bit challenging.

My bet is that both apply.

However, I see no contradiction and both positions, in my own perception, are true.

You need obviously to attain mastery in one technique first, so you focus on that technique until a decent level of proficiency is attained. I perfectly understand this, so I don't contend it.
What I suggest, however, is that if you want to start seeing your techiniques flow out of your hands, you must train in a way that is consistent with that goal.

Such a way may be to let the pupil (even encourage) to place something else if what he was prescribed to place failed.
It is paramount, indeed paramount, in order to build up any really combat savvy psychology, that the trainee never gets ingrained into the habit of staring at his/her adversary as a frustrated puppy if his/her technique fails.

I found the more common way of training we use in dojos a bit too starched. Do this, you fail, stop start over. In my humble opinion, this is wrong because it does not educate to combat, and I feel that education to combat should be as early as possibile in Martial Arts.

A way to accommodate both positions could be: do this techinique, and if you fail keep doing it in a flux, in a permanent motion, trying to reposition yourself instantly - do not stop everything and say: now let's start this over. No, that's not good.
Your uke is making things difficult for you, keep repositioning, keep trying - make me see at least 3 or 4 consecutive tries. Make me see... the flux.

The boxing jargon that has been brought in however is a metaphor that is not really appropriated, but this is in the nature of any metaphor so no one is to "blame" for this.
In boxing, in fact, you never train to learn one blow at a time.

You will never find in a boxing gym guys throwing uniquely hooks until their hook is "good", or uniquely uppercuts until their uppercut is smashing and penetrating enough. Rather, you always see them training with combinations of blows (say jab jab, right, left uppercut, right, left hook right hook, now hurry step away - that's a good combination by the way).
Besides, since unlike aikido boxing includes competitions, the training on the ring is never accomplished focusing on one type of hit only. Boxing wants you to be "multitasking" nearly since instant one.
It's a different schooling - which has not to be the Aikido schooling, I am not advocating this.

However the pupil that, upon failure, stops and looks for mummy to tell him what to do now, should be encouraged never to behave so. Mummy will intervene when mummy sees that fit. Until then, keep fighting. You just learn so much just as much as you err.

I like it that way. I'm not expecting everybody to feel the same way anyway.

Last edited by Alberto_Italiano : 01-04-2012 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 01:51 PM   #17
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

An interesting perspective on the subject. I talk about this all the time with my BJJ students that are all about "doing" technique. Structure and position are more important. the Technique or hold should flow naturally out of the relationship.

I use rock climbing as an analogy. You don't look at a hold or crevice and jump to it when you climb. You keep your structure and form and you work your way slowly and naturally to it. However in martial practices, we preceive of where we want to be, forget all the little steps in between or skip em, and simple try and go to the end! We wouldn't do this on a cliff wall, but we try and do it all the time in MA!

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Old 01-04-2012, 06:01 PM   #18
Mario Tobias
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

It's very simple really, but complicated at the same time if you are not aware.

We always keep forgetting that the art is to harmonize with one's energy or force.
1. As a beginner, it is uke's responsibility to give the desired force and direction of that force so that nage can perform the technique asked by the sensei. If the technique can't be done. it is either the fault of the uke (bad ukemi) or nage (not understanding the forces applied). For beginners in these kinds of cases, it is likely both do not know what they are supposed to do. IMO, you shouldn't flow into one since you dont understand the forces involved yet and how to manipulate these forces. I think do what sensei tells you to do even if there's difficulty because doing otherwise you won't learn from your mistakes. You will be forgiven if you cant do the technique and it is better also since sensei or your uke will give you important feedback. More feedback and how you internalize feedback are important factors in your training.

2. As an advanced student, if uke wants to play (meaning change direction of energy or resist), then by all means flow into one as long as you understand how to manipulate the forces to control uke. Only by understanding how you can manipulate the situation can you flow into a technique. BTW, my definition of flowing into a technique is not using muscle power and employing the least effort/most economic way to control uke.....to harmonize with ones energy. There are some dojos though which are quite strict where sensei only wants you to do the technique shown but it can be done by doing adjustments.

As you get more advanced imo (not that I am one:-) ), you can do the technique no matter what uke throws at you.

Last edited by Mario Tobias : 01-04-2012 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:12 PM   #19
hughrbeyer
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Re: do a technique or flow into one?

@Alberto, to continue with the boxing analogy, the flaw I see in your argument is that the basic unit of boxing is not really a punch, it's a combination. And you certainly do see people practice specific combinations, and practice set combinations against set defenses.

A punch in boxing is more like a single movement inside a larger technique, like the tenkan inside of kote-gaishi. And single punches are practiced as drills, just as single movements in Aikido are practiced as drills. Sure, no one spends a whole session practicing nothing but hooks, but that's a silly argument--no one spends a whole session practicing only tenkan, either.

Really, look at beginners on the mat--most of them can't even do the prescribed throw or take the prescribed ukemi without leaving themselves open a dozen different ways. What hope do they have if they start making stuff up?

As someone I respect says, if you practice chaos, you learn chaos.
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