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Old 01-24-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
Scott Harrington
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Glad that koshi nage came up again, I had read a previous comment where it said that this technique was not used at the Hombu dojo, and now hear here that Nishio sensei introduced it.

Attached are screen captures of koshi nage being performed during the high tide of Tohei sensei at Hombu by KIDS! Complete with the ‘I need to grab his collar and roll to survive' ukemi.

Having seen Bookman sensei perform this waza repeatedly and flawlessly at one of the AikiExpo, I can only wish that I was shorter, lighter, and younger and had mats made of pillows. Isaac Newton calculated that the higher you go, the faster you fall (with a sufficient increase of force.)

Koshi nage, with reckless disregard for uke (or calculated) begins into those techniques that cross the line from merely damaging to heading to lethality. I was told (by a deceased friend) in olden times it was referred to as koshi ate or koshi giri (hitting or cutting) such that the entrance helped to elevate uke even farther (as Ellis Amdur has stated above) and then allow them to be smashed to the earth.

I had the good luck to be in a class where the late Saito sensei showed ganseki otoshi (back to back vs. back to front) that was precarious to ankle, back, head or face on landing. When you are that high up, (he performed it basically standing straight up) gravity grabs you're a**.

On ukemi from this higher order technique, all too often aikidoka, used to pivoting around a ‘virtual' point (usually a captured limb part), are not familiar with the judo-like "rolling around / over nage's center ukemi. Performed at high speed it can mean some serious air time.

I have heard some schools broadly consider koshi nage as any technique where uke travels over nage's hips / back even if no contact. I have seen in Takenouchi ryu, along with older styles, has a similar technique but not the side entrance, almost like a shoulder throw with an opposite hand to uke's leg for rotational assist.

It is a great technique to watch, not take.

Scott Harrington
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:01 PM   #2
Scott Harrington
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Now loadup and throw

Scott Harrington
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:09 PM   #3
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Given that the NOMA dojo photos show O-sensei doing koshinage, of course, Nishio-sensei didn't create the technique. I do think it was de-emphasized, and Nishio sensei, with his brilliant abilities, re-highlighted it, at least for awhile. I think the people who imply that Nishio sensei introduced koshinage are simply displaying the typical ahistorical perspective that is common in aikido (and elsewhere in martial arts).
Here's the merging of ikkyo and koshinage
Here's another example, where you see one technique leading to another.

(By the way, I always found it quite striking, that aside from Doshu, the only two pictures of other shihan that Saito Morihiro included in his initial series of books were Shioda and Nishio, as if to say, "one was the past of aikido (all respect), one the future (all respect), and I am standing in the present.")

Kuroiwa sensei's koshinage (an improvisation from a Western wrestling single leg) was unique. In fact, the first time he presented it on stage in 1954, he told me that Arikawa sensei and Tohei sensei confronted him backstage and ordered him never to do it again, because "that's not O-sensei's aikido." He replied that he would continue to do it where-ever and whenever he pleased unless O-sensei himself told him to stop. (He never did) Here's the famous Aikido Journal video of Kuroiwa sensei, with a lot of koshinage, both his personal variation and a typical ogoshi. [JOIN AIKIDO JOURNAL! - there is so much new material being posted now!). It clearly shows the unification of each and every move in his aikido as one entity, following one very simply set of principles - his unique use of weapons (which was NOT fighting with weapons - he was very clear that he made everything he did up, to illustrate and focus his taijutsu principles), the aikido techniques and atemi all followed the exact same parameters. (By the way, if some find his type of koshinage unbelievable, Kuroiwa sensei won fame in dumping a 4th dan amateur sumo, about 260 pounds of Yakuza, four times in a free fight, using that technique. (I heard it from Momose himself, who paid a yearly visit of respect to commemorate his defeat).

Sorry, a bit of rambling here and there. Re Scott's point - in my own style of teaching ukemi (if I may be so bold), I encourage teaching koshinage ukemi shortly upon entry into aikido. In fact, I think it should be taught before learning rolling. Then, there's nothing scary about it.

I fully do endorse that it can be dangerous. On two occasions, I threw someone in this technique, under the mistaken impression that they were confident in ukemi, and on both case, they fell on a shoulder, (both times regrettably injuring the shoulder) because they pulled back and stiffened up just as they lost their balance. I think one potential danger with aikido is that in judo, until one gets in competition, tori is expected to pull up on uke as they are falling, in essence, pulling them into the ukemi. Because of aikido's "reflex" to throw outward, we can project the person outwards, even though, given the height and the swept hips, their body should be going downwards. Thereby, the outward projection is actually counter to the break-fall, which is dangerous. I now think that when practicing with a new partner, one should always "pull up," as in judo, until tori is assured that uke can, on their own, bring their head down and inwards, bringing their body around, whether tori "helps" them or not.

Best
Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-26-2012, 02:31 AM   #4
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Can't speak too knowledgeably about aikido's Koshi nage but from the photos Scott posted, I was reminded of this Judo technique -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSvoUBeoAaI#t=6m25s

(skip ahead to 6:25 if that doesn't work)
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:30 AM   #5
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
I encourage teaching koshinage ukemi shortly upon entry into aikido. In fact, I think it should be taught before learning rolling. Then, there's nothing scary about it.

Ellis Amdur
I disagree. Most people coming to aikido are stiff or sloppy. Both states of body are dangerous for koshinage. So they need to learn first flexibility AND correct shape of the body in the moment of landing to be able to receive this technique safely. Correct rolling forward and backward develop flexibility. Then, they need to learn how to position their body in the moment of landing (which is completely different from rolling shape). Only after achieving these two goals they can start practice koshinage, not pulling up will ever be necessary.

Nagababa

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Old 01-26-2012, 09:37 AM   #6
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Szczepan:
It's a graduated step-by-step process, but it can be taught very quickly - that's what's on Ukemi from the Ground Up, and I've had a number of teachers contact me, thanking me for enabling to finally teach some of their problem students. I've presented this work at a number of dojo and many beginners are taking koshinage ukemi on their first day of class. Most within a week. So you can assert that it doesn't work, but I've got empirical evidence that it does. The flaw in aikido ukemi is revealed in this:
Quote:
Correct rolling forward and backward develop flexibility. Then, they need to learn how to position their body in the moment of landing (which is completely different from rolling shape).
What you've just written is that rolling, in the typical aikido fashion, does not serve survival. And this is true - that's why "pulling up" is necessary, because the typical aikido roll (over shoulder and hip), which makes a beautiful "shape," does not position the body properly for a hard fall. (My method, really a combination of judo and sumo ukemi, stylistically, is not attractive. But it's a first step that enables one to choose a more elegant style, confident that tori cannot gratuitously or inadvertently hurt you. As for pulling up, all I've said in that regard is that one should assume, until proven otherwise, that the other person doesn't know how to take a hard fall. The two people I inadvertently injured in koshinage were both more than competent - one an ikkyu and one a sandan - but "instinctively," when they found themselves thrown a little faster and from a higher position than they expected, they did not tuck their head and shoulder, because their hard-wired ukemi was to project themselves outwards (classic Aikikai style, all the way back to O-sensei). (This is not true in judo, fwiw - the legitimate assumption was that if you were on the mat, doing randori, you'd know how to take a koshinage-type ukemi).

In short, it is better to teach people how to survive the worst first. Then, the "open out" into a roll, by choice, when they know it's safe. For example, there are enough incompetent people and malicious people who will deliberately try to damage their partner in an "arm-bridge" shihonage, that if you assume that a person will execute the technique safely, so you can take a "back fall," you'll get your arm ripped out (I don't know about now, but this used to be an "Iwama-ryu" specialty with "guests."). But if, from day 1, you learn how to take ukemi in the POSITION for high-impact falls, you can "choose," when you know it's safe, to sit-out, so to speak, into a back fall, but if, even at the last minute, the individual tries to break your arm, you easily and automatically go over into a "high-fall."

Final evidence: When I've taught an ukemi workshop, the teacher of the dojo I'm guesting at often presents students to me who've been practicing for six months or one year and still can't take a roll. By the end of the class, they are safely rolling (over shoulder blade to small of back - the shoulder-to-hip roll the cause of their problem) AND they can, at least take the "jumping fall" from kotegaeshi.

Mainline aikido has had a problem in it's DNA, in that the roll we are taught (I was, from a number of teachers) is to create an ideal "shape" of a throw (witness related thread about "do we throw uke" or something like that), which makes the teacher look good, as opposed to taking ukemi to protect yourself, in response to something you cannot stop, avoid or counter. Rolling out, being projected, is a kind of luxury when one's safety is assured. One final point: learned this way, uke learns that they can restore their own integrity, rather than being a passive "victim" of tori - in other words, from day one in training, they learn how to begin to do Kaeshiwaza.

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 01-26-2012 at 09:44 AM.

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Old 01-26-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

I agree with Ellis. I think it should be taught and stressed far more than it is. In our style, we only have rolls or sutemi, but both are practiced as part of warmups from day one and people are taught how to do them. It's something you do every class and are expected to improve at, not to make pretty falls, but to protect yourself. I've visited dojos that didn't seem to have any falling practice, which was odd to me as most of those include basic ukemi in testing all the way up to shodan level.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:44 AM   #8
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

I know my voice isn't exactly worth much compared to others here, but in an effort to support some basic ideas I believe in deeply: One of the things I tried to always teach in my kids' class was to protect yourself; to not rely on nage to protect you. I had this reinforced in a few different ways. First was in training with a judoka who claimed to have been an alternate on his national olympic team. He dropped me faster than I was used to and I'm sure if I had resisted it my shoulder (it was the bad one on top of that) would have been injured. I remember feeling it want to slip out of socket as I flew around him and down...it felt more "down" than "around," but I know I had to travel around him to get where I landed.
I also was taught some kaeshi waza relatively early on and I attribute this to what little (very little, I know) ability I have in taking ukemi. It gave me a sense of how to approach tori which has seemed useful in casual encounters on and off the mat. This was taught early on in both dojos I was a member of and seems to make for a more complete understanding of the waza-interaction.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:37 PM   #9
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
In short, it is better to teach people how to survive the worst first.
Ellis Amdur
Sorry Ellis, I don't have too much time to write long posts. You brought much vider perspective then simple koshinage. The skills to 'survive the worst' are more sophisticated than ‘knowing how to fall'.

First prerequisite is development of perception. If one can't perceive very early when situation start to be dangerous, he has simply no time to react. This can't be developed by your method of taking ukemi.

Second prerequisite is to have physical capacity to execute reaction-- and here agile and flexible body is a must. This is also not developed by your method.

Only third prerequisite is know how to land in a safe way -- that is what you are teaching if I understand correctly.

Additionally you are introducing ‘pulling up' by nage -- this is exactly the same illusion as in standard aikikai method (meaning nage helps uke to survive) but in another physical form. Nasty nage will not pull up. I understand that you got traumatized for the rest of your life by this bad experience in Iwama dojo but I believe you are oversimplifying and approaching the problem from the wrong side.

I'm also guilty for overprotecting students. For the moment the only way I see they can develop all three prerequisites for protecting themselves is very fast, high intensity ‘any attack/any technique' practice. But for that, as I said before, proper instruction and practice for rolling and correct landing posture are necessary. As a consequence fresh beginners can't do it.

Nagababa

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Old 01-26-2012, 03:13 PM   #10
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Szczepan - Since you do not know my method, you are not qualified to critique it. (I'm not talking about some mystical knowledge or skill - you simply don't know my curriculum). Not one of your critiques is valid. Any and all of those points are covered - and covered in a way that traditional ukemi teaching methods - as I saw and experienced in easily 50 Aikikai dojo - do not. Empirical evidence in the numbers of people who learned my method proves it - and the number of instructors who have written to thank me in that using these methods has helped them teach the stiff, scared and awkward folks who don't learn ordinary ukemi.

Secondly, you did not read what I wrote. I stated that when practicing koshinage with someone unfamiliar, "pulling up" is a good idea, as you do not know - from their belt or their lineage - if they've been taught how to take ukemi. Once I'm aware that they can take ukemi (within one or two throws), I don't "pull up" anymore. (I also don't crank down).

Third - in another thread, you were one of the posters demanding civility, and actually suggested people be banned if they weren't. Yet you wrote:
Quote:
I understand that you got traumatized for the rest of your life by this bad experience in Iwama dojo but I believe you are oversimplifying and approaching the problem from the wrong side.
It's trivial, I know - but frankly, I've seen years and years of similar, "trivial" insults from you. You have just introduced a snide, personal reference in what was, up to this point, a professional, matter-of-fact discussion. You profess to be able to read my mind. In fact, I was not traumatized. In fact, I've never been to Iwama. However, I do know several individuals who were crippled for life, after a visit to Iwama. One, a yonkyu when he visited from Tokyo, had to discontinue aikido and had to relearn how to write with his left hand. It was from that knowledge, I resolved to create a method of learning which could pretty well guarantee the average aikidoka that someone wouldn't be able to do that to them. And I know it works - it protected me from Chiba Kazuo when he tried to inaugurate his return to Tokyo in 1976 by breaking the elbow of the first guy (me) he threw in his first class upon his return. (And for any defensive of their teacher, it was a very studied, deliberate attempt).

I'm glad what you do works for your students. But to tell me I'm incorrect when you do not know the step by step procedure that I use - it takes about 8 - 16 hours max, often far less - in a weekend seminar - to take a beginner to a break-fall from shihonage - (you are welcome to buy my DVD) is rather pointless.

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Old 01-26-2012, 03:46 PM   #11
Tyson Walters
 
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

For what its worth I'm inclined to agree that the sooner a student learns how to deal with this type of ukemi the better. Theres lots of ways to ease into this type of training, and once a small amount of confidence is developed things tends to progress quite nicely. Its good to get rid of the fear early so to speak.

It certainly does make things much easier on uke though if nage helps and creates that nice pivot point by pulling up to assist uke as Ellis was referring to.

What I don't get is that in Judo practice this is all par for the course... but for most Aikido students learning ukemi like this is pretty scary.

It doesn't have to be IMHO.
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Old 01-26-2012, 04:15 PM   #12
Fred Little
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Szczepan --

I'm clearly not Ellis, nor would I claim to speak for him. What I can say is that I first encountered his method years ago and have used it ever since. I'm one of those people who has students taking koshi-nage quite safely by the end of their first class. Most important, I've not had a single shoulder separation from a front roll gone wrong in a class I've taught since introducing the method almost a decade ago. Prior to that, I had personally witnessed just such injuries in beginners' classes in every dojo in which I trained for an extended period, including Eighteenth Street.

While I agree with your prerequisites as a group of desirable qualities, I don't agree with the order at all. In fact, what I've found is that by eliminating the fear of a "high fall" at the outset, this method eliminates most of the fear of falling -- the freeze factor -- that prevents many students from fulfilling the development of perception. By allowing students to practice vigorously, yet safely, from the outset, it also allows them to practice a great deal more, much sooner, than more "traditional" methods, and thus, develop your second prerequisite.

Of course, there are points from which this method would certainly not be viewed as an unalloyed good. In distinction to "the most dangerous situations," I have found that in normal practice, Ellis' method eliminates the routine need for a great many spectacular falls of the type favored by some, and I have seen some individuals with rather fixed expectations become visibly offended when their waza, when applied to someone using this method, results in a rather small and most unspectacular result. It seems to be taken as a sort of offense to the social order. This could be a problem in some settings -- but this is a social problem, not a functional budo training problem.

That said, budo organizations are social organizations and perhaps one might come to a reasoned judgment that the method is not appropriate in a particular context. In experimental terms, were that the case, there are three possibilities that require examination: 1) the method is the problem 2) the context is the problem 3) the fit between the method and the context is the problem. I would argue that insisting on possibility 1) while ignoring 2) and 3) is not a strong analytical approach.

But maybe that's just me.

FL

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Old 01-26-2012, 04:17 PM   #13
Fred Little
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Ooops....while I was busy pecking away, others made the same points. Ah well. Maybe one day I'll learn to labor less.

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Old 01-26-2012, 06:11 PM   #14
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Okay,
outside observation just from the first page of thread.
I came to Aikido at 44 years old, gotten myself back into shape to where I can take decent ukemi.
But it was a long 3year process. Ukemi is taught once a week out of daily classes at my dojo with various teachers within that period. Incidentally the most learning came from the most serious, longest "Captain" of that ukemi class.(highest ranking, best teacher of that once a week class)
Other incidentals include:
Since having no real steady teachers of ukemi, I started emmulating Professional Bull Riders for ukemi
Just stay on for eight seconds. Obviously, how tuff r u against 1800lbs of enraged bull. I survived.
I have been looking for DVDs , believe me, to keep safe.
Bookman Sensei's was reccomended and now Amdur Sensei's DVD is also available(and from what I have read also reccomended). Other than that , I have been SEARCHING , maybe a couple of you tube snippets.
So I had to supplement what I practiced, with other available medium, otherwise would have surely wound up on the trash heap of too old, to inflexible, to heavy etc etc etc
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:17 PM   #15
Tyson Walters
 
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Quote:
Gregory Gargiso wrote: View Post
Okay,
outside observation just from the first page of thread.
I came to Aikido at 44 years old, gotten myself back into shape to where I can take decent ukemi.
But it was a long 3year process. Ukemi is taught once a week out of daily classes at my dojo with various teachers within that period. Incidentally the most learning came from the most serious, longest "Captain" of that ukemi class.(highest ranking, best teacher of that once a week class)
Other incidentals include:
Since having no real steady teachers of ukemi, I started emmulating Professional Bull Riders for ukemi
Just stay on for eight seconds. Obviously, how tuff r u against 1800lbs of enraged bull. I survived.
I have been looking for DVDs , believe me, to keep safe.
Bookman Sensei's was reccomended and now Amdur Sensei's DVD is also available(and from what I have read also reccomended). Other than that , I have been SEARCHING , maybe a couple of you tube snippets.
So I had to supplement what I practiced, with other available medium, otherwise would have surely wound up on the trash heap of too old, to inflexible, to heavy etc etc etc
Hopefully this isn't to off topic for this thread... but speaking of YouTube ukemi videos... I always really liked these ones.

http://www.youtube.com/user/usfaikido
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:32 PM   #16
hughrbeyer
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Very useful conversation... thank you. It's giving me a greater appreciation for the Merrit Stevens' Tomiki Aikido--the group I started out with--which focused very much on taking roll falls as though every one might be a breakfall if necessary.

Also, we have a student in the dojo right now who is struggling with these issues. Maybe I'll go look at those DVDs...
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:44 AM   #17
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Quote:
Ellis Amdur wrote: View Post
It's trivial, I know - but frankly, I've seen years and years of similar, "trivial" insults from you. You have just introduced a snide, personal reference in what was, up to this point, a professional, matter-of-fact discussion. .
I'm very surprised you took it as personal offense. It was not my intent, I apologize.

Nagababa

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Old 01-27-2012, 09:30 AM   #18
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

Szczepan - Apology accepted.

Ellis Amdur

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Old 01-27-2012, 12:10 PM   #19
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Re: Koshinage Ukemi

Quote:
I'm one of those people who has students taking koshi-nage quite safely by the end of their first class.
Fred,
Tell me, how it is possible? Are you talking about static or dynamic practice?

Nagababa

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Old 01-27-2012, 12:49 PM   #20
Fred Little
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Re: Koshinage Ukemi

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Fred,
Tell me, how it is possible? Are you talking about static or dynamic practice?
Szczepan,

With one another? It's still comparatively static, because it's much hard to teach someone how to fit, unbalance and throw than how to fall. In fact, I would rather teach someone how to throw with an experienced uke than with a newbie of equal skill level as uke.

But as far as receiving technique is concerned, once the basic parameters of the fall have been inculcated in a newbie, it's quite possible to hand the newbie to someone with more experience for more dynamic practice, and as long as the more experienced partner isn't trying to ramp up the speed or power level too rapidly, the development curve is quite rapid. To tell you the truth, it was initially quite a shock to see how fast that curve could rise -- as long as the primary consideration is whether or not the student can fall safely.

If the question is one of elegance (and I'm not immune to the charm of beautiful ukemi), the time it takes to develop that is still considerable. I wouldn't claim otherwise for a moment. But to paraphrase Ellis' remarks above, this method provides a safe baseline from which someone can make a choice to work toward other kinds of ukemi in a safer fashion than the traditional model allows.

At least, that's my experience.

FL

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Old 01-27-2012, 01:39 PM   #21
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Re: Koshinage Ukemi

I consider ukemi as first training someone how to fall and then gradually how to not take ukemi and to cancel out.
Anyway, for taking a throw, I like Ellis, train breakfalls first. All critisism considered (meaning I don't give a rip)....not only holding them up but lowering them in slow motion as they put their body parts in the right places. THEN throwing them in a gradually faster manner. Then teaching them to throw themselves into a breakfall while standing by themselves. A solo training breakfall.

Outside of falling down as a response; throwing is not going to be pulled off easily when you train to cancel it out and koshinage would be one of the harder ones to pull off. Part of my approach is to demonstrate that an attack can be offered and as part of ukemi, receive everything nage has to offer and cancel it out....with no waza, then decide where it goes in any number of ways.

Dan

Last edited by DH : 01-27-2012 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:21 PM   #22
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

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Tyson Walters wrote: View Post
What I don't get is that in Judo practice this is all par for the course... but for most Aikido students learning ukemi like this is pretty scary.

It doesn't have to be IMHO.
IME, people learn to land better when they're thrown than when they have to throw themselves.

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Old 01-27-2012, 06:56 PM   #23
kewms
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Re: Koshi Nage - Open Stance or Feet Together

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Fred Little wrote: View Post
In fact, what I've found is that by eliminating the fear of a "high fall" at the outset, this method eliminates most of the fear of falling -- the freeze factor -- that prevents many students from fulfilling the development of perception. By allowing students to practice vigorously, yet safely, from the outset, it also allows them to practice a great deal more, much sooner, than more "traditional" methods, and thus, develop your second prerequisite.
Strongly agree with this. In my experience, as both student and teacher, the fear factor is the single biggest impediment to safe ukemi. Overcome this, and you're halfway there. Get the student to relax and believe that their body knows what to do, and there are very few falls they can't survive.

Katherine
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:38 PM   #24
Janet Rosen
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Re: Koshinage Ukemi

Yep. First forward breakfall I took was by a very precise first kyu who did it smoothly, not hard but not slowly and it required nothing on my part besides allowing it to be. So no big deal!
Future attempts by others to "load me up" were awkward, scary and fifteen years later i STILL hate being loaded up like a sack of potatoes.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:55 AM   #25
PeterR
 
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Re: Koshinage Ukemi

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Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Yep. First forward breakfall I took was by a very precise first kyu who did it smoothly, not hard but not slowly and it required nothing on my part besides allowing it to be. So no big deal!
Future attempts by others to "load me up" were awkward, scary and fifteen years later i STILL hate being loaded up like a sack of potatoes.
Memories are wonderful things - too often we forget where we came from. Fear of ukemi - that's me or at least is was. What changed was finding myself is a dojo with a sprung floor - so soft compared to what I was used to and enough to overcome that fear of pain and suffering. Second thing that happened was Judo training - ukemi so fast you had no time to think and seize up. Graduation was taking ukemi on 1/4 inch tatami on a wooden floor (1915 style dojo for a WWI period movie set). No fear and minimal pain - just relaxed into it. My feeling is most injuries can be attributed to the fear and tension that arises.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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