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Old 05-14-2016, 08:45 PM   #1
Brian Sutton
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Resistance as a learning tool?

Any thoughts on that overly resistant uke? A training tool or just a tool..I've heard many schools of thought on resisting someone's technique . From beginner's to those testing, resistance is poor etiquette but after some experience, and in the right context, resistance can help build technique. To another school of ; this isn't the appropriate energy for this technique, if uke changes, nage changes..
Thoughts??
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Old 05-14-2016, 10:08 PM   #2
rugwithlegs
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

I prefer to think of providing useful feedback - too fast, too hard, changing too rapidly for Nage to learn anything is not useful. A form of feedback that does not belong in the kata being practiced means Nage needs to clash, so Nage gets worse. As both an aikido and a taiji person, the difference in solo practice and partner practice is the feedback. This is for kihon.

I don't clearly know how to teach it. Some uke will see a kata where Nage has to lift up, so they push down. Later on, especially with freestyle if uke pushes down I let them go down. I move up if that is where Uke's strength is sending me, or if that's where there is a hole in their power. I want to learn to feel the opening, not the resistance. Uke also need to learn to be safe for free practice, and when they are used to clashing non-resistance is often frightening and leads to injuries - you can resist what you anticipate.

There are basic structure lessons to learn, but not real technique.
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Old 05-15-2016, 03:26 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Quote:
Brian Sutton wrote: View Post
Any thoughts on that overly resistant uke? A training tool or just a tool..I've heard many schools of thought on resisting someone's technique . From beginner's to those testing, resistance is poor etiquette but after some experience, and in the right context, resistance can help build technique. To another school of ; this isn't the appropriate energy for this technique, if uke changes, nage changes..
Thoughts??
There is a difference between the two things: "uke changing" is NOT "uke is resistant." I read resistance as clamping, grounding, tightening and - in essence - refusing to actually participate. The best metaphor for this I've ever encountered is: how can a person learn to drive if the instructor stomps on his emergency brake pedal every time the student uses the accelerator?
And even beyond the realm of newbies: how can an intermediate or advanced student improve if the instructor stomps on the brake pedal instead of introducing a more challenging course to drive on?

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-15-2016, 03:52 PM   #4
Michael Hackett
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

I personally think resisting your partner is a poor practice in GENERAL. There are times when resistance can be a productive learning tool though. Asking Uke to apply more pressure, more grip, or whatever can help Nage work through the technique without resorting to force and muscle. But, that is an implied contract between two students who have agreed to work with and through resistance.

Michael
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Old 05-15-2016, 06:43 PM   #5
Brian Sutton
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
There is a difference between the two things: "uke changing" is NOT "uke is resistant." I read resistance as clamping, grounding, tightening and - in essence - refusing to actually participate. The best metaphor for this I've ever encountered is: how can a person learn to drive if the instructor stomps on his emergency brake pedal every time the student uses the accelerator?
And even beyond the realm of newbies: how can an intermediate or advanced student improve if the instructor stomps on the brake pedal instead of introducing a more challenging course to drive on?
You know Janet, I think you nailed it. Thanks!!
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:00 PM   #6
kewms
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Resistance only 'works' if nage buys into it. So it's bad practice for uke in most situations.

OTOH, what are you trying to teach? Learning how to move a static, resisting partner is useful. Learning how to change a technique in the face of resistance is useful. Learning how to protect yourself as uke regardless of what nage tries to do is useful. I think it's the instructor's responsibility to be very clear about what a particular exercise is intended to teach, and how both uke and nage should approach the situation. (Which will probably be level-dependent.)

Katherine
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Old 05-16-2016, 07:55 AM   #7
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

I would guess that in the large majority of cases, the resistant uke is either 1)not only unable to take good ukemi, but ignorant of what good ukemi is, or 2)just knowledgeable enough to be able to thwart the technique, but not wise enough to understand why you don't do that, and is acting out of ego.

Etiquette is a lot more than which fork you use. It's a code for interacting with people in a way that maximizes understanding and the possibility of good and beneficial relations, and minimizes the possibility of conflict. Etiquette gives us a set of rules that can guide us when our better instincts are not as well developed as they should be, or are out to lunch together, or whatever. In the moment when you see an opening and can resist or reverse the technique of your partner, etiquette tells you not to go there. Later on, you'll realize why that was the right call, but in the moment, "because etiquette" is enough to keep you from doing something you'll later regret. And, obviously, etiquette is different depending on those involved -- strangers meeting for the first time, vs. close friends. If I'm working with a partner that I work with frequently, I might resist slightly if they're making a simple mistake and I know they know better. They correct their form, no one is embarrassed, practice goes on. But I'd only do that once in a great while, and only if it seems likely to help.
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Old 05-16-2016, 08:43 AM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
If I'm working with a partner that I work with frequently, I might resist slightly if they're making a simple mistake and I know they know better. They correct their form, no one is embarrassed, practice goes on. But I'd only do that once in a great while, and only if it seems likely to help.
Clarifying question: is this purely semantics in terms of how we are defining "resist?
Because what I would do in your scenario is "to not pretend that I have to move when I don't have to" but that doesn't mean I have to actively ground or resist...it means I don't have to change anything about the way I am which hopefully is not full of unneeded tension.

Janet Rosen
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:58 AM   #9
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

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Clarifying question: is this purely semantics in terms of how we are defining "resist?
Because what I would do in your scenario is "to not pretend that I have to move when I don't have to" but that doesn't mean I have to actively ground or resist...it means I don't have to change anything about the way I am which hopefully is not full of unneeded tension.
I guess you can call anything "semantics" if you want to, but then that invites a discussion of what you mean by "have to move". Do you "have to move" when someone applies nikkyu? I remember a discussion on that subject where someone observed that not a few people, not familiar with nikkyo ukemi, will simply stand there in pain, because they have no idea how to move. Now, we could go off into the weeds of a "well then you're just not DOING IT RIGHT" derail, but I'm not so much interested in that either. I think any reasonable and intellectually honest person admits that there's a lot of leeway in "have to move" -- I don't "have to move", I can let my arm be broken or my wrist be sprained or whatever. I DO have a choice.

So, "have to move" is not an absolute, it's not a bright line. Training with a junior student, they start to apply kotegaeshi. I don't "have to move" because they're holding my wrist way too high and too far from their body. But this student is just getting to where they can do the hand changes in the right order. If I'm going to be a helpful practice partner, I'll let them apply the technique, and even though I don't "have to move" I will move, so that they can learn what they're trying to learn right now. You can call it "pretending" if you want, but why? When a tennis coach is teaching a beginning student, they don't hit as fast or as hard as they could; are they "pretending"? No, they're teaching in a functional way, not demonstrating their own awesomeness.

And can we dispense with the whole argument that teaching in a progression isn't helpful because what will happen to them on THE STREET? This is aikido, not a two-hour "self-defense" class. The student will be back; there will be opportunities to get the rest of it right. Maybe the opportunity will come in a week, or a day, or a minute, but we'll move on to the next part when this part is learned. It's a progression. If you try to force people to get everything right from jump when teaching a complex skill, most of them will never get it, because you won't let them learn it.
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Old 05-16-2016, 10:58 AM   #10
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

I am looking at tweaking my nomenclature for behavior within a partnership, so I'll share where I am with that little project... Resistance is a term used to refer to a behavior manifest as a consequence of action. If I resist my partner, then that means that I am thwarting an action applied against me. I may resist ikkyo and that behavior may include anything that prevents nage from controlling my arm.

Sometimes, we use resistance as a bucket term to be critical of a failed partnership. When I am sensei, I can perform kaishi waza against a student's ikkyo and that is beautiful movement. But, the same "kaishi waza" with the roles reversed and and now its "resistance." I do not like the idea of tying uke(mi) to etiquette because I think that leads to "falling is the polite thing to do." For all we talk about how bad ego is, we sure do go a long way to avoid offending it on the mat. So how is "resistance" any different than kihon waza or henka waza or kaishi waza? I am not sure it is.

I prefer to think of it as a term used to describe a level of participation, not positive or negative but qualitative. In this light, I can apply resistance at any level under any circumstance as a tool to improve my partner's movement. Katherine brought up a great point. For me, resistance generally doesn't matter. If I am learning how to move, resistance may complicate my instruction. If I am applying movement practically, I am going to move in the path of best success. In between, resistance is used the same way you add resistance in any other athletic endeavor, to improve function.

Last edited by jonreading : 05-16-2016 at 11:07 AM.

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Old 05-16-2016, 02:26 PM   #11
rugwithlegs
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Tweaking the nomenclature is a good idea I guess. When I practice Kaeshiwaza I am not really thinking of force on force so much as, say, Kotegaeshi is lifted too high and I lead up a little higher. I was taught it wasn't about fighting a technique so much as providing feedback to Nage to improve the technique. I tend of follow the motion rather than resist it.

A beginner isn't perfect, but I usually see most beginners told to keep a Shihonage hand in front of their face to avoid a bad habit developing, or beginners reminded to keep their hands from getting behind them. For working on structure, I had an instructor who would refer to framing. The goal was clearly to help a partner (not Nage versus uke) feel their balance and ground path.

Some of the Ki testing exercises would be an example of a useful application of resistance or framing. Maybe it needs a separate new name if resistance is too much associated with ego and mean partners.
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Old 05-16-2016, 03:57 PM   #12
kewms
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

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So how is "resistance" any different than kihon waza or henka waza or kaishi waza? I am not sure it is.
I think henka waza and kaishi waza contain a degree of purposefulness that is not always present in "resistance." There's a difference between "I won't let you do the throw" and "I'm going to continue to seek openings to continue my attack until you bring the interaction to a conclusion."

Again, I think all discussions of -- let's call it non-compliant ukemi, if "resistance" carries too much baggage -- need to take place in the context of the respective levels of the partners and the goals of the particular exercise. Black belts practicing with each other should be allowed (encouraged!) to explore more complex interactions than would be appropriate when practicing with beginners.

Katherine
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Old 05-16-2016, 04:08 PM   #13
kewms
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I would guess that in the large majority of cases, the resistant uke is either 1)not only unable to take good ukemi, but ignorant of what good ukemi is, or 2)just knowledgeable enough to be able to thwart the technique, but not wise enough to understand why you don't do that, and is acting out of ego.
I think there's often a misunderstanding of uke's role, too. Often, people seem to genuinely think they are being helpful by "not just falling down," and they don't seem to understand that uke and nage are both practicing the same fundamental principles.

Katherine
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Old 05-17-2016, 02:19 AM   #14
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Well, to be honest, I'm not sure what resistance means. For instance, when I train with beginners, I will use my ukemi to actively guide them through the technique. All they have to do is follow me. However, this could be considered resistance, because I decide when and how I will move and if uke decides they will not follow me or they go the wrong way, I generally won't fall over for them. I think that this is totally a valid teaching tool. Is it resistance? I don't know...
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Old 05-17-2016, 08:33 AM   #15
Dave Forde
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

My own very non-expert take on the resistance thing is to ask if uke is resisting is it in such a way that they are open to either a strike or another technique. If so IMO the resistance is neither helpful nor intelligent. This sack of potatoes type of resistance can lead to uke being injured due to them being effectively asleep. The tension produced in ukes that resist this way ensure that they invariably do not feel any subtle change in nage's movement or intention. When I am uke I try never to resist just by being awkward, especially for less experienced nage. It is not good for my own training to do so and nage learns very little either. As others have posted there is a use for resistance when trying to learn application of a technique against a static partner but I would agree that this should really be the aim of both partners before engaging in this kind of exercise.
Attacks are by their nature dynamic and so as far as possible uke should be dynamic, without soccer style diving creeping in .

Last edited by Dave Forde : 05-17-2016 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 05-17-2016, 09:24 AM   #16
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Many of the older deshi used to remark about how electric their ukemi felt when working with O Sensei. Some Daito Ryu people speak in similar fashion. When you look at these accounts, two consistent statements appear: 1. uke was powerless to prevent action, 2. the movement was sudden and instantaneous. Neither point seems to indicate that uke was able to "resist" the movement of nage.

To point out the obvious, 13 posts in and we've already branded uke that resist as bad.
I consider ukemi to be body management. Yes, poor body management creates openings and weakness. Resistance can be a symptom of poor body management. Of course, we warm up with exercises that strengthen our joints and stretch our muscles. We practice receiving energy to prevent undesirable outcomes. Katherine touched on my unspoken point, give resistance a little purpose and you have a functional tool. To carry her comment a little further, we are building our bodies to naturally be functionally resistance to influence. Immovable object and irresistible force, right?

If I were weight training, I wouldn't start by using more resistance than I could manage. Eventually, in order to become stronger I would need to change the resistance. I am not sure why things are different when considering martial arts training.

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Old 05-17-2016, 09:48 AM   #17
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Quote:
Brian Sutton wrote: View Post
Any thoughts on that overly resistant uke? A training tool or just a tool.
For kata performance in a tori-uke relationship, resistance is not a good idea. For performance in other environments is useful.

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Old 05-17-2016, 02:12 PM   #18
Nicholas Eschenbruch
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

It may have been George Ledyard who wrote here that it is uke's job to present nage with a solvable problem. If it is not a problem, no learning takes place. If it is not solvable, no learning takes place either. As some have written before in this thread, if in different words, this can be applied to the appropriate amount of "resistance", too.
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Old 05-17-2016, 03:24 PM   #19
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

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Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
It may have been George Ledyard who wrote here that it is uke's job to present nage with a solvable problem. If it is not a problem, no learning takes place. If it is not solvable, no learning takes place either. .
I like this.
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Old 05-17-2016, 03:59 PM   #20
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
It may have been George Ledyard who wrote here that it is uke's job to present nage with a solvable problem. If it is not a problem, no learning takes place. If it is not solvable, no learning takes place either. As some have written before in this thread, if in different words, this can be applied to the appropriate amount of "resistance", too.
I like this too!
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Old 05-18-2016, 07:33 AM   #21
phitruong
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

Quote:
Nicholas Eschenbruch wrote: View Post
It may have been George Ledyard who wrote here that it is uke's job to present nage with a solvable problem. If it is not a problem, no learning takes place. If it is not solvable, no learning takes place either. As some have written before in this thread, if in different words, this can be applied to the appropriate amount of "resistance", too.
thus, uke should be the more experience person in order to determine the appropriate level of "resistance". Uke should be the one who teaches; nage, learn.

one thing to note that some minds are immovable to solution(s). and to quote Dennis Hooker sensei, "teach the mind, through the body", i.e. apply "appropriate" level of pain.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 05-18-2016, 11:07 AM   #22
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

I think there is always resistance. It's a question of degree. There should be enough resistance to let nage know where they are having weakness and not too much to cause failure. Obviously in practice, our goals vary. Sometimes we want to "succeed" at a particular technique and sometimes we want to find what works. If you meet resistance you would change techniques or maybe offer an atemi. So it those are out of bounds for the practice you are undertaking, then resistance should be modified.

I think what we are all saying is don't be a jerk, resist in a helpful way.

Derek Duval
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Old 05-19-2016, 12:29 AM   #23
Amir Krause
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

As many have pointed here, to be a good Uke is a skill enveloping many behaviors, from leading tori in technique execution, to Attacking with intent and looking for openings. Depending on whom each of Tori and Nage is and what is the actual practice.

As to resistance being bad and this analogy:

Quote:
Jon Reading wrote: View Post
Many of the older deshi used to remark about how electric their ukemi felt when working with O Sensei. Some Daito Ryu people speak in similar fashion. When you look at these accounts, two consistent statements appear: 1. uke was powerless to prevent action, 2. the movement was sudden and instantaneous. Neither point seems to indicate that uke was able to "resist" the movement of nage.

To point out the obvious, 13 posts in and we've already branded uke that resist as bad.
I consider ukemi to be body management. Yes, poor body management creates openings and weakness. Resistance can be a symptom of poor body management. Of course, we warm up with exercises that strengthen our joints and stretch our muscles. We practice receiving energy to prevent undesirable outcomes. Katherine touched on my unspoken point, give resistance a little purpose and you have a functional tool. To carry her comment a little further, we are building our bodies to naturally be functionally resistance to influence. Immovable object and irresistible force, right?

If I were weight training, I wouldn't start by using more resistance than I could manage. Eventually, in order to become stronger I would need to change the resistance. I am not sure why things are different when considering martial arts training.
Resistance is indeed one possible behavior for Uke, but not for all types of practice. The main problem with resistance is it can easily change the situation, hence change the technical solution. e.g. if the purpose of some exercise the teacher is showing is to learn Ikkyo from a hand grasp, and the technique involves Tori lifting Uke's arm with his body (After some Kuzushi), yet Uke, who is familiar with the technique and Kuzushi, decides to clamp on and insisit his arm not be raised, and even bends forward putting all his weight against this, this actually creates a good opportunity to Nage to throw Uke via another technique (say Kaiten Nage, though it might also be just a secondary Kuzushi to get the Ikkyo), yet, most will insist on doing the Ikkyo as they have been shown, via investing more power. And here is the difference between weight training and martial arts training. In martial arts strengthening we wish to learn to modify our behavior. Note however, that if the same Uke behavior would be perfectly acceptable if context has changed into advanced students learning "free play", and Tori is actually expected to respond to Uke resistance with change. Also, similar behavior could be OK if the teacher is incorporating it in his technical demonstration (at least for my teacher it's common - "You may get resistance, here is a way to come over it, try ...".

Thanks
Amir
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Old 05-19-2016, 10:22 AM   #24
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

At the risk of starting world war, I am gonna clarify that in my experience resistance can thwart technique; resistance cannot thwart aiki. There is a difference. As I put my hands on good people, I find that not only is my action unsuccessful, it does not affect my partner.

On some level, we have all heard the, "I'd just do something else," response to resistant uke. And I think that is true. But there is another level where what you do does not matter. For people who move with aiki, your participation is not required. I think we sometimes ignore this level of training because it is difficult to achieve.

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Old 05-19-2016, 11:37 AM   #25
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Re: Resistance as a learning tool?

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At the risk of starting world war, I am gonna clarify that in my experience resistance can thwart technique; resistance cannot thwart aiki. There is a difference. As I put my hands on good people, I find that not only is my action unsuccessful, it does not affect my partner.

On some level, we have all heard the, "I'd just do something else," response to resistant uke. And I think that is true. But there is another level where what you do does not matter. For people who move with aiki, your participation is not required. I think we sometimes ignore this level of training because it is difficult to achieve.
I've felt it. The only way I can tell this apart from someone who "looks" right is when I don't participate and it doesn't matter, versus someone who crumples. The closest I've come to being able to tell when I am "looking" right but not actually correct if when someone provides feedback and it doesn't matter. Then I explore when it did matter.

We all seem to agree though. A block of wood latching on to my arm is not what anyone here is talking about, nor are we asking everyone to be a rhythmic gymnastics ribbon all the time. Ukemi is a living process.
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