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Old 01-24-2014, 05:08 AM   #1
Pacman07
Dojo: Mechelse Budosporten Afdeling Aikido
Join Date: May 2013
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Belgium
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What makes a good uke?

Last lesson I had I got the comment from my sensei that I was a good uke. But I practice Aikido for about a year now, and I thought that only Aikidoka's with 3 or more years of experience are concidered good uke's. But now I wonder: what makes someone a good uke?
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:00 AM   #2
Dave de Vos
 
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Dojo: Shoryukai, Breda (aikikai) & Aiki-Budocentrum Breda (yoseikan)
Location: Baarle-Nassau
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Netherlands
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Re: What makes a good uke?

I've been practising aikido for a little over three years. If my instructor would give me such a compliment, he would probably mean that my attack is well aimed and well controlled and has the desired amount of energy and that my response to nage's technique was appropriate as in correctly anticipating atemi and falling / rolling safely. These are the things I'm aiming for when I'm uke and perhaps your sensei meant something along those lines.

However, on a more advanced level, I think a good uke knows exactly how much of a challenge his attack should offer for a particular nage. And ideally he should be able to make nage aware of any mistake he makes in a way that allows nage to figure out how to fix his mistake. But this level of ukemi is beyond my current ability. I think that in general, it takes more than three years to reach this advanced level of ukemi. I would not expect many students to have this ability, but I'd hope that the instructor and some advanced students would have it.
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:54 PM   #3
Pacman07
Dojo: Mechelse Budosporten Afdeling Aikido
Join Date: May 2013
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Belgium
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Re: What makes a good uke?

Quote:
Dave de Vos wrote: View Post
I've been practising aikido for a little over three years. If my instructor would give me such a compliment, he would probably mean that my attack is well aimed and well controlled and has the desired amount of energy and that my response to nage's technique was appropriate as in correctly anticipating atemi and falling / rolling safely. These are the things I'm aiming for when I'm uke and perhaps your sensei meant something along those lines.

However, on a more advanced level, I think a good uke knows exactly how much of a challenge his attack should offer for a particular nage. And ideally he should be able to make nage aware of any mistake he makes in a way that allows nage to figure out how to fix his mistake. But this level of ukemi is beyond my current ability. I think that in general, it takes more than three years to reach this advanced level of ukemi. I would not expect many students to have this ability, but I'd hope that the instructor and some advanced students would have it.
Thank you for your clarification. Being an uke is actually fun, except for some painful locks.

The ukemi-learning process takes long, that is something everybody says. One of the people in our dojo said once: "I practice Aikido for 25 years and even I can't still take ukemi perfectly." It is a learning process. In the old times, first you were only thrown around for like 2 or 3 years and then you were able to fall properly.
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Old 01-24-2014, 05:15 PM   #4
Millsy
Dojo: AikiCenter(Aus)/SOMD Aikido(US)
Location: Maryland
Join Date: Aug 2012
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Re: What makes a good uke?

In essence to me being a good uke is being an honest uke through out the technique.

Their attacks are sincere, regardless of pace you are working at they maintain intent and direction of energy. Once in technique they maintain connection with nage and react to the technique when applied not move ahead in anticipation because they know whats next. Uke remains active and protective as if looking for the next opening continuing to give energy not just go limp once grabbed and wait to be thrown, Remains balanced until unbalanced by nage. Does not seek to be be dishonest in intent by blocking because they know whats coming, .

This is how I aim to do ukemi when sensei invites me to be an uke for demonstration.
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Old 01-25-2014, 02:55 AM   #5
Eva Antonia
Dojo: CERIA
Location: Brussels
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Belgium
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Re: What makes a good uke?

Hi,

I'm unfortunately NOT a good uke, though I'm doing aikido since 7 years, but at least I know why, and I can give you a list of my defaults, being representative for deficient ukes. And it is NOT AT ALL easy to overcome them.

1) No intiuition. A good uke needs to feel somehow the direction and strength of tori's movement and adapt his own posture and reaction - no way for me. I try to muscle through and if that doesn't work, take a fall or do a countertechnique. In fact, I try NOT to do so, but if I'm not paying attention this reaction automatically comes, and even if I pay attention, the intuition is still lacking. I hope one day experience will replace intuition.
2) Unprecise, uncommitted or overcommitted attack. How can tori defend when uke attacks 10 cm beside the target, stops his shomen because he thinks tori cannot defend, arms his yokomen 50 cm behind his shoulder in order to hack through tori's whole body with all his might etc.? Or if uke just stops a full blast attack 5 cm before the impact because unconsciously he's afraid of the full blast ukemi that will ensue? My problem is precision at the moment, but I've been through all the other defaults, too.
3) Anticipation of techniques. How can tori finish his technique conveniently if uke is already gone? Why take a breakfall over kote gaeshi if tori didn't throw you because he wants to do a proper lock at the end? I always do because it's so much fun, and I even didn't realise that this might offend tori until someone told me.
4) Overcompliance and overresistance. How can tori see if his movement is good or bad if uke complies with everything? Tori does a weak ikkyo, uke goes down elegantly and immediately, and tori wouldn't even have a clue that his ikkyo wasn't worth 2 cents. If uke has the not-attacking hand hanging down limply, instead of placing some nice atemi when tori comes too close, where would tori learn from to keep the right distance and right angle? On the other hand, when doing a static exercise, and uke resists strongly, tori wouldn't have a chance to go through the movement. Either he is a beginner and rests clueless, or he's more advanced and applies a henka waza. But then the initial technique gets lost...

These are the four examples of being a bad uke coming to my mind immediately.
But I'm sure there are lots more...

Anyway, if you are on your way to be a good uke, all the better for you!
Me, personally, I'd love to have seminars for ukes where the teacher focuses on uke behaviour and reactions because I really feel that I have to improve them, and I suppose I'm not alone with that handicap.

Have a nice week-end,

Eva
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:33 AM   #6
ramenboy
Dojo: midwest aikido center
Location: chicago
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 328
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Re: What makes a good uke?

This question pops up every once in a while here. I always point to an article written by one of my sempai. Great read, gives you the right perspective on this...

http://www.aikiweb.com/training/tomoleoni1.html

practice hard
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Old 01-26-2014, 01:35 PM   #7
SteveTrinkle
Dojo: Aikido Kenkyukai International
Location: Ambler, Pennsylvania
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 232
United_States
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Re: What makes a good uke?

Sounds Like A Great Question For Your Sensei And For Your Sempai At Your Dojo

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Old 01-26-2014, 07:31 PM   #8
Peter Boylan
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 153
United_States
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Re: What makes a good uke?

I wrote about this a while back. There are a few thoughts at

http://budobum.blogspot.com/2013/09/...hy-is-one.html

Peter Boylan
Mugendo Budogu LLC
Budo Books, Videos, Equipment from Japan
http://www.budogu.com
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:47 AM   #9
Lorien Lowe
Dojo: Northcoast Aikido
Location: California
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Re: What makes a good uke?

I have recently gone from being a pretty decent uke to being a horrible one, by changing dojos. ;p Different expectations.
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Old 01-29-2014, 05:55 AM   #10
Mary Eastland
 
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Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
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Re: What makes a good uke?

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
I have recently gone from being a pretty decent uke to being a horrible one, by changing dojos. ;p Different expectations.
That must be challenging but fun.

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Old 01-29-2014, 05:57 AM   #11
Mary Eastland
 
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Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
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Re: What makes a good uke?

Quote:
Gianni Mampaey wrote: View Post
Last lesson I had I got the comment from my sensei that I was a good uke. But I practice Aikido for about a year now, and I thought that only Aikidoka's with 3 or more years of experience are concidered good uke's. But now I wonder: what makes someone a good uke?
For me, a good uke is one who follows with logical commitment, who only falls when thrown, and who is fun to train with.

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