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Old 07-15-2003, 12:37 PM   #1
Phillip Armel
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When to take a fall (it's not that simple!)

Hey, I have a questiong regarding when I should take a fall and when I should not. It seems like it's insutling not to the the fall? I'm not against taking a fall, it's just that if I don't feel the need to I wont. I have really good balanace and normally I can recove pretty darn well, not to brag or anything. Alot of people tell me "it's ok to take the fall" but geez, I don't tihnk I need to. The only time I take falls is when it's absoluetly nessecary. Does anyone got any adive on this, or any similiar experinces.
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Old 07-15-2003, 12:42 PM   #2
Dave Miller
 
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It depends on the situation. If I'm working with a brand new person, I'll take falls so they can see how something is supposed to work. If I'm working with someone who is more advanced, I only fall when they "make me" by their technique.

That having been said, that doesn't mean that you fight and claw with each technique so as not to have to fall. If the nage takes your balance and there is legitimate fall, you should fall. Don't give anything but keep in mind that your body will learn how not to fall so it takes some discernment on your part and lots of sensitivity.

BTW, at level are you corrently working?

DAVE

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Old 07-15-2003, 01:42 PM   #3
bob_stra
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Re: When to take a fall (it's not that simple!)

Hey, they're your wrists. You make the call ;-)

I'd rather fall more often and not have athritis at 60 ;-)

Having said that - generally when your both still discussing the move / ironining it out, in a stop star kinda way = no fall

As soon as you're off balance (even in above situation) = ukemi

Depends on your parnter too. Some just wanna be sullen (don't even say hello) and start throwing. The you pretty much start falling straight away ;-)
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Old 07-15-2003, 04:00 PM   #4
shihonage
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Re: When to take a fall (it's not that simple!)

Quote:
Phillip Armel wrote:
Hey, I have a questiong regarding when I should take a fall and when I should not. It seems like it's insutling not to the the fall? I'm not against taking a fall, it's just that if I don't feel the need to I wont. I have really good balanace and normally I can recove pretty darn well, not to brag or anything. Alot of people tell me "it's ok to take the fall" but geez, I don't tihnk I need to. The only time I take falls is when it's absoluetly nessecary. Does anyone got any adive on this, or any similiar experinces.
When you're just starting Aikido, there's a lot of cooperation and slow-motion training going on, for your sake and for the sake of your partner.

The more falls you do, the better.

You can not train like the rest of the students until your falling ability becomes reflexive.
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Old 07-15-2003, 04:15 PM   #5
opherdonchin
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My take on this (articulated fairly recently, actually) is that you should take the fall whenever you feel like it. That is, if you have to, you should take the fall. If it seems like the more interesting thing to do, you should take the fall. If you think you are likely to learn something by taking the fall, you should take the fall.

On the other hand, if you don't feel a need, or you think you are more likely to learn something by avoiding the fall, then go ahead and avoid it.

Staying responsible to yourself for your own learning seems like the quickest way to learn.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-15-2003, 04:43 PM   #6
Dave Miller
 
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Good point, opher.

I think that the point of when to take a fall or not must include both making sure that you and nage are learning and that you are staying safe. You don't want to resist a technique just because as that can lead to serious injury.

Ledyard Sensei has a great article on Appropriate Ukemi that you might also want to check out. I found it very good and it might be helpful for you in relation to this question.

DAVE

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Old 07-17-2003, 04:53 PM   #7
bob_stra
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
If you think you are likely to learn something by taking the fall, you should take the fall.
That's an outstanding point actually, though I'm not sure how many folk practice with learning in mind (vs "cool moves", or "defeating the other guy")

There's a lot to be said abt intoducing a once a month contact improv class to the aikido curriculum, no?
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Old 07-17-2003, 05:04 PM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Yesterday I went into the dojo early to take ukemi for a sempai. I just did tanto attacks, whichever ones he specified, starting quite slowly, then building up speed, then slowing down if he wanted to concentrate on something...I never felt like I "tanked" for him, nor did I feel like I mindlessly resisted. I tried to make my body a mirror to show him what it was he was doing, if that makes any sense. The process of doing so made me really focus on feeling what it was he was doing, and reflecting it back. Since I didn't know what technique he would do any time, I couldn't prepare the way we so often seem to do (moving towards a roll we know is coming). I never actively resisted or countered, but if I could really easily turn away or keep the knife for reasons other than the slow pace we agreed on, I did, so he had a chance to correct himself or retry from there.

The whole thing was incredibly fun and incredibly instructive.

I agree that, for me, the most valuable thing is, are we learning? or more meaningfully, Are we learning what it is we want to learn?

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-17-2003, 09:33 PM   #9
YEME
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my only problem is when people take a fall almost before you even touch them...like auto response.

that said though ... I figure I should take falls especially with beginners - once they have the general idea of how a move works.

that way I get to practice my woefully bad falling technique and they get to see what they can ultimately achieve.

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome.
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Old 07-18-2003, 07:24 AM   #10
Michael Willers
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And the issue, in my mind, is not just about when to take ukemi. There are some ukes who will take the "I'll fall at the drop of a hat" to the extreme -- thse folks will contort themselves into the position nage needs them to be in, and nage will complete the throw with almost no effort at all. Instead of offering a little healthy resistance, for example, in kotegaeshi, some ukes will bend at the waist and offer up their arm -- or bend backwards before nage's shihonage has developed any power at all.

No wonder we as nages are sometimes surprised, then, when our ukes actually make us work to complete the technique!
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Old 07-18-2003, 09:25 AM   #11
opherdonchin
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Quote:
There's a lot to be said abt intoducing a once a month contact improv class to the aikido curriculum, no?
Ummm ... I would be for it, but I think a lot of people would have a hard time making the connection. One thing I do think, though, that relates to this thread:

Contact Improv -- and dance, in general -- seems to do a better job of communicating the balance between self-interest and collaboration that make training fun and productive. I think this is because in Aikido we have a harder time separating our purposes and goals from the purposes and goals of the uke and nage roles that we inhabit. The roles we 'inhabit' in dance are less purpose-filled and so our own needs and desires come more easily to the fore.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-18-2003, 10:19 AM   #12
akiy
 
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Quote:
Opher Donchin (opherdonchin) wrote:
I think this is because in Aikido we have a harder time separating our purposes and goals from the purposes and goals of the uke and nage roles that we inhabit. The roles we 'inhabit' in dance are less purpose-filled and so our own needs and desires come more easily to the fore.
Yup. Maybe it's time to start blurring the "purposes" behind the roles of uke and nage?

For me, at least, I'm really beginning to see that there really is no difference between uke and nage. Since the same principles underly both roles, I think it's counterproductive to be "different" as uke as one would be nage. After all, the roles of "uke" and "nage" are very much just artificial labels assigned to facilitate some of the training aspects (eg kata) that we perform in aikido.

It's interesting to see, for example, that many people who are resistant/reluctant to move as uke also have the same traits as nage. I very much feel that whatever we do as uke, we'll do as nage (and vice versa). If anything, the mindset of "I'm not going to fall" seems very counterproductive in the long run to cultivate the resistive/reluctant aspects of ourselves -- which, for me at least, isn't something I'm working towards in my aikido training...

After all, for me, the "purpose" of being uke is the same as the "purpose" behind being nage -- to learn aikido.

Just my thoughts.

-- Jun

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Old 07-18-2003, 02:27 PM   #13
opherdonchin
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Quote:
Since the same principles underly both roles, I think it's counterproductive to be "different" as uke as one would be nage.
I agree with you Jun, or at least I agree that's how it 'should' be. For me, though, uke and nage are very different experiences. Thinking about where those differences I arise, it seems like when I uke I am 'for' nage, whereas when I am nage I am more 'for' myself.

I don't know if that's even coherent.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-18-2003, 02:37 PM   #14
Dave Miller
 
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I definitely agree in that uke is not passive but should be an integral part of the technique. If uke responds in one way, the techniques proceeds as such, if uke respends differently, the techniques proceeds differently. I think that both uke and nage need to be aware of this and work hard to not get into the "dance mode" of doing techniques.

Sometimes, as nage, I will choose to not respond when uke attacks to see if they are attacking correctly or if they are just gonna give me the technique. Especially with kohei, this can make for a nice "teachable moment" to talk about proper ukemi and making a good attack, etc.

DAVE

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Old 07-18-2003, 04:52 PM   #15
Sita Nanthavong
 
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in our dojo, we're taught to always take the fall, no matter what kyu or dan you are. you get practise with your ukemi, and nage gets practise with their technique.

we're also taught, as uke, to always give energy. though, we do exert control so as to not catch nage off guard or pummel through 'em with a tsuki of some sort.

i'll take the fall 90% of the time. the rest of the time i don't is because nage isn't correctly executing the technique. also, i appreciate a good "throw" to the ground, especially by someone who knows what they're doing.

also, in order to be a good nage, you should also know uke's role. especially if you are working with someone who's just beginning. ya won't be able to show/teach the technique unless you know both sides too.
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Old 07-18-2003, 05:32 PM   #16
Joe Jutsu
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I practice mostly at a university club, with a high turnover, so needless to say I work with a lot of really green aikidoka, not that I'm not so green myself.

That said, I've found that some newbies are reluctant to roll for some techniques, mainly timing throws like a kokyunage or a zenpo nage. I try to explain to them that it is very important to learn to take effective ukemi before you will ever progress as an aikidoka. But oftentimes the energy is just not there for me to make one of these techniques "work," usually when the attack is uncommited which I see especially in techniques invlolving wrist grabs.

Has anyone ever felt that it would be appropriate to really dump such a character on the mat as a learning tool of sorts? I mean, the tatami are padded after all, right? I would never throw a beginner into a breakfall or anything like that, but under the right circumstances does anyone think that it might be useful to the new uke to really come in full force and hit the mat full force to stress the importance of training one's ukemi, even during slowed down techniques?

Any thoughts would be most welcome. Thanks.

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Old 07-18-2003, 05:47 PM   #17
Janet Rosen
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Quote:
Joe Proffitt (Joe Jutsu) wrote:
Has anyone ever felt that it would be appropriate to really dump such a character on the mat as a learning tool of sorts? I mean, the tatami are padded after all, right? I would never throw a beginner into a breakfall or anything like that, but under the right circumstances does anyone think that it might be useful to the new uke to really come in full force and hit the mat full force to stress the importance of training one's ukemi, even during slowed down techniques?

Depends on a few things, including what you mean by "dump."

At second kyu, I'd be loathe to be the one to decide that somebody junior to me "needs a lesson" (I know you did not use that language, but your paragraph seems to me to imply it; apologies if I'm reading into it) and I'd be darn careful about hurting somebody who may be too stiff to fall safely.

I always stress to newbies NOT to come in full force UNLESS they feel they can handle the resulting ukemi. I rely on my instructor to show them how to be less rigid but still not limp.

Janet Rosen
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Old 07-18-2003, 05:55 PM   #18
Sita Nanthavong
 
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Quote:
Joe Proffitt (Joe Jutsu) wrote:
Has anyone ever felt that it would be appropriate to really dump such a character on the mat as a learning tool of sorts? I mean, the tatami are padded after all, right? I would never throw a beginner into a breakfall or anything like that, but under the right circumstances does anyone think that it might be useful to the new uke to really come in full force and hit the mat full force to stress the importance of training one's ukemi, even during slowed down techniques?
not all new aikidoka are new to ukemi itself. we usually stress "walking out" of the technique instead of ukemi if the new student doesn't know proper ukemi.

in our dojo, we will take the new students off to the side and they'll get some "private" lessons to the side until they at least have some ukemi experience. just the basics... forwards and backwards.

the person i usually work with is still 9th kyu. however, since he's had prior experience falling, i'm not hesitant to actually crank on him a bit... and he does the same to me once i remind him to (since i'm female, he thinks he has to be gentle).

sometimes, if your uke is just being a total pain in the butt, maybe a little hello to the mat is a good eye-opener? might work for some people....
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Old 07-19-2003, 12:31 AM   #19
bob_stra
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Quote:
Joe Proffitt (Joe Jutsu) wrote:
Has anyone ever felt that it would be appropriate to really dump such a character on the mat as a learning tool of sorts?
I get what your saying - sometimes you need to sink or swim. But I would say no - not with unknown newbies.

Personally, I don't think it's my business to impose "enligtenment" experiences of my training partners. I'm not there to act as a therapist - it seems kinda rude to suppose I know what the other person needs.

Now, if your asking me if I've ever *wanted* to brain some annoying twit....well, I think we've all been tempted by the dark side ;-)
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Old 07-19-2003, 01:15 AM   #20
Joe Jutsu
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I reread my post, and surprise surprise, it didn't come out like I wanted it to. I've never been so hot conveying ideas over the internet.

Yes indeed, my intents here might be a bit on the dark side, but I'm not suggesting imposing enlightenment on anyone or going around and beating people up during their first class. I'm actually thinking about an instance where a good friend of mine who is versed in a few striking arts came to our club to check out aikido. He got his rolls down relatively quickly, but his skepticism of alot of the techniques was pretty evident. Since he was always trying to get me to spar with him from time to time outside of class, I thought that it would be alright to play around with him after class. We were working on shomen uchi kokyunage, and I encouraged him to come in harder than we had been in class. He agreed and to my admitted surprise I pulled off a nicely executed kokyunage. The looks on both of our faces had to have been nearly identicle. No one was hurt, and as I read often on this forum both of us learned something so could it have been that bad?

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Old 07-19-2003, 10:01 PM   #21
opherdonchin
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Doesn't sound bad to me at all. The interesting thing, though, is how different that story would read (at least to me) if you 'decided to show him something' and succeeded in pulling of the nicely executed kokynage. I like it much better this way.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 07-20-2003, 03:29 AM   #22
bob_stra
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[quote="Joe Proffitt (Joe Jutsu)"

I'm actually thinking about an instance where a good friend of mine who is versed in a few striking arts came to our club to check out aikido. He got his rolls down relatively quickly, but his skepticism of alot of the techniques was pretty evident. Since he was always trying to get me to spar with him from time to time outside of class,[/QUOTE]


See, now that's entirely different from I though you meant.

Sure, if your both consenting parties, go nuts! ;-) I'd kinda like to be involved in a session like that myself one day.
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Old 07-28-2003, 12:52 PM   #23
jgrowney
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It's my current understanding that if you wait until you are actually thrown, it's too late. You have lost control of the situation.

I've been told that ukemi is about protecting yourself and if you wait until you're thrown then you are no longer in control. You're reacting. If you're ukemi is not as good as you think you can easily get hurt.

Just this past weekend I was told that the real challenge of ukemi is to take your sempai's best technique. This means an honest attack and enough awareness to blend once your center is taken, so that you don't get hurt.

Jim

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