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Old 09-13-2003, 09:04 AM   #1
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 113
Wet towel snap

I have been taught that certain throws have "helping" movements to control how uke will hit the ground.
For instance, I'm sure most of you have seen the scooping action that one does on uke's leg in koshi-nage (with your back hand). When I first saw this I asked my sensei "it seems to accelerate uke's spin -- won't that cause more damage?". Sensei said no "it will actually result in less damage because uke will hit the ground in a flatter position than he/she would without it", which is totally true, without the scoop uke goes pretty much head first into the ground from koshi-nage -- very dangerous.

So when I saw the same micro-movements (as I call them) applied to kokyu-nage, sumi-otoshi and a few others where nage does not let go of the arm/sleeve of uke and lets them snap out like the snapping of a towel, I immediately saw (and felt) the difference it made. By maintaining the hold, uke whipped out flat then fell. When didn't maintain my hold on uke, they seemed to spin uncontrollably and land funny.

However, I was told by another sensei later on that you shouldn't hold onto uke as you risk causing undo stress to uke's arm and joints. While I agree you could cause more stress on uke by holding on -- wouldn't a more controlled fall be more desirable? Granted when confronted by more than one person I may not have the time to continue the hold -- but in regular practice where I want to make every effort to practice in a way to conserve uke (since uke will be me too in 4 repetitions, he he)

Anybody else have thoughts on this?


Bruce Kimpel
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Old 09-13-2003, 09:47 AM   #2
jducusin's Avatar
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai (formerly the North Winnipeg Aikikai)
Location: Winterpeg, Manisnowba
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 144
Hey Bruce,

I'm going to take a stab in the dark (from my limited experience) and say it depends on the situation --- for example: if uke wants to roll out of a throw, then nage lets go so that this can happen; if uke wants (or in some cases, needs ) to do a breakfall out of a throw, in most cases nage holds onto one hand or arm to help control this (and as a result, uke gets stretched out flat instead of spinning oddly and out of control, as you noticed).

Just my guess --- can anyone verify this?

Open Sky Aikikai - http://www.winnipegaikido.com
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead." - Morihei Ueshiba
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Old 09-13-2003, 10:57 AM   #3
Chuck Clark
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
There are strategic situations where you want to project someone away from you without holding on to them. There are also situations where you should maintain control of the sente during the fall and after until the person gives the "maitta" signal (give up).

As an aside, I've grown up doing judo as well as aiki and I learned a long time ago that there are several ways to throw someone depending on your intent. You can put them out into the air without any support and let gravity do its job; you can take them off their feet and drive them into the ground with added force; you can "crack them on the mat" just like popping a wet towel (these last two methods are decidedly "not nice"); or you can support them appropriately maintaining control and connection. This last method is what I prefer to do in training with my friends and dojo mates. Funny thing is ... even when you project someone away from you and let go, if your zanshin is strong and the force was focused properly, the uke feels as if you still have control and are "taking care of them."

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 09-13-2003, 04:44 PM   #4
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 113
I agree that whether to use the "snap the towel" effect is dependant on the intended effect, just as shiho-nage and kaiten-nage lend themselves very well to mid-throw direction change (whether uke will be directed toward or away from an object or another person for instance -- is also dependant on intent), but has anyone actually been told specifically not to do it because of the additional strain on uke?

For instance in some high throws initiated by a lapel grab (kata-dori), I have always been told that it is desirable for uke to actually maintain the hold to flatten out your own fall (not necessarily to pull nage down with you after as one would think).

This "added strain on arm" argument seems contrary to my sensibilities, just seeing if anyone else has encountered such an argument.


Bruce Kimpel
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