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Old 03-04-2004, 02:20 PM   #1
kyleg
Location: Montreal, Quebec
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Freaky! Tenshi Nage troubles

Hey Everyone,
This semester I took "Combative Fitness" for phys ed and we've been focusing mainly on Aikido. Our teacher taught us tenshi nage a couple weeks ago, but I've been having trouble with my technique. When uke goes along with it (i.e. doesn't resist) everything goes fine, but when I try it on my teacher he is able to resist completely! I can't even move his hand behind him! What am I missing?

Thanks for your time,
Kyle

P.S. Since it's a phys ed class the whole curriculum is focused a little less on Aikido than at a dojo, and we don't discuss things such as blending etc. Just to let you know in case I give you a funny look after you reply

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one."
- James A. Froude

Nemo me impune lacessit
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Old 03-04-2004, 02:52 PM   #2
Steven
 
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Do you practice Aikido at a dojo? If so, have you discussed this with your teacher? Is this instructor an Aikido teacher?

There are roughly a bazillion different things that can be wrong with this technique, not to mention the fact the instructor knows exactly what you are trying to do. This makes it easy to block.

Kick him in the groin. I bet it'll work then. After all, all's fair in love and war right? If he's going to resist, then in my book, he's given you the authority to hit him.

Especially since there is not a lot of emphasis on Aikido principles.
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Old 03-04-2004, 03:07 PM   #3
Janet Rosen
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Usually, working with beginners, we do NOT resist too much, but rather shape our response to give the beginner some success and a sense of the shape of things. Why not ask your instructor if the problem is in your approach (all tense, muscle, shoulder) or in your position/angle, or some combination, and how he suggests you work on it?

Janet Rosen
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Old 03-04-2004, 03:14 PM   #4
Jamie Stokes
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Kyle san,

I agree with Steven, there is more to it than just the movement.

Aikido is a dynamic art. Static training is done to introduce the movement. then it is best practiced dynamically.

As Steven said, throw in a strike ( also available: head butt!:straight )

Then when the instructor moves, complete tenchi nage.

hint: If uke moves backward, you enter into the movement. If you can "lead" uke into the movement, you turn and do the movement. (remember to allow Uke to stay connected )

Is your instructor a Aikido instructor? Or a phys-ed teacher who has picked up a book?

warmest,

Jamie
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Old 03-04-2004, 03:27 PM   #5
Don_Modesto
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Re: Tenshi Nage troubles

Quote:
Kyle Gehmlich (kyleg) wrote:
....tenshi nage...When uke goes along with it (i.e. doesn't resist) everything goes fine, but when I try it on my teacher he is able to resist completely! I can't even move his hand behind him!
So you tried, failed, and he was content to let you fail?

Didn't he try to correct you?

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 03-04-2004, 03:50 PM   #6
aikidoc
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Sounds like you are not breaking his balance. It is hard to diagnose why it doesn't work based on a description. It generally has to be viewed to be corrected by someone.
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:00 PM   #7
Thalib
 
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I'm sorry.. this is a bit off topic...

but I need to satisfy my obsessive compulsive behavior and comment on "Tenshi Nage".

It just sounds too cool, "Tenshi Nage" -> Angel Throw

I know... I know... it's supposed to be "Tenchi Nage" -> Heaven and Earth Throw

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:01 PM   #8
giriasis
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I agree that someone "blocking" you should know how to teach you to "un-block" them. Otherwise it's just a game of the ego.

When I have someone who is very strong and has a strong grip, I look for their energy. Which direction is it going? If he is pushing into you the best response is to step back of the line of attack (tenshin) or to turn opening up the line of attack (tenkan). If he is pulling you can step forward but not straight in, make sure you step off the line of attack. If you can't feel energy in any direction, then he's just blocking you which doesn't serve any purpose other than the fact that he can prove you can't do the technique to him.

Another thing to do with a really strong grip and with someone who is trying to block you is to relax you muscles turn your arm into a noodle. It is much harder for them to control you in a very relaxed state than when your trying to resist back.

But like others have said, if you like aikido and really want to learn it's best to take up an actual aikido class. Hopefully, this course will give you a decent idea what aikido is about.

Anne Marie Giri
Women in Aikido: a place where us gals can come together and chat about aikido.
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:05 PM   #9
kyleg
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Wow, that was a lot of replies in so short a time! Thanks guys! To answer your questions, he is not just a phys ed teacher with a book, he's been studying it for many years (how many? not sure). He was resisting because, as he told me, my technique was not correct (in other words, a correct technique would have resulted in my 'winning'). We would have discussed it further, but he had to move on with the rest of the class.

As for striking him, we havent learned any striking nor have we learned that it is a way to 'persuade' uke to open up for the attack.

My question is about the technique of tenshi nage most importantly the beginning. What can I do so that uke's arms are easier to control when he resists?

I think I should also point out that the 'official' goal of the course is to learn more about physical health in general and that he is using Aikido as a medium. At the moment I don't have the time to join a dojo, and this is why I've come to all of you

- Kyle

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one."
- James A. Froude

Nemo me impune lacessit
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:09 PM   #10
kyleg
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It's tenCHI nage? My apologies, I'll use that from now on.

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one."
- James A. Froude

Nemo me impune lacessit
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:24 PM   #11
kyleg
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I was just trying out the beginning of tenchi nage on my little bro, and asked him to resist. I couldn't even get my upper hand up! Short of headbutting him, what can I do? Hopefully this will clarify my original question.

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one."
- James A. Froude

Nemo me impune lacessit
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:50 PM   #12
Janet Rosen
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Quote:
Kyle Gehmlich (kyleg) wrote:
I was just trying out the beginning of tenchi nage on my little bro, and asked him to resist. I couldn't even get my upper hand up! Short of headbutting him, what can I do? Hopefully this will clarify my original question.
well, first off, any reputable m.a. instructor I've ever met will tell you Don't Try This At Home--esp if you are a newbie and the other person has no experience. Good way to, if not have somebody get hurt, at the least you start building really incorrect muscle memory (which, if you are using aikido as a physical training form, should be a basic principle).

But a hint for when you are back in class: as best you can, relax and try to feel where the person's energy is going, go with it, then redirect it to where you want to go. Otherwise you are just clashing, muscle against muscle, strength against strength.

Janet Rosen
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:53 PM   #13
kyleg
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hmm, very good point, I should have thought of that. I'll take your advice and do it only in class. Hypothetically though, how would i redirect someone's energy to go the way I want it when it's going in the completely opposite direction?

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one."
- James A. Froude

Nemo me impune lacessit
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Old 03-04-2004, 05:01 PM   #14
shihonage
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Kyle:

To get an "exaggerated and not entirely correct" feel of how tenchinage can be made to work, do the following:

When your brother grabs you, step back, thus flinging him forward, and as his hands are extended forward and he's off-balance, step in and do tenchinage while making sure that theres no slack in his arms the whole time.

Also, imagine that your elbows are nailed to your hips, and thats the only way you can move them- through your hips.

This is once again, not really a correct analogy, more like a crude version of something remotely resembling tenchinage, really, but it may help.


Last edited by shihonage : 03-04-2004 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 03-04-2004, 05:09 PM   #15
kyleg
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Thanks alot, I'll keep that in mind next time. I think part (ok, most) of the problem is that I don't yet have enough experience with tenchi nage or aikido in general.

Thanks to everyone

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one."
- James A. Froude

Nemo me impune lacessit
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Old 03-04-2004, 07:39 PM   #16
William Westdyke
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Ok, everyone has put in two cents on the issue and most people here are making really important points. So I think I will add a few small tid bits of frustratingly hard learned lessons about Tenchi Nage.

First: Tenchi Nage(SP?) is 50% position, 49% the lower hand, and 1% the upper hand. So don't worry to much about forcing your top hand over your partners sholder.

Second: The lower hand MUST find the 3rd point on the equilateral triangle formed by the positioning of uke's feet. This point is usually behind uke for the common version of Tenchi Nage.

Third: To your problem of moving your arms in uke's grip there is a simple way to deal with strength and that is not to fight it. In my experience, no uke is strong laterally. Make sure your not trying to push your arms through your uke. Move your hands sideways.

Fourth: Unbendable arm. Live by it. Tenchi Nage works so much better when (at the least) your lower arm is in "unbendable" posture.

Hope this helps. Best of luck on your progress.

William

"You, not anyone else, is 100% responsible for your own happyness and wellbeing." -- David Robertson
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Old 03-04-2004, 07:46 PM   #17
kyleg
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Well that makes a lot more sense! Being a newbie I was under the impression that any technique must be executed 'by-the-book' to work properly. As for the unbendable arm I'd never really understood how to incorporate it into my learning. Thanks a lot!

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one."
- James A. Froude

Nemo me impune lacessit
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Old 03-04-2004, 10:56 PM   #18
George S. Ledyard
 
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Tenchi Nage

Quote:
Kyle Gehmlich (kyleg) wrote:
Well that makes a lot more sense! Being a newbie I was under the impression that any technique must be executed 'by-the-book' to work properly. As for the unbendable arm I'd never really understood how to incorporate it into my learning. Thanks a lot!
Everything the other posters have said is true and offer excellent places to put your attention when you are next working on this technique. But the single, most important thing is changing your mindset about what a technique is... stop thinking that it is hard to move his arm somewhere or other, the uke HAS GRABBED YOU, wherever you move he will go. Instead of thinking about moving his arm, put your own arm where it needs to be to break his balance. It makes a huge difference how you think about a technique. If you see yourself as "acting" on the uke, he is able to counter your actions. Instead, see yourself as free to move in any way you wish and do it... you'll find that the uke's ability to stop your technique will be fractional to what it had been.

This doesn't mean that you can bypass all of the other instructions that you receieved from the other posters because you still have to understand the principles their instructions represent. But you can follow all of these hints to the letter and if you still perceive the technique as you doing something to him, you literally create his ability to resist.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-05-2004, 12:33 AM   #19
p00kiethebear
 
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Freaky!

Quote:
When uke goes along with it (i.e. doesn't resist) everything goes fine, but when I try it on my teacher he is able to resist completely! I can't even move his hand behind him! What am I missing?
Have you tried asking the teacher?

I know it's a strange new concept. But believe me it IS an option

Ask him after a class or after school, or are they treating tenchi nage as some kind of secret technique that only super senseis can know?

If you've already asked, what does he say?

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-05-2004, 12:50 AM   #20
PeterR
 
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Re: Tenshi Nage troubles

Quote:
Kyle Gehmlich (kyleg) wrote:
When uke goes along with it (i.e. doesn't resist) everything goes fine, but when I try it on my teacher he is able to resist completely! I can't even move his hand behind him! What am I missing?
No ones stating the obvious - its possible to sandbag any technique you know is coming. You could shut down your teachers technique just as easily under the same circumstances. Probably not a good idea to be doing that just yet - I am assuming your teacher has a purpose in mind rather than being difficult for difficults sake.

No resistance training teaches the form, the rest is timing.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-05-2004, 03:24 PM   #21
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Re: Tenshi Nage troubles

Quote:
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
No ones stating the obvious - its possible to sandbag any technique you know is coming. You could shut down your teachers technique just as easily under the same circumstances. Probably not a good idea to be doing that just yet - I am assuming your teacher has a purpose in mind rather than being difficult for difficults sake.

No resistance training teaches the form, the rest is timing.
I agree with Peter, there is normally a purpose to stoppping a student's technique as you describe. If I see a student performing a technique (and I am not talking about the beginners) and he is being successful because he knows the movement and has a lot of power but is still being too physical I will stop him to show that physical won't always work (I am very large and folks generally can't muscle me). Depending on the circumstance I might make suggestions or I might simply walk away and give the student a chance to ponder what I was getting at. Depends on the student.

George S. Ledyard
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Old 03-06-2004, 11:40 AM   #22
kyleg
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Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
Instead, see yourself as free to move in any way you wish and do it... you'll find that the uke's ability to stop your technique will be fractional to what it had been.
That's very sound advice, I think you described my problem to a T. This whole time I'd been under the impression that, as you said, I was acting on uke rather than moving myself.
Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
No ones stating the obvious - its possible to sandbag any technique you know is coming.
That is very true (well, at least it makes sense to me). Maybe my teacher didn't realize how much he was resisting (he is VERY strong and sometimes I think he doesn't realize just how strong he is)?

-Kyle

"You cannot dream yourself into a character; you must hammer and forge yourself one."
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Old 03-06-2004, 06:30 PM   #23
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Did someone say, "Irimi?"

Several of the posters pointed to very important points. First, Mr. Westdyke talks about the third point in the triangle. This is critical in finding a point of least resistance, i.e. the place towards which it will be easy to move uke's body. Second, Mr. Sundeyev implies "create movement" using your own motion, along with a critical point regarding your elbows. Third, Mr. Ledyard speaks towards body position, i.e. where and how to move Uke, but most importantly, timing, or when to move Uke.

I would like to uncover a few additional acorns, hidden just below the surface.

Tai-Sabaki (Body movement)

The basis for this technique is irimi - entering in through the line of attack. Of course, you can't move through a person who is standing in front of you. This is where ashi-sabaki (foot movement) comes into play. Irimi works on two movements, both 45 degrees from each other. Uke approaches Nage, along a line that would move through Nage. This line is known as the line of attack. As Uke approaches, Nage moves one foot off the line of attack at a 45 degree angle. This creates a space or opening between uke and nage, through which Nage can move back onto the line of attack. This accomplishes what is otherwise impossible moving behind the attacker without moving through the attack. Thus, the next thing is for nage to move the other foot forward through the opening and return it back to the line of attack. This will do two things, create the movement nage will use to unbalance uke, and most importantly, turn uke's shoulders and hips slightly, enough so that the third point of the triangle falls back on the line of attack.

Two additional important concepts: Shizen-Ni & Kuzushi.

Shizen-Ni (the first moment) speaks to moving naturally, leading as opposed to reacting, thereby not forcing Uke using one's own physical strength (Chikara). Shizen-Ni is the timing and the mindset used to penetrate uke's mind and body.

Kuzushi (balance breaking) - One effect of Aiki is that, when present, things return to their natural state, something known as the ground state. In a literal sense, aiki is about returning things to the ground. Nage, throughout the technique, remains grounded. He moves in such a way that he channels the ground up through Uke, then turns one over the other such that the weight of the ground seems to come from above. This feeling then overtakes Uke, pressing him downwards with incredible force. Part of the mindset we look to develop is how to do this without thinking at the moment of contact. Perhaps mastering aikido, from a purely technical perspective, has much to do with being able to do this before uke actually touches nage -- something we see O-Sensei doing in much of the old film footage that is available.

Te-Sabaki (hand movement)

This technique is known as Heaven and Earth throw. As we move off the line along a 45 degree tangent, we look to take uke's center using our hands. In a very real sense, we divide uke, literally stretching uke from Heaven to Earth - one extreme to the other - by moving our hands through uke's center in two simultaneous cutting motions, one of raising and the other of lowering a sword. The hand that cuts down moves along with your feet -- off the line and back on the line. The hand that cuts up follows the movement that returns your foot back to the line of attack. Effective sword cutting much to do with elbow position in relation to the hips, thus it is important to keep one's elbows both in and down throughout the technique. These two motions, when added to the Irimi movement serve to cut uke down in a spiraled direction back towards the point of triangulation.

There are other, more salient points to examine. However, foot and hand movement (te-sabaki & ashi-sabaki), body position (tai-sabaki) and timing (shizen-ni), along with unbalancing (kuzushi) are the basics of every technique. Therefore, these things are a good place to look when breaking down the techniques we learn at the dojo. I mentioned them in an order that is from simplest to most complex. I did not mention hip movement (Koshi-sabaki), distance (Ma-ai), nor breathing method (Kokyu-ho), as these are more advanced and will come up as one advances through the art.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 03-07-2004, 02:52 AM   #24
Chicko Xerri
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Techniques in Aikido are in the Mind center. One is mistaken to think techniques are executed on the extremities of the body, hands, limbs and joints. True technique acts on that which motivates and initiates movement. Nikyo Sankyo Tenchi nage or any other assumed technique only form a shape in the physical wrists and limbs, the truly effective technique acts and forms shape in and on the Mind Body Center. Control in locking and unlocking the Center balance, without pain in the joints and body should be your guide for technique advancement. Higher level Aikido begins with high level Ukemi. How you receive his grip determines how well you will effect Tenchi. None of it can really be explained, its only a feeling that is developed.
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Old 03-07-2004, 08:32 AM   #25
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I would imagin the only way he could 'resist' your technique is to hold you so you cant enter?

In which case learn to enter better.

If he's blocking your heaven arm, then try the other variation of bringing your arm up ukes body. Its like scooping water from there belly and pouring it over their shoulder.

Pretty sweet.

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