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Old 08-18-2004, 02:41 PM   #1
suren
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To resist or not to resist

Sorry if this question was already asked, but I could not find it using "search" with word "resist" or "resistance".
The question is: should uke resist doing a technique with full strength or not.
One of my usual partners who is Nidan (who trained also in Japan) always asks me to grab strong and hold as hard as I can and he does the same when he is in uke's role. That's hard, but very effective way of training. We even joke that your technique will be perfect if you survive after training with Jim.
I like this way more since if I'm not doing technique right I can't move him and he is skilled enough to point out why it does not work.
Other guy who is also my frequent partner and he is brown belt asked me to relax and pay attension to the technique rather than try to hold him. All this was said in a very friendly manner and I'm sure both guys have their points, but what should I do?
Should I train differently with these guys and adjust my resistance to their preferences? Should I express my preferences or I have to learn from different people different flavours of the technique in a different way?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-18-2004, 02:57 PM   #2
L. Camejo
 
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Hi Suren,

Personally I don't think you should be "learning" anything as far as correct technique from anyone else but your Sensei. There are many high kyu grades who sometimes think they are Instructors. We have to be careful of this.

In the same light, it is possible that your Nidan partner has the technical skill to train comfortably with the degree of power and reisistance you put into your attacks. The Brown belt on the other hand may not have things up to that level as yet. I tend to tell my students to attack at a level comfortable for the Tori at first and then increase resistance and power as Tori increasingly becomes more effective at getting off the technique. In this way it creates a graduated way for Tori to improve his technique. In my opinion the attack must challenge Tori at some level. That level depends on you.

Different body and personality types allow us to practice techniques in different ways, and it's best we adapt to suit to maintain the harmony in the training as much as possible, not to mention see things from a different perspective. However, in my opinion it is no question that the training method you use with the Nidan is better for more effective technique. This does not mean that you can't learn the movements better by using the method used by the Brown belt. It depends on what you want to focus on in your training at the particular time.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:40 PM   #3
suren
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Hi Larry,

Your "2 cents" are a huge donation for me. Just to make sure I understand you right I would like to quote parts of your responce and discuss them.

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Personally I don't think you should be "learning" anything as far as correct technique from anyone else but your Sensei. There are many high kyu grades who sometimes think they are Instructors. We have to be careful of this.
Oh, I'm pretty sure no one in my dojo is trying to be "the Instructor". Sometimes I do errors and they correct me, sometimes they are not correct also and sensei corrects them... We all are students. They all do the same technique, but the way they practice it is different and my question targets these differences.

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
I tend to tell my students to attack at a level comfortable for the Tori at first and then increase resistance and power as Tori increasingly becomes more effective at getting off the technique. In this way it creates a graduated way for Tori to improve his technique. In my opinion the attack must challenge Tori at some level. That level depends on you.
If the resistance level of uke is not enough to stop the technique if it's performed incorrectly (by saying incorrectly I mean not getting uke's balance completely or entering at a different angle which does not allow you to get his balance easily), should I ask mu uke to resist more?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
Different body and personality types allow us to practice techniques in different ways, and it's best we adapt to suit to maintain the harmony in the training as much as possible, not to mention see things from a different perspective.
So uke should adapt the resistance level for nage?

Quote:
Larry Camejo wrote:
However, in my opinion it is no question that the training method you use with the Nidan is better for more effective technique. This does not mean that you can't learn the movements better by using the method used by the Brown belt. It depends on what you want to focus on in your training at the particular time.
Which type of training focuses more on what? To be more specific, I think I understand the advantages of training with a high level of resistance, but which advantages has a practice with a low level of resistance (let's call it a relaxed practicing)?

Thanks
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:49 PM   #4
Ron Tisdale
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
but which advantages has a practice with a low level of resistance (let's call it a relaxed practicing)?
Ukemi develops better, in my opinion. I spent many years working with ex karateka who were extremely hard to throw, and started using the same kind of resistence as uke (probably to maintain my battered ego). My ukemi suffered greatly. I got hurt a lot. I hurt some others as well. Not good.

The non-physical aspects of Connection develops better in my opinion. You learn to connect to your uke better and differently. This is hard to talk about...teachers like Ikeda Sensei do this very well.

Relaxation and how to use it in technique develops differently, in my case better.

Mind you, I'm in the yoshinkan and I'm saying this...

I also thought that Larry's answer was very good.

Ron

PS I'm not saying that katai training necessarily leads to deficits in the area above...under proper supervision and guidence it shouldn't...but if I was teaching someone in that fashion, I would be very mindfull that the above problems can occur, and I would teach accordingly.
RT

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 08-18-2004 at 03:59 PM.

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Old 08-18-2004, 04:07 PM   #5
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Re: To resist or not to resist

I think both approaches are good to practice, but the fluid one, where uke is honest but not overzealous in resistance and is not throwing himself either, is the most useful when it comes to martial effectiveness.
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Old 08-18-2004, 04:09 PM   #6
suren
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
Ukemi develops better, in my opinion.
Hmm, I've never thought about this, but that makes sence!

I have to add that my background is also Karate and resistance was natural to me.

Have also to add that I stretched one of my neck's muscles lately while taking ukemi from my Nidan partner and protecting my head from bouncing with mat (not a big deal), but that revealed a gap in my back falling technique. I guess I'm just "learning the hard way" person... Too stupid to learn from what's said, have to try it.
That's kind of denies your statement Ron since that incident made me focus on my ukemi, but I see your point and can't disagree with it.

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
The non-physical aspects of Connection develops better in my opinion. You learn to connect to your uke better and differently. This is hard to talk about...teachers like Ikeda Sensei do this very well.

Relaxation and how to use it in technique develops differently, in my case better.
I'll take your work and take my time for this .

Quote:
Ron Tisdale wrote:
I also thought that Larry's answer was very good.
No question about it.

Thanks,
Suren.
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Old 08-18-2004, 04:27 PM   #7
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Great ideas Ron.

As indicated, the more fluid, less resistant practice is beneficial for understanding what is happeneing to both yourself and Uke while doing the technique. It helps one to also understand body mechanics - seeing how affecting one part of the body a certain way affects the other parts in different ways. E.g.: In kotegaeshi, seeing how the twisting of the wrist then moves into the elbow, then shoulder, then contorts the torso and finally causes the knees themselves to bend and twist, breaking Uke's balance more and more with each movement until the legs can no longer support the body.

The low resistance training also helps one to get the "general" movements of a new technique. In this way one can have the idea of how the general movements work (the beginning level). Resistance teaches you how to remove any kinks that may cause the technique to fail with an uncooperative partner (the intermediate to advanced level). In this case you start to focus on the specifics of the technique that allows one to overcome resistance with suppleness and aiki. The simple fact is, one can only understand what really works until someone decides to counter the movements of your technique in a way that negates everything you do. It is here you are challenged to raise the bar, to do better and not be satisfied with anything but your best.

In my training it is important to remain "realistically humble". This means that I make myself understand that I am only BEGINNING to really understand a technique when I can apply it even in the midst of resistance. This helps us to avoid becoming delusional with our dojo practice, thinking that this or that can work against resistance because our Uke is being cooperative and falling. It keeps us honest. So ideally, the both concepts go hand in hand.

It's like Tomiki's concepts: Kata allows us to practice the form and understand the motions and inner workings of the technique (preferable performed slowly and consciously at first to understand what we should be doing). Randori should give us the dynamics and resistance to apply the kata in such a way that it makes sense and works effectively in a fluid, dynamic environment. In this way, randori (esp. with resistance) actually serves to improve upon the basic structure of the kata as the basic form is constantly tested and forged under resistance to become the "perfect" or most effective expression of that technique. In effect, at the highest level, both may even merge, where practical technique is so effective that it can be performed as fluidly as kata even in a randori or resistance rich environment.

Just my thoughts. Hope they help.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 08-18-2004 at 04:29 PM.

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Old 08-18-2004, 04:38 PM   #8
aikidoc
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Re: To resist or not to resist

I feel that in the beginning while learning the basic sabaki and movement patterns excessive resistance can be counter productive. I generally like the beginning students to feel the technique movements whether tori or uke so they understand the energy flow. Once the get the basic movement pattern down, then uke's can add more resistance. By resistance, I mean a stronger attack for example a grab. However, I admonish uke's not to provide a vector to their resistance since that changes the dynamics of the attack and the tori then can throw them in any throw appropriate for the attack vector. My students frequently challenge my techniques by providing very strong attacks to see if they can break me out of my movement-it doesn't work (sometimes hurts the wrists due to the forces though). They also recognized that a strong attack can sometimes result in a very strong technique and that they must have to ability to safely take the technique.

I sometimes start training as follows: movement pattern without uke, movement with uke and no resistance, movement under full attack.

Advanced students also realize that if their technique is good they are likely to get countered or atemi applied by attacker as well.
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Old 08-18-2004, 04:40 PM   #9
suren
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Great ideas! I'll keep that in mind when I train.
Thank you all for your time and efforts. This discussion was very useful and interesting to me.
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Old 08-18-2004, 05:13 PM   #10
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Re: To resist or not to resist

That last statement should have said "if their technique is "NOT" good they are likely to get countered" Sorry about that.
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Old 08-18-2004, 06:26 PM   #11
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Well first of all we need to be careful about what we mean by "resistance".
Often people bring up, and encourage people to reist when they're wanting to get a reality check on their Aikido. Which is admirable. But the type of resistance applied doesn't always match that goal.
I'm sure that we all are aware that if you know the particular technique that is to be applied it is reasonably easy to resist it at some point. You may leave yourself wide open for something else, but you have successfully resisted that technique.
We sometimes get so caught up in the mindset of "nage should be able to make this work even if I resist" we lose sight of the fact that we are now acting in a very unnatural way.
And of course there's nothing worse than someone who has a "pet correction" for a particular technique. i.e. someone who has decided that there is something that everybody does wrong on technique x, and will block the technique just so they can point it out, whether nage is doing it or not.

So I perfer in general not to tell people to resist so much as to be sincere in their attack, and continue to attack sincerely (which may include tying to extracate themselves from a bad position).
This is much more helpful in letting people work out the lines to their techniques, and getting that reality check than just clamping on and thinking "if I keep pushing this way it'll make it really hard for him to perform shiho nage".

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-18-2004, 06:39 PM   #12
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Good points Michael. I point out to students that inappropriate resistance of the technique often exposes them to atemi opportunities. It is also important that since I have shown what is to be done it is easy for someone to stop the technique if they have a mind to do so.
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Old 08-18-2004, 06:44 PM   #13
suren
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
Well first of all we need to be careful about what we mean by "resistance".
Every attack has its purpose. For example if uke grabs nage's wrist he probably wants to keep it there and do not allow nage to move his hand. That's what I ment by "resisrance", not some action that prevents technique to work because uke knows what nage will perform.
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Old 08-18-2004, 07:05 PM   #14
Aristeia
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Suren Baghdasaryan wrote:
Every attack has its purpose. For example if uke grabs nage's wrist he probably wants to keep it there and do not allow nage to move his hand. That's what I ment by "resisrance", not some action that prevents technique to work because uke knows what nage will perform.
Hmm... you know thinking about it I'm not even sure of that. How realistic is it for someone to grab your wrist and then just freeze it there. Generally they are going to be pulling or pushing, or hitting and holding surely? Although most of the time training from wrist grabs is a way of teaching the basics of a technique without having to deal with a dynamic attack so I gues the point is moot.


What got me started on this was the point in your original post where you talk about holding on strongly as resistance. It sounded like the Nidan was asking for tighter stronger grips, which doesn't necessarily = good "resistance" in my book. Oftentimes the harder someone grips the more stiff they become the easier to break free.

Last edited by Aristeia : 08-18-2004 at 07:07 PM.

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Old 08-18-2004, 07:52 PM   #15
Dario Rosati
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Suren Baghdasaryan wrote:
The question is: should uke resist doing a technique with full strength or not
Hi Suren,

Here's my beginner (6th kyu) opinion.

I tend to be relaxed with other kyu people to focus on other things (feet/center stance, timing, breathing ecc), but I resist as strong/swift (and I really mean it) as I can with yudansha people, given the fact that I rarely have the chanche to train with them, so when it happens it becomes to me a sort of test for the tecnique and the art.

This lead to interesting situations sometimes and really let me (and the yudansha, I hope) learn something... including the difference between a good yudansha and a so-so one , and I really hope to remind this when someday I'll be yudansha, too

I think it is pretty stupid not to resist at certain levels, you wouldn't be a credible uke: a casual attacker wouldn't probably be trained in aikido, and would attack at full speed and strength... so deal with it, or your aikido/rank is flawed.

The drawback is that often this lead to a too much strong/fast ukemi for my current technical level, making me going home with bruises and pain at the joints sometimes... but I think this is really worth the experience (after all, this is a martial art, not Ikebana or Origami, and getting battered by experienced people has a great didactical value, IMHO )

Bye!

--
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Old 08-18-2004, 08:17 PM   #16
maikerus
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Re: To resist or not to resist

I think Michael brought up some good points about being careful about what resistance is and whether it is appropriate for "the technique" being done. I agree with him that the most important thing in a technique is the sincere attack and the continuing to attack aspect throughout the technique.

That being said, I believe there is a place for resistance in our Aikido practice. As we move throughout a technique there are various points where we have to focus our power and energy which is supposed to move uke in a particular way.

If uke resists at these points (unexpectedly and just because they know what is about to happen) then from a technique point of view it would make more sense to change the technique to work with this changing resistance.

However, from a training point of view in how to move our body most effectively and strongly we can use that resistance as a training tool. While the resistance is there we will have to really focus on bringing our body in line and moving it all together as a single unit. We will have to really look for the circle that we know exists to control uke's balance. This practice, I believe, will make us better at the overall technique.

The other extreme where there is absolutely no resistance to the technique is also good because if you have an uke who has been thrown a billion times and knows how they should feel in this particular technique then by moving to the "right" place they are helping the person doing the technique to see the purpose in the various stages in the technique and what the goal of each movement is. This is also valuable and will make us better understand our technique.

When training, I usually find that it is up to me and my partner to decide what kind of training we're going to do. Sometimes we decide to go with the fully committed attack all the way through. Sometimes we resist to the point where we can feel that the technique is working. Sometimes we resist the technique even when it is working (and this can hurt <wry grin>). Sometimes we try and go through the technique as fast as possible, both of us getting into the position we're supposed to be at.

I believe that anyone who limits themselves to training in just one method (whether that be resist or don' t resist or fast or slow or whatever) is probably doing themselves a disservice. There is so much more to learn/see when you train with different uke and different kinds of training. I guess it all depends on who you're training with, how you feel about training that day and what you want to focus on from a studying point of view. And, of course, anything you do must fall within the bounds of what the instructor is teaching to the class.

I hope this meandering passage made sense.

cheers,

--Michael

Last edited by maikerus : 08-18-2004 at 08:22 PM.

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Old 08-18-2004, 08:27 PM   #17
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
Sometimes we try and go through the technique as fast as possible, both of us getting into the position we're supposed to be at.
Ah yes, demo's.

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Old 08-18-2004, 10:10 PM   #18
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Uke, every time must resist with all his experience. This resistance shouldn't be mistaken with stiff, immobile posture. In contrary, attacker can be as flexible as possible, yet, looking always for openings in tori technique. As he counter opening one by one, tori has a lot of difficulty to execute efficient technique. So he is forced to find right way to do it.
It must be done at ANY level of students.

This is ultimate way to learn correct, pure technique and right spirit(in other words: unification of body and mind), without any word, by both, uke and tori in the same time.

Nagababa

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Old 08-18-2004, 10:53 PM   #19
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
Uke, every time must resist with all his experience. This resistance shouldn't be mistaken with stiff, immobile posture. In contrary, attacker can be as flexible as possible, yet, looking always for openings in tori technique. As he counter opening one by one, tori has a lot of difficulty to execute efficient technique. So he is forced to find right way to do it.
It must be done at ANY level of students.

This is ultimate way to learn correct, pure technique and right spirit(in other words: unification of body and mind), without any word, by both, uke and tori in the same time.
Every time? Any level of student? Even if they are beginners and it's the first time they've seen the technique. Hell, even if they're expereienced and it's the first time they've seen the technique? Do I want to be wacking a 5th kyu in the back of the head everytime there's an opening in their technique or should I pick a couple of things to have him work on?
Your way may work but I expect it takes much longer and has a higher attrition rate.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:57 PM   #20
suren
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
How realistic is it for someone to grab your wrist and then just freeze it there. Generally they are going to be pulling or pushing, or hitting and holding surely?
Have to agree with you. In a street fight if somebody ever grab your wrists - only from your back to place you in a good position for other guy coming into you.

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
Oftentimes the harder someone grips the more stiff they become the easier to break free.
Ya, right! Explain that to my Nidan partner please
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:01 AM   #21
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Suren Baghdasaryan wrote:
Ya, right! Explain that to my Nidan partner please
Well maybe he's perfected the strong grip relaxed arm thing that is actually quite hard to accomplish (although at Nidan should be somewhat developed). Generally though people gripping with all their might stiffen their arm making it easy to escape the grip. Of course if the technique you're training is say, Shiho Nage, that's not what you want to do.

"When your only tool is a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail"
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:07 AM   #22
suren
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Dario Rosati wrote:
I tend to be relaxed with other kyu people to focus on other things (feet/center stance, timing, breathing ecc), but I resist as strong/swift (and I really mean it) as I can with yudansha people, given the fact that I rarely have the chanche to train with them, so when it happens it becomes to me a sort of test for the tecnique and the art.
Well, don't want to make you envy Dario, but usually I do not have a chance to train with a person with level close to mine (beginner)... Our classes start at 6am and only motivated people can make it every day and they mostly brown and black belts. Therefore I have a nice choice of yudanshas to train with
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Old 08-19-2004, 12:37 AM   #23
suren
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
Well maybe he's perfected the strong grip relaxed arm thing that is actually quite hard to accomplish (although at Nidan should be somewhat developed).
I don't exactly know what he perfected, but I was amazed how strong can be a man who probably twice older than me... About same weight and height and yet sooo tough.
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Old 08-19-2004, 02:25 AM   #24
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Re: To resist or not to resist

To give a newbie's perspective... and my perspective should be taken as just that... the experience of a newbie...

I find that my partners often adapt to me when training. Some seem to prefer that I offer resistance, some do not. When I am acting as nage, I have noticed that as my comfort in a technique increases, so does the uke's resistance. When given resistance, I have found that I have to work harder to find give right technique, and not just go through a motion while the uke cooperates. Though more physically demanding, something feels "right" when uke offers some level of resistance.

Anyway, just my current thoughts as a newbie!
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Old 08-19-2004, 11:06 AM   #25
L. Camejo
 
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Re: To resist or not to resist

Quote:
Michael Fooks wrote:
How realistic is it for someone to grab your wrist and then just freeze it there.
This is interesting. Imho, if Uke attacks with a grab and is able to set his stance and "just freeze there" then your technique has already failed as you should be continuing his movement with well timed tai sabaki and kuzushi, never allowing him to set and freeze his posture.

When first learning the technique, this setting of posture often happens however, as the beginner has not developed the timing and tai sabaki skills to move with the attack as it's coming in as yet. But in these early learning situations, the attacks tend to be firm, but relaxed, allowing the beginner to get a feel for the basic movements with a relaxed, flexible response by Uke. When the basics are understood, then the attacks become more rigid to give more resisitance.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

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