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Old 10-06-2004, 04:22 PM   #26
shihonage
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

I'm sorry, but "we" do not train our bodies to accept imbalance.
I think your question has been answered many times over in this thread - now may be a good time to actually read it.

If it hasn't been answered properly, then maybe you should clarify your question ?

Last edited by shihonage : 10-06-2004 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 10-06-2004, 05:17 PM   #27
jss
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

I believe Jordan has a point (if I understand his posts correctly, that is):
there are two ways to train. You can do your best each and every time to resist the techinique and exploit the smallest flaw. Or you can resist only when you want to show tori something which he/she is ready to learn. Usually training is done in the second cooperative manner. This creates the danger that in a real life situation, you just might be a bit too cooperative and not reverse/block/... a technique, you could have reversed/blocked/... In a way that's okay, because hoepfully/probably you won't be hurt, but still you missed a chance to end the situation.
So the point is: even if you train cooperatively, you should be thinking about possible reversals (that is, when it is not appropriate to execute the actual reversal). Otherwise the cooperative attitude we train in, might just have too big an effect on your reaction in real life.
To give an example: if ever I'll be attacked with a knife and I'd be able to succesfully apply a technique, something in me will want to give the knife back and ask to do it again but on the other side.
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Old 10-06-2004, 05:42 PM   #28
shihonage
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote:
To give an example: if ever I'll be attacked with a knife and I'd be able to succesfully apply a technique, something in me will want to give the knife back and ask to do it again but on the other side.
I think if ever you'll be attacked with a knife, you'll either freeze and get killed, or go completely apeshit, suffer a few cuts and send your attacker to a hospital with a fractured arm, unable to speak or reproduce, and bleeding from an eyesocket.

Then your knees will be shaking for a good half an hour.
Afterward, you will have trouble remembering what you have done, classifying it as some sort of "technique", and certainly have no recollection of wishing to ever give the knife back to the attacker.

You also may discover that there's nothing to give back - that the attacker didn't let go of the knife at all - just as you didn't let go of whatever of his hands was holding the knife.
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Old 10-06-2004, 05:42 PM   #29
akiy
 
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote:
there are two ways to train. You can do your best each and every time to resist the techinique and exploit the smallest flaw. Or you can resist only when you want to show tori something which he/she is ready to learn. Usually training is done in the second cooperative manner.
Personally, I don't think resistance is necessary to "exploit flaws." I daresay that there's another way to train -- without "resistance" at all as uke.
Quote:
So the point is: even if you train cooperatively, you should be thinking about possible reversals (that is, when it is not appropriate to execute the actual reversal).
Some of the most effective reversals that I've personally felt have come from those who offer no resistance. Just as I have felt many good people as nage who are not resisting what uke is doing, the same goes for people who were in uke's role being able to reverse what I was trying to do as nage by not resisting. In the same manner as we try to "fit" as nage into what uke is providing (ie without resistance), the same can be done as uke.

Just my thoughts and experiences.

-- Jun

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Old 10-06-2004, 06:30 PM   #30
Jordan Steele
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Joep understands what I was getting at.

By the way, I have read all the posts thoroughly and tried to rephrase my question several times but kept getting answers regarding ukemi. Just read what Joep said and consider that my question of sorts.
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Old 10-06-2004, 07:56 PM   #31
shihonage
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

What Joep said has been answered several times over in this thread - before he said it.
Reversals, openings, atemi, all should be cultivated awareness of in nage-uke interaction.
That is a proper way to train.
A good uke will not let nage slap on a technique when the technique is done incorrectly.
They may reverse it and/or deliver atemi when they see an opening, because of the incorrect technique which allowed for the said opening.

If these questions arise for you and Joep, then it appears that your training relies on overly compliant ukes who never "speak up", and you never do things like jiyu-waza with moderate resistance or random attacks.
It boggles the mind; I have no other explanation for you asking the same strange question over and over.

Wait... can your question be summed up as "Due to Aikido you will cooperate too much in real life and thus pose a danger to yourself" ?

If so, I have news for you - I have encountered a man significantly larger than myself who just grabbed me and kept pushing me into walls.
It started as playful but egos came into play and it degenerated into something resembling a scene from Terminator 2 where they crush into walls repeatedly.
The only thing I could do to retain my balance was go where he went next.
Blend. Offer no resistance.
If I didn't, I would've been swept off my feet.

On the other hand I can also become a lot more immoveable than I could before I started doing Aikido.
Aikido is in part about knowing when doing one, or the other, is to your highest benefit.

Did I get it this time ?
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Old 10-06-2004, 09:51 PM   #32
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

I think Aleksey's above post and a few others have already answered this question.

I remember my first experience doing full resistance tanto randorigeiko many years ago. Because it was the very first time in my Aikido training that I was actually expected to fight back and resist with all my might, it took a few tries to get into the mindset of allowing my instincts to resist and fight back come into play instead of going with the technique and taking the fall, since previous to this I had only experienced cooperative practice where as the attacker, I would move with the technique instead of fighting back all the time.

Of course when I realised this I also learnt that the best sort of resistance was in relaxing, keeping my balance and going with the technique and changing my position to a place where I could counter effectively at some point.

Moving with the technique however is not the same as "allowing yourself to be unbalanced". If you truly want to apply Aikido kaeshiwaza (counters) you will try your best not to be put off balance, which is how you should train, and from what I get here, is how most folks train.

I think you may be confusing what is expected from you as Uke during the kata and free play aspects of training. In kata resistance (if any) is used to help Tori to understand the mechanics of the technique and to realise what he may be doing wrong as well by showing counters using atemi etc. One is put off balance when the technique is effectively applied in kata by Tori. In free play, resistance is a bit more active and is designed to deliberately prevent technique from being successfully applied. At this point you are not allowing Tori to practice his technique anymore you are trying to throw him as strongly as he is trying to throw you, so you try to eliminate all possiblities of losing balance. In resistance based free practice there should be no Tori or Uke distinction. It is this part of practice that you use to train yourself for real life or like encounters, it is the application aspect of training where you being to understand Shobu Ho (method of fighting) as Kano put it. It should not be the same as cooperative practice.

Regarding what Aleksey referred to about how this sort of training may program you to react poorly in reality, I think Mark Balogh said it best in post #13. In a real life defensive encounter do you see yourself as Tori or Uke? If you see yourself as Uke then there is your problem, since from my understanding at least, Aikido training and philosophy does not equip you with the most effective weapons to go around attacking people and succeeding at it. In reverse, some might say if you are Uke (read "unprovoked attacker") in a real encounter then you are already not practicing Aikido.

Just some thoughts.
LC

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Old 10-06-2004, 10:32 PM   #33
xuzen
 
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Dear Jordan,

Whether you choose to be rooted and resist a throw or to go with the flow is entirely up to you and also depend on the circumstances. The fact that you can do both increases your options. To give you an example that happenned recently in my dojo...

First example,

In randori practice, shite wanted to do an obi-otoshi on me, I felt it coming and dropped my weight as well as used my leg to hook on his (sort of like sticky hands, only using leg). My hand held strongly to his gi lapel. The technique failed. He was not able to drop me.

Second example,

I was the uke. The technique to be perform was mune mochi kokyunage. When the shite performed the technique, I went with the flow and fell, but my hand was still grabbing the lapel. I felt my shite's weak stance, I instinctively held fast to the lapel and performed a sacrifice throw (Uki waza).

Jordan, you mentioned that you why should we ukemi/fall when it is not necessary. You are absolutely right, but going with the flow so that you can set up a counter, why not? If you can resist a throw to prevent your adversary from successfully doing a technique, why not? However in dojo (training) we help each other to learn, so why not just do what we are suppose to do and let shite learn.

Outside the dojo... its free for all.

Hope this helps.
Boon.

Last edited by xuzen : 10-06-2004 at 10:37 PM. Reason: Lousy grammar

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Old 10-06-2004, 10:44 PM   #34
senshincenter
 
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Perhaps the question of "Why do we trained to be unbalanced?" in Aikido, as one may wish to derive it from a particular understanding of ukemi, is akin to asking a karateka why he/she trains to be a target when he/she participates in two-man technique training.

Personally, I don't believe that a karateka trains to be a target when he/she provides said things for a partner during training exercises. Moreover, I don't believe that what we repeat over and over within a basic training environment (e.g. kihon waza, shu training, etc.) is what we will do under spontaneous conditions. A person trained only in kihon waza or shu-type training usually does something different: hesitate in applying what they have been practicing. Repitition does not lead to or guarantee spontaneous expression. Therefore I don't think we should hold that an aikidoka is training to lose his/her balance simply because he/she provides and/or allows such a thing to occur for a partner during training exercises. I also don't think that such elements of our training environment erupt so easily into our spontanoues expressions of the art. Nobody is going to go off-balance spontaneously simply because they have done it "X" times on the mat during kihon-waza training.

dmv
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:45 PM   #35
maikerus
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

It looks like there are maybe two similar but separate questions in this thread.

1. Should uke train to be unbalanced

2. If we are training to be unbalanced will that harm/hinder us in a "real" situation because we are training to lose every time we are uke.

Number One:

I don't think uke should train to be unbalanced through the technique. I think uke should constantly be trying to attack shite and the best attack is a balanced attack.

I think the way shite handles an attack is by playing with uke's balance just enough so that uke gets a mild feeling of "something is wrong" rather than "I'm in trouble" or "I'm unbalanced". Uke should feel like they are going to "win" right up to the point they get pinned or thrown.

The challenge for shite is to keep that one step ahead of uke at all times by feeling where uke's balance is and just nudging it out of center enough that they naturally / instinctively react by moving to regain their balance without realizing it because they are intent on the attack. This natural movement hopefully moves them into another more vulnerable position.

Number Two:

If you train to be unbalanced and to lose then it is probably a danger. Maybe a change of mindset to "constantly attack with intent" will make this fear go away.

Of course, you have to trust that your shite is good enough to handle your intent. If they're not then you will have to slow it down so that they can learn and show them where you regained your balance or where it was obvious they were doing something to you. But you must try and keep your attack and balance to be able to show this.

I think if you do this both shite and uke can learn where the danger points are and how to keep uke in a constant state of "I'm winning but there is something a little bit wrong" right up to the point they get slammed.

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:49 PM   #36
Michael Young
 
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Hi Jordan,

Here are my limited opinions of your questions, and how I can think of to maybe answer them.
By now in your training, particularly if you have trained with weapons (esp. the bokken) you probably understand that the moment you attack as uke you create an opening that nage exploits. Generally the movement that nage does in Aikido is an irimi or irimi tenkan (depending on the direction, energy, timing, etc. of your attack and nage's chosen response) designed to put nage in a "safe place" i.e. uke's shikaku. It is at this point (and really even before, depending how deep into it you want to go) that you are no longer an "attacker"...your offensive movement has now changed to a defensive movement (this is all assuming, of course, that nage has responded appropriately to your attack) Also, at this point, is when things can really become "Aiki"... this is the first point where nage either chooses to exercise the option of attempting to destroy uke (depending on your definition and possibly the situation, this would not be the "Aiki" solution), or apply principles of musubi or connection with uke in order to continue the dynamic situation to its final outcome. Uke also has some choices at this point...uke is in a compromised position, uke can either choose to try and resist or blend at this point. I'll define "resistance" in this case as "tensing up" some part of your body (usually the arms and shoulders) and fighting against nage by trying to disconnect from the situation, either through muscular resistance or running away. I'll define blending as trying to stay connected to nage, by covering your openings through continued movement of your center and relaxed extension (again particularly of your arms and shoulders), continually seeking nage's center. If uke responds in this blending manner, not being resistive to nage's continued motion, nage usually has no choice but continued movement of his/her own center in a spiral movement, leading uke in either a centrifugal (outward and away, i.e. a throw) or centripedal ( inward and usually down, i.e. generally a pin) motion (or in most cases both). In order to complete this motion, nage must at some point get uke's center dependent on his/her own center (the musubi and connection part) and then either "remove" this center or project it outward...at this point, uke is completely unbalanced by this removal of the nage's center or projection of their own.
Unless I'm completely mistaken, this is where your question comes in, and I think what I'm hearing is a two part question "Why allow nage to unbalance me in the first place?" and "In so doing, am I creating a bad body habit that would serve me badly if in a "real" situation?"
I'm sure there are several answers to these questions, but in response I have this question: What is the alternative to not becoming unbalanced, not blending with your partner, and resisting the throw or pin? In my opinion it is much worse, you are decreasing the likelyhood that nage will respond with something that will be non-damaging to you. Remember, nage has lots of options in response to the openings created during an attack, many of which can be very nasty; including breaking bones and joints (picture yourself refusing to move in order to maintain your balance, when some big insensitive brute [no offense intended to big insensitive brutes, I was once one myself ] who is standing in your shikaku, decides to crank on a mean Sankyo...there goes your wrist, your elbow, and shoulder), striking vital areas, or just plain sticking a finger in your eye! My Sensei points this stuff out to us ALL THE TIME. We can either choose to move and blend as uke, or stand there and get hit, and yes, moving and blending many times requires that our balance get broken. Also if all I choose to do is resist the balance breaking then, as others have pointed out, I can't explore the openings in nage's technique (exploring them doesn't mean I always have to take advantage of them). Many times (I would actually argue every time with a good nage) going to the ground by falling, or staying connected till the pin, are the only ways to keep from getting hurt, or more acurately to cover the openings where I COULD get hurt.
As to the question of ingraining a bad body habit; I don't believe this is really an issue. Think about it this way, by allowing your balance to be broken again and again, you are not developing a habit of just falling down, you are developing a habit of being aware of your center so acutely that you know exactly when and how your balance is broken...so you are really learning how to keep your balance (does that make any sense at all...the principle is learned by exploring it's opposite). My greatest leaps in understanding a particular principle or technique as nage, have come AFTER I understood the technique as uke (and by understand, I don't mean simple intellectual conceptualization, I mean internally understanding it through body movement and muscle/mind memory). Besides, you probably spend at least 50% of your time as nage, right?...that's when your are ingraining the habit of NOT losing your balance.
Well there's my opinions and thoughts...hope it was worth the long read.

Best Regards,

Mike
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:55 PM   #37
CNYMike
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Quote:
Jordan Steele wrote:
I have been training in martial arts my whole life and Aikido for about 5.5 years. It would seem that all martial arts stress balance with varying degrees. Aikido on the other hand also teaches moving in an off balanced manner. To make myself more clear allow me to explain. When I train in Aikido and am uke, it's my job to know when nage has offbalanced me and then move accordingly. I understand Aikido is co-operative but why do I allow myself to be off balanced .....
Um, because Aikido emphasizes throws and joint locks. So it's all about how to unbalance somebody. Ukemi waza -- throws and break falls -- are an integral part of the art and you should practice them. You'll never know when they can save your life.



Quote:
In all other martial arts I've trained becoming off-balanced is a big no-no and should be avoided at all cost .....
What have you trainined in? Stand up striking systems might take the attitude you explained, but grappling systems will include takedowns and throws. Guess which side of the street aikido is on?

Quote:
In my last few classes I have been aware of the fact that during any technique if I wanted to regain my balance and not allow nage to throw me, I could and that's not because they have poor technique, it's because mentally I made a decision not to let this person throw me onto the ground .....
So you can resist being thrown. Good for you! Having said that, you may want consider that resisting like that in class can be frustrating for beginners. Trust me -- way back when I started Kali, I got annoyed with a partner who wouldn't let me throw him; he can just set himself very well. I almost set him into a display case on one try. Not good.

Quote:
...... I honestly think when an average person senses imbalance, they will react in a way to try and regain balance and if they have any sense of self-preservation they will resist you from the beginning.
After five years, you've probably had your share of "average people" -- raw beginners with no prior training who were starting in Aikido. Have they reacted the way you say they will? There's your answer.
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:58 PM   #38
shihonage
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Quote:
Michael Gallagher wrote:
After five years, you've probably had your share of "average people" -- raw beginners with no prior training who were starting in Aikido. Have they reacted the way you say they will? There's your answer.
Not a valid comparison, sorry.
Beginners in the dojo don't react out of self-preservation and their life isn't exactly on the line.
Well, they do react, but their reaction is completely different than it would be in a real confrontation. Its purely reflexive and about 50 times more subdued.

Last edited by shihonage : 10-06-2004 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:02 PM   #39
maikerus
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
I think the way shite handles an attack is by playing with uke's balance just enough so that uke gets a mild feeling of "something is wrong" rather than "I'm in trouble" or "I'm unbalanced". Uke should feel like they are going to "win" right up to the point they get pinned or thrown.
An Example (of attacking strongly and trying to stay balanced):

I was in Malaysia on a tour with Inoue Sensei a few years ago and he asked me to do nikajo to him in front of the hundreds of people attending the demo plus those watching via satellite TV.

At the time I'd been training for about 15 years. He was 68 years old. I was 32. I was training about 2 or 3 hours a day and teaching about a third of those classes. He taught about 3 or 4 classes a week.

When he asked me to do the nikajo I had a second of "should I hold back" because of the differences between us that were so obviously in my favour. Luckily it had been drilled into me that every attack should be an attack and if I didn't attack to the best of my ability then I should leave the dojo.

So...you all know what happened. I applied a really good nikajo with my balance perfect and used every bit of skill I had been taught and I knew that there was no escape.

There was a brief pause as I held him there and then I suddenly landed about 3 metres away. I had no idea how I got there. I was perfectly balanced and in control one moment and a nano-second after that I was springing up off the mat with a huge "how the h*ll did you do that" grin on my face.

I really thought I had him, too. <sigh>

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 10-07-2004, 02:37 AM   #40
Mark Balogh
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Jordan,

I can see that you have difficultly accepting concepts that seem 'illogical' to you. We cannot demonstrate these things over a thread only TRY to explain them. Please read and think about my previous post again (and again ). But most of all...

FIND A SHIHAN!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 10-07-2004, 03:11 AM   #41
PeterR
 
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Quote:
Mark Balogh wrote:
I can see that you have difficultly accepting concepts that seem 'illogical' to you.
Strangely so do I.

There are forms of training where the relationship between tori and uke are constantly switching. Counters are countered and so on. The initiator (the first person in the uke situation) never gives up his balance - in fact no one does.

The extreme case of uke giving up his balance in kata is the maddening situation where uke is flying off in some direction before tori has a chance to even execute his technique. This is not Aikido.

A more normal situation is where uke allows (by little or no resistance) tori to take uke's balance quite easily. This is different from giving up one's balance and the resistance can be adjusted upward. It can however get to the point where all techniques can be defeated - I mean you know what's coming. At that point tori learns nothing.

Full and complete resistance has its place but not in kata whose entire purpose is the education of tori.

Good training (Shihan or no) has a very clear logic to it. If something is not being made clear - ask again.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-07-2004, 03:24 AM   #42
giriasis
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Jordan, I hardly meant to slight you regarding call you a beginner. I, too, have 5.5 years experience in aikido. I misread your statement and I interepreted that you had been doing other martial arts for 5.5 years and have just started aikido. The comment about being a beginner in my second paragraph was an attempt to show an understanding of your perspective not to insult you in any way or question your skills.

I still stand by the comments in my first paragraph that we don't train to be unbalanced. I gave my reason there and please go back re-read it without assuming I'm being insulting towards you.

Anne Marie Giri
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Old 10-07-2004, 03:52 AM   #43
Ian Upstone
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Just a quick pop from lurkdom.

I think if you go right to the core of being uke, I'd say the goal is to improve your partner's skill.

What helps them most? For some it's telegraphing attacks or giving plenty of momentum and openings they can use, or even putting yourself in the correct position when learning kihon waza with a beginner. At the other end of the spectrum is making your partner earn every last part of the technique by staying on balance at all times, giving them nothing to use and resisting to the last. Most of us probably hover somewhere between the two extremes, not wanting to either patronise or struggle with (i.e. risk being injured by!) their partner.

But resisting in all circumstances? Are you helping them improve or are you just proving (to yourself/them?) that you can't be thrown? One thing that riles me is when a specific technique is being practised - the uke knows exactly what you are going to do, so they can easily prevent your technique. Doesn't help. The only skill they help you develop is henka waza (which is good in some respects, but may not be being taught at that time!)

One thing maybe to bear in mind is that the hypothetical attacker we are training with (and playing the role of as uke) is going to assume they will 'win'. They won't attack unless they have (or think they have) the advantage, so in theory they will not be considering any outcome other than their immediate victory! They will not be thinking about retaining their balance from the offset, or planning to resist something they know is coming - because in theory they don't know what's coming. They'll just continue the attack until they've 'won' or they've been pinned or thrown.

As uke, I believe you have to retain this level of 'attacking naivety' despite the fact you've been thrown thousands of times before. If that makes any sense.

Last edited by Ian Upstone : 10-07-2004 at 03:56 AM. Reason: Spelling mistakes...
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Old 10-07-2004, 07:43 AM   #44
Jordan Steele
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Thank you for the responses, the second page of this post was exactly the conversation I was hoping for in the first place. It wasn't that I didn't accept other peoples views as logical, but more I was getting answers to a question that wasn't asked which is my fault, but it's a damn hard question to put clearly. Everything said in this thread has credibility but the second page is the type of dicusssion I was looking for. Thanks again.
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Old 10-07-2004, 09:22 AM   #45
balazs
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

I think in this matter the truth is somewhere between the two far extremes as almost always.
Over-cooperative ukes are a headache, as training with them gives nothing except a good show of their ukemi skills.
On the other side, ukes who resist with full force and try to reverse the waza in every point can be accepted if it is about one decisive clash, but not if it is practice and we have to go over the technique many times. Worse if it's about proving who's stronger or more skilled.
Of course it was explained in detail in this thread. Experienced people here, everyone knows.
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Old 10-07-2004, 09:27 AM   #46
Ghost Fox
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Hey Jordan,

I'm going to give this post a shot. I've been training in Aikido for 7.5 years and in martial arts in general for about 12 years so I know a little where you're coming from. Also, like you I place a high value in my skills in ukemi.

Over the years I've notice as an uke there are three types of throws that I look out for when I don't know what waza is being executed. The first are blitz throws, these are the short-and-sweet throws that I don't see coming and there is very little time between my attack and the actual throw. Examples of these are sudori and sutemi. These throws rely on surprise and the nage vanishing. The second type are the atemi waza, these are the falls you take to avoid having your nose broken or those where the atemi shocks the uke's system physically or mentally to allow for a throw. These throw rely on uke's self-preservation instinct or stunning the uke momentarily. These first two types of throws do not require me to move in an off balanced manner. With the first the technique happens so suddenly I usually find myself laughing as I go sailing through the air. The second elicits the Oh Shit response of if I don't go to the floor myself I'm going to end up there in a bloody heap anyway or the involuntary muscle spasm of being touched up for a second while a throw is being executed.

The third type is what I call the chase, and these are the type or waza I think you are referring to, and the ones that most ukes in general don't understand. Most of these waza start out with a tenkan or tenkai movement and may have additional tenkan or tenkai movements through out the technique. Like you during these techniques I can say I am rarely ever unbalanced, and if I am, it is never for more than 1/2 a second tops and only during a big cut movement like in kaitenage or iriminage. The only time my balance ever goes is during the actual throw, which in my opinion should feel like a surprise. I'm in agreement with Jun and Larry when they say the best kind of resistance during ukemi is a relaxed empty resistance.

Let's take for example munetsuki kotegaeshi tenkan. As I strike with tsuki nage enters with tenkan to the outside. Here I must state if nage is particularly good I will find my mental and physical balance slightly perturbed as if he did an incomplete blitz throw. As nage begins to pivot and lead my arm I find myself in the position of one, having nage opening up my centerline and taking my balance and two having my rear exposed, so I immediately give chase to maintain my centerline and hopefully attack nage with an atemi or throw. During this entire time I am exerting pressure on nage, hoping to crack his defenses and break his composure. As I come around and see nage my first response is usually to close up the distance and strike him in the jaw, but nage is never there instead I find myself flying through the air in a kotegaeshi throw.

So for me personally Aikido is about a series of gambits between uke and nage that lead to either the uke or nage ending up on the ground, depending on who plays the game best. For me as uke I am either balanced or in a state of regaining my balance. The only thing that saves nage when I'm balanced is the nage being in a tactically superior position that I wish to neutralize by repositioning myself.

During kihon waza all I do is adjust my timing according to the skill level of the nage. If nage is a new student I usually go slow and walk nage throw the techniques explaining any openings in defenses and the strategy behind the waza. As they grow in experience I speed up and apply more pressure on them. If the person is competent I go for broke and do my best to intercept and counter my nage without short-circuiting his waza just because I know what technique is being practiced. It is a matter of me being a better uke than he is a nage, and during particularly fun classes the nage and I might end up countering and re-countering several times before one of us can deliver a successful atemi or waza.

As for your second point about dropping your center and breaking away, I find this particularly difficult with good nages. If I am the nage in the above example and if uke doesn't want to follow me after the pivot my uke usually receives an elbow to the back, a hyper extended elbow or me disengaging his arm and chocking uke out since I am already behind him. And, if he is stupid enough to try to not go with a kotegaeshi throw he usually ends up crumbled on the floor with a sprain wrist or a clocked jaw. One of my Aikido instructors was especially good at coming in with an explosive irimage if uke tried to break away from his center.

Again this is just my opinion on the subject. I don't believe that uke should remain in any position of imbalance for any period of time, and that uke doesn't have to follow the script of kihon waza, but neither does nage, it is just safer and more constructive that way.
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Old 10-07-2004, 10:50 AM   #47
CNYMike
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Quote:
Aleksey Sundeyev wrote:
Not a valid comparison, sorry.
Beginners in the dojo don't react out of self-preservation and their life isn't exactly on the line.
Well, they do react, but their reaction is completely different than it would be in a real confrontation. Its purely reflexive and about 50 times more subdued.
Good points; I was mainly reacting to what I saw as an overgeneralization, anyway.
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Old 10-07-2004, 11:16 AM   #48
CNYMike
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Now that I've already put one foot in my mouth, let's see if I can put the other one in.

Quote:
Jordan Steele wrote:
.... what I don't know is how can training the body to accept imbalance be a good thing if, outside of the dojo, a person attempts to throw you. I live by the fact that no matter what my skill level is, there is always someone equal or better than me. Assuming I get thrown by someone that has better technique than I do, chances are kaeshi waza is not possible and I will end up on the ground (not a good place). So why would I allow myself to accept imbalance knowing that the outcome will not be good. Wouldn't it be better to "fight" as opposed to roll with it ....
My best guess would be that as you noted, there might be someone better than you, so you may not be able to fight it. He might be bigger, might be stronger, might fight dirtier, and your attempt to fight his throw might not work. You're right, going to the ground is not a good place to be. But IMHO, it would be even worse if you smacked your head on the black top as you hit because you hadn't been training to keep that from happening.

Beyond that, it's worth noting that there are other systems out there -- jujitsu systems, Kali and silat sytems, Judo -- that teach throwing techniques, and while the throws might be different, the training format is the same -- one person throws and the other lets himself be thrown so his partner can learn how to do it. Aikido throws in the idea of "blending;" Ukemi, it seems to me, are about blending with the technique even as nage blends with uke's attack. But training in which you "accept" being thrown isn't unique to Aikido.
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Old 10-07-2004, 01:49 PM   #49
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

I've been doing a lot of grappling lately with BJJ types.

It has been interesting since the flow is much, much smaller and you don't get nice elongated limbs to work on and you usually have a dude wrapped around your waist.

The thing I have been finding is that once they have a part of your body imobilized it is better to give it to them within reason and start working another area to get loose. If you resist with a part that they have already taken then all you do is get tired. I equate it to working kokyo tanden ho, which by the way has helped immensly with my being successful with these guys.

Also, I wouldn't train with these uncooperative dudes all the time cause it is hard to learn principles since all that hard struggling and fighting is not conducive to getting past your weaknesses. You need cooperative uke to set up a set of controlled variables that allows you to work through things.

IMHO, those that view Aikido as a fighting methodology will be disappointed, it is a training methodology to learn the principles of the art!

If you feel it is conditioning you into bad habits, it might not be a bad idea to cross train with something else.
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Old 10-07-2004, 06:27 PM   #50
suren
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Re: Opinions and thoughts please...

Jordan,

There is a fine article about how Aikido affects behaviour of a person in real life situation written by "The Mirror" called "This is MY Mat!" here : http://www.aikiweb.com/columns/themirror/2004_04.html
I think it worth reading. It may seem to have no connection with your question at all, but I think it answers it.

Take care.
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