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Old 10-22-2004, 12:33 PM   #1
stern9631
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Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Do you think that sometimes people accept weak technique from senior students due to their rank? I understand being cooperative, but when someone is trying to show you a principle and they can't seem to apply what do you think happens?
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Old 10-22-2004, 12:44 PM   #2
Peter H.
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Short answer: Yes.

But also think some people mistake having a cooperative uke during a demonstration as an indicator of weak technique. Some times during a demonstration you are staic and hesitating to explain points, the flow isn't there, nor the commitment on the part of the Uke because the rythm has been interuppted.

But then again, I have been places where the instructor/senior is just out right sloppy and unskilled and I doubt their ability to successfully perform a technique. Sometimes the Uke falls, either out of boredom, embarrassment, or just to be a nice guy.
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Old 10-22-2004, 01:13 PM   #3
disabledaccount
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

This reminds me of some of my early Aikido experiences (actually I've been training a little less than two years, so I'm still having early experiences) involving just this sort of situation. Every time I worked with a tiny older Yudansha, I felt like I was doing the technique for her while taking ukemi. She would tell me to "relax", to "go with the technique", and "not to fight so hard" because I was
"just tiring (myself) out". After a few months of this, I rudely complained that if she never practiced against resistance, how would she know if her Aikido was effective. She said with a smile "You aren't capable of resisting me yet."

Well being a two hundred twenty pound former powerlifter who's practiced martial arts since I was a little kid, I took issue with this, and told her so. She sighed, said "Okay, resist the technique, if you can." I squeezed her frail wrist hard and waited for her "inept" technique.

As you've probably anticipated, I hit the mat with a thud. The weird thing is, her technique felt just as gentle and soft as it always had. I still felt like I was somehow helping her. Over the next few weeks, I made it a point to resist as hard as I could every time I worked with her. She always patiently endured this, and the result was always the same.

Then I tried it on Sensei. Big mistake. It took a while to stop that nosebleed.

I have a different view of ukemi now. My ukemi is more about trying to keep myself safe! When I find an opening, I usually point it out, but I only resist when I know for sure the technique is being performed incorrectly. Funny thing is, this only happens with my juniors!

Last edited by disabledaccount : 10-22-2004 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 10-22-2004, 02:45 PM   #4
Jordan Steele
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

At my dojo, I don't resist senior students unless they tell me to be strong. The reasoning behind....If I resist a senior it is considered a challenge to their ability and they are allowed to do whatever they have to in order to come out on top (within reason). I know I can resist some of my senior students weak "Aikido" technique but I'm so sure I could win a scrap against them and part on good terms afterwards.
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Old 10-22-2004, 03:48 PM   #5
ruthmc
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Quote:
Jon Truho wrote:
Do you think that sometimes people accept weak technique from senior students due to their rank?
It is an option uke may choose.

Quote:
Jon Truho wrote:
I understand being cooperative, but when someone is trying to show you a principle and they can't seem to apply what do you think happens?
Both parties get frustrated

It is not the best solution to the problem, that's for sure!

Ruth
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Old 10-23-2004, 03:18 AM   #6
Hanna B
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Interesting post, Bodhi Richards. It sounds like you have some able people around you. Let me just ask you one thing:

Quote:
Bodhi Richards wrote:
When I find an opening, I usually point it out, but I only resist when I know for sure the technique is being performed incorrectly.
This I do not really understand. In your opinion, what is the point of resisting?
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Old 10-23-2004, 07:59 AM   #7
Tom Kaluzynski
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

If I were training with someone and I wasnt sure of his/her ability to receive the technique, I might go a little more gently. also with an older student, I am not going to go full out and throw them the same way I would a young one. So when you ask, is the sr student being weak/technique wise, perhaps they are just being considerate. You have to see both sides, it's sad that sometimes kindness is seen as weakness. I would never question a sr. even if I disagree, and see things differently, I have to respect the senior. I think that's part of aikido, too. But that's just me.
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Old 10-23-2004, 08:11 AM   #8
L. Camejo
 
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Quote:
Jon Truho wrote:
Do you think that sometimes people accept weak technique from senior students due to their rank?
Hi John,

Personally I can understand if instructors execute weak technique sometimes in order to teach principles. Of course it would be pointed out that this is "teaching" the technique and not "executing" the technique as expected. Hence the reason for a few medium to full speed executions to show the class what the end result should look like. For senior students, I think one should be aiming at practicing the technique shown like anyone else. I belive that one can help show a principle without sacrificing the soundness of the technique. If uke decides to accept this due to rank, then it is Uke's choice, but it's not something I encourage as it may foster bad tecnical habits that becoming glaring during resistance practice.

Quote:
Jon Truho wrote:
I understand being cooperative, but when someone is trying to show you a principle and they can't seem to apply what do you think happens?
As Ruth said, both parties get frustrated. It also stunts the practice for those involved as neither is actually learning anything except the wrong ways to do the technique. At this point its best one of the students call the instructor for some personal guidance on the technique.

Quote:
Samurai Jack wrote:
"You aren't capable of resisting me yet."...Well being a two hundred twenty pound former powerlifter who's practiced martial arts since I was a little kid, I took issue with this, and told her so.
If those were her exact words one could interpret that as an open challenge. Sometimes how we say something is much more effective than what we say. I don't see your question regarding resistance as being rude at all, it is part of the reality of practicing Aikido with someone who has the right to exercise free will. I love it when my students can resist and shut me down, reminds me of keeping humility and striving to do better always. Of course if this happened too regularly I'd have to give them my black belt and let em teach the class.

There are different kinds of resistance however, it is often more effective to maintain a powerful grip while keeping a relaxed body that can adapt to movement. It's like fighting against fly paper, you move but you don't get moved off balance very easily. This can be even more frustrating, but it reminds us of the various unknowns that can enter basic practice. Muscular, power-based resistance is not so important, but correct resistance based on body movement can be invaluable in pointing out one's technical holes and is much more difficult to deal with. Of course this should only be done if finding technical flaws etc. is the focus of the exercise in question. If one resists during the basic practice of kata and learning technique, then it does not help much and can stunt the practice.

From my experience, folks who have had to deal with Aikidoka who are equally (sometimes lesser) skilled and knows how to effectively resist and counter would not be prone to reply with a statement like the one the female Yudansha used above. Thereis always someone out there, including beginners who can teach us something about our selves and our technique.

Just my 2 cents.
LC

Last edited by L. Camejo : 10-23-2004 at 08:16 AM.

--Mushin Mugamae - No Mind No Posture. He who is possessed by nothing possesses everything.--
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Old 10-23-2004, 09:37 AM   #9
SeiserL
 
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

IMHO, to be a god training partner/uke, we should offer just enough resistance for them to have to make the technique work and not so much that we prevent them from practicing and learning.

Personally, I tend to offer more resistance to higher ranks and usually they can make it work. I expect the same from my kohai.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 10-23-2004, 12:02 PM   #10
aikidoc
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

The term "weak technique" can be somewhat misleading. Does that mean the person did not slam your face in the ground and draw blood or were the mechanics of the technique such it did not work at all. I have seen all varieties of aikido. I have been thrown softly by an 8th dan yet I knew that the technique worked and I was protecting my openings to prevent atemi. I do not feel everything has to be hard to work. Especially when you are training and you know how the nage is to move which would be easy to counter. I have also been thrown very hard by yudansha who did not understand the first thing about aiki principles. They succeeded by virtue of their brute strength. Is such a technique effective-probably as long as the attacker is not stronger. However, is this aikido or WWF wrestling? Those of us getting older will eventually not be able to outmuscle the testosterone laden 20 year old. The senior students may also recognize that it is not necessary to trash everyone and they also recognize the necessity for control. One 8th dan I'm aware of was very aggressive when he was younger but does not feel the need to be so now. Perhaps his aikido evolved. It is still effective.

Unfortunately, various definitions of effectiveness end up in injuries: broken bones during exams, strains/sprains, etc. Is this necessary? Is it more effective if I disrupt your balance and expose your suki or deliver atemi or break your arm or trash your ligaments? The latter I suspect would make O'Sensei very uncomfortable.
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Old 10-23-2004, 01:59 PM   #11
disabledaccount
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
Interesting post, Bodhi Richards. It sounds like you have some able people around you. Let me just ask you one thing:



This I do not really understand. In your opinion, what is the point of resisting?
For example, today in class, one of my juniors kept straddling my forward leg while taking ukemi during a kokyu-nage. I pointed out to him that if we made that opening, an unkind nage would have the opportunity to effect a groin kick. This is an example of pointing out an opening.

Later, while taking ukemi for the same student, I felt him rise up in to his shoulders, and lose his balance while attempting a tenkan kokyu nage. I pointed this out, but he told me he didn't understand. Next time, I gently pulled on the back of his Gi as his balance started to go, and this time he felt it and stumbled away. He then corrected his error. This is an example of resisting.

I don't tend to make corrections on others unless my partner cannot perform the technique without it. My Sensei expects that seniors will help the juniors in this fashion, and I often receive similar help from my Sempai when I get stuck. I also receive a sharp rebuke when I fail to perform this courtesy.

It works very well for us, though I understand that not everyone appreciates this sort of training environment. I think it keeps everyone in the dojo very conscious of the relationship between uke and nage. Also this sort of practice seems to encourage a strong martial mentality as we are constantly searching for openings in both our own technique and our partner's.
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Old 10-24-2004, 09:51 AM   #12
Niko Salgado
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

My understanding of it has always been be a challenging uke for the seniors but not those of the juniors. Why? If you make a technique seem easy for those who are first learning them, you are showing them how the technique "should" feel like. And I really believe that it helps to know what it is supposed to feel like so that later on regardless of how strong or how much resistance someone puts, the technique will still work just as well. Challenging the seniors always made me see if I'm doing the right attack as uke, as well as they challenging their minds to be relaxed.
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Old 10-24-2004, 10:00 AM   #13
Qatana
 
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Depends on how "senior" your partner is to you. I am just testing for fourth kyui. If a beginner resists me either from just plain not knowing how to respond Or if they think they;re "supposed" to resist, i have a great deal of difficulty. But i will now & then play resistance with some of the yudansha, just to see if i can handle the ukemi.

That said, i have more than once walked away from one of my teachers' iriminage. We both laugh about it and then he does it "right".

Q
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Old 10-24-2004, 10:29 AM   #14
Hagen Seibert
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Why do many people think a yudansha´s technique does have to work all the time ?
They´re still learning too, so they will have to practise and test things,
and inevitably their technique will not work then.
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Old 10-24-2004, 12:10 PM   #15
Hanna B
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Quote:
Bodhi Richards wrote:
Later, while taking ukemi for the same student, I felt him rise up in to his shoulders, and lose his balance while attempting a tenkan kokyu nage. I pointed this out, but he told me he didn't understand. Next time, I gently pulled on the back of his Gi as his balance started to go, and this time he felt it and stumbled away. He then corrected his error. This is an example of resisting.
Then I follow. You seem to have a nice communication about why you do this and that, but this is not always the case. There is another version of resisting technique only when you knowdoes it wrong, which goes like this: shut my technique down unless I correct my foot position according to what uke thinks is correct, let it pass if I change my foot position according to what he says - regardless if my technique actually got better or worse. This I hate.
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Old 10-24-2004, 05:32 PM   #16
disabledaccount
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Quote:
Hanna Björk wrote:
I change my foot position according to what he says - regardless if my technique actually got better or worse. This I hate.
Ah, yes. I too have had this experience. Fortunately, Sensei does not allow this sort of thing to go unnoticed. His expectation is essentially that the senior is responsible for the junior's success or failure with a given technique.

If my junior partner is performing incorrectly, I get to "help" Sensei demonstrate the correct way either by taking ukemi or playing nage. Either way, if I am misinforming my junior, I too am corrected, often in a most spectacular fashion. Of course, as a result of this kind of training, I am very reluctant to give any pointers unless it is absolutely necessary.

I read your thread about this issue. If your "helper" can't show you why their way is better, I would show them why it isn't. We learn not by defending our position, but by experiencing the results of our actions.
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Old 10-25-2004, 05:13 PM   #17
Yokaze
 
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

I don't know, usually the higher ranking students get the most resistance out of me. With the beginning students I try to resist in specific ways in order to help with their technique. With the sempai I do everything in my power short of hurting myself to stop them from getting an easy throw on me.

Just my two cents

"The only true victory is victory over oneself."

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Old 10-26-2004, 12:53 AM   #18
maikerus
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

Quote:
Jon Truho wrote:
Do you think that sometimes people accept weak technique from senior students due to their rank? I understand being cooperative, but when someone is trying to show you a principle and they can't seem to apply what do you think happens?
I think both people can learn, but that might not always be what happens.

Remember that Shodan is actually the beginning. It may be a goal to some, but that is pretty self-limiting so having a black belt's technique not work should be pretty common. It's also to be expected that they might not:
A) Fully understand a principle;
B) Be able to perform the principle, even if they understand the physics behind it; or
C) Not know the words to explain it even if they do understand it.

When you run into this I suggest going with it (and this is regardless of rank) and then if it is appropriate in your class or at that time discuss how you feel within the technique. As others have said, use enough resistance to give shite something to work with, but not too much that it is a direct challenge.

The challenge to the senior student is to keep practicing the technique and the principle and not change it to something they like or do understand or to add too much physical strength or just "to apply atemi" as the wonder pill of Aikido.

Beware...Actively resisting too much might produce an ego challenge that we black belts can't resist because it's really easy (and tempting) at this point to change the technique and go "Ha! Weren't expecting that, were you!?" Its gratifying to make someone hit the ground really hard when they resisted you. And its also easy to rationalize with the "I want to make Aikido `work`" theme.

Train the principle and the technique...and later the power will come.

Just a thought or three,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 10-26-2004, 04:16 AM   #19
grondahl
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Re: Accepting weak technique due to rank.

I would say that it depends on the situation.

If you train kata, its important to fulfill your part of the kata, or else the training will be useless for both tori and uke.

If it´s not kata-training, then it´s another deal.
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