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Old 06-05-2005, 12:47 PM   #1
stronghawk
Dojo: San Diego Aikikai
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How much is too much?? (Help!)

Hello.

I recently tried Aikido at Chiba Sensei's school here in San Diego. My question is how much force is too much?? In the beginning classes it is mostly people with black hakamas. Well, there are a few people that really crank my wrists on the techniques. These people I try to avoid working with at all. Would it be rude to ask them not to crank so hard? I mean, it's only my 3rd week of classes, although I have studied Kung Fu for several years, so I am a martial artist. Still, I really like Aikido, and I am attracted to Chiba's school for it's Martial style, but that doesn't mean I want people cranking on me when I am in a vulnerable position.

Thank You.
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Old 06-05-2005, 01:00 PM   #2
Ketsan
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
jerry davis wrote:
Hello.
Would it be rude to ask them not to crank so hard? I mean, it's only my 3rd week
Nope.
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Old 06-05-2005, 01:04 PM   #3
SeiserL
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

IMHO, its fine to request that your rank and training being taken into consideration. You shouldn't be getting hurt in training. If it is their policy, and they do have a reputation for strong technique, and its more than you can handle, find another school. San Diego has several great schools.

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 06-05-2005, 01:20 PM   #4
Mike Sigman
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
jerry davis wrote:
Hello.

I recently tried Aikido at Chiba Sensei's school here in San Diego. My question is how much force is too much?? In the beginning classes it is mostly people with black hakamas. Well, there are a few people that really crank my wrists on the techniques. These people I try to avoid working with at all. Would it be rude to ask them not to crank so hard?
Try tapping out the moment they get your wrist. Tap loudly and rapidly. If they complain that you're tapping out too soon, tell them why you've been forced into it... let the onus be on them. Failing that, I'd say Lynn has a good suggestion... find another school. Chiba's school does have a too-often-recurring reputation among too many Aikidoists to overlook.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 06-06-2005, 05:58 PM   #5
aikigirl10
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

its completely fine to ask them to be a little more gentle, thats really what aikido is about , taking your opponents momentum and using it against them w/out the brute force. I guess if asking them to stop politely doesnt work then you could always lie and say you've had wrist injuries in the past ... whatever works
paige
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Old 06-06-2005, 09:28 PM   #6
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Paige Frazier wrote:
I guess if asking them to stop politely doesnt work then you could always lie and say you've had wrist injuries in the past ... whatever works
Don't lie. If they don't let up call them an ignorant mouthbreather with carnal knowledge of wild pigs, kick them in the nads and walk out

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-07-2005, 12:42 AM   #7
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

I second Bronson.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 06-07-2005, 06:03 AM   #8
Amelia Smith
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Maybe it would be better to ask them to slow down because you're not sure about the ukemi and want to get it just right. I'm imagining you're getting cranked in nikkyo, and there are so many ways your instincts can lead you astray on nikkyo ukemi, into the land of busted wrists. I mean, in the long run, if you continue training there (which I'm guessing you want to do) only really good ukemi is going to keep you off the bench.

I would not go around kicking any of those folks "in the nads," on so many levels.
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Old 06-07-2005, 07:42 AM   #9
rob_liberti
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

A while back, I took a nikkyo from Chiba sensei that was incredible. I went down to my knee (on a wrestling mat) so fast that I actually somehow ripped the skin on my knee and started to bleed a little! I put a band-aid on, and then bought a knee pad to wear over it - so it would stay on. In my opinion, the martial spirit they teach is a good thing, but it's really up to you if you think it's being taught in a good way for you.

Rob
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Old 06-07-2005, 03:09 PM   #10
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
In my opinion, the martial spirit they teach is a good thing, but it's really up to you if you think it's being taught in a good way for you.
This is something I've been wondering about. Why does "martial spirit" always seem to equate to destroying the other person?

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-07-2005, 04:51 PM   #11
aikidoc
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Martial spirit-what about aiki spirit? I thought aikido was about not having to use as much force to be effective. Having trained in California seminars I learned their patches real quick. I'd just simply bow and pass them by. I work with my hands and cannot afford broken joints-especially when I have stiff joints anyway. People who crank on joints always assume everyone has the same wrist flexibility and ability to take the cranking-I had a bunch of ligaments torn out by an instructor with no control-the wrist has never been the same over 10 years later.
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Old 06-07-2005, 07:04 PM   #12
maikerus
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
This is something I've been wondering about. Why does "martial spirit" always seem to equate to destroying the other person?

Bronson
Bronson...good point.

Personally I find technique that is overpowering but not destructive much more impressive than technique that is merely destructive.

Control, in my mind, would be more of a martial mindset...or maybe control would be classified as a strategy or a goal, so technique that brings about that goal without requiring destruction is more efficient and therefore more Aikido-ish...

HOWEVER! Some senior instructors that I have trained with have been known to say "You aren't good enough to do it softly so do it hard" meaning that you have to go through the "hard" stage of technique = destruction before you can get to the point of the "soft" stage where technique = control.

Interestingly enough, when I was training daily at the Yoshinkan hombu I did see senior instructors change over the course of a few years from Hard/Scary/Painful Aikido to Strong/Overpowering/NonPainful Aikido. I was also told that other instructors whom I only knew as the Strong/NonPainful type had been Scary/Painful a few years before.

Maybe destructive martial spirit is one of the signposts on the road to "true martial spirit". Just a thought...

My few yen to the pot...

--Michael

Last edited by maikerus : 06-07-2005 at 07:08 PM.

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:50 AM   #13
Ken Robinson
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

I've only been training a couple of years, so am hesitant about throwing in my yen's worth....I found it somewhat funny, that last night after training, the Nidan who led the training was describing what to do if Chiba applied a technique....."tap out immediately".....and then tonight I find this discussion.

I train with all Shodan or above. As a kyu rank, this is the only place I have trained. I am honored to do so. It is very "martial", in that I've had bruised ribs more than once, various body parts are in nearly constant pain, I've been thrown to the "wrestling mats" (and I love them) so hard that I know without a doubt if it had been the street, I would be dead. Even though techniques are applied forcefully, the intent behind them has always been "for your own good". I've been pounded, but only to make me better.

There is nothing wrong with tapping out fast. I have seen nidan tap out in mid air as they jump off the mat to blend with sankyo. Tap out, Tap out.

What I have seen, aikido is brutal. Look at the roots. Jujuitsu, Judo, and Samuri. Look at some of the techniques some of you practice, slowly and agreeably, then speed them up, add some street anger, and blend. Blend.

Whatever happens to me in life...this isn't my first rodeo. In my still-learning status, if some angry-drunk stupid punk attacks me at night, I'm hoping I'll remember a good hard shihonage that ends with the lawn being under his head as a cushion. He'll need it if I do it right because his head is going to bounce. He won't be doing a back roll.

In about 8 years maybe we won't have to go that far and I'll gently lay him down to sleep a few minutes. For now, I don't have time to play.

Just a thought as it was explained to me: Consider kitenage. Did the warriors of old really think it would be a good technique to set up to let uke practice rolling out of? Or, is it possible uke (on the battlefield) never got that far, that head and neck was smashed into the ground and the arm was then shoved forward to cause dislocation thereby reducing the attackers on the battlefield by 1, all in a few seconds time?


Bottom line that I've learned: tap out when you need to. Tap out or go elsewhere. Chiba and folks are getting the technique as soon as contact is made. There is a lot to learn there. Timing. When does the technique start? That is how it was explained to me last night...........

After a year of training, I mentioned that it seemed they had slowed the practice down. Several people smirked before pointing out that they had noticed my stamina had increased. They never slowed down the practice.

But I did learn how to tap out sooner.

Question: How can a person not get hurt in training? You are learning how to fight. If someone doesn't block atemi to the face......it might be called A Bloody Nose.
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Old 06-08-2005, 02:55 AM   #14
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
HOWEVER! Some senior instructors that I have trained with have been known to say "You aren't good enough to do it softly so do it hard" meaning that you have to go through the "hard" stage of technique = destruction before you can get to the point of the "soft" stage where technique = control.

One of my Japanese teachers said pretty much the same thing. I've been working on trying to do effective non painful techniques for years (not there yet ). He told me that I couldn't do soft until I understood hard. This particular teacher is incredibly powerful whilst being very soft (isn't he Ron? ).

In Tokyo I studied with a different Sensei (ex Yoshinkan) for a couple of years, I got to understand hard much better .

I'm very grateful to both teachers and am still working on soft.

rgds

Bryan

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 06-08-2005, 06:24 AM   #15
feck
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Hi people,

I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I am relatively new to aikido 8 months and have just suffered a serious knee injury, i will add that i still think that this was my own fault due to over enthusiasm during jiyu waza practice.

To those who imply that hard painful practice is the norm for beginners before leading to soft healthy practice, in my limited capacity are not practicing aikido. How on earth would you explain this to someone after you had broken their wrist, that you were not able as a senior student to apply soft technique to them because it helps their training. Sorry but how again would a few months off from training or even never going back to training, because of an injury, help them in their quest to understand the art of love and harmony.
Surely a senior students practicing with lower ranks has a responsibility to provide a healthy practice scenario that would encourage a student to come back for more. What would be the turnover rate for beginning students in these types of clubs not returning after at most a few lessons. I for one as a child experienced painful techniques during my first and only judo class, where senior students were using me as a way to boost their own fecked up ego's in showing how superior their knowledge was, and the damn instructor did nothing to stop this. As you can imagine, I did not return, and although i do not condone violence, my father returned the following week and completely embarrassed the instructor in front of all of his students, while i was forced, amicably i might add, to stand and watch.

I know people will say that you must be able to experience a technique fully, but there are ways to do this that do not create real lasting pain.
I do believe that training should be painful to a certain degree, but only in that the intensity should be slowly progressively applied during prolonged training.
Real pain should only be acceptable when the technique is resisted and then only for guided training purposes, to show what happens when resistance occurs.

Even though I have been training only 8 months, right from the start i was completely aware that the techniques could become very painful if done improperly. That's what attracts me to this wonderful art is that although we are training in something that can maim or even kill, practice should alway be a happy joyful experience for all those concerned.
In my dojo, we are taught that pain is secondary to the technique and should only be applied when needed, if your technique is applied perfectly then painful practice is unnecessary. Also in my dojo, when someone is hurt badly, the rule is the person who inflicted the pain or injury accompanies the injured party to the Emergency department and stays with the injured until a full diagnosis is made and reports this back to the chief instructor and explains their actions.

Remember we are dealing with a killing art, but do we have to prove that by killing someone?

Anyway those are just my thoughts on the subject.
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Old 06-08-2005, 10:37 AM   #16
Janet Rosen
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Michael Stuempel wrote:
Some senior instructors that I have trained with have been known to say "You aren't good enough to do it softly so do it hard" meaning that you have to go through the "hard" stage of technique = destruction before you can get to the point of the "soft" stage where technique = control.
To take a devil's advocate position here...I suspect this is more a reflection that they learned this way than a necessarily valid pedagogical position (kind of like doctors insisting that the ONLY way to become a doctor is being on-call for days at a time, regardless of how many patients you harm or kill in your exhausted state, simply because THEY had to learn it that way..)
How you learn is what you learn. If what is instilled in your body over months or years of training is hardness, tension, and fear of being injured by an instructor or partner, then that is the aikido you will do.
You cannot spending years learning that and then some future day magically "undo" that learning. You would have to totally break down those years before you could replace them with a softness and sensitivity. IF softness is your goal (and it may not be everybody's goal), it makes much more sense based on how the brain/body learn, to start from day one learning it.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 06-08-2005, 10:39 AM   #17
Janet Rosen
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Darren Paul wrote:
Hi people,
I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I am relatively new to aikido 8 months and have just suffered a serious knee injury, i will add that i still think that this was my own fault due to over enthusiasm during jiyu waza practice.
Anyway those are just my thoughts on the subject.
Hi, Darren.
No offense from here. If you want to speak w/ somebody who has come through the other side of a severe knee injury (also pretty much self inflicted) feel free to contact me privately.

Janet Rosen
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:23 PM   #18
Bronson
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
To take a devil's advocate position here...I suspect this is more a reflection that they learned this way than a necessarily valid pedagogical position (kind of like doctors insisting that the ONLY way to become a doctor is being on-call for days at a time, regardless of how many patients you harm or kill in your exhausted state, simply because THEY had to learn it that way..)
How you learn is what you learn. If what is instilled in your body over months or years of training is hardness, tension, and fear of being injured by an instructor or partner, then that is the aikido you will do.
You cannot spending years learning that and then some future day magically "undo" that learning. You would have to totally break down those years before you could replace them with a softness and sensitivity. IF softness is your goal (and it may not be everybody's goal), it makes much more sense based on how the brain/body learn, to start from day one learning it.
Ahh, to be able to organize my thoughts so concisely

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:28 PM   #19
Bronson
 
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

One of my favorite stories at the last Seidokan summer camp I attended was from my room mate Eli Landau. Eli is an instructor in Israel and this is the story he told me one night. My apologies for any errors in retelling but this is as I remember it.
Quote:
I was nearly ready to quit aikido. I was frustrated. All my teachers kept telling me that aikido techniques didn't have to hurt, but every time they did one to me it hurt. Not one of them could do the technique without the pain like they claimed it could be done. Then I met Kobayashi sensei. I grabbed his wrist and he touched me here and I fell down. I attacked again and he touched me over here and I fell down. I got up and thought AHA, aikido doesn't have to hurt! That was when I started following his teachings.
Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:51 PM   #20
rob_liberti
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Bronson Diffin wrote:
This is something I've been wondering about. Why does "martial spirit" always seem to equate to destroying the other person?
Bronson, I had to put a band-aid on my knee. I didn't explode or anything...

I do understand your point. I think that martial spirit can be taken too far too, but in that case I wouldn't say it was taken too far with me.

Rob
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Old 06-08-2005, 01:10 PM   #21
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I wouldn't say it was taken too far with me.
That's cool. It wasn't just your story that made me post. It seems I've seen a lot lately on AikiWeb about "martial spirit" and, to my wussie ki stylists eyes, it often seems to equate to brutal or overly painful technique.

I have no problem with intense training, if that's what both people in the interaction are willing to do. The problem I have is with people who are unwilling or unable to tone it down when their partner doesn't want or is unable to go there.

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 06-08-2005, 03:41 PM   #22
rob_liberti
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

I think a lot of it come from a mis-understanding of what an aikido teacher was doing. For instance, it became clear to me after about 12+ years of training with Gleason sensei that he is really good at taking people right to the current limit of their body fear, and then back of just a little to let them process it (and expand that limit). I didn't get that. I just saw that he was always figuring out how to un-lock any kind of resistance I could throw at him while taking ukemi and I learned that. So, my misunderstanding of what he was doing caused me to think it was cool for me to un-lock the resistance of my training partners and probably go way beyond what they were able to handle. And, what's worse, I taught that approach to many students until I started figuring out that I was doing much more harm than good for aikido in that regard. I pissed a few student's off when I started teaching people what the new appropriate way to behave was - now that I understood it much better. That's the problems with being a student-teacher. I think this kind of thing went on a lot and in several cases the new teacher never realized what was supposed to be going on (in my opinion of course) andthen they had students who have students now. I think similar things happened with people teaching techniques that were intended for "the masses" and then going around and correcting the techniques on certain individuals. Some of those folks who didn't get extra help, got promoted, started their own schools, and have their "style". Things get lost in the translation. I keep finding that out for myself on deeper and deeper levels. I am always amazed when I read someone who feels they have it all figured out.

Rob
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Old 06-08-2005, 04:24 PM   #23
Janet Rosen
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Bronson, thanks for the compliment--sometimes, every now and then, my grey cells seem to work the way I want!
Rob, your above post is really interesting and I appreciate your sharing it. I think there is OFTEN a difference between a person's explicit and implicit teachings; add in the factor of the differing levels of the two parties in the communication (I think not only of aikido instructor/student, but of 5 year old kid/30 year old parent: what is said is filtered through such different neurologies/experiences) and you can pretty much guarantee that what is "leaned" is not exactly what was intended to be "taught" regardless of the skill level of the teacher.
Explains a lot about the divisions post-OSensei (smile)

Janet Rosen
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Old 06-08-2005, 07:06 PM   #24
maikerus
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Darren Paul wrote:
I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I am relatively new to aikido 8 months and have just suffered a serious knee injury, i will add that i still think that this was my own fault due to over enthusiasm during jiyu waza practice.
No offence taken Darren...its a valid point...and I hope your knee gets better soon. :-)

One of the things to consider might be what HARD really means. To my mind it doesn't necessarily mean you are required to damage someone...it means that unless your partner does ukemi properly they might get hurt. Also...it should not mean taking advantage of a beginner or someone's whose uke is not as strong in order to hurt them to feed one's own ego.

I find in Yoshinkan that there is a big difference in SOFT and HARD in the kyu grades. HARD means strength and fighting to make the technique work and figuring out where the resistance is and how to get around it, while SOFT seems to mean barely applying any technique at all. Kyu grades use SOFT when working with someone they are afraid of hurting...ie. A beginner, while HARD is used with someone their own level or above who can "take the uke".

In reality, I think that HARD actually means taking someone to the floor in such a way that they know if they don't do the ukemi properly they will get hurt, while SOFT refers to getting someone to the floor without them knowing how they got there. Both of these require a lot of trust in each other to be able to do properly...which makes it very difficult before shodan/nidan to understand. Everyone is just too afraid of getting hurt or hurting someone else.

This is where the experience the older instructors have of *knowing* where the limits of their uke are and being able to bring uke right to that point is amazing. They can do this both HARD and SOFT. Sometimes they choose to bounce your head off the mat...sometimes they choose to let you blink in surprise when you find yourself on the ground.

I think both of these are important, but I do want to stress that in neither case is injury the prefered result. In both cases trust is needed to train properly.

A little rambling...I hope it makes some sort of sense,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 06-08-2005, 07:27 PM   #25
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Re: How much is too much?? (Help!)

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
To take a devil's advocate position here...I suspect this is more a reflection that they learned this way than a necessarily valid pedagogical position (kind of like doctors insisting that the ONLY way to become a doctor is being on-call for days at a time, regardless of how many patients you harm or kill in your exhausted state, simply because THEY had to learn it that way..)
How you learn is what you learn. If what is instilled in your body over months or years of training is hardness, tension, and fear of being injured by an instructor or partner, then that is the aikido you will do.
Janet, well said. And I agree with you within your framework.

The difference, however, is that I don't see training HARD as a way of instilling tension and fear of injury. On the contrary, I believe that training to the point of your uke's ability is the ultimate way to nurture trust between two people on the mat. If I give someone my body and say "Do whatever you want, as hard as you want, but I want it back in one piece" and that's what happens then I learn to trust them. If they bring me right to the edge of my ability as uke then I gain even more trust for them...and respect for their ability.

Quote:
You cannot spending years learning that and then some future day magically "undo" that learning. You would have to totally break down those years before you could replace them with a softness and sensitivity. IF softness is your goal (and it may not be everybody's goal), it makes much more sense based on how the brain/body learn, to start from day one learning it.
So...to bring it to the magical unlearning. I don't see it as such.

My personal opinion is that the "Goal" within Aikido should be trying to make one's technique more and more efficient so that there is less and less felt by uke. By pushing these limits while training "hard" and finding out what angles work best and what timing means and how important distance is while always pushing uke to the edge of their ability you get to feel all the permutations.

I think that if you try and be soft from the start of your training then you will have difficulty finding the angles/distance/timing above because uke doesn't get moved by you, but moves for you.

So, when you don't know the angles very well but still try to push uke to the edge then its HARD. When you are getting better at angles/timing/balance/etc...then your technique gets SOFTer.

In either case...the trust between shite and uke is important and without it I don't think you can get through HARD to SOFT.

My thoughts...rambling, thoughts...

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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