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Old 08-03-2005, 04:22 AM   #1
nekobaka
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don't injure your uke, just me?

Recently I got into a somewhat heated discussion with someone after drinking a bit about whether or not one of the basic philosophies of Aikido is to not injure the uke. I've heard this a lot, not sure where or when, but he says he'd never heard this before, and didn't believe me. after a few drinks in me I had the nerve to tell him if he wasn't careful he was going to injure someone (apparently he already had). He insisted that uke should be able to take any throw if they are yudansha. For me personally this is completely the opposite of my thinking. I started reading Saotome Shihan's book again and while there is a lot of peace and love, he hasn't come out and said it. Any thoughts?
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:38 AM   #2
James Davis
 
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

When your friend hurts his uke, he'll have one less person to train with. Aikidoka are in pretty short supply. We shouldn't be hurting the brave people that donate their bodies for the study of aiki just to prove how hard we can throw.
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Old 08-03-2005, 11:04 AM   #3
Ron Tisdale
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

In training, you do your best to protect your uke. They share in the responsibility, their ukemi is to protect themselves, to recieve the techinique, etc.

Out of training, each person decides what is appropriate for the situation. If 'uke' has a knife and wants to cut me, all bets are off.

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 08-03-2005, 11:45 AM   #4
spinecracker
 
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

If nage does not take into consideration the abilities and limitations of the uke, then you can argue that nage is, in fact, going against the basic philosophy of Aikido, namely harmonizing with the opponent to come to a peaceful resolution (ok, a bit short and sweet, but I don't have much time right now for a long answer!). Uke is giving his/her body to nage to that both can learn, and nage should respect that. Also, nage is, or should, be uke 50% of the time, so should expect to be treated as they treat others - i.e. don't dish out buttkickings if you can't take one yourself.
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Old 08-03-2005, 11:48 AM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Ani Forbes wrote:
He insisted that uke should be able to take any throw if they are yudansha.
The reality is that age and disability are two things that need to be factored in, out of general respect and compassion for your partners.

Besides compassion and "loving protection" there is the practical aspect of "efficient use of energy": why add more than minimal power to the energy uke is already bringing to the interaction?

Uke is communicating by the speed and intensity of his attack how hard and fast a throw he is ready for, so sensitivity to reading this can lead to an efficient use of energy and an appropriate throw for the situation (in an ideal world....heheheheh)

Janet Rosen
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Old 08-03-2005, 11:49 AM   #6
Dan Herak
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Ani Forbes wrote:
Recently I got into a somewhat heated discussion with someone after drinking a bit... Any thoughts?
My thought is that this is never a wise thing to do.

As to the meatier part of the issue, my viewpoint is that uke and tori should try to see whether each other are in terms of skill and then try to take it just a notch higher for both. This is the way people learn. Of course, a large disparity in skill often prevents this from happening mutually, but it is the ideal. Having an uke wind up injured is evidence that this did not occur.
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Old 08-03-2005, 01:00 PM   #7
Lyle Bogin
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

I was recently reviewing kondo sensei's film (available at aikido journal) and he discusses the point that no real combat throw allows for ukemi. Therefore, nage must perform his/her technique in such a way that allows for uke to protect themself with a fall.

So I would say yudansha should be able to recover from any technique in which nage has calculated and presented a reasonable way out. I suppose this reasonableness also has to do with uke's ability and desire. I don't think it makes sense to force uke into a situation where they could take a fall, but the fall itself is excessively risky....i.e. I have a bad hip and nage wants me to do a shoulder high breakfall over a grinding shihonage.
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Old 08-03-2005, 03:31 PM   #8
Charles Hill
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Hi Ani,

I see you are in Osaka. Was this person Japanese? I have seen many alcohol fueled discussions between non-Japanese Aikidoists and Japanese Aikidoists where the NJ is telling the J about aikido philosophy and the J not understanding what the NJ is talking about. Then again, it could be Peter Rehse you are talking about, then all bets are off. He has a rep as a thug.

Charles
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Old 08-03-2005, 03:48 PM   #9
Adam Alexander
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Lyle Bogin, nice response.

Ani Forbes, I think Aikido philosophy dictates that you only use the force necessary...but, necessary could be brutal. That's consistent with everything I've read.

I think about it this way: A person on meth or pcp is about to kill an unarmed person for no reason (in hypothetica, I know all intents and reasons), the only solution is to severely injure him. It's what you must do.

However, if an old man is whacking people with his cane and injuring them while they walk by, you'd probably just take the cane.

Then again, maybe you're some type of sick-o who likes hurting old people.
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Old 08-03-2005, 06:55 PM   #10
Roy
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Dan Herak wrote,
"my viewpoint is that uke and tori should try to see whether each other are in terms of skill and then try to take it just a notch higher for both"

This seems like a very sensible approach! I think any excessive use of force on ukes is one of the biggest reasons people quit Aikido.
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Old 08-03-2005, 08:27 PM   #11
maikerus
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

It all depends whether this is a training exercise or a fight.

When training, remember that they get to get up and take a crack at your body next. Do unto others...

In a fight, you don't want them to get up...or at least not to bother you anymore.

FWIW,

--Michael

Hiriki no yosei 3 - The kihon that makes your head ache instead of your legs
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Old 08-03-2005, 08:29 PM   #12
Qatana
 
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

I recently trained at an outside dojo. One of my training partners was specifically asked by me to let me Roll out of a certain technique. He completely ignored my request and threw me into higher & higher breakfalls, and I simply have not had enough practice to take that kind of treatment. And when I was nagehe wouldn't shut up about how in my technique I wasn't connecting with him or acknowledging his needs.
I could have pulled rank on the guy but that seemed like it would only intensify the conflict instead of redirecting it so I shut up & trained.
It just burns me that he could complain about My inattentiveness while continually trying to hurt me, after I had asked him to let me roll...

Q
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Old 08-03-2005, 11:02 PM   #13
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

In Budo practice there is no such ideas as western gentlemen agreement. Concepts that practice must be "safe" or "fair" are not part of Budo practice.
So all depends if you practice aikido as Budo or as nice social activity to meet other ppl, and feel comfortable.
I don't know how to express it better, but mutual respect is created by physical practice, not by some external rules or moral system, and this practice can be sometimes dangerous.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-03-2005, 11:57 PM   #14
nekobaka
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
I see you are in Osaka. Was this person Japanese? I have seen many alcohol fueled discussions between non-Japanese Aikidoists and Japanese Aikidoists where the NJ is telling the J about aikido philosophy and the J not understanding what the NJ is talking about.
Yes he is Japanese and we weren't really talking aikido philosophy, but I thought that it justified why I think he throws too hard. As you know people don't have social functions without alcohol in japan. usually I don't have these kind of discussions because it's not in my character to go around telling people what I think of their aikido. Mostly my point was that not everyone wants to practice that way, and you should be able to distinguish between those who do and those who don't. Also as many people said, judge people by their ability and not their rank.

Quote:
So all depends if you practice aikido as Budo or as nice social activity to meet other ppl, and feel comfortable
I'm not sure that I want to practice real Budo. I do take it seriously and it is an important part of my life, hard is not what I'm looking for and I'm not alone. I think that's great if people do want to practice hard and can find people to that want to do the same.

I guess I can conclude that there is no principle of aikido that includes not hurting the other person, but that there have been around a lot of people that have mentioned that, so much I thought it was a basic principle.

As a side note, I hate to say he started it but, he hinted that I don't meet the standards of a yudansha, ie according to him, be able to take any throw, know the history and philosophy of aikido, and be able to teach others. I didn't have a problem with the last two.
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Old 08-04-2005, 01:29 AM   #15
BenDuckett
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Does it seem ironic that whilst training on tuesday - in a session designed to develop our ukemi - whilst working with guy who I respect a lot as a teacher - I land badly and sprain the ac joint on my shoulder? Bingo - no more training for about a month.
Just wait, another 30 years and I'll be good enough to get my own back!
All the best - just remember the mat is your friend!
Ben

Ukemi is taught for a reason.
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Old 08-04-2005, 02:38 AM   #16
PeterR
 
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Then again, it could be Peter Rehse you are talking about, then all bets are off. He has a rep as a thug.


Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
In Budo practice there is no such ideas as western gentlemen agreement. Concepts that practice must be "safe" or "fair" are not part of Budo practice.
So all depends if you practice aikido as Budo or as nice social activity to meet other ppl, and feel comfortable.
I don't know how to express it better, but mutual respect is created by physical practice, not by some external rules or moral system, and this practice can be sometimes dangerous.
Taking care of your uke or safe practice has always been important in any dojo I've practiced in Japan. A senior student that injures a junior because of lack of consideration will have some serious problems to contend with. Injuries happen with hard practice but such practice comes from a mutual gentlemen agreement.


Quote:
Ani Forbes wrote:
Also as many people said, judge people by their ability and not their rank.

As a side note, I hate to say he started it but, he hinted that I don't meet the standards of a yudansha, ie according to him, be able to take any throw,
Hmm the whole point of wearing those 2 inches of black around your middle is to indicate you do have a certain ability. What that ability is varies from dojo to dojo and if you don't measure up to the minimum you have three choices.
a) get out of dodge.
b) train up very quickly
c) wear a white belt.

Proper indicators are one of the mechanisms that ensure safe practice.

It's also possible that the guy was just an arrogant twit with issues but that's another thread.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-04-2005, 02:39 AM   #17
Chris Li
 
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote:
In Budo practice there is no such ideas as western gentlemen agreement. Concepts that practice must be "safe" or "fair" are not part of Budo practice.
So all depends if you practice aikido as Budo or as nice social activity to meet other ppl, and feel comfortable.
I don't know how to express it better, but mutual respect is created by physical practice, not by some external rules or moral system, and this practice can be sometimes dangerous.
Virtually all of the traditional martial systems of Japan are built around kata based training methods. I don't know about "fair", but one of the main reasons for the popularity of that method was safety. Further, kata training is heavily reliant upon a "gentlemen's agreement" between the practitioners.

And yes, there are rules and "gentlemen's agreements" in all training systems, even Aikido. If there aren't I'm going to start hiding razor blades in my dogi for those difficult to handle uke .

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-04-2005, 04:31 AM   #18
ruthmc
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Hmm the whole point of wearing those 2 inches of black around your middle is to indicate you do have a certain ability. What that ability is varies from dojo to dojo and if you don't measure up to the minimum you have three choices.
a) get out of dodge.
b) train up very quickly
c) wear a white belt.
When I train at a big seminar outside of my own style I do wear a white belt and leave the hakama at home. Last time I did this I got told off for not wearing my black belt and hakama!

So who makes the judgement call on what to wear? Me? My fellow Aikidoka? My sempai? My sensei? The invited sensei at the big seminar?

My shodan is in Traditional Aikido, not in Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Ki or Tomiki Aikido. I cannot claim to be shodan level in any style outside of my own. Does this mean that I'm not capable of training at shodan level in any of these styles? Is it even down to me to make that judgement?

This is where I think the whole rank issue falls apart very quickly, as it's just not possible to compare except in a very general way.

IMHO

Ruth
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Old 08-04-2005, 04:56 AM   #19
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Ruth:

Cross-style seminars are a special case as is visiting other dojos of other styles. Its a case by case thing. I usually let the sensei know my background and give them the choice.

The post I responded too implied they had joined a dojo where the trouble arose. Frankly I would expect to wear my black belt and work my butt off to adapt and if there were shortcomings to get them fixed. I occasionally have visitors with Dan grades at my group, some even stay for a time. My expectation is they do the same. They do have the other options.

Basically my point was that the black belt has real meaning only within a defined group. It is a very important indicator of your ability. If you feel that it is sending out the wrong signals - than for your own safety take it off.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:19 AM   #20
happysod
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
So who makes the judgement call on what to wear? Me? My fellow Aikidoka? My sempai? My sensei? The invited sensei at the big seminar?
Unless you've discussed it previously, I always err on the side of caution and downgrade. Anyway, white belt + no hakama has just got to be one of the best reasons for going to other dojos, wonderful stress-free training, you just canna wack it.

(OT - I think it's terrible that anyone would call Peter a thug... )
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:22 AM   #21
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
(OT - I think it's terrible that anyone would call Peter a thug... )
Sniff - thanks Ian. I feel better.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:29 AM   #22
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
Unless you've discussed it previously, I always err on the side of caution and downgrade. Anyway, white belt + no hakama has just got to be one of the best reasons for going to other dojos, wonderful stress-free training, you just Janna wacko it.
I have to agree here. I have trained in a few dojo outside my own style and always let whoever teaches tell me what I can wear. Sometimes, i even just turn up in a T-shirt and track suits trousers and ask to train. Generally people ask me after a few techniques "you've done this before, haven't you?...".

Best one was a tiny Egyptian girl who turned up for a while in York. She was a shodan in judo and first kyu in karate and Aikikai. Boy, we were in for a shock in randori! Shame that she did not stay. I think she had to get back to Egypt...

Quote:
Ian Hurst wrote:
OT - I think it's terrible that anyone would call Peter a thug...
Does that extend to me as well?....

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 08-04-2005, 05:39 AM   #23
happysod
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Does that extend to me as well?....
Of course it does, I view all in the wonderful world of shodothuggery, sorry, shodokan as perfect gentle-persons, positively brimming with the effusive love and harmony that marks true aikido - the fact that you all like to competitively clobber each other on a regular basis, even traveling to other countries to do it, is merely the dynamic personification of your art - Nagababa on the other hand...
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Old 08-04-2005, 10:26 AM   #24
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote:
Virtually all of the traditional martial systems of Japan are built around kata based training methods. I don't know about "fair", but one of the main reasons for the popularity of that method was safety. Further, kata training is heavily reliant upon a "gentlemen's agreement" between the practitioners.

And yes, there are rules and "gentlemen's agreements" in all training systems, even Aikido. If there aren't I'm going to start hiding razor blades in my dogi for those difficult to handle uke .

Best,

Chris
Of course a method of training was designed to reinforce safety, but actual training is quite other story.
I personally know one shihan that care always a hidden tanto, also on the tatami.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-04-2005, 10:30 AM   #25
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Re: don't injure your uke, just me?

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
Injuries happen with hard practice but such practice comes from a mutual gentlemen agreement.
On some level of practice, I would never use description: gentlemen agreement

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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