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Old 09-30-2005, 07:31 PM   #1
kokyu
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The countering uke

Hi,

I was practicing kokyu dosa one day and my uke was a senior Aikido student. When I tried to extend forward, he countered by extending against me. When I tried to lift my forearms, he countered by extending downwards. In other words, he did the opposite of everything I did. Now, before anyone misunderstands, this uke is a nice guy and has done a great deal for the dojo, so I don't consider it a case of bullying.

However, I have also encountered other ukes who counter in the same way (doing the opposite) for standing (tachiwaza) kokyu ho techniques and was wondering what is the best approach. So far, I have come across 2 suggestions:

1) Do the opposite motion first - i.e. if you want to move up, try moving down first, so that uke counters by extending upwards. Then, move upwards before uke realizes it (this is the tricky part). In fact, one of my previous senseis said that it might be good idea (in general) to do a slight movement in the opposite direction of where you want uke to go before moving in the desired direction - a bit like breathing in before breathing out.

2) Move in a more relaxed manner. The uke can feel you coming (because your movement is too quick and obvious), so he tenses and resists. By moving in a slower and more relaxed manner, he might not resist or know your movement is coming (until it's too late).

Really appreciate everyone's thoughts on this.
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Old 10-01-2005, 06:44 AM   #2
Mark Uttech
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Re: The countering uke

My relections on this, are that one has to tend to "the uke within" first.
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Old 10-01-2005, 10:20 AM   #3
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: The countering uke

I find kokyu one of the easiest and yet the hardest exercises we do in aikido. Technically it can be very easy, especially since we isolate so many things out of the drill and only concentrate, on the surface it seems, on kokyu.

However, what I really like about the drill in that it manifest or brings to the surface all the emotional things inside you that also participate in kokyu.

If I am having a good day, relaxed and and open, and able to look around, kokyu seems easy. If I am stressed out or determined to move uke, then my shoulders hunch inwards, my chin drops down, and eye brows furrow.

It is amazing to me to see how much your emotional self is apart of this very simple exercise.

Not to forget the emotional self of uke either! You cannot forget the person on the other end!

Wow..so much to worry about with all the foot work and movement gone!

So, I also agree with Mark! It is the uke within that is first and foremost important, then the uke on the other end of your wrist!

So much to stuff going on! That is why I love kokyu!
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Old 10-01-2005, 03:29 PM   #4
ChrisHein
 
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Re: The countering uke

It's not a competition, who cares if you "do" the technique or not. It's all about learning. By designing strategies to "beat" uke you are only taking away from learning the technique. I would say let your ego go, and just study.

-Chris Hein
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Old 10-02-2005, 12:38 AM   #5
kokyu
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Re: The countering uke

From the good advice given so far, it looks (2) is the better approach.

I agree that learning is important, but I think it's also human nature to want to understand why one's technique isn't working.

This is a bit off the main post, but I encountered another uke in kokyu dosa who completely relaxed on me. This made it very difficult to extend and connect with her center because her arms and shoulders were so loose. I guess she was trying to test my understanding of the waza.

Now, that's another problem I'm trying to crack.
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Old 10-02-2005, 01:06 AM   #6
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: The countering uke

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
2) Move in a more relaxed manner. The uke can feel you coming (because your movement is too quick and obvious), so he tenses and resists. By moving in a slower and more relaxed manner, he might not resist or know your movement is coming (until it's too late).
This is on the right track but is still short of what needs to be happening. The relaxation aspect is crucial but has nothing to do with fast or slow. If you do this properly the uke's center is taken instantly.

Your problem is that you are still at the stage where you are trying to move your partner. What you need to do is move yourself. The partner has grabbed you, if you are moving he will move as well.

In terms of theory, here's how I envision this... If you look at the yin and yang symbol, you can see the seam where the black yin and the white yang meet. It is at that seam that thing are energetically neutral with the yin and yang being in balance. When you and your uke connect, no matter what he is doing, pushing, pulling, grounding out, there is a seam in which is neutral. If you move along that seam he will move and it wil take almost no force on your part. Where that seam is is determined by whatever the uke does; you simply feel the neutral line.

Speed is irrelevant from a practice standpoint. I can be moving along this seam before the uke actually touches and he will pop up off his ceneter at the instant of contact. Or, as a form of testing myself in practice, I can allow the uke to grab me and pin my arms strongly to my lap. Then I can very slowly allow myself to feel the seam and let the energy raise my partner. He can attempt to counter the movement by changing his own energy, shifting from pusing to pulling, etc. but it is irrelevant. It simply creates a new seam and we move on that. Once his center is cut off from his base, he will no longer be able to keep trying to shift the direction of his energy.

I would highly recommend checking out Kuroda Sensei or at least his videos (available from budovideos.com; Japanese language onoy unfortunately). His concept of "whole body movement" totally shifted my understanding of what I was doing in this area.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 10-02-2005, 01:52 AM   #7
kokyu
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Re: The countering uke

Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote:
I would highly recommend checking out Kuroda Sensei or at least his videos (available from budovideos.com; Japanese language onoy unfortunately). His concept of "whole body movement" totally shifted my understanding of what I was doing in this area.
Ledyard Sensei, thank you for your kind explanation. When you mentioned Kuroda Sensei's videos, are you referring to Kuroda Tetsuzan Sensei's videos on Jujutsu? If so, which is the best to watch for the concept of "whole body movement"? Japanese is OK for me
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Old 10-02-2005, 07:08 AM   #8
Jorx
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Re: The countering uke

Dear Soon-Kian... just pinch him or kick him in the balls or bite the tip of his nose. It always works.

(Jorgen in extremely cynical mode)
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Old 10-02-2005, 07:19 AM   #9
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: The countering uke

If it is easy to do you will like it; if it is hard to do you won't.

However, while #2 may be better for most cases, I think #1 also needs work. The reason he can resist you is because you give him the idea to resist. Instead, you need to take control of the 'game'. Instead of him responding to you, you need to set him off (responding) and then use that slight response to make your technique.

I can't always get it right, but when I do I am quite content with the result. It is something I have been working on for some time now. Basically, you have to learn to con uke. Also, your uke has to be honest as it is easy for a wise uke (or could that be smartass) to screw up your technique.

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Old 10-02-2005, 01:44 PM   #10
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Re: The countering uke

IMHO,
when pushed, pull
when pulled, pushed
step off the line of attack in a circular motion
relax
and breathe.

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 10-02-2005, 05:18 PM   #11
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: The countering uke

Quote:
Soon-Kian Phang wrote:
Ledyard Sensei, thank you for your kind explanation. When you mentioned Kuroda Sensei's videos, are you referring to Kuroda Tetsuzan Sensei's videos on Jujutsu? If so, which is the best to watch for the concept of "whole body movement"? Japanese is OK for me
Yes, the very same...

As for the videos, I suspect any of the ones on empty hand tecnique would have them. Also, there is a set which he did with a teacher of body movement, Okajima Zuitoku which is specifically on body movement. I would love to see it but haven't bought it because I suspect that I won't get much of it due to not speaking Japanese. I suspect that it would have some excellent material.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:32 PM   #12
mathewjgano
 
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Re: The countering uke

When I first began training i was given no resistance to help me learn the technique form. After a while, the senior students would point out openings in my method by entering through them (ie-countering my intent). The more I trained, the more powerfully they would counter my efforts as a way of stepping up the intensity of training and as a means of teaching me how to recover from a mistake. The lesson i was given was to "go with the flow," add to it to over-extend my partner, and then move it back into the direction I wanted to move it originally if possible. While doing this I was told to always be extending around my center, whether vertically, horizontally, or a bit of both.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 10-04-2005, 06:59 PM   #13
kokyu
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Re: The countering uke

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote:
The lesson i was given was to "go with the flow," add to it to over-extend my partner, and then move it back into the direction I wanted to move it originally if possible. While doing this I was told to always be extending around my center, whether vertically, horizontally, or a bit of both.
That's true. But, I have some difficulty with over-extending my uke. Most of them maintain their balance very well - maybe I need to work on speeding up my technique, thus giving them less time to react... then again, this could lead to jerky movements... hmmm...
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Old 10-05-2005, 09:17 AM   #14
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Re: The countering uke

You can set yourself different levels of difficulty of kokyu ho. Generally, you can present your arms at shoulder level (more easy level), then plexus level, then hips level.

Right from the first moment of contact you must break his attack, by turning your hands flat, as you holding a tray. It will physically break strength of his wrists and normally will put him off balance. From this point, you control a situation and if you shift you weight forward and don’t pull your elbows back, he can do anything he wants but he can’t really counter you without changing a grip.
You control this way his mind, coz he will be concentrate on his own body instead to attacking you.

I found the counters excellent teaching tool.
hope it helps

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 10-05-2005, 09:49 AM   #15
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The countering uke

I think this is where absorbing your partner's power can help a lot. I liked the comments on both your 1) and 2), but I'd like to suggest a

3) If your partner is pulling, relax your shoulders, kind of pull your own shoulder blades closer together (so the blades kind of come together along your spine) while opening your chest, turn your hands so that they make a shape almost like catching a basketball (arms stay in the same position, fingers point up, palms face uke), and lower your center at the same time. Your partner should find themselves pushing instead of pulling, and you should be able to do a pivoting technique.

and a

4) I don't think I can describe how to make your partner pull instead of push yet. Still working on that one. But it at least begins with letting your structure (bones, ligaments) align to absorb the power of the push, and let it go into the ground. It seems to help a lot to 'close your waki', by lightly squeezing your armpits together, almost like you are trying to hold a walnut or something there without letting it drop. If your shoulders get involved, that seems to be a sign it is incorrect.

You can also experiment with turning your hands palm up, especially when someone is doing a strong static hold. Both of these methods can be combined with breathing patterns. It seems to help to have your mind focus strongly at the one point in their grip where you feel the most power.

I like the old adage of push when pulled, and pull when pushed (or turn), but I think there is something more to be had in absorbing the opponent's power than that. Oh, and I'm not talking about mystical mumbo jumbo, but something actually physical. Still working on it though.

Best,
Ron

PS oh, Mr. S. just described the palms up method better than I did!

Last edited by Ron Tisdale : 10-05-2005 at 09:52 AM.

Ron Tisdale
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Old 10-05-2005, 02:57 PM   #16
MaryKaye
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Re: The countering uke

You might try reversing the roles; find a cooperative partner around your rank or a bit higher, and take ukemi for them. Try to feel the various ways you are resisting and how they respond--experiment, see what works or doesn't work. If you focus only on what you're doing as nage, you're missing out on 50% of the possible information.

We have a very perscribed way of doing kokyu dosa that rules out a lot of the more visible "tricks" (changing hand or arm position, moving fast, etc.) One thing I've found is that my success is often determined already by the time uke touches me; if my body position is weak at that point, I can't recover. I do much better if, when I put my arms out, they are slightly curved outward (as if around the circumference of a big ball) and definitely extended to partner, not just hanging there. It's also important to have excellent posture and be well centered, again before uke even touches me.

My seniors can often glance at a pair of students and say "Will work/won't work" long before the throw is attempted. I'm trying to learn how they do that.

Mary Kaye
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Old 10-05-2005, 03:08 PM   #17
Ron Tisdale
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Re: The countering uke

Hi Mary,

In some 'styles' of aikido, these aren't 'tricks'...they are part and parcel of the technique. But they can also (unfortunately) sometimes be empty clothes as well...

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 10-05-2005, 06:06 PM   #18
kokyu
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Re: The countering uke

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
My seniors can often glance at a pair of students and say "Will work/won't work" long before the throw is attempted. I'm trying to learn how they do that.Mary Kaye
That's amazing. Thanks for sharing that with us. I should try to develop that skill as well.
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Old 10-05-2005, 06:27 PM   #19
mathewjgano
 
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Re: The countering uke

Quote:
Mary Kuhner wrote:
One thing I've found is that my success is often determined already by the time uke touches me; if my body position is weak at that point, I can't recover.
Mary Kaye
I've experienced the same sort of thing. I've been told at the instant of contact someone is almost always in a slightly better situation and so to do techniques properly, one must have the advantage at that instant, if not before. Having a strong expansive posture seems to help me a lot more than a relatively deflated one. When kicking a soccer ball with my toe, if it's slightly flat, i can pentrate my force directly into it more easily than when it's fully inflated where my foot tends to cause the ball to spin off to one side or another. If the inertia of my foot and the ball were the same magnitude, my foot would go flying off to the side like uke is supposed to. When I think of things like this and adjust, I tend to get countered much less often...and that's a real "kick!" Sorry, comedy is a thing I mangle

Gambarimashyo!
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