Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > General

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-06-2004, 06:57 PM   #1
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Hi All,

Just wrote this up for our own dojo. Would like to get some opinions, if you don't mind, so as to take advantageo of a broader horizon.

Thanks you advance - yours,
dmv

"Some Guidelines Governing the Nage/Uke Dynamic"

The following guidelines have been written up so as to provide dojo members with a reference point concerning the living dynamic that is the Nage/Uke relationship. Note: These are just guidelines. All accurate understandings of the Nage/Uke dynamic have to be determined by specific contexts. Please use these guidelines in combination with the experience and insights you gain over the years of training when it comes to determining proper action within the Nage/Uke dynamic.

"General Guidelines For Being Nage"

- Nage must always account, in terms of intensity and applied energy, for the following qualities when determining how to throw, pin, or strike, etc., Uke: Uke's skill level, Uke's age, Uke's size, Uke's physical durability, Uke's current state of health and wellness; and the dojo's official position concerning the Senpai/Kohai model as it is relative to the Nage/Uke dynamic (see below). All things being equal, safety is the primary determining element for the Nage/Uke dynamic. Martial "reality," as (mis)perceived by any one member is NOT a determining element to be considered.

"General Guidelines For Being Uke"

- Uke must take on the responsibility for the following: To constantly learn, study, and improve one's ukemi throughout the whole of one's training so as to ultimately provide Nage with the capacity to perform various martial tactics at full intensity and full applied energy.

- Uke, in their commitment to the art of ukemi, in their commitment to their own training, and in their commitment to the dojo as a training environment, is to continually strive to provide the above option as the third and most desired option in comparison with the following two: (A) Nage must opt to pull out of a technique or to greatly decrease the amount of intensity and/or applied energy being used for the safety of Uke; and (B) Nage must carry forth with a technique at the risk of injuring Uke.

- With all things being equal, while safety is the primary determining element for the Nage/Uke dynamic, it is Uke, NOT Nage, that is primarily responsible for that safety. In this way ukemi can remain the gateway and foundation to all Aikido training -- both martial and spiritual.

- In all cases, Uke is responsible for a sincere attack -- this means first and foremost that Uke must at all time seek to cultivate sincerity within him/herself. With good form being the assumed given, it is sincerity, investment of the total self (i.e. body, mind, and spirit), that demarcates the martial from the non-martial.

- Note that we train in and practice ukemi in order to experience Aikido safely. We do not train in ukemi in order to practice forms successfully. It is not Uke's job to make Nage's technique "work."

- Uke's general priorities are as follows: (A) Offer a sincere attack; (B) Take responsibility for one's own safety throughout the given moment; and (C) Use all opportunities to further increase one's skill in ukemi.

- At any time, and for any reason, Uke has the right and responsibility to ask Nage to adjust his/her rate of intensity and applied energy to suit current needs. This is particularly true when one is NOT training with Sensei but with a fellow member.

- Understand: A dojo's overall health is directly related to how closely each member adopts these above elements for him/herself. Techniques can only be as martial as one is able to receive them safely. Within any given training environment, the manifestation of the Art itself is directly proportional to the skill level of Uke. There are no exceptions to this rule. Uke marks the quality of a dojo.

"Particular Guidelines for Being Nage" (All General Guidelines Are Assumed)

- Nage has different responsibilities according to what type of training is being practiced. In Kihon Waza training, Nage is to understand that he/she has a specific role to play in the form. As Uke is restricted to a given set of actions and/or reactions, Nage too is restricted to a given set of actions and/or reactions. While Nage should never force his/her technique upon Uke, Nage must not anticipate or rely upon Uke (in the carrying forth of their own role) to provide him/herself with a semblance of proper martial tactics, strategies, and virtues. Kihon Waza assumes that the technique is A GIVEN -- an a priori - -- for both Nage AND Uke to experience. The technique, which includes both Nage and Uke's role, is there to be experienced as determined by the pedagogy of the dojo. For this reason Nage is not to stray from the general guidelines (listed above) even in the face of some of the more common and assumed "benevolent" reasons offered (e.g. "I'm trying to remain martial in my training.") Because Kihon Waza is a matter of experiencing a given form, and little else, all technical delineation (such as "the martial" from the "non-martial") is in the hands of Sensei -- not Nage.

"Particular Guidelines for Being Uke" (All General Guidelines Are Assumed)

- Uke has different responsibilities according to what type of training is being practiced. In Kihon Waza training, Uke is to understand that he/she has a specific role to play in the form. As Nage is restricted to a given set of actions and/or reactions, Uke too is restricted to a given set of actions and/or reactions. Uke should not "resist" Nage's technique; Uke should not seek to "escape" Nage's technique; and Uke should not seek to cater the form to their own intellectual (mis)understandings, to their own emotional constraints, and/or to their own spiritual lackings thereof. Kihon Waza training is not an environment in which Nage has to "take" his/her technique, so it is not a place where Uke has to "give" it. Kihon Waza assumes that the technique is A GIVEN -- an a priori - -- for both Uke AND Nage to experience. The technique, which includes both Nage and Uke's role, is there to be experienced as determined by the pedagogy of the dojo. For this reason Uke is not to stray from the general guidelines (listed above) even in the face of some of the more common and assumed "benevolent" reasons offered (e.g. "I'm trying to correct Nage's form by exposing the openings in his/her technique.") Because Kihon Waza is a matter of experiencing a given form, and little else, all correction is in the hands of Sensei -- not Uke.

- In other forms of training that have a an element of spontaneity contained therein, such as in Kaeshi Waza, Henka Waza, Jiyu Waza, etc., Nage must seek to reconcile the ultimately false Nage/Uke dialectic. Nage primarily does this by exposing "suki" (trans. "openings") in Uke's training, by amplifying weaknesses in Uke's body, and by reflecting the maturity (or immaturity) level of Uke's spirit. Nage can do any of these things by capitalizing upon any and all openings Uke may have in any and all manner of ways, and/or by showing greater spirit than Uke during the prescribed training at hand.

- In other forms of training that have a an element of spontaneity contained therein, such as in Kaeshi Waza, Henka Waza, Jiyu Waza, etc., Uke must seek to reconcile the ultimately false Nage/Uke dialectic. Uke primarily does this by exposing "suki" (trans. "openings") in Nage's technique, by amplifying weaknesses in Nage's body, and by reflecting the maturity (or immaturity) level of Nage's spirit. Uke can do any of these things by countering Nage, by resisting Nage, by intimidating Nage, etc., as prescribed by the nature of the training at hand.

"Considerations For The Nage/Uke Dynamic In Relation To The Senpai/Kohai Model" (All General and Particular Guidelines Are Assumed)

- When Kohai and Nage: Seek to execute reps that are complete in detail but intense enough and with enough applied energy to expand your performance envelope in terms of tactical immediacy and power. Take advantage of your senior's higher ukemi skill by performing reps at as high an intensity as possible while never compromising any of the insights you have gained concerning good form. Do not seek to be "gentle" with your Senpai. Trust in their ukemi to keep your experiments with form and power safe for all. This is particularly true when partnered with Sensei during class. It is not rude, nor dangerous, to throw Sensei "as hard as you can".

- When Senpai and Nage: Seek to experience technical details with greater awareness by exaggerating, prolonging, and/or amplifying their architectural elements. Maintain authority in your technique at all times -- your body and spirit should be one of "all around" control -- no matter how "slow" or "light" you may be required to practice. Observe, note, and examine the physical, emotional, and spiritual reactions of your Kohai and adjust your technique and understanding of the training process and of the art accordingly.

- When Kohai and Uke: Follow the above general and particular guidelines for Uke to the letter. In most cases Nage will expect them of you. When partnered with Sensei, have faith in his skill, awareness, and knowledge to keep you safe at the same time that your Ukemi is being challenged by him in order to bring it to a higher level.

- When Senpai and Uke: Follow the above general and particular guidelines for Uke to the letter. In most cases Nage will expect them of you. Be sure to monitor your ego and the many ways it will try to cultivate more fear, more pride, and more ignorance in you through the lure and delusion of power. For example, be sure to never get "lazy" as Uke simply because you think you can; be sure to confront and reconcile all fears and prides that may come to you as your Kohai inevitably come to throw you, pin you, strike you, etc., at a level that will challenge and/or even overcome your ukemi; etc.

- When training with a peer: Follow the above general and particular guidelines for Nage and Uke. In most cases your partner will expect them of you.

"Conclusion"

In this way, over the long haul, in light of the big picture, you will come to know the hard and soft of Aikido, the light and heavy of Aikido, the fast and slow of Aikido, the mercy and the mercilessness of Aikido, and the form and non-form of Aikido, and in the end you will have reconciled all of these apparent opposites by having the martial edge of your training remain sharp, preventing it from ever becoming dull, so that it can indeed affect the spirit by purifying the self.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2004, 10:21 AM   #2
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

I think its pretty cool that you took the time to put that into words. I'm going to have to think about it for a bit and maybe read some other responses too, before I say anything substantive. I does seem like you covered just about all the bases!

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2004, 10:27 AM   #3
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Thank Ron,

Would greatly appreciate your feedback - looking foward to it.

Yours,
dmv
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2004, 03:28 PM   #4
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

David,

You asked for comments, so here are mine:

1) Overall, you're to be applauded for attempting to describe the nage/uke relationship. That relationship, the responsibilities each party has, and how those responsibilities overlap is difficult to describe.

2) I respectfully, and strongly, disagree with your statement that "Kihon Waza is a matter of experiencing a given form, and little else. . . ." Kihon waza must be alive and appropriate to the attack uke gives. While each party knows what is coming when the instructor says to practice shomen uchi ikkyo, nage and uke must each approach the practice as though they do not know the outcome of the technique. Partially this is for safety, as uke may give the "wrong" attack or nage may do the "wrong" technique. By being ready for anything, uke and nage can respond in a safe manner to an unexpected event. More to the point, if nage messes up in some way, there's no reason for uke to continue the technique as given. At the very least, uke may stop until nage can adjust and continue the technique, whereupon uke continues the attack.

Kihon waza should have the same spontaneity as shown in kaeshi waza, henka waza, and jiyu waza. In fact, we may be using the terms differently. Kihon (fundamental techniques), kaeshi (reversals), and henka (flowing from one technique to another) waza, can all be taught in a step-by-step, static manner or in a flowing and dynamic manner. One can use any of the three (not to mention oyo waza) during jiyu waza (free technique against either a known or unknown attack with one attacker).

The bottom line is that uke is much more of a teacher than the instructor. The instructor will correct nage or help him adjust his technique, but uke actually helps nage feel when things are done correctly or not.

3) To that end, specific guidelines as to how uke should attack would be helpful. We have a couple of guidelines at our dojo. For instance: uke should work to keep his hips under his shoulders while moving; uke should constantly try to get into a position to launch a good second attack after nage has responded to the first attack; if nage fails to take uke's balance or lead uke well, uke should not move; conversely, if uke has any doubt about whether he should fall, then he should fall.

4) You handle the safety aspect very well. Generally, we say that nage is responsible for uke's safetly, but uke is responsible for uke's safetly. Leaning how and when to fall correctly is very important.

5) I think you have too much emphasis on the sempai/kohei relationship. I've learned a lot from my juniors and taught some things to my seniors. I've seen our instructor learn from us at times. I think the sempai/kohei relationship is more important to duties off the mat with sempai having more responsibility and needing to set good examples. Too much emphasis on being a kohei or sempai while actually practicing can lead to big egos on the part of sempai (at least I've had a big head for that reason, from time to time).

6) You state that is it not uke's job to make nage's technique "work." You also state that uke, like nage, is restricted to a given set of actions while practicing kihon waza. Some may see these statements as contradictory. I don't, and I think I see what you're getting at, but what should uke or nage do when the other breaks from those given set of actions? This should be clarified.

7) Overall, these guidelines are way too wordy. Guidelines are supposed to be brief and easy to remember. I would trim them to half the volume of words if you want any hope of a beginner grasping them.

I hope these comments are helpful and that they are taken only as constructive criticism.

Regards,

Last edited by jxa127 : 05-17-2004 at 03:31 PM.

----
-Drew Ames
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2004, 08:50 PM   #5
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Hi Drew,

Thank you so much for replying.

With what is being said here and what is being said at Aikido Journal, I am beginning to see a trend of sorts. I have to admit, I think folks see what they want to see when they read things like what I posted. Point in fact: I agree with much of what you say, but where I do, I do not think we are dealing with something that is relative to the topic at hand.

Undoubtedly, if you will allow me to say, folks seem to believe wholeheartedly that what they are saying is correct and thereby relative. Personally I do not hold that one thing implies the other, so any person wanting to comment, I feel, should make sure that both qualities are being met, etc. I think that is the beginning of a good opinion and/or the beginning of good feedback. On the other hand, there is the very good chance that I am missing some of your points and that we are indeed dealing with relative information, etc. Since that might be the case, please allow me to address your points in hopes that you will offer further elaboration that will beyond a shadow of any doubt demonstrate relevance. Outside of the topic of relevance, I think I will have to disagree with you on several remaining points. Again, in hopes that further elaboration on your part will force me to adjust my position, and thereby grow, I would like to comment on those things as well. Please see this as a process of reflection on my own part, not one of criticism concerning your view of things, and certainly not one whereby said guidelines are edited accordingly, etc.


You wrote:

2) I respectfully, and strongly, disagree with your statement that "Kihon Waza is a matter of experiencing a given form, and little else. . . ." Kihon waza must be alive and appropriate to the attack uke gives. While each party knows what is coming when the instructor says to practice shomen uchi ikkyo, nage and uke must each approach the practice as though they do not know the outcome of the technique. Partially this is for safety, as uke may give the "wrong" attack or nage may do the "wrong" technique. By being ready for anything, uke and nage can respond in a safe manner to an unexpected event. More to the point, if nage messes up in some way, there's no reason for uke to continue the technique as given. At the very least, uke may stop until nage can adjust and continue the technique, whereupon uke continues the attack.

Reply:

Forms, waza, or kata, are not the antithesis to whatever is living. Saying that basic training is about experiencing a form is not at all the same thing as saying that one should train weakly, out of the moment, not be ready for anything, dead, not alive, casually, with one's mind wandering, etc. These are assumptions you have made concerning the understanding of the word "form." It is a misunderstanding of budo pedagogy that you have misapplied to the statement you have cited.

Forms training in Japanese martial arts always necessitate that one's movements stay alive, that the practitioner stay in the moment, etc., but at the level of kihon waza, at the level of Shu training, this is precisely so that one experiences the form fully and little else. The "all else" you are hinting at comes in else where -- through different means in our training. In kihon waza, one is not training in scenario-based self-defense routines -- which I think is more akin to what you are saying. Hence you reach your conclusion: "If nage messes up in some way, there's no reason for uke to continue the technique as given." But if one rejects the modern trend toward scenario-based self-defense training, and if one operates fully within a Shu-Ha-Ri model (which is totally different from scenario-based self-defense training because the latter wrongly equates shu training with ri training), uke has every reason to continue on with the form even if nage "messes" up. In kihon waza training, nage does not "mess" up with defending him/herself -- nage simply departs from the required form.

If uke retreats from the partnership every time nage departs from the form, which is a natural part of the learning process, nage will never be able to experience the form and thereby will never be able to commence the embodying processes necessary for the shu-ha-ri model to be fully implemented. Contrary to this position, your position would have nage somehow experiencing the form only after that were able to do it fully correct, with no opening for uke to depart the partnership from. There is just no way that such a process could ever prove to be productive in the real world. No nage will ever learn any waza through a process in which every uke departs through every suki that is manifested along the learning process. It sounds nice to say that forms have to be alive, in the moment, and that if nage messes up uke loses all reason for investment in the form, etc., but without the necessary reflection of what these things actually mean in budo pedagogy they become merely clichés and make little sense in the end.

You wrote:

Kihon waza should have the same spontaneity as shown in kaeshi waza, henka waza, and jiyu waza. In fact, we may be using the terms differently. Kihon (fundamental techniques), kaeshi (reversals), and henka (flowing from one technique to another) waza, can all be taught in a step-by-step, static manner or in a flowing and dynamic manner. One can use any of the three (not to mention oyo waza) during jiyu waza (free technique against either a known or unknown attack with one attacker).

Reply:

Again, I think we are dealing with cliché here in your first line. I can readily agree to it, but I cannot blanket over everything for the sake of it. Undoubtedly, I imagine that one can very well use the various types of training you listed in a way that takes out the "unknown" element, but the guidelines made specific reference to training situations where one does not know what is going to happen, etc. This is more relative to what followed than the name of the type of training one was doing. So referring to only types of training that are dominated by the unknown, I would have to disagree with the position that the same level of spontaneity exists in kihon waza, where one knows for the most part what is going to happen, and spontaneous training, where one has no idea what is going to happen.

It may be the case that to the practitioner that has already reconciled the shu-ha-ri model, that is to say, to the practitioner that has already attained the full capacity to spontaneously express the art, that spontaneous training and forms training become very much akin to each other in terms of body, mind, and spirit, but from the point of view of someone that has not achieved such a capacity, forms are nowhere near spontaneous training -- in fact, the one does not even lead to the other. Doing forms over and over again will in no way bring one to a level of spontaneity. In Zen, which you may have heard, doing forms to become spontaneous is like polishing a brick to make a mirror. This is because forms training was never meant to be seen as something that holds the same level of spontaneity within the application of the shu-ha-ri model. I think in today's world this is becoming quite unknown. Rather, as true spontaneous training is being negated from one's training curriculum, forms are being lifted up to a position they were never meant to be at and can indeed never reach.

You wrote:

The bottom line is that uke is much more of a teacher than the instructor. The instructor will correct nage or help him adjust his technique, but uke actually helps nage feel when things are done correctly or not.

Reply:

It is true that uke may be more of a teacher than an instructor -- if one's instructor is so disposed and/or if one's instructor is never uke, etc. -- but still, and regardless, such a statement is only cliché if we do not note the fact that it is the instructor that teaches uke. This instruction takes place in kihon waza. Again the type of training you are referring to, where one learns through failure, falls outside of kihon waza -- and for good reason. Forms is not the ultimate solution and so Budo pedagogy does not leave it up to forms training to achieve every end of martial praxis.

You wrote:

3) To that end, specific guidelines as to how uke should attack would be helpful. We have a couple of guidelines at our dojo. For instance: uke should work to keep his hips under his shoulders while moving; uke should constantly try to get into a position to launch a good second attack after nage has responded to the first attack; if nage fails to take uke's balance or lead uke well, uke should not move; conversely, if uke has any doubt about whether he should fall, then he should fall.

Reply:

Since the guidelines are merely a point of reference for future experience and insight relative to the Nage/Uke dynamic, and not an instruction manual on how to do a fall, how to attack, or how to throw, or how to pin, etc., I felt it warranted to merely say that good form is assumed in uke's attack. Still do.

On the line, "if nage fails to take uke's balance or lead uke well, uke should not move," please see my earlier point on the division between Shu training and Ri training. In kihon waza training uke should stay in the technique regardless of what nage is able to accomplish or not accomplish. In spontaneous training I would agree with what you say here in this line.

(With Shu training, with kihon waza, being stretched to do so much in your praxis, I'm beginning to wonder if spontaneous training, training where the unknown is the dominant determining factor, only plays a minor role in your weekly training -- hence why your slant on the guidelines is looking like it does - ? Maybe we are just coming from totally different perspectives - ?)

On the sentence, "if uke has any doubt about whether he should fall, then he should fall," I would say: In kihon waza training uke should allow him/herself to be put in a position where the prescribed fall can be experienced; in spontaneous training, "uke" should never do as you suggest. In spontaneous training each person (assuming there is only two) must do all they can do to take all the guesswork out of training.

You wrote:

4) You handle the safety aspect very well. Generally, we say that nage is responsible for uke's safetly, but uke is responsible for uke's safety. Leaning how and when to fall correctly is very important.

Reply:

Perhaps I did not handle this as well you think. I think my position is totally contrary to the one you offer above. Nage is not responsible for uke's safety in the guidelines. The guidelines clearly state a position contrary to yours in the following sections:

- Uke must take on the responsibility for the following: To constantly learn, study, and improve one's ukemi throughout the whole of one's training so as to ultimately provide Nage with the capacity to perform various martial tactics at full intensity and full applied energy.

- Uke, in their commitment to the art of ukemi, in their commitment to their own training, and in their commitment to the dojo as a training environment, is to continually strive to provide the above option as the third and most desired option in comparison with the following two: (A) Nage must opt to pull out of a technique or to greatly decrease the amount of intensity and/or applied energy being used for the safety of Uke; and (B) Nage must carry forth with a technique at the risk of injuring Uke.

- With all things being equal, while safety is the primary determining element for the Nage/Uke dynamic, it is Uke, NOT Nage, that is primarily responsible for that safety. In this way ukemi can remain the gateway and foundation to all Aikido training -- both martial and spiritual.

Your position that nage is responsible for uke's safety, reduced to an undesired option in the second paragraph provided above, is totally at odds at what these guidelines are suggesting one should be aiming toward. Again, this, I feel, is a product on the differences I am sensing between my position on spontaneous training and yours. In my opinion there is much wrong with placing uke's own responsibility in someone else's hands, and by those wrongs there is much negated -- much that true Budo training should not and cannot do without.

Your wrote:

5) I think you have too much emphasis on the sempai/kohei relationship. I've learned a lot from my juniors and taught some things to my seniors. I've seen our instructor learn from us at times. I think the sempai/kohei relationship is more important to duties off the mat with sempai having more responsibility and needing to set good examples. Too much emphasis on being a kohei or sempai while actually practicing can lead to big egos on the part of sempai (at least I've had a big head for that reason, from time to time).

Reply:

I'm not sure what you mean in the first line. One cannot assume that the senpai/kohai model leads inevitably to big egos -- especially since the model was designed, via Confucian thought, to function precisely against such things. Perhaps you are referring to an abuse of that model and not so much to the model itself. What can one do about such things? People that will abuse such things will abuse anything -- even the silence of such things. In short, the model is not the problem -- the big ego is the problem. That said I think one should note the way by which these guidelines employ said model -- it is actually the inverse of what one often encounters, so in many ways it's actually a check to the big egos that often abuse such interpersonal relationships between seniors and juniors. For example -- in particular to kihon waza training:

a) Most times senior uke's cry about "too much muscle," "bad form," "newbie not getting it," whenever a junior throws them with any decent kind of energy -- whenever a junior challenges their small self, ego, etc., and their attachment to such things. The big ego is hidden in the benevolence of trying to "help" uke "see the light". Here in the guidelines, on the other hand, senior students as uke have to expect the highest energies their junior can produce, and they have to expect that as much as it is expected of them to make any and all energies (even those coming from poor form, too much muscle, or newbie not getting it) safe.

b) Most times seniors who are out of shape, out of their prime, stiff, plagued by chronic injuries, or who have plateaued in their training (or are even regressing in their training), etc., use their senpai status to pull out of forms, to not commit to specific energies and/or attacks, and to resist any and all elements which might actually shed some light on how they have stopped training altogether and are just riding on the coattails of the cultural capital given to them by an institution that ultimately has nothing to do with Budo. Here in the guidelines, on the other hand, uke, junior and senior alike, are dictated by the form to participate fully. When total participation is fully mandated those weaknesses by which one cannot totally participate are brought to the surface. They are no longer hidden under the guise of "skill," "rank," "wisdom," etc. Being left with only what you can do, what you can't do, and what you are supposed to do, brings a clarity and an honesty to oneself and to one's relationship with one's training that just does not come about by "seniors" pulling out of every rep as they see fit according to their own egocentrisms.

c) Most times seniors enter into a silent contract with their partner -- one that basically is a type of violence in that it is a type of threat. The tenets of this contract are usually of the following nature: "I get to throw you hard, you don't get to throw me hard" (see point "a" above), or, "I set the pace of training: If you throw me hard, I will throw you harder.) In most other arts, this is something to be ashamed of, but in Aikido, in my experience it is the norm. I have never run into a karateka that shows their "toughness" by striking a beginner harder than said beginner strikes them. Karateka show their "toughness" by letting beginner karateka strike them harder than they are striking them. It's the whole idea of being able to take more, etc. Time after time I've seen Aikido seniors thrash their junior uke, and then when I am set to pair with them, as senior or even as peer, all of a sudden the gusto is gone from their training -- "Let's go easy." This is especially true at seminars. What a joke. And again, what a shame. In any other art, in any other environment, this would be labeled as nothing more than bullying. In Aikido, if at all, it is often only addressed with the bigger mistake of saying "Nage is supposed to take care of Uke's safety." No sensei I have ever seen says, "Hey, I just saw you training so hard with that other uke (junior), why don't you train just as hard with this uke (peer or senior)?" Here in the guidelines, on the other hand, each member of a dojo is both a senior and a junior, and as such each experiences the hard and soft of Aikido but in a way that is more rooted in honor and humility.

Note: If you want to purify the ego-head from himself or from your dojo don't opt to remain silent about senpai/kohai matters - put him in an environment where juniors pound the heck out of him for the sake of their own training, for the sake of the dojo, and for the sake of the art, put him where he is expected to constantly improve in his ukemi skills so as to keep all levels in intensity safe, where his cultural capital means nothing, where he's only left with what he can do, can't do, and what he's supposed to do, where he's expected to be in shape, strong, and flexible for as long as he's training, where he is not allowed out of policy to make or enforce silent threats (to juniors) or silent agreements (with peers or seniors), and then to seal it all with a kiss, stick him in a spontaneous training environment where all of the above still applies.

You wrote:

6) You state that is it not uke's job to make nage's technique "work." You also state that uke, like nage, is restricted to a given set of actions while practicing kihon waza. Some may see these statements as contradictory. I don't, and I think I see what you're getting at, but what should uke or nage do when the other breaks from those given set of actions? This should be clarified.

Reply:

It is precisely because uke has a given set of actions that are prescribed by the form that he/she is not supposed to and/or required to make nage's technique work. Nage's technique working is a given, per se. We have to note: Kihon waza is the experiencing of a given collective of strategies, tactics, and body mechanics. In this way uke and nage become thoroughly interrelated but in a way that is not totally satisfied by the individual aikidoka that are opting to play those roles. True, over time, as skill is acquired, the differences between the ideal uke and the ideal nage AND the manifested uke and the manifested nage start to diminish. However, for kihon waza, they never become the same thing. There always remains a subjective distance between us and the ideal, and there always remains an objective distance between the ideal and us. (Hence the need for Ha and Ri.)

That said, the ideal uke is not supposed to do anything that is totally unrelated to the ideal nage's given set of actions. The manifested uke and nage are supposed to strive to live up to this ideal. For example, in the Isoyama clip being played at AikidoJournal.com you can clearly see uke jumping up to gain height and/or to make the lifting of his body more convenient for nage. Yet, nage's set of actions have done nothing to prompt this "jumping up". This is a clear departure from the form -- one prompted by the idea of uke making nage's technique work. If ideal nage's set of actions have no physical relationship to this "jumping up" then this action is deemed to fall outside of ideal uke's given set of actions. The resulting ukemi, while dynamic, violates sound strategies, tactics, and body mechanics, and thus it has to be deemed contrived by the manifested uke. It is not part of the technique.

This is quite different from the cases in which the manifested uke opts to fall in kote gaeshi though the manifested nage has not yet approximated the ideal nage nearly enough to necessitate the ukemi. Learning curves and the process of approximation have to be allowed for in real-world kihon waza training. What is not supposed to be allowed for is contrivances made possible solely by the manifested uke's desires, fears, or ignorance. Such things do not survive spontaneous training -- which means that a nage that employs them or relies on them will not either.

Kihon waza is about experiencing as much of an ideal as possible for the reasons of approximating that ideal as fully as possible. The time to experience the openings in one's technique, the failure of one's manifested application, comes elsewhere in one's training. This does not mean that correction in Kihon Waza is not possible. After all, there are many ways of experiencing correction outside of experiencing failure. One does not have to worry about a slippery slope where anything and everything can be seen as an ideal. There are many checks and balances- such as: a) strategies, tactics, and body mechanics are all fields open to scientific analysis and critique; b) kihon waza is supposed to be part of a larger curriculum that includes spontaneous training; and c) Sensei are supposed to act as the main engine in kihon waza by which the correct and the incorrect are determined.

This is how to understand the guidelines and their answer to your question when they say:

"Uke should not "resist" Nage's technique; Uke should not seek to "escape" Nage's technique; and Uke should not seek to cater the form to their own intellectual (mis)understandings, to their own emotional constraints, and/or to their own spiritual lackings thereof. Kihon Waza training is not an environment in which Nage has to "take" his/her technique, so it is not a place where Uke has to "give" it. Kihon Waza assumes that the technique is A GIVEN -- an a priori - -- for both Uke AND Nage to experience. The technique, which includes both Nage and Uke's role, is there to be experienced as determined by the pedagogy of the dojo. For this reason Uke is not to stray from the general guidelines (listed above) even in the face of some of the more common and assumed "benevolent" reasons offered (e.g. "I'm trying to correct Nage's form by exposing the openings in his/her technique.") Because Kihon Waza is a matter of experiencing a given form, and little else, all correction is in the hands of Sensei -- not Uke."


You Wrote:

7) Overall, these guidelines are way too wordy. Guidelines are supposed to be brief and easy to remember. I would trim them to half the volume of words if you want any hope of a beginner grasping them.

Reply:

I disagree. Guidelines are not instructions. And instructions cannot capture the Nage/Uke dynamic. Guidelines that are meant to act as a point of reference for future experience and insight should always deny the wisdom they hold from any first reading. One should always be forced to read them over and over again. First readings have to always be made incorrect if said guidelines are truly going to be a reference for future events. Otherwise, the casual thinker is always going to think they have understood everything at first glance -- as they already are. As these guidelines are not guidelines just for beginners, they have to be written in such a way that no "experienced" person can come to them and merely "checks off" what he or she already agrees with or not. The point of these guidelines is consideration, is reflection, not memorization.

Thank you very much for your reply. I am very thankful for the constructive criticism.

Yours,
david
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2004, 10:20 PM   #6
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

David,

I hope that my comments were, in fact, useful to you. I think you are a bit disingenuous when you reduce a couple of my statements to that of cliché and make assumptions about my training that are in no way supported by what I wrote.

I wrote nothing about scenario-based self-defense training. Nor do I train in a dojo that uses such methods.

You missed my joke about nage being responsible for uke’s safety and uke being responsible for uke’s safety. I never stated or implied that only nage was responsible for uke’s safety.

You said:
Quote:
Forms, waza, or kata, are not the antithesis to whatever is living. Saying that basic training is about experiencing a form is not at all the same thing as saying that one should train weakly, out of the moment, not be ready for anything, dead, not alive, casually, with one's mind wandering, etc. These are assumptions you have made concerning the understanding of the word "form." It is a misunderstanding of budo pedagogy that you have misapplied to the statement you have cited.
I misapplied and misunderstood no such thing. Your writing seemed to state as much, and I was arguing that the kata should be alive.

Part of what keeps kata training alive is having integrity in uke’s attack and nage’s response. If nage makes a mistake -- even a very basic, first-day-of-class nage -- uke shoud never, “continue on with the form even if nage messes’ up.” If uke puts himself in a position to fall when he could have attacked, he is doing nage a disservice. I am not saying that uke should always attack when given the chance, nor am I advocating reversals on new students. But if uke simply stops and points out that, for example, nage is pushing him away instead of leading him forward, nage has the chance to make a correction and continue the technique.

You state:
Quote:
…your position would have nage somehow experiencing the form only after that were able to do it fully correct, with no opening for uke to depart the partnership from.
But, of course, that’s not true. There are several degrees of response that are appropriate to nage and uke’s levels of experience. The aim of our method of training is for nage to feel what doesn’t work as well as what works. If something doesn’t work, nage learns not to move that way; when he gets correction, he learns why that particular movement did not work and the corrected one does. Contrary to your concept of how we practice at my dojo, we actually let our beginners complete the techniques every time. In the process, they develop some sensitivity to uke. At the same time, by learning how to give a strong attack, uke is learning quite a lot about where nage is vulnerable, where uke is vulnerable, and how

I stated that you’re overemphasizing the sempai/kohei relationship. I never stated that such a thing inevitably leads to big egos. I agree with your further clarification of what you meant.

I hope your guidelines help serve their intended purpose. I realize that you disagree that they’re too long and wordy, but most authors (myself included) tend to take a dim view of criticism like that. I urge you to pare down the wording a bit if you want others to really understand what you mean.

Respectfully,

----
-Drew Ames
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2004, 10:27 PM   #7
Bronson
 
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Quote:
Drew Ames wrote:
Overall, these guidelines are way too wordy.
I can't comment on the rest of the Guidelines because I agree with Drew's point above. After several lines and looking ahead to how much was left, I just stopped. To be honest, I don't think most beginners would take the time to honestly read let alone study what was written there. It may be great information but I wouldn't know because I couldn't force myself to wade through it.

Just trying to give an honest opinion.

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."
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2004, 03:19 AM   #8
Abasan
Dojo: Aiki Shoshinkan, Aiki Kenkyukai
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 813
Malaysia
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

David,
I read it all and it was enlightening. But I'm inclined to believe that most beginners/kohai wouldn't understand what you're trying to drive at. Certainly, after a couple of years experiencing aikido on the mat, the guidelines you put up would gain certain meaning to them. But I doubt so in the early stages. Congratulations anyway, for writing such a piece. I wonder, if you would permit me to copy part/or all of the guideline for the use of my dojo as well?

Thanks also for the reminder below:
b) Most times seniors who are out of shape, out of their prime, stiff, plagued by chronic injuries, or who have plateaued in their training (or are even regressing in their training), etc., use their senpai status to pull out of forms, to not commit to specific energies and/or attacks, and to resist any and all elements which might actually shed some light on how they have stopped training altogether and are just riding on the coattails of the cultural capital given to them by an institution that ultimately has nothing to do with Budo.

This questions always pops up when dealing with the more elderly of the sempais/peers. By this, I mean ppl in their 40s who are less fit and able to perform rigorous ukemi.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2004, 09:24 AM   #9
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
Location: Phila. Pa
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,614
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Quote:
This questions always pops up when dealing with the more elderly of the sempais/peers. By this, I mean ppl in their 40s who are less fit and able to perform rigorous ukemi.
Ok, I'm in my 40's, have my share of injuries, and still try to perform the best ukemi I can. I know quite a few aikidoka who are older, and do the best that they can. I think you might be confusing taking care of your body as needed with 'us[ing] their senpai status' or 'riding on the coattails of the cultural capital...'. If you connect those two things, you may find yourself being rather judgemental about the performance of someone who has the need to get up the next day and go to work. While I'm sure there are those who confuse these issues themselves (to their own advantage in an egotistical sense), I'd be carefull about overgeneralizing here. Just my take on the statements provided. I also know many 'younger' people who might fit into both or either of the categories you mention.

Ron

Ron Tisdale
-----------------------
"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2004, 12:57 PM   #10
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Yes, I totally agree with with Mr. Tisdale's point. There is a great distinction that needs to be noted between age and the abuse of senpai status for one's own egocentric needs. In fact, I think more "young" folk fit into what I was saying than "ppl in their 40s". (At least my experience suggests this.)

dmv
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-18-2004, 04:33 PM   #11
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Thank you all for replying.

By all means, Ahmad, please consider the guidelines yours.

Drew, I wasn't being disingenuous in noting that some of the things you said are now cliché. And I certainly wasn't being dismissive -- as one can clearly see by the length of my post in addressing your points. I was using the word "cliché" in its proper use -- as a truism that has lost its originality or force through overuse. I meant no disrespect by it and feel its usage was fully warranted. I also didn't mean to make assumptions about your training, only inferences from how you are suggesting folks should train based upon what you were saying and the underlying philosophical structures that were supporting what you were saying. The one time I made no inference and entered into the realm of assumption was when I openly asked you what place spontaneity training plays in your weekly training schedule -- a question you did not answer. I still think how you answer that question is relative to the disagreements we are having with each other's positions.

I realize you made no mention of scenario-based self-defense training. I did not say you did. I simply said that your understanding of form is more akin to that of scenario-based self-defense training than it is to the Budo understanding of kihon waza. You repeat this position here, again, and I would still hold that my summary of your ideas is accurate.

Kihon waza training, especially as an element of Shu, does not need to include the learning element of amplifying mistakes via the process of noting failure in attaining the ideal. I gave a lengthy reply to why this is so and how kihon waza can indeed achieve all it needs to achieve without heading down the slippery slope you are hinting at in your response. Including the amplifying of mistakes via the process of noting failure in attaining the ideal is a learning element better left to other types of training. This is mainly because the chances of reifying the technique become slimmer in other areas of training than they do at kihon waza or shu. This very same problem of a tendency to reify technique is one of the things I suggest your position shares with the scenario-based self-defense training models -- which also assumes that the attacker should not do anything that the defender does not get to "work".

If you say to me, "forms need to be alive," and you don't want to merely utter a truism that has lost its force because it has been overused, I think you will have to clearly demonstrate how kihon waza are killed by not including the amplifying of mistakes via the process of noting failure in attaining the ideal (e.g. via uke pulling out of a technique). A big problem I can see you having with your position is the need to account for single man forms. Aikido, and other Budo arts, practice sole exercises and forms, etc., and they are also burdened with the ideal of being "alive," but according to what you are saying, because there is no partner to "pull out" during moments of failure to meet the ideal, said forms are by (your) "truism" dead. This is a sad state then for arts like Iaido -- which always make references to keeping things alive but have no partner whatsoever by which to define or determine such things as you suggest.

If you say uke needs to expose every opening and/or not go with anything that does not "work" in order for a form to remain alive, you also need to either say that all solo man forms are dead (hence, much of Karate is dead, all of Iaido is dead, etc.), or you need to explain why Iaido and much of Karate falls outside of your delineation, or you are going to have to concede that two man forms can indeed remain alive as I described. Whether you can do that or not, I also believe that you will have to determine and delineate how your understanding of "alive" plays itself out according to the totality of one's training -- particularly the shu-ha-ri model. That is to say you will have to explain how your sense of "alive" does not interfere with the ideal of becoming spontaneous (i.e. being able to do one's art for real, in the heat of combat, and with having little to no known elements present). Again, "forms needing to be alive" is a position that I agree with. It is a truism. But it can quickly turn into cliché if it is offered as the end of a reflection process that never takes place - instead of the beginning of one that should. Throwing it out there without addressing the obvious or even the apparent possible contradictions or the logistical difficulties that one will face along the way is one sure way of ending up with cliché.

I did miss your joke -- sorry. But I still think I am saying something different. I understood you to be saying that nage and uke are responsible for uke's safety. Is this not accurate? (If so) The guidelines offer a different position. Nage is not responsible for uke's safety. Nage's considerations for uke have come only in the form of being aware of the fact of human multiplicity and for allowing a particular learning curve to take place. From the very beginning, that human multiplicity is addressed by a will to shape uke, all uke, into the same type of person -- a person able to withstand high levels of intensity and energy safely. This is quite different from saying that Nage has uke's safety in mind.

In the guidelines, by accounting for human multiplicity and learning curves, nage is no more concerned with uke's safety than uke is when he/she goes with a technical application of nage's that does not truly necessitate ukemi. As a contrast, one key difference in our positions concerning Nage's role in uke's safety is this: In a dojo where nage plays a (any) role in uke's safety, an uke who never reaches, or does not reach, say within five years time, a skill level in ukemi capable of taking on high levels of intensity and energy, is still considered in a somewhat positive light. In a dojo where nage plays no role in uke's safety (such as in mine), said uke would fall completely outside of the dojo's will, the teacher's efforts, the art's requirements, and would in the end be "labeled" as "wrong" or as "inefficient" -- just as any nage that could not get the basic mechanics of ikkyo in that same time would. So I still thing there are major differences between your position and mine in this regards.

This part I don't understand:

You wrote: "Part of what keeps kata training alive is having integrity in uke's attack and nage's response. If nage makes a mistake -- even a very basic, first-day-of-class nage -- uke shoud never, ‘continue on with the form even if nage messes' up."

But you also wrote: "Contrary to your concept of how we practice at my dojo, we actually let our beginners complete the techniques every time."

As is, this appears to be an obvious contradiction in thought. Your second passage seems to be allowing for learning curves, which is another way of saying what I am saying. Undoubtedly you mean something different than you are suggesting here. I mean to say, I think you are trying to say something different from what is coming out here and if you could elaborate I think you could offer a more sound position. Right now, as it seems to stand, you are agreeing with my position and you are also you are begging the question; "Are all your waza dead when you are letting beginners complete their techniques every time? " That answer seems to be "yes," because of the restrictions you have placed upon yourself concerning the truism of forms having to remain alive, but I imagine you would not like to concede that affirmation.

I also think you will have to tell me how having a "first-day-of-class" nage face an attack with "integrity" (using your understanding of the word) fares at your dojo. In our dojo that would never fare well. At our dojo, if an attack loaded with full integrity was thrown by a senior against a newbie, and that newbie was even close to being able to defend against it, that attack would be considered worthless, as would the training behind it, as would the practitioner delivering it. So I'm not at all sure what you mean in what you are saying between these two passages I quoted. Please explain.

Here's another part I don't understand:

You wrote: "Too much emphasis on being a kohei or sempai while actually practicing can lead to big egos on the part of sempai."

But you also wrote: "I stated that you're overemphasizing the sempai/kohei relationship. I never stated that such a thing inevitably leads to big egos. I agree with your further clarification of what you meant."

Perhaps you could elaborate on the above as well -- please/thanks. Or are you merely making the distinction between the words "can" and "inevitably"? If so: When I used the word "inevitably" I was using it philosophically. That is to say that if we cannot say that the senpai/kohai model inevitably leads in and of itself to the ego abuses you mention, then the origin of said abuses have to be located somewhere else. And if it is somewhere else, then "emphasizing" (as you say) will not (not ever) be the reason why such abuses take place. My reply on this section makes it clear that this is how I was using the word "inevitably". I am not out to contradict anything you say. Rather I am out to accept everything you say as true and see if it plays out well or not -- does it remain consistent with itself and/or with the realm of common experience.

If you agree with my following points on the matter, as you say above, then you must also see that the senpai/kohai model is not the problem, nor can its emphasizing be since I am emphasizing it in such a way that the abuses you mention are actually curtailed. This is what I was doing: I was wishing to make discursive space for the position that it is not the emphasizing of the senpai/kohai model that leads to the ego abuses you referred to -- that it is the ego itself that is the problem. If you still contest that idea, I have to ask you outright: Do you truly believe that it's the utilizing (or the "emphasizing"- using your word) of the senpai/kohai model that is the source of the problem you mentioned? And, is that source and/or problem really addressed by partitioning the model to off the mat areas in the dojo experience? My position is that it is not.

Bronson, Ahmad, (thanks for replying)

Again, I have to repeat that they are not guidelines for beginners only. I am not of the position that one can finally solve the role of the nage/uke dynamic once and for all and especially after a couple of decades of training with it (or for however long). Like with all things Budo, the dynamic is a matter of the mind and body, and as such we must struggle with it for length by which we utilize it to transform ourselves. The guidelines, here, in this thread, are doing exactly what they are supposed to do -- get one thinking on the matter. The dynamic's underlying position on the nature of the universe, the nature of training, the nature of the body/mind, etc., are things to consider for as long as one trains. This is not a beginner topic, and I am perplexed as to why you would think it is. Though many folks are reading the guidelines as such, seniors are to read them as a check list, where one reads down the list and says, "Ah yes, that one is fine." "Ah yes, that one I agree with." "Ah yes, I get that one." They are points for reflection, for consideration, for contemplation, etc. I do not think the beginner is even ready for such things -- generally speaking. It would be a mistake to write such a piece and aim it at some sort of personality we put up as contrast to ourselves. It is curious though, and you may find this humorous (or not), it is not the beginner aikidoka that is saying, "It's too difficult for me to grasp because of the style in which it is written." It's the senior practitioner writing in and saying it's too difficult (for beginners).

The guidelines are the current state of a reflection process that is now two decades in existence. Though, generally speaking, a person with that much training or more almost never opens up their mind (unless to decree) to the general public and asks, "What do you think?," this is precisely what I am doing. I'm not trying to reach out for approval and/or to bring an end to any type of reflection process -- whether that be mine, yours, or the beginner's. Perhaps it might have been better to say NOT what do you think, but rather "What are you thinking?"

The guidelines are a tool. They are not a solution. That is clear from the very first paragraph. In an earlier post I gave my position on why the tool is formulated in the way it is and not in the way you are suggesting. I guess we just have to disagree.

Thanks so much all of you for replying,
Yours,
david
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 12:06 AM   #12
jxa127
Dojo: Itten Dojo -- Mechanicsburg, PA
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 420
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

David,

There is far too much in your last post for me to even attempt a full reply. I do appreciate the time you took to reply and I've read every word.

Very briefly:

1) We practice several times a week with jiyu waza and randori. We also, as a matter of course throw in variations of the technique we're working on as long as our partners agree and can handle the uncertainty. In short, we practice with a fair amount of spontinaeity at my dojo.

2) Uke can always vary the speed of his attack but still attack with integrity (meaning that uke’s target will be hit/grabbed if nage responds poorly), and intent (meaning that uke will follow up from the first attack into a second one, or he at least moves in such a way that he could follow up if nage makes a mistake). A slow punch can still be centered and have force behind it so that if nage doesn’t move, uke’s fist will still drive into the target -- but slowly.

3) So we attack newcomers slowly. That way, they have a chance to make corrections and finish their technique. Every time. At the same time, we (as uke) endeavor to keep moving in a slow, but realistic manner that so that a technique done slowly, statically, will feel similar to one done more dynamically. We do this by attempting to keep our hips moving under our shoulders, and by keeping our focus on nage. This is not “uke pulling out of technique. It’s quite the opposite; uke stays in the technique the whole time. This is, perhaps, the root of our misunderstanding. I do not advocate uke pulling out of a technique.

4) You said:

Quote:
I realize you made no mention of scenario-based self-defense training. I did not say you did. I simply said that your understanding of form is more akin to that of scenario-based self-defense training than it is to the Budo understanding of kihon waza. You repeat this position here, again, and I would still hold that my summary of your ideas is accurate.
Really, David, this is very insulting. You’ve never trained with me or even met me. We obviously have different understandings, but you don’t have enough information from my posts to make any kind of judgment as to my skill, or my understanding of budo or kihon waza. I have never trained in a scenario-based self-defense setting and find the idea of such a thing quite alien. I guess that you feel it is necessary to make assumptions about my background and/or training methods to understand my perspective. You’re probably right, but you’re making the wrong assumptions.

5) I said nothing about solo forms, karate, iaido, or any kata not related to the paired practice. Nor do those forms have any bearing at all on the uke-nage relationship being “alive” or not.

Finally, a note. I have been training for a relatively short time; nearly five years. I fully realize that I have quite a lot to learn. There is much in what you wrote that I find valuable, and I appreciate the opportunity to examine my training against what you lay out in your guidelines.

That said, I have found your overall tone to be condescending and close-minded. The way you write, one gets the impression that you have all the answers and any disagreement with you must be the result of confusion, or in my case, scenario-based self-defense training that lacks spontaneity.

Should we ever meet at a seminar, or get a chance to meet at one another’s dojo, I would be happy to train with you. I sincerely believe that I could show you what I’m trying to describe much better than I can write about it. I’m sure the converse is true too.

Regards,

----
-Drew Ames
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 09:06 AM   #13
SeiserL
 
SeiserL's Avatar
Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan Dojo, Aikido World Alliance
Location: Roswell, GA USA
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,720
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

IMHO, you can see a lot of the nage/uke dynamics demonstrated and illustrated very well right here on the AikiWeb by how people respond and blend with each other's comments. Some blend better than others. Some see everything as attack and respond with attack. We all think our opinion is right, some are just more open to new input and instruction.

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!
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 10:20 AM   #14
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Hi Drew,

Again thank you for replying.

Again I have to make it clear that I am not out to say "what you do," etc. I'm discussing what you are thinking - what you are saying to me. I'm sorry that I seem to be unable to make that difference clear enough and so I'm sorry for the insult you feel is coming toward you. It's not intentional and it should not be there. In the example you continue to bring up: For me saying something is akin to something else in idea does not mean that both things are the same or that a person is doing one thing and not another. Things can't get any clearer than that. Also comparing ideas is certainly not making a universal judgment on either one, or on the person spouting one or the other. It's not an attack nor a response from being attacked. Ideas, particularly in this kind of setting, are here for the sake of being compared, contrasted, discussed, stressed for consistency, played through, played out, stretched, collected, etc. This is what one can do here, this is all one can do here (productively speaking), and in my opinion, this is what one should do here. Personally I can see no use in the usual "ah yes, I agree with that." "ah, no, I don't agree with that." "oh, we do it differently" "oh wow, that's interesting.", etc. That's not communication, that's not reflection, what's the point of that? What are we all statisticians? To me, that is what is close-minded. Personally I like when my ideas are put through the ideas of another's mind. I don't consider it out of the ordinary, condescending, being attacked, or someone else thinking they have all the answers, etc. So I was very grateful in you having done me that favor. I'm sorry it cannot be returned. If someone does not agree with your position and can state why, openly compare their ideas to yours, end up seeing things not originally visible through a process of thinking through things, etc., and you see that as close-minded, etc., then I have that attachment to ideas may be more the engine of what you are feeling than any insult that is actually taking place (which is not).

I can see that you make some allowances for learning curves in your understanding of kihon waza - particularly by going slow. I employ that same teaching strategy only I would never suggest that one can go slow AND still train "realistically". Going slow affects a lot. Timings are altered, several forces are reduced or absent, distances are changed, residual energies are reduced or absent, mechanical and emotional stresses are reduced, new allowances appear for particular angles and/or degrees of rotation, etc. Yet, I agree with the use of going slow to address the social reality of learning curves. As I said, this is another way of understanding what I mean when I say that kihon waza is all about the technical. I understand that you would like to say more - and I hope you understand that that "more" I would also agree with, only I place it in a different area of training. Since going slow affects so much of the training rep, it's hard for me to see why allowing nage to experience the waza fully (and letting uke experience the form - the ideal - fully) through all of the variations in their own learning curve is going to lead to the "deadness" you describe in one case but not in the case of going slow. In my reasoning and in my experience it simply does not. If your experience is different, and it seems to be, I would imagine it's because we are using different words to say the same thing or that we are not identifying that different element you are experiencing here properly.

I can't explain any more clearly why there is a relationship between solo forms in other types of training (including solo exercises in Aikido) and two man forms in kihon waza and why your position on what makes something dead or alive has to address that relationship. If you have chosen not to answer that, that's your choice. Perhaps someone else that sees that relationship can chime in and say things differently in order to make the point more clearly and less subject to being deemed an attack.

dmv
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 12:19 PM   #15
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 613
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Hi All,

Just wrote this up for our own dojo. Would like to get some opinions, if you don't mind, so as to take advantageo of a broader horizon.

Thanks you advance - yours,
dmv

"Some Guidelines Governing the Nage/Uke Dynamic"

The following guidelines have been written up so as to provide dojo members with a reference point concerning the living dynamic that is the Nage/Uke relationship. Note: These are just guidelines. All accurate understandings of the Nage/Uke dynamic have to be determined by specific contexts. Please use these guidelines in combination with the experience and insights you gain over the years of training when it comes to determining proper action within the Nage/Uke dynamic.

"General Guidelines For Being Nage"

- Nage must always account, in terms of intensity and applied energy, for the following qualities when determining how to throw, pin, or strike, etc., Uke: Uke's skill level, Uke's age, Uke's size, Uke's physical durability, Uke's current state of health and wellness; and the dojo's official position concerning the Senpai/Kohai model as it is relative to the Nage/Uke dynamic (see below). All things being equal, safety is the primary determining element for the Nage/Uke dynamic. Martial "reality," as (mis)perceived by any one member is NOT a determining element to be considered.

FL: When I first entered aikido practice I was looking for something that was immediate and physical, as a distinct contrast to my academic pursuits. Had I encountered something like this first paragraph, I would have concluded that I had come to the wrong place, as I this seems to be a highly intellectualized understanding that presupposes and reifies certain abstract constructs as "the living dynamic that is the Nage/Uke relationship," and "accurate understandings." The latter phrase also strikes me as disturbingly similar to the kind of language used in cults that deny any challenge to the approved group view as rooted in "inaccurate understanding."

FL: Is this document accompanied by an explicit statement of "the dojo's official position concerning the Senpai/Kohai model as it is relative to the Nage/Uke dynamic?" Who is the dojo? Is this a genuine collective entity, or is the use of the phrase "the dojo" merely an effort to add corporate legitimacy and authority to the views of a particular instructor? Again, this tone is reminiscent of patterns I have seen in a number or cultish or crypto-cultish groups and raises a number of red flags at the outset.

I could go on, but only because I've practiced for long enough to have some faint glimmer of the many, many subsequent inside references and unstated suppositions that underpin this document. Had it been my first exposure to aikido, I would have headed for the door.

None of the above addresses the rather detailed nature of the prescriptions contained in the document, or my views on the content of those prescriptions. My point is that the astonishingly didactic form of presentation is so very much at odds with the fundamental reasons why I embarked on -- and continue with -- aikido practice, that it would present me with an obstacle that would likely turn me away from that place of practice, if not of aikido practice in general, at the outset.

No doubt, that's a reflection of my own limitations and narrow understanding and not your intentions in crafting the document, but I doubt that I am alone in this.

As with taming an ox, don't try to train it to the yoke immediately. First, give the it a large pasture to graze in.

Best regards,

Fred Little
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 12:38 PM   #16
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Dear Mr. Little,

Thanks for replying.

Really, it seems cultish that a dojo has a perspective and a sensei has a subjective experience of an art that he/she uses to transmit said art to others? Or is it just cultish that sensei reference the experience of others in regards to his/her own subjectivity? Is it cultish in other words to correct a student according to what a teacher believes to be "accurate" and "inaccurate" according to their own understanding of the art?

Personally, I think it takes more than that to make a cult. And I also think that is what goes on in every dojo - whether it is written or not, said or not.

And really, you read the last this line as leaving no room for individual subjectivity: "All accurate understandings of the Nage/Uke dynamic have to be determined by specific contexts. Please use these guidelines in combination with the experience and insights you gain over the years of training when it comes to determining proper action within the Nage/Uke dynamic."


Again - thanks,
dmv
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 12:58 PM   #17
fullerfury
Dojo: Aikido Suimei
Location: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 72
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Quote:
When Kohai and Nage: Seek to execute reps that are complete in detail but intense enough and with enough applied energy to expand your performance envelope in terms of tactical immediacy and power. Take advantage of your senior's higher ukemi skill by performing reps at as high an intensity as possible while never compromising any of the insights you have gained concerning good form. Do not seek to be "gentle" with your Senpai. Trust in their ukemi to keep your experiments with form and power safe for all. This is particularly true when partnered with Sensei during class. It is not rude, nor dangerous, to throw Sensei "as hard as you can".
I have to say that I disagree wholeheartedly with this. It is almost always rude and dangerous to throw anybody with full intensity...More often than not any injuries sustained in my Aikido training have come from individuals with significantly less experience than I.
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 01:07 PM   #18
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Thank you for voicing in Mr. Fuller. Your reply is appreciated.

dmv
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 05:54 PM   #19
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 613
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Dear Mr. Little,

Thanks for replying.

Really, it seems cultish that a dojo has a perspective and a sensei has a subjective experience of an art that he/she uses to transmit said art to others? Or is it just cultish that sensei reference the experience of others in regards to his/her own subjectivity? Is it cultish in other words to correct a student according to what a teacher believes to be "accurate" and "inaccurate" according to their own understanding of the art?

Personally, I think it takes more than that to make a cult. And I also think that is what goes on in every dojo - whether it is written or not, said or not.

And really, you read the last this line as leaving no room for individual subjectivity: "All accurate understandings of the Nage/Uke dynamic have to be determined by specific contexts. Please use these guidelines in combination with the experience and insights you gain over the years of training when it comes to determining proper action within the Nage/Uke dynamic."


Again - thanks,
dmv
Mr. Valadez:

I think we are talking past one another to such an extent that we are almost speaking different languages. Since I know nothing of your practice, my response is to your description. In that respect, my take is like that of any individual who might walk in the dojo and read such an advisory, without having a sufficiently trained eye to evaluate the practice on the mat before her.

I am most certainly not making any assertion about the quality of your practice, your dojo, or the practice of others in the dojo. It is possible that one could practice well and fruitfully within these guidelines.

To that extent, you are correct to say that it takes a lot more than what I initially tagged to make a cult. But in the short preface I initially referenced, there are qualities to the "language of the discourse" that would fit perfectly into patterns I have previously observed in a number of cults.

1. Personalization/Depersonalization

The dojo, which is a social construct, is personalized and treated like an individual holding a view. Certainly, there are shared views in groups, but use of a pronoun like "we" as opposed to a concretized construct like "the dojo" gives the sense of a group of individuals who share an approach. Use of "the dojo" in place of "we" carries a very different sense.

Similarly, use of the word "sensei" without the articles "a" or "the" preceding it, or a name following it (though there are reasonable explanations for this and you do use an "a" before "teacher" immediately thereafter) sounds very much like much of what will come after is prefaced by "Sensei says that......" This compound personalization of the dojo and depersonalization of the dojo's chief instructor reads very much like a construction of authority which, once accepted, may become less and less open to questioning.



2. Nage-Uke Dynamic/Specific Contexts/Accurate Understanding/

I would suggest less that this formulation leaves "no room for
individual subjectivity" than that it leaves a vast amount of territory for the deligitimization of "individual subjectivity" by suggesting that any subjective response which is not in accord with "the perspective of the dojo" is based on a misconstrual of the nage/uke dynamic, or on an inappropriate reading of the context, or an inaccurate understanding. With the odds at 3-1, the chances of "individual subjectivity" being respected could be very slim if just one or two things went bad.

Mind you, it isn't my purpose to critique your piece graph by graph or line by line. In general, my point is that the language of the guidelines is highly abstract and concept-driven. That which is defined may be redefined. Then the trouble begins.

My feeling is that if it is necessary to state this so explicitly and in such detail, that something is not being transmitted skin-to-skin in practice.

I have committed my own share of turgid academese to the electronic memory banks of the web, the evidence is out there, and I would be a fool to deny it. But in most of those cases, I had a fairly clear idea of who I was trying to influence. My present question is less the intention of your effort than the effects of its product.

It's clear that a number of people have found significant value in your guidelines. This is a good thing.

But.....what about diversity within the dojo?

Put yourself in the shoes of a reasonably bright person from a lower-middle class home who graduated from high school and never went to community college because economic pressure didn't allow it.

Or in the shoes of someone who speaks english as a second or third language.

You can think of eleventy-seven other different examples yourself.

There are those who will be attracted, those who will be pushed away, those who will stick, and those who will fall away.

My experience is that there is no consistent marker that presages success other than desire. And desire can be so deeply buried it is almost invisible. But I've seen the unlikeliest prospects make the greatest progress through simple perseverance.

It would sadden me greatly to think that I had unknowingly pushed them away before they got started. So, however imperfectly, I try to keep things very simple at the beginning.

I try to teach appropriate ukemi by taking appropriate ukemi.

I try to teach appropriate nagewaza by performing appropriate nage-waza.

When I get it right, or one of my students gets it right, all I have to say is: "yes, like that. remember that feeling."

Words go in one ear and out the other. But feelings remain in the flesh and the bone and do not depend on language.

Well, that's my theory anyway.

Fortunately, it's a big world and a thousand flowers are blooming, so if I'm wrong, all is not lost by any means.

Hope this helps,

Fred Little
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 06:52 PM   #20
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Thank you Mr. Little for replying.

Please, know that there is no need for qualifying your reply. I found it to be very insightful. I have not taken you to be commenting upon how I train, etc., but upon what thought patterns and tendencies I was using to come up with the guidelines I did. Your replies have been perfectly understandable in that sense.

I can agree with your explanation of what might be and might not be related to cultic activity. But as you can imagine from my first set of questions, I believe one has a long way to go between what a sensei might be doing and saying as part of a traditional martial arts teaching model and what a cultic leader might be doing in developing a movement around his/her personality. In that great distance between the two, the need for such great caution seems premature to me and I would hope it would also seem premature to anyone else that would ever choose of their own freewill to enter a traditional dojo. Also in that great distance between the two, I think it is perfectly fine to openly state that the traditional dojo is indeed an institution totally housed within the subjectivity of the sensei. This is the way in which I was using the word "dojo" -- in reference to your concerns. In no way am I suggesting that dojo that are more egalitarian in nature are wrong and/or are not dojo. But I'm suggesting that the de-prioritizing of egalitarian positions has a traditional foundation in Budo and it is not one based in the cultic. Again, I would hope that anyone that chooses to enter into a traditional dojo of their own freewill will stay long enough to figure out why and how this is so. If they do, they will figure out how questioning is paramount to the growth of the sensei, the growth of the dojo, and the growth of their own selves. Change, modification, alteration, personalization, etc., are not something that can be inhibited into absence from the outside -- though to be sure attempts have been made throughout history. These things, in my opinion, do not disappear because the subjectivity of one person's viewpoint (in this case the sensei) is expressed as such for all to see. If anything, history has proven that the result you speak of comes more from subjective positions remaining silent, hidden, and closed off from the view of others -- where they truly cannot question it. No cult was ever formed by putting subjectivity out there in the open, for in the very instance that it would its claim to objectivity would be denounced and with it its supposed leader.

On your second point, I would like to say that I consider those things to be of the same nature -- though I am truly intellectually fascinated with the difference you are drawing through your rewording: no room for subjectivity, and leaving a vast room for the de-legitimatization of subjectivity.

If you will allow me to use your wording, having vast room for the de-legitimatization of subjectivity is the bread and butter of correction. Isn't it? So I would never suggest that such a thing is not present, particularly in a traditional dojo, but at the same time I would never say that by correction alone mindless automatons you would produce. Again the caution seems premature -- though admitting, I have never fallen victim to a cult or to cultish ways, etc. In other words, I'm not looking out for the dangers of cultish leadership, and so I may certainly be guilty of not addressing the concerns of those who may be.

Your final comments are inspiring. Thank you. I can only repeat my earlier comments: that said guidelines are not meant for beginners; that they are reference points for experience and for insights gained from experience -- they are not offered as counters or substitutes for experience; that saying something does not prevent an experience; that remaining silent does not guarantee an experience; etc. So what you say, again I agree with, but I cannot see how or why you felt that one thing means the absence of something else (i.e. contemplating subjective experiences within a set of abstractions that themselves were derived from other subjective experience means that a teacher cannot or will not practice with his/her students and say, "Yes, like that, remember that feeling?") On this point I think we will have to disagree.

Again, much appreciation for your reply. I sincerely enjoyed reading it.
dmv
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2004, 07:32 PM   #21
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Dear All,

Thank you so much for your input. I am very grateful. Alas, however I have reached the end of my resources for replying to anyone else here or at AikidoJournal.com in a manner respectful of the attention that you have given me. I will have to depart from this thread. I wish you all the best. Again Thank you.

If you would like to copy or post, etc., said guidelines, please, everyone, anyone, feel free to do so. It would be great if you could let me know how, when, and where - so that we could keep in touch.

Kindest regards,
David M. Valadez
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2004, 09:59 AM   #22
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 613
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Quote:
David Valadez wrote:
Dear All,

It would be great if you could let me know how, when, and where - so that we could keep in touch.

Kindest regards,
David M. Valadez
Dear Mr. Valadez:

The polite manner in which you engaged in this conversation is greatly appreciated.

I regret that you must depart just as a number of posters here and on the AJ Board have begin to hone in on certain apparent implications and presuppositions of your guidelines (what precisely is a "traditional dojo," what is the precise nature of the traditional "sempai/kohai relationship" and its relevance outside Japanese culture, what is the relationship between seniority and technical skill, and the like), but you seem to have constraints which prevent further engagement in this fuller discussion.

Perhaps if you were to include in your profile some information as to precisely what, "how, when, and where" you teach, those individuals with an interest in how these guidelines play out in practice would be better able to observe a class and reach their own conclusions based on what they see.

That is, after all, where the rubber meets the road.

Best regards,

Fred Little
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2004, 01:20 PM   #23
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Dear Mr. Little,

You are the gentleman between the two of us. Please call me Dave.

Again, I'm sorry for having to withdraw from writing folks kind enough to reply -- time restraints. I did plan however to check the thread at least once a day to read the replies of others. And I'd like to reserve the right to be able to write in if the situation warrants and/or allows -- it's just that right now, and for some time after, I cannot see that happening too much. Please forgive.

If it may assist you in stating your own position, please allow me to give some very brief answers to the questions you just raised.

* I would think it would suffice (pertaining to what we are talking about here) to define a "traditional dojo" by the manner in which I was using it in my earlier post: A dojo whose manner in determining the "correct" from the "incorrect" is primarily determined by the subjective experience a sensei has of Aikido. I suggested this as a contrast to the "egalitarian" dojo mentioned -- which allows individual subjective experiences of Aikido, other than the sensei's, to equally determine the "correct" from the "incorrect".

* The precise nature of the senpai/kohai model is Confucian.

* The relevance the senpai/kohai model has outside of Japan (which I propose no extra affording to) is determined by the relationship Confucian ideals, concepts, and practices have to the technology of the self which is Budo -- that is to say, how that senpai/kohai model contributes actively toward the spontaneous expression of the art and the underlying awakening which that expression is founded upon.

* (For me) Seniority and technical skill, as well as the degree to which one has the capacity to express the art spontaneously, relate to each other in an equal ratio.

Hope that helps.

Like I said, I do plan on at least reading the ideas of everyone that voices a perspective. I would dearly look forward to hearing more from you. I am only sorry that I cannot promise now100% being able to return the courtesy of offering my own perspective in relation to yours.

I did take your earlier posts to heart -- since I too feel that reconciliation with one's own will to power is indeed relative to proper structuring of a dojo. No doubt the potential is there for great wrong and great error if this issue is not at or near the front of one's pedagogy. I tend to address the issue by placing all subjective elements on the table, where they can never be mistaken for objective truths with a capital "T". You seem to have your own solutions. So please allow me to write you privately concerning whom I am and where I am coming from, since to do otherwise is to contribute to the actual various cults of personality that do indeed flow through these forums -- cults by which folks determine who to be polite to and who to be rude to; who to accept outright and who to dismiss outright; who to don the expert cap in front of and who to bow one's head in front of; etc. If my profile is barer than most would like it, it is out of integrity and not out of having something to hide. I am here to exchange ideas, not personalities. This is not even a place for the latter. Personalities cannot be verified here, but ideas, on the other hand, can be ran through the qualities of consistency, accuracy, and validity. I do not fill my profile with information because I like my ideas to be addressed as they are, as they should be -- on their own. I do not want them to be addressed in a particular way because I have this rank or don't have that rank; because I trained under this shihan or that shihan; because I'm new or old to the art; etc. Let them stand on their own, and let folks keep their assumptions about the author of such ideas if they are not able to simply address those ideas as they are -- on their own.

So I will again have to politely disagree with your position of where the rubber meets the road concerning how ideas should come into contact with each other. But I can also say that anyone is welcome to train, visit, study, reflect, and critique at our dojo. I will email you through your web site and provide you with the information you requested.

Again, thoroughly enjoyed your post -- intriguing questions!

Yours,
david
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2004, 08:57 PM   #24
PeterR
 
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,059
Japan
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Sorry Dave but I have to disagree with you here although you of course have the right to do what you want.

Those of us who are free with information concerning who we are, who we trained with, where we are training/teaching are not engaging in cults of personality but just being clear. Frankly speaking, for those of us that do, more weight is applied to the opinions of those that do likewise.

I really haven't commented on your guidelines but I do tend to agree with several of the posters on Aikido Journal and here as to the overall wordiness to the point where it becomes an uncomfortable read. I appreciate the effort it took to put your own thoughts on this subject down on paper but it would probably have far more impact even within your group if it came across as less of a legal brief.

With regard to your Nage/Uke Dynamic my general feeling is that Aikido training should involve as few words as possible - either spoken or written. The feeling is gained on the mat with training. For that reason alone I wouldn't recommend it to my beginning students. My more advanced students would of course recognize differences between the way I do things and what you write but its understood that you were referring to your group.

Finally something like that may be considered counter-productive in its own right. On one hand you may have someone overly constrained by their interpretation of your rules. I know you were explicit about them being guidelines but to some that could just as well mean rules. On the other hand those most likely to cause offense will, even if they bother to read it, will dismiss it as only guidelines.

I prefer to nudge the group in the right direction. Done right it is very effective.

Last edited by PeterR : 05-20-2004 at 09:00 PM.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
  Reply With Quote
Old 05-20-2004, 10:22 PM   #25
senshincenter
 
senshincenter's Avatar
Dojo: Senshin Center
Location: Dojo Address: 193 Turnpike Rd. Santa Barbara, CA.
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,422
United_States
Offline
Re: The Nage/Uke Dynamic - Guidelines

Hi Peter,

Thank you for replying.

I used the word "contributes" to note that while such a practice do not inevitably lead to personality cults, they can be conducive to such a thing. It is the conduciveness of such things that Mr. Little and I were discussing. I do not wish to make a blanket statement on what folks do with their profile or not. My point was that I feel it more beneficial to receive and discuss all ideas on equal basis -- human to human. I find that more beneficial than applying weight one way but not another.


I have to say that stylistic preferences for me are irrelevant. The ideas contained therein are what are important. If everything has to agree with our intellectual pallet then we are not going to open to a lot of things. In my opinion if one cannot get through his/her intellectual pallet to the meat of something then this says something more about that person that the material itself. I can only appreciate your stylistic likes or dislikes and say whether they are equal to mine or not. Not much else.

Again, the guidelines are not for beginners. However, it appears that there is a sense that the nage/uke dynamic is by quite a few folks considered to be a topic or issue that should be settled in one's understanding before one leaves the arena of being a beginner and enters into the intermediate stages of their training. For me, this is a falsehood. At the heart of the nage/uke dynamic is a very complex philosophical position on the nature of the universe -- one that comes to us primarily through yin/yang theory. This theory, while used by many throughout East Asian culture, has always been the area of the advanced -- not beginners.

Using your post to springboard to something I've been thinking about: I would like to remind folks that the combining of pen and sword is an ancient combination in Budo history. The idea that one can or that one should obtain anything, let alone everything, from training alone is a fairly new one -- one I believe that came into Budo when Muscular Christianity theories helped to modernize the practice. Personally, and not just out of a favoritism for things old, the idea that training alone is the solution to the ailments that face Aikido today -- mentioned throughout this web site and AikidoJournal.com -- is ridiculous. It is even more ridiculous than the idea that somehow experience is reduced by verbiage but not by silence. The guidelines to not put an end to experience -- they simply cannot do that.

One only has to look, and I will only mention the more well-known sources here, the Kojiki, the Heart Sutra, various chapters of the Book of Five Rings, etc., all written in a way that would also have to be described as "legalistic," have actual driven practice and not stifled it.

The guidelines try to address a central concern of training: The problem that two-man forms training presents in regards to remaining martial and keeping Aikido's (Budo's) transformative elements potent. In other words: How to train in two-man forms without reducing the art to a cooperative dance that has no martial or transformative potency of any kind. If this problematic could be so easily solvable by training alone, or if it is so easily solvable that it could be reduced to a beginner's issue, Aikido would not be in the state it is in. What state? A state wherein when Aikidoka are confronted with the possible negative effects of two-man forms training are likely to say to each other, "Hey, if you want to fix that or see how much fixing you need to do, go and try some spontaneous training with a guy from "X" martial art -- any art but Aikido."

My opinion,
david
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Aikido of Northern VA Seminars - Doran-sensei in Northern Virginia, March 2015



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dynamic Educators Network AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 0 09-01-2004 10:40 AM
Dynamic Sphear IceLandElf General 15 03-17-2003 10:10 AM
New Book Review: Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere AikiWeb System AikiWeb System 1 01-28-2003 12:14 PM
Dynamic tension Unregistered General 11 02-15-2002 09:58 AM
dynamic vs. stationary ian Teaching 22 07-11-2001 10:52 AM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:59 AM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate