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Old 09-22-2002, 12:01 AM   #1
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AikiWeb Poll for the week of September 22, 2002:

Do you think you can learn aikido without ever taking on the role of uke?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Yes
  • No
Here are the current results.
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Old 09-22-2002, 05:54 AM   #2
DaveO
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No. Nein, nicht, nyet, non!

To my own way of thinking, learninh how to be uke is fifty per cent of learning Aikido. Ukemi is far more, I think, than being a practice-dummy for nage, it's about learning how to move; how to control your body while falling. I believe it's also important to know how a technique - nikkyo for instance - feels when it it applied both correctly and incorrectly.

For that reason, too - (I just thought of this as I was writing that last line,) I think being good at ukemi is valuable for an aikido instructor - by not only being able to see what a student is doing right/wrong, by taking uke's place, you can feel it as well, thus better helping the student.

Cheers!

Dave

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 09-23-2002, 01:01 AM   #3
Tadhg Bird
 
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On a related note, doesn't it just bug you when someone refuses to take ukemi? Usually complaining about some health issue such as bad knees, so you do the technique up to the point where they would roll then stop? Ofcourse, they are usually more than happy to roll you when its thier turn, right?

"Words and letters can never adequately describe Aikido -- its meaning is revealed only to those who are enlightened through hard training." -- Ueshiba Morihei O Sensei
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Old 09-23-2002, 02:10 AM   #4
peteswann
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I am one of those people who at present don't take forward rolls!! Mainly because of a real mental block I am trying to get over, partly due to my size (fat bloke )!! More often than not if the technique involves forward rolls and we do it in groups I will opt to sit out and watch so that I DON'T put people in that situation described above!! HOWEVER in my home dojo everyone then calls me up and says to have a go both as Nage and as Uke where they take me to the point.. Surely if your partner has a legitimate reason, be it physical or psycological, it is the in the spirit of Aikido to take them to the point just a micrometer past comfy and then bring them back? Seems fairly small minded to me to do otherwise!! I would be more than willing to be just uke for someone with bad wrists if the technique being demonstrated was say nikkajo/nikkyo!!

Pete

Pete
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Old 09-23-2002, 10:30 AM   #5
mike lee
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what a rush!

I regularly practice aikido waza in pubs with my inebriated friends. Some of them are regular aikido practioners, some practice other martial arts, and some know very little at all about martial arts.

Obviously, we don't take ukemi in the pub (although there's one crazy Italian guy I know who loves to show off and take breakfalls on the dance floor ).

So of course, you can show people of all levels stuff without ukemi, but it certainly isn't serious practice -- it's more like part of a conversation. You're just showing somebody something as an example. You're giving them a "taste" of aikido.

If somebody really wants to learn aikido, they've got to take falls. After all, ukemi is also self-defense.

Ukemi is also an important part of the total experience -- the sharing and trusting of our entire being for the purposes of training. It's the most beautiful part of aikido -- one of the things that make the art somewhat unique. It teaches us to be unselfish.

Ultimately, in aikido, we're learning to work our hara in such a way that it moves another's hara and brings their energy back into harmony, which somtimes ends in a throw. This is how we train.

Actually, if you think about it, throwing is useless for fighting -- the guy could just get back up and attack again. We use throwing in aikido as a training tool to learn to work our hara properly.

Last edited by mike lee : 09-23-2002 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 09-23-2002, 12:03 PM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Neer occur to me not to take ukemi. The few people who I have trained with who didn't, were temporarily injuried and just couldn't take the fall but wanted to train. They wre most apologetic.

I personally learn a lot about the technqiue form receieving it. So, no, IMHO, you can't really learn it if ou can't receive it.

Until again,

Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-23-2002, 12:31 PM   #7
Janet Rosen
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Quote:
Tadhg Bird wrote:
On a related note, doesn't it just bug you when someone refuses to take ukemi? Usually complaining about some health issue such as bad knees, so you do the technique up to the point where they would roll then stop? Ofcourse, they are usually more than happy to roll you when its thier turn, right?
I have been one of those "someones" and I assure you it is NOT fun to be in the position of asking partners to limit their training in order to accommodate mine.

I have always offered to work with them the same way-- that is, that I would just take them to the point of taking balance--since to me this is 99% of the technique anyway. A few folks would practice that way bur most WANTED me to throw them.

Maybe you have the misfortune to train with meanspirited people who look for excuses not to take ukemi. My experience is certainly different in that I find most of my training partners, during the periods I was training with disablility, were most gracious.

To answer the question, though, I think that one has to be able to take the role of uke in SOME form in order to learn aikido, and that it is beneficial to take the best/most authentic ukemi in terms of attack, connection and recieving technique, that one can based on physical condition.
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Old 09-23-2002, 12:52 PM   #8
jimvance
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To begin, I am taught that you can't get out of bed without taking some form of ukemi. It's part of the universe we live in, cause and effect. Ukemi IS budo in some respects. It is the ideal of the bamboo bending under the snow and then rising again. Too many people still think it means getting tossed around. I think that ukemi gives budo the ability to gain victory at the moment of greatest vulnerability. In my dojo, uke is considered the senior position, much like in koryu budo.
Quote:
Mike Lee wrote:
So of course, you can show people of all levels stuff without ukemi, but it certainly isn't serious practice -- it's more like part of a conversation. You're just showing somebody something as an example. You're giving them a "taste" of aikido.
Ukemi without falling was discussed in the current thread on Ukemi.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...9937#post29937

Without some sort of body reaction, there cannot be this conversation Mike mentioned. Mike is correct in stating that without ukemi, serious practice won't occur, but I think that serious practice should not be determined by the amount of sweat in the gi or the number of falls taken, although those are good indicators.
Quote:
Mike Lee wrote:
Actually, if you think about it, throwing is useless for fighting -- the guy could just get back up and attack again.
I would have to disagree. Mike, you imply that the person falling down knows how to do it without getting hurt, and that you are going to let him get back up. I am not advocating use of naked violence, or that we are not responsible for the effects we have on others. Like my teacher says, a throw is not something someone goes into when they feel it is okay--- it is a demonstration of gravity. I have also been practicing pinning my partner after throws lately.

I used to think that ukemi meant to take punishment or to endure something, because that was one way of reading the original chinese character. I liked that definition because I took a lot of punishment in the dojo where I trained at that time in my life, and I COULD take it. I started training with my present teacher and he changed my mind. I also learned that the older chinese character really shows a hand delivering some goods to another hand. It implies unloading material off a boat with the cooperation of two workers. I got this picture of someone throwing bales of tea off a little barge to a worker on the docks, efficiently, no wasted effort, no loss of his goods into the river. This helped me re-figure the process of training, that there was no winner - loser dichotomy, and that with Aiki, the energy of the attack (conflict) was what is passed back and forth from river to dock.

Just some ramblings,

Jim Vance
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Old 09-23-2002, 04:31 PM   #9
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Mike Lee wrote: "Ukemi is also an important part of the total experience -- the sharing and trusting of our entire being for the purposes of training. It's the most beautiful part of aikido -- one of the things that make the art somewhat unique. It teaches us to be unselfish."

Could not have been said better.
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Old 09-24-2002, 07:39 AM   #10
ian
 
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Asolutely - also, ukemi has saved from injury several times in real life.

Ukemi is a very useful way of learning extension as well - since you can extend into the mat as you roll. As far as I am aware Shioda sensei was very keen on ukemi practise to improve your actual standing aikido.

Ian

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Old 09-24-2002, 10:18 AM   #11
Bruce Baker
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Yeah, you could learn Aikido without taking ukemi, but then you would be the spectator who judges but can not physically do the practice?

You were asking this question as a riddle, right?

Just kidding. No, you can not learn without physically being an uke.
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Old 09-25-2002, 03:10 AM   #12
Genex
 
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Smile

At my last seminar, we were practacing Shihonage and my Nage decided that he would cut by rotating my arm instead of down my spine, i tried pulling in but to no avail hello pain...

Fortunatly it wasnt Torn, (thank the goddess)and after ten minutes of missing some really kewl Jo techniques and doing some gentle stretches i joined in again it was painfull to fall on but none the less i carried on still doing full ukemi for some pretty nasty moves (just mostly on my other shoulder) i felt confident not to do myself any more injuries etc... and my shoulder has healed nicely and i now enjoy full aikido.

must say tho that ukemi is the bit that realy knackeres you out! all that falling and getting up, after all being nage means using no strength.

yoroshiku

pete

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Old 09-25-2002, 12:28 PM   #13
mle
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Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
Neer occur to me not to take ukemi. The few people who I have trained with who didn't, were temporarily injuried and just couldn't take the fall but wanted to train.
Been there more than I like to think about.

I'm not a great flying ukemi-bunny anyway, just too fragile in the knees and back.

I still train and learn, and our weapons practice gives me a way to work on movement and focus without risking my body so.
Quote:
Lynn Seiser (SeiserL) wrote:
I personally learn a lot about the technqiue form receieving it. So, no, IMHO, you can't really learn it if ou can't receive it.
Much agreed.

Like trying to play music if you have never really Listened.

mle

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Old 09-25-2002, 12:44 PM   #14
G DiPierro
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Of course you can learn Aikido without taking ukemi. How many people here who beleive that you can't have actually tried? Many Aikido teachers take little or no ukemi. Does this mean that they have stopped learning since they have stopped taking ukemi? No. So if it is possible for them to still learn without taking ukemi, then it is possible for anyone to do so. I won't buy the argument that they are only able to continue to learn because they once took some ukemi in the past. It's bogus.

While you certainly can learn Aikido only by taking the role of the nage, I doubt that you will learn it as fast. Also, you will have problems finding people with which to practice. Even if you paid someone to be your full-time uke, you would probably have a hard time finding a teacher willing to accept you on those terms. But if you had enough money to pay exclusively for private lessons, you could probably find someone willing to do it.

It's not clear if everyone in this thread is making the distinction between taking ukemi and falling. Jun was careful to word the poll as "taking the role of uke," yet still there seems to be some confusion. Even if you practice without falling you must take ukemi for the rest of the technique.

On that subject, this past weekend at an open mat I was practicing with one my sempai who wasn't feeling that well. We just explored a couple of entries and looked for what techniques were possible from each entry. Neither one of us took many falls, but it was one of the best practices I have had in recent weeks.

Last edited by G DiPierro : 09-25-2002 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 09-25-2002, 01:24 PM   #15
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As to the hypothetical situation I suggested of someone who wanted to learn Aikido without taking on the role of uke, perhaps a more interesting poll would be this:

As a student, would you be willing to serve as someone's full-time uke for an entire class. How much would you charge for this service?

As a teacher, would you be willing to accept someone into a regular class on these terms, providing that arrangements have been made for an uke? If not, would you consent to private lessons on the same terms?
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Old 09-25-2002, 02:19 PM   #16
Janet Rosen
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[quote="Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro)"

As a student, would you be willing to serve as someone's full-time uke for an entire class. How much would you charge for this service?[/QUOTE]I often have classes where I much prefer taking the role of uke in order to work on certain things in my own practice--not the rolls and falls themselves, but the connection and not anticipating aspects.

Sadly my stamina would not permit me to do it all class, but I surely would' t charge for the privilege!
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Old 09-25-2002, 04:58 PM   #17
tittle
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Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro) wrote:
As a student, would you be willing to serve as someone's full-time uke for an entire class.
Actually, I do this, semi regularly . My sensei offers private lessons (usually taken by folks whose next level tests are upcoming!). They pay for an hour of training, and I (or whoever else volunteers) am the uke for that entire period. I find it a valuable learning experience.

--Cindy
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Old 09-26-2002, 09:19 PM   #18
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OK, so imagine this. There is a guy, let's call him Smith, who is the CEO of a large company. One day, he picks up an English tranlation of Musashi's Go Rin no Sho and decides that the martial arts are very applicable to business. So much so, that he decides that he needs to learn Aikido himself.

But Smith is a busy guy, and also very wealthy, so he decides that he's only going to take private lessons, twice a week. After all, he can afford it. And that way he will learn as fast as possible.

Let's assume that he has sought out Cindy Moore's teacher, and so Cindy, or Janet (when she's visiting the dojo), or another student, will get to be uke for the entire hour. At no charge, of course. So Smith never has to take ukemi. Smith doesn't even have to waste time learning to roll! He can get right into the techniques. And since he's not spending half of his class time taking ukemi, he should be learning the nage role twice as quickly. And of course, he is getting plenty of personal instruction from his teacher. So why couldn't he learn Aikido this way?
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Old 09-26-2002, 11:46 PM   #19
Chuck Clark
 
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In reality, all he would be learning is to lock joints and/or throw people down. He really isn't learning that properly as he is only learning one side of the coin.

Aikido is so much more than doing a few physical techniques good enough to make people give up or fall down.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 09-27-2002, 09:07 AM   #20
Alan Drysdale
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From a technical viewpoint, I would bet that the hypothetical Mr Smith would have difficulty with kaeshi and henka waza.
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Old 09-28-2002, 03:20 AM   #21
mike lee
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Cool I LOVE TO ATTACK!

One definition of uke is "attacker." If there is no attacker, there is no aikido.

Both people need to take on the role of the attacker during the teaching/learning process -- even when showing things to my bar-buddies.

How often do we say, "Here, grap my wrist and I'll show you nikkyo." When we do this, we make the other person, even if he has no aikido experience, the uke, or the "attacker."
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Old 09-28-2002, 07:11 AM   #22
colin slider
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seems very obvious - consider

good and evil

dark and light

fast and slow

hard and soft

attack and defense

and the list could go on and on......

to appreciate one you need to know the other

to appreicate nage, you have to be uke and vice versa
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Old 09-28-2002, 01:46 PM   #23
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Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
I have been one of those "someones" and I assure you it is NOT fun to be in the position of asking partners to limit their training in order to accommodate mine.
Looking at what I originaly posted, I came across as peevish and bratty. For that, I apologize. But I think the operative words in your response are "have been". A temprorary change to your training method because of an injury.

My childish complaint was directed at someone who has NO intention of ever taking ukemi, refuses to sit in seiza, yet contines to go up in rank. Its a juvenile overdeveloped sense a fairness I haven't outgrown that rises my irish. "If I have to do it, why doesn't he?"
Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
I have always offered to work with them the same way-- that is, that I would just take them to the point of taking balance--since to me this is 99% of the technique anyway. A few folks would practice that way bur most WANTED me to throw them.
And thats how I would react as well, I would not mind being thrown by you if you were training with an injury.
Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
Maybe you have the misfortune to train with meanspirited people who look for excuses not to take ukemi. My experience is certainly different in that I find most of my training partners, during the periods I was training with disablility, were most gracious.
You know, I bet dollars to donuts that the "Karma Fairy" is gonna tap me with her wand and inflict me with an injury where I feel well enough to train, but not well enough to roll.

Though there are times when I have trained injured (obviously minorly injured)... I have usually bulled my way through it. When one injury (the worst sunburn of my life!!!) was inscrutiating after one practice, I sat out until my back was fit to roll on again.

Smooth Roads,

-- Tadhg (Got ?)

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Old 09-29-2002, 07:23 PM   #24
G DiPierro
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Quote:
C.E. Clark (Chuck Clark) wrote:
In reality, all he would be learning is to lock joints and/or throw people down. He really isn't learning that properly as he is only learning one side of the coin.

Aikido is so much more than doing a few physical techniques good enough to make people give up or fall down.
Chuck, I agree with your last statement but I don't believe that the role of uke constitutes the content of Aikido beyond techniques that make someone give up or fall down. If you are saying that role of nage is nothing more than locking joints and throwing people, then it follows that the role of uke is nothing more than safely falling when someone locks your joints or throws you. By that definition, it certainly couldn't be deemed essential to learning Aikido.
Quote:
Alan Drysdale wrote:
From a technical viewpoint, I would bet that the hypothetical Mr Smith would have difficulty with kaeshi and henka waza.
Alan, that is an interesting point. Kaeshiwaza would be impossible since it involves changing roles during the middle of the technique and hence violates our assumption. I don't see how henkawaza would pose a problem, though.

You post suggests another idea which I beleive furthers my case. It is often said that at a sufficiently advanced level Aikido becomes the same thing in both of the roles of uke and nage. That is to say that the attitude and feeling of receiving the technique (ukemi) is exactly the same thing as the feeling of executing the technique. Kaeshiwaza, and to a lesser extent, henkawaza, are good examples of forms of practice that demonstrate this. If both roles ultimately embody the same principles, it is obviously possible to reach an understanding of those principles by studying only one role.
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Old 09-29-2002, 10:32 PM   #25
Chuck Clark
 
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Quote:
Giancarlo DiPierro (G DiPierro) wrote:
Chuck, I agree with your last statement but I don't believe that the role of uke constitutes the content of Aikido beyond techniques that make someone give up or fall down. If you are saying that role of nage is nothing more than locking joints and throwing people, then it follows that the role of uke is nothing more than safely falling when someone locks your joints or throws you. By that definition, it certainly couldn't be deemed essential to learning Aikido.
No, that's not what I was trying to say. However, I think I did say what I wanted to say. Interpret it as you will.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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