Showing posts from September, 2011

Where is you mind?

It wasn't long ago that a critical aspect of different sections of junana hon kata, or randori no kata, finally dawned on me. I realized that, with the second section, or hiji waza, I was focusing on what I was doing to the arm or elbow, and with the third section, tekubi waza, I was focusing on what I was doing to the wrist.

Which would seem natural since that's what their names mean: "elbow techniques" and "wrist techniques". The epiphany, however, came when I finally realized that I'm not doing something to the arm or the wrist, but rather I'm using the arm and wrist as a means of affecting uke's center line. The first section, or atemi waza, deals with going after the center line directly. From there, we move outward to using the arm to affect the center line, and then move even further out to using the wrist the same way.

This realization has, in turn, affected my perspective of the rest of not only aikido, but judo as well. Now, I'm mu…

Building a Better Uke: Grips

Over the years, I've seen countless students, both senior and junior, become frustrated with a technique failing to work. The vast majority of the time, the problem lies with uke.

Most of the time, uke is not truly committed and is just walking through the motions, in which case, tori rarely gets the off balance or throw he's looking for—which in turn lead tori to think he's not doing something, and uke (particularly new students) think, "Well, this stuff doesn't work."

Not to be hard on uke—it's a tough job.

I first talked about "commitment" in an earlier post. But commitment is, admittedly, a fairly broad topic. So I started with a simple drill to help students practice the initial shomen ate attack with genuine commitment to the point where we actually knock the other guy down.

That is, of course, only one way of attacking. Uke can also begin his attack with a grip.

I tend to see two basic sources of frustration when it comes to grips. The f…

Building a Better Uke: Commitment

More often than not, if a technique isn't working quite right, the first place you should check is not necessarily yourself—but rather your uke.

Why? Well, with much of what we do, particularly aikido, the efficacy of a given technique often depends on an uke who is doing his job properly. Which begs the question: what is uke's job, exactly?

To just attack? To simply take the fall for tori?

Yes. No. Sort of. It's a broad subject, really. One I hope to explore over the next few posts.

There are a number of factors that make a good, effective uke. And the first, and perhaps the most obvious, is "commitment."

True, honest commitment is probably the most common fault on uke's part, even among senior practitioners. For one thing, within the confines of the dojo, we're really only pretending to attack; we don't really want to inflict any harm on our partner, not like the proverbial thug "on the street." We're friends, we're just practicing…