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ukemi

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  • Ranya Iqbal
    Ukemi By Tres Hofmeister In aikido, training generally follows the kata training method. In the kata training method, two people train together as partners,
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 2, 2010
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      Ukemi

      By Tres Hofmeister

      In aikido, training generally follows the kata training method. In the kata training method, two people train together as partners, each taking a pre-arranged role. In aikido, these roles are uke and nage. For training to be fruitful, a proper understanding of these two roles and their relationship is important.

      The role of nage is sometimes misunderstood as the "side that wins," with the role of uke "the side that loses." In the original Japanese, nage is a stem of the verb nageru, to throw. Uke is a stem of the verb ukeru, to receive. Thus, nage throws or executes a technique, while uke receives the technique.

      The distinction is an important one. Uke and nage do not compete with one another, with one individual emerging the victor. Instead, together they explore the intricacies of a particular situation and the application of a particular technique. The role of uke is to create a setting where nage can apply aikido principle in a specific contest. In this setting, nage learns to apply technique in a fluid and effective manner. If either misunderstands their role, training is hampered.

      In actual physical conflict, there are of course no fixed roles, and no rules. In order for the kata method to be effective, uke and nage must both understand the distinction between actual conflict and what goes on in the dojo. When uke resists unreasonably, he has forgotten that nage is constrained to the technique being practiced only by their mutual agreement. Often people resisting a technique do so from a fundamentally weak position with no apparent awareness of the martial alternatives available to their partner.

      When nage throws with unreasonable force, he has forgotten that uke is offering an opening, and has foregone any attempt to counter. No reasonable person will give someone an open opportunity to injure them; uke receives the technique in a spirit of trust. Conversely, nage trusts that uke will attack appropriately. Nage too can then practice with confidence that he will not be injured by an unexpected attack. In this way, we develop confidence and trust in one another, and the intensity of training can increase.

      This agreement between uke and nage is flexible and allows for a wide variety of training. The important thing is that uke and nage both understand the nature of the training situation at a given moment. Sometimes training is soft or slow, sometimes hard or fast, sometimes gentle, sometimes severe. This variety is only possible when uke and nage understand the nature of the training at hand, and understand each other. Everyone has a different level of experience and different physical and emotional make up. These must always be taken into account when training. Each training situation is unique. The ability to adjust appropriately and train with everyone is a good example of the effective application of aiki principle.

      Practicing ukemi gives us the opportunity to experience aikido techniques from the receiving side and gives us a more complete understanding of technique. Our application of principles such as kuzushi (breaking one's partner's balance), ma-ai (control of distance), and musubi(joining) is improved by experiencing them directly. In addition, the practice of ukemi develops skills and physical ability that only serve to improve our aikido. Saotome sensei has written that the best uke are often the best technicians.

      Fifty percent of the time we spend on the mat we spend taking ukemi. Rather than spending this time waiting for "our turn," we can take advantage of the rich training opportunity available.


      Ukemi

      by Steven Katz and Ginger Ikeda

      Most will agree that ukemi is at least fifty percent of aikido training. The purpose of ukemi is to protect your body, and learning good ukemi is just as important as learning the throws. Eventually, ukemi, like technique, becomes an art.

      When training in the dojo, the cardinal rule is that partners should always work at the level of the least experienced or least physically fit. No one should be thrown harder than s/he can handle. We should remember these things: "we must crawl before we can walk", "respect your partner" and "there are l earning opportunities in every moment."

      At any time in any class, there could be students who are nursing an injury, visitors who are orienting themselves to the style of the training, or students who wish to train in a deliberate manner while working on a particular aspect of study. Since at one time or another, each of us has been in one of these situations, we can appreciate the value of being a perceptive and considerate uke.

      In addition to acknowledging the condition of your partner, another condition that calls for awareness is that of the mat population. Big, space-consuming rolls and breakfalls are obviously inappropriate and potentially dangerous on a crowded mat. Awareness on the mat is a part of aikido training, and everyone's safety depends upon it.

      Daily training

      In ordinary daily training, the kind of ukemi you take depends upon the level of the class and the person who is your nage. For example, in a beginner class, two beginner-level partners should practice cooperatively with minimal resistance, each learning the movements of each role. If you are an intermediate or advanced student in a beginner class, you would find it appropriate to follow along with nage and to "fall", even though nage's performance may not have actually compelled you to go down. You, the person taking ukemi, are assisting the beginner nage in understanding the flow and form of the kata being studied. Clean, precise and cooperative ukemi can provide good feedback for nage, and of course, you also have an opportunity to improve your own skills.

      In an intermediate class, the pace typically picks up and training can be lively. Students by this time are quite comfortable with both kata and ukemi. At this level, cooperative training continues for the most part. However, with the mutual understanding of both partners, it is generally considered appropriate to "test" each other, to provide more resistance, to explore technique, and to begin to require that the techniques "work." If a move is not executed properly, a fall by uke is not obligatory. This provides appropriate feedback at the intermediate level.

      In advanced, physically intense classes, good ukemi skills are obviously essential. Things can happen very fast. It is appropriate to give your partner "a hard time" in order for both uke and nage to explore new dimensions of "strength," balance and counter-balance, connections, "take-aways" or reversals, timing, and all the other elements that comprise the essence of dynamic aikido.

      In the most advanced levels of training, there are no predetermined kata, and therefore ukemi cannot be predicted. Nage is constantly strategizing, throwing uke in unexpected directions, as he or she works to keep uke off-balance, both physically and mentally. Uke, then, must physically respond correctly in the moment, like water descending over and around obstacles, while simultaneously calculating how to gain control. Both uke and nage are in "neutral", living in the moment. This is where ukemi becomes art.

      Demonstrations

      Being called upon by the class instructor to take ukemi for demonstration purposes calls for "demonstration ukemi". In this case, your ukemi should be as clear and as precise as possible to facilitate the teacher's lesson to the class. Techniques are usually demonstrated several times, in order for the students to observe the movements of both nage and uke. The teacher will indicate the speed s/he requires for the demonstration, including attack, technique and ukemi. Usually in beginner classes, demonstrations are performed in slow motion, since students are developing their observation skills. The speed and intensity of the demonstrations predictably increase in intermediate and advanced classes. Taking ukemi for a teacher is a lesson in awareness and perception. As uke, you should be ready to adjust to whatever the teacher might want or do, including being aware of when NOT to attack.

      Testing

      Testing is another situation that requires knowledgeable ukemi. It is generally accepted that uke who are assisting in kyu tests should give determined, precise attacks that will allow the candidate to perform to the best of his or her ability. Of course, if you assist as an uke in a test, you should be certain you know the names of all the attacks and how to execute them.

      Taking ukemi for dan tests requires a level of experience, and for the most part, it should be yudansha who serve as uke, although occasionally an upper level kyu-ranked student may be called upon. Dan tests are often intense, with nage amped up, tired, and/or nervous. The uke must be prepared to give one hundred percent of his/her attention and energy to the task, from initiating the attacks to taking the falls. Anything less could easily interfere with the test or become the cause of an injury.

    • Mike Schaefer
      Thank you, Ranya. I was especially pleased to learn the root words for uke and nage. Mike Schaefer To: threeriversaikido@yahoogroups.com From:
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 2, 2010
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        Thank you, Ranya.  I was especially pleased to learn the root words for uke and nage.

        Mike Schaefer


        To: threeriversaikido@yahoogroups.com
        From: ranyamail@...
        Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 13:30:49 -0500
        Subject: [TRA Yahoo Group] ukemi

         

        Ukemi

        By Tres Hofmeister
        In aikido, training generally follows the kata training method. In the kata training method, two people train together as partners, each taking a pre-arranged role. In aikido, these roles are uke and nage. For training to be fruitful, a proper understanding of these two roles and their relationship is important.
        The role of nage is sometimes misunderstood as the "side that wins," with the role of uke "the side that loses." In the original Japanese, nage is a stem of the verb nageru, to throw. Uke is a stem of the verb ukeru, to receive. Thus, nage throws or executes a technique, while uke receives the technique.
        The distinction is an important one. Uke and nage do not compete with one another, with one individual emerging the victor. Instead, together they explore the intricacies of a particular situation and the application of a particular technique. The role of uke is to create a setting where nage can apply aikido principle in a specific contest. In this setting, nage learns to apply technique in a fluid and effective manner. If either misunderstands their role, training is hampered.
        In actual physical conflict, there are of course no fixed roles, and no rules. In order for the kata method to be effective, uke and nage must both understand the distinction between actual conflict and what goes on in the dojo. When uke resists unreasonably, he has forgotten that nage is constrained to the technique being practiced only by their mutual agreement. Often people resisting a technique do so from a fundamentally weak position with no apparent awareness of the martial alternatives available to their partner.
        When nage throws with unreasonable force, he has forgotten that uke is offering an opening, and has foregone any attempt to counter. No reasonable person will give someone an open opportunity to injure them; uke receives the technique in a spirit of trust. Conversely, nage trusts that uke will attack appropriately. Nage too can then practice with confidence that he will not be injured by an unexpected attack. In this way, we develop confidence and trust in one another, and the intensity of training can increase.
        This agreement between uke and nage is flexible and allows for a wide variety of training. The important thing is that uke and nage both understand the nature of the training situation at a given moment. Sometimes training is soft or slow, sometimes hard or fast, sometimes gentle, sometimes severe. This variety is only possible when uke and nage understand the nature of the training at hand, and understand each other. Everyone has a different level of experience and different physical and emotional make up. These must always be taken into account when training. Each training situation is unique. The ability to adjust appropriately and train with everyone is a good example of the effective application of aiki principle.
        Practicing ukemi gives us the opportunity to experience aikido techniques from the receiving side and gives us a more complete understanding of technique. Our application of principles such as kuzushi (breaking one's partner's balance), ma-ai (control of distance), and musubi(joining) is improved by experiencing them directly. In addition, the practice of ukemi develops skills and physical ability that only serve to improve our aikido. Saotome sensei has written that the best uke are often the best technicians.
        Fifty percent of the time we spend on the mat we spend taking ukemi. Rather than spending this time waiting for "our turn," we can take advantage of the rich training opportunity available.



        Ukemi

        by Steven Katz and Ginger Ikeda
        Most will agree that ukemi is at least fifty percent of aikido training. The purpose of ukemi is to protect your body, and learning good ukemi is just as important as learning the throws. Eventually, ukemi, like technique, becomes an art.
        When training in the dojo, the cardinal rule is that partners should always work at the level of the least experienced or least physically fit. No one should be thrown harder than s/he can handle. We should remember these things: "we must crawl before we can walk", "respect your partner" and "there are l earning opportunities in every moment."
        At any time in any class, there could be students who are nursing an injury, visitors who are orienting themselves to the style of the training, or students who wish to train in a deliberate manner while working on a particular aspect of study. Since at one time or another, each of us has been in one of these situations, we can appreciate the value of being a perceptive and considerate uke.
        In addition to acknowledging the condition of your partner, another condition that calls for awareness is that of the mat population. Big, space-consuming rolls and breakfalls are obviously inappropriate and potentially dangerous on a crowded mat. Awareness on the mat is a part of aikido training, and everyone's safety depends upon it.
        Daily training
        In ordinary daily training, the kind of ukemi you take depends upon the level of the class and the person who is your nage. For example, in a beginner class, two beginner-level partners should practice cooperatively with minimal resistance, each learning the movements of each role. If you are an intermediate or advanced student in a beginner class, you would find it appropriate to follow along with nage and to "fall", even though nage's performance may not have actually compelled you to go down. You, the person taking ukemi, are assisting the beginner nage in understanding the flow and form of the kata being studied. Clean, precise and cooperative ukemi can provide good feedback for nage, and of course, you also have an opportunity to improve your own skills.
        In an intermediate class, the pace typically picks up and training can be lively. Students by this time are quite comfortable with both kata and ukemi. At this level, cooperative training continues for the most part. However, with the mutual understanding of both partners, it is generally considered appropriate to "test" each other, to provide more resistance, to explore technique, and to begin to require that the techniques "work." If a move is not executed properly, a fall by uke is not obligatory. This provides appropriate feedback at the intermediate level.
        In advanced, physically intense classes, good ukemi skills are obviously essential. Things can happen very fast. It is appropriate to give your partner "a hard time" in order for both uke and nage to explore new dimensions of "strength," balance and counter-balance, connections, "take-aways" or reversals, timing, and all the other elements that comprise the essence of dynamic aikido.
        In the most advanced levels of training, there are no predetermined kata, and therefore ukemi cannot be predicted. Nage is constantly strategizing, throwing uke in unexpected directions, as he or she works to keep uke off-balance, both physically and mentally. Uke, then, must physically respond correctly in the moment, like water descending over and around obstacles, while simultaneously calculating how to gain control. Both uke and nage are in "neutral", living in the moment. This is where ukemi becomes art.
        Demonstrations
        Being called upon by the class instructor to take ukemi for demonstration purposes calls for "demonstration ukemi". In this case, your ukemi should be as clear and as precise as possible to facilitate the teacher's lesson to the class. Techniques are usually demonstrated several times, in order for the students to observe the movements of both nage and uke. The teacher will indicate the speed s/he requires for the demonstration, including attack, technique and ukemi. Usually in beginner classes, demonstrations are performed in slow motion, since students are developing their observation skills. The speed and intensity of the demonstrations predictably increase in intermediate and advanced classes. Taking ukemi for a teacher is a lesson in awareness and perception. As uke, you should be ready to adjust to whatever the teacher might want or do, including being aware of when NOT to attack.
        Testing
        Testing is another situation that requires knowledgeable ukemi. It is generally accepted that uke who are assisting in kyu tests should give determined, precise attacks that will allow the candidate to perform to the best of his or her ability. Of course, if you assist as an uke in a test, you should be certain you know the names of all the attacks and how to execute them.
        Taking ukemi for dan tests requires a level of experience, and for the most part, it should be yudansha who serve as uke, although occasionally an upper level kyu-ranked student may be called upon. Dan tests are often intense, with nage amped up, tired, and/or nervous. The uke must be prepared to give one hundred percent of his/her attention and energy to the task, from initiating the attacks to taking the falls. Anything less could easily interfere with the test or become the cause of an injury.

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