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12 Recommended Reading on Ukemi

posted 29 Jan 2010, 02:48 by aikidorepublic   [ updated 27 Apr 2010, 20:43 by Ben Hamley ]
Below is a collection of articles I had bookmarked which I think are well worth a read.  There are quite a few view-points and I think together they inform nicely.  The Aikido Journal has more than a few individual posts on ukemi that are great food for thought from a variety of contributors.
A very senior Aikido practitioner from New Zealand who has truly transcended styles. (He holds dan grades in many of them.)

For those of us not congenitally attracted to violence, aikido training sometimes presents problems that are difficult to ignore. They come in human form and in distinct personality types. Amongst these is the reluctant uke.
This is the guy who tries to block all your efforts to apply a technique and takes a smug delight in refusing to fall. He dedicates his time on the mat to trying to prove your techniques do not work. And sometimes he succeeds...

A light-hearted but serious look at overly compliant ukes

One common complaint about aikido as a system of self-defense is that it looks like the uke attacks like an idiot and then jumps onto the ground to make tori look good. Sure enough, if you check out aikido demos on Google or Youtube, uke is often either running blindly at tori or is lurching slowly forward like a monster in a 1950’s movie, giving an extended arm to tori to do with as he pleases...

A nice discussion on the aikiweb about resistance training.
I've been getting some questions and requests to post something in more detail on resistance training. So, here is a very basic overview on the four levels of resistance training...

This article is from the headmaster of a Jodo school but very relevant to Aikido. (Uchidachi is the equivalent of uke and shidachi is the equivalent of nage.)

When an outsider watches kata, it appears that uchidachi loses and shidachi wins. This is intentional. But there's much more to it than that. Uchidachi must have the spirit of a nurturing parent. Uchidachi leads shidachi by providing a true attack; this allows shidachi to learn correct body displacement, combative distancing, proper spirit, and the perception of opportunity. A humble spirit is as necessary as correct technique for uchidachi. Deceit, arrogance, and a patronizing attitude must never be allowed in practice. Uchidachi's mission is vital. In the past, this role was only performed by senior practitioners who were capable of performing accurate technique and who possessed the right spirit and understanding of the role. Uchidachi must provide an example of clean, precise cutting lines and correct targeting, and must also convey focused intensity and an air of authority.

Aiki News #80 (April 1989)

The point is that the safety of the uke is one-sidedly placed in the hands of the tori. In the kata, the uke and tori are generally decided beforehand, and the tori can decide the intensity and sometimes the type of technique according to his purpose. On the other hand, not only is the first action of the uke limited, but it is also tacitly assumed that he will not offer any resistance to the technique. In this way, both can perform their roles. In this sense, it can be said that the kata method is safer than randori training where one can be thrown with an unexpected technique.

However, even in kata practice it must be recognized that serious accidents may occur, a) if the uke is inexperienced; and b) if the uke is very tired, and even more importantly; c) as a result of the intensity and application of the tori’s technique. Also included is a table of serious injuries
 

Anyone that trains in any martial art knows there are people you really enjoy training with and there are probably people that you don’t enjoy training with as much. How about you? Do people enjoy training with you? Or do they dodge you to train with someone else? Here for your enjoyment are my top 10 tips on being a good uke: Jake McKee
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