Friday, July 13, 2007

Was I A Good Partner or Bad ?

We did yokomenuchi shihonage, kotagaeshi and udekimenage.

Seems like I was helping my partners a lot tonight. For shihonage I noticed my partner wasn't turning me at all. There was barely any twisting to affect my balance. So I repeated the twist a couple of times, she nodded and on her turn she attempted to turn me more. Better.

New technique, new partner.
For kotagaehi, I myself improved a bit. I got the kotagaeshi without 3 hand changes. I just keep contact the whole time. Way better. I started getting it right when my partner asked the sensei a question. When he showed us the technique again, I was able to make the improvement. My partner did farily well but she was doing a really strong kotagaeshi on one side and almost nothing on the other. I went with it for a while, she wasn't changing it or improving it. I decided to 'help'. The next time she did her technique, I just stood there. Yep, there was nothing there, no technique. It wasn't a matter of my struggling or anything. I was simply able to just stand there. After that she figured out why that side wasn't as good as the other and changed it.

Ok... so I tried to help two fellow 5th kyus. In one case by exagerating a part of the technique for my turn . The other I helped by just resisting the technique.

There are some people I've come across who would suggest that I shouldn't have done anything other than fall down. Maybe I shouldn't have an opinion but I wasn't trying to teach anything subtle, it's my believe that at 5th kyu, both partners would be able to make the adjustment to fix major issues.

So, was I a good partner or a bad one tonight? What do you think?


At July 13, 2007 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one E.

At July 14, 2007 8:52 AM, Blogger ZeppoManx said...

This is an interesting part of Aikido in that it shows the complexity of being an Uke. As with so much of Aikido it depends on the situation. You have to sense what Nage needs and be sure of your level of expertise in order to respond appropriately.

It also depends on the personality of both of you, since closer acquaintances may be more understanding about giving some resistance or advice in order to discover more of the technique.

I am usually the junior partner and I love it when my partner shows me where my problems lie.

At July 14, 2007 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like you handled it fine.

Things I've thought about regarding this type of situation:

Having a teacher in the class takes the burden off of the uke and nage to instruct each other. The students can focus totally on practicing their roles as uke and nage.

Sometimes a partner is so new that they cannot really participate unless the more senior partner provides some guidance. The teacher may even encourage the more senior partner to help.

And the social context plays a role as well, both the personal relationship between the partners and the rank/seniority relationship.

In general, I try to leave my partners alone to figure it out for themselves because one of the pleasures for me in doing aikido has been figuring out what works. And aikido gives you the luxury of time. We aren't training for a practical purpose, it's for self-development, so you don't have to hurry.

At July 14, 2007 9:27 PM, Blogger AikiAddict said...

Well, in my dojo, you would have been expected to just take ukemi. No resisting, no teaching, no just standing there, just "shut up and take ukemi". If I did the stuff you did (especially at 5th kyu), I would have gotten a talking-to from my sensei. But that's my dojo, YMMV.

At July 15, 2007 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You were bad.

You took time out of your practice (bad #1) to steal an opportunity from your dojo mate to learn (bad #2), while second guessing your Sensei's judgement about when to correct (bad #3).

Just my 2 cents.

At July 18, 2007 12:02 AM, Blogger Poxbox said...

I liked the first anonymous answer so here is more food for thought.

One further question.

Last class I had an uke sprcifically ask me to stretch his shoulder out. I hadn't work with him in many months so I was unaware of his situation. He's injured it in the past and it was bothering him again. He did this during the time in which we are supposed to be practicing a technique.

You can discuss whether he should have asked or left the mat. Instead I'd like to hear what people think I should have done.

Do I refuse because it's time away from practice? Do I do it because it avoids an injury and it's something he can't do himself?

Is 'stealing time out of practice' ok in this case or is everything absolute?

At July 18, 2007 5:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My opinion is that it is fine to help your injured partner. In this case part of your training is to convert the moment you are helping the partner into a training moment for you.

For example, we are always working on being sensitive to the partner: intention, direction of power, amount of power, etc. This situation could be another instance of your getting better at physically sensing what is going on in the partner's body. You get to learn what it feels like when you stretch the partner just enough vs too far.

And the "no talk rule" is not a real rule with penalties if you break it (although I did hear a shihan threaten an already exhausted class with an hour of suwari waza if the talking didn't stop). It is to help you get the most out of your physical training, and talking gets in the way of your body directly doing the learning.


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