Valley Aikido

The Japanese Art of Aikido in Scottsdale

Valley Aikido provides training in the martial art practice of aikido. Chief Instructor Asim Hanif, 4th dan, Aikikai, Capital Aikido Federation.

10 Rules of a Good Uke

As an addemdum to my last post, here are my 10 BASIC rules of a good uke. The operative word here is BASIC.

1.       Present a committed, continual, focused attack

2.       Do not retreat, go limp, be stiff, or plant yourself; that is not an attack

3.       When working with beginners do not try to regain your balance

4.       When working with senior students try to regain your balance but don’t fight

5.       Intensity and resistance should be appropriate for your partner’s current level

6.       For beginners be a constant

7.       For senior students be a variable

8.       Protect yourself at all times

9.       Make sure both left and right sides of your body are capable of attacking and receiving

10.   Always feel for openings and opportunities to counter but do not exploit those unless it is part of the current practice

This is not meant to be a comprehensive or definitive list but it is a good general policy that we in my dojo operate under.

The Immovable Uke

In observing aikido practice over the years I’ve noticed there’s always this one person who is ‘hard’ to move. In actuality this person is lazy and selfish. This person will usually say something like “I don’t feel you moving me” or “You’re not taking my balance”. What this person has forgotten is that at one time, people senior to him or her didn’t lose balance either yet they took the fall. Cooperation is not collusion. This type of behavior has two negative outcomes. First, it creates bad feelings. People probably don’t enjoy training with this person. In aikido, we need training partners. As a teacher, I always try to take falls for people. If the junior person enjoys training with me, most likely they’ll keep training. Eventually we can work on moving me. But if they always have a bad experience, why would they chose to follow my lead. I usually have one advance class per week. In that class I might be more difficult to move; but hey that’s advance class.

Second is the physical deficit. This immovable uke will gradually become stiff, out of shape, and lacking in the feeling of connectedness. I vividly remember certain people who gave others a hard time years ago. They had this belief that not moving put them at some advantage. Today all those immovable people are unable to move with any dexterity or grace. Some have even stopped training because of ‘old age’. A teacher once said “You know what they do to stiffs right? Put them in the ground.”

Don’t be immovable. Learn to be grounded, balanced, and mobile. When taking ukemi stay connected and flexible. Find the space within your body. Examine your posture and structural deficiencies. Improve  with each repetition. Most importantly, cultivate good relationships through your aikido training.

Aikido Stuff

Rules of Practice

Just a few basic fundamental things to keep in mind when training.

  • Don't disturb the point of contact
  • The point of contact can move
  • Do not signal your intentions
  • Control the center by controlling yourself
  • The center can move
  • Don't predetermine your ukemi
  • You can always be softer
  • You can always move slower
  • If you can't do it slow, you can't do it fast
  • Timing beats speed
  • Technique beats strength
  • Posture is everything
  • Drive two cars ahead; always be mentally ahead
  • Breathing is kind of important

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