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.