©™ 2003 - 2004: OWH International - Ueshiba Aikido : Victoria, Canada
All Rights Reserved
As we break for summer vacation, classes at the schools will soon be suspended until the new school year in the Fall. If you are not going anywhere for the summer, there will be an opportunity to take in extra Aikido classes. I am organising Aikido classes at the Arbutus Room in the Commonwealth Recreation Centre in July and August, every Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30pm.
The dates of the classes are: July 8, 15, 22, 29, and August 5, 12, 19, 26.
Fees: For any 4 classes: $30; For all 8 classes: $60
I am in the process of including illustrations and animation in the glossary pages to help in the explanation of some of the Aikido terms. I hope that this will help with some of the terms that you may be unfamiliar with.
The first Grading for Gordon Head Elementary and Royal Oak Middle School students will be this Fall. And so, I will increase the use of Japanese terms during classes, with explanations of these terms in English. During Grading, I will call the movements and techniques in Japanese. Go through the terms in the Glossary when you have the chance to reinforce what you have learnt during class. Keep a journal of the class, the techniques and the movements.
If you have not taken a look at the Glossary pages, please do and give me your feedback. I look forward to improving the site so that it will be useful to you. I hope that the website will help in keeping you in touch and on track in your Aikido journey.
The fine art of Ukemi
Improving Ukemi and the ability "to receive" is just as important as learning to apply Aikido techniques. For one thing, the student learns to protect against getting hurt or injured; falling safely and gracefully. The benefit of partnering during Aikido practice also provides a multi-dimensional perspective to each technique. When experiencing the technique, Uke has the added benefit of knowing how it feels to have a technique applied to him/her and how effective it is. For both Nage and Uke, the benefit of receiving the force of the attack and its response provides an invaluable experience that improves the student's ability to sense an approaching force (or attack). In class, both students will have the opportunity to alternate between being Nage and Uke.
In agreeing to take Uke, the student agrees to "attack sincerely"; punching, chopping, grabbing or kicking Nage accurately; without "missing" the "target". The difficulty in repetitive practice is anticipation. Uke knows the technique being practiced but has to behave and respond as though each attack is fresh. After awhile, Uke may go into "automatic mode", anticipating the technique and turning or falling even before the technique is applied. At this point, the connection between Nage and Uke is lost. Practising in this way has no benefit for both Nage and Uke as both attack and response become false.
One mistake some students make when taking Ukemi during regular, slow-motion practice of a technique is that they make every effort to resist the lock, the movement or the throw. Then they feel satisfaction when Nage finds difficulty in applying the technique on them. Competing with one's partner with the intent to belittle or prove one's strength runs contrary to the non-competitive, harmonising nature of Aikido. The attitude being developed in this instance will impede the student's growth and understanding of Aikido.
The purpose of practise is to mould and temper oneself in the ways of Aikido. And practising at a slower pace serves to programme the movement and technique into the student's mind and body. Once these are internalised, the technique belongs to the vast database of techniques within the student - ready to be applied at a moment's notice. In truth, when a technique is applied at full speed during an actual attack, it takes only 1/100th of a second for its execution - that is the speed of a blink of an eye. There is no way an Uke would be able to resist at that speed. This is what a novice does not understand.
Uke creates the conditions for Nage to practice and study each technique.
It has to be a sincere, mutual understanding/agreement between partners.
Take the opportunity during practice to study each movement and each
technique, to make it a part of you. It is not an opportunity to compete
to see who is better or if a technique works. As Chang Shihan always
said to us, there is no theory in Aikido - all the techniques are natural,
practical and have the potential to be lethal. The paradox in learning
how to take good Ukemi is in the speed one eventually learns about each
technique just by being a good Uke. Learning how to take good Ukemi
strengthens the mind and body while making both flexible. It also improves
one's balance and courage. It makes Aikido practice safe, enriching,
dynamic and enjoyable. (Copyright June 2004: Rafael Oei)
©™ 2003 - 2004: OWH International - Ueshiba Aikido : All Rights Reserved