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#170728 - 07/24/05 09:00 AM Too tense of an opponent
Duce Offline
Newbie

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 11
I tried to practice my Aikido with a friend and instead of going with the technique he tensed up and it was hard to do it at all. I'm just a beginner, but what do you do in those situations? Let go and back off? Wait for something else to present itself?

I've heard a lot of people talk and even read some forums that doubt Aikido as a real street defense. I highly doubt it because it does seem to work, but what about this?

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#170729 - 07/24/05 04:05 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Duce]
Canyon Offline
Member

Registered: 06/29/05
Posts: 42
Hi Duce,
After a lot of practice I've actually found it to be easier to do a lot to techniques when your opponent is tense; they're balance is often much easier to break. But this takes some time to develop.
Find someone who will safetly train with you. Let them grab you really really hard and tense. Then you relax as much as possible. No very slowly feel your way through the technique. If you feel yourself tensing up or not taking your opponent's balance, stop, relax, and feel your way through again. Concentration on keeping extension, and all the other basics.

The other thing to remember if that if someone's really tense, you will have to pick you technique based on their posture, momentum, etc. For example if they are learning really far forward, instead of doing an iriminage and trying to lift them all the way back up again, keep them going forward with a kaitenage.

My last piece of input is this: You can learn how to throw a decent kick or punch in a couple of days (Note that I didn't say master). It takes much more training to learn to evade, keep extension, focusing on balance, and proper maai. However, all of these things are necessary to properly execute any aikido technique. Thus a karatedoka with 1 year of training will look (and probably is) much more effective than an aikidoka with 1 year of training. I think people look at this and say that aikido is ineffective when it seems like much more of learning curve difference. Let the same two karatedoka and aikidoka meet again in another 5 years and you may have a different story.

Good luck and keep training.

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#170730 - 07/24/05 08:53 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Canyon]
Duce Offline
Newbie

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 11
Yeah, I went to maybe like four classes and I'm still sloppy as hell, so with this, I was just wondering. The learning curve is a pain. It all looks so easy, out of a book, or even in a video. But once you hit the mat and you're like the most inexperienced person out there you feel really on the outside. I mean, I have some people at the Dojo that won't really want to be my partner. I'm highly dedicated though, and I practice as much as an Aikidoka can off the mat with no partner.

I almost feel like changing Dojos anyway because it's like they're teaching me how to disarm a guy with a knife and I'm sure that's a little more advance, is it not? I know again, I'm the odd man out, just starting this class and all, but really, why can't I learn more of the basics, or why can't they break down these more advance techniques more?

I don't know, I'm sticking with it regardless, but how much should you be open to before you really question the dojo?

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#170731 - 07/24/05 08:58 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Duce]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Tensing up and going rigid is a completely natural thing to do. From a defensive perspective, it is a weak strategy. The likely response to someone tensing up would be to obviously "soften" them up, using an atemi to create movement.

Since you say you are a beginner, I would suggest focusing more on your own posture and body mechanics than worrying about the "self-defense" aspect. The "self-defense" aspects and applications will come much later. Get your own body mechanics right first. This is kihon-waza. Basics. You need to master the basic building blocks before the rest can fall in place.

More practice.

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#170732 - 07/24/05 09:10 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: eyrie]
Duce Offline
Newbie

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 11
That's what I'm saying though, it's like they won't teach me the basics again, and I'm working on them, for the most part, but still, I do NEED to go over them. But no, they'd rather throw techniques at me that require serveral steps that I'll botch because of a few minor things and then they won't tell me how to do my foot work with my hip movement. So then I do the foot work right and not the hip movement. Or I do the hip movement right the next time and then my foot work isn't right. It's frustrating.... I mean, at this
KI Socitey Dojo that's a little further out they atleast went over the basics more. Like I just now learned how to break fall backwards and to the sides a bit. I'm still learning them. And this is my fourth class... Again, is that right?

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#170733 - 07/24/05 09:41 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Duce]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
Sounds like you need to learn how to crawl before you can run. Talk to your instructor first. Otherwise, sounds like you're better off with the other mob.

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#170734 - 07/24/05 09:47 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Duce]
Canyon Offline
Member

Registered: 06/29/05
Posts: 42
First things first. You've only had 4 classes. Give it some time before you jump ship. If you're worried about your school you can always post and see if anyone knows anything about it.

Basically in your first few classes don't worry about having your feet right or whether you should be pushing with your feet or your hips, other technical questions, etc. Primarily focus on relaxing and trying to feel what your partner is doing. If they are a good uke and know you're a beginner they should be guiding your body for you and helping you set up correctly for falls. They should also be spending some time with you on falls. If not, mention to a higher student that you'd like to be able to take falls/rolls and they should get you going.

So even if they're going over what seems like a rather complicated technique with a lot of steps, don't worry about the technique and focus on the feeling. You'll have plenty of time to eventually learn the steps later. I hope that helps.

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#170735 - 07/24/05 10:55 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Duce]
Diga Offline
Member

Registered: 04/15/05
Posts: 209
Loc: Hoodsport, Washington
Duce.
Like someone mentioned earlier Aikido does take quite a bit longer to get much in the way of technique than most of the other arts.
It is too bad that nobody in your class seems willing to back down from their machoness enough to help you with basics but as long as you are not getting injured from it, it will be good to have more advanced people to work with when you do get some basics down.

My advice to you with this situation is to work first on learning how to go down and recover, faceing them and standing ready for whatever they have next to offer.

In my Aikido class we spent the first 30 min. or so doing a warm up set that actually was teaching the basics like side stepping, spinning, dropping like a sack of potatos, wrist flexing, rolling backward and forward, diveing rolls, etc. If they aren't even doing that then I would go for the other class atleast for a year or so. Then try going back to the more advanced one.
BUT if they are showing you how not to be afraid of the mat, then you are actually learning more than you are giving yourself credit for.
Don't let it get you down so soon. It does take a while to get comfortable with it and you will find a few if not all in the class that will work with you after you show some dedication. Stay happy about whatever they offer and thank them sincerely for whatever they hand you.

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#170736 - 07/24/05 11:56 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Duce]
Intrepidinv1 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 308
Loc: NC, USA
Duce there are a lot of variables here but one thing you have to keep in mind is that your exercise is not like the real deal. You have to decide what you really want out of your martial arts training. I think if you really want to learn to defend yourself for potential self defense then you should consider a more street oriented method of training. Aikido has a lot to offer and is very challenging but, in my opinion, it is not the best art to start off with if you're trying to learn practical martial arts. It's your decision.

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#170737 - 07/25/05 12:05 AM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Duce]
Intrepidinv1 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/20/05
Posts: 308
Loc: NC, USA
Duce, please see my story under self defense stories concerning "testing your art" I made some additional comments there that might help you in the future concerning this topic.

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#170738 - 07/25/05 11:29 AM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Intrepidinv1]
Duce Offline
Newbie

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 11
Alright, and thanks everyone. I know the basics of stance, turning, and some break falls. I know some basic techniques, but again, I'm like the odd man out. I know how to do a forward breakfall, sideways ones, but that's it. I'll check out that post though and I'll stick with it. I heard it takes years to get and now I can see why.

Again though, thanks for the input.

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#170739 - 07/31/05 07:36 PM Re: Too tense of an opponent [Re: Duce]
AttorneyJohn Offline
Newbie

Registered: 07/31/05
Posts: 14
Loc: Houston Texas
What happens with a tense opponent is that the guy is taking away the technique that you set out to do, so you should do a different technique. But, since you're just starting out, you don't know that many, or have them ingrained in you to flow easily from one to the other. That takes a long timne, so don't be discouraged. Eventually, the tense opponent becomes the easiest one to deal with. Trust your instructor.

The opponent to truly fear is the one who remains completely relaxed an on balance during the entire confrontation, even if it is just a friendly exchange of playacting blows, techniques and manipulations, or throws. That guy is VERY dangerous....

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