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The Misunderstanding Uke
by Sensei Natasha Hadwick
(Bognor Regis, West Sussex UK)
When male students resist my techniques, to try and make me look bad, so I cannot apply the move, they think it is funny. I would rather not hurt someone that is resisting, therefore I accept that I look weak.
Things like this may happen because I’m a woman, or maybe because they want to test every technique they train in every class.
But training like this is silly, because if you believe the techniques you are being taught week in week out are not going to work, why keep attending the classes?
Trust your Sensei that the techniques work.
With most of the moves we practice, we would atemi to the face as soon as we are attacked, as a distraction while we apply a technique, to take the balance and control uke.
When we are practicing, if uke does not act as if they have been hit with the atemi, this is not a true result of the technique. It also wastes everyone’s time.
Aikido is like a play or a dance. You must take a turn to win humbly and take a turn to lose gracefully. You must learn the moves to affect your uke without hurting them and learn the moves as an uke so you do not get hurt.
Between tori and uke there should be a light tension to keep the technique moving right through to the end. Uke must become like water, changing shape to flow with tori and not against them.
Women can make wonderful uke's.
I have found when I am uke I try to understand the point tori is trying to make, and then I can react accordingly. Sometimes this can be misunderstood but not often as I’m lucky enough to have family as Sensei’s/tori.
Therefore the in depth relationship means I can read what is required a little better. Mostly it is common sense but having a good relationship and getting to know your Sensei could be paramount to your success in Aikido.
Until you have knowledge of different types of attacks, you may not be asked to be uke in sensei’s demonstrations.
I have found, at the Arun Aikido Club, that if you’re attentive, supple, react appropriately you will be asked to be an uke for sensei.
This is certainly considered a privilege.
Sensei Natasha Hadwick
Arun Aikido Club