Friday, January 26, 2007

Catching uke on the rebound

I have heard high-ranked rank examiners laughing that they can tell who has skill and who doesn’t by watching oshitaoshi (ikkyo to aikikai guys) alone. People that are very good at oshitaoshi hit the technique and uke drops straight down right then and there. Less skilled toris often have to run through uke and will take 15 or 20 feet to finally run their uke into the ground. And don’t think that either Tomiki or Aikikai guys are immune to this mistake – I’ve seen students of both ryuha do this. I’ve even heard aiki-detractors saying that aikido is not a good martial art in confined spaces because tori has to have these vast spaces in which to move. Nuts.

An interesting thing happens with oshitaoshi. When tori gets into position and bumps uke he puts some energy into uke and uke begins vibrating. Literally vibrating – like bumping a stick that is planted in the ground. Try this experiment – bump uke with oshitaoshi then let go and see doesn’t that arm flail about in space.

What tori does with this vibration is important. If tori has in his mind that oshitaoshi is supposed to look like pushing uke’s elbow through his head and into the ground then tori will actually damp uke’s vibe out, leaving him relatively motionless. Then tori’s only choices are to run uke down, crank him down, or drag him down. On the other hand, if tori follows the vibration of the arm – just moves wherever uke puts the arm in response to the bump – more often than not, uke drops like he was shot – right into position for the armbar.

So, oshitaoshi is more of a bump-and-follow thing than a shock-absorbing run-uke-down thing.

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