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Agency in Ukemi

There are what can be called problematic key concepts in Aikido ukemi, concepts that have only recently become key. These are concepts such as "following" and "soft landings." But, these are concepts born out of a degenerated Aikido. They are the result of two ways the art has been corrupted via what can only be called a lack of skill: 1. The absence of Aiki, and, 2. The absence of Kuzushi.

Without Aiki, without actual physical adhesion, without Nage being able to actually generate a communion of matter and energy, the modern substitution of "connection" has come into play. The role of connection has for the most part become Uke's responsibility. Such an Uke is thereupon tasked to act and to move as if Nage can actually generate and utilize Aiki. Such an Uke is thereupon tasked with "following" Nage. Relatedly, the absence of Aiki can only allow for a Kuzushi that is generated via a Yang/Yang clash or it necessitates the absence of Kuzushi altogether. It is the latter that is more commonly observed, and it is the latter that structurally reinforces the degenerated task of "following." How? For it is only the balanced Uke that can follow, and the Uke who does not follow only reveals the absence of Aiki.

Ukemi has become so much of a dressage pony trick for so many, and this trick supports and is supported by the absence of skill in Aiki and in Kuzushi. So used to this contriving artificiality have the masses of aikidoka become that many can no longer recognize the Uke who remains in balance (no Kuzushi) or what bodies look like when they are thrown for real, and thus they do not recognize the needful connection between soft landings, balance, and assigning Uke to follow Nage. In Kihon Waza, outside of learning curves, and outside of the initial prescribed energy, anything your Uke does is a failing across both sides of the Nage/Uke dynamic.


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