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What Is the Role of Uke in Aikido?

Learn what the role of uke, or partner, is in aikido from the instructors at The New York Aikikai in this Howcast aikido video.


OK, some of the most common concerns or worries that I hear expressed about Ikito [sp ?] is in the role of Ukay [sp ?]. So in our relationship, I'm Nagay [sp ?] or the person that's performing the technique and throwing. Ukay is the person receiving the technique or is going to be doing Ukenny [sp ?] which is the act of falling. So, in one of the most basic demonstrations that we can see from Yakuhami Kata de tori [sp ?] is the basic opening of tino heiko [sp ?] so I curl the wrist in tenkan [sp ?]. My partner stays closely attached and moves close to me. He ends up being in a fairly disadvantageous position. A lot of people ask 'why is he going to follow?' Well first off, as the attacker you're grabbing my hand because I'm a potential threat to you or maybe I'm a target that you want to strike. If I just pull away and let that hand get away then you've kind of failed your role as the attacker. In this specific type of movement, as I tenkan and move by, my Ukay is going to keep a good solid connection with the hand. If he does not and decides to stand there and let me slip away, that's when I become dangerous. in the role of Ukenny, the closer you are to me, I can't hit, no matter how hard I try and thrust, he's connected. The throw happens in our body. If he gives me room and pulls away, that strike becomes much more dangerous than it would have if you'd stayed connected. Some of the other techniques, you might wonder why our partners flip and fly all over the place. Well, we're going to do that to protect ourselves from Ikito like I've mentioned before. So basic technique like Kodaguishi [sp ?], you wonder, you see people flip all the way over. Why would somebody flip and fly? Well, if you don't, if you just stand there and let that happen and try to stay stable, a large section of your arm is in quite a bit of danger so you want to allow yourself to move comfortably and flexibly and follow your own body. So stay connected. Once you've created a connection, keep that connection. Stay close so that I don't have room to strike you and move comfortably. Stay connected and don't try to fight the technique. Stay connected, stay loose, stay comfortable and protect your body from Ikito.

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