Being and ‘uke’ loosely means ‘receiving the attack’. And yet in Aikido, we are so fond of seeing the uke as the attacker and not the one receiving the attack. so what is happening here?
I got this epiphany reading this book, “Transparent Power” by Tatsuo Kimura. who wrote in his book about his sensei, Yukiyoshi Sagawa. Sagawa was a direct disciple of Takeda Sokaku, who also taught Ueshiba sensei. What Ueshiba sensei took, he developed Aikido, what Sagawa sensei took, he kept it Daitoryu-aiki-jiujitstu.
The whole point here is not to discourse about the styles, but what i read in the book and Kimura felt when he trained with Sagawa, which is something i can understand. When Kimura held his sensei’s hand, he can feel his energy being nullified. there was no energy, no power from Sagawa for Kimura to react to.
This was where i understood the dynamics in an art as different as Aikido. Question, why we choose the sensei we choose to train with? Aikido is Aikido, come one, anyone well trained in Aikido can do a decent tenkan, or other Aikido techniques.
Its the direct transmission.
Kimura felt it when he was thrown by Sagawa sensei, and Kimura’s technique got better from the throwing he got from his sensei. There was something else that Kimura got other than the throw. Something was being transmitted from Sagawa to Kimura in the process of the movement. This is something that words, nor books can describe.
I learned a lot from holding Harry sensei’s hand, from there the training is direct, no room for misinterpretation. It is absolute. You hold his hands, and if he can do it, he can do it, there is no pretense. not in his part, neither in mine. from there, he gets his learning and get mine. In that interaction, both Harry sensei and I gained, and learned.
So being his uke, receiving his attack, i received a lot more than an attack, i received his learning, and his experience, with that it is in the purest for of learning. Every time i ‘attack’ Harry sensei as an uke, i receive a lot more than i gave him.
This kind of transmission is of course differs from one another, which is why we stayed and strayed from sensei to sensei. that human to human chemistry which our sensei trained so hard to perfect, can only be passed on to the other person through touch. It takes years, and decades, some even say several lifetimes to reach his state of connection.
And when it is our turn to share it with our juniors, they too will be at the receiving end of what we have learned, and that is a case for another whole new level of learning.