What is our idea of a perfect uke? One who does not resist, one who does not fake a fall, one who does not make things difficult for you, one who does not make your technique look like an ass, the perfect uke also does not, exist.
I had this conversation with Cristian this evening after class, and he shared with me how difficult it is training with uke who is not, in a way, ‘up to standard’. Well, truth to the matter is, I know what a ‘good’ uke is like, some one who can read your move, and move with you when you are moving the uke, and the uke is skilled enough to offer that ‘right’ amount of resistance, so that you can feel the resistance and learn from it. A ‘good’ uke can point out your weakness accurately, and correct your mistakes even when you think there is none. Usually, such uke is someone who is more senior than you in grade and clocked in more years of training than you, but as you go up the grade, where else can you find such ukes?
I learned that we all have our expectations, on how our waza should end, nicely, with a desired effect. And when our uke fumbled, we are too quick to point out, well perhaps the uke wasn’t reading my move right, or for self reproaching chums like me, I’d think it is my fault that the uke is not able to follow, being an uke or nage, I end up being too full of myself, and let myself poison the function of an uke or a nage.
I share with him that, even with the uke’s best intentions, to help us the best they can so that we end up looking like damn good nage, and our technique look picture perfect, we will still screw up. Because even with the best intentions, that best intention is not in our best interest. Actually, no one gives a damn about you, as a nage being skilled in your technique. The uke is only concerned with himself/herself looking good as an uke.
In my humble opinion, our job as nage is to facilitate the uke’s ability to function as a uke. And of course an uke to help our nage in functioning as a nage. Which means we have each others safety at heart, only when the uke can feel safe, can the uke does what a uke is supposed to do. Let the uke do what a uke is supposed to do and you will have a very enjoyable uke to train with. Not perfect, but i can live with enjoyable.