“When my waza ends, your ukemi begins.”- Mutsuko Minegishi Shihan
Minegishi Shihan is very particular about the ukemi the uke takes, as she does not need ‘extra’ performance. Sometimes, as ukes, it is very, very difficult to sense when the fall is coming, and fall, when you are really falling. Sometimes, you fell becauase you think you cannot hold on anymore, only to realize that had you been a little more relaxed, and centred, you could follow the nage a little longer.
To follow the nage’s movement completely and totally requires a large dose of concentration and an even large dose of emptying of the mind. At any one point in time, you stiffen up, it meant the ego has returned, and when the ego returns to the uke, the complete surrender to the nage is lost and you will fall on your own accord, and not to the nage’s initiative.and that ukemi will be “your own perfornamce” as said by Minegishi Shihan.
And yet, as the uke, we are to attack, the nage, and that itself needs a certain degree to ‘role play’. We have to attack, and to attack, the uke has to harbor the employment of the ego. There is something that the uke wants from the nage, hence the attack. if there is an ego-less emptying of the mind in the part of the uke, there will be peace, and the waza is a waza of no waza.
Which is not the case, the case is that the uke has to attack, and then once the attack has been initiated and failed, upon a full and total absorption into the nage, the uke has to totally and completely surrender the ego. the self. and only then the fall will be executed in accordance to the waza.
That is to say that the nage, also has to surrender the ego, and be the waza. The tricky part here is, sometimes the uke’s attack is prompted by the nage. the tension can build, the nage knows what is expected of a nage and of course the uke’s role is just as clear. the tension will rise in the split second of the attack. and the skill of a good nage is to tip the action ever so gently, in the truest sense, it is the nage, the so-called ‘defender’ who nudge the uke, to attack, hence the nage can be the ‘attacker’ and hence blurring the distinction between the 2. And to do that prompting, the nage has to have a certain level of ego deployed as well.
But this is Aikido, two individual beings, with a separate and distinct ego, coming together for the technique and from the technique both will emerge a better person. One will learn to fall away, and the other will learn to let go and let no harm come to all parties.