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    Uke Tori and their roles in kata


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    Uke Tori and their roles in kata

    Post by noboru on Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:03 am

    Lot of budo has paired kata (kendo, kenjutsu, jodo, jojutsu, judo).

    Practicioners in judo have name Uke (attacker and receiver - attack opponent and receive throw or grapling technique from opponent), Tori (defender and taker - defend and take counter attack).

    In some kendo, kenjutsu, jojo, jojutsu use names - Uchidachi ((打太刀) means "striking/attacking sword"), Shidachi ( (受太刀) means "doing/receiving sword")

    In kendo, kenjutsu, jodo, jujutsu are their roles also refered to shidachi and uchidachi as student and teacher.

    Very nice explanation of these roles is in article Uchidachi & Shidachi by Nishioka Tsuneo - Shinto Muso ryu jojutsu teacher.
    "When an outsider watches kata, it appears that uchidachi loses and shidachi wins. This is intentional. But there's much more to it than that. Uchidachi must have the spirit of a nurturing parent. Uchidachi leads shidachi by providing a true attack; this allows shidachi to learn correct body displacement, combative distancing, proper spirit, and the perception of opportunity. A humble spirit is as necessary as correct technique for uchidachi. Deceit, arrogance, and a patronizing attitude must never be allowed in practice. Uchidachi's mission is vital. In the past, this role was only performed by senior practitioners who were capable of performing accurate technique and who possessed the right spirit and understanding of the role. Uchidachi must provide an example of clean, precise cutting lines and correct targeting, and must also convey focused intensity and an air of authority.

    If uchidachi is the parent or teacher, then shidachi is the child or disciple. The goal is to acquire the skills presented by uchidachi's technique. Unfortunately, students often act as though they want to test their skills against those of the higher-ranked uchidachi. They consider this competition to be their practice. In fact, this leads to neither better technique, nor greater spiritual development, because the correct relationship between uchidachi and shidachi has been obscured. It is the repetition of the techniques in this parent/child or senior/junior relationship that allows for the growth of the spirit through the practice of technique.

    The roles of uchidachi as senior and shidachi as junior are preserved regardless of the actual respective experience levels of the pair. Kata must be practiced so that trainees learn both to give and to receive. This is what makes technical improvement and spiritual development possible. Unfortunately, in jo practice, people sometimes think that they practice both roles merely to memorize the sequential movements of the two different weapons, tachi and jo. There are even some instructors who teach that the aim of Shinto Muso-ryu jojutsu is to learn how to defeat a sword with a stick. This is an error. If it continues, kata bujutsu may die out, because both the technique and the spirit of uchidachi will not improve.

    These days there are fewer people who can perform the role of uchidachi correctly. I believe that bujutsu evolved into budo only by maintaining the idea of uchidachi and shidachi. This idea is a fundamental characteristic of the classical bujutsu. Although the Japanese arts, such as kenjutsu, iaijutsu, and jojutsu, have been transformed from "jutsu" into "do," if the proper roles in training are not preserved, the "do" arts will veer off in the wrong direction. Obviously, there is a difference between attempting to preserve the proper distinction between uchidachi and shidachi yet not achieving perfection, and a complete lack of effort or understanding about the distinction. The existence of the intent or the quality of the intent is manifested in daily practice and actions. Those who have the eyes and experience to see can tell the difference.

    However, my concern is that these days fewer people understand this concept. In the future there will be fewer still. People seem no longer to recognize that the existence of uchidachi and shidachi is the essence of budo training.

    All things considered, I am convinced that the most important things I have learned from Shinto Muso-ryu and Shimizu Takaji Sensei are the roles of uchidachi and shidachi in kata. There is no way to transmit the kata of the Japanese classical traditions without a proper understanding of this spirit of giving and receiving. It is not right for seniors in the uchidachi role to mistreat, bully, or torment their juniors. On the contrary, their job is to guide and educate. In the same sense, it is also terrible to see shidachi assume an attitude that is essentially patricidal, and attempt to destroy the uchidachi. I can only say that such a spirit should never exist.

    Shimizu Sensei always said, "You must train with me" [i.e. directly with your own teacher]. He constantly took the role of uchidachi. Even with beginners, he never relaxed his attention. He was always serious with everyone. He was never arrogant and never lorded it over another person. I believe that this attitude is the most important teaching of kata bujutsu, and Shimizu Sensei's training was a wonderful example. This spirit is difficult to nurture, not only in jojutsu but in other situations as well. It is entirely different from a senior student or teacher showing off his skills to his juniors by treating them with arrogance and condescension. It is so easy to become trapped in a cycle of interaction that causes shidachi to react by attempting to compete with uchidachi. The guidance of a master teacher is absolutely essential to avoid this situation.

    Uchidachi teaches shidachi by sacrificing himself, training as if he were going to be killed at any moment; this self-sacrifice embodies the spirit of teachers and parents. Kata training is of no use without understanding this. It is this spirit that allows shidachi to grow and polish his or her own spirit. Kata bujutsu teaches neither victory nor defeat, but rather how to nurture others and pull them to a higher level. That is budo.

    I earnestly hope that everyone, particularly those who practice jojutsu, remember this axiom: "Do not be jubilant in victory; do not become servile in defeat. Lose with dignity." This is the spirit we must emulate."

    Do you meet or heard about this in judo? Uke as teacher (or practicioner with highest skill), Tori pupil (or practicioner with lowest skill)?

    If I try to explain or teach any point in judo, so I do Uke (not in kata - I not teach the kata, my experiences are very small. But I try to learn them more and better). Me as Uke I can create right conditions or right sense/feeling for Tori. I found that it is effective how teach to it.

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    Re: Uke Tori and their roles in kata

    Post by noboru on Thu Apr 21, 2016 12:38 am

    Jigoro Kano on the old videos with his Koshiki-no-kata enbu is as Tori.

    I spoke about roles in kata with european Tenjin-shinyo-ryu practicioner from England.

    He told me his experiences in his ryuha. When is enbu - Master is as Tori, but during teaching is Master as Uke.

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    Re: Uke Tori and their roles in kata

    Post by Udon on Thu Apr 21, 2016 1:10 am

    Interesting point.
    Thank you.

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    Re: Uke Tori and their roles in kata

    Post by Y-Chromosome on Thu May 05, 2016 4:01 am

    I have definitely heard about this in judo where it is recommended that uke be the more senior of the pair. In practice it does not always work out this way, but there are good reasons for doing it.

    In most judo kata, it is uke who initiates the action and sets the pace. If uke's actions are incorrect, the whole kata is off.
    I have seen instructors who insist on being their student's partners for grading exams. To be sure, this gives the instructor more control over the situation and can help ensure a students chances aren't harmed by a fault with uke, although one must take other factors into account. For instance, whether or not the instructor is an appropriate physical match for Tori.
    On at least one occasion, the grading board had some sharp words for an instructor, a 95 kg man who had partnered himself with his student, a 65 kg woman, for Nage no Kata.

    Even with beginner's I see problems when Uke does not fulfill their role. A typical example is De-ashi-barai. If uke anticipates the technique and either stops walking or plants their foot, tori's technique will fail. I sometimes need to take time to train the students to properly be uke to ensure the training can proceed. I will point out that techniques require a certain situation in order to succeed. If uke does not create that situation, then technique would not be appropriate and another technique would be used.

    When it comes to kata, if Sensei is not serving as Uke, he must certainly spend time ensuring that uke fully understands their role. What are uke's intentions and initial attack, how does uke respond tori's initial reactions and how does uke fall? In nage no kata there are multiple learning threads and uke must take away lessons from his failed attacks which are then applied to his intentions during subsequent attacks. This requires more than a superficial understanding of the kata on uke's part if the details are to come through.

    When teaching kata, I'll frequently step in as uke, to illustrate certain points. Certainly a lot quicker than trying to verbally correct uke six times to get him to do what he needs to do before you can even start to look at tori's technique.

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