Bujinkan Uke and Tori

Some food for thoughts. The Uke and Tori relationship is most important in training. Everybody knows this saying. Let me share my experiences with this topic. Everything is my opinion, so it doesn´t have to be right or wrong, it just is how I feel about things.

I think, you have to understand sanshin no kata, to develop the right feeling for it. Basically, this is well connected to empathy. Something that is very natural in most of us humans. It’s about rhythm, distance and timing.

Do you know the person, or is it the first time you train together? In my case I always start slow with the techniques, especially if I train with somebody I don´t or hardly know. You don´t know how they move and how they react. Are they fit or injured etc.? Different body types, attitude and experiences, can change the whole feeling of the training.

If we both connect very well, automatically our rhythm will synchronize and with the right timing, we naturally will speed up, while maintaining the shown form and essence of the technique. If something doesn´t work out, as we thought, we can change in henka without injuring the other person. If this happens too often, both should understand, that they have to go slower again, to find out where the „errors“ are happening.

A good Uke, should show the Tori if his movements are correct. He should help Tori to get better. This doesn´t mean that he/she has to be nice about it. If the distance is not correct, if there are openings or Tori don´t get Ukes balance you have to let the Uke know. But show it with your taijutsu, not with your mouth. Some of the partners I trained with, just won´t shut up. Don´t be that kind of Uke that holds a monologue and how the technique should be done. There is a teacher there that can help und knows better what he/she has been showing you. At the same time, if you want to explain everything to your partner, doesn´t matter if it is correct or not, you rob him from his own research experience. We all like this good friend, who always spoils everything on a movie, don´t we?! Sadly, he doesn’t get invited to movie nights any more.

If you like to hear yourself talk, go to a discussion etc., but don´t do it in training. In my opinion it is ok, to just point out one thing out if your Tori asks you and the teacher is occupied somewhere else. „Something like, just push here a little more, move there and now you got my balance“ That’s all, and then again show the effect with your body. In this idea, the dojo is a nurturing environment, where we can grow together. Get rid of your ego and learn from each other. Enjoy training Roman