“Thirty-nine years ago, I was practicing in the Aikido club at the University of California at Berkeley. I was a new fourth kyu, and I remember looking at my partner and saying: “I know that I’m supposed to go along with you when you attack, but I don’t know what to go along with.” Since then, one element I have focused on in my AikidoÊ practice is sensing what uke is actually doing as she or he attacks.
The simple names of the various attacks don’t reflect the range of subtle differences in the actual ways that uke can move. We call one attack katatetori, but an actual, specific wrist grab may push forward or twist backward, or bear down or lift up, and so on and on. Katatetori is not just one attack. The label covers a wide range of similar attacks. One way of practicing is to see how a single defense technique might work against many different wrist grabs. Another way of practicing is to see how many defense techniques are required to actually go along with all the subtly unique attacks that are possible.”
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