How to begin... so I guess when I started training and for a long time after, until only recently I suspect, I placed a lot of emphasis on the uke in terms of judging whether a technique went well or not. If uke fell through the air and did a text book breakfall it must have been a good throw etc I've started to realize that the effect on uke is only an outcome of the technique and not the goal itself.
I will try explaining this as best I can. If I have a lapel grab, and I step back with my left foot and turn side on, then rather than trying to get contact with uke's arm with my right arm, I instead reach up and try to touch the ceiling, my shoulder and my body breaks the grip, not force applied by me to uke. A kosh disarm, my left arm is over and under uke's attacking arm and my right hand grabs the kosh underneath. To break uke's grip I turn my hips and make a circle either toward the ceiling or at the least to the corner of the room. Again it is not force applied to uke it is about putting my body in certain positions. If I do a one handed ippon seionage and use my left hand to sweep the uke's rear leg, it is not the power of my hand against his leg which helps the throw to work it is the effect that driving my left hand back has in turning my upper body which helps the throw.
I believe Jitsu is about the tori and how tori uses body positioning, what happens or doesn't happen to the uke is an afterthought, or a symptom of the Jitsu itself.
Why am I saying all this I hear you ask? Why am I stating the obvious?
Its my belief that when we start a technique with our uke in mind it has a negative effect on what we are trying to achieve
Uke attacks - Tori wants to throw uke on the floor - Throw doesn't work - Tori really wants to throw uke on the floor - Tori uses strength, tori sacrifices straight back and posture, tori breathes in and tenses, tori works against jitsu principles to achieve putting uke on the floor
If tori starts a technique believing Jiu Jitsu is about the tori and not the uke, it is about the positions tori puts his/her body in, when the throw goes wrong they may think to themselves, what position do I need to put myself in for the throw to work or where do I need to move to in order to change the technique all together and adapt.
I'm not saying that simply by changing your outlook you'll never revert to strength again but when I constantly see students giving up principles because of their uke, or see backs curved because they are looking down at uke, or when I speed up a technique in order to throw someone heavier I have to question mine and their frame of mind.
This is certainly something I want to promote more when teaching, though it may just come off as some abstract point if communicated in the wrong way. I also think this fits in well with the new kata's currently being worked on as it's often been said that practicing jitsu on your own isn't the same as practicing a striking art, well actually if jitsu is all about the tori and jitsu principles then it should be just as easily practiced in a kata format with imaginary attackers.
Thoughts, opinions welcome!
Chuck Norris was originally cast as the main character in 24, but was replaced by the producers when he managed to kill every terrorist and save the day in 12 minutes and 37 seconds.