…But I learned from Kobayashi Shihan: “Uke is Tori“. This means:
- Being more in control of Tori through your ukemi. When you can do really good ukemi, then your partner can perform Tori more securely: and in this way you can support your partner as they practise Tori.
- Uke becomes Tori. After your ukemi you can quickly react and with Kaeshi-waza slip into the rôle of Tori. For this reason, when I was a student, I used to be uke over and over again – and that’s how I got my nickname: “Ukemoto” instead of Kunimoto.
- At the time that I was teaching Aikido in Kodera, Kobayashi Shihan used to teach the way to “improve your waza by taking ukemi. “ If you take the opportunity to learn not just by watching, but by taking ukemi – thus through direct physical contact – this is how you will best come to understand the techniques. I was always very happy to be [Kobayashi] Shihan’s uke.
Train diligently, and take to heart these benefits of practising as uke.
- – - Yasuhiko Kunimoto, in Bu-Iku: Ritterlichkeits-Erziehung, tr. Kiyoko Furumoto, p.52