Uke is Tori…

…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


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