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What is your job as a Uke?

What is your job as a Uke? Are your punches and kicks real? And are you off the line of the attack?

Have you every been in your martial arts class and your Uke throws a punch that stop about 4 inches from your chest? And when you tried to do the technique that you saw the instructor do and it doesn't work at all. And you keeping asking yourself "What is wrong with my technique?" But the real problem is your Uke. The roll or job of the Uke is to make the punch, kick or situation as real as possible. That means that it should have some life to it. That does not mean all the time throwing punches fast! If you can not perform the technique at slow speed how can you do it when it real? Uke's mind set should be to save herself/himself when the opening presents it self or opportunity arises. That is being 100% alert, you can also call this "Zanshin" or keeping awareness.

This Zanshin has two parts.
One you should not fall just because you want to make him/her look good, this should never be the case! Because that person that uke trained with will get a false "reality" of a real fight.
You should also do ukemi.
Ukemi is to roll or do a breakfall without being injured.
Example, if your training partner does Koshi Nage you should land with out getting hurt. You spread the impact of the throw across your body when you land and not all in one spot. Ukemi should also be practiced and different envoirments instead of the dojo. Another side of ukemi is that if your trip on something you should able to do a roll out without harm. You can keep "Zanshin" in ukemi.
Let's use the Koshi Nage example again.
If you partner throw you in Koshi Nage you can look at your partner all the way through the throw to make sure he/she will not try to kick you while you are down.
Also if Uke has a "opening" to kick or punch while the technique is being done he/she should do so. This teaches two things, one it will teaches the uke to see the openings in a real confrontation and to strike when the impulse raises. The next thing it will teach Uke training partner is distance. You can not learn about distance with out getting hit. This is a part of training! You should not be afraid of getting hit.
It the same perspective in a knife fight, you should except getting cut in knife fight.

Angling should be a big part of every martial art. Angling off the attack gives you a huge advantage. When you angle off any attack you should be also ready to angle off any other attacks. That means if you angle off the first attack you should not be cross punch distance. The main advantage of angling is that it gives you the time and space to your attack to be very powerful, this also involve timing, not speed. When you start angling you can start controlling the attacker, getting attacker twisted in his/her movements. Also with this angling you should be ready to do any ukemi. Also when angle of the attack right you will see a lot of openings on the attacker and you be in a spot where you can attack.
Martial arts of today's world should be like a real fight not a TV fight. All this that I covered in this essay could happened in a split second, no matter art you practice.

Julius McGee

Black Judo Uniform

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Revised Last 1/09/08