Because they see a martial art unlike others? The circular movement and ease that the defender (tori) executes their defence through blending. This undoubtedly strikes a chord but there are many and varied reasons. However I am not putting pen to paper to explore that but wishing to look at the uke's role.
The uke role is very important in giving the tori an attack with sincerity. In training to learn defence you have to have confidence in your uke to be honest. Honest so an attack is not aggressive nor uncontrolled but that's not to say if you don't move - it will hurt.
And there is the core of why I am writing - if there is no honesty and therefore no attack or a weak and ineffective one - how can one learn aikido or demonstrate its power? Trust me watching videos or demos these ukes are not falling down to show their sensei off. What they are doing is delivering energy in an attack for the tori to work with.
If there is no energy then there is no attack. Making it difficult to actually do aikido. Learning and improving will be hampered.
This brings me back to my opening comments it's not easy.
Learning blending and moving is so important with sincerity of attacks.
When the points that impressed us when we took up aikido aren't now being replicated in practise? Remember basic is just that - extend yourself and that of your partner with more sincerity. Don't become a aikibot - programmed to fall over.
Learn not just the tori role but that of a uke as well.
Andrew Baird (published January 2014)
Why are people attracted to Aikido and the principle of circular movement? Emphasis on the word movement and when they have learnt the basis of the technique – don't then move.
Why do people grasp the unbendable arm demonstration and marvel at it and then act surprised when they say you shouldn't have been able to that within a technique. (Of course I wasn't testing you and being difficult!)
Why do students like teaching Dan Grades? Well for the answer to that one I was struck by reading an article from Aikido Journal.
It was entitled "5th Kyu Shihans" and brought a smile to my face. The writer suggests it's affliction and gives a guide to symptoms to help you make a diagnosis. Are you ill?
Andrew Baird published 2016
Letter that - Could have been received by the Editor
(A tongue in cheek follow-up to the article "Why" in the last edition)
1. I have seen an attack done two ways with differing foot forward and not sure which is correct?
I also mention:
2. Hand positions seeing different position of the hands during a technique.
3. Immobilisations - Finishes I have seen it done two different ways.
4. Throws – I have seen a move based on shomen movement and then seen it done based on kesa.
5. I have further doubts as sometimes the same defensive techniques are direct and sometimes are turning.
1. Well remember Aikido has at its core a martial art and you can't ask your attacker on the street to come a different way!
5. I think you are referring to omote and ura these are variations to the attack according to its speed and force.
3. There may be more than one way.
2 & 4 I think it might be just a differing take to equip you with more options for blending some work better than others but it depends on both the attack and the uke.
Can I refer you to the "Why" article published in the last Newsletter. You may also need a diagnosis.
Different Sensei's have differing views of moves and the detail and the differing forms may remain correct to core principles that characterise Aikido. There are some important elements: blending smoothly, when to stay on the centre line or off it, taking balance and keeping it, keeping movement in your uke i.e. not to walk round the attacker, maai and then there is zanshin & breathing.
Of course your Sensei is guiding you on your journey and asking you to try. To question em?! You need to lay the foundations by trying to do what you are being taught. After all you started the class – by saying "Onegai shimasu" (Please teach me)
Remember their Aikido won't be your Aikido ultimately but you need to develop a broad base – variations help in this aim to develop flowing and flexibility and diversity
Andrew Baird Trafford Aikido