The Role of Uke

The term “Uke” (pronounced ooo-kay) refers to the aikidoist who, during training, attacks his partner and  “receives” the technique, being thrown, pinned, or otherwise dealt with through an Aikido move.

The art of being a good Uke is called Ukemi.

Since we work in pairs during practice, each of us spends 50% of his/her time as Uke.

The role of Uke is a critical part of Aikido — just as important as Nage (the person doing the technique). The Uke must deliver a sincere attack, taking into account the skill level of his/her training partner, as this allows the partner to improve in the technique. Even when delivering an attack at half-speed or slower, the intent must be there, in order for Nage to have something to work with.

Learning to be a good Uke is just as challenging as anything else in Aikido. As Uke, you not only give your partner a realistic situation with which to work on techniques, but you give yourself the opportunity to learn the technique from the “other side”. In addition, as Uke, you learn to protect yourself from injury from Aikido techniques.

This week I found an excellent article on the role of Uke on Aikiweb. Shiba Sensei recommends that all our members read the opening post in this thread, by George Ledyard.

After reading this, if you have questions about it, please ask Shiba Sensei to clear things up.