On Being Uke The partner who receives a technique in training, usually the person who initiates the attack and is then overcome, is referred to as uke. The uke has tremendous responsibility in the process of helping others to learn. The uke must be able to give his/her partner a realistic and convincing attack while remaining emotionally non-combative. He or She knows his attack is supposed to be neutralized or countered, and he must remain open and receptive to what his partner will do next. The uke must give his/her partner enough resistance to the technique so the partner must move correctly to execute it, yet the uke must also be able to flow along with his partner's movement when the technique is being applied correctly. In our training we avoid the kind of full-speed, full power free sparring used by the competitive martial arts. Our overall training methods makes it too dangerous. After an initial movement which may incorporate a strike, kick, grab, or deflection we follow through with an appropriate sequence of techniques. What makes those follow-up techniques appropriate is that instead of rigidly following a pre-arranged movement pattern, we respond to what actually occurs in the partner's movement when he has been struck. The only way to do this is to move our strikes completely through our partner's target area -- otherwise timing, distancing, angle and other movement factors will be unrealistic because the defending partner will be responding to an attack which could never have damaged him. At the same time, we don't want to injure our training friends. The solution at beginning levels of training is to use slow movement. This allows practitioners to focus through their partner's vital target areas without injury. It allows practitioners to focus through their partner's subtle factors in positioning, balance and weight-shifting, etc. As time passes and understanding increases, speed and intensity become possible with less risk. If beginning students train using speed and power without yet having learned to move correctly, they are only leaning how to be fast and strong, not how to protect themselves or others in a fight. Most people have good reflexes and speed, if they can learn to perform the techniques slowly, it will be easy to do them fast because their bodies will adjust to the difference automatically. If they haven't learned to move properly before bringing speed to the technique, then all they know is that they managed to do something somehow, without understanding how and why it worked. Success then becomes a matter of luck each time, not of skill.