Uke and Nage share a training partnership--not a competition.
The uke attacks and the nage (or tori) defends. The senior student in a pair is nage first, unless directed otherwise. Typically, the uke will attack four times, changing side each time. The uke should attack in response to the stance (kamae), or target offered, of the nage. Nage should, for example, set up to invite and attack to the left side and then change sides for each subsequent attack. After four executions, uke and nage reverse roles, unless sensei has given a student instruction, in which case it is appropriate to take a couple more executions before trading roles. Force (strength and speed) of the attack should be appropriate to the nage's skill level and the stage of learning at which the nage is engaged.
The power of the nage's response should be appropriate to the uke's attack and to the uke's ukemi skills. Uke is practicing their martial art as fully as is the nage in defending. Both strive to maintain awareness of their center and balance. Uke must maintain a martial intent during the attack, trying to strike or control nage and keeping alert to the nage's countermeasures as well as to potential openings to resume attack or reassert control. Similarly for the nage. The degree of the uke 's active resistance to nage depends upon the uke-nage relationship and context. Uke goes from attack to defensive ukemi, taking a fall-when uke's balance is broken such that taking a fall is either unavoidable or the quickest way to renew the attack. Remain aware of your center, as well as the state of your partner's balance. You are responsible for your partners' safety, and the ultimate judgment of the quality of your art lies with those who have trained with you.
Instruction: The yudansha (blackbelts) running the class are responsible for your instruction; avoid instructing your training partners. You may tell your partner in brief how their technique (attack/defense) is experienced by you, especially if you find it endangering. You may remind them of something the instructor emphasized. However, dojo etiquette requires that we remain aware of relative rank and accord our partner appropriate deference. Beyond that, strive to demonstrate how the assigned technique can best be done. If the process of working through the technique isn’t going well, either partner should feel free to ask for an instructor’s help. Paired training is a time to get inside your body, embodying the four basic principles, feeling the timing of the blend and feeling what is working, or not. Too often talking gets in the way.
Injuries: Injuries do occur, although severe injuries are very rare. To reduce the occurrence of injuries, avoid getting into a competitive frame of mind. In the event of an injury, inform the instructor immediately. A kit should be on-hand for cleaning up small amounts of blood with hydrogen peroxide. Cleaning and bandaging of a minor wound should permit one to continue training. For sprains or contusions, ice, compression and elevation may be appropriate.
Hygiene in the Dojo: In the dojo, proper hygiene is one aspect of showing respect for others. Consider:
- Brushing your teeth before training, and/or using mouthwash.
- Bathing regularly and using deodorant judiciously.
- Washing your hands before training.
- Keeping finger & toenails trimmed to reduce injuries, both broken nails, scratches.
- Laundering your gi regularly; and hanging your gi to air out if you aren't washing it.
- Removing jewelry and avoiding wearing strong scents.
- Only walk on the tatami (matted surface) barefoot or in socks/tabi and weari zori or other footwear between the locker room and the tatami..