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Yesterday (5/29/03) I woke up very sore around my arms and shoulders. My elbows were sore, my wrists were sore, my neck was stiff, and my shoulders hurt. I had a fair amount of pain throughout the day, but some rest and Ibuprofen seemed to help a bit. Still, I was worried about not being able to participate much in the evening's aikido class.
On Thursdays, I get to the dojo early and open it up for an open mat session prior to the regular class starting time. This way people come early, warm up, and work on some things that they need, or would like, to work on. As I was pretty sore, I decided that I needed a warm up to my warm up. I've found the aiki taiso exercises to be a very gentle way to get my body moving and ready for more strenuous work, so that's what I did last night. Surprisingly, most of the soreness left my body, and except for some residual achy-ness, I was able to participate fully in class.
One of the things I like about the aiki taiso exercises is that they provide a chance to work on fundamental body movement principles with direct application to technique. In other words, they are not just a warm-up. The thing is, I'm not sure what the origin of these exercises are and what their stated purpose is (besides the obvious one of teaching proper body movement). I'll have to do some research.