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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb AikiBlogs > Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai

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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 270 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 817,512

In General 05/10/07 - On Raising the Bar Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #226 New 05-14-2007 11:25 PM
...for myself, that is. [AikiWeb ate my journal entry! This was a post from last Thursday which, after slaving over it for a goodly amount of time, I lost when AikiWeb logged me out (I guess I took too long). I'm going to do my best to replicate what was originally written as much as possible. Consider this a word to the wise for my fellow AikiWeb bloggers: ALWAYS save your longer entries in another word processing program (ie. even Notepad will do) before submitting it, just in case, because you won't get it back if it doesn't submit properly. I used to be in the habit of doing this frequently (been burned in the past) but the one time (last Thursday)I decided to forego it, guess what happened? ]

So, some time ago I finished reading "Strength and Power Training for Martial Arts" by Martina Sprague --- ultimately, I found it a great overview of many easily-applicable conditioning techniques for all martial artists and as a result have been bringing some of the more overlooked concepts (ie. resistance training for the neck, plyometrics and bodyweight exercises) which the original strength training program designed specifically for me did not include. I think the only thing missing from Sprague's book was balance exercises --- something I've incorporated at the advice of a physiotherapist in the context of an old ankle injury --- which one would think invaluable to any martial artist. Otherwise, I felt it was a good general book regarding the benefits and application of conditioning principles specifically for MAs. As a complement, I highly recommend (and may have mentioned in the past) "Strength Training Anatomy" by Frederic Delavier for a more detailed graphical representation of weight training techniques (including descriptions of proper form, images of variations, and information on common injuries and how to prevent them).

Recently, I also finished reading "The Fighter's Body: An Owner's Manual - Your Guide to Diet, Nutrition, Exercise and Excellence in the Martial Arts" by Loren W. Christensen and Wim Demeere and found it extremely informative (though a lot of the more basic information was already known to me, I liked that a great many details were given as they pertain to martial artists specifically) --- I particularly appreciated the multitude of tips on applying this information to one's daily diet for those of us who have busy lives, as well as side information on nutrition for female martial artists. Just about the only thing missing for me was nutritional information for during pregnancy (though I am able to access this information from other sources, I thought it would have been a welcome addition to this book).

Currently on my nightstand: I'm in the middle of "The Science of Takedowns, Throws and Grappling for Self-Defense" and "Combat Fitness for the Elite Female Martial Artist" by Martina Sprague (next up will be "Fighting Science: The Laws of Physics for Martial Artists", also by Sprague) which I'll be reporting on when I'm done.

So, what's the point of all this? Some folks might wonder if I'm wasting my time. Naturally, none of this is at the expense of actual training --- on the contrary, this knowledge is a complement to it. The more I study, the more I find that there are far more advantages to conditioning than many Aikidoka choose to take advantage of...the same fundamental principles of conditioning as they apply to other athletes and martial artists apply just as well to practitioners of Aikido.

Those of you who know me well know that I have some rather lofty goals for myself when it comes to this art. And as such, I don't take my training lightly. To me, serious training and the study of a martial art is more than just a physical act --- it is a physical act that is informed, deliberate, and purposeful; it is a study in the full sense of the word. Which means continually questioning one's own progress and upping the ante constantly (the latter being an essential principle of resistance training) --- in doing so I intend to push myself as far as I possibly can in order to be the strongest Aikidoka I possibly can. Some folks might wonder where this all comes from. They'll assume that I've got something to prove. Funny how people will often say that about female martial artists above all. Well, I do have something to prove. It's just not to you. It's to me.

I grew up in a family where the appearance of achievement mattered more than the actual attainment of it. You never dared to question, you never dared to make mistakes, heck --- there was even a point when my mother discouraged me from "all the running around" I loved to do since childhood because it was just "not ladylike to sweat". The thing is, if you never stop to question, or even try new things and experience failure, you never learn. There are no such things as stupid questions. Dare to make mistakes! To push yourself to your limits physically means that you've got to sweat. A lot. I know I'm probably preaching to the converted, but this is where I've come from, such as it is.

The fact is, there are lots of Aikidoka who don't push themselves far enough. I know them. I've trained with them. They're the ones who avoid the harder, less familiar techniques and people who aren't easy to throw. They stick to what's familiar, what's comfortable, what looks good. And so they never grow. I simply refuse to be one of those people. Like Aikido itself, learning is dynamic, not static. Masakatsu Agatsu.

So yeah. They can laugh at 110-pound little me as I try to throw a 300-pound man. At least I'm trying. And you know what? One day I will, while they're still standing still.
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