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Mike Sigman
03-17-2006, 02:20 PM
How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to
exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move
correctly'"?

Thanks for any commentary.


Mike Sigman

justin
03-17-2006, 02:36 PM
not sure about that i hit that point last night and just felt like being sick and leaving the mat

Adman
03-17-2006, 02:40 PM
I would rather be fresh, but warmed-up (not exhausted) if I wanted to work specifically on mechanics. Then, I might keep going until I'm exhausted, if I want to get in a work-out.

thanks,
Adam

Karen Wolek
03-17-2006, 02:44 PM
In the advanced/freestyle class, we all tend to end up completely exhausted toward the end (except Sensei, somehow, hm....). Sensei wants us to work on specific things then, but I'm usually too tired to remember what. <grin>

Staying grounded, breathing, keeping your center, I think. Breathing, especially, for me.

And yes, I suppose you can't rely on muscling uke when you are too tired to move.

Adman
03-17-2006, 02:46 PM
I forgot to add that if I wanted to work on movement for my normal, everyday life, I wouldn't want to train while exhausted. If I wanted to work on good movement for an exhausted state, then of course I would do that. It sort of depends. Make sense?

Michael Douglas
03-17-2006, 02:50 PM
No, in my experience, in learning ANY skill
my brain and body learn well when fresh,
and learn junk when I am exhausted.

Exhaustion triggers our body to recover and
get fitter,
and can teach our brains to keep everything
going on willpower and guts.

Both fitness and guts are important, but in
a short fight you may well come out on top with
skills and luck.

Mashu
03-17-2006, 02:55 PM
I've known people who come to keiko from their workout or their daily run in order to be exhausted and relaxed so that they cannot muscle techniques. I've tried it myself and while it may be true that the inability to compensate with muscle power seemed to make it easier to find and feel the correct way in a technique it certainly didn't guarantee it and at times allowed me to find new ways to fudge waza.

bratzo_barrena
03-17-2006, 03:03 PM
[QUOTE=Mike Sigman]How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move correctly'"?[QUOTE=Mike Sigman]

you surely will get tired, not necessarilly will move correctly.
About the use of muscles, as in 'we don't use muscles in AIKIDO', is incorrect. Just to stand straight we need to use our muscles, so to move and perform techniques we need to use our muscles. But the minimum amount of 'muscle force/effort' NECESSARY to perform the desired movement.
Once you get tired, really exhausted, usually you won't be able to 'think' what you're going to do, you just react by reflex. Becase your mind can't focus on an specific response, you're movements become more reflexive, and respond more to muscle memory than to the thought. This doesn't mean that you will move correctly, because if the movements you learned are wrong, your reflexive response will be wront too.
Now, an advance Aikidoka doesn't need to get exhausted to achieve this degree of reflexive/correct response. After proper training/time this intiutive/refelxive response should be possible at any moment, even when one is fresh and rested.

Tennessee Mike
03-17-2006, 05:02 PM
I don't think that tiring your body before practice makes you any more receptive to anything but building stamina and focus. It would seem to me that being tired adds another distraction to building the awareness of what we are learning. Repetition builds muscle memory and guided trial and error provides for learning aiki.

Having a background in instructional design, I might suggest analyzing the techniques. Look for the essential principles and motion elements. Attempt to prevent bad habits before they start. Maybe the principles and motions can be taught independently so that the forms become less complicated for the learner. I understand some martial arts have square forms that round and flow as the student progresses.

This view is given to the more experienced to contemplate.

Lyle Bogin
03-17-2006, 05:42 PM
I have trained that way many times. Mostly it made me sick, and perhaps a little crazy.

tarik
03-17-2006, 06:18 PM
How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move
correctly'"?

Thanks for any commentary.

I used to buy into the idea and I have certainly experienced training while exhausted as helpful. However, this was because I had an inkling of what correct, efficient movement was already and made the deliberate effort to find it when I became exhausted.

An inability to 'cheat' and use brute strength can be useful.

Now, I'm more of the belief that you must first learn enough about how to move correctly to perform at least the basics of correct movement before such a thing might truly be helpful.

What comes out when exhausted AND under pressure is often a reflection of what we have trained into our bodies as reflexive movements, and that is certainly helpful knowledge, but I don't really believe that this is the right tool to get us there.

Tarik

crbateman
03-17-2006, 09:16 PM
I don't know about being exhausted for keiko (just getting up from the mat could be a chore) but I do know many who are of the opinion that meditation at the point of utter exhaustion is the way to go. Personally, I haven't made up my mind.

SeiserL
03-17-2006, 11:38 PM
IMHO, exhaustion only makes me sloppy and dangerous to myself and everyone I work out with. There are more productive and constructive ways to move correctly.

Just because its old doesn't mean its accurate. If that were the case I would be right more often.

I do believe it trains some sense of mental and physical toughness. The old "when you don't have anything left, show me what you got" idea.

Mike Sigman
03-18-2006, 08:27 AM
Does getting exhausted add to or subtract from our efforts to add the "Divine Will",i.e., the "intent" to our movements?

FWIW

Mike

SeiserL
03-18-2006, 01:15 PM
Does getting exhausted add to or subtract from our efforts to add the "Divine Will",i.e., the "intent" to our movements?
IMHO, getting exhausted to learn correct movement or to add divine will/intent is like finding enlightenment through isolation or boring the mind into alphas-state, it seldom generalizes to the state-specifics of normal everyday consciousness or practice.

xuzen
03-19-2006, 10:20 PM
How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move correctly'"? Thanks for any commentary. Mike Sigman

During our jiyu waza training, especially when my sensei is having his evil streak... he will let us do continuous jiyu waza, i.e., shite/tori remain the same, but we keep changing the uke. Sometimes up to four uke against one shite.

In my own experience, when I am at my most exhausted, I can myself the clearest. My movement naturally becomes more economical, and I subconsciously use simple technique, mainly of the atemi-waza type.

I also tend to move smarter, e.g., holding a uke in ushiro-nage but not throwing him, to create a barrier from the remaining ukes. Or sometimes, throwing uke in the direction of incoming uke, to distort and disorientate their attack rhythm. I tend to use more muscular power when I am still fresh, I somehow need to be exhausted before I start to play smart.

I guess in this sense, I will answer yes, I quit using muscle and began to move more correctly, when I am exhausted.

Mark Freeman
03-20-2006, 05:03 AM
IMHO, exhaustion only makes me sloppy and dangerous to myself and everyone I work out with. There are more productive and constructive ways to move correctly.

Just because its old doesn't mean its accurate. If that were the case I would be right more often.

I do believe it trains some sense of mental and physical toughness. The old "when you don't have anything left, show me what you got" idea.

I completely agree with Lynn's post.

Sometimes new ways are found to achieve the same ends that were always done in a certain way. If they weren't there would be no progress.
Yesterday I attended a course given by one our chief instructors, and we spent the whole course working on one shihonage exercise. The exercise broken down into its component movements, and each one examined before moving onto the next. At each stage the correct posture, movement and mental aspect was practiced before moving onto the next. By the end when the whole exercise was practiced you could be in no doubt that 'muscling through' was not part of the last 4 hours of study.
So no exhaustion, only a very clear picture / experience of correct movement.

I also agree that there is a place for getting exhausted, but I don't think it is very beneficial as a learning / teaching tool.

regards,
Mark

SeiserL
03-20-2006, 08:46 AM
I was taught in the military, as well as in motor skill learning and acquisition, that fatigue effects the subtle small motor functions most, so for a crisis situation keep working on techniques that are basically gross motor skills.

Yet, the more I experience and progress in Aikido the more I see the "secrets" as being in the small motor skills, the concepts, and doing the techniques correctly.

This has been an interesting line of questioning. Thank you Mike.

Adam Alexander
03-20-2006, 12:56 PM
How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to
exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move
correctly'"?

I haven't heard it said exactly like that; I disagree with the statement made.

I find that exhaustion has added an increased sensitivity to uke, a stillness in myself, and an improved ability to apply what my instructor tells me (I only focus on what I'm told).

I believe training to exhaustion is one of the many examples of efficient learning I've found in my style. You develop drive, toughness and stillness while being receptive to understanding of the technique.

I'm a 100% fan of training to--and beyond--exhaustion. I just wouldn't phrase it like it is above.

Mike Sigman
03-20-2006, 01:14 PM
I believe training to exhaustion is one of the many examples of efficient learning I've found in my style. You develop drive, toughness and stillness while being receptive to understanding of the technique.

I'm a 100% fan of training to--and beyond--exhaustion. I just wouldn't phrase it like it is above. Hi Jean:

Well, the question was more along the lines of how training to exhaustion would make your *movements* more efficient, particularly in terms of "moving from you center". You've listed "drive, toughness and stillness" and "receptive to understanding the technique" as benefits... and while I'd would take your word for it, those are subjective valuations and not the same thing as the movement that was being discussed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Adam Alexander
03-20-2006, 01:47 PM
Hi Jean:

Well, the question was more along the lines of how training to exhaustion would make your *movements* more efficient, particularly in terms of "moving from you center". You've listed "drive, toughness and stillness" and "receptive to understanding the technique" as benefits... and while I'd would take your word for it, those are subjective valuations and not the same thing as the movement that was being discussed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ahhh. Yeah, you've got to be patient with me.

I'd say that for balance, because my legs are spongy, I'm much more conscious of my balance. You'd think that balance was poorer because of lack of energy, but I've found (atleast I think I've found) that I'm much more sensitive because of it.

I think my movements are lighter also.

When I'm real tired, I really can't muscle techniques. However, there's a caveat to that.

I wouldn't recommend that sort of training for techniques that haven't been seen before. Seems I more give up out of indifference when it's a new technique, but if I know the technique and have a measure of reflex built in already, it's sort of like being on auto-pilot and just tweaking the movement a little to get it to work.


Is that on subject? LOL. I kind of think it isn't still.

Nick Pagnucco
03-20-2006, 01:50 PM
Hi Jean:

Well, the question was more along the lines of how training to exhaustion would make your *movements* more efficient, particularly in terms of "moving from you center". You've listed "drive, toughness and stillness" and "receptive to understanding the technique" as benefits... and while I'd would take your word for it, those are subjective valuations and not the same thing as the movement that was being discussed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

The closest I've come to experiencing this was while practicing bokken cuts. As my arms and shoulders became more tied, I became more aware of how they were being used. Visualizations of a direct line of force from my front foot to my hands helped somehow when it came to raising the bokken.

The usual form exhaustion takes in my dojo is randori training, at which point things just get sloppy. My sensei does believe in the importance of seeing what people do when they run out of steam, and the rhetoric in place is that this 'teaches' proper movement. IMHO, at least in the way our dojo practices, exhaustion is more the exam than the actual teaching. We try and learn correct movement slow, and exhaustion tests our ability to keep doing it.

Spontaneous revelation is always possible, especially under pressure (or exhaustion). But at least in my dojo (I can speak on no other martial art experience), exhaustion seems to build the ability to keep correct movement rather than correct movement itself.

Josh Reyer
03-20-2006, 02:11 PM
When I'm real tired, I really can't muscle techniques. However, there's a caveat to that.

I wouldn't recommend that sort of training for techniques that haven't been seen before. Seems I more give up out of indifference when it's a new technique, but if I know the technique and have a measure of reflex built in already, it's sort of like being on auto-pilot and just tweaking the movement a little to get it to work.


Is that on subject? LOL. I kind of think it isn't still.

Actually, the above speaks to what Mike is talking about.

There's an idea: muscling an aikido technique is bad.

Ergo, training when exhausted will prevent muscling up, and will "teach" proper movement/technique.

It would seem that most (on this forum and others that Mike has posted the question to) think that being physically tired can help if you already know how to move correctly. But if you don't, then being tired will probably just lead to bad habits.

Josh Reyer
03-20-2006, 02:16 PM
Say, Mike, do you have any thoughts on what effect lactic acid build-up might have on utilizing kokyu/jin?

Adam Alexander
03-20-2006, 05:11 PM
It would seem that most (on this forum and others that Mike has posted the question to) think that being physically tired can help if you already know how to move correctly. But if you don't, then being tired will probably just lead to bad habits.

That's not exactly what I was trying to say. What I mean by "being on auto-pilot and just tweaking it" is that when I know the macro (I dont' know how else to say it right now) of the technique, your body will move that way. However, if, while in the course of moving, you encounter resistance, the exhaustion makes you much more sensitive to it and you adjust to avoid the resistance and "find the technique."

So, I think it's the exhaustion that shows you the correct way.

Michael Douglas
03-20-2006, 06:41 PM
I'll give my alf-pennyworth on this ;
"Say, Mike, do you have any thoughts on what effect lactic acid build-up might have on utilizing kokyu/jin?"
(Yes, this Mike isn't that Mike)
In my tiny experience of non-muscling techniques, I'd say the effect of lactic-acid buildup
are absolutely awful for me, more affecting than on muscling techniques. My reason is
that it affects the SPEED of muscle movement/twitch way more than the force. And
since my primary use of non-muscling things is to generate relaxed speed, the lactic
just cripples those things.
BUT
using non-muscling stuff really drastically extends the time of exertion before lactic
acid builds up. Drastically.

So, I don't see it as a big problem for the extended time-span reason.

Dillon
03-20-2006, 09:43 PM
Modern sports science would indicate that you would not want to learn or practice to a great degree while exhausted. Your neural pathways develop along the lines they're used, so learning and practicing a technique while exhausted will lead to performing that technique like you're exhausted. You want to build and reinforce the neural pathways while you're fresh, albiet loose and warmed up.

That said, there is a certain, for lack of a better term, spiritual gain that can be made through practicing to and beyond the point of exhaustion.

Adam Alexander
03-22-2006, 01:13 PM
Modern sports science would indicate that you would not want to learn or practice to a great degree while exhausted. Your neural pathways develop along the lines they're used, so learning and practicing a technique while exhausted will lead to performing that technique like you're exhausted. You want to build and reinforce the neural pathways while you're fresh, albiet loose and warmed up.

That said, there is a certain, for lack of a better term, spiritual gain that can be made through practicing to and beyond the point of exhaustion.


When I was a kid, the news reported that "the cold doesn't cause colds."

I spent years believing that...even though it seemed that I was consistently getting colds after going out without a coat.

That was the most blatant experience in my life that lead me to believe that you shouldn't follow science over experience.

Then, within the last year, the news reported "scientists made a mistake." Seems that when you're out in the cold, it activates the virus or something, causing a cold.

Maybe there's something in training exhausted that modern sports science doesn't know about.

I'm not saying that that's a fact, but, definitely worth considering.

Mike Sigman
03-22-2006, 01:21 PM
Then, within the last year, the news reported "scientists made a mistake." Seems that when you're out in the cold, it activates the virus or something, causing a cold.

Maybe there's something in training exhausted that modern sports science doesn't know about.

I'm not saying that that's a fact, but, definitely worth considering. Achoooooo! I think you're right.... working to exhaustion makes you more open to getting colds!!! ;)

Mike

Upyu
03-22-2006, 04:53 PM
Here's a different thought:
Training to complete physical and mental exhaustion can produce negative effects like some members on this board noted.
But if you can target specific muscles to be exhausted so that you move "correctly", without affecting other parts of the body, then I think the old addage has some merit.

For instance, maybe doing Randori for half an hour straight, or in the case of standup, sparring, an hour straight is going to produce negative feedback.

But if you do say Agete (kokyu-ho) again and again until your arm/shoulder muscles burn and give out (without the rest of your body tiriing out) then you should still be mentally focused enough to figure out how to do that same movement more efficiently, now that you can't use your arm and shoulder muscles.

Same really goes with any Tanren(body training) method.
For instance, do Shiko about 50 times and you notice some stuff.
Do it 300 times in a row (for about 20-25 min), certain muscles start to tire out, forcing your body to move in a way that doesn't require the useage of muscles in the way you're normally used to.
There's some old school teachers who would do the Shiko movement 1000+times in a row for practice. Yet at the same time they said that you could not be MENTALLY exhausted when you performed these exercises, otherwise there would be no meaning to the training. :)

FWIW

Mike Sigman
03-22-2006, 05:02 PM
Well..... maybe sometimes there's epiphanies, but if nothing else, Rob, take a look at the huge size of martial arts in the West (as an example)... surely of working to exhaustion had credible benefits for improving movement and taking it to kokyu and ki development, you'd see more kokyu and ki development in the West. A lot of those people work hard. Ipso facto, working to exhaustion may help, but enough to show any measureable growth in those skills in the West. So maybe it's better to learn what to do and then work as hard as you want. ;)

FWIW

Mike

Upyu
03-22-2006, 08:41 PM
I definitely agree there. :-D
You can't just assume that working yourself to exhaustion will magically result in an epiphany. You have to have a concrete idea after what you're shooting for.
Maybe I should have made that clearer.

Even then you need both kinds, fine tuning type exercises where you don't physically exhaust yourself, as you figure out what's going on, then upping the pressure to see how your body reacts.
You need all gradiations of intensity, and there is definitely a "smarter" way to approach and improve these kind of skills...

use your head...

use your head...

use your head...

use your g#'()"#%mmed head...

is a mantra i end up wanting to tell a lot of people that I've touched hands with

James Young
03-23-2006, 01:01 AM
My personal experience is that when I get close to exhaustion I start using my muscles in ways I shouldn't. I think that's because for me that's still the natural response as it is for most people. Now I'm trying to focus on learning how to supress that natural response and not use direct muscle strength in my technique; I can do that best when I'm still fresh. Hopefully someday I will be able to get to the level where not using direct muscle strength will become my natural response, even in a state of exhaustion.

Kevin Leavitt
03-23-2006, 05:27 PM
I think there is a time for working to exhaustion and many good lessons to be learned from it. If we do it as a parochial practice (aesthetic), it might be kinda pointless because we limit ourselves to one type of experience. I think balance is the key.

I went to Army Ranger School about 10 years ago. I really had high hopes that during that experience that I would reach a new level of enlightment. I laughed about 6 weeks into the course after many hallucinations and periods of self doubt and said "wow, this just sucks!".

10 years later, I am still unfolding new things I learned during that experience!

You can't discount stress or exhaustion as a methdology. Look at many POWs and guys like Viktor Frankl that emerged from hell and were strengthed through their experience.

That said, I don't think it is necessary all the time.

I was just watching a documentary on Ram Dass tonight. Him and Timothy Leary did lots of psychedlic drugs in the 60's hoping to acheive enlightment. They feel they did, or at least that it expanded their minds. My wife and I were discussing it...just becuase it worked for them, doesn't mean we should run out and start doing drugs. Their knowledge can be experienced by others through their example, does not have to be a direct experience to learn!

I kinda look at things like this as breaking the 4 minute mile. It was a paradigm that was held back only through our own self doubts....once it was done by one guy...many followed!

Okay, I am getting way off base now! Time to quit!

Mike Sigman
03-23-2006, 06:15 PM
You can't discount stress or exhaustion as a methdology. Hi Kevin:

Well, the question is whether exhaustion as a methodology will do anything to teach you to "move from the center" as in kokyu power or whether it will develop your ki. Logically, I can't see how working to exhaustion is going to teach anyone some skill-sets that everyone I've ever heard of had to be shown personally. However, I'm open to being convinced otherwise. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Kevin Leavitt
03-23-2006, 06:41 PM
i would agree with you Mike for the most part. I think being physically tired can be a hinderance to this process.

I have though, experienced "letting go" of some of the physicalities (strength) though when training past the point of exhaustion where it becomes more crucial that you use correct posture and technique because strength and muscularity are of little use. But I do think that is much different. It simply becomes more critical that you use correct alignment. I don't think it helps teach you the alignment though.

I think it is probably better to have all your faculties and be "together" instead of having the additional stress of fatique.

thomas_dixon
03-24-2006, 02:22 PM
When I was a kid, the news reported that "the cold doesn't cause colds."

I spent years believing that...even though it seemed that I was consistently getting colds after going out without a coat.

That was the most blatant experience in my life that lead me to believe that you shouldn't follow science over experience.

Then, within the last year, the news reported "scientists made a mistake." Seems that when you're out in the cold, it activates the virus or something, causing a cold.

Maybe there's something in training exhausted that modern sports science doesn't know about.

I'm not saying that that's a fact, but, definitely worth considering.

The cold doesn't cause colds. It makes you more succeptable to them yes, but what really causes colds is interaction with other humans who have them ;) Usually in the winter you tend to "huddle" inside with other people, unlike summer.

I think training exhausted is a bad idea. Not only is it a bit uncomfortable, it could be dangerous. I don't think the point of Aikido is to "force" yourself to be relaxed by exhausting yourself, but rather learn to be relaxed on your own. If you use exhaustion as a tool and become dependant on it...doesn't sound like a good thing for you or your practicing Aikido. (to me anyway)

Brion Toss
03-24-2006, 03:08 PM
Someone once asked Ken Kesey how to find inspiration for writing. He said something like, "If you want to find inspiration, you have to hang out in places that inspiration has been known to frequent." No guarantees that you'd find it, of course, but it wasn't going to happen if you didn't go there.
In the context of the current question, the elusive, difficult-to-transmit-let-alone-really-get kokyu and ki are kept from many people by what they already know, or think they know; they aren't in the places that ki and kokyu are known to frequent, and their conditioning prevents them from going there. In the current context, this is particularly true with males, especially young males, and it can be very frustrating to get them even to consider the notion that a technique might depend on something besides biceps.
So how does a teacher get past the surface tension of the student's ignorance? Sometimes, simply removing non-efficient alternatives, be they thoughts, emotional states, or muscle usage, will allow a message to get through that would otherwise be blocked. But of course simply working to exhaustion, by itself, is meaningless, or worse.
This reminds me of something Tohei sensei once told me, about the difference between American and Japanese Aikido students. He said that a Japanese student will practice a technique thousands of times, whether or not it is done correctly, while an American student will keep trying variations and asking questions until the principle is sort of clear, then say, "I got it," and have a cigarette.
Clearly, neither student has learned fully; the question is, how does one get past their learning assumptions? I think that working to exhaustion could be a tool, a means, to be selectively applied.

Mike Sigman
03-24-2006, 03:37 PM
In the context of the current question, the elusive, difficult-to-transmit-let-alone-really-get kokyu and ki are kept from many people by what they already know, or think they know; they aren't in the places that ki and kokyu are known to frequent, and their conditioning prevents them from going there. In the current context, this is particularly true with males, especially young males, and it can be very frustrating to get them even to consider the notion that a technique might depend on something besides biceps.
So how does a teacher get past the surface tension of the student's ignorance?....(snip).. Well, I think your reasoning is fine until you get to the implication that it's "males, especially young males", you sexist rogue, you. ;) It's also "senior students" and "teachers" who have their cups full that are the problem, Brion.

And it's not just in Aikido, it's in many other martial arts. How many self-styled teachers are actively seeking this kind of information? I know some, but proportionately it's darned few. Then again... the traditional view is that there are always only a small percentage of people *actively* trying to improve their art and the rest are pretty much satisfied with the status and income and social network that they're part of. Quelle surprise. ;)

Regards,

Mike

Brion Toss
03-25-2006, 01:21 PM
Well, I think your reasoning is fine until you get to the implication that it's "males, especially young males", you sexist rogue, you. ;) It's also "senior students" and "teachers" who have their cups full that are the problem, Brion.
Regards,

Mike

I wasn't implying; I was reporting. And I'm sorry if I seemed to imply that only young males were the problem. But of course Aikido is far from unique in having practitioners who don't "get it." We don't expect every architect to be Frank Lloyd Wright probably a good thing they're not, actually but we do expect them to work to the best of their abilities. Architecture is not a false art, despite the less-than-Protean talents of almost all of its practitioners. Nor is music, medicine, flower arranging, you name it. But all of those arts survive because enough of their practitioners keep sending back reports from the elegant edge of things, and enough of the practitioners who are back from that edge get good work done.
So I utterly expect most Aikido teachers and practitioners to be pale imitations, at best, of Ueshiba, and I seek out the ones who appear to be seeking what he sought. Meanwhile, there's enough of value in almost every dojo that I've ever been in to make for a worthwhile visit, at the least.
Oh, and stirring up foment tends to be good for any art. Afflicting the comfortable, and all that. So I'm also far from complacent about people with "full cups."
Yours,
Brion Toss