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Nick Pagnucco
08-19-2006, 06:27 PM
Just because aikido doesn't use brute strength to power its techniques doesn't mean there is no physical element to aikido. I was curious what people here do for the physical conditioning element of aikido. Gym work, cardio work, 'ki' work, how much you do aiki taiso outside of class, etc... What do you think is good training for aikido and why?

Gernot Hassenpflug
08-20-2006, 05:47 PM
Check out Robert John's two threads on body conditioning and the exercises for it. That's the stuff you should be doing to (or one of the variations on a common theme) to get the "not brute force" strength you need.

Kevin Wilbanks
08-20-2006, 07:33 PM
More strength, properly acquired, will never hinder you. The idea that muscling up will slow you down or screw you up somehow is a fallacy. Olympic Weightlifters are blindingly fast. NBA basketball players lift a lot, have huge muscles and are far quicker and more agile than most martial artists. If you are stronger, it makes using less force even easier. Duh.

I think the misconception arises because sometimes you'll find a musclehead type who seems extraordinarily rigid. This is because he has the habit of holding tension in opposed muscle groups and has not yet learned how to move properly for Aikido. You need to stabilize joints by holding opposed tension in joints while you are lifting weight or doing bodyweight strength exercises, but there is no reason you can't learn to use your muscles differently as well while doing another activity like Aikido.

I would say the best supplement to Aikido is basic weight training. Just a few big movements to build muscular strength, good movement patterns, and toughen up joints and bones. I do a simple routine of overhead presses, pullups, dips, squats, and a stiff leg deadlift exercise for active hip flexibility. I also do basic yoga asanas to round things out, which is incidentally all about stability and static or quasi-static tension - funny how you never hear people blame yoga for stiffness or brute force.

Endurance elements of fitness are also important, but more minor, as the goal is simply to make you more comfortable with the exertion level of taking classes. The two main categories that apply to Aikido are continuous aerobic exercise for getting you through class, and intense interval training, to get you through randori and tests.

Upyu
08-20-2006, 09:13 PM
Nice points Kevin, I don't necessairly agree with the solutions you provided, but I would agree with the observations that you made. Especially these:


a) I agree that strength is important. However the examples you brought up regarding athletic strength, namely "explosive" strength are far from what you want in a bujustu oriented body.
I roll with Judo and submission kids that have the explosive speed you describe, but they still have a hard time controlling their body, since the muscles tend to work independently of each other, for lack of a better term. On the other hand I tend to be hard to "roll" with, since I lack the same "kind" of explosive speed. It's the whole body moving at one speed, so I can get away with moving 1/4 their speed and still being able to handle them. Allows me to conserve energy and control them and myself at the same time. This doesn't mean that the kids aren't relaxed. Far from it. But they still don't have the same kind of physical "skill" that you need for aiki and bujustu related movements I think.


b) Is more muscle bad? I agree with Kevin, it isn't bad. More is good if you know how to build the musculature in a proper way. I disagree with Kevin in that weight lifting is good. You need to know how to stabilize the body first, and weights essentially train your muscles to "contract" in order to stabilize when in contact with force.

A good way to check this is a "pushout" drill that I posted a while back. If ANY muscles "seize up" while trying to execute this exercise, then I'd say that whatever your training your doing might not be the most efficient. I haven't met a single person yet, even with years of training that could properly do this exercise at the first go. ;)

Once you start to aquire a bujutsu based "bodyskill", then I think lifting weights is viable, but until then bodyweight should be the only thing someone should work with.

More-over, I think its a mistake to do weights as a seperate "curriculum" from Aikido. Any "bodyskill" you get from your strength training routine need to be able to be directly input into your bujustu training. Whatever that may be, aikido, karate etc etc.
Most muscle building routines that goes on is completely divorced from the practice you do in the dojo.

Nice comment on the opposing tension in the joints. Now if you could keep that tension there with your muscles being relaxed, and as you move... :)


c) The yoga asanas... that's basically "stillness" training, and the whole point to bujutsu training is to get your body to carry that exact same stability when you "move". Connections and all. Easier said than done. Ideally if you do the asanas properly with all connections engaged, it should be so tough that you'd be ready to fall over with just the basic sun saluation. I've met several yoga people who were good in their own right that "thought" they had it right, but after a couple of corrections, could barely hold their easier poses for more than 15 seconds. ;)

FWIW

Btw, this post is by no means a diss towards Kevin, just thought I'd offer another a different perspective on the issue. Bujutsu solo training done properly shouldn't need any supplemental weight training whatsoever I think. Just check out Pix of Sagawa or even the Kongourikisi Zou (Golden Buddha Warrior Attendant Statue in Nara). None of those guys did weights as a sepearte curriculum. ;)

paw
08-20-2006, 09:50 PM
a) I agree that strength is important. However the examples you brought up regarding athletic strength, namely "explosive" strength are far from what you want in a bujustu oriented body.
...snip
But they still don't have the same kind of physical "skill" that you need for aiki and bujustu related movements I think.


It looks like you answered your own question insofar as it's a skill issue. I know a number of people, myself included, who cannot hit
a golf ball 200 yards. Not for lack of physical ability, but because of a lack of technical skill in swinging a golf club and hitting the golf ball (and in my case, getting the darn ball to fly in a straight line). Both physical attibutes and technical skill would need to be trained for success.



b) Is more muscle bad? I agree with Kevin, it isn't bad. More is good if you know how to build the musculature in a proper way. I disagree with Kevin in that weight lifting is good. You need to know how to stabilize the body first, and weights essentially train your muscles to "contract" in order to stabilize when in contact with force.


Weightlifting, especially the lifts Kevin is suggesting (multi-joint, full-body movements), is all about developing stablization within the body. The performance of Olympic weightlifters is very, very difficult to beat, not just in their own sport, but in other physical activities as well.


I haven't met a single person yet, even with years of training that could properly do this exercise at the first go. ;)


Sounds like a skill issue. In the same token, I haven't seen anyone perform a flawless ikkyo their first time, despite having the physical attributes to do so.

Once you start to aquire a bujutsu based "bodyskill", then I think lifting weights is viable, but until then bodyweight should be the only thing someone should work with.


The body doesn't know weights, it only knows resistance. If the resisitance comes from bodyweight, free weights, clubbells, dumbbells, a sandbag, a stuck car, or an elastic cable, the body doesn't responded differently, as far as I know. Depending on a person's goals, any (or most likely all) of those options could and should be utilitized. And of course, changed and altered as the person adapts to them.


Any "bodyskill" you get from your strength training routine need to be able to be directly input into your bujustu training. Whatever that may be, aikido, karate etc etc.
Most muscle building routines that goes on is completely divorced from the practice you do in the dojo.

As Kevin alluded to, many conditioning routines that one would find in popular magazines are based on bodybuilding training methodology --- where the goal is not improved athletic performance, but rather muscle size. Any conditioning routine would have to be tailored for the needs of the activity and the capability of the individuals involved.


Looking back and re-reading my post, I think some of the discrepancy may come from what is a "good" training method versus a "better" or the "best" training method. So maybe drawing such lines isn't helpful in the general sense. Be that as it may, I think we can all agree that being "healthier" is very advantageous for aikido, if for no other reason that it will keep someone on the mat training.

Regards,

Paul

Upyu
08-20-2006, 10:50 PM
It looks like you answered your own question insofar as it's a skill issue. I know a number of people, myself included, who cannot hit
a golf ball 200 yards. Not for lack of physical ability, but because of a lack of technical skill in swinging a golf club and hitting the golf ball (and in my case, getting the darn ball to fly in a straight line). Both physical attibutes and technical skill would need to be trained for success.

Actually, the mechanics in bujutsu, particularly the line across the back, along with internal torque are directly applicable to that kind of movement ;)

I know a person that was able to drive a golfball clean out of sight their 1st, 2nd try. The surrounding golfers were "???!". He couldn't hit it with accuracty exactly, (a technical issue like you said), but that kind of power generation should be inherent from weapons training ;)



Sounds like a skill issue. In the same token, I haven't seen anyone perform a flawless ikkyo their first time, despite having the physical attributes to do so.

I know several kids that didn't know what Ikkyo was, but focused on bodyskill training. Showed them the "ikkyo" type movement and they were able to do it pretty much flawleslly the first time.

I do know one person that has no affiliation with me, who has mad body-skill and was able to do that particular exercise on the first go. If only because his body was developed in a particular way. That exercise isn't a "skill", so much as a barometer for how your body has been developed. If you can't do it, it means your body lacks that kind of "development".


The body doesn't know weights, it only knows resistance. If the resisitance comes from bodyweight, free weights, clubbells, dumbbells, a sandbag, a stuck car, or an elastic cable, the body doesn't responded differently, as far as I know.

Sure it does ;) (I only say this because I've walked that path)
A weight isn't a human being. The ONLY reason these bodyskills are so effective are because humans are comprised of a skeleton that stands on two legs, a spine, arms, and is mostly water.
The difference has to be shown tho.
If the body didn't respond differently, I don't think there would be so much debate over the use of freeweights etc vs the more advanced Bodyskill (or kokyu ryoku if you want to label it that way)

So basically here's the breakdown,
so far we all agree that specialized training is needed to create more efficient movement in a bujutsu/martial context.
But so far most people only go so far as to break it up into three big generalizations.

Bodybuilding type training,
Athletic type,
"Kokyu-type"

Kokyu-type training doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't physically strenuous, and there is some overlap with weighttraining in terms of certain attributes which are developed. (see Mike's posts on the fascia being strengthened etc using weights). You can incorporate weights into Kokyu training, but doing weights doesn't mean you develop Kokyu bodyskill ;)
Besides which the fact that most of the Judo/mma kids that come over to our class and tank during the basic developmental exercises means that all those athletic exercises aren't developing those physiological attributes of bujutsu type movement.
It's pretty cut and dry actually once you feel it.

Jess McDonald
08-20-2006, 11:15 PM
Train. If you don't lift weight, start. If you do, don't stop. Run. Swim. Drill. Over and over again. No physical training is bad just get out there and do it. I rather everyone push weight around then none at all. See you at the gym.

Upyu
08-20-2006, 11:30 PM
No physical training is bad just get out there and do it. I rather everyone push weight around then none at all.

Then again, I'll drink to that :D

Abasan
08-21-2006, 03:29 AM
Robert, link please for your push out drill...

Btw, I find that cardio training from regular jogs on the eliptical machine good for me. But they seldom have the intensity of aikido in spurts. The problem is that when doing aikido, and you happen to be the fall guy, its the getting up from the ground again and again that tires you. Doing aikido unto others is like...no sweat... next!

Mike Sigman
08-21-2006, 08:28 AM
Besides which the fact that most of the Judo/mma kids that come over to our class and tank during the basic developmental exercises means that all those athletic exercises aren't developing those physiological attributes of bujutsu type movement.I think this is a subject that needs a lot more scrutiny. I remember when I was transitioning from Aikido to Taiji and at the time I was competing and training in Triathlons and Marathons. I was fit enough that if I knocked on my thighs with my fist, it sounded like I was hitting wood. But I simply couldn't hold some positions for any length of time and I didn't know how to use my lower-body strength with any effectiveness. Some types of training simply make you generally fit in a cardiovascular way but don't give you any specific skills.... and I see this happening a lot among different martial artists. "Kokyu" strength is a focussed, trained body skill.... bicycle riding won't train it; only kokyu training will build it. ;)

FWIW

Mike

ian
08-21-2006, 08:51 AM
Good question. I've just changed our routines. I've begun to realise new students i. rarely know how to punch well (which causes misunderstanding about how aikido works) and ii. can be quite unfit. For the 1st semester we are doing self-defence with aikido. Pretty much this is what we are doing each session:

1. 3 minutes of striking on the focus mits (including combinations) - high intensity.
2. 3 minutes skipping.

this will lead up to 3 x 3 mins striking (with 1 min gap).


Also maybe every 2 weeks:
3. Some work on heavy bag (occasionally)
4. some blade hand/palm striking
5. lots and lots of bokken cutting


In addition we are doing 'scenario based sparring'. i.e. there is a real self-defence scenario played out, with people involved wearing appropriate body protection. The scenario doesn't necessarily have to end physically - indeed many are intended to be handled without force. It is much different from normal sparring since it is unpredictable from both uke and nages view point. However I'm also hoping it allows people to realise just how scrappy fights can be (there is no holding back - anything goes - we're getting full head and face and neck guards).

Personally, I've also started doing other exercises:
1. clean and press (I believe one of the best weight exercises for martial arts - it exercises back, chest, triceps, legs; all in coordination, and it is quite intense)
2. catching bricks with fingers (good for grip strength)
3. Chain punching (to build up speed - also useful short range technique)
4. Ivanco supergrip (a gripper which is the best on the market)
5. tai-chi (to warm-up and warm down from other exercises)

My view is that technical ability is harder to achieve than physical fitness - so if you are lacking in physical fitness, how will someone have the will power to get techically good?! Also physical ability makes up for a multitude of imperfections in real situations.

David Racho
08-21-2006, 08:55 AM
You know, I've not known people to train in Aikido as an exercise, or rather purely for the conditioning. They sometimes say that, but it's usually just a part of the reason why they take up Aikido in the first place. My opinion is that more "brute" strength wouldn't hurt, and at least one Shihan has said it in passing "why not?" so it's a good idea to do functional weight lifting (more along the lines of power-lifting as opposed to body building) to actually get physically stronger.

If you can squat double your bodyweight, and do the other standard compound movement exercises (squat, bench, overhead press, chins, etc.) you'll perform better aikido.

Your technique may be good, but all other things being equal, the strong person may possibly have an advantage. Plus if your cardio endurance is good, you can train longer.

Boxer's already know how to punch. They mostly train to last 15 or more rounds. The recent UFC fight with Royce Gracie and Matt Hughes showed that even if Royce had 99% skill and Matt had 96% (or lower), but he had the overall better conditioning ... so, there.

Finally, if you look bigger, out in the street, people will be less likely to victimize you.

cguzik
08-21-2006, 09:18 AM
c) The yoga asanas... that's basically "stillness" training, and the whole point to bujutsu training is to get your body to carry that exact same stability when you "move". Connections and all. Easier said than done. Ideally if you do the asanas properly with all connections engaged, it should be so tough that you'd be ready to fall over with just the basic sun saluation. I've met several yoga people who were good in their own right that "thought" they had it right, but after a couple of corrections, could barely hold their easier poses for more than 15 seconds. ;)


Robert,

Do you think that the yoga flows - done with the right emphasis on maintaining the internal connections - together with the asanas - done while maintaining the internal connections, the static contractions, and the breath - work toward the same kind of internal connection and conditioning you've written about in your posts?

What I am inferring from your commends about yoga is not that the practice does not contain this stuff, just that most practitioners don't pay attention to the right things.

It's hard as heck to go through a complete sun salutation while maintaining the internal "locks" and keeping the right contractions in place, all while breathing. I cannot do it -- but I am at least laying attention to it. I am curious as to how beneficial you think this is in tems of this kind of conditioning.

Chris

Ron Tisdale
08-21-2006, 10:10 AM
I'm in the novice position (again) in yoga, and having trouble with all of the above. But it is interesting work, and seems to be one of the best ways I've experienced to get to "know your body".

Best,
Ron

Kevin Wilbanks
08-21-2006, 12:32 PM
Robert,

I'm not going to dissect all of what you said, but I see a couple of problems. It's apparent that you don't understand the terminology or methodology of current science-based western athletic training. In particular, it seems you have a murky or idiosyncratic understanding of basic terms like skill, strength, power, speed-strength, etc...

Especially the principle of specificity. The virtues of this 'bodyskill' you describe sound like simply a matter of the fact that whatever exercises you are using to develop it are more similar to the activities to which they seem to apply. That's OK, but the purpose of the exercises I mentioned are more general in nature. The purpose of basic strength exercises is to strengthen muslces, bones, and tendons, develop basic stability and posture patterns in the whole body, provide strong anabolic hormonal stimulus to the body, and to develop efficiency in the short-term energy systems... not to develop skill, or specific movement patterns that are more trasferrable to certain movement skills. That can be added, if you wish and have time, but most Aikidoists probably don't, and would rather just develop more skill by doing more Aikido.

The problem with skipping general strengthening for some kind of skill/strength hybrid exercises is that you will not get the full benefits of general strength training. For instance, in terms of developing strength in all the connective tissues in the knees and lower back, bone density in the entire lower body, and anabolic hormonal stimulus, nothing compares to weighted squats. There is no decent unweighted substitute. Also, it's tough to find a better way to develop a good movent and postural habit for picking heavy things up correctly, which could save a lot of people from back injury.

Likewise, motor-neural qualities can be developed in a more general way with exercises like Olympic lifts. I assure you the power developed by this exercise isn't remotely 'disjointed', as most of the muscles in the body must work in concert to do it correctly. Moreover, the point of the exercise in most training isn't about the movement pattern anyway. The purpose of Oly lifts for supplemental training is to develop the chemical and neural elements of explosive power, which can then be applied to other actions.

Your example of being able to 'get away' with moving slower than someone else is irrelevant, as it is a citation of skill. If you had more explosive strength, you would be even better. If it was a competition, and your opponent had similar skill, that next step might well be necessary if you wanted to win... this is why virtually all serious athletes from the college level up do not eschew any of the types of training Paul and I have described in favor of specialized systems not grounded in the full spectrum of current scientific knowledge: unlike Aikido, where most people are more like hobbyists, and performance is not taken to the limit by competition, they can't afford to.

In any case, in my post, I cited basketball players and Olympic weightlifters as counterexamples to the idea that big muscles and lifting weights leads to being clunky or slow. I don't think many Aikidoists would really want to focus much on supplemental explosive training.

Mike Sigman
08-21-2006, 12:48 PM
If it was a competition, and your opponent had similar skill, that next step might well be necessary if you wanted to win... this is why virtually all serious athletes from the college level up do not eschew any of the types of training Paul and I have described in favor of specialized systems not grounded in the full spectrum of current scientific knowledge: unlike Aikido, where most people are more like hobbyists, and performance is not taken to the limit by competition, they can't afford to.Without having met Rob personally, I can see what the point is that he's making because I'm aware of similar training methodologies. The first point I'd make is that no one is saying that "being in shape" is not a desireable quality in martial arts. The better shape you're in, the better off you'll be. The argument Rob is making is that there are some methods of training that are outside of normal western training methodologies. Your argument seems to be based on normal western training methodologies and since you're not aware of anything substantial outside of those methods, you're dismissing Rob's comments. That appears to be what it boils down to. Ultimately, it gets down to the "it has to be shown" scenario, once again.

I think I mentioned it once before, but some years ago I did an "in-service" presentation for the teaching faculty of the Medical University of Colorado. During the discussions and leading the participants up to the ability to mildly do a couple of the skills, several people mentioned that they'd never seen or heard of these types of skills before... it was new to them.

I think comments have been made by some people that the skills Rob is speaking about are something out of the ordinary; maybe it's best to just leave it at that, rather than start a spat that still can't be resolved without a personal meeting. ;)

Mike Sigman

Jeff Sodeman
08-21-2006, 03:39 PM
Not giving advice to anyone, just mentioning what I do... Pushups, pullups, crunches, and dips along with some running. Doesn't make me huge or ripped, but I'm strong, healthier, and rarely injured. Takes almost no equipment and I can do it in a few minutes after class.

Upyu
08-21-2006, 04:01 PM
Robert,

I'm not going to dissect all of what you said, but I see a couple of problems. It's apparent that you don't understand the terminology or methodology of current science-based western athletic training. In particular, it seems you have a murky or idiosyncratic understanding of basic terms like skill, strength, power, speed-strength, etc...

Ok, without getting into a pissing contest here.
I respect what you said Kevin ;)
Like Mike said, if you haven't experienced this kind of training, then it's hard to imagine the effects. The training I mentioned builds the body in a particular way. No amount of pylos, strength training etc, will result in a body that can function this way. So in a sense it has to be "built" this way through certain exercises.



Especially the principle of specificity. The virtues of this 'bodyskill' you describe sound like simply a matter of the fact that whatever exercises you are using to develop it are more similar to the activities to which they seem to apply.
That's not it either ;) Althought that applies just a bit.


The problem with skipping general strengthening for some kind of skill/strength hybrid exercises is that you will not get the full benefits of general strength training. For instance, in terms of developing strength in all the connective tissues in the knees and lower back, bone density in the entire lower body, and anabolic hormonal stimulus, nothing compares to weighted squats.

There is no decent unweighted substitute. Also, it's tough to find a better way to develop a good movent and postural habit for picking heavy things up correctly, which could save a lot of people from back injury.

Think of the stuff we do as an "advanced" version of the stuff you described, plus more (lots more). All in one exercise.
Like Mike said, until you experience it, I guess we'll have to leave it at the IHTBS (it has to be shown)



Your example of being able to 'get away' with moving slower than someone else is irrelevant, as it is a citation of skill. If you had more explosive strength, you would be even better. If it was a competition, and your opponent had similar skill, that next step might well be necessary if you wanted to win... this is why virtually all serious athletes from the college level up do not eschew any of the types of training Paul and I have described in favor of specialized systems not grounded in the full spectrum of current scientific knowledge: unlike Aikido, where most people are more like hobbyists, and performance is not taken to the limit by competition, they can't afford to.

Actually it's quite relevant since I work out with Judo/wrestlers turned MMA players here in Tokyo, many of whom have that "explosive" power you talk about. They even admit that up until now a) they'd never heard of this kind of training methedology, and b) the power generation is different and not something you could add to by developing pylometric/explosive power.


Broaden your horizons ;)

Upyu
08-21-2006, 04:06 PM
Robert,

Do you think that the yoga flows - done with the right emphasis on maintaining the internal connections - together with the asanas - done while maintaining the internal connections, the static contractions, and the breath - work toward the same kind of internal connection and conditioning you've written about in your posts?

What I am inferring from your commends about yoga is not that the practice does not contain this stuff, just that most practitioners don't pay attention to the right things.

It's hard as heck to go through a complete sun salutation while maintaining the internal "locks" and keeping the right contractions in place, all while breathing. I cannot do it -- but I am at least laying attention to it. I am curious as to how beneficial you think this is in tems of this kind of conditioning.

Chris
Chris, short answer yes.
Long answer, no.
Since you have to be able to use those same postural requirements in "movement", you'll want to adapt them so that they mirror the general requirements of how the body moves in a "bujutsu" setting. Then you put in the internal "locks"/tensions etc first in a static position, then while moving. -> Tai chi does this.

There's quicker and easier ways to train this stuff.
Most of it is in rote weapons work (namely spearwork) which specifically develops the muscles in a certain way.

If you're curious what the results are, simply take a look at the "kongourikisizou" (Golden Buddha Warrior's Attendant Statue) at Koufukuji.
The musculature there is a dead giveaway for how you want to be training the body.

Jory Boling
08-21-2006, 04:29 PM
We tend to do a lot of ukemi in my dojo (and we always do a burnout set at the end of class) so I've taken to hitting some nearby stairs to try and condition my legs and heart. Even 10 sets of the 160 steps haven't matched 40 ukemi in rapid succession but it's helping (I guess it's time to move to the 240 step staircase).

Kevin Wilbanks
08-21-2006, 04:43 PM
...stuff...

Broaden your horizons ;)

Sorry, I just don't buy it. I just don't believe that you've developed some kind of magic conditioning system that surpasses what has been developed by all the Olympic and professional level athletes and trainers over the last 50 years. "It has to be shown" is not a convincing argument, and in fact has been a tack of high pressure advertisers, cults and clubs throughout history. Lure them in and convert them by peer pressure, charisma, surprising demonstrations, etc... The only reason you are able to get away with the claims of your invented methods' superiority is because there is no objective competitve test to determine its usefullness to Aikido.

Can you point to anyone who uses your magic methods that has beaten anyone at any competitive level in anything? It seems like there must be some sport or other you could adapt it to, and when you did, if it blows away decades of collective effort by all the world's best athletes and trainers as you claim, there is a fortune waiting for you out there.

Seriously though, athletic performance is athletic performance. Aikido only differs from basketball, tennis, football, wrestling, etc... in that same way that any two athletic activities differ. It's clear to me from the things you've said that you haven't studied current science and methods of professional level athletic training near thoroughly enough to be dismissive of them. If you had a kinesiology degree and a decade of professional athletic training experience maybe... even then I'd see evidence of it in your writing, and you'd be able to articulate your objections to conventional methods much better. For instance, your attempted counterexample citing wrestler and bjjers demonstrates again that you don't even understand the basic concept of skill or any of the neurology and physiology behind it, why and how it differs from strength and power, and how they interact, etc... Your exhortation to broaden my horizons is high irony.

Good luck.

Mike Sigman
08-21-2006, 05:11 PM
Sorry, I just don't buy it. I just don't believe that you've developed some kind of magic conditioning system that surpasses what has been developed by all the Olympic and professional level athletes and trainers over the last 50 years. I don't think Rob has made any claims to have "developed" anything. All I can see from his posts is that he uses some variant of a physical training system that is thousands of years and which took a long time to develop (much longer than 50 years) and which was so effective it became famous. In fact, it's a system that Ueshiba mentions quite a bit. What you're saying is more along the lines that you don't know what this system is and most western kinesiologists don't either. On top of that, you're saying that you don't use it in your Aikido, suggesting that you do Aikido without the cornerstone that Ueshiba, Tohei, Abe, et al used. Can you point to anyone who uses your magic methods that has beaten anyone at any competitive level in anything? It seems like there must be some sport or other you could adapt it to, and when you did, if it blows away decades of collective effort by all the world's best athletes and trainers as you claim, there is a fortune waiting for you out there. Since it was famous as a secret training method for centuries and was used in combat (the main reason it was kept secret), the idea that it hasn't "beaten anyone at any competitive level" is pretty interesting. It's beaten a lot of people over the centuries. Has someone really skilled in it entered some decade-old, limited-trend sport interest in the West? No. It would be nice to watch, but because it hasn't happen on the TV doesn't logically imply it doesn't exist, AFAIK. Seriously though, athletic performance is athletic performance. Aikido only differs from basketball, tennis, football, wrestling, etc... in that same way that any two athletic activities differ. It's clear to me from the things you've said that you haven't studied current science and methods of professional level athletic training near thoroughly enough to be dismissive of them. If you had a kinesiology degree and a decade of professional athletic training experience maybe... even then I'd see evidence of it in your writing, and you'd be able to articulate your objections to conventional methods much better. For instance, your attempted counterexample citing wrestler and bjjers demonstrates again that you don't even understand the basic concept of skill or any of the neurology and physiology behind it, why and how it differs from strength and power, and how they interact, etc... Your exhortation to broaden my horizons is high irony. Actually, I think Rob is simply saying there may be something out there that you don't know about, since he didn't know about it before Akuzawa started showing it to him. Me too... I didn't know about it. The physiology and kinesiology teachers at CU med school didn't know about it, either.... but they didn't reject it out of hand just because of that. They kept an open mind. Maybe you should get some sort of workshop with Rob and Akuzawa going so you can either say "See, I told ya" or "Hey, that's pretty interesting".

Mike Sigman

gdandscompserv
08-21-2006, 05:26 PM
The conditioning I do outside of the dojo is for the sole purpose of enabling me to train harder and longer in aikido. In other words, if I become winded in the dojo, I know I need to condition myself better.

Upyu
08-21-2006, 06:01 PM
Seriously though, athletic performance is athletic performance. Aikido only differs from basketball, tennis, football, wrestling, etc... in that same way that any two athletic activities differ. It's clear to me from the things you've said that you haven't studied current science and methods of professional level athletic training near thoroughly enough to be dismissive of them.

Agreed. Athletic performance is simply atheletic performance.
But the fact that Ushiro Kenji can go and give advice to pro-athletes and immediately improve their game is indicative something is lacking I'd think.
None of this stuff is magic.
All of it is based in physics/phsyiology.

and maybe, just maybe it's western physiology/kinesisology that needs to play "catchup". ;)

FWIW, I do think that this stuff has a lot to offer the sports world. Some parts are used in top level athletes, unconsciously, but I don't think there's a set system to train it directly.



It seems like there must be some sport or other you could adapt it to, and when you did, if it blows away decades of collective effort by all the world's best athletes and trainers as you claim, there is a fortune waiting for you out there.


You read my mind :)
It's only been 2.5 years since he started teaching what he's learned. Honestly we're still at the very beginning. But he also knows the need to produce results having been a former internaltion sanda champion himself. Which is why I'm working with the MMA kids now, as well as Ark planning to open a more ring-oriented class to apply these body skills within the ring, and develop fighters of a higher caliber than you currently see.


Btw, this particular training method allowed me to walk into the Axis BJJ acadamy here in Tokyo (Rickson's sattelite school) and tap out blues with a fair amount of ease, despite the fact that I had less than 6 months judo experience 3 years ago in college. Also earned me several tapouts from some purples as well.

Btw, if we do hold a seminar, I'd love for you to drop by (free of charge) :)
Hooking up with someone with extensive experience in kinsiseology/current sports science is something I've been itching to do for a while now. Besides which the know how provided by the people in that field would only serve to improve the training system once they understand what is being trained, and how it's currently being trained. I'm all for progress


FWIW

paw
08-21-2006, 06:56 PM
Btw, this particular training method allowed me to walk into the Axis BJJ acadamy here in Tokyo (Rickson's sattelite school) and tap out blues with a fair amount of ease, despite the fact that I had less than 6 months judo experience 3 years ago in college. Also earned me several tapouts from some purples as well.

Robert, I'm extremely disappointed in these remarks of yours, as it seems a lot like bragging at the expense of unnamed martial artists. In every dojo, academy or gym I've trained in, it was always clear that training is training. It is about polishing one's spirt and working cooperatively to improve the group, not improvement at the expense of others followed by their belittlement.

If someone were to post on this board that they threw a high ranking aikidoist when they had very little training in aikido, I would expect that person to be taken to task, and rightly so. In the future I would hope we --- as a community --- would grant the same treatment to other martial artists.

While I understand your motives to show that there's validity to your methodology, it's clear from your posts that you're an intelligent fellow and can make your points more diplomatically. Now if I'm off base, and you feel there's nothing wrong with your remarks, then I'll happily apologize for taking you to task, as it were.


Now then, speaking of methodology, perhaps if you could provide a link to the "push out" drill that was mentioned earlier to aid in understanding where you're coming from.


Regards,

Paul

Mike Sigman
08-21-2006, 07:07 PM
Robert, I'm extremely disappointed in these remarks of yours, Speaking of remarks, do we have to get into this endless cycle of "correcting" someone and taking one more thread off topic? Sometimes Rob brags, sometimes he doesn't.... who cares? He basically seems like a nice guy, even if he doesn't conform to someone else's ideas of right and wrong. The main thing he does is provide interesting and useful information... so quibbling about the way he posts seems a bit pointless.

Other than to register that Rob is moving up against some fairly well-trained opponents with this type of strength, what is the point in worrying about his personal style? If we're all that above and beyond mere mortals, let's show strength of character and not lecture.

Back to our regularly-scheduled program.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Upyu
08-21-2006, 07:36 PM
;) Robert, I'm extremely disappointed in these remarks of yours, as it seems a lot like bragging at the expense of unnamed martial artists. In every dojo, academy or gym I've trained in, it was always clear that training is training. It is about polishing one's spirt and working cooperatively to improve the group, not improvement at the expense of others followed by their belittlement.


Uh ok dude.

Kraken! (Sorry, inside joke)

I'm not making "fun" of them at their expense. I still train with a couple of them, and I know one of them prolly reads these posts (to his amusement I'm sure :D )
I'm just telling you how it is.
I'm not invincible, I had my fair share of chokes put on me as well, but when all is said and done, the fact that I could go and roll toe to toe with these people with virtually no experience says a lot, especially since the ground game is generally considered "different" from the standup game.


If someone were to post on this board that they threw a high ranking aikidoist when they had very little training in aikido, I would expect that person to be taken to task, and rightly so. In the future I would hope we --- as a community --- would grant the same treatment to other martial artists.


Why would that bother you?
That would indicate that the guy might have something worth learning.

Incidentally if you want more info on the above, I suggest you PM Gernot. He can give you some funny annecdotes when I went down to Kyoto involving myself, a student from Abe sensei's class of some years, and my index finger :D

I don't hide where I train, and I post it openly for all to come check out. If I were full of BS I expect to be "taken" to task. But the fact that no one has yet also says a lot I think ;)


Now then, speaking of methodology, perhaps if you could provide a link to the "push out" drill that was mentioned earlier to aid in understanding where you're coming from.

Fair enough, I was digging in the archives and couldn't find it even though I referenced it myself in the "Jo trick" thread. :uch:
JFYI though, that particular "drill" is more a baraometer of bodyskill. It doesn't actually develop it persay. More like it allows you to polish/refine the connections you've built up in the solo work( I've posted examples of solo work in the "training methedology thread" under the "Training"section)

paw
08-21-2006, 09:47 PM
Why would that bother you?
That would indicate that the guy might have something worth learning.

On one level, it wouldn't, on another level it would.

I attended a Gracie camp and watched one fellow roll with Royce Gracie. Royce was very gracious, and never tapped the fellow he was rolling with. Royce allowed the other person into the game, so speak, and rolled at their level more or less, which gave them a chance to learn.

I've seen aikido instructors do the same thing with people who walk in off the street with x-number of years training in another art. The instructor lets the person experience success. The fellow off the street gets in the ballpark with their technical execution, and so the instructor (or senior student) gracefully falls and offers some words of encouragement.

And in both cases, I've seen the person talk about how they "were able to hang with Royce Gracie" or "how they threw that senior student/instructor". Not in front of Royce, and not in front of the senior student/instructor, but I think you get the picture. Chances are someone will make such a claim on the never-ending "aikido doesn't work" threads that hit the board from time to time.

So if you feel my objection was unfair or out of order, then please accept my apologies. I don't think it that was the case, but I realize you may feel differently, and I'm honestly not looking for a fight on the matter.

When I get a chance, I'll look up the thread you've suggested.

Regards,

Paul

Upyu
08-21-2006, 10:39 PM
I attended a Gracie camp and watched one fellow roll with Royce Gracie. Royce was very gracious, and never tapped the fellow he was rolling with. Royce allowed the other person into the game, so speak, and rolled at their level more or less, which gave them a chance to learn.

I've seen aikido instructors do the same thing with people who walk in off the street with x-number of years training in another art. The instructor lets the person experience success. The fellow off the street gets in the ballpark with their technical execution, and so the instructor (or senior student) gracefully falls and offers some words of encouragement.


I understand where you're coming from, and I also understand the conditions which you were assuming this took place. That wasn't it. In the case of BJJ it was simple sparring done to whoever got submitted first. There was one purple belt that did just that, started out soft, to "guide" me through, then tried to eventually submit me with a textbook guard -> armbar. He couldn't, which caused him to ramp up the intensity since, well, everyone's got an ego ( myself included :p mea culpa). He was surprised that I was pretty much able to avoid every setup, and asked me if I had wrestling experience.

I've done the same thing at open rolling sessions at Paraestrae, and trust me, no one rolls to "teach" the other at those sessions.

Rolling with a GI doesn't exactly interest me at the moment which is why I'm not going to Axis right now (they tend to do Gi only work).

This isn't about ego though, it's about results. If I could get these kind of results, sans the overall groundwork strategy and technical knowhow... well think what someone with the technical knowhow/experience could do with this kind of bodyskill.

I'd never say that I don't have anything to learn from groundfighting, otherwise I wouldn't be training with said partners. I'm all about learning from each other. If I get my ass kicked soundly then all the better :)

Btw, rolling with any of the gracies would be a awesome.
Even it would end in
" ***** gracie by armbar" :D

darin
08-21-2006, 11:11 PM
I have to agree with Robert John on this. I too have seen people with natural ability out wrestle those who have done years of BJJ. I think their advantage is being unpredictable. The problem is that we all get used to one style of training and sparring/randori with one type of attack.

Kevin Wilbanks
08-22-2006, 12:25 PM
I'm not rejecting Robert's system, I have yet to hear anything that even makes me want to investigate it. These latest anecdotes about the fantastic wrestling abilities yielded don't add much. These could easily be explained, as Darin said, by talent. All the prior claims he has made that it is 'more advanced' than consensus science-based training, vastly superior to it, or the many dismissive things he has said of contemporary training methods that bely almost no understanding of what is being dismissed lead me to believe that I am dealing with something I have seen many times before.

Now I hear it has an "ancient" lineage. If you had seen as many dietary and training gimmicks and fads as I have, none of this would sound new to you. Caveman diets, secrets of the ancient yogis, the ancient art of Russian kettlebell training, any one of hundreds of ancient Chinese Gung Fu training methods, blah, blah, blah... Some of them have some useful elements and some are pretty much all crap, but what is common to all of them is that they never live up to the extravagant claims of the people who hype them, the people who hype them are never well-educated in the science and contemporary training methods, and they never represent something that discredits or supplants what we already know about training.

Mike Sigman
08-22-2006, 01:14 PM
Now I hear it has an "ancient" lineage. If you had seen as many dietary and training gimmicks and fads as I have, none of this would sound new to you. Caveman diets, secrets of the ancient yogis, the ancient art of Russian kettlebell training, any one of hundreds of ancient Chinese Gung Fu training methods, blah, blah, blah... Some of them have some useful elements and some are pretty much all crap, but what is common to all of them is that they never live up to the extravagant claims of the people who hype them, the people who hype them are never well-educated in the science and contemporary training methods, and they never represent something that discredits or supplants what we already know about training.All true, I'm sure. And you probably know more than the teaching faculty at the CU medical school, who hadn't seen or heard of such things as mind-controlled force vectors before (not to mention a number of things that I simply didn't get to show them). But they were interested and took a look without disparaging ahead of time... which was why I suggested that you should look at what Rob and Akuzawa do. They're probably the only resource I can think of that would be interested in showing you personally.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Kevin Wilbanks
08-22-2006, 07:03 PM
You truly have a talent for skew, Mike. I have never claimed vast knowledge of kinesiology or medicine, and, as I've said, I am still not even interested in the details of Robert's system.

The purpose of this thread was to ask people about good supplemental conditioning methods for Aikido. I suggested basic general preparation - basic strength and endurance training - which virtually all athletes of any type use worldwide as both foundation and supplement to training more specific to thier sport. Robert came on, and instead of saying "here's my system, I think it's good", he disparaged conventional methods in ways that did not make sense and belied his own ignorance of them. He then went on to trumpet his own system as superior and 'more advanced'.

What I have done from that point on is to respond to these claims and deconstruct the propaganda and fallacy he is peddling here. I haven't even begun to look into his system or disparage it.

What you have done is made several attempts to misrepresent my responses and impugn my motives in an attempt to assasinate my character... a type of activity which is apparently your principal hobby. As I said on the other thread, your posts are so shrill and your attempts at reasoning so sloppy that I don't see any point in prolonged argument with you. Changing your mind is obviously not on the table and responding for the sake of preventing others from being influenced by you is probably not necessary.

Mike Sigman
08-22-2006, 07:13 PM
You truly have a talent for skew, Mike. I have never claimed vast knowledge of kinesiology or medicine, and, as I've said, I am still not even interested in the details of Robert's system.

The purpose of this thread was to ask people about good supplemental conditioning methods for Aikido. I suggested basic general preparation - basic strength and endurance training - which virtually all athletes of any type use worldwide as both foundation and supplement to training more specific to thier sport. Robert came on, and instead of saying "here's my system, I think it's good", he disparaged conventional methods in ways that did not make sense and belied his own ignorance of them. He then went on to trumpet his own system as superior and 'more advanced'.

What I have done from that point on is to respond to these claims and deconstruct the propaganda and fallacy he is peddling here. I haven't even begun to look into his system or disparage it. Fair enough. You laid your reputation on the line. I lay mine on the line. This is about the third time I've tried to tell you, but I'm not as polite as before (it obviously doesn't work with you). There's something you don't know. It's worth seeing. If you want to have it archived that you "do Aikido" and you are belittling what Rob has been politely trying to tell you, fine. There's a *reason* why Ikeda Sensei invites Ushiro Sensei to teach "kokyu".... you don't seem to know that reason. What you have done is made several attempts to misrepresent my responses and impugn my motives in an attempt to assasinate my character... a type of activity which is apparently your principal hobby. As I said on the other thread, your posts are so shrill and your attempts at reasoning so sloppy that I don't see any point in prolonged argument with you. Changing your mind is obviously not on the table and responding for the sake of preventing others from being influenced by you is probably not necessary. Thanks for the personal attack... again. I'm happy that you already know all the answers. Best of luck. Remember that I made it clear that you should go see this stuff through someone else.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Upyu
08-22-2006, 08:43 PM
The purpose of this thread was to ask people about good supplemental conditioning methods for Aikido. I suggested basic general preparation - basic strength and endurance training - which virtually all athletes of any type use worldwide as both foundation and supplement to training more specific to thier sport. Robert came on, and instead of saying "here's my system, I think it's good", he disparaged conventional methods in ways that did not make sense and belied his own ignorance of them. He then went on to trumpet his own system as superior and 'more advanced'.


Actually I wouldn't say it's my system.
I personally know other teachers that have methedologies to develop this body skill.

Like Mike said, if you haven't touched hands with someone of skill I suggest you do so.
Here's a list you can start from:

Ushiro Kenji
Chen Xiao Wang (or any of the top Chen Village Instructors)
Don Angier of Yangagi Ryu
Sam Chin of Iliqchuan (Who also focuses on devleoping these skills directly and is in NY incidentally)
Ren Guan Yu of the Chen Style, also in NYC
Abe Seiseki
...list goes on

Some teachers are more forthcoming than others about talking about the "how" to exactly train it and what the physical requirements are. Besides Ark, I'd say Sam is easily one of the more approachable as well as several of his students having top notch skill. He's been to Russia as well, with several top mma/sambo guys who have done the whole "western" approach decided to incorporate his training methedology into their system.


One thing I want to make clear, I think you're mistaking the skillset I refer to as some kind of "technique" which is far from the case.

Think of it this way.

We both agree that Aikido is a form of human movement.
We simply disagree on how to power that movement.

You're choosing the orthodox western strengthening method.
I'd say this method is a similar concept, but that it trains a "different" kind of strength that you can't get from lifting weights, club bells, eating cave man food, or spouting nonsensical garbage while hugging trees. :D


FWIW

Upyu
08-22-2006, 08:51 PM
What I have done from that point on is to respond to these claims and deconstruct the propaganda and fallacy he is peddling here. I haven't even begun to look into his system or disparage it.

Sorry for the double post...but isn't that kind of ...what's the word...oxymoronic in a sense?
How can you deconstruct something you haven't even looked at or given thought to?

I've laid out some basic exercises in my training manual. If you could do those simple exercises to a T, 100% correctly, incorporating all of the requirements I laid out, maybe I'll shut up :D

Kevin Wilbanks
08-23-2006, 12:25 AM
....stuff....

Sorry for the double post...but isn't that kind of ...what's the word...oxymoronic in a sense?
How can you deconstruct something you haven't even looked at or given thought to?



I don't know if this is just poor reading comprehension or a disingenuous attempt at a gotcha. I have been deconstructing your hype and misguided criticisms, not your training system, or whatever it is. I have stated this clearly, and now repeatedly.

If you want people to come and learn about what you do with an open mind, my advice is not to start off by recklessly criticising methods which you don't understand, and of which you obviously do not even understand the basic vocabulary or concepts. It's probably also best not to make extravagant claims about how your methods make others unnecessary and are 'more advanced' - particularly if the methods in question have been consistently integral to winning innumerable Olympic medals and world championships for decades running. If you don't want to be viewed as a carnival barker or snake oil salesman peddling something which sounds like a miracle but is probably worthless, don't talk like one.

***

For the sake of other onlookers, I'll reiterate that my original post recommending simple strength and endurance training was identifying the most basic, useful types of supplemental training serving the modest goals of injury prevention and achieving sufficient conditioning to make Aikido training easier and more productive. Ask anyone involved in athletic training for any sport at any level and you will find that this is not even remotely controversial - it is considered basic and minimum as something one does prior to participating in a sport and as supplemental to sport-specific training on an ongoing basis.

A lot of the subsequent argument is centered around a separate question, which I never intended to address: what kind of training would be optimal for Aikido, or would result in optimum performance. To my knowledge, contemporary science-based methods have never been put to this use... not even close. If you want to see what these methods are and what they can accomplish in terms of faster, higher, stronger, look at professional and Olympic level sports. Compare what these athletes can do now compared to what they could do 50 or more years ago when most athletes were depending on received wisdom-based methods, and rigorous science had not yet been applied to the task... I think the results speak for themselves.

I didn't get into this latter question because it seems pretty nonsensical when applied to Aikido. The reasons why I practice Aikido and pretty much everyone else I have ever encountered do, have little to do with being stronger, faster or better at it in an athletic sense. There is no organized competition in most incarnations of the art, and few people are into it for the sake of going out and being a devastating super-fighter. Even when people set goals along athletic lines, or hold competitions in some sects, it is usually for a broader or higher purpose in terms of what they are ultimately looking for from the art, not winning for the sake of winning. So I don't see many Aikidoists lining up for complex multifactoral periodization training, strict diets with weighed portions and regular blood workup monitoring, force plate and high-speed video analysis, temperature contrast baths, etc... I would never argue for the superiority of this kind of training for Aikido because it's beside the point.

Upyu
08-23-2006, 12:41 AM
If you want people to come and learn about what you do with an open mind, my advice is not to start off by recklessly criticising methods which you don't understand, and of which you obviously do not even understand the basic vocabulary or concepts. It's probably also best not to make extravagant claims about how your methods make others unnecessary and are 'more advanced' - particularly if the methods in question have been consistently integral to winning innumerable Olympic medals and world championships for decades running. If you don't want to be viewed as a carnival barker or snake oil salesman peddling something which sounds like a miracle but is probably worthless, don't talk like one.


Sagawa was famous for having Olympic gold medalist Judoists come into his Dojo and not be able to to do anything within a "judo" match setting. (To the point of knocking one of them clean cold with a throw that looked like he barely twitched, this of course when he was at the ripe young age of 87)
Even with that skill, Sagawa mentioned that all of this was grounded in building the body in a specific manner, which you can't do using simple weights.

Which makes me not the "only one" making "extravagent" claims. Maybe you should consider that they're out of your field of experience.

My personal opinoin, I don't think Aikido was made for the purpose of the "touchy feely" winning is not winning philisophical bs that a lot of people like to espouse. That only comes as a result of the bodyskill you foster from solo training. If you get that far, then you have a right to say whatever you want.

I suggest you look up one of the people myself, mike and others have mentioned in other threads. Maybe you'll get a taste for something that's outside your paradigms for once.

PS
I'm not recklessly critizing something I don't understand. I've done those routines way back, I also workout with people that follow those routines. To get your foot in the door, its fine, if you just want overall fitness in the beginnning. Eventually though, that kind of training regimine can become a roadblock to further progress unless you have a proper guide.

Oh, and hit me back when you've tried those exercises ;)

paw
08-23-2006, 09:34 AM
You're choosing the orthodox western strengthening method.
I'd say this method is a similar concept, but that it trains a "different" kind of strength that you can't get from lifting weights, club bells, eating cave man food, or spouting nonsensical garbage while hugging trees.

Robert,

I haven't had the chance to examine the post you mentioned earlier, but here's the disconnect that I have.

Muscles contract and relax. Different training methods may have muscles contract longer, or attempt to recruit a maximum number of fibers to contract, but as best I understand it, muscles contract (and relax). A muscle doesn't know what resistence is causing the contraction --- if it's electrically stimulated, or it's a free weight, a clubbell, a kettlebell, a sandbag, an elastic band, your own bodyweight or the groceries you bought. The mind knows, but not the muscle.

Is my understanding incorrect?

So then, I don't see how any training methodology can develop a "different" kind of physical strength that cannot be developed in any other way. The muscles have to contract, and there's a number of ways to accomplish that. The "best" way to accomplish that, depends on the individual's goals and the physical demands of the activities they face.

Regards,

Paul

cguzik
08-23-2006, 10:22 AM
You have to ask yourself what kind of conditioning you want. Endurance and stength training are fine, if that's what you are looking for.

Most weight training programs inculcate the basic push/pull response with isolated muscle groups. I used to do it, but I stopped because this basic response was interfering with my ability to use my whole body in a connected way during aikido practice.

However, core strength training (e.g., push-ups with your toes on an inflatable ball, hanging crunches, etc) are probably much more effective from the standpoint of building up one's ability to use the core to maintain balance and structure.

Kevin Wilbanks
08-23-2006, 10:33 AM
Most weight training programs inculcate the basic push/pull response with isolated muscle groups. I used to do it, and stopped because this basic response was interfering with my ability to use my whole body in a connected way during aikido practice.

This place is like an irrational myth factory. Have you really encountered "most weight training programs"? Been on a world tour, have you? Visited Olympic Training Facilities and professional sports teams?

How do you know doing a few weight exercises a couple times per week was creating this "basic push/pull response" which you were apparently unable to unlearn and that it was interfering with your Aikido? Personally, this is the first time I've ever heard of a "push/pull response". Can you provide any technical description of it or any plausible explanation of why it inhibited you from developing largely unrelated motor skills?

Kevin Wilbanks
08-23-2006, 10:45 AM
Ah you edited. "Core" training is a current fad. The novel exercises you describe don't train the "core" any more than the extremities, and training the core more than or apart from the extremities isn't even desireable. Resistance training exercises that are useful for sport conditioning usually involve most or all of the body in a coordinated chain - muscles seemingly not involved in movement contribute to joint stability and balance. This is why they are chosen as fundamental strengthening exercises, because they are large, basic whole-body movements. A weighted Back Squat will do much more for your 'core' than any exercise that involves wobbling around on a ball or balance board, because it can provide far more resistance. Moreover, the strength developed is more likely to carry over into practical activity because managing your body plus other weight standing on the ground is much more common than wobbling on balls or boards.

clwk
08-23-2006, 05:06 PM
Muscles contract and relax. . . . . A muscle doesn't know what resistence is causing the contraction --- . . . The mind knows, but not the muscle.

Is my understanding incorrect?

So then, I don't see how any training methodology can develop a "different" kind of physical strength that cannot be developed in any other way.

I'm not Rob, and I'm only jumping in here because it sounds like you're not being facetious. The quoted and snipped portion of your question might contain a clue to an answer. Reading what you wrote, I notice - buried in your suppositions - the idea that 'physical strength' can only be developed by training the muscles.

Think about the simple case of applying force downward though. You *can* train the muscles to apply a downward force, but you can also use the body weight to do the same thing. But - and this is the important part - by default, you cannot use the weight without also using the muscles, because you rely on the muscles to form the connection between the bulk of the body mass and the point of application. If there were some other way to form that connection - then maybe you could use the weight without incurring the 'cost' of using the muscle. In order to train that though, you would need to isolate it. As long as you stay focused on strength coming only from the muscles, then you're specifically preventing yourself from strengthening the connection in any other way. Consider - by analogy - that as long as you believe tortilla chips come in a bag, you never learn to make them from tortillas. It might be easy, it might be hard, but as long as you buy them from the store, you don't explore other options. Assuming strength comes only from muscles is believing tortilla chips come in a bag. I'm not particularly prepared to go into detail about how to make tortilla chips, but if you think about it, I think it might answer your actual question.

-ck

Upyu
08-23-2006, 06:43 PM
Robert,
Muscles contract and relax. Different training methods may have muscles contract longer, or attempt to recruit a maximum number of fibers to contract, but as best I understand it, muscles contract (and relax). A muscle doesn't know what resistence is causing the contraction --- if it's electrically stimulated, or it's a free weight, a clubbell, a kettlebell, a sandbag, an elastic band, your own bodyweight or the groceries you bought. The mind knows, but not the muscle.


No disagreement there Paul. A muscle reacts against force. It either contracts or relaxs. But you can control how much it does so. Plus a human body is NOT a sandbag.
The ONLY reason this kind of strength works so well is because of how our skeletal structure is. ;) (Btw, this still isn't referring to technique, just thought I'd cut that off at the head)

Try and dig a bit deeper.

Really though, I would suggest that you goto one of the afore mentioned people and feel them. Really its the only way to know what some of us on this board have been talking about.

Kevin Wilbanks
08-23-2006, 06:54 PM
What you say is interesting ck, but again there is a problem with basic terms. A standard exercise science definition of Strength is the maximum amount of force a muscle or group of muscles can generate at a specified velocity.

What you are talking about is interesting, but it is not strength, unless you want to expand the definition into the realm of poetry, which will make any kind of reasoned argument difficult. By your own example, for instance, an obese person is extremely strong by definition, though perhaps limited to instances of standing or sitting on something. The ability to exert force through low effort use of the body's weight and inherent tissue structures certainly seems to be a goal of Aikido and other 'internal' martial arts. Using accepted definitions, however, learning to do this would be classified as learning a skill, not developing strength.

It may be that this is exactly what the other fellows are describing when they talk about what I am calling their 'system' for developing a "different kind of strength". I have no problem with this, or with believing that I might be impressed with their abilities or the abilities of gurus on their list. Where they, and apparently also you, go wrong is here:

"As long as you stay focused on strength coming only from the muscles, then you're specifically preventing yourself from strengthening the connection in any other way."

There is a problem here and it is a direct function of not knowing these basic terms and what they mean. A lot is known about the interaction of various methods of strength and skill training. It is not true that training for strength necessarily prohibits one from learning a skill, except if one were dealing with such time constraints that only one activity could be fit into a schedule. These days, serious athletes of all types do a wide variety of different types of training, from basic strength and endurance training, to power training, to sport or movement-specific conditioning, to learning a skill... even psychological exercises.

What has been at issue all along is whether whatever this 'system' is eliminates the need for other types of training. If it is, as I suspect, something I would classify as sport-specific skill training, then the answer is no, it does not and cannot eliminate the need for other modalities.

As I pointed out initially, the purpose of basic strength training is to build up a base level of fitness and prevent injury. It does this by increasing cross-sectional muscle area, bone density, ligament and tendon tensile strength and thickness, etc... Skill training is no substitute. Likewise for the power training. If the goal is to increase motor-neural qualities related to developing greater acceleration and power, more skill training is not a substitute. If the goal is to increase the intensity and duration of the output of the body's phosphate and glycogen energy systems, skill training is no substitute for interval training. You get the idea...

Now, I have no opinion about whether the 'system' in question can produce amazing results, but I do know that it cannot replace a type of training that is dissimilar to it or achieve superior results in terms of increasing a particular fitness factor to another mode of training expressly designed to maximize this factor. It is basic science and basic logic.

clwk
08-23-2006, 10:15 PM
Kevin,

What you say is interesting ck, but again there is a problem with basic terms. A standard exercise science definition of Strength is the maximum amount of force a muscle or group of muscles can generate at a specified velocity.
I haven't read every post in this thread so carefully to know for absolute certain, but I would not assume that 'standard exercise science' is the source of word usage in play. I understand that this is your area of interest though. Certainly 'strength' does not imply muscle in the 'standard English language' usage. I'd be willing to argue the point, but I think it's both obvious and somewhat tangential. If we're just quibbling over whose vocabulary to use, who cares? I believe one of the interviews Mike linked to (was it this thread, or another?) talks about 'jin' and 'li' as different kinds of 'strength' - and this distinction is fairly comprehensible, I think.

What you are talking about is interesting, but it is not strength, unless you want to expand the definition into the realm of poetry, which will make any kind of reasoned argument difficult.

Come on, now - I'm just asking to remove the word 'muscle', really - not proposing something magical.
By your own example, for instance, an obese person is extremely strong by definition, though perhaps limited to instances of standing or sitting on something.

Well, okay - but I'd also hedge and say those are pretty serious limitations, so what's difference does it make? It's also not totally academic because in order to lift their own weight a heavy person *does* have to be strong. It's just that they don't have a lot left over to use for anything else - unless, as you say they are sitting on someone, *or* they have the ability to harness their full weight in a variety of ways.
The ability to exert force through low effort use of the body's weight and inherent tissue structures certainly seems to be a goal of Aikido and other 'internal' martial arts. Using accepted definitions, however, learning to do this would be classified as learning a skill, not developing strength.

I think you are proposing a false dichotomy between 'muscular strength' and 'skill'. You assume that 'inherent tissue structures' do not need to be and cannot be developed. Why is it you consider subjecting the muscles to load in order to strengthen them conditioning, but you consider doing the same thing to the 'inherent tissue structures' to be skill training? I'm not saying there are not important skill-related trainings intertwined with this kind of conditioning (if it even exists, right?) - but that's not what's under discussion.
Where they, and apparently also you, go wrong is here:

As I said before, I'm not Rob, and I don't speak for Akuzawa's system. I would also like to point out that your entire argument is based on the assertion that other people are misusing 'accepted terminology' and therefore what they are saying cannot make sense. I think everyone would agree that the word 'strength' is not being used according to your supplied definition. Nevertheless, sports science does not have a lock on diction; and there is an obvious use of the word which you are misunderstanding. Either:

a) you are intentionally being difficult (possibly because you assume the people with whom you disagree are idiots, and therefore deserve it).
b) you don't understand/know something substantial which is being discussed.
c) there is a genuine misunderstanding of some kind.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume c) - but if this doesn't help clear it up, I don't see many options other than a) or b). Oh, wait - there's d) You are completely right, and those with whom you disagree *are* idiots.

For fun, in order to add something substantive and not *just quibble over terminology*, let me try a slightly more concrete example than the tortilla chips. Suppose you take two archers and give them identical bows and one year to train. At the end of this year, they have a contest to see who can shoot a single arrow the farthest. They can train in any way they like. Let's assume that both archers spend a portion of their time making sure they can aim the bow and release the arrow in such a way as to maximize the translation of their 'strength' into arrow distance. (This would be your 'skill' component.) Now, let's say that one archer decides to spend most of his extra training time strengthening his arms, back, chest, etcetera - so he could pull a bow with, say, a 500 pound draw (good training methods!). Of course, the bow he was issued has only a 100 pound maximum draw. The other archer spends only a portion of this time on muscle, so he only gets enough muscular strength to draw a 250 pound bow. However, he spends his spare time conditioning his bow - who cares how, it's just an example. The end result though, is that he has physically changed his bow so that it can sustain a 250 pound pull. My question is this: on game day, who can shoot farther? Which archer has more available strength for archery? Notice this has nothing to do with skill at all. It's actually kind of calculus problem as to how much time to spend on what. And just to forestall the obvious trivial point - *obviously* the 'bow' in this analogy is not an external object: it's part of the 'archer' - a component of his power-delivery system, just like his muscles are.

Like I said, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you're at least a little interested in real discussion. I think for this discussion to be anything like productive *you* would need to accept that 'standard exercise science' hasn't necessarily analyzed this particular problem to death (note: I'm not saying it couldn't apply - just that the application doesn't seem to have been performed. If it had been performed, then your definition of 'strength' would either be more inclusive, or you would have a better word than 'skill' to substitute for it.) If you cannot accept this, then you're right - there's no point in the discussion; but maybe someone else will find it interesting anyway.

-ck

Kevin Wilbanks
08-23-2006, 11:26 PM
Okay, I understand a little better what you are proposing as this new type of 'strength'. It seems like an interesting hypothesis, but my main concern is that you are still positing something extra and unnecessary on top of what is probably just skill development. How do you know that the amazing throwing/not being thrown/whatever effects of this training are the result of structures in the body becoming stronger, as opposed to just developing more skill at aligning, moving and holding the body?

What do you propose is going on physiologically?

The structures in question are pretty straightforward. If you aren't using any muscular strength, then we are just talking about bones and ligaments. This is absurd however, because not using any strength will result in lying crumpled on the floor. So we add muscles, tendons and fascial sheaths, assuming one must at least use a little effort to provide locomotion and hold joints in stable positions... So far as I know, these are the only available structures that are likely to contribute: bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and fascial sheaths.

You could propose that training these structures in some special way makes some or all of them far stronger than weight training ever could. This sounds like it can be easily dismissed without even doing comparitive biopsies/autopsies on powerlifters, weightlifters and internal strength gurus. The structures in question get stronger as an adaptation to the application of force... is anything going on when someone throws someone with seemingly little effort that compares to cleaning 600 pounds or sqautting 1000? Probably not. Lifting or heaving huge amounts of weight is going to make these structures much stronger than anything done involving less force...

To my knowledge, biopsies on powerlifters show the highest bone density in lower body bones on record that are not the result of disease, and we already know they have the strongest muscles. It seems safe to deduce that they probably also have the strongest ligaments, tendons, and fascial sheaths. And, of course, anyone competent in Aikido or Judo should be able to throw an unskilled powerlifter fairly easily.

So what is getting "stronger"? It seems the obvious answer is nothing much more than when someone does ordinary Aikido. On the other hand, the development of the neuromotor elements that involve how one aligns, holds and moves the body is plausible as an explanation of the development of amazing throwing and balancing capablities without the application of huge forces, and without the kind of muscular hypertrophy one would expect to see develop in muscles required to stabilize joints during the transmission of such forces. Learning to align and move the body in a more effective way is best described as a skill, not strength.

Upyu
08-24-2006, 12:01 AM
Now we're getting somewhere I think :)

Kevin, just out of curiosity, can you try the following exercise. It's the pushout exercise I mentioned before.

Since i couldn't find it I'll try my best to describe it.

Two people face each other at arms length.
Feet shoulder width apart. Knees straight, not bent.
Person A's arms are extended, the Person B's arms are pulled back, chest open, shoulderblades touching, shoulders dropped.
A then tenses the arms (in whatever manner you feel comfortable with) with the specific aim to keep B from extending his arms.

B tries to extend his arms and move A back without RESTING his weight, or leaning in any manner, or using the arm muscles extensively.

Kevin or anyone else that cares to try this exercise let me know what your results were?
I think this discussion could take an interesting turn, and we might be able to find some middle ground.

Btw Kevin I do agree that the strengthening the connective tissue is important.
In fact the exercises I mentioned do the same thing, increasing bone density, tendon strength, tensile strength, density etc etc etc. But without increasing the muscle size significantly(For reasons maybe we can get into later)

Your observation about certain muscles needing to be engaged is also correct since we'd simply collapse to the floor.
But how you strengthen the muscle is all important since simply strengthening it can be detrimental to learning the "strength" skill we mentioned since it involves gaining control over the relax/contract nature of muscles.

I think we can find some middle ground on this ;)

See if you, or someone else can't do this exercise first, then hit me back with your thoughts.

Upyu
08-24-2006, 12:11 AM
weightlifters and internal strength gurus. The structures in question get stronger as an adaptation to the application of force... is anything going on when someone throws someone with seemingly little effort that compares to cleaning 600 pounds or sqautting 1000? Probably not. Lifting or heaving huge amounts of weight is going to make these structures much stronger than anything done involving less force...


Sorry for the double post, and I'm not trying to be a jackass here...

but what if, what if Judo players "think" they're using their entire body to throw, using all their strength, but actually because of the way they train, end up using their muscluature in an opposing fashion, fighting their own structure, and using more muscle in the process.

The fact that Sagawa was able to stand there with 100kg Olympic medalists pulling on his jacket unable to move him means that maybe their bodies weren't working in an optimum matter.
(Sagawa at that point was in his late eighties, weighting maybe 110 lb soaking wet)

I'm able to show a similar principle to wrestlers who I work out with. They devote all their strength trying to "throw" me, thinking they have my balance, but since they haven't destabilized my upper center, they can't throw me or double leg me, and each time they do they say I feel like a sack of bricks, or a wall (take your pick).

But its not like my weight suddently increased either...

Btw, the guys trying to throw me, suplex me whatever generally have a 10-15 kg weight advantage on me, and can certainly bench more, and do weighted squats etc the whole nine yards. They're also flexible and not stiff. But their muscles always tense up when they come in contact with me...

just some food for thought...

James Young
08-24-2006, 12:19 AM
For those who are interested Kenji Ushiro sensei's take on muscle training is (according to his book Kata: The Essence of Bujutsu Karate, pg. 209) as follows:

"Muscle training may be good when you are young, but as you become older, your muscles gradually weaken. Also, muscle training has a side effect, that is, it leads you to rely on power and thus your karate becomes a power karate. Power karate causes you to become immobilized during your movements. Also, the spped of your movements becomes slower and you become unable to produce explosive power. Karate that relies on power can be learned in a short period of time, but the reality is also that this kind of karate can only be maintained for a short period of time.
In muscle training, there is a tendency to train only partially. It is also difficult to unify all muscle elements into one because of the existence of an unlimited number of factors thus making it impossible to develop a unified body. This means that you are unable to move freely. This can be considered the major problem with muscle trauining."

This passage comes from the kokyu-ryoku section, so the explosive power and unification he refers to he states can only be developed through kokyu training. Obviously these same concepts apply to aikido as well, that is why I believe Rob John and others are saying it's more productive to train in exercises that will help you develop that kokyu power rather than just concentrating on traditional strength training. I believe strength training has its place and I do it myself, however, for the purpose of mastering aikido I think you only need to do it to a certain level to reach a certain level of fitness. Unlike other sports where generally the stronger and more athletic you are has direct benfits, aikido by design doesn't necessarily benefit nearly as much in the same way because you shouldn't need a high level of strength and speed. Once you reach a certain level of strength and firness and maintain that in my opinion I think you can benefit more from concentrating on those exercises that develop kokyu power rather than additional strength training. So I'm saying in my opinion both types of conditioning are important, the balance of which may be dependent on your personal fitness level and the level and focus of your aikido training.

Upyu
08-24-2006, 02:17 AM
Once you reach a certain level of strength and firness and maintain that in my opinion I think you can benefit more from concentrating on those exercises that develop kokyu power rather than additional strength training. So I'm saying in my opinion both types of conditioning are important, the balance of which may be dependent on your personal fitness level and the level and focus of your aikido training.

THat's one way to look at it, only I think most people tend to get too stuck in the strength training rutt and develop bad habits in the way they use their muscles.(Pertaining to martial movement)
Most people that come to our class that have too much muscle end up having to "pare down" what they have, and then "rebuild" it in a sense.
Of course this has more to do in a neuro-muscular sense, but the essence being that doing strength training in the beginning might be beneficial, but its hard to tell when you should "stop".
In the end I think it's easier to start from scratch with zero strength training, since "tanren" in itself is physically rigorous... :)

Kevin Wilbanks
08-24-2006, 02:38 AM
But how you strengthen the muscle is all important since simply strengthening it can be detrimental to learning the "strength" skill we mentioned since it involves gaining control over the relax/contract nature of muscles.

First, how a muscle is strengthened is not detrimental to learning neuromotor skills involving the muscle, or to doing further training developing strength more specific to the targeted activity. General strength training may not help increase perfomance much, but it doesn't prevent anything. It's purpose in a training program is not to enhance the performance of specific activities, but to provide a fitness base, strengthen tissues, and help with injury resistance. The reason I initially suggested it is because many people who do Aikido are not in good general condition, do nothing outside of Aikido for strength or injury prevention, and I don't think optimal performance is an issue with most Aikidoists.

"Gaining control over the relax/contract nature of muscles" is almost a textbook definition of skill. It's not a good description of what I now see you are talking about. You are talking about sport-specific strength training. It is correct that well-designed exercises that are more specific to the movements of a sport activity have more carryover to the activity. It is also correct that it is not skill. (Note, that this is a different matter from the above discussion about some kind of near-effortless throwing power, which would be almost all skill at movement and alignment, and little strengthening at all.)

Why sport-specific strength exercises are more useful has to do with reasons that are mostly neural, some are biochemical, few or none have to do with raw physical factors like muscle size, bone density, or connective tissue strength. It is not a different kind of strength, it is simply strength developed via more relevant exercises, which is therefore more relevant to performance.

Other fitness qualities are far less movement-specific, but instead energetically specific, particularly various types of endurance. Even strength-related qualities fall into this category sometimes. Olympic lifts have been found to be so good at developing speed-strength/power qualities, that the carryover even to non-jumping or non-pulling actions is still good.

In essence, this is all just the principle of specificity. Almost all serious athletic training today is built on this model. However, sport-specific exercises are not done instead of general conditioning methods, but in addition to them. In fact, the Soviet conditioning models - which are the main influence on today's training methods - require their athletes to do nothing but general conditioning for a period of years before they are allowed to do anything specific to their sport whatsoever.

What you are seeing in these Judo people and whoever, is not a result of any kind of inhibition or detriment to learning or controlling their muscles that their weight training has done to them. Unless they use up too much of their recovery ability on their general strength training, there is nothing preventing them from adding the type of training you advocate. Since they already have excess 'raw materials' built up, the sport-specific training may even work better or faster for them. I still suspect that skill and talent are also factors.

Upyu
08-24-2006, 05:38 AM
First, how a muscle is strengthened is not detrimental to learning neuromotor skills involving the muscle, or to doing further training developing strength more specific to the targeted activity. General strength training may not help increase perfomance much, but it doesn't prevent anything.

I disagree, especially with relation to this bodyskill. If you stimulate the muscles too much through the use of weight based training, it can hamper development of this skill.
So far I've seen people that
a) Come into class simultaneously doing some kind of freeweights program (those tended to be people from Western based Muay Thai, Kyokushin, Submission fighting etc)


b) Come into class with either not much sportive athletic background, or those that had chosen to avoid a weight training program.

The progress between these two general different groups of people is interesting to watch, since it seems most people with a weight training backgrounds have a lot of "rewiring" to do and takes them much longer to "unlearn" than those with zero experience.

Anyone with large shoulder muscles, pecs that are built up find the exercises especially excruciating (physically).

Kevin, I suggest you try the exercises outlined in the Training section, then let me know what your own personal feedback is ;)
I'm just curious what your opinoin would be on them.

clwk
08-24-2006, 06:46 AM
Kevin,

This has to be quick because I'm running to work, so forgive me if I don't address your points specifically. I'll reply to what I think is the gist of your remarks. You suggest that since there is a fixed set of possible body structures to be used in generating strength of any kind, and since powerlifting can be shown to develop some of these extremely well, that powerlifting can *probably* be shown to develop all of them best, and is therefore the best supplemental conditioning method. Just for the sake of argument, let's even assume you are right that serious hardcore powerlifter's *do* strengthen even the various structures you've described more than anyone else - *for the specific exercises they train*. I know you suggest a broad and general class of exercises to try to spread this out as evenly as possible.

Even if that is the case, and I'm not really stipulating that, you should still consider that someone who could come the closest to training *all* relevant structures as *evenly* as possible for usage in *any* direction would be best off. There might be qualitative advantages to this 'evenness', as I'm calling it. You could say that this might be the point at which the skill and conditioning meet. Take the archer again, two archers: one trains both arms evenly to a strength of 100 pounds. The other trains one arm to 200 pounds, the other to 0 pounds. Ridiculous, I know - but you can see how the application of skill could be *seriously* affected by the nature of the conditioning - even if the raw, root, physiological-level conditioning is the same in both cases. Take another example of an aircraft. Not only are the physical properties of its body important, but also their shape. At some point these characteristics cannot be ignored. If you understand that *everything* has to follow the real underlying 'laws of body conditioning' which modern sports theory probably knows *a lot - but not necessarily everything about* - then you should be able to accept that there are training methods designed to dovetail perfectly with skill - to the point that they are inseparable from it. In this paradigm, perhaps a 100 pound spherically-available strength perfectly distributed through all available structures would be better than a 200 pound strength that had a 'splotchiness' and had even *any* weak points of less than 100 pounds. Do you see how this could be a totally different training goal than the power-lifter - even though many results of the training would overlap?

Food for thought. I have to run.

-ck

ps: an afterthought - you seem to be addressing a strawman I understand because it's common, but you need to know it's not what the knowledgeable posters are discussing here. This is the idea of using 'no strength' or that 'muscles are bad' or anything like that. The point is that there is good muscle use and bad, and most people who are thinking of starting a martial art are almost certainly biased toward bad rather than good use. Those people would probably be best served by retraining their neuro-musuclar habits - which is theoretically something that should happen in their budo training. I would bet that conditioning specifically designed to help with this also has that advantage over powerlifting - even if powerlifting can be shown in some cases not to *necessarily* worsen the problem.

Mike Sigman
08-24-2006, 08:53 AM
sport-specific exercises are not done instead of general conditioning methods, but in addition to them. .When I inhale, there is a slight pulling under the skin over my whole body, but stronger in someplaces than in others. People off the street can feel it by lightly holding my arm, etc. I coordinate this "development" to allow my body to act as a unified whole when I use force. When I am struck with a blow, this "development" tends to prevent me from getting hurt. I make sure that aspects of this development are practiced within my body torso, also, BTW.

When I lift things, move things, accept incoming forces, this "whole body" development becomes part of the coordination of all that I do, so my coordination is radically different from "general conditioning exercises"... i.e., doing "general conditioning exercises" would hinder the development of this added body skill.

I also have the ability to direct force paths at will through or from my body... I use this skill to be a primary controller of most of my motion. It's an added factor that had to be trained into my movement. Doing "general conditioning" would be detrimental to learning how to do this stuff.

Chen Xiao Wang, the head of the Chen-style Taijiquan, has fairly undeveloped arms, yet he is extraordinarily powerful. He does the work with the lower part of his body and his middle and lets the arms only be conveyors of the forces. The use and training of muscle fibers is of course necessarily a part of all strengths, but it's not the full picture of what we're talking about. Ueshiba had a picture painted to show an extra-large middle.... the same kind of middle I'm talking about in this odd type of strength. So my comment would be that exhortations to do "general conditioning" are not always the best thing to suggest for martial arts that use these "internal strength" parameters.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

paw
08-24-2006, 09:55 AM
Robert,

In fact the exercises I mentioned do the same thing, increasing bone density, tendon strength, tensile strength, density etc etc etc. But without increasing the muscle size significantly(For reasons maybe we can get into later)

Muscle development is either hyperplasia or hypertrophy. If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting hyperplasia, which increases the number of muscle cells with minimal size increase in the muscle. So, you are suggesting your exercises cause hyperplasia. Is that correct?

First, how a muscle is strengthened is not detrimental to learning neuromotor skills involving the muscle, or to doing further training developing strength more specific to the targeted activity. General strength training may not help increase perfomance much, but it doesn't prevent anything.

I disagree, especially with relation to this bodyskill. If you stimulate the muscles too much through the use of weight based training, it can hamper development of this skill.

To the best of my knowledge, Kevin is unquestionably correct in his assertion. The discrepancies that you claim you see in class could very well be explained by other factors rather than being determined by a "freeweight program". (Incidentally, that's an incredibly vast and vague description, imo. Bodybuilders, powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters have radically different training methodologies, and radically different athletic performance, but I would say all use "freeweight programs" as the core of their training.)

Anyone with large shoulder muscles, pecs that are built up find the exercises especially excruciating (physically).

Gymnasts and Olympic weighlifters have large shoulder muscles and pecs, have you had any of them in our class? I suspect they would not find the exercises excruciating due to their flexibility. Off the top of my head, I suspect that individuals who find the exercises excruciating have flexibility issues, an issue independent of mucle size.


Mike,

When I lift things, move things, accept incoming forces, this "whole body" development becomes part of the coordination of all that I do, so my coordination is radically different from "general conditioning exercises"... i.e., doing "general conditioning exercises" would hinder the development of this added body skill.

Here's another disconnect for me. "General conditioning exercises" is so vast and vague I have no idea what you mean. I would consider running, climbing, swimming, biking, stretching (and stretching focused activities like some forms of yoga) to be "general conditioning exercises", not to mention the myriad of methods used to develop strength. I can't imagine you mean that all of them hinder the development of this added body skill. Could you be more specific?

Regards,

Paul

Mike Sigman
08-24-2006, 10:10 AM
Here's another disconnect for me. "General conditioning exercises" is so vast and vague I have no idea what you mean. I would consider running, climbing, swimming, biking, stretching (and stretching focused activities like some forms of yoga) to be "general conditioning exercises", not to mention the myriad of methods used to develop strength. I can't imagine you mean that all of them hinder the development of this added body skill. Could you be more specific?Trying to keep it as succinct as I can: this method of strength requires developing some skills and the fascia-related structures in the body, but at heart you could say it is a "recoordination of the normal ways we use strength" and we want to make this new way of moving as our instinctive, preferred strength. Any "general conditioning" that continues to rely on the 'old way of moving' is a hindrance to developing the 'new way of moving', if you see my point. You can't have someone who truly "moves from the hara" who also does weight-lifting using normal modalities, isolation, etc.

Granted, once you've acquired a good bit of the 'new way of moving', you can begin to go back to weight-lifing, rowing, whatever, and taking care to use the so-called "whole body" (although of course you can't do isolation training anymore.... you have to recoordinate your weight-lifting, etc.). You certainly need strength and conditioning.... but great care has to be made to clarify that *normal* strength and conditioning is a no-no.

Regards,

Mike

paw
08-24-2006, 11:37 AM
Mike,

Trying to keep it as succinct as I can: this method of strength requires developing some skills and the fascia-related structures in the body, but at heart you could say it is a "recoordination of the normal ways we use strength" and we want to make this new way of moving as our instinctive, preferred strength.

What you're describing sounds like skill training to me.


Granted, once you've acquired a good bit of the 'new way of moving', you can begin to go back to weight-lifing, rowing, whatever, and taking care to use the so-called "whole body" (although of course you can't do isolation training anymore.... you have to recoordinate your weight-lifting, etc.). You certainly need strength and conditioning.... but great care has to be made to clarify that *normal* strength and conditioning is a no-no.

When I've mentioned weight training, I've been referring to multi-joint, full body movements. So, I'm not clear on what the objection is. I'm even more concerned that you're lumping in "strength" with "conditioning". In my mind, conditioning would encompass attributes in addition to strength: cardiovascular capability, stamina, power, speed, coordination, flexibility, agility and balance to name a few.

Now the drill that Robert described, certainly doesn't address many of the attributes I would associate with "general conditioning". And perhaps there are other drills that address other physical attributes. But my warning flag goes up when a methodology demands such a broad range of activities and methodologies must be discontinued.

Perhaps I've misunderstood your response?

Regards,

Paul

Kevin Wilbanks
08-24-2006, 11:43 AM
CLwk,

You need to re-read my argument, I never said a thing about powerlifting being the best supplementary training. My argurments were about strength and tissues. The kind of raw material strengthening you are talking about just doesn't happen without the application of massive force. I understand what these guys are talking about now, and it has nothing to do with building more, or more applicable strength in tissue structures, it has mostly to do with neural and biochemical elements of strength that are specific to movements done in certain patterns and at certain speeds, etc...

****

As for the rest, I am now willing to entertain that these "bodyskill" exercises are better than general weight exercises for improving Aikido 'performance' in a physical sense. If they are well-designed, they are sport-specific strengthening exercises, and they work better due to the principle of specificity. However, this insistence that concurrent or preparatory general weight training interferes with more specifc training, and how you imply that it does, is simply wrong.

You must have misinterpreted your anecdotes. I encourage you to get a copy of a basic exercise science text like 'The Essentials of Strength and Conditioning', by Bachele and Earle, and the indespensible 'Supertraining' by the late Mel Siff so that you can become familiar with the vast amount of study and research that has been put into issues like this.

Some kinds of training interfere with other kinds of training, but not in the way you suggest. For instance, if you lift weights so much that you have exhausted your body's recovery resources, additional specific strength exercises won't help and may actually make you weaker. This would be a poorly designed program. Too much endurance training can interfere with strength development, and vice-versa - this is also along the lines of a conservation of resources issue.

What you are suggesting is that doing an activity like lifting weights causes these motor neural patterns to become so entrenched that the trainee is incapable or learning new ones, or finds it very difficult. This is not how movement and motor behaviors work. If it was, we would have similar problems plauging our lives all the time.

How many times per week does one perform a particular weight exercise? Probably 100 to 200 total reps including warmup at most. Now consider running. Running 5 miles entails repeating the same stride pattern exercise maybe 8000 times. Many people do this several days per week. Some of them come to Aikido. Have you ever seen a runner about to do a tenkan, then involuntarily start running and slam into a wall? Of course not - despite the fact that by your reasoning, she has done an exercise probably around 200 times more likely to be entrenched in their system to interfere with motor learning. Consider an illustrator. Someone who draws can easily spend many times as much time drawing as the runner does running - maybe 50 hours per week or more. Have you ever heard of an illustrator who was incapable of eating his dinner because when he attempted to put fork to food, he instead couldn't help "drawing" with it? Or that moved his utensil around all jerkily like Frankenstein's monster because he had so much difficulty learning to eat after all that drawing?

If you think more about it, you'll see that problems like this would arise everywhere for us if your theory of motor learning were correct, and life would be a mess. The fact is that motor learning does not work like this. The only circumstances in which training has been found to interfere with the performance of a sports skill is in the case of simulation training, which consequently is rarely used. Simulation training is training an actual sport movement, except with a slight change - such as attaching a weight to a baseball bat or a rubber cable to a golf club, then trying to perform the movement as usual. This type of training has been found to disrupt the skills of athletes who have tried it, because the movement is so similar, that the neural patterns become somehow confused. So long as the movement is sufficiently dissimilar, this effect has not been found to occur.

Incidentally, this is the trick of sport-specific strength training - finding a movement that is similar enough to the sport movement that there is excellent carryover, but not so similar that it disrupts the skill.

Mike Sigman
08-24-2006, 11:56 AM
What you're describing sounds like skill training to me. Sure. And I think you'll find numerous statements to that effect from me in the archives of this and other forums. But I'm not talking about a skill that is an extension of normal movement. I'm talking about a skill that requires you to re-train even your basic way of movement before you attempt anything to do with "general conditioning". I.e., the re-training of the movement system is the primary point, *then* comes the conditioning. The previous comments indicated that general conditioning comes first or simultaneously and I (and Rob I think, although I don't want to speak for him) was stressing that all that normally done conditioning doesn't help you at all with these skills and are more than likely to take you further away from the goals. When I've mentioned weight training, I've been referring to multi-joint, full body movements. So, I'm not clear on what the objection is. [[snip]]
Perhaps I've misunderstood your response? Yes. And that's what both Rob and I have been trying to say, because we've both encountered this and we both know that it's outside the realm of normal body mechanics. And we both know that other people, just like we did, would scoff at the idea that there could be something this big that hasn't been encountered before and which is not in the literature. Remember in the early 1900's when the suggestion was made to close the US Patent Office because they felt sure that all possible new things had been patented and explored? ;)

When you talk of "multi-joint, full body movements", I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that I could show you (it would take a little time and preface) a different way to weight lift and you'd go "Oh". I don't like to lose bets, so I'm very careful to only make bets I know I will win easily. :cool:

Regards,

Mike

Upyu
08-24-2006, 01:28 PM
<snip>.

Kevin, just try the exercises, and see what kind of feedback your body gives you.
能書きはいいから ;)

clwk
08-24-2006, 06:34 PM
You need to re-read my argument, I never said a thing about powerlifting being the best supplementary training. My argurments were about strength and tissues.
Okay, I did; and I apologize for any mischaracterization of your position. I think my point is still valid though, even if you remove my conflation of your arguments about powerlifting and your preference for 'basic weight training' as a supplemental conditioning method.
The kind of raw material strengthening you are talking about just doesn't happen without the application of massive force. I understand what these guys are talking about now, and it has nothing to do with building more, or more applicable strength in tissue structures, it has mostly to do with neural and biochemical elements of strength that are specific to movements done in certain patterns and at certain speeds, etc...

I guess that's that then. I've thrown in my piece in the hopes it might clarify something for someone, but I have no overarching desire to convince you and Paul. I'll just summarize my point again:

Given the choice between weight-based muscle training and exercises specfically designed to promote 'internal strength' - I would choose the latter if my goal were improved performance in Aikido. Even though these other exercises (whatever they may be) may have a skill component, they also have a conditioning component which is qualitatively different from what you would get from lifting weights in an ordinary way. This preference is connected to the hypothesis that the goal of a martial art like Aikido involves not only changing the pattern of how one behaves, 'skill', but also changing one's body itself, 'conditioning' - in a way different and in certain ways contradictory to what 'general conditioning' is likely to do. Moreover, the relationship between 'skill' and 'conditioning' is closer than can really be understood if you insist on a sharp dichotomy. Obviously not everyone will accept the truth of this hypothesis, and those that don't will probably therefore disagree with the conclusions that follow from the premise. Thanks for your patience.

-ck

Kevin Wilbanks
08-24-2006, 07:37 PM
Robert,

Sorry, still not interested. I let myself turn into a slob for almost two years and I've still got a whole lot of my own remedial work to do - no room on the dance card. I glanced through a couple of the exercises. They remind me of yoga insofar as the amount of tiny postural details involved. I don't think it is worthwhile to attempt to learn exercises/activities with such complex detail via reading a few emails. I wouldn't try to learn yoga or aikido from a book either. Such learning needs to be taught in person.

ck,

Mostly what you are describing is what I talked about above: sport specific strength training. There are several neural and metabolic elements of strength, which are more specific to certain movement patterns, speeds, etc... than not. These elements are not considered skill, and sound like what you are talking about. Identifying and studying these elements does not contradict a scheme of using clear defintions between strength and skill. One needs to have separate and clearly defined concepts to approach a complex activity like athletic training in the manner it is done at high levels today. In a sense, all divisions and categorizations are arbitrary - the point is to make sure they are consistent and useful. It sounds to me like you should read a basic exercise science textbook before making generalizations about how their definitions and terms limit what 'can be understood'. What is currently understood is quite impressive.

Anyhow, as you say, sport-specific training does work better for improving performance, but is not unique to Aikido or its 'internal-ness'. This type of training is currently the dominant paradigm, used in virtually every type of sport training, all of which have unique movement and performance requirements. The prior paradigm was the use of nothing but general conditioning and skill training. Sport specific occupies a sort of middle ground, but it is not used instead of either pole. In beginning athletes, specific is used little and general conditioning more, in advanced athletes, general is de-emphasized in favor of specific. Often relatively standard weight exercises are considered part of sport specific training, depending upon the similarity of the movement pattern to the target activity.

clwk
08-24-2006, 08:27 PM
One needs to have separate and clearly defined concepts to approach a complex activity like athletic training in the manner it is done at high levels today. In a sense, all divisions and categorizations are arbitrary - the point is to make sure they are consistent and useful. It sounds to me like you should read a basic exercise science textbook before making generalizations about how their definitions and terms limit what 'can be understood'. What is currently understood is quite impressive.
I might look into it (did you make a title recommendation already?), but I don't have a lot of spare time. That's the source of the impasse, I think. It's not really worth anyone's while to delve deeply into one another's terminology. I am perfectly happy, in theory, to accept your assurance that the way the terms are used does not present any difficulty in understanding what is going on. My hesitation comes in that it is not actually clear that you understand what is being discussed. I'm willing to remain agnostic on the point though. In order to fully resolve the issue (in debate), someone would have to put in more effort than anyone is really willing to. I'm willing to sacrifice the ability to communicate with sports scientists for now; I'd rather focus on other things. If calling that 'sport-specific training' makes sense of it for you, that's fine with me. For what it's worth, I have no problem with the paradigm you describe in general, but - if the end result of applying that paradigm to Aikido is that folk avoid finding these other training methods, whatever you call them, then that would be too bad. It really doesn't matter who calls what what. What matters is how you train, right? I think what some people are suggesting is that some of these traditional, but little-known training methods are not less sophisticated than 'modern training methods', even if their English-translated vocabulary is less normalized yet. I can imagine a future in which the serious sports science you describe is applied to refine and squeeze the best performance out of traditional methods, and to understand them better at a scientific level. I think that's the direction of application though, rather than trying to incorporate these methods into the 'modern training paradigm'. It's just a different opinion and slant. Each of us is betting his training on a chosen approach, and I think that's fine. I'm not writing to prove you wrong, or even to try to resolve these issues - the dialogue's just not there yet. I'm just writing - as a practitioner, not an expert - so those like the original poster who have to choose a direction to bet on have a sense of the options.

Thanks for the conversation. Maybe someday one or both of us will have done the research necessary to find common ground.

-ck

paw
08-24-2006, 08:50 PM
Mike,

But I'm not talking about a skill that is an extension of normal movement. I'm talking about a skill that requires you to re-train even your basic way of movement before you attempt anything to do with "general conditioning".

Again, I'm concerned about the use of "general conditioning". I'm pretty sure I don't understand what you mean when you use the term. If I understand you, you're suggesting that one cannot run, bike, swim, lift, climb, jump, etc....without first training in this general skill. Considering that elite level athletes have been running, jumping, lifting, etc...without this skill makes me question that premise.

I imagine you're thinking, I don't understand what you're explaining, and I think that's true. I feel I bit like that tv show...I want to believe...

The previous comments indicated that general conditioning comes first or simultaneously and I (and Rob I think, although I don't want to speak for him) was stressing that all that normally done conditioning doesn't help you at all with these skills and are more than likely to take you further away from the goals.

What are the goals? What physical attributes does this skill develop? Strength? Cardio-vascular endurance? Stamina? I'm confused. I thought we were talking about improved aikido performance, but I'm getting the impression that you are talking about general athletic performance, which is significantly broader topic.

When you talk of "multi-joint, full body movements", I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that I could show you (it would take a little time and preface) a different way to weight lift and you'd go "Oh".

I don't know what you mean Mike. I'm sure you could show me a different way to lift weights. To be frank, that wouldn't interest me. I'm not interested in different, I'm interested in improved performance. What do you propose?



ck,

Given the choice between weight-based muscle training and exercises specfically designed to promote 'internal strength'

As I mentioned before, muscles contract and relax. Bones and connective tissue strengthen when exposed to (appropriate) stress. Proper resistence training does that and that is well documented. I'm not sure what you mean by internal strength.


Regards,

Paul

clwk
08-24-2006, 09:12 PM
I'm not sure what you mean by internal strength.
Right, and that's where this whole discussion is getting hung up. You and Kevin have a highly-specialized vocabulary relating to sports science, and there is also a highly-specialized vocabulary related to 'whatever it is'. I'm using the term 'internal strength' here, which is sort of a catch-all way of describing this whole skill set - a skill set which cannot be divorced from the specialized conditioning that produces it. The problem is that without actually getting a tactile feel for what is being discussed, it's a bit difficult to accurately conceptualize about it. If it were me - and it was, so I'm not being unliateral - I would just put it into the 'cannot judge yet' category and then investigate as much or as little as you feel it warrants. The only real shame would be if you dismissed the concept out of hand just because it is almost impossible to convey without also establishing some experiential basis to root the terminology. I don't mean anything mystical by this - it's just that you need a foothold into the discussion, and this cannot be established only through discussion. The best that discussion can do - probably - is lay the groundwork for further hands-on investigation. I wanted to believe I could work it out verbally too, but I just don't think you can.


-ck

Mike Sigman
08-24-2006, 09:12 PM
If I understand you, you're suggesting that one cannot run, bike, swim, lift, climb, jump, etc....without first training in this general skill. Considering that elite level athletes have been running, jumping, lifting, etc...without this skill makes me question that premise. Did Ueshiba run, bike, swim, lift, climb, etc.? No. Not that he couldn't have accomodated something like that, it's just that the real focused experts train only within these parameters I'm trying to lay out. It is their whole life, Paul. What most westerners want to do is "have a piece of it". In other words, at heart most people are dilettantes, in actuality, in these arts. They make it part of their life, sort of like a badge.

I remember walking to the train station one night in Australia with Chen Xiao Wang. While we were walking along and talking, he was heavily "clomping" and twisting his arms. He was training this mode of skills in every spare moment of his time. Ueshiba had heavy iron garden tools made so that he could train even while gardening. When they can't sleep, many of the experts simply get up and do standing postures at night. Think about that level of making an art your "life".I imagine you're thinking, I don't understand what you're explaining, and I think that's true. I feel I bit like that tv show...I want to believe... Yeah, I wanted to think there was something there for all that talk and that it wasn't just a bunch of Asian silly dreams. Turns out it's us westerners that are having the silly dreams. What you have to understand and believe is that it's there, but it's something you have to work for. You have to be sort of a dedicated nut like Rob John is. ;) What are the goals? What physical attributes does this skill develop? Strength? Cardio-vascular endurance? Stamina? I'm confused. I thought we were talking about improved aikido performance, but I'm getting the impression that you are talking about general athletic performance, which is significantly broader topic. First of all, you need to understand that what we're calling the "ki" and "kokyu" skills are actually a type of training regimen that came from *very* far back. Somewhere B.C.E. It's a very famous regimen and it gives unusual power and health, stamina, strengthened organs, body-structure support, etc., that it was a coveted thing to learn. As Shioda, O-Sensei, and many other Asians noted in writings, it is an "investment for your old age". It leads to the old stories of people who live long, immortality, super-powers, leaping high, great power releases, etc. In the case of Aikido the focus has been on the ability to manipulate force vectors, leading to the idea of "aiki", the ability to assimilate and add to any incoming force so that there is no conflict or stiffness-against-stiffness. If that is the case, then there can be no true "enemies". All is in harmony in the universe.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Kevin Wilbanks
08-24-2006, 11:44 PM
ck,

If you only get one book on exercise science and training, get Supertraining, by Mel Siff. Some of it will be too technical - some of it is too technical for me. However, it is very well organized and lends itself well to looking at little pieces, like a reference book. Siff brought the kind of consuming passion attibuted to Ueshiba above to the rational, skeptical study of exercise and physical training.

deepsoup
08-25-2006, 02:50 AM
Did Ueshiba run, bike, swim, lift, climb, etc.? No.
Er.. Yes he did.
He spent a lot of time working on general conditioning, and he built up a lot of muscle, before he'd spent much time at all studying martial arts.

gdandscompserv
08-25-2006, 05:11 AM
Somewhere B.C.E.
huh?

Mike Sigman
08-25-2006, 06:29 AM
Somewhen B.C.E.??? ;)

Mike Sigman
08-25-2006, 06:34 AM
If you only get one book on exercise science and training, get Supertraining, by Mel Siff. Some of it will be too technical - some of it is too technical for me. However, it is very well organized and lends itself well to looking at little pieces, like a reference book. Siff brought the kind of consuming passion attibuted to Ueshiba above to the rational, skeptical study of exercise and physical training.I used to read Mel Siff's webforum for a few years before he died of a heart attack. His stuff was good, clinical, and detailed, and exactly as unaware of some of the new discoveries about fascia properties, this form of "internal" training and force-vector manipulation, etc., as Kevin is. It's a new field for the West. And as clinical as I tend to be, I'm careful about saying something like that.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

paw
08-25-2006, 09:38 AM
Mike,

Did Ueshiba run, bike, swim, lift, climb, etc.? No. Not that he couldn't have accomodated something like that, it's just that the real focused experts train only within these parameters I'm trying to lay out. It is their whole life, Paul. What most westerners want to do is "have a piece of it". In other words, at heart most people are dilettantes, in actuality, in these arts. They make it part of their life, sort of like a badge.


Ueshiba has been answered by deepsoup. Again, I'm confused by your reply. If you're talking only about Aikido, then I'm inclined to agree with your assessment about dilettantes. But if you're talking athletes, or martial artists in general, I would vigorously disagree.


First of all, you need to understand that what we're calling the "ki" and "kokyu" skills are actually a type of training regimen that came from *very* far back. Somewhere B.C.E. It's a very famous regimen and it gives unusual power and health, stamina, strengthened organs, body-structure support, etc., that it was a coveted thing to learn.

No offense, but this is another warning flag for me --- something that is "ancient" yet "rediscovered". Considering the amount of money in modern athletics, and the types of individuals involved (people who will inject themselves with chemicals that have all manner of side effects just to achieve a tiny gain) I immediately find myself skeptical that a methodology, if effective, isn't as well known particularly is it's been around a while.

Maybe that's an unfair stance to take, but I'm sure you know that the "fitness' world is filled with a fair amount of charletons.

And I'm still not sure what you mean by "ki" and "kokyu". What physical attributes are being developed?

Regards,

Paul

Mike Sigman
08-25-2006, 09:52 AM
Ueshiba has been answered by deepsoup. Not really. Ueshiba was strong as a young man, etc., and sure that was helpful starting into martial arts. But at some point he changed his training methodology obviously, since he espoused all the normal "use ki" things. So his "general conditioning" had to logically switch to "using his hara", "using his ki", etc. Deepsoup doesn't consider that, even though this switch to ki-type movement has been mentioned already, so all I concluded from Deepsoup's post was that he is unaware of these things/possibilites, not that he made a telling point.
No offense, but this is another warning flag for me --- something that is "ancient" yet "rediscovered". Considering the amount of money in modern athletics, and the types of individuals involved (people who will inject themselves with chemicals that have all manner of side effects just to achieve a tiny gain) I immediately find myself skeptical that a methodology, if effective, isn't as well known particularly is it's been around a while.

Maybe that's an unfair stance to take, but I'm sure you know that the "fitness' world is filled with a fair amount of charletons.
And I'm still not sure what you mean by "ki" and "kokyu". What physical attributes are being developed? I absolutely agree with you. I would have scoffed at the idea that something is "rediscovered" of any consequence and most of the things I have seen I would attribute to charlatanism. But some things are real and quite intriguing, it turns out. I simply didn't know them. What few things I can do allowed me to show some of the physiologists and kinesiologists of the medical school faculty in Denver. They hadn't heard of such things..... but they took the information in stride as a wrinkle on body mechanics without a great deal of flutter, without thinking that it was impossible for there to actually be something they had never heard of before. I'm not sure why you would find it surprising that there might be something you've never heard of before. That's a good way to block forward progress.

In terms of what the associated skills are with the ki and kokyu things, I've posted on that several times on this forum and they're archived. Sorry I can't give you the actual URL.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ron Tisdale
08-25-2006, 09:55 AM
But the search function works really well...

Best,
Ron (good to see you posting Paul)

Walter Martindale
09-10-2006, 09:46 PM
Robert,


Muscle development is either hyperplasia or hypertrophy. If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting hyperplasia, which increases the number of muscle cells with minimal size increase in the muscle. So, you are suggesting your exercises cause hyperplasia. Is that correct?

Paul
PD Gollnick, who at the time was a prof. at U of Washington, Seattle, addressed our graduate dept in PE at U of British Columbia, in - I think it was - 1979, with respect to his research into the argument between hypertrophy and hyperplasia.

I don't know if the article I'm citing below discusses this particular research (my bad, don't have easy access to old journals) but - they trained several different species of mammal and bird, and counted individual muscle fibres.

They found that in trained and untrained muscle there were fibres that "bifurcated" and could have been interpreted to be splitting, but mainly that the diameter of individual muscle fibre was changed due to training, and that change was due to increased amount of contractile elements (myosin and actin) within the indivudual fibres, rather than the fibres splitting and turning into more fibres.

Trained muscle on one side, and untrained muscle on the other side of individual animals had the same number of fibres on average, and muscle in trained animals of the same species had the same number of fibres as muscle in untrained animals.

Gollnick reported this to us in 79 or 80 (I'm getting old and can't remember), and this article may not be the specific paper referring to the hypertrophy vs. hyperplasia argument, but if you're driven by this question, it may pay to search Science Citations Index for Gollnick, P. D., publications (either principal or co-author) from (say) 1980 to 1985 to find the work(s) in question.

Riedy, M., H. Matoba, N.K. Vollestad, C.R. Oakely, S. Blank, L. Hermansen, and P.D. Gollnick. Influence of
exercise on the fiber composition of skeletal muscle. Histochemistry 80:553-557, 1984.