PDA

View Full Version : Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Jerb
03-02-2007, 10:35 AM
Greetings "Aikiwebers,"

Since I was in high school, I have lifted weights on a consistent basis. However, lately I have not been lifting as much as before and now feel that my ability to relax and be flexible during my Aikido training, especially while being uke/taking ukemi, has improved. I am wondering if the two are related. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that strength training is encouraged while training in Aikido, but that the training must be done so that the joints do not get stiff.

Has anyone else had this experience? Any advice on how to change my workout so that my Aikido is not hindered (if it hinders at all)?

I'd be really interested to hear from any personal trainers or people with specific experience in fitness training, but, of course, all replies and insights are welcome.

Jeff

Eric Webber
03-02-2007, 11:46 AM
Hi Jeff,

We have had several students in our dojo come in from a background in weight lifting, and almost all have found that once they gave up their old routine of heavy weight training that they found themselves more flexible and relaxed, particularly during ukemi.

I myself am terminally skinny and use weight training to maintain body mass to aid in power delivery. I would say, however, that one must be aware that for the general aikidoka, flexibility is one of the most important aspects in training longevity, as most people I have seen get hurt in aikido do so as a result of not being flexible enough to get themselves out of the situation in which they find themselves. So while I think that weight training can be good, it should not impede one's flexibility or it will ultimately be counterproductive.

Jonathan
03-29-2007, 09:13 PM
I used to powerlift when I was a student at university. Like you I began to lift weights when I was in high school. I have continued to do so to this day, though I no longer powerlift. I haven't found that my weight training has particularly hindered my aikido practice. In fact, now that I'm about to turn forty, I find myself increasingly glad I have been a weightlifter. The tightness and strength that develops in the joints in particular as a result of weightlifting has been an important factor in protecting my joints from hard training. I'm not saying my joints aren't flexible; after almost 20 years of aikido training they are quite flexible, but they are also pretty strong. I think my joints are far better off this way than if they were only really flexible.

I have never found that my weightlifting adversely affected my ukemi. I think I have above average ability in this regard -- good enough to have been at one time a regular uke for our shihan. Be strong and flexible and you'll be better off than if you are just one or the other.

akiy
03-29-2007, 10:39 PM
If I am not mistaken, I believe that pretty much all top athletes include a regimen of weight lifting. Many of them are capable great flexibility and physical abilities (ie sprinters, swimmers) far beyond most aikido uke that I have seen. I, myself, do not have any experience in this field, but I do believe that a physical regimen does not necessarily have to impede one's aikido abilities.

Perhaps relatedly, I remember Endo sensei, upon seeing a lot of people doing stretching exercises before keiko, starting off his class by asking, "Why do you stretch? Is it to be flexible? Soft? If you're flexible, does that make you soft?" The point that I got from him was that the state of one's body (eg being flexible or not) doesn't necessarily make one soft (or not).

-- Jun

Janet Rosen
03-29-2007, 11:07 PM
I would add that moderation is a good thing.
Some flexibility lets the body move freely, but hypermobility leaves the joints vulnerable to dislocation and/or tendon damage - a bit of weight training will make the supporting muscles stronger and protect the joints.
Strong muscles give good support to the body, but as noted, if carried to an extreme, may hinder flexibility.

Kevin Wilbanks
03-30-2007, 02:40 AM
As Jun said, professional athletes of all types use weight training these days, and many are far more flexible than the vast majority of Aikidoists. The idea that weight training reduces range of motion or "flexibility" is a myth.

What many people identify as 'stiffness' or 'inflexibility' is usually a habit of holding tension in muscles, and has nothing to do with range of motion, stretching, strength, weight training, or anything except a habit of holding muscular tension.

Limited range of motion is a separate issue, and usually is the result of not using a range of motion, or not having had it in the first place. All that is required to avoid losing range of motion is to regularly use the range that one has. Most stretching people do doesn't accomplish much, except using the range of motion they already have. If they pull and tug vigorously, it probably also serves to damage muscular and white tissues and increase the likelihood of injury . The kind of stretching regimen that increases ROM usually involves far greater volume - like many long sessions per day for many weeks in a row. It's nothing most people should be considering unless they know they have a particular movement deficiency and are looking to correct it.

The idea that a large range of motion in a joint or "flexibility" prevents injury is also a myth. Anyone who understands the principles of ukemi should be able to understand this. If your arm is being pulled back and away from your body, being able to let it move an extra fifteen degrees is not what is going to prevent an injury. As you stand there and let your arm get wrenched, injury will merely occur sixteen degrees later. Instead, you need the strength and reactivity to respond appropriately - to resist the force to some extent and also move your body along with the force instead of letting it get bent back and separated from your center.

A sensible weight program can definitely help with this, especially if your muscles are weak. It can also help prevent injury by increasing bone density, thickening and strengthening tendons and ligaments, and strengthening the muscles themselves. Weight training is not the boogeyman.

SeiserL
03-30-2007, 07:55 AM
Agreed, I lift. IMHO, its not the body being muscle bound that causes problems. Its if the mind is.

I just try to keep the two separate. Otherwise you throw the weights and lift the uke. ;-)

shidoin
03-30-2007, 06:04 PM
I was lifting 6 days a week for 4 years, I gained about 35-40lbs of muscle mass, I had a very hard time with flexibility and carrying the extra weight on my knees. I could barely scratch my back, Now I lift 3 days a week, run 6 days a week in addition to my Aikido training. I also stretch and hang from a bar daily to keep the muscle loose. I lost about 15 of the 35-40 lbs I gained but my body feels much better.

Matt

Kevin Wilbanks
03-31-2007, 10:39 AM
Weight training as in power lifitng or isolated body sculpting lifting?
They really are two different things
Dead lifting can be done for whole body strength without that isolated "Hey ma look at my biceps!" thing.

But power lifing, and stretching-which need to go hand in hand-won't help your aikido one wit. May even harm it. I tried it:o


Tried what, exactly? Powerlifting? Powerlifting is a sport wherein the goal is to deadlift, squat, and bench the most weight possible. As with any sport that involves cultivating extreme attributes, excelling at it will naturally keep you from excelling at certain other activities. No world-class powerlifter will ever be a competitive marathon runner for instance, nor vice-versa.

What you described above seemed to imply that powerlifting and bodybuilding are the only types of weight training. The professional athletes I mentioned do not do either (except powerlifters). Instead they do weight programs designed to provide a base of fitness and injury resistance, and usually have added elements specifically designed to help them with their sport. These elements might be specific movements that are similar to sport movements, or might be ballistic or explosive movements designed to enhance speed and power. They also usually do endurance exercises to provide a base, with added elements that address the energy needs of their sport, variously empsizing aerobic and anaerobic elements. Unless you hired Olympic or pro-team level trainers to design and administer a program for you based on your needs, I seriously doubt you "tried it" and have a legitimate experiential basis for dismissing "it".

However, this was not the subject of the thread. The orginal question was not about how or whether weight training would take one's Aikido to some rarified level. In my view, it probably wouldn't help much in this respect, because that is all about skill, and there are no clearly defined performance goals to even test whether such a program works. The question was about "stiffness" and flexibility, and whether weight training might cause it and thereby hinder one's Aikido. The answer is clearly no, as most pro athletes do employ weight training and there are plenty of examples of these that are way more flexible, finely coordinated, and fluidly moving than most Aikidoists. I have yet to see anything on a mat that compares to Micheal Jordan threading four defenders like they were standing still and finishing with a dunk - all the while relaxed enough to have his tounge sticking out.

I also added that weight training can have several health and injury prevention benefits. In my experience, many Aikidoists are in poor shape, have many injury problems, and often trouble keeping up their energy and wind through a single, moderately vigorous class. Basic fitness training, including a few compound weight exercises could definitely help these people.

Demetrio Cereijo
04-01-2007, 08:23 AM
In any case, please let's stick with the subject at hand which is aikido, weight lifting, and flexibility. Thank you.

-- Jun

For instance:

http://takemusu.org/patsensei/ss/images/60_iron_da.jpg

The story Saito Sensei told was that he used to accompany O-Sensei on many trips. In the beginning he wasn't that strong, and had trouble handling some of the trainees in the places they visited. So, he took up weightlifting to build himself up. He couldn't afford a barbell of his own, so he worked out using a railroad rail that he got from work.
http://takemusu.org/patsensei/ss/60s.htm

Edward
04-01-2007, 10:56 AM
I'm sure that top athletes follow a regimen specially curtailed for their specific sport and body weaknesses. In the dojo, I always find the weight lifters to be the easiest targets for joint locks as they mostly lack flexibility and they start screaming in pain before I even start applying the lock, while I find it very difficult to do joint locks on female Thai aikidoists because they are so flexible that no matter how much I twist their joints, they still seem to be able to twist further.

Kevin Leavitt
04-02-2007, 05:35 PM
I think the reason many of this type might have a hard time may be that they have a paradigm that they have believed in for so long that has told them that strength is the most important element in overcoming someone martially.

You cannot draw a conclusion from this that weightlifting is bad for you martially however just because your experiences with big, strong people that lift can't seem to figure this out...it simply means that they have a paradigm that says ...use your muscles.

Kevin Wilbanks
04-03-2007, 05:56 AM
I think the reason many of this type might have a hard time may be that they have a paradigm that they have believed in for so long that has told them that strength is the most important element in overcoming someone martially.

You cannot draw a conclusion from this that weightlifting is bad for you martially however just because your experiences with big, strong people that lift can't seem to figure this out...it simply means that they have a paradigm that says ...use your muscles.

You hit on it. There are a lot of people here who don't seem to understand that there is a basic difference between association and causation, and between anecdote and evidence. I have little doubt that many have noticed an association between big-muscled people who have lifted a lot of weights and tense, self-resisting movement patterns. It proves nothing and means nothing, other than the fact that one has encountered a few big-muslced guys who were stiff. The true hubris here is from people who may have some experience in "internal skills" that pretend this makes them experts on subjects with which they obviously lack even passing familiarity: exercise science, neurology, physiology... not to mention basics of reasoning or problems of knowledge.

The science shows that there is no basis for the claim that lifting weights interferes with learning relatively dissimilar skills or movement patterns. In fact, the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. All the world's best athletes in every kind of competitive athltetic activity - from biathalon, to marathon running, to water ballet - now use at least general weight training to some extent - even if it is just to provide a minimal base of stength and injury prevention.

The claim that engaging in a few resistance training exercises a few times per week necessarily interferes with motor learning is beyond false. It is evidently absurd to anyone who has a body, as I have pointed out. I challenge anyone to recount a single instance of one exercise or activity confusing or disrupting a dissimilar one. Extensive running does not interfere with one's ability to dance or walk. Writing does not interfere with one's ability to type, use a fork, play the piano, or even draw.

The only such effects that have ever been recorded are when the resistance training exercises have been devised that are extremely similar to the skill in question, for instance: swinging a weighted tennis racket, or sprinting with stapped-on ankle weights. Training methods like these have been shown to interfere with the higher level skills they mimic. (People who favor swinging around heavy bokken take note.) This effect has only been noticed when the training exercise in question is virtually identical to the movement skill. By contrast, overhead barbell presses, squats, or pullups are nowhere near similar enough to Aikido movements to have any effect on them whatsoever. The only way this kind of exercise could possibly interfere would be if it took up so much time and energy that one's Aikido training suffered directly from the resulting neglect.

dps
04-03-2007, 07:29 AM
Greetings "Aikiwebers,"

Since I was in high school, I have lifted weights on a consistent basis. However, lately I have not been lifting as much as before and now feel that my ability to relax and be flexible during my Aikido training, especially while being uke/taking ukemi, has improved. I am wondering if the two are related. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that strength training is encouraged while training in Aikido, but that the training must be done so that the joints do not get stiff.

Has anyone else had this experience? Any advice on how to change my workout so that my Aikido is not hindered (if it hinders at all)?

I'd be really interested to hear from any personal trainers or people with specific experience in fitness training, but, of course, all replies and insights are welcome.

Jeff

Jeff,

Read a biography on O'Sensei and you will find that he did alot of strength training and weight lifting. It may not have been modern weight lighting but his goal was to be as strong as he could.

David

Aran Bright
04-03-2007, 08:55 AM
You hit on it. There are a lot of people here who don't seem to understand that there is a basic difference between association and causation, and between anecdote and evidence. I have little doubt that many have noticed an association between big-muscled people who have lifted a lot of weights and tense, self-resisting movement patterns. It proves nothing and means nothing, other than the fact that one has encountered a few big-muslced guys who were stiff. The true hubris here is from people who may have some experience in "internal skills" that pretend this makes them experts on subjects with which they obviously lack even passing familiarity: exercise science, neurology, physiology... not to mention basics of reasoning or problems of knowledge.

The science shows that there is no basis for the claim that lifting weights interferes with learning relatively dissimilar skills or movement patterns. In fact, the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. All the world's best athletes in every kind of competitive athltetic activity - from biathalon, to marathon running, to water ballet - now use at least general weight training to some extent - even if it is just to provide a minimal base of stength and injury prevention.

The claim that engaging in a few resistance training exercises a few times per week necessarily interferes with motor learning is beyond false. It is evidently absurd to anyone who has a body, as I have pointed out. I challenge anyone to recount a single instance of one exercise or activity confusing or disrupting a dissimilar one. Extensive running does not interfere with one's ability to dance or walk. Writing does not interfere with one's ability to type, use a fork, play the piano, or even draw.

The only such effects that have ever been recorded are when the resistance training exercises have been devised that are extremely similar to the skill in question, for instance: swinging a weighted tennis racket, or sprinting with stapped-on ankle weights. Training methods like these have been shown to interfere with the higher level skills they mimic. (People who favor swinging around heavy bokken take note.) This effect has only been noticed when the training exercise in question is virtually identical to the movement skill. By contrast, overhead barbell presses, squats, or pullups are nowhere near similar enough to Aikido movements to have any effect on them whatsoever. The only way this kind of exercise could possibly interfere would be if it took up so much time and energy that one's Aikido training suffered directly from the resulting neglect.

Hi Kevin,

If I may respond to your post at this point I would like to call on an example of one whom I may actually call my student. He is the INBA Mr Olympia, (natural body building) he knows weights.

I agree in theory with what you are saying, in research weight training does not typical affect movement patterns in other activities, because those other activities are still using what might be considered 'external' use of the body.

Now back to my friend, as someone who lives weight lifting he is having a lot of trouble dicovering relaxation, his muscles are always in such a high state of tone that they just won't fully relax. Here in lies the problem. I theorise that all of this 'internal' stuff starts with the use of the postural muscles and as long as the mobilising or prime movers or what ever you want to call them are hypertonic (too tight) 'internal' movement is next to impossible.

Now my friend can snap me in two as many different ways that he likes and he can do aikido BUT I would not say that it is using the same type of body movement that these wise gentlemen are proposing, 'internal' movement.

For that to occur at the most basic fundamental level the postural muscles of the body must be dominant over the more superficial mobilising muscles. (As you made reference to physiology I am assuming you understand what I mean by postural and mobilisers)
This is the problem with weight training, it inhibits this from happening, unless, you are aware what you are doing in your training.

So in a sense I believe you are right, weight training doesn't stop 'aiki', but it doesn't allow it either.

Kind Regards,

Aran

paw
04-03-2007, 11:10 AM
Hi Kevin,

If I may respond to your post at this point I would like to call on an example of one whom I may actually call my student. He is the INBA Mr Olympia, (natural body building) he knows weights.

I agree in theory with what you are saying, in research weight training does not typical affect movement patterns in other activities, because those other activities are still using what might be considered 'external' use of the body.

Now back to my friend, as someone who lives weight lifting he is having a lot of trouble dicovering relaxation, his muscles are always in such a high state of tone that they just won't fully relax. Here in lies the problem. I theorise that all of this 'internal' stuff starts with the use of the postural muscles and as long as the mobilising or prime movers or what ever you want to call them are hypertonic (too tight) 'internal' movement is next to impossible.

Now my friend can snap me in two as many different ways that he likes and he can do aikido BUT I would not say that it is using the same type of body movement that these wise gentlemen are proposing, 'internal' movement.

For that to occur at the most basic fundamental level the postural muscles of the body must be dominant over the more superficial mobilising muscles. (As you made reference to physiology I am assuming you understand what I mean by postural and mobilisers)
This is the problem with weight training, it inhibits this from happening, unless, you are aware what you are doing in your training.

So in a sense I believe you are right, weight training doesn't stop 'aiki', but it doesn't allow it either.

I'm not Kevin, but I would argue that's a function of your student's training methodologies and sport rather than any indication of "weight training" per se.

I'm willing to bet an Olympic weightlifter wouldn't have the problems with relaxation that your student does. Nor would a gymnast, I'd wager. The difference would be manner in which both have used weight training as a tool and in the manner in which those athletes have been trained to perform.

FWIW, weight training is really too broad a term. Can some training methods involve resistance and result in a less flexible athlete? I would say so. Can some training methods involve resistance and result in a more flexible athlete? Again, I would say so.

Regards,

Paul

bkedelen
04-03-2007, 11:52 AM
Since this thread has been taken over just like all the others I will keep this brief and only address the aikido practitioners here.
It is my understanding that Osensei had extra heavy farm implements made in order to get more weight bearing exercise while farming. Saotome sensei describes trying to use these instruments and finding them ridiculously heavy. This was supposed to be late in Osensei's life, when he was farming at Iwama. I think Osensei just tried everything he could get his hands on. I do not recall any of his quotes warning against any specific kind of training, but rather he always tells everyone to train hard, presumably at whatever lights your flame.

bkedelen
04-03-2007, 12:11 PM
I would add that moderation is a good thing.

I think moderation just happened :)

Kevin Leavitt
04-03-2007, 12:30 PM
I think much of this centers on what you consider to be your goals with your martial training.

To be a healthy, well-rounded, and balanced person that has a modicum of martial ability, I think there is a place for weight training in building core strength.

I think you can be extreme in one way or another by any type of exercise. To concentrate solely on developing so-called internal skills and not focus on cardio, or maintaining core strength, muscle mass would not be healthy. Likewise concentrating on body building only would cause you issues.

Think about all the body builders that focused on building big muscles, they wanted this more than anything in the world, so they took steriods, eat creatine these days and do all kinds of things to get there. Many are dealing with cancer, sterilitiy, heart problems etc.

Everything must be done in balance I believe.

We must also understand why we train and what endstate do we want to acheive.

I think many times we become confused as to why we study and don't really think much about it....we chase this dream to be like O'sensei but do we really know what it is to say this or what it really means to be like O'sensei.

is it Physically Strong? Mentally? Solely the ability to throw people around at will? dodge bullets? ....

Or is it simply to understand yourself and to have internal peace and share that with the world?

What is it that we are trying to acheive?

Longevity, a happy, healthy life? Create a better world? what is it that is most important?

Weight lifting, specifically physical conditioning is a good thing in the proper context to provide your body with the ability to live a happy and well balance life.

Kevin Wilbanks
04-03-2007, 01:01 PM
Hi Kevin,

If I may respond to your post at this point I would like to call on an example of one whom I may actually call my student. He is the INBA Mr Olympia, (natural body building) he knows weights.

I agree in theory with what you are saying, in research weight training does not typical affect movement patterns in other activities, because those other activities are still using what might be considered 'external' use of the body.

Now back to my friend, as someone who lives weight lifting he is having a lot of trouble dicovering relaxation, his muscles are always in such a high state of tone that they just won't fully relax. Here in lies the problem. I theorise that all of this 'internal' stuff starts with the use of the postural muscles and as long as the mobilising or prime movers or what ever you want to call them are hypertonic (too tight) 'internal' movement is next to impossible.

Now my friend can snap me in two as many different ways that he likes and he can do aikido BUT I would not say that it is using the same type of body movement that these wise gentlemen are proposing, 'internal' movement.

For that to occur at the most basic fundamental level the postural muscles of the body must be dominant over the more superficial mobilising muscles. (As you made reference to physiology I am assuming you understand what I mean by postural and mobilisers)
This is the problem with weight training, it inhibits this from happening, unless, you are aware what you are doing in your training.

So in a sense I believe you are right, weight training doesn't stop 'aiki', but it doesn't allow it either.

Kind Regards,

Aran

Once again. Think about the difference between anecdote and evidence. You are talking about one bodybuilder. I have met muscular people like the one you describe. I have also met plenty of people who were skinny or fat and never lifted a weight who were just as rigid and displayed the same habits. I also know people who are muscular and lift weights that are very fluid and capable of "relaxed" Aikido movement. I see no pattern in my experience that suggests reliable association, much less causation. While this experience is more suggestive than a single anecdote, it is still too small and unsystematic to even begin to qualify as sufficient evidence to draw conclusions on par with scientific findings.

Like Paul, I find it unsurprising that a competitive bodybuilder would have problems with holding unnecessary tension in opposing muscle groups. Not only does a bodybuilder spend many hours training this way, but he/she also practices posing a lot, and has deliberately developed tension-holding postural and movement patterns designed to show off muscles. Competitive bodybuilding is an extreme training and postural methodology that has little to do with the kind of basic weight training I am claiming is useful to provide a moderate strength base and prevent injury.

As for your suppositions about the relative dominance of 'postural' vs. 'mobilizing' muscles, this may be a useful metaphor for teaching purposes, but I seriously doubt such a simplistic, atomistic model would hold up to any real scrutiny. The division is an artificial one used for conceptualization. If we hooked someone up to thousands of electrodes, I suspect we would find most any movement done properly in Aikido probably uses virtually every muslce in the body to some extent. The difference between a stiff, ungrounded, ineffective movement and what is termed a relaxed, grounded, effective one is probably a matter of differences of degree among hundreds of muscles vastly more complex than 'mobilizing' vs. 'postural' .

Aran Bright
04-03-2007, 05:27 PM
Once again. Think about the difference between anecdote and evidence. You are talking about one bodybuilder. I have met muscular people like the one you describe. I have also met plenty of people who were skinny or fat and never lifted a weight who were just as rigid and displayed the same habits. I also know people who are muscular and lift weights that are very fluid and capable of "relaxed" Aikido movement. I see no pattern in my experience that suggests reliable association, much less causation. While this experience is more suggestive than a single anecdote, it is still too small and unsystematic to even begin to qualify as sufficient evidence to draw conclusions on par with scientific findings.

Like Paul, I find it unsurprising that a competitive bodybuilder would have problems with holding unnecessary tension in opposing muscle groups. Not only does a bodybuilder spend many hours training this way, but he/she also practices posing a lot, and has deliberately developed tension-holding postural and movement patterns designed to show off muscles. Competitive bodybuilding is an extreme training and postural methodology that has little to do with the kind of basic weight training I am claiming is useful to provide a moderate strength base and prevent injury.

As for your suppositions about the relative dominance of 'postural' vs. 'mobilizing' muscles, this may be a useful metaphor for teaching purposes, but I seriously doubt such a simplistic, atomistic model would hold up to any real scrutiny. The division is an artificial one used for conceptualization. If we hooked someone up to thousands of electrodes, I suspect we would find most any movement done properly in Aikido probably uses virtually every muslce in the body to some extent. The difference between a stiff, ungrounded, ineffective movement and what is termed a relaxed, grounded, effective one is probably a matter of differences of degree among hundreds of muscles vastly more complex than 'mobilizing' vs. 'postural' .

Hi Kevin,

I agree that any movement is going to be far more complex than can be simplified down to any simple model like postrual v mobilising. But I also believe that muscle firing patterns are the essentials of good co-ordinated movement. I also believe and as other have stated above, that you can use resistance training above to develop good 'aiki' movement.

I really look forward to the day someone does get hooked up to hundreds of electrodes to help us understand muscle firing patterns in internal movement. What I am proposing is that you will find good 'aiki' movement will be predominantly postural then phasic (mobilising). Not the other way around. What that would mean is that you will see someone maintain good posture and not end under the power of phasic (mobilising) muscles which would be more hunched than upright. You know the whole move from the center thing.

You are right, you can't use anecdotal evidence to form anything more than simple observations that at best could be used to form some sort of hypothesis. The only such testing that I am aware of (not saying that there is not much more out there) that may have some relevence to this discussion was carried out on a dancer. Emile Conrad if I remember correctly, the persons who's name was carrying out the testing escapes me. Now she noted as a trance dancer, someone who reported to experience and move with feelings of massive energy coursing through her body, "moving to the rhythm of the universe", and all that sort of thing. During the experiments she was hoooked up to instruments to measure her muscle firing activity. What occured stunned the researchers, after some time into the routine the neuromuscular junctions of the arms and upper body stopped firing altogether. She was performing dynamic performances moving in all directions and the equipment could record nothing. These findings where able to be replicated again at a later date.

Now, how does this relate to weightlifting? It probably doesn't but the point I want to make is this. There is a way to use your body that is different to the methods commonly taught in weight trainging. It is what is refered by Tohei as 'mind and body co-ordination'. It will not be learnt through lifting weights. Having said that I still believe that resistance training and cardio focused training is essential to good health, BUT 'aiki' movement is something else entirely. Develop this skill and you can use it in running, weight lifting, any training you like but you have to use your body in an entirely different way.

Regards,

Aran Bright

Tijani1150
04-09-2007, 06:58 PM
is mixing Aikido practise with weight lifitng a good thing to do?

Upyu
04-09-2007, 07:26 PM
Use the search function ;)
We JUST finished beating the cat on this subject.

Tijani1150
04-09-2007, 07:34 PM
waw what a conincidence :D

link to the beaten cat subject please :o

paw
04-10-2007, 09:07 AM
waw what a conincidence :D

link to the beaten cat subject please :o

There are several such threads....I think the latest was:

http://aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11978

In short, it is possible to design a training routine that uses weights and other tools that would improve your aikido. It is also possible to design a training routine that uses weights and other tools that wouldn't improve your aikido at all.

As best I see it, the disagreement(s) are due to what the routine entails.

Regards,

Paul

ikkitosennomusha
04-10-2007, 11:38 PM
I really cannot relate. I have been a bodybuilder for many years now. At one time, I reached the measurements of Arnold S. So, has being muscular hindered my aikido? Not at all. I have been acused of muscling my way through technique but that comes from people that doesn't know what it is like to be incredibly strong. Naturaly, my centripetal force is outrageous.

I felt limber from stretching etc. I felt relaxed through confidence. Although aikido works through technique, being big and strong is only a plus as things come alot easier. I hope I made some sense.

Jerb
04-11-2007, 09:49 PM
Wow, this thread certainly picked up some steam after a very slow start!

I found all of the responses very interesting but I am left with a new question; what would be an effective weight lifting regimen that would enhance/improve aikido movements?

Personally, I have been experimenting with free weights, cables, and body weight exercises combined with high weight/low rep or low weight/high rep. So far, I have found that lower weight with higher reps seems to have a negligible influence on my ukemi.

On an interesting note, I mentioned this issue to a very talented aikidoka with whom I practice. He did not really have an opinion about it at the time. However, during an evening class after I had gone to the gym that morning (and did relatively heavy weights, for me) he asked, "Have you been lifting weights again?" When I inquired as to why he asked, he said I felt “more stiff.” Certainly not conclusive, but interesting nonetheless.

dps
04-11-2007, 10:46 PM
I found this while looking for something else.

http://aikidoonline.com/Archives/2000/may/feat_0500_dosh1.html

The Life of O-Sensei, Morihei Ueshiba
Part One
by Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Second Doshu

" On this occasion, he made up his mind to build a strong body and after recovering began walking two and a half miles every day. This continued for ten days. Then twenty. Eventually he began running. He slowly gained physical strength and became capable of lifting two straw bales of rice, while previously he had not been able to lift even one. By the time he was
about twenty he began to look quite different.

Although he was still short his body was much stronger than ordinary people's...

The Founder was full of youthful vigor. He had an unyielding spirit. If others did twice as much as ordinary people, he would do four times. If others carried 80 pounds, he would carry 160 pounds. His quick temper found good opportunities for expression in the rice-cake-making contests of his village.

In these contests a large scoop of a special type of cooked rice is placed in a huge stone mortar or bowl. Then a large sledge, something like a wooden mallet with elongated head, is used to pound the cooked rice. An assistant constantly turns the rice over on itself as it is being pounded. Gradually the rice is transformed into a rubber-like substance which is laid out in flat cakes to cool before eating. The weight of the sledge with its awkwardly-shaped elongated head, and the force and frequency of the kneading means that making the cake requires a great deal of strength.

In these contests the Founder eagerly matched himself against other strong young men-four, six. Then ten. All were defeated. Finally the Founder broke the pounder. He would go to other places to pound rice and again broke many pounders. People eventually had to politely refuse the Founder's offer to help make rice cakes for fear he might break more of them. Instead, they served tea and pastries, in the Japanese way reserved for honored guests, to keep him away from the rice-cake-making area.

He was only 157 cm tall (5'2") but he had a tank-like structure and weighed more than 81 kilogram (180 lbs). He played second to no one in his troop when it came to heavy gymnastics, running and carrying. As Japan was at war, training was twice as hard as usual. Many soldiers dropped out. The Founder used to march at the head of the troops carrying two or three persons' heavy equipment."

Thought it might be relevant.
David

ikkitosennomusha
04-11-2007, 11:03 PM
Hi Jeffery,

I would set some physical goals for yourself and achieve them. This could be overall body fitness or perhaps as hardcore as bodybuilding. In either case, it will enhance your aiki experience and improve your lifestyle. The reason I say this in a vague way is that, I am encouraging you to do what interests you most because you will be more likely to stick with it.

For ecample, some people don't like the butt load of pain nor the bulkiness that comes with being a bodybuilder and some prefer the GQ look. In either case, focus on total body fitness, strength, and endurance. Work on the endurance by using a variety of cardio regimens. This will help in randori, for sure.

Like we have all said, aikido doesn't require alot of strength but it sure makes things easier at times in terms of your overall function, stability, endurance, etc. So, pick what goal you would like to reach, do some research on what will take you there, and most importantly, have fun with it!

Now days, I have the size and strength, I actually want to tone down a bit. I want to retain the muscularity I have but work more on endurance and become a little more lean.

I spend 30-45 mins on free weights and cables and, 1-1.5 hrs on cardio. I work out 4-5 days a week. I work different body parts on different days and in different orders. I change this up frequently. I am particular as to what and when I eat as well. I know this is vague but I was offering a glimpse into what I think about.

Now, each person is different and what one person does in their work out may not be for you. You have to take your body type, metabolism, and fitness goal into account when begining a regimen. I suggest meeting with a trainer that can evaluate you to get you started. Good Luck!

paw
04-12-2007, 08:43 AM
Wow, this thread certainly picked up some steam after a very slow start!

I found all of the responses very interesting but I am left with a new question; what would be an effective weight lifting regimen that would enhance/improve aikido movements?

I should really keep this on my hard drive to save typing. But in brief:

I think the best approach is to hire the best coaches/trainers you can afford. Basically, this is how high level athletes train. They have a strength/condition coach, a nutritionalist, a technical/skill coach (in this case, your aikido instructor(s)), and some "recovery" coaches (massage therapist, chiropractor, etc.....) Of course, this can be very time consuming and expensive.

The next best approach is to copy the routines of high level coaches and modify them for your needs. For example, you might grab a book from a nutritionalist and then plan your diet accordingly. Or, you might not be able to find a strength/conditioning coach for aikido, but find a program from a coach for judo and modify it, and so on.

The next best approach is a "wholistic" training methodology. A number of methodologies are segmented, dividing the body into parts or physical attributes and training them on separate days (back/biceps on Monday, cardio on Tuesday, yoga on Wednesday...and so on --- very time consuming) IMO, life doesn't work that way, so why train that way? Examples of "wholistic" programs would be crossfit (www.crossfit.com) or "The Firm" (which has a series of instructional videos).

Finally, we reach the segmented approach -- cardio 3 times a week, strength and conditioning 2 times a week, yoga on the weekends -- or somesuch.

Any activity is better than nothing at all, and anything that improves your health and fitness level will keep you on the mat longer, which in my mind, makes it good for aikido.

Of course, ymmv.

Regards,

Paul

Don
04-21-2007, 04:11 PM
I have been practicing aikido now for 14 years and am 51. I have done a regular weight training routine for a couple of years now gradually building up the weight. My workout takes a little over an hour and works most of the muscle groups.

I undertook this routine to forestall the eventual decline in muscle mass that comes with aging. I obviously will never at this age be bulky nor do I want to be. I have noticed two beneficial effects. One is that as others have said, having more efficient muscles allows for easier technique, and that is doubly true when one has some level of competence in the movements. Secondly, I have been told by an orthopedic doc that I have a small degenerative meniscus tear on the outer meniscus. I was prepared to get it worked on but chose instead to do more weight work on my legs. I have effectively regained much of the deteriorated function because of the stronger musculature around the knees. I can once again do koshi nage on both sides comfortably, even throwing koshi's on 250-280 lb guys. That is gratifying. Also, since I have added muscle mass, I can still hang in there ukemi-wise with the youngsters. It also helps to know how to effectively fall, but I can go at a higher level. So, I think for older aikidoka, weight training is a very effective adjunct training

Aran Bright
04-23-2007, 05:31 AM
I am glad to see this discussion has got moving again.

What exercises, as specifically as possible, are good exercises for aikido?