View Full Version : Reprogramming natural movement patterns.

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10-24-2001, 03:38 PM
It used to be, that every time I got sick (colds don't go easy on me), I had a noticeable deterioration in my ability to do simple tasks effectively - such as making my bed, getting up from the floor (after watching TV), picking things up, etc.
In other words, weakness galore.

This time I was sick for a week (and still am, a little) but I didn't notice missing any of my strength... because now I've sufficiently reprogrammed my movements to route more through center than musclepower.

In fact I was able to pick up a karate bokken and swing it pretty energetically right in the middle of being sick, because I finally figured out how to put more of my body into it. I remember when I just got it, it seemed quite a bit heavy and uncomfortable to yield, but now it feels almost as light as a straw.

Okay, a really thick straw...

10-24-2001, 06:28 PM
... we were practicing morote-dori kokyu-nage, and I had a sudden sort of realization when nage was entering very deeply in the rotation of the throw. Something about that made the technique really come alive for me, and I was able to execute it without much muscular effort whatsoever when we switched.

It was really a mini-satori for me... I was very happy that I was able to learn something valuable from being uke and then translate that into effective nage...


10-24-2001, 07:29 PM
Try taking a look at the Feldenkrais (http://www.feldenkrais.com) method for another way to "reprogram" your body for more efficient movement...

-- Jun

10-25-2001, 05:52 AM
Very interesting Jun, I think that seems to be very relevant to aikido.


10-25-2001, 10:10 AM
I've only experienced a very, very little bit of the Feldenkrais method, but it's given me a lot to think about. One of the senior students where I train said it's helped him with his bad knees more than anything else.

You can usually find the method's "Awareness Through Movement" (ATM) classes which run for about eight hours for about $40 total. Although it's in a group setting (as opposed to the individual sessions they have), it's often a good introduction to what they do.

As far as the Feldenkrais method being relevant to aikido, it's given me a way to think about my movements to make them more efficient not just by giving me a set of "efficient" movements but by giving me a method in which to allow my body to "learn" efficient movements.

I'm sure there must be some more experienced Feldenkrais practitioners here who can explain this stuff better than I can!

-- Jun

10-25-2001, 10:15 AM
I actually prefer training when I'm really tired as things seem to work better for me. The degree to which a co-operative uke helps this happen for me is open to debate I suppose.

Still, I do experience the same thing when I'm feeling sick in general.

Would the Feldenkrais method have anything in common with the Alexander method?


Dan Kronenberg
10-26-2001, 10:01 AM
Yes, Feldenkrais is similar to the Alexander Technique; in fact Feldenkrais did study with Alexander for some time until they fell out ( according to one source).
Feldenkrais also learnt a lot about efficiency of movement and moving from Centre from Martial Arts.He was one of the first European Judoka and wrote a couple of early books on the subject.
There are also some Aikido Sensei in the U.S. who are Feldenkrais practitioners and run classes combining the two disciplines.( I've read their articles but can't recall their names I'm afraid).
I was a Feldenkrais practitioner in the past for 8 years or so.Now I'm an Aikidoka.
Interesting, all these circles of change.
Regards to all, Daniel.

10-27-2001, 08:51 AM
Interesting post, although I would say you're finding a more natural way of doing things, rather than reprogramming natural movements. Society and civilization in general give us a lot of terrible habits, and unnatural ways all the way down to the way we breathe. For me, I find aikido as being a way back to a natural, and thus powerful state of being.


Brian H
10-27-2001, 11:50 AM
I think this thread is great. I have been working on my own natural body movement as it relates to Aikido and to another interest of mine, pistol shooting (I'm a policeman). I recently attended a tacticl pistol school and the instuctor went into great depth about natural body motion and speed. He explained that when a shooter goes beyond his natual body speed he actually slows down and expends more energy.

If the shooter "hurries" to his holstered pistol then he has to expend excessive effort to stop his hand and his hand will slam into the pistols grip. This makes for inconsistent hand grip and pushes the pistol deeper into the holster, making it more difficult to draw. The by going to “fast” the shooter then has to push and pull the weapon through its draw stroke an stop its motion when it is fully extended. As he was talking a little light went off in my head that said “This is what I should be doing in my Aikido!” So when we went out on the range and started shooting I just relaxed and let myself just “draw” the pistol at my own pass instead of slamming down hard and jerking the pistol out fast. Not only was I going faster with a “slower” draw, but I was getting nice tight groups because I was firing as my pistol came up onto target instead of wrestling it around as it presented. (For the anti-gun folks, please substitute “sword” for “pistol” and think happy “iai” thoughts)

When I got to the dojo I found that the same held true for my Aikido. I just “moved” and found myself clashing and banging less. And as to original post, I have had my “best” classes when I was so tired I could hardly walk into dojo. There is something about mind numbing fatigue that just takes away your ego and robs you of the strength to muscle your way through technique.

benj langdon
11-24-2001, 01:51 PM
Feldenkrais is not reprogramming exactly-it is an exploration of many alternatives in the curious exploratory way that you learned movement in the very first brain. All the explorations are done in an effortless way with seeminglyy at least, no goal(like a mindfulness meditation) brain takes all these exploration and reorganizes the movement image patterning into a more efficient effortless way. can be used to refine any movement,even Aikido, as it is not about imposing any RIGHT WAyI'm actually looking for stories from people who have used Feldenkrais to improve their Aikido or to speed up the process of recovery from injuries. Also it is the very best technique to discover the inefficient movement that are causing pain or injuries and learn an easier way for yourself.. thanks,Benj(Esalen Institute)