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Ricardo Tavares
01-25-2008, 07:12 PM
This certainly sound silly, but my question is: should I take advantage of an opportunity to train Aikido almost on a daily basis?

I'm asking this, because I am a complete beginner, I am very much out of shape and - as is to be expected - I've been managing a series of strains, bumps and muscle aches from my first weeks of practice. My regular training with my sensei is three times a week, which gives me one day to recover between sessions. On the other hand, I currently have the opportunity to practice with another instructor and essentialy train every day except Sunday.

My current objective is to condition my body for Aikido practice as soon as possible (I don't mean "in perfect shape", I mean "enough not to strain myself every session"). Is it better to force my body to train everyday or does the one-day-break actually help?

I realize this is probably too early for me to be asking questions, but I thought you wouldn't mind me just trying out my first thread on AikiWeb :)
Feel free to tell me to just shut up and train :D but I would generally appreciate any advice on getting myself into aiki shape.

Ketsan
01-25-2008, 07:50 PM
This certainly sound silly, but my question is: should I take advantage of an opportunity to train Aikido almost on a daily basis?

I'm asking this, because I am a complete beginner, I am very much out of shape and - as is to be expected - I've been managing a series of strains, bumps and muscle aches from my first weeks of practice. My regular training with my sensei is three times a week, which gives me one day to recover between sessions. On the other hand, I currently have the opportunity to practice with another instructor and essentialy train every day except Sunday.

My current objective is to condition my body for Aikido practice as soon as possible (I don't mean "in perfect shape", I mean "enough not to strain myself every session"). Is it better to force my body to train everyday or does the one-day-break actually help?

I realize this is probably too early for me to be asking questions, but I thought you wouldn't mind me just trying out my first thread on AikiWeb :)
Feel free to tell me to just shut up and train :D but I would generally appreciate any advice on getting myself into aiki shape.

If you like training every day, sure, why not? Just don't jump in with both feet, ease yourself into it.

Sy Labthavikul
01-25-2008, 08:01 PM
Using what little sports physiology I know, I would say that you need that one day break to repair. Many people think that it is the act of exercising itself that makes you stronger, when it fact it is the rest after a workout when your body rebuilds itself to better take the stress.

Having said that, listen to your body. If after practice you are in a lot of pain or have extremely sore muscles, obviously you are going to need a break or risk injury. But if after a practice you feel a bit tight but for the most part are fine, then you can do some ACTIVE REST, which is continuing to train but doing a much lighter load. This will promote blood flow to your fatigued muscles and condition them for endurance.

My various sensei have instilled in me the belief that, if you are serious about aikido, you should practice it everyday. For beginners like us :-) that means taking advantage of as many practices as possible (I'm sure as we advance in years we'll may be able to incorporate aikido into other aspects of our lives). If you can practice every day, go for it. Just be VERY careful and listen to your body, because constant training can easily lead to strain or repetitive stress injury, and then you won't be able to practice at all.

Ricardo Tavares
01-26-2008, 05:21 AM
Thank you for your comments.
I know this is more of a fitness question, but I appreciate reading about your personal experience.

If you can practice every day, go for it. Just be VERY careful and listen to your body,Indeed I would like to train everyday - mostly because I'm enjoying Aikido so much - and not because I have to get into shape extra fast. However, at the end of each workout, the pain I feel is enough to hinder my mobility. For example, yesterday, a strain in my groin was enough to prevent me from lowering my stance, which meant I couldn't perform the technique correctly. I guess that I don't mind these regular strains (I have trained martial arts before), except if they start to interfere with the actual training. In this case, maybe I should take the one-day-break.

Mark Uttech
01-26-2008, 05:58 AM
My experience has been that training 'every other day' greatly reduces the risk of injury. This is because one is stiff the next day, and stiffness greatly increases the chance of injury. Of course, there are things you can do every day without harm, so the next best thing is to incorporate aikido into your daily living with mindfulness practice.

In gassho,

Mark

justin
01-26-2008, 08:19 AM
that intense level at an early age might also lead you to burn out. chil can see my headmaster now shouting walk dont run

mickeygelum
01-26-2008, 09:53 AM
I agree with the need to recover, yet, first and foremost, see a doctor. Make sure there are no surprises with your health. A good bill of health and a schedule to train six days a week is not out of the question. I would suggest a schedule that would follow this model :

Mon..............Ukemi (Nage/Uke)
Tue...............Tegatana Dosa / Taisabaki / Suwari Waza / Weapons Kata
Wed............. Ukemi (Nage/Uke) w/weapons
Thu...............Tegatana Dosa / Taisabaki / Suwari Waza / Weapons Kata
Fri.................Ukemi (Nage/Uke) Tegatana/Weapons
Sat................Tegatana Dosa / Taisabaki / Suwari Waza
Sun...............Rest

Basically, it follows a Hard Day/Soft day regiment. Coupled within that model, I would suggest Light Weight Training and a Walk/Run
schedule. Typically, Hard Day aiki training would be coupled with weight training, and Soft Day aiki training would be paired with a Walk/Run.

This is my suggestion, especially if you want to improve your Aikido and get yourself into shape safely. Begin slowly and build your routine, proficiency, speed and strength come with progressive training...not over two days, two weeks or two months.

One word of advice, OTC pain relievers do not aid in training, at times they have hidden or rapidly realized barriers to progress. Your body, and your Sensei, will give you guidance on how you are doing.

Good luck,

Mickey

mathewjgano
01-26-2008, 11:28 AM
This certainly sound silly, but my question is: should I take advantage of an opportunity to train Aikido almost on a daily basis?

I'm asking this, because I am a complete beginner, I am very much out of shape and - as is to be expected - I've been managing a series of strains, bumps and muscle aches from my first weeks of practice. My regular training with my sensei is three times a week, which gives me one day to recover between sessions. On the other hand, I currently have the opportunity to practice with another instructor and essentialy train every day except Sunday.

My current objective is to condition my body for Aikido practice as soon as possible (I don't mean "in perfect shape", I mean "enough not to strain myself every session"). Is it better to force my body to train everyday or does the one-day-break actually help?

I realize this is probably too early for me to be asking questions, but I thought you wouldn't mind me just trying out my first thread on AikiWeb :)
Feel free to tell me to just shut up and train :D but I would generally appreciate any advice on getting myself into aiki shape.

I think daily training is great, but as it's been said, you really need to pay attention to your body. I train a little every day, though it's a bit different than training on the mat. Still, it helps me discover the inner mechanics of my own movements and helps get that body sense/awareness...which is, I think, one of the primary goals of training.
That said, even if you decide you're not quite up to 6 days a week of on-the-mat training, you might still find other ways of doing more of what you're already enjoying until you are ready. Where there's a will there's a way.
Take care!

heathererandolph
01-26-2008, 11:35 AM
Maybe you could try one additional day right now and see how it feels. I'm not sure if quality or quantity is better. I would definitely suggest at least one day off per week. Rest can be just as important as practice. Talk to you instructor about this, especially training with someone else, to get his/her opinion on how helpful an additional day or more will be for you. In general, students who practice often do see better results quicker.

Sy Labthavikul
01-26-2008, 12:09 PM
I agree that general body conditioning like weight training and running really helps with your aikido. Its been said that you don't need strength to do aikido well; well, sure, but its really nice to have that strength too!

With weight lifting, definitely don't go too heavy because that will lead to tight muscles: instead, go for increased neuromuscular development, which involves multi-joint, compound exercises performed explosively - I like the Olympic style lifts (deadlift, power clean, etc.) but they are not safe to do unless you are taught properly. But there's bound to be people at the gym who can teach you if you ask (time to use aiki in personal relationships - don't be shy of that big buff guy doing the clean-and-press over there, irimi over and ask!).

Basically any exercise that requires you to use your entire body in a coordinated manner against some resistance is good. But remember that good rest and good nutrition is just as important as good training.

bkedelen
01-26-2008, 05:55 PM
I have seen a lot of daily training consequences:
You lose touch with your friends.
You lose touch with your family.
You sustain and maintain chronic injury.
Your overall physical fitness level drops considerably as you become overspecialized in the few areas of fitness upon which aikido works.
You generally forget the idea that aikido training should benefit your life, not be your life.

Sorry for the negativity. I am sure you cannot be the best aikidoka you can be without daily training. I also just don't care.

Kevin Leavitt
01-26-2008, 05:58 PM
Bom Dia! I am in your wonderful country right now as I right this (Lisboa). (European BJJ Championships)

I don't practice daily at 42 years old...not in the dojo getting tossed around.

I do stuff daily though. I use my exercise ball, do various individual drills, sword work, but find that if I take ukemi more than a couple of times a week then I am hurting.

I think there is more to aikido than taking ukemi all the time. The more I study the more I find this out.

Walter Martindale
01-26-2008, 08:14 PM
Another has replied along the lines of "ease yourself into it". Depending on the activity, people can train more or less often. For example - elite rugby players generally train daily, and only some of those sessions are "intense" with lots of contact - it's a physical game and people need time to heal as well as to recover.
In rowing (the sport I coach) some international athletes train as much as 3/day, 6 days/week, totalling between 4.5 and 6 hours of actual training per day. It's an aerobic endurance sport, with no contact, so there's less "recovery" needed than there is "refuelling", and there's less "healing" needed in rowing unless your blisters get infected and/or you get overuse injuries such as rib stress fractures, carpal tunnel, or lumbar disc protrusions (to name a few).
Aikido - well - work your way up - add 1 session/week for a few weeks, then add another for a few weeks, and if you really want fitness, to supplementary land, pool AND (not or) weights training to make you VERY fit.
But
Work up to it slowly, or it will break you.
Walter

Ricardo Tavares
01-27-2008, 05:30 AM
Again, thank you. Obrigado :)

Right now, I shall be careful and try to do some personal exercise everyday instead of going to every class..

I think ukemi are an interesting challenge, because I need to be flexible to do them correctly. Even if I am not, I have to do them anyway, but, until I gain this flexibility, I feel there's always the risk of some kind of strain. On the other hand, when I do manage to land one or two, it feels very good :D

For the record, I have done 8 sessions so far (about 10 hours) and most of it has been weapons training and ukemi. My most recent ache is the groin strain I mentioned, that has gotten worst last friday from probably doing too much shikko. I also feel this strain after I roll from mae-ukemi, which I find a bit strange. Right now, I'm giving it a weekend rest, hoping to recover in time for tomorrows' class.

lbb
01-28-2008, 08:08 AM
Back when I was training karate, I had a friend who joined the dojo. She was out of shape, not overweight but sedentary. She loved karate and practiced enthusiastically, but it backfired on her. She didn't have the strength, aerobic fitness or flexibility to train frequently without injury, and because she wasn't used to exercise, she also didn't have experience in listening to her body and recognizing the difference between fatigue and the various different types of pain (the "this needs some stretching and warmup" pain, the "this needs rest and ice" pain, the "this is really hurt and needs to see a doctor" pain). As a result, she pulled a hip flexor and then didn't handle it properly. She dropped out of karate, never properly addressed the problem, and the injury still plagues her even though she's once more sedentary.

In other words...I agree with others that it's best for you, in your situation, to alternate aikido training with active rest. As time goes by and your body becomes used to daily activity, I would gradually increase the intensity of what you're doing on your off days until you've got a decent aerobic workout. I would follow that up with a good stretching session (please do this properly -- more is not better). Once you have a good base of aerobic fitness, I think that's a good time to consider how that routine feels, if you still want to train aikido more frequently or if you like the routine you've got. If you do train more frequently, though, I'd still mix it up.

phitruong
01-28-2008, 08:42 AM
read this book "Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment" by George Leonard.

might want to try stretching along with deep diaphragm breathing (at least for 30 minutes) each night before you going to bed. This will help your body to recover faster and increase your resting metabolic rate (burn more cal when you are sleeping). Then stretching with tension in the morning when you wake up (don't forget deep diaphragm breathing). actually, practice diaphragm breathing all the time would be good too (it's my mode of natural breathing now, after 20+ year of practice). Qigong folks do diaphragm breathing to build chi. on the down side, diaphragm breathing and eating lots of beans are not a healthy combination. :)

the young charges ahead. the old waits for the right moment then reaches out with a foot for tripping. :)

Will Prusner
01-28-2008, 10:05 AM
I'm echoing what most folks have already said. Get to know your body's limits. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

I also think it would be unwise to pass up an opportunity to spend time in a welcoming dojo with a different set of students and instructors. Even if in the beginning, you can't manage being "on the mat" daily. There is alot you can learn from observation. It's easier for me to spot a potential problem in a form when I'm watching others, and then can start to notice whether or not I do that too. So, I say, whether you're on the mat, or just observing, Show up!

Ron Tisdale
01-28-2008, 10:58 AM
Unless there are problems with the dojo where you are, or noticably better training (not more, better), stay where you are and use yoga to suppliment your training on your days off.

Best,
Ron (just my suggestion, take with as many grains of salt as needed)

odudog
01-28-2008, 11:06 AM
I would suggest that you only practice 3 days a week at the dojo. On your rest days, practice at home. That way your body is resting from the pounding but your mind and body is still working on what, why, & where of the movements. Working out everyday really depends on how hard your dojo throws and how hard are the mats that you work on. We don't know this information and since you are out of shape the majority of us are telling you to ease into the situation.

I work out 3 days a week for almost 6 years now. I've only missed around 10 classes in that time. Still, when we go to a more traditional setting to do our test, I'm totally wiped out and sore as could be the next day! These test days last from 10 am - 4 pm.

gdandscompserv
01-28-2008, 11:25 AM
I have found daily Systema Breathing exercises to be a beneficial.

Randy Sexton
01-28-2008, 04:59 PM
You folks offer the best advice! I would simply remind any brand new student that Aikido is all about balance both on the mat and in daily life. Too much time on the mat and not enough with the family creates unbalance both in the heart and the body.

Now for a story Grasshopper:
Reading the desire you have for advancement reminds me of the story of the new student who asked his Sensei how long it would take him to become a Black Belt and the Sensei replied if he worked diligently and gave it his best efforts it would take five years. The student then asked if he worked twice as hard how long would it take? The wise Sensei smiled and replied ten years.

Doc:cool:

CarrieP
01-29-2008, 09:13 AM
I am agreeing with everybody who says train only a few days a week, and give your body time to rest. Also do some conditioning on the side if you feel up to it.

You should also talk to your sensei if you are having soreness beyond normal aches after a class. Your teachers need to know if you're not at 100% so they can be more gentle with you. They may have some suggestions on stretches or strengthening exercises to do outside of class. My dojo is very accommodating of this--prevent injury before it happens.

A personal anecdote: I've been training for 3 months, starting at a pretty low level of fitness, and generally do 2-3 days a week. The first month or so it was pretty tough to train that often. But, wow that I am a bit more used to the level of activity, instead of training another day of aikido, I'm trying to get 1-2 days of aerobic conditioning in, and to do a little stretching and strengthening every day (to build my core muscles and strengthen a wonky knee).

Don't overexert yourself. It's not worth it, especially at this stage in your training where you are learning how your body moves, what pain you can push through, and what pain means you should back off.

edshockley
01-29-2008, 09:15 AM
I have enjoyed all of the great advice in this thread. I also am a student who has trained daily for nearly a decade. I know that it is not necessary in order to develop in the art because there are other nidan at my dojo who, because of job conflicts, have visited the dojo far less frequently and their expertise is exemplary. Some were better athletes, some perhaps better learners. Each person walks a solitary path that leads where it leads. I train daily because Aikido is part of my spiritual routine much like someone else might perform tai chi forms at sunrise. I believe that I have avoided injury by following most of the advice that has preceded here. Training does not mean that one has to throw hard or even take ukemi every day. I alternate between intense advanced classes and aiki-weapons. It is akin to the upper body and lower body days of weight training. When my body is sore I will often work with beginning students. The pace is much slower and, unless I get that macho ex-wrestler, they are glad for a partner who is willing to walk through the techniques. Finally, we can also train by reading, watching video, performing movements through space without partner, weapons kata etc. Having a clear understanding of why you are training should help make it possible to develop a regime that achieves your particular aims.

phitruong
01-29-2008, 09:55 AM
forgot to mention that what you eat and drink are also important. drink lots of water. eat a healthy balance diets. ever wonder why you feel really thirsty after a massage?

Ricardo Tavares
01-29-2008, 11:37 AM
Glad I posted my first thread, this is a lot of great feedback.

Unfortunately, due to my latest strain, I had to skip yesterday's class, but I've learned that I should train my flexibility everyday precisely to prevent this kind of thing from happening.

From what people have said so far, I've confirmed my belief that Aikido is truly a complete exercise, of mind and body. Fortunately, I already eat well, drink lots of water and walk everyday (I don't own a car), so what I'm lacking the most is basic strenght and flexibility.

Thanks again.