View Full Version : The Slow Train

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05-05-2008, 07:53 AM
A common theme it seems, in acquiring "internal stregnth" is slow training. As I read Dan's tidbits it sounds like he slow trains. I know tai chi slow trains. It is also part of Systema. As I have been doing the Systema breathing excersises, I have begun to do more slow training. Slow training doesn't seem to be very active in aikido. Perhaps I need to do more slow training. It makes me 'feel' different.

05-05-2008, 08:15 AM
Yes, IMHO, the fastest way to progress is slowly.

05-05-2008, 09:51 AM
Or to look at things another way - if you can't do it correctly "slow", then how likely are you going to be able to do it correctly while moving "quickly"?

05-05-2008, 10:08 AM
Doesn't this also parallel the concept behind learning to touch type? Work towards 100% accuracy at a slow pace, increasing speed as proficiency allows?

Haowen Chan
05-05-2008, 10:51 AM
I think it's actually more like the exercises in physical rehab, say after a serious accident, where you do really simple actions really slowly because you're learning how to move again after your arm got reattached backwards.

If a healthy person looked in and saw these guys moving slowly and getting huge gains, and decided, "ok, I'll train slowly like them", then he's just going to look kinda funny and not get the same gains. You have to know what's being trained to know why it's slow.

05-05-2008, 11:59 AM
You have to know what's being trained to know why it's slow.
I'm not so sure about that. I think as one trains slowly he will feel what it's doing to his body and thereby learn what is being trained. As to the details of why slow training is advantageous, I'll leave that to the experts.
I am curious to hear your perspective on "what's being trained," though. I am an eager learner.

05-05-2008, 12:08 PM
I'm a big fan of slow training when you first learn something new. It helps solidify the movement into your mind. I see too many people try to do things at speed the first time out and just end up fumbling badly.

05-05-2008, 01:28 PM
I trained slow because I can't think fast. some people are just internally dense. :)

Nafis Zahir
05-05-2008, 03:12 PM
I often tell people who are shodan and above and trying to blow through a technique, only to find out that they're not really doing anything, that it is alright to slow down. Most of the time, they give me a look like I've said something strange. But then the idea kicks in and they get it.

Stefan Stenudd
05-06-2008, 06:41 PM
I believe that slow training is the way to learn how to do things fast. In really slow training, even the minutest details are polished, and your body gets very well acquainted with the technique.

It is also a good way of discovering weak spots or moments in the technique. When you do it fast, you easily just rush past weaknesses.
That is true for every aikido technique. Also in the sword arts. Try to do basic suburi exercises very slowly, and you will discover weaknesses that you were not aware of when doing them in normal speed.

A friend of mine trained karatedo almost only in slow-motion. Even the high kicks, such as jodan mawashigeri. After some time of such training, he was able to do the techniques extremely fast, without losing the least of their precision.

Indeed, slow is the way to fast.

Lyle Bogin
05-06-2008, 06:54 PM
What seems like about a billion years ago I took my ikkyu exam and received a gift from Imaizumi Sensei's most senior student, Donna Carlson.

It was a small plastic case, with a sticker on the top of Boris setting up a "secrets" stand with Natasha (of Rocky & Bullwinkle). Inside was a small resin carved turtle. I asked her what it meant and she said "you'll understand when you're older".

05-06-2008, 08:17 PM
As for the "what" that's being trained slowly - one little bit at a time. Right now I'm trying not to use any force generated from my arms and shoulders - none, zip, nada. If I rush through something, then I'm guaran-darn-teed to use bad muscle force . . .

05-06-2008, 08:25 PM
My Sensei always stresses that "if you can do it slow, then the speed will come when you need it to" so we all try and go through our techniques slowly. Although i do speed it up, with those at my level or higher, on the occasion just to test myself and see how everything comes together in a faster situation.

Kevin Leavitt
05-06-2008, 08:54 PM
I guess it depends on your reason for training and your desired endstate. I personally have not found that slow training lends itself to making things work at full speed/non-compliance.

Not saying that training slow and deliberate is not important, but I disagree that it will lead to so called "full combat speed effectiveness".

It is like running long, slow distance. If you do that, you produce a long slow runner.

The only way to be fast is to train at that speed.

I think you need to do both.

05-06-2008, 09:30 PM
If you want to train externally with muscle go for it. Fast explosive power can be trained that way.

If you want to train internally your are never...going to get it that way. That's it, and thats all.
You have to train slowly to re-train the way you use your body. In fact I'd advocate and do extremely slow training to burn it in, and also to make no steps in awareness. Over time you can start to ramp up the speed and monitor that you are not firing shoulders and chest or chambering the hips. The end result is the same -to be moving smoothly and extremely fast in quick positional change-ups and delivery power, whether it be in strikes, or throws or chokes.
So while I tend to agree with Kevin, I would never go down that road till after I spent a whooole lot of time retraining. This stuff is for the guy with a long view. A real thinker. It isn't for a meathead or some person just discovering the realities of real fighting who is all enamored of a grappling and feels a need to roll.
So here is the same ol me singing the same old tune. Aiki training first! But if you don't know how to fight or have trained to fight-than you don't know how to fight. Period.

That said in the end the internal guy, who will then take the time to learn to actually fight his way out of a paper bag, or had previously learned to fight and then learned internal power will be the best fighter over the long term, In the end his power will go up. The other guys will just grow old. Away from fighting, he will outwork, outlast and remain healthier as well. It's a win win.

05-06-2008, 09:30 PM
The only way to be fast is to train at that speed.
I'm not completely convinced of that. Slow training seems to work on one's ligaments and internal structure in ways that fast training does not. Perhaps one can become 'faster' through slow training. You are suggesting that if I train slowly I will lose speed. I want you to convince me this is true. I'm not sure your runner analogy is appropriate. I'm not saying you're wrong, I just want you to convince me.:D

05-06-2008, 09:36 PM
He said train both.
A more appropriate way to express the model is to train clean slowly, until things are burned in then increase the speed till you are training at full speed. Eventually you simply most train at full speed to be successful at speed. That is a good model even for external martial arts. Only an idiot gows at it full speed all the time.

05-06-2008, 09:54 PM
Ah, leave the speed to the kids.;) I'm experimenting with this slow train right now and I won't let you rush me. Actually Dan, you're not gonna get an argument out of me. I think you got it pretty well figured out so I usually pay attention. I'm just not completely convinced that one doesn't get a speed gain from training slowly.

05-06-2008, 10:16 PM
Well No, First of all I'm just another bum on the budo bus. Its why i don't teach. Second. you missed that for the most part I agree with you. The path to tryl clean speed is in slow training. That said if all you EVER do is low training, you really will never understand power -at- speed. Speed has its own lessons to learn.

I still train slow motion every single day I train speed every singe day. I train at contact speed twice a week for hours on end. I haven't met anyone who tells me I'm slow. YMMV.

Stefan Stenudd
05-07-2008, 12:46 AM
Of course we need to train both slowly and fast. I was pointing out the importance of slow training for learning to do it fast, not excluding the latter.

In some way, surely, fast training is good for learning to do it slowly ;)

Similarly, gotai, static training, is important for learning proper jutai (and kinagare). If we never practice how to do the aikido technique when somebody has grabbed us strongly, we probably get quite sloppy techniques.
And just to avoid misunderstandings: we should not practice gotai only :)