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Amassus
06-14-2009, 03:36 AM
Hello all.

I have recently taken an interest in how I can make the most of training by myself. I acknowledge that training in a dojo with other people is the ideal situation to progress my aikido. I still do train once a week at my instructor's dojo and I teach a group of teenagers at another time of the week. However, I have a young family and my job is very time dependent at the moment.

These circumstances have made me look to the quality of my solo training. Obviously weapon kata are an obvious choice. I have looked at changing the speed I do the kata, breaking up the movements and concentrating on different aspects.

Training in the rain, in the wind and even at different times of the day adds interest.

I still have a lot to learn about aikido and know I will be able to get back to more regular training at some time in the future but for now, what can people suggest?

Thanks in advance.

dps
06-14-2009, 08:36 AM
However, I have a young family and my job is very time dependent at the moment.

These circumstances have made me look to the quality of my solo training. Obviously weapon kata are an obvious choice. I have looked at changing the speed I do the kata, breaking up the movements and concentrating on different aspects.

Training in the rain, in the wind and even at different times of the day adds interest.

Have a regular routine of daily practice to explore basic fundamentals like your posture, stance, balance, and movement Incorporate them in your everyday life.

David

SeiserL
06-14-2009, 09:31 AM
Compliments. There is growing evidence that suggest O'Sensei did a lot of solo training.

I often think that the whole warm up routine as actually solo training if you go through them at Tai-Chi speed working on form, alignment, breathing, and mental projection/entension.

For footwork I really like Irimi-tenkan keeping form, alignment, breathing, and mental projection/extension in an alternating 180-degree 90-degree pattern.

Pleasse do some cardio work. Nothing is worse than tanking. For that I like swimming, biking, running, and my favorite is skipping rope.

Hope these simple suggestions help in some small way.

Lee Salzman
06-14-2009, 12:12 PM
Some of the most relevant and productive training you can do as a martial artist is by yourself. Look at it as an opportunity that most people are too busy practicing with other people to work on these things. :)

The stuff David and Lynn have mentioned above is a start, but you can break these things down very in depth, to where they are themselves a study of years...

Like for relaxation, you can constantly work on deepening the feeling of it. For instance, working on situations where you simply drop a limb and let it swing to a stop, and try not to let the muscles involuntarily tense. Then try moving other limbs, like say, have one arm try to relax while the other one is moving, and notice any involuntarily tensing that causes in the relaxed arm. Or work on keeping the arms relaxed while moving the legs. Things like that can be very hard to eliminate.

For relaxation, you can also hold any and all positions your body might move through during a technique (not just sitting in seiza!), stand there still for a bit, and scan your body and make sure everythign is really relaxed, and even then, if you can deepen that state of relaxation. Then you can practice the same thing in movement, making sure you can maintain relaxation.

Structure is an even deeper study. You can (and should) literally make sure every joint in your body is cooperating with you and doing what you think it is doing, throughout all varieties of movement you do in your aikido (not just irimi or tenkan!). Making sure that at every single moment, all those intents distributed throughout your body are reinforcing and supporting all the necessary balance/alignment, and doing so uniformly without bias. Dynamic tension, so light to be imperceptible or at times even so heavy as to be unbearable to hold for more than a few seconds, is a good way to observe this, if something is not tensing under good control, not tensing at all, or bleeding off movement in some unhelpful way like clenching with no purposeful intent, it is easy to feel. Dynamic tension, like relaxation, can be stopped to a point, and worked as static directed tension that can reinforce intent at any point of movement.

Behind the study of intent, there are lots of things to look into about what structure you want your intent to be maintaining. And experimenting with that and what gets force out well and what gets force in is also very rewarding, and makes it clearer what intents need to be reinforced.

That's all sort of seen through the lens of Chinese martial art, but it seems as broadly applicable to Aikido as well. Quality of movement is formless, and can be worked on in just about any movement.

Buck
06-14-2009, 10:32 PM
My suggestions are below, am taking a shot gun approach with some "solo" activities, I see share commonlities with Aikido and will help keep your skill up, or enhance it:

1. Basketball
2. Kendo/western fencing (kendo preferred)
3. Tennis
4. Ballroom dancing
5. Surfing/water skiing
6. Golf
7. Raking the lawn/sweeping large area
9. Using a pole as a quasi-Uke
10. Tether ball
11. Taichi
12. Yoga

dps
06-14-2009, 11:12 PM
My suggestions are below, am taking a shot gun approach with some "solo" activities, I see share commonlities with Aikido and will help keep your skill up, or enhance it:

1. Basketball
2. Kendo/western fencing (kendo preferred)
3. Tennis
4. Ballroom dancing
5. Surfing/water skiing
6. Golf
7. Raking the lawn/sweeping large area
9. Using a pole as a quasi-Uke
10. Tether ball
11. Taichi
12. Yoga

I think Dean was looking for solo practice at home due to time constraints.

David

Buck
06-15-2009, 01:18 AM
I think Dean was looking for solo practice at home due to time constraints.

David

David, my #2 fan. It is always good to hear from you. Per the many options I gave, he can get a pick up game of ball when when it fits in his schedule, with friends or family. Like at a family get together or at his lunch brake. Or if on vacation he has the options to golf, surf etc? Or if he can or has (i.e. salesmen) to play golf once a week? Or if he and his wife need their time together, they can learn ballroom dancing. And, if he is around the house he can practice his dance step with his wife, which can help with tai sabaki.

Creative thinking is the key here Dave, and I really stress the always of it. And it should be overlooked.

My suggestions and Lynn's in relation to doing "solo training" at home or due to time constraints are no different. We just focus on different areas that can help with solo training. :)

dps
06-15-2009, 11:18 AM
For nonaikido exercises try this website.

http://www.bodyweightculture.com/

It is free to join and has articles and videos. One guy shows a video of his back yard training circuit.

David

Sy Labthavikul
06-15-2009, 02:02 PM
Gotta second bodyweightculture.com. Provides a great place for fundamental conditioning exercises that are needed for any physical endeavor.

thisisnotreal
06-15-2009, 02:37 PM
m2c,
Try to improve the quality of your soft tissue.
i.e. try to break yourself on a foam roller (http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/feel_better_for_10_bucks).

Lee, exceptional post.

Chris, can you point to anything outlining what to work on in shiko?
Cheers,
Josh

Amassus
06-20-2009, 03:47 AM
Thanks for the feedback so far guys.

Pleasse do some cardio work. Nothing is worse than tanking. For that I like swimming, biking, running, and my favorite is skipping rope.



I have developed a ciruit training routine where I go through sets of exercises non-stop. I go through the whole routine three times with a 30 second rest between each series. My heart rate is ticking along by the time I have finished!

David, that bodyweight culture site looks really interesting! A while ago I got it into my head to try and 'beef up' at the gym. I worked hard on diet and weight resistance for two years and I became a steel cable of a man, but didn't really buff up. So I'm into strength not for size but for strength's sake. Especially exercises that support full body movement rather than isolating specific muscle groups. Using my own bodyweight really appeals.

Lee, you have given me plenty to think on there. Thanks.

Lyle Bogin
06-21-2009, 12:17 PM
I practice Baguazhang, which has a series of forms made for solo practice. Many chinese martial arts have excellent solo forms that contain the techniques of aikido (or similar enough).

That and chopping the air a lot with a stick....

wideawakedreamer
06-25-2009, 10:40 PM
If you have a mat and want to do cardio, do a lot of ukemi. Then do some more.