PDA

View Full Version : Letting go of thinking through techniques


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


sammywhip
09-02-2009, 10:09 AM
I feel like I'm thinking and plundering my way through a lot of techniques, and I would love some advice on how to let go of my thoughts and just flow through the technique. Thanks!

Sammy

crbateman
09-02-2009, 10:18 AM
It's the same way you get to Carnegie Hall... practice, practice, practice.

You will learn the components of the technique initially as a series of steps, but repetition will eventually let you think of the execution as a single compilation of motion.

After that, don't think... just do.

CarrieP
09-02-2009, 10:45 AM
I feel ya. My husband and I both train, and we both tend to overthink things.

Some things that help me:

Not talking on the mat. To talk, you must think, which distracts from learning and doing the technique. If I have a question, I try not to ask it right then. If I still remember the question at the end of class, I may ask it then.

Realizing when I am overthinking, and then taking a deep breath to clear my head, helps a lot, too.

Being patient with myself. I am still fairly new at this (~ 2 yrs) and so I know I'm still going to make a lot of mistakes. If I beat myself up about them, it doesn't help and takes my mind away from training.

Was at a wedding recently, and it was pointed out to me how seamlessly I did some of the line dancing involved. Now, I've been doing the hustle a lot longer than I've been doing aikido. But the dancing metaphor has been very helpful to me to try to smooth out my technique, get the right rhythm to certain techniques, and work on flow.

Ultimately, you learning how to work through your struggles, whatever they may be, is part of the "fun" of aikido. Aikido is one of those things that is both wonderfully exhilirating and maddenly frustrating, often at the same time.

Shadowfax
09-02-2009, 12:09 PM
Don't worry about it Sammy. I have the same problem.The longer I train the less of that there is. Sometimes I find that if I just slow way down and take a really deep slow breath it helps me quiet my mind a bit.

Another good thing to do is go outdoors someplace like to one of the parks and sit someplace really quiet and work on a still mind. Allow thoughts to come and go but don't focus on them. eventually you will find that they stop altogether but this takes some practice. Its something I often do on my morning trail rides. I sit on my horse and listen to the sounds around me, feel the wind and my horse underneath me and smell the air and just let my mind go totally quiet. Frick park is right near the Dojo and looks like it would be a great place to sit and meditate.

Once you know what that feels like in a qiiet setting you will know what to try to achieve in the dojo.;)

Janet Rosen
09-02-2009, 02:03 PM
It's like learning a foreign language. You can't speak at length right off the bat. You learn some words and some rules for putting them together. Then when you want to say something you have to stand there and think about how to construct the sentence. Then the next sentence....Fast forward months/yrs and you are bilingual.

Lan Powers
09-02-2009, 02:33 PM
"I" am actually try-lingual......trying desperately to convey my message/thoughts in ANY language...
(yuck,yuck,yuck....oh, a wize guy eh?) :)
Lan

Marc Abrams
09-02-2009, 02:44 PM
Sammy:

I wrote a blog on that subject last week. Hopefully, it may be of some use to you.

http://aasbk.com/blog/?page_id=102

Regards,

Marc Abrams

lbb
09-02-2009, 03:48 PM
Sammy, you just started, right? Two lessons? It's really way too early for adventures into the meta-level of aikido training, dude...way too early to be analyzing your own training process. Let all that go and just train.

Shadowfax
09-03-2009, 06:57 AM
Sammy, you just started, right? Two lessons? It's really way too early for adventures into the meta-level of aikido training, dude...way too early to be analyzing your own training process. Let all that go and just train.

LOL I think he knows that... hes asking how he can achieve that.;) I had the same problem. Its one of those things you just have to do. It just happens. And I think the only real answer is time. But trust me meditation helps a whole lot as well. Sammy I can tell your an energetic guy who thinks a lot, so learning to be mentally quiet is something that will not come easily for you. But it will come. Just try not to force it. Allow it to come. :)

lbb
09-03-2009, 07:19 AM
LOL I think he knows that... hes asking how he can achieve that.;)

Yeah, I said. Just train. Don't expect. Try to do things with your body, don't try to do things with your mind. Don't try to think, don't try to not-think, don't fuss about what's going on in your head. Let it come and let it go. Just train.

Shadowfax
09-03-2009, 07:50 AM
The strange thing is the more you "try" not to think the harder it is to stop thinking.....I had that problem. Then I tried not trying. I forget where I read it but the key is to allow thoughts to come and go but not to actually focus on them. like ,leaves floating down a stream. They are there and will be there, you can't stop that but you also don't have to try to catch them.;) Accept that they are there and allow them to float on by.

sammywhip
09-03-2009, 01:11 PM
I'm quite energetic and I think a ton. A lot of the time it leads to bad ideas haha but sometimes its good. I'm just pumped for class tonight.

C. David Henderson
09-03-2009, 01:48 PM
Hi Sammy,

Three great qualities -- energy, thoughtfulness, and enthusiasm.

You already seem to understand the basic nature of the problem with relying on the second one during class.

My suggestions (for what they're worth):

When techniques are being demonstrated, focus on what you're seeing. Just try to really see what's being shown (on both sides).

When practicing what you were just shown, focus on what you are doing and what your partner is doing.

In between repititions, stay focused on your partner, but be aware of where other folks are and what they are doing.

In between techniques, focus on what's happening all around you.

If you find yourself thinking, take a breath; start over; refocus.

Rinse, repeat.

Regards.

Janet Rosen
09-03-2009, 02:02 PM
Yeah, I said. Just train. Don't expect. Try to do things with your body, don't try to do things with your mind. Don't try to think, don't try to not-think, don't fuss about what's going on in your head. Let it come and let it go. Just train.

Mary some of us don't and can't learn that way, esp as beginners. Some of us are wired to HAVE to think and parse things down; to this day I cannot learn a new weapons kata w/o writing it down step by step. Telling us to "not think, just train" obviates the fact that we ARE training the only way we can when new things are presented.

Shadowfax
09-03-2009, 03:13 PM
Everyone has a different learning style. It helps to understand what your own particular style is. For instance its been pointed out to me that I am a kinesthetic learner. Unfortunately this is not super common (around 15% of people are kinesthetic) and often people like me who are highly empathic, and sensitive to feel, have trouble learning the usual ways such as by seeing (visual and most common) and hearing (Audio). For me the only way I really truly understand what I am trying to learn is to feel it physically. Now that I understand that about myself I have been able to help my teachers and fellow students to help me to learn.

I also have become aware of the need to focus in more on specific things that I need to work on during the visual parts of the instruction. So if I am trying as I have been to work on foot work I pay closer attention to Sensei's feet during the demonstration and then work on other aspects after I think understand that part of the movement.

Very often in our education we are not taught how to learn. So before we can actually learn we must learn how to learn if you catch my drift.

lbb
09-03-2009, 04:22 PM
Mary some of us don't and can't learn that way, esp as beginners. Some of us are wired to HAVE to think and parse things down;

I didn't say "don't think". I said "stop fighting the fact that you are thinking". Big difference.

Shadowfax
09-03-2009, 08:11 PM
I didn't say "don't think". I said "stop fighting the fact that you are thinking". Big difference.

lol calm down everyone. we are all saying the same thing just using different words. :D

Sammy you did great tonight. I really enjoyed working Shihonage with you.:)

sammywhip
09-03-2009, 08:17 PM
lol calm down everyone. we are all saying the same thing just using different words. :D

Sammy you did great tonight. I really enjoyed working Shihonage with you.:)

It was fun! I was doing pretty horribly at some things though. But, with time I guess. :rolleyes:

Basia Halliop
09-03-2009, 08:25 PM
OK, I've only been doing it a few years, so take my comments for what they're worth, but IMHO, I would say practice a given technique or movement as correctly as you can as many times as it takes until your body remembers what to do next without having to consciously think it through. Then gradually you can start adding it to jiuwaza and types of different drills where you try to keep moving and not stop to think as much (while on the side continuing to do slower more detail-oriented and thinking oriented practice to keep improving it and ironing out the bugs). I.e., personally I can't imagine trying to 'not think' when learning new techniques, to me that sounds like a sure way to not really learn to do the technique!

To me personally, 'not thinking so much' has always been the _result_ of a lots of very thoughtful practice with attention to detail, not a replacement for it.

Shadowfax
09-03-2009, 08:47 PM
like I said everyone has their learning style you have to find what works for you. For me thinking is a big problem that tends to get in the way. I have to empty my mind and just feel. But that's me and most people do not learn the way I do.

LOL Sammy... remember my getting confused on Shihonage tonight. I was doing it just fine two days ago and today it didnt work at first... that was because I was thinking. I let something as simple as using Katate tori instead of Cosa Dori grab get in the way. Like Garth said its the same technique the grab does not matter. But it was a problem for me. So we all have our own things we work on.

One thing that actually makes me feel better about my mistakes is seeing those more experienced than me making them too and struggling with a lot of the same things I do. No pressure to be as good as the next guy or gal.

One thing I always look for is just one thing that I think was an improvement over my last class. It does not matter how small or big that one thing is. At one time for me it was just making it to the dojo on time and not being so nervous, just getting through the class. Then it was just working on my back rolls and finding how to stop the pain I was experiencing. Right now I am really focusing on learning to be a good Uke as well as prepping for my first test.

Aikido is a lifetime study. You don't have to be good at it the first time you try it.... I can see progress in you already. Look carefully and you will too. :)

sammywhip
09-03-2009, 11:42 PM
Cherie, you are the best pick me upper in the world haha.

SeiserL
09-04-2009, 09:17 AM
IMHO, it is wiser to let go of thinking too late than too early. First learn the proper technique and attitude, then turn it over to your unconscious,

Lyle Bogin
09-04-2009, 01:56 PM
You can't stop thinking on purpose. It just occurs.

crbateman
09-04-2009, 06:33 PM
You can't stop thinking on purpose. It just occurs.For some, not thinking is natural... :D

Shadowfax
09-04-2009, 07:07 PM
You can't stop thinking on purpose. It just occurs.

Actually you can but its really tricky to achieve. You have to stop thinking about not thinking. :p

sammywhip
09-06-2009, 09:37 PM
So tonight was a pretty good class... It was just two of us and our instructor which was nice. Now that I've had a few classes I truly understand this is a lifetime journey.

Shadowfax
09-07-2009, 06:25 AM
I love when we have those kinds of class. Was fortunate to have on on Thursday night as well. I love when we have time to really explore one technique for a while before we move onto another. Just wait the longer you do this the deeper it gets. :D

sammywhip
09-10-2009, 11:50 PM
Today was a really rough class for me. I actually felt like I was able to focus more on executing techniques and not thinking my way through them (except ikkyo) and then boom. I was using strength and not energy. Very tough thing to adjust to. This is hard. Fun as can be, I love it, it's just hard. I also feel bad working with more experienced people. They can only want to continue going over basics for so long without getting aggravated with me lol. Even so they are all being nice. So, hopefully I'll start improving a bit in the next month or so.

dalen7
09-11-2009, 01:55 AM
Today was a really rough class for me. I actually felt like I was able to focus more on executing techniques and not thinking my way through them (except ikkyo) and then boom. I was using strength and not energy. Very tough thing to adjust to. This is hard. Fun as can be, I love it, it's just hard. I also feel bad working with more experienced people. They can only want to continue going over basics for so long without getting aggravated with me lol. Even so they are all being nice. So, hopefully I'll start improving a bit in the next month or so.

No worries, Aikido is a journey. It frustrated me until just recently.
lol

Seriously though you learn and pick up concepts at stages which go deeper, and at some point, even though you may not be 'fluid' at Aikido, you pretty much get the concepts of why it works or doesnt work, which basically then sets you up for the rest of your journey in 'mastering the techniques' as it were. ;)

First 6 months was the hardest for me. After 2+ years I feel like I have an understanding with it. So hang in there and enjoy the ride. Its like a chess game - or more accurately, its like learning about yourself. A lot of chances to look inward, etc. [especially in my case where Im not fluent in the local language... Hungarian... it gives more rise to see the ego at work, etc. and then see what lessons I can learn both in spiritual application as well as technical.] :)

I think one things that throws many people is that they try to stick to close to understanding the technique vs. what makes it work.

What I mean is that Aikido is very flexible and has numerous ways a technique can be executed, especially given that there are numerous ways uke can attack you... especially if they dont practice Aikido.

Of course in this flexibility is a strict rule, so to speak, but kind of allows for a universal application of the technique to be fluid.
I would say that is keeping your center, taking ukes center, and mainly flowing with whats going on. Not waiting for the attack, but responding with the energy flow of the attacker as each uke has a different dynamic.

It has been fun to play with this concept mentioned above.
Big or small, you feel the 'energy' [personality] of the person, and you can basically be set up for the attack before its happening, so that you can respond as its happening and not wait for shomen to hit you, etc. [This is where many newer people make the mistake in waiting and then it becomes like karate or something where you are left to block... And unless your conditioned your body to strikes, it can hurt - as my recent foray into Thai boxing has proven to me.] lol

Sorry this is a bit wordy, long, but wanted to say I totally feel your frustration. If you read my older post you can see, specifically in the beginning, where I wanted to drop out. At some point you get it enough where you actually enjoy it. I had originally felt I would be more closer to striking arts, but things have flipped. [Might be due to age, Im not really 'old' per say, but my body isnt really up to being beat on like it was, say 17 years ago...] ;)

Hopefully this is a bit of encouragement for you. :)

Peace

dAlen

p.s.

Dont feel bad working with more experienced people. As long as they have an opportunity sometimes to practice their stuff, its all good. [i.e. a specific advanced class, or a part of the class set aside for them, rotate out, etc.]
Its actually fun to try to share with others what you learned, and have them see if its really working or not. Sometimes a new person can show you the weaknesses in your own technique. Especially when you get someone who doesnt resist at all and is like a noodle, then techniques like Ikkyo can feel like your pushing down spaghetti. [of course there has to be some resistance and you get to teach the concepts behind things, etc., as well as have the instructor come by and correct you] ;)

Ill add, Im a big proponent of trying to rotate where you hit practicing with each person regardless of rank. [This gives you both experience with beginners, intermediate, and advanced.] Besides this, it gives you more practice with why Aikido works or doesnt, as you are faced with extremely different circumstances. Height, gender, weight, age, etc. So you learn more about the play of energy vs. strength. [Or aptly applied strength, as strength will always be there, we are not weightless in space.] lol

Darryl Cowens
09-11-2009, 08:16 AM
Yeah Sammy.. it's funny, I also had a session last night which seemed at the time at least, a bit more full on than what I had faced to date... I think due to a combination of things, including some drilling into me of little corrections of basic things like hand and feet positions, to try and nip potential bad habits in the bud.... and I also felt I was just starting to be let out of the cotton wool a bit with my teaching... ;)

So yeah, all very exciting for me, and a maybe a new very tiny milestone.... but at the same it is all a lot to take in, for one so green.... It is becoming clear to me that there are going to be times where you and I, and others currently at the same training level, and everyone else before us at the same stage..... are going to feel a bit overwhelmed...

Like the others have said... we just need to go with the flow, and remember that it won't happen overnight.... :D

C. David Henderson
09-11-2009, 12:04 PM
Sammy,

For me, working with a beginner is not aggravating; it is its own lesson. For example, because you don't already know how you're "supposed" to move when you are uke, I find out things about my own techniques that remain implicit or hidden when I'm working with someone more experienced. Another example -- watching a beginner perform a technique where, say, a particular piece is "off" can help you understand what that piece of the sequence is supposed to do.

Finally, we all have been there. It's mostly about giving back.

Regards.

sammywhip
09-11-2009, 12:17 PM
Thanks for all the encouragement guys. I'm quite pumped for Sunday's class now.

Shadowfax
09-11-2009, 12:47 PM
I really enjoyed the variety in last nights class. Worked with the bare beginner who does not know what foot to put where so I had to help him fall safe to the very experienced Shodan who I can just never move no mater what I try. Its like trying to throw a house... Sammy I think you had him at one point last night. No worries Even our Senseis have trouble moving him some times... or so they say. I'm actually beginning to find how much I can learn form this person as well.

You might notice now and then Sensei will come over and throw your partner around for a bit. Not only are they giving correction but giving them a chance I think to experience the technique at a higher level. I often enjoy the opportunity to sit back and watch or occasionally have that experience. I learn from that too.

And after all we have second hour which is where the experienced get to really play rough and rowdy. Way too fun. Shame I had to slow it down last night and nurse a muscle strain that seems to have occurred or been aggravated by the earlier class activities.

I also am really looking forward to Sunday's class. ;)

John Matsushima
09-12-2009, 01:39 AM
A man who acts without thinking is an idiot.

A man who can act without having to think is a master.

lbb
09-13-2009, 04:38 PM
Today was a really rough class for me. I actually felt like I was able to focus more on executing techniques and not thinking my way through them (except ikkyo) and then boom. I was using strength and not energy. Very tough thing to adjust to. This is hard. Fun as can be, I love it, it's just hard. I also feel bad working with more experienced people. They can only want to continue going over basics for so long without getting aggravated with me lol. Even so they are all being nice. So, hopefully I'll start improving a bit in the next month or so.

While it's not possible to simply choose to let go of thinking your way through a technique, I believe it is possible to choose to let go of expecting things to make sense, or expecting techniques to become easier.

sammywhip
09-13-2009, 08:28 PM
Ah, today was a much better day. I just let go of any standards I may have for myself, and tried to feel like I wasn't holding others back. Great day at the dojo. :D

Shadowfax
09-13-2009, 08:36 PM
LOL now your learning! I agree it was a really good class. Exactly what I needed tonight. Glad you enjoyed it as well. :)