PDA

View Full Version : What is what with Scott Sonnon's material?


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


Cliff Judge
01-05-2010, 08:11 AM
This question relates to off-the-mat / extracurricular / supplemental training to support my Aikido lifestyle.

For those of you who haven't heard of him, this guy is an MMA via Sambo + Systema + Yoga guy who produces exercise DVDs that are bent two ways: there's a "keep yourself in fighting shape for the Octagon" angle and a "push back the inevitable wall of aged decrepitude" angle.

My acupuncturist suggested I check out his stuff, and the man's got a pretty considerable body of material out there right now. Titles include "Intu-flow," "Flowfit," "Ageless Mobility," and "Grappler's Toolbox." Looks like he is into breathing, circular movement, mostly bodyweight exercises except for some stuff he does with those weighted bowling pin deals.

Is anybody familiar with this guy's work who can help me differentiate among the various trademarked systems he has developed? It's winter, I'm looking to put together a routine of bodyweight exercises I can do in the morning. It looks like the Flowfit product might be suitable.

bob_stra
01-05-2010, 11:54 AM
I've always enjoyed his 'grappler's toolbox' video. I think the old one was more expansive in scope then the new one - which is very ground grappling focused (which suits me just fine - YMMV). Still - if you follow the logic and have a bit of floor space, I think it'd fulfill the requirement . Again - YMMV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duMScxR7LJ8

Scott has a youtube channel, where he demo's certain moves, routines etc. I also believe there are snippets from flowfit / ageless mobility on there.

In the end, you might be best visiting the Rmax forum and asking there directly

FWIW

Kevin Leavitt
01-05-2010, 12:59 PM
Two of my Combatives friends Matt Larsen and Jason Keating apparently have been quoted on his website as an endorsement...so knowing those two guys, i'd say he has the goods.

Cliff, going to try and come up Thursday to the dojo are you going to be there? If so, lets talk!

Kevin Leavitt
01-05-2010, 01:00 PM
On another note, I have gotten into Indian Clubs as well, I have two pair, I will bring them with me on Thursday. I am a proponent of these bad boys for sure!

Cliff Judge
01-05-2010, 01:52 PM
On another note, I have gotten into Indian Clubs as well, I have two pair, I will bring them with me on Thursday. I am a proponent of these bad boys for sure!

Oh cool. Yeah I am training this thursday, please bring the clubs!

Mark Jakabcsin
01-05-2010, 05:52 PM
Clubs good. Me like clubs.

ChrisMoses
01-05-2010, 06:12 PM
Anybody playing with frame training and kettle bells? I think there's some potential there. :)

Kevin Leavitt
01-05-2010, 08:35 PM
What do you mean by Frame Training Chris?

ChrisMoses
01-06-2010, 10:27 AM
"Frame" comes up a lot with Aunkai folks. It's sort of a shorthand for all the connection/internal/structure work that the exercises help to develop. Mabu/the cross/shintaijuku/spear thrusting all serve to develop the frame. I find that "frame" also comes with a lot less baggage than "internal skills", or "IT". :)

I actually like using kettle bells for some connection/frame training since almost all of the basic KB exercises pass movement through the core of the body out to the limbs and also reinforce dynamic balance.

Thomas Campbell
01-06-2010, 12:19 PM
Anybody playing with frame training and kettle bells? I think there's some potential there. :)

Yes.

Basic swings. "Spiral snatches" focusing on feeling the crossover in the lower back changing the weight-bearing leg in the transition from pulling to pushing (the KB up).

I'd tell you more but you'd have to join my private DoubleChin forum. :)

Cliff Judge
01-06-2010, 12:31 PM
Yes.

Basic swings. "Spiral snatches" focusing on feeling the crossover in the lower back changing the weight-bearing leg in the transition from pulling to pushing (the KB up).

I'd tell you more but you'd have to join my private DoubleChin forum. :)

I've got like a chin and a half, so I guess I will have to keep training before you will share the secrets. :(

Kevin Leavitt
01-06-2010, 12:41 PM
"Frame" comes up a lot with Aunkai folks. It's sort of a shorthand for all the connection/internal/structure work that the exercises help to develop. Mabu/the cross/shintaijuku/spear thrusting all serve to develop the frame. I find that "frame" also comes with a lot less baggage than "internal skills", or "IT". :)

I actually like using kettle bells for some connection/frame training since almost all of the basic KB exercises pass movement through the core of the body out to the limbs and also reinforce dynamic balance.

Okay, yea..I have some experience with Ark and Rob and do some of their exercises when I can. Heck I can't do them without the weights so, no I haven't looked at adding them. Indian clubs though, I see lots of value there as they enforce alignment and posture and give you something to think about/control while maintaining the frame. they are only 1 lb a piece, but if you are doing frame type work like this, which is essentially the normal indian club workout, you will get a heck of a work out cause your frame is extended and the weight is very, very eccentric in nature hence even though it weighs 1lb...it sucks.

ChrisMoses
01-06-2010, 01:17 PM
Yes.

Basic swings. "Spiral snatches" focusing on feeling the crossover in the lower back changing the weight-bearing leg in the transition from pulling to pushing (the KB up).

I'd tell you more but you'd have to join my private DoubleChin forum. :)

I could probably sponsor you into chunen butori ryu if you could get me into the DC forum... ;)

@Kevin: I rarely do any of the actual Aunkai exercises with weights. Occasionally I'll do 5-10 reps of tenchijin with a pair of 10 lb dumbbells. Generally the exercises are hard enough without the weights and I think adding weights too early will just encourage you to use 'normal' muscle. I generally do swings, turkish get-ups and kb clean and jerks. Like with Tom, I'm mostly using them to feel connection pressures across the body and I think the whole body movements and inherently unbalanced nature of kb (like Indian clubs) are good for that.

Good stuff.

Alex Lee
01-06-2010, 02:38 PM
I would not advise using weights for any of the aunkai exercises.
Its really counter intuitive. Remember youre suppose to hold these poses with the frame not muscles. If you are adding weights, you have to use a completely different looking "pose" to hold them properly.

I do find kettle bell exercises great for building "muscular" frame. I think its a great starting point. You do kind of have to wipe the slate clean again and relearn the frame without muscles for IP. i.e: a frame held together with "suit" and skeletal system.

just my $.02

ChrisMoses
01-06-2010, 03:26 PM
Alex, I generally agree with you. I think it is possible though to try and use the frame while doing KB work. It winds up feeling different than when I'm doing a muscular based KB workout. If you look at a basic two armed swing, in the muscular version you can think of using the power of the legs to propel the weight up and out through the arms. At the end of your swing, you have tight glutes and quads. That's how I've been shown to do a 'correct' KB swing. If I'm working the frame with a KB swing, I'm more inclined to begin the swing using pressure from the lower back and feeling that kind of rebound off the ground to propel the swing up. At the end of the swing, my glutes and quads are mostly relaxed and then I try to feel the tug on the frame by the KB reaching its max extension. Just one example. I suppose I could have said I was using the frame to do kettle bells and that might have been clearer.

As for using weights to do the actual Aunkai frame exercises, I again generally agree. I would say that by adding very light weights to some of the exercises you can try to still support the body through the frame. For example, try this: do a few sets of slow tenchijin with no weights, but have two 5- 10 or so lb dumbbells on the floor in easy reach. After a few reps, pick up the dumbbells when at the earth/prayer phase. Hold them gently, now try to use the frame to raise the dumbbell up and over head with no tension in the shoulders, then rise to heaven. I've found that if you do this right, you can really feel how the arms are moved directly from the lower back/ming men. Holding the weights in supporting heaven also gives some nice feedback along the same lines. I don't like dropping the arms to mabu to for the descent to earth with weights though for the reasons you outline, it's much harder to support the weight with the frame there, so I often just come down to prayer and then lower to earth.

Again, I don't do these very often, your mileage may vary... :)

Kevin Leavitt
01-06-2010, 03:31 PM
I kinda goofed up my post. I meant to say...I don't use weights...I agree with that. Indian Clubs I like though as they are not weights really but give you enough eccentric "weight" to make you use correct alignment and posture hence a good frame.

They are really about the same as a Suburito.

Cliff Judge
01-06-2010, 04:28 PM
They are really about the same as a Suburito.

That was actually my first thought when I saw a youtube clip of Circular Strength Training - "Hmm this might help out my swordwork, somehow."

Alex Lee
01-06-2010, 04:59 PM
Chris, yep cant argue on the way your doing it. Its just something I wouldn't recommend to anyone that is new at this stuff.

It doesn't take much weight to hurt yourself. Just warning other that maybe reading.

Thomas Campbell
01-06-2010, 08:33 PM
Sonnon demonstrating applied kettlebell work:

stand-up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etB3-bwtm84&feature=player_embedded

ground

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPXhacpN4Nk&feature=player_embedded#

Just some interesting work, not specifically tied in with training internal connection (though it does spark some ideas).

ChrisMoses
01-07-2010, 12:43 PM
Sonnon demonstrating applied kettlebell work:

Just some interesting work, not specifically tied in with training internal connection (though it does spark some ideas).

Interesting. Like you said, definitely 'normal' muscle work. Kind of a different take on some of the usual exercises. I think I like the more traditional get-up because it ties into threading with the leg a lot better than what he's doing there, but I'll give it a try and see how it feels. :)

Keith Larman
01-07-2010, 01:28 PM
Sonnon demonstrating applied kettlebell work:

stand-up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etB3-bwtm84&feature=player_embedded

ground

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPXhacpN4Nk&feature=player_embedded#

Just some interesting work, not specifically tied in with training internal connection (though it does spark some ideas).

Just watched. Interesting. How much do those things weigh?

bob_stra
01-07-2010, 01:30 PM
This thread inspired me to borrow FlowFit from a friend, just to see what's new.

In the end, I like it. It's cut down a lot of the more challenging stuff from the original GTB (some of them were lots of fun though!), and seems to be less space intensive. There are some clearer progressions to follow.

There's overlap with Scott's other videos I'm sure, but it appears to be a good stand alone

I think it may suit your purposes, Cliff - though I still recommend you chat to the folks on Rmax to get their perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfaeV5gWyxM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7ceBFSIqJg

FWIW

ChrisMoses
01-07-2010, 01:42 PM
Just watched. Interesting. How much do those things weigh?

They vary, but I'm going to guess that's about a 35lb (16 kg) KB. The weight is deceptive on them though because of the shape (meaning it's harder to do the exercises with a kettlebell than it would be with a comparably heavy dumbbell). I've talked a few friends into starting with lighter kettlebells than they thought they would need/want and they were all glad I did.

Keith Larman
01-07-2010, 02:00 PM
They vary, but I'm going to guess that's about a 35lb (16 kg) KB. The weight is deceptive on them though because of the shape (meaning it's harder to do the exercises with a kettlebell than it would be with a comparably heavy dumbbell). I've talked a few friends into starting with lighter kettlebells than they thought they would need/want and they were all glad I did.

Thanks, was looking at it but couldn't really tell what the weight was. I figured about 30-40 pounds after going out and playing with some dumbbells I have.

Anyway, some of that looks promising for a couple different things. Might have to look into it. Thanks!

ChrisMoses
01-07-2010, 03:25 PM
I really like the Art of Strength (http://www.youtube.com/user/aosjeff) youtube site for solid free KB stuff.

His build up for the Turkish get-up (http://www.youtube.com/user/aosjeff#p/search/5/RqyIuFIdgRk) is excellent. Some of the leg positions that are shown in the Sonnon version make me a bit nervous, where the alignment on this version seems a lot better and less prone to injury.

jlb7289
01-08-2010, 10:17 AM
I use kettlebells and bodyweight exercises, but I think it's probably a bad idea to try to use them to build frame or internal strength. Doing those (kb's and pushups) correctly (in the traditional manner) isn't consistent with internal strength and the levels of resistance would probably engage local muscle too much.

I use kettlebells and calisthenics to build overall strength for health and fitness, but I consider it completely distinct from my internal strength work. I'm not doing them to build internal strength and don't expect that work to have any impact (except this one...the stronger my legs are the more ultimate power I can generate, internal or external).

I know the arguments that you must not do any weightlifting and etc. if you want to develop internal strength, but I'm skeptical. Nothing from what I know of motor control and learning or skill development and specificity provides a rationale for that...building internal strength is very difficult and requires work every day, an active approach to re-training the body. I don't see how a couple or three days per week of specific strengthening of local muscles makes that effort much more difficult than it already is. That would almost suggest that one's muscles should be weak in order to build internal strength. Ummmm, I don't buy that. It's, imo, the habitual ways we tend to move our bodies that is the impediment, much more than specific, limited things we do to strengthen the limbs and core.

I am, in a pretty limited way, using a weightvest with some aunkai, taiji, and xingyi drills, I've chosen a resistance (5 to 10 lbs.) that, since it's distributed over my torso, doesn't load up my shoulders or impinge my breath as I work. I anticipate very gradually adding resistance but pretty closely monitoring things so I don't get off track. I think that approach, loading an additional resistance over the body, may be more productive than trying to adapt kettlebell drills.

Joseph

ChrisMoses
01-08-2010, 10:54 AM
I am, in a pretty limited way, using a weightvest with some aunkai, taiji, and xingyi drills, I've chosen a resistance (5 to 10 lbs.) that, since it's distributed over my torso, doesn't load up my shoulders or impinge my breath as I work. I anticipate very gradually adding resistance but pretty closely monitoring things so I don't get off track. I think that approach, loading an additional resistance over the body, may be more productive than trying to adapt kettlebell drills.

Joseph

Hey Joseph, hope you're well. :)

I'll just throw this out there. People weigh a LOT more than even a heavy KB (and I'm a wuss, so I use a light one). If I can't eventually learn to use IP/frame to move a 25-35lb weight around, can I ever really expect to be able to use the same mechanics in a live resistant environment with a partner opponent? Will I be trapped in the realm of parlor tricks in the dojo? (not saying that this is where you are, please don't take this personally, this is really just something for folks to think about). I know when I'm doing push-out, I'm facing a lot more force of resistance from folks like Neil, Jeremy, John and Steve than 35lbs. Does frame/internal power only work on people or is it 'real' power?

Discuss..:)

JangChoe
01-08-2010, 12:34 PM
Hey Joseph, hope you're well. :)

I'll just throw this out there. People weigh a LOT more than even a heavy KB (and I'm a wuss, so I use a light one). If I can't eventually learn to use IP/frame to move a 25-35lb weight around, can I ever really expect to be able to use the same mechanics in a live resistant environment with a partner opponent? Will I be trapped in the realm of parlor tricks in the dojo? (not saying that this is where you are, please don't take this personally, this is really just something for folks to think about). I know when I'm doing push-out, I'm facing a lot more force of resistance from folks like Neil, Jeremy, John and Steve than 35lbs. Does frame/internal power only work on people or is it 'real' power?

Discuss..:)

Ark told me we shouldn't train weights. He also said his stuff will only work on humans and not on inanimate objects. Maybe it's because with IS, you're messing with people's balance or crushing their weak structure. I guess IS makes humans easier to handle compared to throwing around dead weight.

I also heard stories of a decent taiji teacher struggling with his heavy luggage in the airport, but during the seminars, he throws around ppl twice their size.

OTOH, there's a legendary story of Feng Zhiqiang who supposedly saved a huge machinery that weighed a couple hundred pounds from falling.

Also, I would assume IS training should get you physically stronger as a side effect. And it should since it does work the connective tissues and certain muscles.

Furthermore, even though Ark implied that his stuff won't work on inanimate objects, he still demonstrated shiko with Jeremy Hulley on his back. That showed his frame can handle a (very) heavy load as Jeremy. I don't see why Ark wouldn't be able to do that with a heavy backpack on his back.

ChrisMoses
01-08-2010, 05:19 PM
Furthermore, even though Ark implied that his stuff won't work on inanimate objects, he still demonstrated shiko with Jeremy Hulley on his back. That showed his frame can handle a (very) heavy load as Jeremy. I don't see why Ark wouldn't be able to do that with a heavy backpack on his back.

Are you calling Jeremy a big dumb object? :grr:

Just kidding... :)

And there's always the heavy bag. I know Neil's talked about some of his CMA acquaintances being able to walk up to a heavy bag and basically fold them in half with almost no movement. I could certainly see how training with weights too early could be a bad idea, but it is kind of an interesting point. Dan or Rob, you following this? Any opinion?

Upyu
01-09-2010, 12:59 AM
Are you calling Jeremy a big dumb object? :grr:

Just kidding... :)

And there's always the heavy bag. I know Neil's talked about some of his CMA acquaintances being able to walk up to a heavy bag and basically fold them in half with almost no movement. I could certainly see how training with weights too early could be a bad idea, but it is kind of an interesting point. Dan or Rob, you following this? Any opinion?

I'm against it, especially for the first couple of years. (This is assuming you're all for training this stuff in a goody-two-shoe fashion :) )
I think the vast majority of people have had varying degrees of experience with lifting weights (whether improper or not is another matter). But since the requirements needed to hold and manipulate a weight are so contrary to the habits generally incurred by people when lifting weights, I think, its detrimental to use them as previous habits generally take over, slowing down progress. Hell I thought I wasn't using shoulder, and it turned out I was wrong.

FWIW Ark claims he's never really used weights to further his training. (He's also quick to point out that he doesn't say that "weight lifting is bad" either, just that you need to think about "how" you're doing it, which is really just a condensed version of what I said above).
Using long pole weapons, etc generally take the place of using weights in his curriculum, and if you know what you're doing, will cause plenty of stress on the body, which has its own can of worms that you have to fight (are you engaging the shoulders yatta yatta yatta).

Btw, the whole point is to increase the load that your "frame"/"conditioning" can handle. The very fact that Ark can put Jeremy on his back and do Shiko using winding mechanics (given his size and weight) says a lot about how much stress his body can take...and should be a hint towards what people should be working towards :D

Kevin Leavitt
01-09-2010, 06:56 AM
lol...I was there when Ark put Jeremy on his back. Not only that, he could move around with him on his back!....yea I remember that distinctly!

JangChoe
01-09-2010, 10:29 AM
I use kettlebells and bodyweight exercises, but I think it's probably a bad idea to try to use them to build frame or internal strength. Doing those (kb's and pushups) correctly (in the traditional manner) isn't consistent with internal strength and the levels of resistance would probably engage local muscle too much.

I use kettlebells and calisthenics to build overall strength for health and fitness, but I consider it completely distinct from my internal strength work. I'm not doing them to build internal strength and don't expect that work to have any impact (except this one...the stronger my legs are the more ultimate power I can generate, internal or external).

I know the arguments that you must not do any weightlifting and etc. if you want to develop internal strength, but I'm skeptical. Nothing from what I know of motor control and learning or skill development and specificity provides a rationale for that...building internal strength is very difficult and requires work every day, an active approach to re-training the body. I don't see how a couple or three days per week of specific strengthening of local muscles makes that effort much more difficult than it already is. That would almost suggest that one's muscles should be weak in order to build internal strength. Ummmm, I don't buy that. It's, imo, the habitual ways we tend to move our bodies that is the impediment, much more than specific, limited things we do to strengthen the limbs and core.



Hey Joseph, I went through this for a while, and I came to the realize that I do have to choose one or the other. One reason is because of time constraints. We're all busy people and we really don't have time to train both methods at the same time. Also, anecdotally, my IS skills finally were improving (I'm not a m4asta though) when I stopped lifting weights. Although it's probably not causative since it can be due to the fact that I started to focus on neijia practice a lot more and doing it more frequently. Who knows?

But anyway, demanding IS practice should improve your overall fitness. OTOH, demanding athletic stuff doesn't improve IS at all (maybe a miniscule bit). So might as well do IS stuff all the time. Besides, all neijia gurus agree about this, so why go against them?

jlb7289
01-09-2010, 12:47 PM
Why go against them? Because they may be wrong. And notice what you've written, that you stopped because of time constraints. That isn't at ALL the same thing as arguing that the two are actively incompatible.

Coaches used to say that weightlifting was terrible for athletes in all kinds of sports. Weight training would harm your flexibility---wrong, if anything, weight training enhances flexibility. Weight training would slow you down--wrong, it doesn't slow you down. It protects from injury and can enhance your athletic performance, generally (I'm not talking about internal arts). The muscle-bound notion was, and is, a myth.

And now, back to specificity. One of the main findings of research on motor control and learning is that there is very little evidence for one skill actively interfering with another. This is so much the case that getting twice as strong in the squat doesn't translate into being able to jump twice at high, and those are two skills that share a lot in common (at least at the start).

So you're telling me that building local strength with a few exercises done at most 3 hours a week radically interferes with development of internal strength over and above the typical difficulty?

I don't think weight training HELPS internal strength (except perhaps for strengthening the legs, the prime movers), but I still don't buy that it hurts, except in the sense that doing ANYTHING else when you could be training internal strength is bad. OK, I buy that. But beyond that? How?

Joseph

JW
01-09-2010, 12:55 PM
I'm no authority but:

Nothing from what I know of motor control and learning or skill development and specificity provides a rationale for that...

Wait, what about classic hebbian plasticity? Every time you make a movement with normal mechanics you are maintaining certain synapses that you don't want. This could be in brain, spinal cord, and at the neuro-muscular junction. (in theory.) You are also maintaining the weak state of certain synapses that you may need to strengthen for internal-type movement.

In other words, every movement is a chance to do the uphill battle of reprogramming, or if you use normal mechanics, it is a chance to make that hill taller and steeper. (or at least maintain the steepness of the hill)

That would almost suggest that one's muscles should be weak in order to build internal strength. Ummmm, I don't buy that.
Well, I don't totally buy that muscles "should" be weak either. (though it may help sometimes) But it is fun to point out that I have heard of that method-- that weakening the normal strength can help. ("ki ga nai" solved by "chikara ga nai" on these very forums ... also is "invest in loss" meant to apply to this?) And it makes sense to some degree. Now, did anyone with proven skills make that argument? That I don't know.
--JW

JW
01-09-2010, 01:01 PM
And now, back to specificity. One of the main findings of research on motor control and learning is that there is very little evidence for one skill actively interfering with another. This is so much the case that getting twice as strong in the squat doesn't translate into being able to jump twice at high, and those are two skills that share a lot in common (at least at the start).


OK one more thing to add since your post counters mine. I am talking about totally changing the coordination of which muscles and which structures manage load across the whole body-- so 2 independent strategies of movement. That's what I mean by the synaptic weights across the whole movement control system needing to be changed. As opposed to the interaction of 2 kinds of exercise (squats vs jumping) that utilize the same control strategy.

So within one movement type-regime, there may be little learning type interactions.. but across the types of regimes, there is a conflicting set of ideal synaptic weights, and we want to switch from one to the other.

Nothing ridiculous I think. Though it is still probably without any data to support it.
--JW