PDA

View Full Version : Kodo Horikawa's aiki


Please visit our sponsor:
 

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


oisin bourke
05-08-2011, 08:26 PM
I have one video I can reference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXNqdl3-KFo

Specifically the very beginning, but the principle he's demonstrating throughout is ok, though a bit too floppish. At least he's not doing the electricity type demo that is often seen.

Anyway, the beginning is to me, great. He's connecting to uke's center, getting under them and lifting his arms (and uke) without using his shoulders/chest/biceps, very smooth and relaxed and uke is actually putting some weight into him. It takes a very specific type of body training to be able to do that.

Have someone hold a jo arms lenght out from them, horizontal. you stand facinng them and also grab the jo at arms length and try to raise the jo up with them putting just a little bit of weight into the jo and see if you can do it using nothing but your arms, but without using yoru shoulders/chest/arms. To call it hard is a gross understatement.

now stand closer to the jo so that your hips are almost directly under the jo and this time whole holding the jo in place, drop your hips down a foot or so (keep your hands on the jo and at the same level they were before dropping your hips) and kind of get under the jo. Now keep the distance between your hand and hips consistent and just stand up. While you will probably still have tension in your shoulders/chest/etc to support the jo, you should see that it's much easier to lift the jo without introducing a whole lot more tension into your body.

In that video, that's what Horikawa is doing, but without physically moving his center to get under uke and without using the normal muscles one would use to do what he's doing. The rest of the demos on the vid are pretty much an extension of that, connecting to uke's center, getting under them and moving them where their balance isn't. That's also pretty much every aikido technique you'll see as done by o'sensei, regardless of era.

Thanks for that Jason. That's a fairly clear explanation. Questions that follow your description are: How do you move/raise your arms without using shoulders/shest biceps? What do you move?
Also, how do you "get under" someone if you cannot drop your hips e.g when you are in seiza?

Janet Rosen
05-08-2011, 10:27 PM
Thanks for that Jason. That's a fairly clear explanation. Questions that follow your description are: How do you move/raise your arms without using shoulders/shest biceps? What do you move?
Also, how do you "get under" someone if you cannot drop your hips e.g when you are in seiza?

I'm not Jason, but...
"How do you move/raise your arms without using shoulders/shest biceps?" = for me, engaging lats and triceps (= body use for classic "weight underside and extend")
and
"how do you "get under" someone if you cannot drop your hips" = for me, even harder, since I don't kneel and have to do kokyu dosa sitting cross legged! But while completely static I can still drop my center because center does not equal hips. Think engaging abdominals and sinking them - if your upper body is connected, everything drops with center, and if you maintain your dropped shoulders AND your triceps extension as you drop center, you sink under while extending towards uke and can undermine his structure....
that's what I'm working on these days.

Walter Martindale
05-08-2011, 10:55 PM
Thanks for that Jason. That's a fairly clear explanation. Questions that follow your description are: How do you move/raise your arms without using shoulders/shest biceps? What do you move?
Also, how do you "get under" someone if you cannot drop your hips e.g when you are in seiza?

I'd bet that if someone took an electromyogram of the shoulders, chest muscles and biceps (and trapezius) they'd find that the only way you raise your arms (without using swing momentum or outside help) is to engage the muscles. Denervate those muscles, no movement.

I'm at a complete loss about the 'get under' part if you can't lower your centre of mass.
W

Janet Rosen
05-09-2011, 12:40 AM
I'd bet that if someone took an electromyogram of the shoulders, chest muscles and biceps (and trapezius) they'd find that the only way you raise your arms (without using swing momentum or outside help) is to engage the muscles. Denervate those muscles, no movement.
W

Again, it is very easy to raise the arms using the lats and triceps to come up from below with shoulders actually lowered (the Pilates thing of "going down to go up," as well as how Tohei Sensei taught to raise arms by extending ki, as well as the sometimes used visualization of "imagine you are a puppet and let the tips of your fingers raise up and out in front of you" ...all are different ways to get to the same actual muscle engagement). Chest yes, if you consider lats as chestal, but not shoulder or biceps.

Carsten Möllering
05-09-2011, 02:11 AM
Very interesting video to me:

I see a lot of things we practice with Endo sensei.
At least it looks exactly the same.

There is no "dropping of hips" in the aikido as I understand and practice it. If you are able to connect with your partner there is no need to get under his center (which was the way I was taught formerly) to move him.

Very interesting video!

Michael Varin
05-09-2011, 04:22 AM
Anyway, the beginning is to me, great. He's connecting to uke's center, getting under them and lifting his arms (and uke) without using his shoulders/chest/biceps, very smooth and relaxed and uke is actually putting some weight into him.
I'm not so sure that uke is putting any weight on him. Many karateka who do not strike bags/pads feel their own punches in their shoulders and think they are hitting hard, but very little is transferred into their fist and beyond. I think we have the grabbing version of this here. From my experience, tension within uke does not necessarily translate into nage bearing weight.

Would you agree that at least 85% of what is shown beyond 0:47 would not have occurred without a totally compliant uke?

Michael Varin
05-09-2011, 04:28 AM
Aiki Kinesiology… I'm coining the term.

see if you can do it using nothing but your arms, but without using yoru shoulders/chest/arms. To call it hard is a gross understatement.
To call this possible is a gross overstatement.

without using the normal muscles one would use to do what he's doing.

"How do you move/raise your arms without using shoulders/shest biceps?" = for me, engaging lats and triceps
Again, it is very easy to raise the arms using the lats and triceps to come up from below with shoulders actually lowered
Janet, to my knowledge the latissimus dorsi and triceps muscles do not participate in shoulder (glenohumeral) flexion, i.e, raising the upper arm in front of the body.

The lats do play a role in scapular depression and retraction, which are very important movements, but neither will raise your arm.

I don't mean to be too sarcastic or give anyone a hard time. Martial arts aside, I am fascinated by the movement of the human body. I just think we should expect a much higher level of clarity and accuracy in our discussion. It can only be to everyone's benefit.

phitruong
05-09-2011, 06:51 AM
there was a study using Kuroda sensei as the subject.

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/article-une-etude-du-mouvement-du-sabre-partie-1-65641305.html

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/article-une-etude-du-mouvement-du-sabre-partie-2-65721885.html

Kuroda sensei used small amount of biceps and mostly triceps and grand dorsal for up and down movement compared to normal folks. same with the horizontal cut movement. it's not that he didn't use the other muscles normal folks used to move their arms, but he used much less of them.

i suspected that Horikawa sensei used similar muscle groups.

now it would be even more interesting if they have done the full body monitoring. would be interesting to find out what his lower body doing at the same time.

chillzATL
05-09-2011, 08:24 AM
I'm not so sure that uke is putting any weight on him. Many karateka who do not strike bags/pads feel their own punches in their shoulders and think they are hitting hard, but very little is transferred into their fist and beyond. I think we have the grabbing version of this here. From my experience, tension within uke does not necessarily translate into nage bearing weight.

Would you agree that at least 85% of what is shown beyond 0:47 would not have occurred without a totally compliant uke?

Well, you can see uke tensing up, but yes, that does not mean any real transfer of force, but he's also leaning over and into him, so there has to be some weight transfer going on there. It's the only part of the video that holds enough water that I would want to show it as a valid demo, but we could debate the particulars of that part and never come to any agreement as to just how much force is involved.

After that, nobody in the video was giving Horikawa any resistance, but yes, I do believe that a good bit of what was being done there could be done with a resisting uke, though honestly I cannot say to what degree. I've only experienced a few of those myself.

chillzATL
05-09-2011, 08:37 AM
I'd bet that if someone took an electromyogram of the shoulders, chest muscles and biceps (and trapezius) they'd find that the only way you raise your arms (without using swing momentum or outside help) is to engage the muscles. Denervate those muscles, no movement.

I'm at a complete loss about the 'get under' part if you can't lower your centre of mass.
W

Muscle use is still involved, there's no way around it, but you're avoiding using the major muscles as completely as possible. Our view of the role of muscles in the body is horrible incomplete. Spend some time searching on the myofascial connections of muscles and you'll quickly see how medical science is just now starting to recognize the more connected nature of the muscles of our body and how those connections can be strengthed without focusing on localized development as we know it (biceps, triceps, etc etc).

getting under someone without physically dropping your center means that the source of your force is coming at uke from beneath their center. It's something that can be conditioned, developed and trained.

chillzATL
05-09-2011, 09:02 AM
Thanks for that Jason. That's a fairly clear explanation. Questions that follow your description are: How do you move/raise your arms without using shoulders/shest biceps? What do you move?
Also, how do you "get under" someone if you cannot drop your hips e.g when you are in seiza?

Hi Oisin, thanks for making the new thread.

There are some mechanical things you can do to help, extending your hands down and out to raise your hands rather than simply raising them in a normal arc, but that's avoiding the real work I'm afraid. You have to condition your body to be able to support itself against forces without the use of the major muscles. The only way to do this is to do things with light enough pressure that those major muscles aren't activated. Over time the connections become strong enough to provide support without those major muscles. The only way to get that base conditioning is to start as light as possible. Anything that causes the major muscles to kick in means that those "other muscles" aren't getting conditioned, which means you'll never avoid using them in some form or another.

For instance, hold your hand out in front of you and have someone push on it. If you relax your shoulders as completely as possible what tpyically happens is that your shoulder will kind of collapse back. If you force your shoulder to not collapse, the rest of the shoulder will engage pretty quickly. If you do the same thing with just a small amount of force you can suppot it, but without the shoulder collapsing and without the major muscles kicking in to support it. If you do that for a little while you'll find that the shoulder becomes capable of supporting more force while retaining that same relaxed strength as it had when you were being pushed on with little to no force. Every joint in the body can be conditioned in a similarly, but the major ones that seem to often get in the way are the shoulders/chest, lower back and pelvis area.

Getting under someone without dropping your center just means that you are directing force at them, lower than their center of gravity. Imagine a steel pole buried in the ground. Since the pole doesn't flex or give in any way, you could say that it is an extension of the ground. With enough of the above you would get to a point that by keeping yoru body relaxed you are like that pole, a conduit to the ground and when you move your forces are originating from the ground so that everythign you put out is always lower than the other person.

Give me a little bit and I'll draw a diagram or two that might make sense.

Janet Rosen
05-09-2011, 10:27 AM
Janet, to my knowledge the latissimus dorsi and triceps muscles do not participate in shoulder (glenohumeral) flexion, i.e, raising the upper arm in front of the body.

The lats do play a role in scapular depression and retraction, which are very important movements, but neither will raise your arm.

I don't mean to be too sarcastic or give anyone a hard time. Martial arts aside, I am fascinated by the movement of the human body. I just think we should expect a much higher level of clarity and accuracy in our discussion. It can only be to everyone's benefit.

No offense taken, Michael. I'm hoping that at a Calif aikiweb meetup (Labor Day wkend? Aikido of Diablo Valley?) kinesiology, ground paths, etc will be some of the things we informally play with.

Mark Freeman
05-09-2011, 11:07 AM
There are some mechanical things you can do to help, extending your hands down and out to raise your hands rather than simply raising them in a normal arc, but that's avoiding the real work I'm afraid. You have to condition your body to be able to support itself against forces without the use of the major muscles. The only way to do this is to do things with light enough pressure that those major muscles aren't activated. Over time the connections become strong enough to provide support without those major muscles. The only way to get that base conditioning is to start as light as possible. Anything that causes the major muscles to kick in means that those "other muscles" aren't getting conditioned, which means you'll never avoid using them in some form or another.

Hi Jason,

I think your point above is very important and has to be grasped by anyone wanting to move their practice onto a different level.

I am of the mind that many who practice with uke fully resisting will impede their process as they will almost certainlly engage the major muscles. I agree the light pressure approach allows for the sensitivity required to know when the major muscles kick in. Once the conditioning is in place, then higher stess testing is possible as the conditioned body will relax and only use what is minimally neccessary to moved the opponent.

For instance, hold your hand out in front of you and have someone push on it. If you relax your shoulders as completely as possible what tpyically happens is that your shoulder will kind of collapse back. If you force your shoulder to not collapse, the rest of the shoulder will engage pretty quickly. If you do the same thing with just a small amount of force you can suppot it, but without the shoulder collapsing and without the major muscles kicking in to support it. If you do that for a little while you'll find that the shoulder becomes capable of supporting more force while retaining that same relaxed strength as it had when you were being pushed on with little to no force. Every joint in the body can be conditioned in a similarly, but the major ones that seem to often get in the way are the shoulders/chest, lower back and pelvis area.

This seems to me to be pretty close to one of Tohei's ki development exercises

Getting under someone without dropping your center just means that you are directing force at them, lower than their center of gravity. Imagine a steel pole buried in the ground. Since the pole doesn't flex or give in any way, you could say that it is an extension of the ground. With enough of the above you would get to a point that by keeping yoru body relaxed you are like that pole, a conduit to the ground and when you move your forces are originating from the ground so that everythign you put out is always lower than the other person.

I like that visualization, I will play with that one if I may.

I offer the clip below as an exercise for anyone to try as I think it relates well to the thread OP


Recently I found I could describe some of this to my class in a different way than I had before. And I offer it as an opportunity for you to try out and let me know what you experience from your perspective. Let me say though, I have only done this with my own students and have not tested it out on an outsider like you describe in your post above.

I have uke hold my wrists and push them towards my body, trapping them at the top of leg groin area ( a groundpath is established of course). Then I imagine this - My arms are like two ropes and have no strength of their own. My one point/hara/dantien call it what you will is like a balloon that has pressure inside it. The pressure from the uke on the outside is eqaul to the pressure from the hara on the inside, there is equilibrium and my hands are 'trapped' between the two opposing forces. Then and this is where the interesting stuff starts, I mentally increase the pressure/ki from the inside, so the balloon starts to get bigger and bigger. At all times I feel my hands and arms are like innocent bystanders, as they remain squashed between uke and the internal pressure of the balloon. As a connection has already been made with uke at the start, I never fail to move uke backwards with surprising ease.

Similar to the exercise you describe ( I've seen it on vid). But maybe with the difference of my weird way of thinking.

I love this stuff, it is what keeps me going and looking for more effective ways of doing things.

It is good that there are people honestly searching for things that others don't believe exist or dont want to believe or can't be bothered to put the time in to discover. In reallity though if it works it works. How we describe it will be subjective and hopefully some will manage to objectify what is realy going on.

regards,

Mark

NagaBaba
05-09-2011, 12:18 PM
I see these tricks like they have nothing to do with aikido.

Aikido is a dynamic interaction between nage and uke, where they roles interchange constantly. Such static attacks like on the video are done in aikido ONLY where you are teaching complete beginners a new technique. The main point is, when an attack is about to touch your body, the technique is already finished. That is possible because you are controlling an attacker from the moment the attack starts in his mind. If you don’t do that, you are doing a merely some kind of jujutsu.

Aikido is happening BEFORE contact.

Mark Freeman
05-09-2011, 02:37 PM
I see these tricks like they have nothing to do with aikido.

Aikido is a dynamic interaction between nage and uke, where they roles interchange constantly. Such static attacks like on the video are done in aikido ONLY where you are teaching complete beginners a new technique. The main point is, when an attack is about to touch your body, the technique is already finished. That is possible because you are controlling an attacker from the moment the attack starts in his mind. If you don’t do that, you are doing a merely some kind of jujutsu.

Aikido is happening BEFORE contact.

I less see them as tricks than as exercises and why confine anything to beginners, even the most basic exercises can be practiced at the highest levels?

I agree with the main body of your post though, aikido does happen before contact,

regards

Mark

Gerardo Torres
05-09-2011, 02:43 PM
I see these tricks like they have nothing to do with aikido.

Aikido is a dynamic interaction between nage and uke, where they roles interchange constantly. Such static attacks like on the video are done in aikido ONLY where you are teaching complete beginners a new technique. The main point is, when an attack is about to touch your body, the technique is already finished. That is possible because you are controlling an attacker from the moment the attack starts in his mind. If you don't do that, you are doing a merely some kind of jujutsu.

Aikido is happening BEFORE contact.
These are no mere tricks but demonstrations of the same type of aiki and body skills that Ueshiba used in his aikido -- the engine that drove his techniques. Ueshiba and Kodo were both Daito-ryu men. Ueshiba in particular did it for 20 years; you don't just shake that training out of your body.

The aiki and body skills demonstrated in this video and by Ueshiba are not just tricks for showmanship. They are demonstrations of how a body can move with or without physical interaction with an opponent. I am also sure there is a lesson being delivered behind these demonstrations, we just can't see them in their full context in the video.

Before physical interaction occurs, a trained body like Kodo's or Ueshiba's allows them to move in a more unified way, which results in less telegraphing, increased speed and power, all while keeping superior balance in all directions. These skills improve "irimi" and all the elements needed to dominate in the preamble of an attack, including "intention". So the advantages are not limited to just static drills but apply before, during and after physical contact happens.

Non-trained bodies rely too much on momentum, uke giving you their center (levels of compliance vary but are nowhere near the resistance a trained body can handle), over-use of major muscles, torquing, pulling, pushing, power vs. power (tactile pressure). As resistance increases, these deficiencies become even more obvious, resulting in more and more torquing, muscling, and "assaulting" of the uke, in other words stylized force vs force and violence masked as aiki. A trained body minimizes all of this, making everything more efficient -- bujutsu -- and in my view providing the best possible set of skills to realize aikido's goal of controlling an opponent without resorting to violence.

My $0.02.

NagaBaba
05-09-2011, 04:15 PM
These are no mere tricks but demonstrations of the same type of aiki and body skills that Ueshiba used in his aikido -- the engine that drove his techniques. Ueshiba and Kodo were both Daito-ryu men. Ueshiba in particular did it for 20 years; you don't just shake that training out of your body.

The aiki and body skills demonstrated in this video and by Ueshiba are not just tricks for showmanship. They are demonstrations of how a body can move with or without physical interaction with an opponent. I am also sure there is a lesson being delivered behind these demonstrations, we just can't see them in their full context in the video.

Before physical interaction occurs, a trained body like Kodo's or Ueshiba's allows them to move in a more unified way, which results in less telegraphing, increased speed and power, all while keeping superior balance in all directions. These skills improve "irimi" and all the elements needed to dominate in the preamble of an attack, including "intention". So the advantages are not limited to just static drills but apply before, during and after physical contact happens.

Non-trained bodies rely too much on momentum, uke giving you their center (levels of compliance vary but are nowhere near the resistance a trained body can handle), over-use of major muscles, torquing, pulling, pushing, power vs. power (tactile pressure). As resistance increases, these deficiencies become even more obvious, resulting in more and more torquing, muscling, and "assaulting" of the uke, in other words stylized force vs force and violence masked as aiki. A trained body minimizes all of this, making everything more efficient -- bujutsu -- and in my view providing the best possible set of skills to realize aikido's goal of controlling an opponent without resorting to violence.

My $0.02.
I disagree. On this video, as well as all others Daito ryu trick, there is no interaction before contact or after, because all they are completely static. Not only nage is static but also uke. It is really hilarious, uke is not even adjusting his position one inch even if he can, and instead he is falling down like a stiff piece of wood. What prevent them from moving?? -- convention of training. Such convention is radically contrary to aikido principles as developed by Founder.

Example: In aikido, if nage is attacked by multiple attackers, he will move out of circle and will choose opponent and go to him. In Daito ryu, nage is staying in the middle of the attackers, and they will attacking him, again by convention, one by one, and nage without moving will pill them up.

So Daito ryu trick are counterproductive to develop aikido principles.

You are talking about resistance -- there is no resistance possible in Daito ryu training (except one dojo of Sagawa sensei), particularly when they do these tricks. Simply because with uke that is "alive' (only adjusting his position) none of these tricks would work for real. In contrary in aikido there large room for training with resistance and counters (because of freedom of movement) that develop really trained body.

I don't believe that sitting and doing tricks will develop anything good to prevent a real violence. Free movement -- yes of course.
You are talking about training of "intention". Static practice is not developing any intention. Everything is preprogrammed; there is no question to develop anything like that. To really develop intention you have to get rid off all preprogrammed exercises and radically static uke. It is done in aikido by spontaneous dynamic attacks in jiu waza.

chillzATL
05-09-2011, 04:23 PM
I disagree. .

how about just starting another thread so you can discuss whatever it is you want to discuss and not cluttering this one up?

Howard Popkin
05-09-2011, 05:06 PM
I disagree. On this video, as well as all others Daito ryu trick, there is no interaction before contact or after, because all they are completely static. Not only nage is static but also uke. It is really hilarious, uke is not even adjusting his position one inch even if he can, and instead he is falling down like a stiff piece of wood. What prevent them from moving?? -- convention of training. Such convention is radically contrary to aikido principles as developed by Founder.

Example: In aikido, if nage is attacked by multiple attackers, he will move out of circle and will choose opponent and go to him. In Daito ryu, nage is staying in the middle of the attackers, and they will attacking him, again by convention, one by one, and nage without moving will pill them up.

So Daito ryu trick are counterproductive to develop aikido principles.

You are talking about resistance -- there is no resistance possible in Daito ryu training (except one dojo of Sagawa sensei), particularly when they do these tricks. Simply because with uke that is "alive' (only adjusting his position) none of these tricks would work for real. In contrary in aikido there large room for training with resistance and counters (because of freedom of movement) that develop really trained body.

I don't believe that sitting and doing tricks will develop anything good to prevent a real violence. Free movement -- yes of course.
You are talking about training of "intention". Static practice is not developing any intention. Everything is preprogrammed; there is no question to develop anything like that. To really develop intention you have to get rid off all preprogrammed exercises and radically static uke. It is done in aikido by spontaneous dynamic attacks in jiu waza.

When was the last time you were in a Daitoryu dojo with a qualified instructor ?

Just curious.

Howard

NagaBaba
05-09-2011, 09:17 PM
When was the last time you were in a Daitoryu dojo with a qualified instructor ?

Just curious.

Howard
Hello Howard,
The topic is not about me, lets not turn it to personal attacks :D
Jason, you are right, I'm going back to lurking.

Howard Popkin
05-09-2011, 09:20 PM
This was not a personal attack at all, just curious what personal, hands on experience you are relating this to.

Best regards,

Howard

hughrbeyer
05-09-2011, 09:54 PM
@Michael, A story from another domain: My brother-in-law is trained in classical ballet. He says that they are taught, when doing a leg lift, to visualize pushing up the leg with the muscles underneath, rather than pulling it with the muscles on top.

Now, at least according to classical physiology, this is nonsense. You can't push with a muscle. But ballet is a very demanding discipline--they wouldn't be telling each other this if it didn't work. Something about that visualization ("Keep weight underside"?) works for making the body move correctly.

@Szczepan, your first point is that these exercises are tricks because they're static. No, they're static because they're exercises. Once you get the feel you certainly can use the same principles to receive an attack, take balance, and move uke throughout a technique. All the masters, starting with O-Sensei, showed "tricks" like this. Think they were just amusing themselves?

That said, I wish senior aikidoka wouldn't show stuff like is later on that vid, not unless they can do it with a trained MMA fighter on the other end. Aikido should be about expanding the range and flexibility of responses possible in a martial situation. Demonstrating how you have trained your ukes to limit the range of their responses to the point where they can't get out of an invisible box doesn't seem like much of an advertisement to me.

Michael Varin
05-10-2011, 04:42 AM
there was a study using Kuroda sensei as the subject.

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/a...-65641305.html

http://budoshugyosha.over-blog.com/a...-65721885.html

Kuroda sensei used small amount of biceps and mostly triceps and grand dorsal for up and down movement compared to normal folks. same with the horizontal cut movement. it's not that he didn't use the other muscles normal folks used to move their arms, but he used much less of them.

Looks somewhat interesting.

Unfortunately, my wife is already asleep, so I can't really understand the French. (Fortunately, I can avoid the "you've been with my for eight years and you still don't know French" criticisms that go along with my requests for translations!)

It looks to me like it wasn't so much that Kuroda used "less" of the muscles, but that he used them in different ways or at different times.

I am guessing that the center of the graphs, where the activity peaks, is the downward cut. Everything is pretty much as I would expect it to be.

The major difference is that the "amateur" keeps excessive tension in his biceps & triceps while holding the sword in kamae and during the raise. And I would bet the major difference in the activity of the trapezius, is that Kuroda is retracting the scapula, while the "amateur" is elevating the scapula.

By far the biggest flaw in this "study" was the failure to monitor the activity of the deltoids.

now it would be even more interesting if they have done the full body monitoring. would be interesting to find out what his lower body doing at the same time.

Agreed.

Bottom line, muscles move our body. No matter how much some people seem to wish otherwise. So maybe we should just learn to use them the right way, instead of pretending like we don't use them at all.

Michael Varin
05-10-2011, 04:45 AM
Muscle use is still involved, there's no way around it, but you're avoiding using the major muscles as completely as possible. Our view of the role of muscles in the body is horrible incomplete. Spend some time searching on the myofascial connections of muscles and you'll quickly see how medical science is just now starting to recognize the more connected nature of the muscles of our body and how those connections can be strengthed without focusing on localized development as we know it (biceps, triceps, etc etc).
Muscles perform a variety of roles: prime movers, synergists, stabilizers, fixators, neutralizers, antagonists.

So what does it mean to avoid "using the major muscles as completely as possible"? Which muscles would be preferable? In what ways?

I do believe that strength, on any level, is a skill. It involves the nervous system, coordination, and technique, amongst other factors. Regardless of what science has and will recognize, the physical world is what it is. I doubt anyone who ever seriously attempted to gain strength found isolated use of the muscles to aid them in their endeavor.

chillzATL
05-10-2011, 08:24 AM
Muscles perform a variety of roles: prime movers, synergists, stabilizers, fixators, neutralizers, antagonists.

So what does it mean to avoid "using the major muscles as completely as possible"? Which muscles would be preferable? In what ways?

It means just that Michael, to avoid using the major muscles as completely as possible. I'm not sure how to say it more clearly, but if you do anything that requires those big ole mass moving muscles and then try to do while avoiding using those muscles, you'll figure it out. As for what muscles, I don't know man. I don't have the background or vocabulary to answer that and while I find the knowing and understanding part cool and complimetary, I don't think it's going to change what I'm doing or make it any clearer for anyone else.

I do believe that strength, on any level, is a skill. It involves the nervous system, coordination, and technique, amongst other factors. Regardless of what science has and will recognize, the physical world is what it is. I doubt anyone who ever seriously attempted to gain strength found isolated use of the muscles to aid them in their endeavor.

One only has to look at the changes in the strength and conditioning world over the last decade or so to know that your statement is incorrect. It wasn't long ago that strength training was done body builder style. Work the biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, etc, all in isolation. Now there is a shift to more "real work" type exercises. Flipping tractor tires, swinging hammers, climbing ropes, etc, because it better translates into actual usable strength.

John Brockington
05-10-2011, 01:59 PM
Michael-

I may be able to expound a bit upon what Jason is saying regarding avoiding "using the major muscles as completely as possible." Another way of thinking about this is to "avoid relying on local muscle use as much as possible." Let me explain as best I can, and please understand that quite honestly I am certainly in the early learning stages in this type of body training.

For most of us humans, when we expend physical effort we do this using our most available and obvious local musculature. An example would be, how do you open a door and what is the primary muscle or group of muscles involved? Try it and really analyze what muscles you are using, or just watch someone do it if that is more helpful. Do you (or they) primarily pull the door with the shoulder musculature? Do they lean into the door and sort of jerk it open, using their lower spine as a lever of sorts, with shoulder effort kicking in hard a moment later once the spine runs out of range of motion? Or does the door-opener initiate movement with their lower trunk/midsection/dantien, then drive with (source power from) their legs, then finally engage or use shoulder or arm only enough to maintain some contact with the door and provide a conduit through which the rest of the body can continue to exert force?

Now this is just a simple task of opening a door, with minimal resistance offered. Most people just go to their default mechanism of opening it. Not coincidentally, many, many people end up needing shoulder (rotator cuff) or cervical or lumbar spine surgeries, or suffering debilitation because of injury to these regions. I know- I see them all the time in my clinics. I think it is just a natural consequence of placing physical demands on our bodies that our structure can't sustain over the long haul.

One of the premises behind IS type training is to develop body mechanics that allow us to maximize the efficient use of our musculature, along with tendons and fascia. And unfortunately these mechanics are not only not intuitive, they are very difficult to isolate and practice, and to make matters worse, if you only practice them an hour or so a day, it is really hard to stop the other, more conventional local muscle usage patterns.

In general, I don't think that Jason or I or anyone doing IS training is truly advocating not using muscles. Even children know you just fall over if you let your muscles go all loose and floppy. But this type of body mechanics does require a lot of critical self-analysis, really sensing what one is developing with training efforts. It is very slow and repetitive, not sexy at all in terms of cool aikido or martial techniques, and it also does not build what most westerners consider to be a very attractive physique (muscular arms and chest). In fact, weight lifting done the way most people do it just kills all the other mechanics. And finally, I do think Jason hit the nail on the head when he said, basically, you have to figure this out for yourself. Guidance helps, so a lot of us go to forums like this for tidbits, but you've got to put in a lot of solo work. Like basically, rethink all your body mechanics and put that rethink into everything you do- door opening, using computer mouse, chopping wood, lifting water..........

So doing this IS training is lonely, not obviously or immediately gratifying, hard on the ego since there is no group acknowledgment like in a dojo, counter-intuitive, and ultimately you look flabby. Hmm.... maybe I answered my own question from another thread in this forum, when I asked why there isn't more discussion here.:)

Hope that helps.

John

thisisnotreal
05-10-2011, 02:18 PM
Maybe another way to put that part of it is like...you've heard of synergistic dominance problems in neuro-muscular recruitment? Well.maybe this is like the opposite. A combination of new neuro-muscular recruitment patterns...but also necessitates integrating and building off of new structural developments. then learn the movement stuff. This is only my thoughts at present. btw.. This is only a part of the picture. You would have a field day w/ all this stuff... Fwiw

Keith Larman
05-10-2011, 02:49 PM
I've posted this link before, but I think it is worthy of posting again. I think it speaks greatly to how the body can be used somewhat differently from what most would expect. Men's Health Article on Winding and fascia (http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/run-faster-1) I think this stuff speaks to aspects of the ideas on internal strength/power and also speaks to notions of "unification" of the body. And I think we have all had experiences where when you learn some movement it is awkward and lacks power and smoothness because you're thinking about individual muscles. At some point you learn to relax and use everything at the same time, spreading the load out at a hopefully optimum level. So many times "over muscling" is really about doing something "all wrong". You have to relax to gain the speed and power of someone like Kuroda. Which means allowing entire long chains of your anatomy to work together from the center out.

FWIW.

phitruong
05-10-2011, 03:13 PM
So doing this IS training is lonely, not obviously or immediately gratifying, hard on the ego since there is no group acknowledgment like in a dojo, counter-intuitive, and ultimately you look flabby.
John

hey! we are not flabby! we are well endowed in area that conducive to partying and carousing where cheap beers and wines and perfumes involved. ;)

Walter Martindale
05-10-2011, 03:28 PM
Well, anyway... Muscles contract when a nerve impulse stimulates contraction. Contraction of muscles shortens the distance between the origin and the insertion of the muscle, moving the bone(s) to which it is attached if the force from the muscle overcomes the mass/inertia of the bones and whatever is attached to them. The latissimus dorsi are a shoulder flexor group, assisted by triceps (a little) which primarily extends the elbow. Deltoids and biceps participate in shoulder extension, whether in classic old fashioned weight training/body building movements or tractor tire flipping. I can see how contracting/bracing in a relatively isometric contraction can stabilize using the trapezius, lats, triceps, teres major/minor, subscapularis and infraspinatus, and depending on the angle of movement, using supraspinatus, deltoids, biceps to raise (flex) the shoulder joint, but whether or not the person is thinking of 'pushing from under' the muscle action causing the arm to raise (shoulder to flex) has to be from a contraction of muscles shortening the distance between origin and insertion. As another has said, muscles don't push.
People push, but they use contracting muscles to do it. They may brace their bodies through all that connective tissue and muscle fibre while pushing from the soles of their feet to make impact with a knuckle, but the motion is generated by muscle contraction, not muscle extension.
Maybe my anatomy and physiology were studied 30 years ago but I haven't heard any great revelations about how we've evolved since then.

Unless of course I've got my flex/extend reversed... AIUI, from the anatomical position, flexing the shoulder is raising the arm anteriorly from the shoulder (palm up although that's irrelevant), flexing the elbow is raising the forearm anteriorly. Extending the shoulder brings the raised arm back to the anatomical position and/or behind the body, extending the elbow straightens it - hyperextending the elbow hurts, a lot.

back to work...
W

chillzATL
05-10-2011, 03:31 PM
I've posted this link before, but I think it is worthy of posting again. I think it speaks greatly to how the body can be used somewhat differently from what most would expect. Men's Health Article on Winding and fascia (http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/run-faster-1) I think this stuff speaks to aspects of the ideas on internal strength/power and also speaks to notions of "unification" of the body. And I think we have all had experiences where when you learn some movement it is awkward and lacks power and smoothness because you're thinking about individual muscles. At some point you learn to relax and use everything at the same time, spreading the load out at a hopefully optimum level. So many times "over muscling" is really about doing something "all wrong". You have to relax to gain the speed and power of someone like Kuroda. Which means allowing entire long chains of your anatomy to work together from the center out.

FWIW.

nice, here's something similar I read recently and enjoyed.

http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/training-articles/bridging-the-gap-from-functionality-to-fascia/

phitruong
05-10-2011, 04:37 PM
nice, here's something similar I read recently and enjoyed.

http://articles.elitefts.com/articles/training-articles/bridging-the-gap-from-functionality-to-fascia/

so would you said that IS training is really about training fascia to integrate full body control of all the neural muscular and fascia to accomplish physical tasks?

we know how to train muscle, right? but we don't really know how to train fascia and how to use it to bind and control our body motions, right?

John Brockington
05-10-2011, 04:47 PM
Walter-

I think you (and Josh) are still focusing way too much on local muscle issues and usage. Not that you have the anatomy wrong. But what you are describing is the complete opposite of the point of IS training.

Consider this- of course the delts and and biceps play a role in proximal arm and shoulder movement. Of course you can not lift a weight or tire or whatever with your arm, if you don't use those muscles at all. The key (and question) in IS is: because the deltoid and biceps have a limited amount of strength available at any time, when you do something that involves those muscles, what other muscles or fascia can you use to augment or even vastly exceed what the delts and biceps can do alone. This can be accomplished in very simple terms, with some slight gain in power, or more extensive terms, with greater power gains. The more of your body you use to lift or hit or jump or run or whatever, the better you will do that.

If you think not about what muscle are you using in the shoulder to lift, but rather, what muscles or tissues elsewhere in the body can be used to create an end result of a lift, I think that is the beginning of the correct general direction from an IS standpoint. Bracing is a different matter altogether, and will not effect anything other than a bit of structural stability that can easily be undermined by someone who sources their power lower than you.

Regards-
John

Janet Rosen
05-10-2011, 05:56 PM
Couple of thoughts....
1. Walter wrote "but the motion is generated by muscle contraction, not muscle extension." Yes.
I'd point out that the EFFECT can be flextion or extention of a joint though - and that sometimes a muscle is both a flexor and an extensor - the hamstrings being a classic example, having one effect on hip and the other on knee!
Does it matter? YES.
Men tend to jump/land by engaging the hamstrings, women by engaging the quads, which the most recent research on ACL injuries in womens basketball points to as the major source of those injuries. Women can be retrained to "do the same movement" using different muscles and universities doing so see drastically reduced injury rates.
2. I remember being a 20 yr old, 100# lass working in a food coop warehouse - this was back in the mid 70s when women doing "mens work" was very unusual and we were about 50/50 men/women doing all jobs including forklift driving, trucking, etc - my work included lifting and carrying 100# sacks of beans. I learned to "lift with my legs". Yeah, my biceps did some work, especially once I got the sack up. But if I'd relied on them to get those sacks off of a low palette into my arms, I'd still be working on trying to lift that first sack today :-) So I learned at an early age that there are many different ways to use the body, rarely just one set of muscles that HAVE to be used to do a particular job.

Bottom line, I may not always correctly name the muscle or body part I'm using, but I know when I've trained something to work differently from my default setting, and a lot of what I work on in my aikido has to do with that ability

Michael Varin
05-11-2011, 05:04 AM
One only has to look at the changes in the strength and conditioning world over the last decade or so to know that your statement is incorrect. It wasn't long ago that strength training was done body builder style. Work the biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, etc, all in isolation.
I probably didn't say that as well as I could have. But do you honestly think that is how Olympic lifters, powerlifters or gymnasts were training? I will not disagree that the understanding and ability to teach about the body and training of it has improved over the last 20 years.

But similar to what you said before, the human body has always been the human body, and the proper way to train it has always been the proper way to train it, regardless of our understanding or our ability to explain.

The key (and question) in IS is: because the deltoid and biceps have a limited amount of strength available at any time, when you do something that involves those muscles, what other muscles or fascia can you use to augment or even vastly exceed what the delts and biceps can do alone. This can be accomplished in very simple terms, with some slight gain in power, or more extensive terms, with greater power gains. The more of your body you use to lift or hit or jump or run or whatever, the better you will do that.
Is this really the foundation of "IP/IT/IS"? How is this any different from sports performance in general?

I appreciate everyone's' contribution to this thread. I must say that contrary to the way it might sometimes appear, I am not arguing against "IP/IT/IS." I'm simply trying to draw out your explanations and maybe try to get you to think about it in a different way. I have learned a great deal from my discussion on this subject, and I am better off for it.

Pauliina Lievonen
05-11-2011, 07:15 AM
When one thinks of lifting an arm, that idea alone will make a change in the activation of various muscles. So the idea of a movement will already activate the pattern that one usually uses for that movement. Now if you want to change that pattern for a more efficient one, it can be very helpful to think of the movement in a different way (like "I'm not going to use my biceps at all to lift the arm" or all the other examples Janet gave earlier). That is the benefit I see in all these sometimes wacky instructions. It's a very effective way of changing habits that shouldn't be dismissed too lightly I think.

But one shouldn't mistake it for a description of what is actually happening. It's an instruction, not a description. OTOH an anatomically correct description isn't always the most effective instruction.

Something else that I see happening in the internal strength etc discussions is something I also see in my own Alexander technique teaching practice. Our kinesthetic/proprioceptive sense isn't absolute - it always compares to how things were just a moment ago. And what you end up being aware of is an interpretation of the brain of the messages coming from muscles and other tissues.

New movement patterns can feel very odd, because the brain struggles to interpret something new. And using less muscle can feel like using none - but really what the proprioceptive sense is trying to say is "youre doing way less than a moment ago".

Comments I've often heard from Alexander technique students:
"Wow, it felt like someone else lifted my arm"
"My arm just floated up"
"But, but, you lifted my arm, I didn't do it!" (I was guiding with two fingertips touching lightly)

Mind you these were people who hadn't done any kind of conditioning their fascia or anything like that. They just succesfully changed one movement pattern, and the result felt confusing because it was a new experience.

So I would be vary of making up theories about how or why things work based on what one feels in one's own body. The proprioceptive sense isn't an accurate enough tool to do that.

Pauliina

John Brockington
05-11-2011, 08:07 AM
Michael-

I very much appreciate your engagement and propagation of this type of discussion- it does help crystallize or maybe reconsider training methods.

If you haven't done much of this training, however, I am not quite sure what you are intending when you say you are trying to get those of us who are doing it "to think about it in a different way." If you mean you are trying to look for terminology that makes sense to you, well, remember that terminology and understanding are extremely subjective and what you understand conceptually may be quite different from what anyone else does.

So you've really got to start doing the training or at least go to a seminar and feel Mike S or Akuzawa (Ark) or Dan H in order to have something other than a verbal experience. Like Pauliina indicates, this is an intensely tactile perception type of training, and it does cross paths with Alexander technique as well as other types of training.

With regard to athletic training, well, there is increasing interest in using IS type methods and even terminology. They don't call it neijia or Aunkai or aiki, but sprinters are starting to use coiling or winding type movements in their training in order to activate fascial connections and use those to augment speed. Remember, these concepts are not found much in the West, so all of us here may be a bit behind the IS curve.

John

chillzATL
05-11-2011, 08:18 AM
But similar to what you said before, the human body has always been the human body, and the proper way to train it has always been the proper way to train it, regardless of our understanding or our ability to explain.

I'm not sure I can say that Michael. Simply because in my lifetime i've seen the notions of what was good training and what was not good training change quite a bit. A lot of the stuff that's coming out now about the myofascial connections looks oddly similar to some of the stuff the chinese were talking about centuries ago. As I've said, I'm no doctor or scientist, but when I read some of these articles about fascia and they discuss how our view of the muscles in the body was formed, it's really hard to accept that we had it all figured out decades ago.

Is this really the foundation of "IP/IT/IS"? How is this any different from sports performance in general?

I appreciate everyone's' contribution to this thread. I must say that contrary to the way it might sometimes appear, I am not arguing against "IP/IT/IS." I'm simply trying to draw out your explanations and maybe try to get you to think about it in a different way. I have learned a great deal from my discussion on this subject, and I am better off for it.

I think that's a hard one to answer right now. Simply because of the incomplete view that we currently have of the body, which makes it even more difficult to quantify exactly what's being trained in the IP realm. I think we may find, eventually, that this growing new view of the body gives us a more clear way to explain the IP side of things, but the usage of it is very different than what most anyone in athletics is doing today. I know that makes it almost sound like there's a lot of blind faith going on, but it's something that can actually be felt. Which is why you see so many people always going back to the "it has to be felt", because I don't think we really have a clear, scientific vocabular to explain what's happening, yet.

no worries Michael, I enjoy the discussion.

Walter Martindale
05-11-2011, 08:31 AM
Walter-

I think you (and Josh) are still focusing way too much on local muscle issues and usage. Not that you have the anatomy wrong. But what you are describing is the complete opposite of the point of IS training.

Consider this- of course the delts and and biceps play a role in proximal arm and shoulder movement. Of course you can not lift a weight or tire or whatever with your arm, if you don't use those muscles at all. The key (and question) in IS is: because the deltoid and biceps have a limited amount of strength available at any time, when you do something that involves those muscles, what other muscles or fascia can you use to augment or even vastly exceed what the delts and biceps can do alone. This can be accomplished in very simple terms, with some slight gain in power, or more extensive terms, with greater power gains. The more of your body you use to lift or hit or jump or run or whatever, the better you will do that.

If you think not about what muscle are you using in the shoulder to lift, but rather, what muscles or tissues elsewhere in the body can be used to create an end result of a lift, I think that is the beginning of the correct general direction from an IS standpoint. Bracing is a different matter altogether, and will not effect anything other than a bit of structural stability that can easily be undermined by someone who sources their power lower than you.

Regards-
John

Hi John (and others).
I'm a sports coach by profession. Specifically, I coach rowing, and I've trained quite a few rowing coaches, too, who themselves are helping young people become champions (most of those are in New Zealand).
The whole body participates. Isolating a particular muscle group is silly unless you're trying to educate the muscle's owner about the muscle's role in an overall movement, and useless also if you don't re-integrate that isolated motion with the overall movement.

And when you try to isolate a muscle, you really can't unless it's surgically removed, in which case it's kinda beside the point.

Lifting Janet's 100 lb sacks means having a grip on the bag, and lifting from bent legs through a "connected" core, shoulder girdle, and arm, without actually pulling with the arms. If you're throwing that sack of spuds or whatever, then you accelerate it through the body, but it happens by being firmly connected to and pushing on the ground.

Training for elite heavyweight men's rowing means being able to push on a foot-plate while holding an oar (or pair of smaller oars called sculls) with a force of approximately 800 Newtons, (roughly enough to lift about 80 kg, or about 176 lb) somewhere around 35-40 times per minute, for somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 (minutes:seconds) while sitting on a round-bottomed boat that's moving anywhere up to and even exceeding 7 m/s (during certain phases of the stroke cycle) - in wind and waves, coordinated with as many as seven other people, and racing against other people who also want to win.
You don't do that without good body control, good overall, coordinated strength, focus of attention, power, "integrity", IS, or whatever.
In my previous post I think I mentioned being solidly connected to the ground when making impact with the knuckles - whether that's a brief, momentary 'snapping' type of solid connection or a longer 'push through the target' type of solid connection, the muscles are contracting to do it - not extending. You can't do athletic/dynamic/powerful movements without a solid connection to the ground (or boat in my case) or without having had a solid connection to the ground while generating the momentum needed to complete the desired movement, whether that's jumping, vaulting, gymnastics, or the big flying kicks. They all started with a coordinated, solid connection to the ground.

Relating back to this discussion, certainly, the shihan demonstrating kokyu-dosa is fully integrated/connected/balanced, etc, using all of his body and lots of control to stay solid, but there's no way in this little blue planet that he can raise his arms without using the muscles of his shoulders. It is possible, I suppose, if you "wing" the scapula, brace the shoulder, and pull down the "winged" scapula, but you still have to have muscle contraction in the deltoid muscle group, or the muscle is flaccid, and the humerus hangs down from the gleno-humeral joint. You can't get away from it.
W

Keith Larman
05-11-2011, 08:49 AM
When I first started training with the sword I was told that that when doing a lot of cutting practice I would first feel the fatigue/pain in my arms and shoulders. The story went that as I gained experience it would move in to the high upper back, then finally into the mid back and down. And yes, being the guy who was completely fixated on weapons who trained a *lot* daily that's precisely what happened over time.

But I also came to realize that maybe there's more than just "learning to do it right". In other words, it's not just choreography. The idea is that possibly it is the developing and conditioning of the body in a certain way through a lot of (proper) repetitions allowed me to be able to start using more core to "power" the movement. Maybe the long term training helps develop the connections allowing you to use more of the "core" muscles through those connections to support the movement, somewhat altering the role of the muscles originally more used in the movement.

So again we talk about those deshi with lots of hard, good training. Maybe they developed more of this body than they realized. And lacking an understanding of how and why things work start talking about things like "relax completely" and "let your ki flow" without realizing that they were talking about feelings they had inside their conditioned bodies that their students may not be capable of feeling in their unconditioned bodies. So the crux, again, becomes conditioning correctly and learning how to use that conditioning to do those things that the real greats could seemingly do without thought or effort.

Or... Just watch Kuroda and his sword. Amazingly fast. Amazingly fluid. Amazingly relaxed. Full integration of his entire body in every movement. Just like a smaller woman easily picking up a heavy bag of dried beans and tossing them on a shelf. Learn to do it right an develop the body that allows it to be done, and voila.

Which all reminds me of family who still live/work on farms and ranches. Some of those little guys can toss bales of hay around like they're nothing. Me, I struggle. The difference isn't "muscle strength" (I'm much bigger and "stronger"), but a lifetime of tossing the damned things.

HL1978
05-11-2011, 10:31 AM
Arguably olympic lifters are using some elements (but not all) of what we refer as IS/IP etc training, so anyone care to hazard a guess why we don't see crossover from that sort of training into martial arts or other sports movement?

Janet Rosen
05-11-2011, 11:11 AM
Lifting Janet's 100 lb sacks means having a grip on the bag, and lifting from bent legs through a "connected" core, shoulder girdle, and arm, without actually pulling with the arms. If you're throwing that sack of spuds or whatever, then you accelerate it through the body, but it happens by being firmly connected to and pushing on the ground....
Relating back to this discussion, certainly, the shihan demonstrating kokyu-dosa is fully integrated/connected/balanced, etc, using all of his body and lots of control to stay solid, but there's no way in this little blue planet that he can raise his arms without using the muscles of his shoulders. It is possible, I suppose, if you "wing" the scapula, brace the shoulder, and pull down the "winged" scapula, but you still have to have muscle contraction in the deltoid muscle group, or the muscle is flaccid, and the humerus hangs down from the gleno-humeral joint. You can't get away from it.
W

Yes, points well taken. Also, Pauliina, thank you for articulating so well some of my thoughts. Michael V, I don't see you as at all "argumentative" or "not getting it" rather than calling on all of us to try to clarify our terms. I'm enjoying and learning from this thread.

John Brockington
05-11-2011, 12:22 PM
"Arguably olympic lifters are using some elements (but not all) of what we refer as IS/IP etc training, so anyone care to hazard a guess why we don't see crossover from that sort of training into martial arts or other sports movement?"

A few thoughts on why-

1. Weight lifting, like many other athletic endeavors (rowing, running, throwing) requires high level of proficiency in a relatively limited range of motion, which requires a relatively limited range of body stability while exerting. Martial arts can require structural stability in a much greater range of motions and body positions, and so there is limited crossover benefit from athletic training (as done conventionally). Some types of training such as dance, maybe, could be more beneficial or complementary. Some athletic competitions could benefit from IS training, but athletic trainers are not easy to convince that their methodologies are incomplete or could be significantly improved upon.

2. Lifting (up power) is a single part of IS, not its whole point. There is down power, explosive power, intent, stability, tactile perception, taking center, and so on. If you do a lot of weight training, the benefits of that come often at the expense of all these other components.

3. Weights don't hit back.

What do you think?

John

Michael Varin
05-12-2011, 05:58 AM
Training for elite heavyweight men's rowing means being able to push on a foot-plate while holding an oar (or pair of smaller oars called sculls) with a force of approximately 800 Newtons, (roughly enough to lift about 80 kg, or about 176 lb) somewhere around 35-40 times per minute, for somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30 (minutes:seconds)
Walter,

On a total side note, thanks for posting this. I have wondered for some time what is the rough equivalent in pounds of the resistance a rower experiences per stroke.

What an incredible output!

Michael Varin
05-12-2011, 06:01 AM
Michael V, I don't see you as at all "argumentative" or "not getting it" rather than calling on all of us to try to clarify our terms. I'm enjoying and learning from this thread.
Thanks, Janet. I feel like I'm "getting it" just fine!

Martial arts can require structural stability in a much greater range of motions and body positions, and so there is limited crossover benefit from athletic training (as done conventionally).
Obviously, American football requires stability in an environment that is as chaotic as what a martial artist faces.

Lifting (up power) is a single part of IS, not its whole point. There is down power, explosive power, intent, stability, tactile perception, taking center, and so on. If you do a lot of weight training, the benefits of that come often at the expense of all these other components.
I think Olympic lifting requires up power, down power, explosive power, intent, stability, and tactile perception.

Of course, I do not suggest that one could become a highly proficient martial artist merely by mastering the Olympic lifts.

Walter Martindale
05-12-2011, 08:55 AM
Walter,

On a total side note, thanks for posting this. I have wondered for some time what is the rough equivalent in pounds of the resistance a rower experiences per stroke.

What an incredible output!

Thanks Michael,
Here goes a completely OT post... Sorry Jun.
It is quite amazing to see some of these guys crank it out. I actually got into rowing after I hung up my Judo (knee injury, neck injury) at least in part because of a judo session in which a champion LIGHTWEIGHT rower and I had a tussle in ne-waza. He knew no judo. He was, however, so bloody strong, and had such good endurance, that I couldn't get any techniques to work. And I had developed a reputation around the Vancouver area for being "the guy from the Y with all the armlocks"...

I got into rowing, and after 8 months of training went back to my old judo dojo. There weren't many people there, but my sensei (a sandan) and a couple of ikkyu were there, I'd recently been bumped up to shodan but not practiced since starting rowing. Essentially, they couldn't (not even my sensei) do anything to me, I wore them out - practiced with each one of them three times, three minutes each, and I was only just warmed up... That was a LONG time ago in 1981, and I couldn't do that now, but... the point is that rowing, pushing on that foot plate, balancing, hanging onto the oar handle develops one heck of a tough and sensitive person. Because you're interacting with a boat, rowing in synch with a bunch of other people, you do learn to blend your movements with others.

It ain't a rowing machine. In a single scull, you're sitting on a 14 kg carbon fibre tube, your mass centre is several cm above the balance point of the boat - you're stabilizing the boat with your core muscles and with the weight of the oars sitting in the oarlock. A twitch of vertical force on either side - turning to see if you're still on a safe course, turning your head to wipe sweat off on your shoulder (you can't let go of your handles and stay upright if you're moving) will throw the balance off; dealing with waves, wind, all while working as hard as you can using oars that seem to want to dive to the bottom of the lake or wash over the top requires full attention, full focus and - if you're in a crew boat - you can't stop until the finish line no matter how much your body screams to stop. It's a bit like what fighting a bear might be - it's not over until one of you is unconscious - after which it doesn't matter any more.

Anyway... Some data - I'd suggest people who don't think rowing makes you tough try this. The world record for a woman doing 2000 metres on a Concept 2 rowing machine is something like 6:28.5. Most men can't do this, but the world record for a man doing the same distance is about 5:35. The world record for a man doing 5000 m on a Concept 2 rowing machine is just under 14:59. I challenge MOST humans to hold that 1:29.9 "split" for more than one minute, let alone 15 minutes. With that much fitness and strength in reserve, elite rowers with any kind of fighting skill are likely a breed apart. The fellow who generated the 800 N AVERAGE forces on a 6 minute fitness test was a member of the 1984 gold medal olympic M8+. 6'4", 200 lb, could 'power clean' (actually just lift and reverse curl, his technique was horrible) 250 lb. We fitness tested him on a different occasion - his oxygen uptake at max effort was 7.4 L/min if I remember correctly. My best was just over 5.5...

The 2000 m world records can be seen on the Concept2 website.
(I was never an elite rower - pretty good according to my coach, but never elite)
Cheers,
Walter

John Brockington
05-12-2011, 01:29 PM
Michael-

I respectfully suggest you re-read my posts, because I meant some very specific things that you may be interpreting lightly or perhaps just didn't catch.

When I said "athletic training (as done conventionally)" I meant just that. "Conventionally" means standard weight lifting, running, etc., as has been done in this country for a long, long time. But more and more now, standard sport athletes are looking at putting their bodies in positions of instability and working from there. Not conventional at all. Please re-read what I said earlier about sprinters using coiling/winding techniques. Traditional Olympic weightlifting did not, and maybe still does not, use these techniques. In fact, to my understanding, they try not to put their bodies into unstable positions because that is how they get seriously injured.

When I referred to up power, down power, explosive power, etc, etc, etc, I also meant some very specific things, and from your response, I think you are using a very different set of definitions of these terms than I am. I seriously doubt Olympic weightlifters have any concern whatsoever about the majority of these.

Have you felt Ark? Mike S? Dan H? Even Ikeda? Gone to any of their seminars or training sessions? If not, how can you possibly "call out" those of us who have, and ask us to "clarify" our thoughts and terms for you? Please understand, I am not saying this presumptuously, but rather, honestly and sincerely.

Consider this- would a casual 3 mile/4 days a week jogger tell someone who runs marathons regularly that they "get it" when they have a discussion about endurance and breathing and dealing with fatigue at the 20 mile mark while still performing at a high level? Would the casual jogger ask the serious runner to put this into terms she or he could understand, and really receive any serious or helpful response, other than "you have to go out and do it yourself to understand"? The two people both do the same activity, but with such different goals and levels of training that the same words mean very, very different things to each.

If you are truly interested in these physical skills, you can not, absolutely can not, learn enough or "get it" through discussion alone. This same conversation has been played out over and over here on Aikiweb. Maybe this is why so many people have dropped out of this forum.

John

thisisnotreal
05-12-2011, 01:42 PM
Michael, http://rumsoakedfist.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11420&start=15#p219981

?? :freaky:

Demetrio Cereijo
05-12-2011, 02:53 PM
Consider this- would a casual 3 mile/4 days a week jogger tell someone who runs marathons regularly that they "get it" when they have a discussion about endurance and breathing and dealing with fatigue at the 20 mile mark while still performing at a high level?

Devil's advocate mode on:

Does this someone really runs real marathons or coach actual marathon runners?
What is his record?
In which races did he participate?
How his trainees perform in marathon races against other marathon runners?

Devil's advocate mode off.

John Brockington
05-12-2011, 04:24 PM
Devil's advocate mode on:

Does this someone really runs real marathons or coach actual marathon runners?
What is his record?
In which races did he participate?
How his trainees perform in marathon races against other marathon runners?

Devil's advocate mode off.

Ok, that is really very funny. :D

HL1978
05-12-2011, 05:44 PM
I think Olympic lifting requires up power, down power, explosive power, intent, stability, and tactile perception.

Michael, could you define what you mean by up power, down power and explosive power?

Michael Varin
05-13-2011, 04:45 AM
I respectfully suggest you re-read my posts, because I meant some very specific things that you may be interpreting lightly or perhaps just didn't catch.

Oh. I assure you that I read all posts very carefully. Of course, as communication is imperfect, I cannot claim to understand everything exactly as you do.

When I referred to up power, down power, explosive power, etc, etc, etc, I also meant some very specific things, and from your response, I think you are using a very different set of definitions of these terms than I am. I seriously doubt Olympic weightlifters have any concern whatsoever about the majority of these.
You introduced the terms to this thread, so you are more than welcome to define them.

Have you felt Ark? Mike S? Dan H? Even Ikeda? Gone to any of their seminars or training sessions? If not, how can you possibly "call out" those of us who have, and ask us to "clarify" our thoughts and terms for you? Please understand, I am not saying this presumptuously, but rather, honestly and sincerely.

I have not trained with any of the three resident "experts" on the subject (I tried to organize a Mike Sigman seminar, which fell through, and enrolled in a Dan Harden workshop but was rejected). I have trained with Ikeda, although only twice, both times at seminars, but I did have opportunities to take ukemi from him. I must admit that I found Ikeda to be quite good, but my reaction was very different from what many here have said. I absolutely did not feel that he was working on a completely different level. I hate mentioning this, because any time the slightest criticism is leveled on a shihan someone always flies off the handle.

I don't feel that I'm calling anyone out. This is a forum in which we communicate primarily with writing and sometimes supplement with pictures or video. All I ask is that if you choose to post here that you do your best to productively communicate with others who post.

While there is certainly a grain of truth to the "IHTBF" sentiment, many in the "IP/IT/IS" crowd hide behind it. If you cannot effectively communicate within the limitations of this forum, then maybe it would be best to only engage those who have trained with the aforementioned instructors. Or expressly state that you do not wish to field questions from those of us who have not trained with them. I think that would be a shame.

Consider this- would a casual 3 mile/4 days a week jogger tell someone who runs marathons regularly that they "get it" when they have a discussion about endurance and breathing and dealing with fatigue at the 20 mile mark while still performing at a high level? Would the casual jogger ask the serious runner to put this into terms she or he could understand, and really receive any serious or helpful response, other than "you have to go out and do it yourself to understand"? The two people both do the same activity, but with such different goals and levels of training that the same words mean very, very different things to each.
I think I understand what you are getting at. But here's the thing, I am not an aikido hobbyist. I have approached my aikido training with a high level of involvement, intensity, curiosity, and commitment. I have seriously cross trained in other arts. Practically my whole life I have been involved in athletics and generally fascinated by movement. I am by no means the best martial artist ever… Not even close. And I don't claim to possess all the knowledge on any topic, but my martial arts training has been anything but casual.

One of my biggest criticisms of the "IP/IT/IS" crowd is that so many seem to believe the skills are an exclusive domain, or that others have never experienced or could never understand/identify what is being discussed. I simply do not believe that is the case.

John Brockington
05-13-2011, 07:56 AM
Oh. I assure you that I read all posts very carefully. Of course, as communication is imperfect, I cannot claim to understand everything exactly as you do.

You introduced the terms to this thread, so you are more than welcome to define them.

I have not trained with any of the three resident "experts" on the subject (I tried to organize a Mike Sigman seminar, which fell through, and enrolled in a Dan Harden workshop but was rejected). I have trained with Ikeda, although only twice, both times at seminars, but I did have opportunities to take ukemi from him. I must admit that I found Ikeda to be quite good, but my reaction was very different from what many here have said. I absolutely did not feel that he was working on a completely different level. I hate mentioning this, because any time the slightest criticism is leveled on a shihan someone always flies off the handle.

I don't feel that I'm calling anyone out. This is a forum in which we communicate primarily with writing and sometimes supplement with pictures or video. All I ask is that if you choose to post here that you do your best to productively communicate with others who post.

While there is certainly a grain of truth to the "IHTBF" sentiment, many in the "IP/IT/IS" crowd hide behind it. If you cannot effectively communicate within the limitations of this forum, then maybe it would be best to only engage those who have trained with the aforementioned instructors. Or expressly state that you do not wish to field questions from those of us who have not trained with them. I think that would be a shame.

I think I understand what you are getting at. But here's the thing, I am not an aikido hobbyist. I have approached my aikido training with a high level of involvement, intensity, curiosity, and commitment. I have seriously cross trained in other arts. Practically my whole life I have been involved in athletics and generally fascinated by movement. I am by no means the best martial artist ever… Not even close. And I don't claim to possess all the knowledge on any topic, but my martial arts training has been anything but casual.

One of my biggest criticisms of the "IP/IT/IS" crowd is that so many seem to believe the skills are an exclusive domain, or that others have never experienced or could never understand/identify what is being discussed. I simply do not believe that is the case.

I agree that like a lot of mantras, "IHTBF" has been said so many times that it may have lost some meaning or impact. I think the reason for the repetition, though, is that while there quite likely is IP/IT/IS in many areas- sports, agrarian activities, even aikido, none of those have tried to systematically and exclusively develop IP/IT/IS. Instead, those skills have been used, at best, as relatively minor adjuncts for standard power generation.

The IP/IT/IS crowd (and I know I take GREAT liberties in attempting to speak for it) is trying to codify and systematize training terminologies and methodologies which can be effective for the individual training as well as readily conveyed or taught from one person to another. They have had to look to many sources (Chen taiji, daitoryu, southern shaolin, etc, etc) in order to cobble together their own systems, because even within some of the traditions that ostensibly use IP/IT/IS, there is great variability in practice and understanding.

So when "we" come across as persnickety or repetitive when discussing terminology or IHTBF, it is because there is so much variability or subjectivity still in these areas, that if we are not talking or trying to figure out how to train the same things, it kind of ends up like the pythonesque "hundred yard dash for people with no sense of direction."

John

chillzATL
05-13-2011, 09:03 AM
I don't feel that I'm calling anyone out. This is a forum in which we communicate primarily with writing and sometimes supplement with pictures or video. All I ask is that if you choose to post here that you do your best to productively communicate with others who post.

While there is certainly a grain of truth to the "IHTBF" sentiment, many in the "IP/IT/IS" crowd hide behind it. If you cannot effectively communicate within the limitations of this forum, then maybe it would be best to only engage those who have trained with the aforementioned instructors. Or expressly state that you do not wish to field questions from those of us who have not trained with them. I think that would be a shame.

I think I understand what you are getting at. But here's the thing, I am not an aikido hobbyist. I have approached my aikido training with a high level of involvement, intensity, curiosity, and commitment. I have seriously cross trained in other arts. Practically my whole life I have been involved in athletics and generally fascinated by movement. I am by no means the best martial artist ever… Not even close. And I don't claim to possess all the knowledge on any topic, but my martial arts training has been anything but casual.

One of my biggest criticisms of the "IP/IT/IS" crowd is that so many seem to believe the skills are an exclusive domain, or that others have never experienced or could never understand/identify what is being discussed. I simply do not believe that is the case.

Michael,

As I've said before, I don't believe there is a common (scientific, medical, etc) vocabulary to properly describe what we're trying to describe. I mean we can use words like fascia and such, but medical science doesn't seem to have put any time (at least up to this point) in doing any serious studies of the aspects of the body that I believe are being used here. So it's going to be difficult to clearly explain things because how I explain it is different from John, who is different from you. We just have to accept that for now and try to find common ground in our use of terminology and try to avoid getting hung up on one persons particular choice of words or using that as opportunities to say "AH HA! So and so can do that".

Also, I do not believe that aspects of IS/IP are exclusive to this type of training. I believe Dan, Mike and maybe Ark would agree too. I think you can find aspects of IS in TONS Of places, but there's many layers to this onion and it requires all of those layers for it to be the IS onion. So we have to be careful not to focus on any one thing and say that "this is IS" because someone like yourself is probably going to find similar examples. IS is more than just relaxed balance, more than just controlling forces within the body, more than just explosive power in one direction or another. It's a combination of all those things and some we haven't even bothered to get into yet and it's having all of those things at all times, from all directions. Having that also requires a very specific (though from various methods) type of body training and skill development. While someone might have an aspect or two of the whole in whatever it is they're doing, if they haven't trained, conditioned and developed their usage of it outside of that particular skill, then it's really not the onion we're striving for.

Walter Martindale
05-13-2011, 10:27 AM
Summarising comments from Keith (tons of practice) and others who talk about "mastering" an activity - mileage makes champions...
10,000 hours of deliberate practice. And you can search the web for "deliberate practice" - it's in the learning literature. It's about 3 hours a day, 6 days a week, for about 550 weeks, or just over 10 years.
I know I haven't done that much Aikido since I started in 1993 because of a number of things. I suspect a lot of those who are now Shihan have done that much time in thoughtful, deliberate, aware practice...
Through the course of all that practice, "internal power" and all that other stuff has to develop, or you fall apart.
After becoming an expert, many people forget how they learned something, and forget that they may not be 'doing' what they think they're 'demonstrating'. After all - none of us actually share their neuromuscular systems - we can only feel what is happening when they interact with us.
W

Demetrio Cereijo
05-13-2011, 10:48 AM
Ok, that is really very funny. :D
I could be even funnier.
:D

HL1978
05-13-2011, 11:24 AM
Michael,

As I've said before, I don't believe there is a common (scientific, medical, etc) vocabulary to properly describe what we're trying to describe. I mean we can use words like fascia and such, but medical science doesn't seem to have put any time (at least up to this point) in doing any serious studies of the aspects of the body that I believe are being used here. So it's going to be difficult to clearly explain things because how I explain it is different from John, who is different from you. We just have to accept that for now and try to find common ground in our use of terminology and try to avoid getting hung up on one persons particular choice of words or using that as opportunities to say "AH HA! So and so can do that".

Also, I do not believe that aspects of IS/IP are exclusive to this type of training. I believe Dan, Mike and maybe Ark would agree too. I think you can find aspects of IS in TONS Of places, but there's many layers to this onion and it requires all of those layers for it to be the IS onion. So we have to be careful not to focus on any one thing and say that "this is IS" because someone like yourself is probably going to find similar examples. IS is more than just relaxed balance, more than just controlling forces within the body, more than just explosive power in one direction or another. It's a combination of all those things and some we haven't even bothered to get into yet and it's having all of those things at all times, from all directions. Having that also requires a very specific (though from various methods) type of body training and skill development. While someone might have an aspect or two of the whole in whatever it is they're doing, if they haven't trained, conditioned and developed their usage of it outside of that particular skill, then it's really not the onion we're striving for.

Jason, I think your onion layer reference is appropriate when talking about these sorts of skills.

CMA seems to have a vocabularly to describe various aspects of IP/IS, but given that not all of the people involved in these discussions have familiarity with CMA terms, or utilize their own vocabulary or have different takes on the same terms, such conversation is problematic. There will inherent confusion utilizing chinese terms on a japanese martial arts forum. Likewise, some of these terms may refer to various feelings/sensations/qualities.

With regards to Michaels comments about "it has to be felt", various IS/IP proponents aren't hiding behind it, there just have been plenty of people on these discussions who after being exposed to these concepts wind up saying the same thing. I'm certainly not asking for a witness, but there certainly is a trend on this forum over the years who wind up saying, "I was wrong", or "I have felt aspects of this, but not what was shown".

Aikibu
05-14-2011, 05:56 PM
Daito Ryu and Aikido are two sides of the same sword. The reason some modern Aikido risks fading into irrelevance is because there are those in Aikido that strive to pull out all it's Daito Ryu roots.

Thank You for sharing the video Osin. For those who don't believe what they see I understand. You just have to experience it for yourself. :)

William Hazen