View Full Version : Slow It Down!

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06-05-2002, 11:26 PM
Hello, my name is Chad. My sensei is Minh, who was trained by Ninh Sensei, who was trained by Tri Sensei, who was trained by Ueshiba Sensei.
We have no organizational affliation, and we do believe in and use ki.
I know that there are many ways to study the martial arts. I believe in each and every way. I know that each way can work. Same mountain. My notes help me on my climb and they can help you as well.
Book Recomendation: Beyond the Known and Toward the Unknown by Tri Thong Dang - Softcover

A great practice regiment that I have come to utilize more and more is to practice free-form randori by yourself. Find yourself fifteen minutes and about a grarage's worth of space and streatch out. Go through any prepatory routines that will get your mind and body ready. I personally enjoy our step kata, some tenkans, and usually funekogi undo (rowing exercise).
Begin in the ready position and have and imaginary attacker attack you. Execute whichever technique seems the most natural for the particular attack, realax, and get ready for the next attacker. If you only know one technique, repeat that technique. If you wish to practice tenkans, continually evade with tenkans.
The trick of the drill is to conduct the "assault" as slowly as possible. Try to "feel" each move work on your imaginary assailant. Remember to keep unbendable arm. If you feel comfortable and solid at every stage of your movement, you are doing it correctly, and probably can quit training entirely!
Continue the drill for as long as you wish. If this fails to improve your Aikido, try again and only go 1/2 as fast as before.

Maybe some of you have tried similar drills to improve your feeling and power in Aikido. It would be nice to hear.

Thanks for reading!

06-06-2002, 12:40 AM
Originally posted by chadsieger
Book Recomendation: Beyond the Known and Toward the Unknown by Tri Thong Dang - Softcover
On the Aikiweb main page is a link to books where you can see a list of books and read reviews. I notice that neither of the two books you mentioned are there - there is an option to add them if you wish and also to write a review for books already there.

Chad - thanks for the intro. How long have you been training under your teacher?

06-06-2002, 12:44 AM
I never have the patience (or room, for that matter) for this stuff.

Without a partner it just isn't the same.

06-06-2002, 12:53 AM
Both books are there, under Dang.

06-06-2002, 01:00 AM
Originally posted by chadsieger
Both books are there, under Dang.
So they are - call me brain dead.

06-06-2002, 07:27 AM

I currently train under Phong Sensei. He is Sensei Tri's brother. He is the founder of the International Tenshinkai Federation. Mention that to Sensi Ninh with best regards. Someone else on this list trains under one of Sensei Tri's students

I have order both of Tri Sensei's books recently. I look forward to reading and revieing them.

Yes, we practice tenkan against attacks.

Yes, Sensei Phong encourages us to practice slow and relaxed until we feel the flow on the movement.

Until again,


06-06-2002, 11:50 AM
Well isn't this a small world. My sensei, Dr. Mark Crapo, also studied with Tri Thong Dang. He made quite an impact as Crapo Sensei still often talks about his time and training with Tri sensei.

I too would greatly reccommend both Beyond the Known and Toward the Unknown. You can read them over and over and always find a new lesson in there somewhere.

Lynn, Crapo sensei had the chance to talk with Tri sensei shortly before he passed away. Tri sensei told him that he was working on a new book. Something like "Aikido Beyond Structure", since you study with his brother you wouldn't happen to have access to the notes would you ;) Ahhh, wishful thinking on my part probably


Miguel Cuevas
06-06-2002, 05:46 PM
I like your training methods, Chad. Being new to aikido, I find that some of the basic aikido movements seem very natural to me and others seem quite odd. On the days I don't go to the dojo, I do exactly what you mention, free-form randori. Since I'm just starting to come to grips with some of fundamentals of aikido, sometimes I forget the subtle complexities of some of the techniques. As such, I try to utilize the techniques I feel more comfortable with, such as kokyu-ho and tenchi-nage in a free-form randori session in my basement. I will most definitely heed your advice and pay closer attention to the speed of my movements to prevent them from getting too sloppy.

As for the books you mentioned, I have not heard of them. Right now, I'm reading some books on Eastern religion and philosophy to help me understand O-sensei's influences before I actually dive into his own philosophical works. I'll keep an eye out for them, though.

06-06-2002, 06:40 PM
I never practice that way (doing techniques as if I had a partner while alone). Lots of people have suggested it on this list but I have always been afraid to try it for 2 very big reasons:
(1) Feedback from your uke not only is essential to evaluate your performance of the predefined technique, (2) but also is a fundamental concept in aikido that is in a lot of ways one of the major points of training. Recently I have been focusing specifically on how much of my uke's body, movement, and intention I can feel during the course of a technique. It is so important that it has been able to remain in the foreground of my training for a while, and it is still so unclear.

But now back to the first reason I don't do techniques alone. I am still learning about this stuff. Most of aikido is NOT known to me. It confuses and eludes me. When I do techniques, I am constantly finding out BAD things that I am doing, simply because of what happens to uke or what uke has gained the opportunity to do. So if I did it by myself, I would repeat all the bad things I am doing that I don't even know about , and in my ignorance, I would be ingraining them as if they were correct. Also I would be depriving myself understanding what the good things I am doing are doing for me.
Make any sense? I just do not want to create mental templates for myself that are wrong or misleading, or unintentionally miss something that could be very valuable if I picked up on it and decided to study it. I might never pick up on it, because I had ignored it for so long (due to lack of feedback from an uke).
Of course, maybe I am exaggerating this. I am sure everyone who proposes this would go to the dojo more often than they do this solo stuff, so maybe the negative effects I described just don't come up.
What do you think?
--Jonathan Wong

06-06-2002, 07:54 PM
Could you explain in more detail what exactly you mean by practice free-form randori by yourself

First let me say that practicing techniques by yourself has value in that it
a) removes uke from the equation allowing one to concentrate on the ideal movements as slow or as quick as you want them.
b) gives you something to do rather than watch the latest TV offering.

Of course it is better to work with uke of all shapes, sizes and skill levels but a little pantomime is not a bad thing.

However please comment on the following.

Randori basically means free-form, in your dojo do you have a non-free-form version of randori and what does it entail.

The whole purpose of randori is to develope responses to unpredictable attacks. I suppose doing this by yourself is like playing chess by yourself - possible but not quite the same thing.


06-06-2002, 09:27 PM
I remember reading that Osensei used to wake his uchideshi up in the middle of the night if he suddenly had a revelation to a new technique and wanted to practice it. I guess, at Osensei's level, he wanted the unpredictablity of the Uke in order to gauge the techniques effectiveness.

Maybe for us, since most of our aikido comes from pre-programmed katas/sets/responses practicing alone may not be that far off the mark. On the other hand, I think is oft repeated that we should do techniques that work on uke, not what works for us.

Still, for the ppl who has embarked on solo practice and other visualisation techniques, do you see a marked improvement on your aikido now?

06-06-2002, 10:25 PM

Regarding any additional works by Tri Sensei that maybe now with Sensei Phong is very doubtful. The students at the Sacramento Dojo refused to turn anything over to Sensei Phong and kept all the material themselves. It was a great loss.

Until again,


06-07-2002, 01:24 AM
I have learned that practicing not only randori, but every single technique in this manner will produce almost immediate results to your Aikido training. Practicing the movements slowly enables the body to "feel" itself better. The tension of an uke has its necessary benefits indeed, however I believe that it is necessary to develop command of your own body simulatiously. Training in this way will do this.

The next time in the dojo that you must perform a movement that you have practiced this way, you may be amazed at your improved control.

Mr. Wong, it sounds to me as if you are just begining. My suggestion to you would be to first ask your sensei. If he is unwilling to help you with your question, I would seriously consider looking for another. If you are over reacting, he may tell you that. Regardless, practice whatever you know slowly. If you can tenkan, tenkan slowly, over and over. Any technique that you have learned, you can practice this way. By slow repetion, your body becomes more and more comfortable with Aikido movements. The rest, will fall into place.

Mr. Rehse, free form randori as opposed to bokken randori, or jo randori, which are also good to imagine and practice against!

A final note on power: While slowly going through a technique, imagine along the whole movement every microsecond a black dot is made at your hand (or the point of action, or actually anywhere on your body for that matter!), if your movement is choppy, even a tiny bit, unoticeable to the eye, the line made by the dots will not be smooth. My point is this, contolled movement will make that line perfectly smooth, utilizing the best path of energy, resulting in the most power. Anyone can do this. If you are comfortable at every point, you wont be choppy at all! Train slowly and connect the dots!

Thanks for reading!

Heven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train -

06-07-2002, 03:34 AM
The students at the Sacramento Dojo refused to turn anything over to Sensei Phong and kept all the material themselves

Dang it :disgust: Oh well it was worth a shot :rolleyes:

Thanks anyway,

Bruce Baker
06-07-2002, 01:34 PM
When you go slow, you get a chance to work on the DETAILS.

Many new practitioners forget that we are causing pain or distraction to move the body in to position to flow through a technique.

A moderate speed is sometimes considered a slow speed during early practice session, but once you can firmly become balanced without causing undue pain or injury to your training partner, the slowness of practice is the best way to program the mind and body to re-act in the faster full speed mode of "Respond to an Attacker."

I am a great fan of Jujitsu, so details become the most important factor for getting a logical evaluation of a practice technique and quantifying its integrity.

The most aggrivating thing about some teachers is "Do it like this" when it should be "You are doing it to cause this reaction which opens the door for the next movement."

Logical, reasonable, and highly practical in breaking down the human body's response to pressure point pain from either manipulation, or other means.

That is if we don't get into the realm of electrical energy in both its static and charged forms of direct or alternating current? Let alone, Ball lightning, Saint Elmo's Fire, and a whole host of scientific names for some of the lesser manifestations we attribute as Chi/Ki energy ... another subject for another time.

Yeah. There are many instructors who I have met over the past few years of my Aikido adventures who are fans of learning the slow method, with details, and finding new details that can change or adapt the basic pillars of Aikido into more variations for future studies.

A couple a dozen of us in the NJ/Del/PA area are sharing some of the information we find. If you are in this area, ask about at a seminar, and I am sure you will find myself or one of the quieter searchers who do not post on the Aikiweb.

Aikido only stays alive when we share it, lets keep it alive.

Continue to see more of the hidden techniques in Aikido that are right out in the open.

Good practice.

Tijmen Ramakers
06-07-2002, 04:04 PM
Originally posted by Bruce Baker

That is if we don't get into the realm of electrical energy in both its static and charged forms of direct or alternating current? Let alone, Ball lightning, Saint Elmo's Fire, and a whole host of scientific names for some of the lesser manifestations we attribute as Chi/Ki energy ... another subject for another time.

Oops. Gone for a few weeks, and already someone else has succeeded in capturing your rightful throne as public enemy no. 1 at this forum. Is this the beginning of your attempt to reclaim it? ;)


06-07-2002, 05:43 PM
Mr. Tijmen,

If you please, I get real excited when I see another post on the thread that I started, you can imagine how much of a let down it is when someone takes a jab at me and another contributing member of the thread.
No grudges, you never met me!


Tijmen Ramakers
06-09-2002, 10:12 AM
Originally posted by chadsieger
Mr. Tijmen,

If you please, I get real excited when I see another post on the thread that I started, you can imagine how much of a let down it is when someone takes a jab at me and another contributing member of the thread.
No grudges, you never met me!



It's not a jab at you (notice the smiley at the end). I was just referring to the fact that your posts have raised the most discussion in the past days, as did Bruce's before. It was not a comment on (the contents of) your posts.

However, when I see Bruce start to ramble (my personal opinion) about electricity and ball lightnings in an otherwise sensible post on an aikido forum, I really get confused on whether he actually wants to explain the relation he thinks there is with ki (and in this respect I'm sceptic to the point that I have trouble believing that there are people who believe that, (again, this is my personal view)), or that he just likes to annoy people and see what kind of reactions he will get (and I'm so stupid to give one :)).

Hope this clears things up for you,


06-09-2002, 10:21 AM
Ok, thanks!

06-09-2002, 10:35 AM
I believe the original poster made two points and that only one - the idea of training alone - is mainly being addressed here. Since the thread is titled "slow it down", I'd like to add my opinion about that aspect of training, whether alone or in the dojo. It seems that we sometimes get caught up in performing a technique fast for several reasons: there is a limited time set for practicing a technique before the sensei moves on to another one, our uke is moving quickly, or we place too much importance on the end result, i.e. getting the uke to the mat and not enough on how we get him/her there. By slowing down and concentrating on how we perform the technique, we give our bodies a chance to memorize the integral parts a little better. We may actually have performed the technique fewer times, but quality and not quantity should be emphasized. Ask your uke to slow down the attack even if he/she prefers that you attack quickly. This is your opportunity to practice what will benefit you. By becoming more aware of the integral parts of a technique such as body positioning, weight distribution, placement of feet, you will forget about the end result and focus more on correctly performing the technique, especially at earlier levels.
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