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Zoe S Toth
03-13-2012, 04:00 PM
Hello all,

We had a Sensei yesterday teach us Ukemi for the whole 2 hour training period. It was amazing- and very level specific- so I found myself finally getting in a high breakfall practice that I wanted to do for months. The second class did something similar for half the time and then went back to regular technique practice for the other hour.

With my first summer seminar just 10 weeks away, I'm slightly worried now. Two full days of training is starting to sound...daunting. Especially as I sit here slightly sore from yesterday's work out.

This has raised three questions for me:

1. How fit does one has to be to do Aikido? We have practitioners here in their 30s with simply amazingly muscled bodies and then on the flip side other folks who are in theirs 60s/70s and still doing it. The question here is does the first type of person have the ability to access more of Aikido than the later.

2. How fit do you have to be to do a full day of Aikido? I assume you have to pace yourself and not spend all your energy at once. I also know all the techniques are not going to require a breakfall to survive. Good ukemi would help greatly here as well.

3. What type of fitness is needed for Aikido? At the higher levels (ie black belts doing randori) I can see the need for anaerobic capacity. But most of the time I'd guess aerobic. Is this correct?

Thanks,
ZoŽ S. Toth

grondahl
03-13-2012, 04:36 PM
1. How fit does one has to be to do Aikido?
Not fit at all, but having a solid base makes practice more pleasant and allows you to focus on the content instead of thinking how you are going to survive until the next break.

2. How fit do you have to be to do a full day of Aikido?
Se above. Usually seminars also focus more on qualitative aspects rather than doing a lot of breakfalls. Having good relaxed ukemi and the ability to breakfall is of course nice to have anyway.

3. What type of fitness is needed for Aikido? At the higher levels (ie black belts doing randori) I can see the need for anaerobic capacity. But most of the time I'd guess aerobic. Is this correct?
Strength: Strong core and legs and and at least decent upper body strength. The part about anaerobic and aerobic fitness is not a either/or question. You need both and better aerobic capacity means that you can train with higher intensity before the anaerobic system kicks in.

Jon Haas
03-13-2012, 04:42 PM
3. What type of fitness is needed for Aikido? At the higher levels (ie black belts doing randori) I can see the need for anaerobic capacity. But most of the time I'd guess aerobic. Is this correct?


Hi Zoe,

I don't train in Aikido so I'll limit myself to answering question #3. For general fitness, I'd say that yes, a good aerobic base is necessary. However, the specific pattern of burst-recover-burst that usually characterizes any type of randori engagement requires a more targeted approach training the anaerobic energy system.

Check out this article here (http://warriorfitness.org/2010/03/23/whats-tabata-you/)for a good energy system overview and specifics on the Tabata Protocol which is great for training that burst-recover-burst for randori practice.

Hope that helps!

Janet Rosen
03-13-2012, 05:22 PM
As a middle aged person with joint issues, I will say that I have no choice but to pace myself, but I have finally learned to accept this and make no big deal about choosing to sit out anywhere from a 10 minute technique segment to an hour long class during a seminar.
For anybody, I would say being as fit as you can, however you define "can," is a good thing! For aikido, core strength and good structure is more important than upper body strength. And being able to bring things down to YOUR breathing rhythm and pace is, to me, an important ability to develop - it isn't something to think you can easily do in a randori, but certainly in general partner practice and jiyuwaza it is an acheivable goal that helps you pace yourself.

chillzATL
03-13-2012, 05:33 PM
1. as fit as you want to be. Do you want to be more fit and as a result, more capable? That will kind of dictate how you train.

2. ukemi shouldn't be what tires you out, ukemi should be the break! Having to work hard to do the techniques is what should wear you out. In the end you're not going to have to do more than you want to do. Our summer camp is 7 full days of training in the southern heat, 100+ temps, no A/C and we don't have people falling out. You do what you can do, maybe push yourself a little, but be safe doing it. know your limits.

3. again, what do you want out of your training? Figure that out and you should know what kind of fitness level you need.

Demetrio Cereijo
03-13-2012, 06:01 PM
Fitness needed for Aikido? Define "fitness".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgUFu5hlstI

Janet Rosen
03-13-2012, 07:10 PM
Fitness needed for Aikido? Define "fitness".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgUFu5hlstI

And I was going to post this one....
http://youtu.be/kaz9vTHW-C0

chillzATL
03-13-2012, 10:58 PM
Fitness needed for Aikido? Define "fitness".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgUFu5hlstI

oh my.

Kevin Leavitt
03-14-2012, 01:25 AM
nice video Janet

Kevin Leavitt
03-14-2012, 01:26 AM
To the op....it depends on what u want to do, age, and physicality,, and limitations. It is all about priorities.

Alic
03-14-2012, 01:52 AM
As Shioda Gozo would often say: the time to train is when you're too tired to train :p

Man, this is a really difficult topic. Let me break it down in a bits... but prepare for a wall of text!

Personally, I'm the least fit person in my dojo, being slight touch overweight and not very athletic. Aikido was the first physical activity that I've seriously picked up, and I'm practically starting fresh from that. Sensei likes it, since I'll be building my muscle groups based entirely upon Aikido's needs and nothing else, so no useless bulging muscles to slow my movements down.

Sensei told me personally that in Yoshinkan, the basic movements and the techniques will quickly build up the needed muscles, tendons, and flexibility when done repeatedly. Koho ukemi will strengthen the core, and push ups will build upper body. There's various other exercises for muscle building, but they're not really stressed upon.

Rather than pure power, it seems that we need to focus on endurance of the muscles, so that we don't tire even after long battles. Since we use uke's power anyways, we don't need a whole lot of raw might, and that'll help cut down on mass, which would also slow us down. Slim muscles with power and endurance is what's needed.

To answer your questions:

1. Not very fit at all, you can start fresh off the couch. Just work on your aerobic abilities and build up muscle endurance. Focus on proper form and balance is more important than fitness, and you will gain it naturally anyhow.

2. They want you to be too tired to even move. That's when the actual teaching begins, and by extension, your actual training time. A full day of training will tired everyone, that's what it's meant to do. Just go along with it. Remember: Spirit! That is more important than not being tired no matter what. Feel free to use up all your energy, and then try to stand up and run to sensei when being called, even if you actually can only stumble your way there. The will to push yourself beyond your abilities will make you stronger, and your sensei prouder. I'm sure you can get someone to carry you home afterwards. :)

3. Proper breathing will enable for good aerobic activity even during rigourous training. O-sensei was able to keep himself at almost 100% aerobic. Anaerobic muscle activity will cause lactic acid burn, something you don't want to happen as that'll decrease your performance greatly. Take breaks in the action as much as possible by not doing useless movements and being efficient with strength is what I'm told as key points.

dalen7
03-14-2012, 03:00 AM
To the op....it depends on what u want to do, age, and physicality,, and limitations. It is all about priorities.

Indeed...

To the original poster check out Eddie Bravo on flexibility then watch some of his rubber guard moves.
It gives him an edge in BJJ.
http://youtu.be/OktcKhtMQ88

Of course it is all up to you what you want to get out of it, the better shape you can [are able to] be in will make you feel better all around.

Peace

Dalen

p.s.
You dont happen to be Hungarian, we have a ton of "Toth" surnames here.

Alec Corper
03-14-2012, 03:40 AM
Not to start the same old discussions but it does depend on what you mean by doing "Aikido".
1. just going through the motions- not fit at all
2 Doing waza and taking ukemi at high speed and intensity- good stamina, flexibility and core muscular development
3. As combat system-high level conditioning minimum 3 hrs a day 5 days a week
4. internal art- mental stamina, internal awareness, sensitivity to fascial activity, ting jin

I'm like Janet, almost 60 with a hip due for replacement, still train 3 times a week and go to gym once or twice, aim to be as fit as I can , within my limitations. my training attitude varies between all 4 dependent upon pain, partners and possibilities. I would add however that, in my experience, aikido people tend to be the least fit amongst serious martial artists, unfortunately, because it is often not clear wether we are practicing a "martial" art, or an "art" martial.
respect

lbb
03-14-2012, 10:32 AM
3. Proper breathing will enable for good aerobic activity even during rigourous training. O-sensei was able to keep himself at almost 100% aerobic. Anaerobic muscle activity will cause lactic acid burn, something you don't want to happen as that'll decrease your performance greatly. Take breaks in the action as much as possible by not doing useless movements and being efficient with strength is what I'm told as key points.

I think this needs a little elaboration. You can't just decide to do an activity aerobically vs. anaerobically; that is determined by the energy demand of the activity that you are doing. When the energy demand exceeds what your aerobic system can supply, your body has to generate it anaerobically. Proper breathing definitely helps to make your aerobic system more efficient, as does aerobic conditioning -- that's why (as a couple people have mentioned or alluded to) you should develop a foundation of aerobic conditioning before you try to work on anaerobic conditioning. But no amount of aerobic conditioning or breathing techniques will rid your body of the need for anaerobic energy production during times of high energy demand.

Kevin Leavitt
03-14-2012, 11:25 AM
As a competitive Jiu Jitsu player I train both aerobically and anaerobically. Aerobics are important in jiu jitsu, but anaoerobic capacity is more key. Trying to increase the threshold to tolerate oxygen debt and management of your body understand stress is key to success. It was very apparent when I was in JOburg South Africa last week training at a higher altitude than I normally live at.

Walter Martindale
03-14-2012, 11:34 AM
As your skill level improves it may be accompanied by a concurrent increase in physical fitness. Essentially, the more you know, the fitter you'll be. NOT through some form of magic that comes from knowing stuff, but from the amount of physical activity you will have done during the acquisition of the knowledge. (and, I'm not necessarily referring to conscious level knowledge - more at the conditioned response level)
As you get fitter, you'll be able to do more in training/practice, and as you do more, you'll get fitter.

This also depends on your past fitness/activity background. I started Aikido in a condition that allowed me to out muscle most people in most dojo (JH of Winnipeg being one I couldn't muscle), gained through years of competitive training in judo and rowing. As a result, I could last through a day-long seminar with lots of people much more highly ranked in aikido beating me up quite regularly even though I didn't really know much technique. (that kind of training would likely kill me now, though, age is insidious)

Keep at it, your fitness will improve. If you want more fitness, while a lot of folks on this forum are critical of Steven Seagal sensei, one of his movies has him recovering from a coma (remember, folks, it was just a movie) and including in his training running up a hill carrying a log. You can do a lot of stuff with things that are lying around in your environment.. I used to do a lot of stair running, pull-ups, rope climbing, and 3-4 hour-long bike rides, so I could be fit enough for either judo or rowing (so THAT'S why I'm getting so fat these days, not doing all that stuff)... Long walks, running, intervals up and down hills, swimming, and all kinds of things will supplement your fitness so that the aikido training stresses you less physically, and you'll be more able to enjoy the skills you're learning...
Cheers,
W

Alic
03-14-2012, 11:42 AM
I think this needs a little elaboration. You can't just decide to do an activity aerobically vs. anaerobically; that is determined by the energy demand of the activity that you are doing. When the energy demand exceeds what your aerobic system can supply, your body has to generate it anaerobically. Proper breathing definitely helps to make your aerobic system more efficient, as does aerobic conditioning -- that's why (as a couple people have mentioned or alluded to) you should develop a foundation of aerobic conditioning before you try to work on anaerobic conditioning. But no amount of aerobic conditioning or breathing techniques will rid your body of the need for anaerobic energy production during times of high energy demand.

Totally agree. I guess it wasn't written clear enough. So in the spirit of being more accurate:

Anaerobic activity will happen for sure, especially during moments of exertion. The key to success is to keep breathing well by having good posture to promote lung expansion, and controlled combat breathing in order to maximize aerobic activity to reduce rate of muscle fatigue. To further improve combat effectiveness, it's important not to move around unnecessarily and reduce how much strength is required for techniques used

Your muscles will do what it has to do to fulfill your mind's commands. Therefore, the important control points are located at the mental level. Improving fitness is important, but so is knowing how to conserve energy whilst fighting.

This is why Shioda said that the best time to train is when you're too train. You cannot rely on strength and fitness when that tired, so you'll have to learn how to fight effectively and efficiently while tired to reduce energy consumption. This lets you learn how minimize using lots of energy to compensate for less than perfect technique. This is why masters who are old and no longer have their youthful vigour can still last much longer than you do: they've learn how to make the most out of their limited tank.

grondahl
03-14-2012, 12:13 PM
This is why Shioda said that the best time to train is when you're too train. You cannot rely on strength and fitness when that tired, so you'll have to learn how to fight effectively and efficiently while tired to reduce energy consumption. This lets you learn how minimize using lots of energy to compensate for less than perfect technique. This is why masters who are old and no longer have their youthful vigour can still last much longer than you do: they've learn how to make the most out of their limited tank.

It could also be because they have a big tank to start with (and that they usally dont take a lot of ukemi).

Here is a quote from a interview with Hiroshi Tada (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=88)

Personal training is important no matter what art you practice. You should create your own training program, starting with running. In my twenties and into my thirties I used to get up at 5:30 every morning and run about fifteen kilometers. When I finished that I went home and practiced striking a bundle of sticks with a bokken

A clip of Tada from 2010. Amazing energy from a 81 year old.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vroFPHzPAGk

lars beyer
03-14-2012, 05:06 PM
I think as fit as these guys :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI4Mqb5_jJU

But maybe less would do as well.. for me at least.
learning to breathe proberly saves me some sweat..
as well as kiai

Regards
Lars

amoeba
03-26-2012, 01:32 PM
I was worried about that before joining my first whole week of Aikido - actually it turned out to be quite nice and seemed less physically demanding than some classes I'd had before. Maybe because you really don't have anything else to do or worry about, so you've got a whole lot of energy available for the training. And if you need to go slow, just grab a nice beginner for the next technique...:D

Mario Tobias
03-26-2012, 09:43 PM
I was worried about that before joining my first whole week of Aikido - actually it turned out to be quite nice and seemed less physically demanding than some classes I'd had before. Maybe because you really don't have anything else to do or worry about, so you've got a whole lot of energy available for the training. And if you need to go slow, just grab a nice beginner for the next technique...:D

You get tired in Aikido normally if you are the UKE, not NAGE. You get easily tired from taking ukemi especially if you train with a nage with higher intensity. The first ones to go are the knees, the abdominal area and the arms.

If you get tired as nage, then you are doing something wrong.

The secret to doing a hundreds of ukemi in a single session is pretty simple: Keep as low as possible and as near to the ground before rolling unless the throw is quick that you have to go asap. We are constantly kept being reminded of this but a lot of us always keep forgetting and not doing it.

We have warm-up sessions that include doing 50-60 continuous front rolls before the actual class. In order for you to last, meet the mat as close as possible, do not start the roll at standing height, otherwise most likely you won't last. Over time, you'll build endurance.

Benjamin Green
03-26-2012, 10:50 PM
1. How fit does one has to be to do Aikido? We have practitioners here in their 30s with simply amazingly muscled bodies and then on the flip side other folks who are in theirs 60s/70s and still doing it. The question here is does the first type of person have the ability to access more of Aikido than the later.

Yes and no. If the 70 year old is your usual frail 70 year old, well the younger person's just being nice by making their boxing imbalanced enough for the older person to pull or push them off balance. Even with last generation of masters some of their students have been heard to comment (at least after they were dead) that, effectively, you can't just stomp the old fella.

On the other hand you get some old women in parts of the world who take tourists up the side of mountains carrying massive packs. So there're huge individual differences.

Aikido tends to exploit the transitional periods, the times when the boxer is moving in a convenient direction and is consequently weak. But it's possible, especially for younger people vs older people, for them to have moved so fast that by the time you see that opening developing they've already returned to guard.

So in a fighting sense, the old person may just not be able to use their Aikido.

2. How fit do you have to be to do a full day of Aikido? I assume you have to pace yourself and not spend all your energy at once. I also know all the techniques are not going to require a breakfall to survive. Good ukemi would help greatly here as well.

It depends on the stakes. High-stakes attacks; fast, strong, off a decent stance with a very small window of opportunity to do any sort of counter; are incredibly tiring. But very few people train like that continually. In my experience, most Aikdo practitioners don't know how to train like that at all.

Which isn't much against them, boxing's just not often a significant part of their art.

If you're with a relatively relaxed group, then about the most tiring thing you'll do will be getting up from the floor.

Couldn't comment on the last thing.

ryback
03-27-2012, 03:01 AM
while a lot of folks on this forum are critical of Steven Seagal sensei, one of his movies has him recovering from a coma (remember, folks, it was just a movie) and including in his training running up a hill carrying a log. You can do a lot of stuff with things that are lying around in your environment..
W

There are stories of course about O'Sensei doing things like that when he wanted to become more physically fit.I admire Steven Seagal sensei a lot but as you said this is just a movie where he is trying to recover from an extreme situation in a short time period.So we also see him weight lifting in the movie, something that is not right for aikido practitioners since it makes the upper body tense and blocks the flow of ki.In my opinion the traditional Jubi udo(not sure about the spelling) a series of exercises that get you "in touch" with your body(including stretching,breathing exercises,energy "channels" stimulation,e.t.c)is the most apropriate for one to be fit in aikido.Still, in the early movies of Steven Seagal sensei one can see one of the best aikido applications in real fights,but they are action movies and have to be attractive to the western mind.Fitness for aikido is another story...:)

Kevin Leavitt
03-27-2012, 03:41 AM
Yannis Mousoulis wrote:



So we also see him weight lifting in the movie, something that is not right for aikido practitioners since it makes the upper body tense and blocks the flow of ki


Can you explain how weight lifing blocks the flow of ki and why it is not right for aikido practicioners?

Specificially what do you mean by weightlifting? There are alot of different methodlogies our there that are applied in varioous ways.

Walter Martindale
03-27-2012, 04:29 AM
I've always had trouble with understanding the "muscle is bad for you" philosophy behind "don't do weight lifting for aikido" (and I heard it in judo, too, long ago".

It depends a bit on how you're lifting and what you're doing. If you sit on the edge of a bench and do four inch (10 cm) curls with huge weights to get "Arnold" biceps, sure, that's of questionable value to whole body movement, balance, stability, and so on. If, however, you stand on a Bosu or a "swiss ball" and do squats with dumbbells in your hands, (which I have done in the past), or swing kettlebells, or do power movements with bars using your whole body, it contributes to your overall fitness and makes you physically robust. Not necessarily "stiff" - it is, after all, possible to stretch. You can tolerate hard workouts. It is, of course, difficult to "not use muscle" after you build up some strength, but so what? If you're able to raise your arm in front of you while holding a 10 kg weight, and moving on the "correct path" and "flowing with ki" doesn't need 100 N of force (the force required to move 10 kg approx.) so what?
You end up not looking like Kisshomaru, and the aikido you do may be different because you're moving a bit more of your own mass, but there's no reason not to be mobile and flexible even if you're strong. You do, also, have a strength reserve. Strength training is/should be a supplement to aikido, not a replacement for it. You can still learn to move without "forcing" things, but you can force things if necessary. It requires more sensitivity to when you're using movement and when you're using muscle...
Long story cut short. gotta get to work - oops it's 5:30 AM, I'm going to be late..
W

kewms
03-27-2012, 10:36 AM
Olympic weightlifters are among the most mobile athletes in sports. Powerlifters are among the least mobile. Be careful with generalizations.

Katherine

Gorgeous George
03-27-2012, 11:00 AM
Indeed...

To the original poster check out Eddie Bravo on flexibility then watch some of his rubber guard moves.
It gives him an edge in BJJ.
http://youtu.be/OktcKhtMQ88

Of course it is all up to you what you want to get out of it, the better shape you can [are able to] be in will make you feel better all around.

While I think that flexibility is a valuable asset to have in BJJ, it's hotly contested whether Eddie Bravo's flexibility has aided his jiu jitsu.
'The Rubber Guard' is roundly condemned by many in the BJJ community - hell, at my school, you're barely allowed to mention his name, and on a BJJ forum I frequent, his name is automatically auto-corrected to 'Eddie Zero'.

I've always regarded flexibility as a critical aspect of aikido: you have to relax in order that you don't oppose anyone's force with anything, and you allow your power to connect to theirs, in your centre...Seishiro Endo - whose aikido baffles me - talks about how he's still learning to relax(!).

Regards fitness: as Demetrio's video shows, there is a plethora of fat, old, unfit aikido instructors; you can get away with a lack of fitness the higher up you are. If you just stand there and wave your arm, never having to practice being thrown a lot, then you're golden.

This is one reason why I prefer the training methodology of BJJ, to that of aikido: as sparring is a key part of practice, you are always being conditioned, and in shape, as you're always being challenged, and pushed.
I've started to really challenge myself, and push back the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of, since I started BJJ: for instance, I have just learnt to do a handstand, and cartwheel - and i'm just about there with a handspring.

Basia Halliop
03-27-2012, 02:48 PM
To the original poster -- the seminars I've attended pretty much always had a range of participants, some training more physically intensely, others doing the same exercises at a slower pace. Generally you should be able to find people on the mat who you can practice with at different levels, at least in the seminars I've been at.

Of course if you work on training a bit harder and longer between now and then you will be better able to handle more training at a seminar. Don't burn yourself out in the attempt, of course -- ramp up gradually and give yourself enough rest days. Although really, even if the seminar is kind of overwhelming you will adapt and as long as you don't actually go to the point of injury, you'll learn a lot from the feeling of pushing yourself so hard. And you'll sleep well the next day :).

Kevin Leavitt
03-27-2012, 05:39 PM
While I think that flexibility is a valuable asset to have in BJJ, it's hotly contested whether Eddie Bravo's flexibility has aided his jiu jitsu.
'The Rubber Guard' is roundly condemned by many in the BJJ community - hell, at my school, you're barely allowed to mention his name, and on a BJJ forum I frequent, his name is automatically auto-corrected to 'Eddie Zero'.

I've always regarded flexibility as a critical aspect of aikido: you have to relax in order that you don't oppose anyone's force with anything, and you allow your power to connect to theirs, in your centre...Seishiro Endo - whose aikido baffles me - talks about how he's still learning to relax(!).

Regards fitness: as Demetrio's video shows, there is a plethora of fat, old, unfit aikido instructors; you can get away with a lack of fitness the higher up you are. If you just stand there and wave your arm, never having to practice being thrown a lot, then you're golden.

This is one reason why I prefer the training methodology of BJJ, to that of aikido: as sparring is a key part of practice, you are always being conditioned, and in shape, as you're always being challenged, and pushed.
I've started to really challenge myself, and push back the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of, since I started BJJ: for instance, I have just learnt to do a handstand, and cartwheel - and i'm just about there with a handspring.

I have some issues with eddie as most do. But he has contributed a lot to the game. I use some of his techniques. I had a student a white belt working on rubber guard, asked him to leave it alone as his time needs to be spent on foundations and not on this stuff. Nothing wrong with rubber guard, but it Dan be a distraction for the new guys. That and I can't do it,I am not flexible and doesn't fit my game at all. I've worked with those that can use it very effectively though.

Flexibility is just important in life. I have abused my body through army stuff, and like most army guys I have very tight hamstrings and it causes me back problems. I do decent. At bjj, so it isn't a requirement, but it certainly makes things better.

ryback
03-28-2012, 08:56 AM
Yannis Mousoulis wrote:

Can you explain how weight lifing blocks the flow of ki and why it is not right for aikido practicioners?

Specificially what do you mean by weightlifting? There are alot of different methodlogies our there that are applied in varioous ways.

When we apply aikido techniques what we try to do is to relaxe our muscles and try to use the hips and kokyu to do the technique.So what i'm trying to say(staying faithfull to the thread's topic)is that you cannot combine aikido with any physical exercise that contradicts the above.Any kind of weight lifting brings tension to the muscles of the upper body,thus making the person stiff.People like that tend to muscle their way into imposing their technique,according to my experience.Any kind of tension results in blocking the flow of ki...
:)

chillzATL
03-28-2012, 09:10 AM
When we apply aikido techniques what we try to do is to relaxe our muscles and try to use the hips and kokyu to do the technique.So what i'm trying to say(staying faithfull to the thread's topic)is that you cannot combine aikido with any physical exercise that contradicts the above.Any kind of weight lifting brings tension to the muscles of the upper body,thus making the person stiff.People like that tend to muscle their way into imposing their technique,according to my experience.Any kind of tension results in blocking the flow of ki...
:)

What is kokyu?

If you can do aikido with any measurable power and not use your muscles to do it, why can't you lift weights or do anything else in the same manner?

ryback
03-28-2012, 09:48 AM
What is kokyu?

If you can do aikido with any measurable power and not use your muscles to do it, why can't you lift weights or do anything else in the same manner?

Kokyu is the way the ki flows by using your breathing.O' Sensei used to say:''If you do aikido without kokyu ryoku,then you do ju jutsu.'' Although you can utilize kokyu in every day life,the aiki way of using it is combined with tai sabaki movement and the momentum of the force of the attacker's aggressiveness.Anyway,i don't want to stray from the topic.There is a traditional sequence of ''aikido calisthenics'' called jubi udo,so in my opinion one should stick to that for proper aikido fitness.:)

lbb
03-28-2012, 09:51 AM
IMO, it's a bit silly to pretend that aikido is done with some mystical force that doesn't involve muscle contraction. Aikido techniques absolutely require muscle contraction -- it's just that most techniques require the use of the extensor muscles of the upper extremities. For some reason, it's very common for aikido people to believe that contraction is the opposite of extension, and that when we contract muscles, we cannot be extending, and thus, cannot be doing proper aikido. In fact, the opposite of extension is flexion, not contraction. One increases the angle of a joint, one decreases the angle of a joint, but both depend on muscle contraction to be accomplished.

Basia Halliop
03-28-2012, 09:58 AM
Surely you can train muscles in a way that teaches you to better control them, to be more aware of which ones you're using and not at any given moment. If you're training your muscles _well_ then it shouldn't lead you to develop the habit of blindly tensing them automatically all the time. That sounds like bad training for most physical activities, not just Aikido.

Aikido isn't the only activity in the world that requires relaxation -- many many activities that 'use muscles' use them judiciously and efficiently, and require you to use only those muscles needed for a given movement, and only for the duration that they're needed, and relax others. I.e., they require body awareness.

Gorgeous George
03-28-2012, 10:28 AM
I have some issues with eddie as most do. But he has contributed a lot to the game. I use some of his techniques. I had a student a white belt working on rubber guard, asked him to leave it alone as his time needs to be spent on foundations and not on this stuff. Nothing wrong with rubber guard, but it Dan be a distraction for the new guys. That and I can't do it,I am not flexible and doesn't fit my game at all. I've worked with those that can use it very effectively though.

Flexibility is just important in life. I have abused my body through army stuff, and like most army guys I have very tight hamstrings and it causes me back problems. I do decent. At bjj, so it isn't a requirement, but it certainly makes things better.

I don't know...I haven't seen any of his instructional material, yet; and that video of him rolling with Marcelo Garcia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t47_Urqs-RM

...was just embarrassing. His rubber guard - and he's the master of it, right? - didn't do him any good.

The way his acolytes venerate him, showing a complete lack of knowledge of BJJ, is embarrassing (see the top comment about him '99% getting a twister' on Marcelo Garcia, for example).
The rubber guard seems to be a particularly bad idea: Ryan Hall calls it 'Wacky crap' on his triangle instructional, and Saulo Ribeiro eschews locking yourself to your opponent; plus, being trapped flat on your back is a big no-no in BJJ, right?

kewms
03-28-2012, 11:11 AM
So what i'm trying to say(staying faithfull to the thread's topic)is that you cannot combine aikido with any physical exercise that contradicts the above.Any kind of weight lifting brings tension to the muscles of the upper body,thus making the person stiff.

Please watch this video and then tell me that "all" weightlifting makes people stiff:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB523WntoaY (Annoying music, turn sound down or off.)

Katherine

kewms
03-28-2012, 11:20 AM
Aikido isn't the only activity in the world that requires relaxation -- many many activities that 'use muscles' use them judiciously and efficiently, and require you to use only those muscles needed for a given movement, and only for the duration that they're needed, and relax others. I.e., they require body awareness.

Exactly. Pretty much every sport requires the explosive generation of power. The biomechanics of force generation are the same whether you're throwing a baseball, breaking a board, or flipping someone into a koshinage. The idea that aikido has a monopoly on relaxation is insulting to other athletes.

(Note that I'm not talking about internal power here. Those who have studied it at length say that it's different from what other athletes do, and I don't have enough knowledge to disagree. But most aikidoka aren't using internal power.)

Katherine

Basia Halliop
03-28-2012, 12:03 PM
IMHO, a lot of us when we start Aikido aren't aware enough of our muscles to even know if we're tensing them or relaxing them, or which muscles we're tensing or relaxing. This seems to go both for moments when we're tense when we shouldn't be, and for moments when we mistake limpness for 'not being too tense'.

In that case, learning to consciously tense and relax different muscles in your body can be very enlightening.

Sometimes you have to develop the control to deliberately choose to do something before you can understand how to deliberately choose not to do it.

jonreading
03-28-2012, 12:29 PM
First, I recommend to students to be prepared to train before class starts (i.e. "warmed up"). I have not been to a class where the instructor actually spent an appropriate amount of time to sufficiently and categorically limber up the muscles to receive vigorous exercise.

Second, my instructor refers to the warmup period preceding class as junbi taiso (or jumbi taiso as I have also seen it). The time was more about preparing for class then physically limbering up. Sure, we go through some exercises, but we are trying to dump the baggage of the day so we can train without distraction. Then we move into core exercises like tori fune or something to start to stimulate our training.

1. How fit does one has to be to do Aikido? Ideally, you need to be fit enough to present a low risk of injury while vigorously training. As your condition declines, you increase your risk of injury. As your condition improves, you decrease your risk. For me, I like to advocate that you should be in the condition your doctor recommends. If you are not that fit, then I will suggest prioritizing a health program to improve your condition. Training should be fun and you should feel better after training, not worse.

2. How fit do you have to be to do a full day of Aikido? Same as above, you just need to keep an eye on fluids, nutrition, and breathing. I am always surprised how quickly a good breather can recover from vigorous exercise.

3. What type of fitness is needed for Aikido? A good balance of cardiovascular exercise and core strengthening is a great start. I agree with some earlier posts about the needless warning against bulking; the reality of "bulking" is virtually impossible for anyone over the age of 25 without serious commitment to the effort. (I used to get that when I was a trainer - "I don't want to bulk, just tone." "Okay, how often are you going to be working out?" "2 or 3 times a week for at least 45 minutes." "Oh, then that won't be a problem.")

As for flexibility, I think flexibility is important. When I was in athletics, we never stretched for gain until after warming up. There are tons of gain programs out their if you are interested.

chillzATL
03-28-2012, 12:30 PM
Although you can utilize kokyu in every day life,the aiki way of using it is combined with tai sabaki movement and the momentum of the force of the attacker's aggressiveness.

I disagree completely and IMO, so would Ueshiba. His linking of aiki and farming, his statements that "everything is aikido" and some of his often talked about around here challenges that did not involve attacks are in in clear opposition that the "aiki way" requires either an attacker or aggression and momentum from one.

Once you know how to use your body "the right way" anything can be aiki do, anything can be training, whether it's lifting weights, swinging a hoe or throwing someone in the dojo. ymmv.

ryback
03-29-2012, 02:12 AM
Please watch this video and then tell me that "all" weightlifting makes people stiff:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB523WntoaY (Annoying music, turn sound down or off.)

Katherine

Thanks for the link, it didn't change my opinion.Thanks anyway!:)

ryback
03-29-2012, 02:17 AM
I disagree completely and IMO, so would Ueshiba. His linking of aiki and farming, his statements that "everything is aikido" and some of his often talked about around here challenges that did not involve attacks are in in clear opposition that the "aiki way" requires either an attacker or aggression and momentum from one.

Once you know how to use your body "the right way" anything can be aiki do, anything can be training, whether it's lifting weights, swinging a hoe or throwing someone in the dojo. ymmv.

At O' Sensei's level of course everything is aikido.Then again farming is not weight lifting.As far as i know O' Sensei,Tohei sensei,Shioda sensei,Kanetsuka sensei (to name a few) never used weight lifting in their practice, they used jubi udo instead.The best way to be fit in aikido, is...aikido!:)

Benjamin Green
03-29-2012, 02:33 AM
Muscles only really grow, and fitness consequently increases, when you exceed their tolerance. And you exceed their tolerance most efficiently by adding resistance - generally in the form of weights. While, obviously, one should try not to sit there just doing curls - and consequently end up with massively imbalanced muscles and no flexibility - I think it's unlikely that aikido is the most efficient way to get fit for aikido. Simply because it exercises the same set of muscles does not mean it does so as efficiently as it would were you to exercise those same muscles with added resistance.

ryback
03-29-2012, 06:11 AM
Muscles only really grow, and fitness consequently increases, when you exceed their tolerance. And you exceed their tolerance most efficiently by adding resistance - generally in the form of weights. While, obviously, one should try not to sit there just doing curls - and consequently end up with massively imbalanced muscles and no flexibility - I think it's unlikely that aikido is the most efficient way to get fit for aikido. Simply because it exercises the same set of muscles does not mean it does so as efficiently as it would were you to exercise those same muscles with added resistance.

I see your point although i disagree(see previous post about aikido calisthenics) but of course you are free to make your choices and so am i...:)

PeterR
03-29-2012, 06:21 AM
For my Sandan my biggest concern was the sessions of full-resistance randori that Shodokan in known for. I knew in advance that no matter how fit I was it would go on till I puked (or died) but I was determined to at least have a good show when compared with my other examinees.

I was lucky that months before one of my forum mates was a trainer for a college football team and was given a truely comprehensive work-out specifically designed to survive the randori.

This included stationary bike time, lots of wind sprints and reps with medium weights. Of course every chance I got I did randori.

My good friend puked - I didn't but .... never ever eat a large steak the day of the test no matter how many hours you have. I had other issues.

Still I hold to the maxim that if you want to improve your [inset sport here] fitness do lots of the same sport. The only proviso is that regular class sometimes does not give the intensity you need. You often have to find some way to get around that.

Malicat
03-29-2012, 06:37 AM
For my Sandan my biggest concern was the sessions of full-resistance randori that Shodokan in known for. I knew in advance that no matter how fit I was it would go on till I puked (or died) but I was determined to at least have a good show when compared with my other examinees.

I was lucky that months before one of my forum mates was a trainer for a college football team and was given a truely comprehensive work-out specifically designed to survive the randori.

This included stationary bike time, lots of wind sprints and reps with medium weights. Of course every chance I got I did randori.

The "randori until you drop" is the last thing we do on all of our testing, and it's one thing that makes me perfectly ok with staying a white belt for the next 6 years. :) May I ask how long you went?

And as far as fitness for a camp goes, I honestly didn't think I was in that great of a shape, because I am usually quite literally dripping with sweat about 20 minutes into my classes. But we did a one day winter camp last month, and I survived quite well. That's also probably due to the fact you have to be quite careful when throwing people on a crowded mat, so about half the time nage had to pull the throw and just take uke to the point of breaking balance to be sure the technique worked.

I had a great time though, I can't wait until summer camp in June. :)

--Ashley

Kevin Leavitt
03-29-2012, 08:37 AM
I don't know...I haven't seen any of his instructional material, yet; and that video of him rolling with Marcelo Garcia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t47_Urqs-RM

...was just embarrassing. His rubber guard - and he's the master of it, right? - didn't do him any good.

The way his acolytes venerate him, showing a complete lack of knowledge of BJJ, is embarrassing (see the top comment about him '99% getting a twister' on Marcelo Garcia, for example).
The rubber guard seems to be a particularly bad idea: Ryan Hall calls it 'Wacky crap' on his triangle instructional, and Saulo Ribeiro eschews locking yourself to your opponent; plus, being trapped flat on your back is a big no-no in BJJ, right?

Funny, I have spent time with both Ryan (We both lived in Arlington, VA) and Saulo (talked to Saulo most recently in January in Lisbon at the Europeans where he effortlessly won his division...it was awesome!).

Anyway, I have not been with Eddie, but have rolled with both Ryan and Saulo and they are impressive in their own right. So, tend to respect their opinions.

Also, I don't see much of Eddie's stuff being applied wholesale in BJJ. Given the adaptive nature of the culture of BJJers....if it works...we are doing it. You'd see more of it if it did work I suppose. I think like anything that Eddie's stuff has some relevance. Probably at first it was different and caused some issues for a few people who have since learned to deal with it.

Also, I simply don't subscribe to Eddie's "counter culture" personality and irreverence. I respect it to a degree, but the whole pot smoking thing and BJJ...naw...not what I am about.

(sorry for the off topic).

chillzATL
03-29-2012, 08:53 AM
At O' Sensei's level of course everything is aikido.Then again farming is not weight lifting.As far as i know O' Sensei,Tohei sensei,Shioda sensei,Kanetsuka sensei (to name a few) never used weight lifting in their practice, they used jubi udo instead.The best way to be fit in aikido, is...aikido!:)

That mindset is why nobody has come close to his ability too. It's fairly well proven at this point that "do more aikido" isn't the answer those who want to be like Shioda, Tohei, etc, much less Ueshiba.

Kevin Leavitt
03-29-2012, 09:00 AM
When we apply aikido techniques what we try to do is to relaxe our muscles and try to use the hips and kokyu to do the technique.So what i'm trying to say(staying faithfull to the thread's topic)is that you cannot combine aikido with any physical exercise that contradicts the above.Any kind of weight lifting brings tension to the muscles of the upper body,thus making the person stiff.People like that tend to muscle their way into imposing their technique,according to my experience.Any kind of tension results in blocking the flow of ki...
:)

Thanks for the response. You haven't really at the basic level answered the question. Sure, I am convinced that you believe that it interferes, but physically and kinethetically you don't explain how it interferes or exactly which ones interfere. You can't categorically make the statement you make.

I would tend to agree that particluar types of physical activity can be determental. That is, if you isolate muscles and then train them to fire quickly when they percieve a load (proprioception) then you can build unintended habits. I am not an advocate of the "Arnold" way of weightlifing that you see prevelant in gyms that many still do based on what was learned in the past for body builders simply to build mass.

however, the fact is, you need strength, you need to develop coordination, muscles, and create a body that can respond and move when you need it to. Weight loading activities are a part of doing this.

So, no....categorically I do not agree that ANY kind of weightlifting brings tension to the upper body. in fact the whole physiology is wrong. there is tension in the upper body when doing marital movements. you need tension...it simply needs to be in the right areas at the right times. You can lift weights, build a strong upper body, and do it in a way that creates appropriate responses.

I have no idea what is meant by "blocking ki". nor do I really understand what KI is when you use it in that context (nor do I really care to get into a discussion of Ki...been there done that). However, you can't throw a concept out there like "blocking ki" and not qualify it and not explain HOW weightlifing intereferes with it.

Ki in the respect of transferrence and direction of mechanical energy involves tension and relaxation of body structures. You can respond with a push to move someone backwards...if you do this you do this...simply put. Of course there are different ways to do this that may use less force, less comittment of energy, and less feedback of structure etc.....we can train our bodies to do this by conditioning ourselves to connect our body in a particular way through varous methodologies and conditioning drills, exercises. Weights and load bearing activities can be integrated (and should be) into this process.

One thing that bugs me about the whole IS thing is the degree of specificity that people go to train in this area at the detrement of other areas. I have run into numerous people that will tell me they refuse to do ANY upper body exercise for the same reason. When I ask them about their goals in martial arts and I astounded (and confused) that they want to develop functionality, but have become so focused in IS development that they will never be able to integrate or use it because they refuse to see the big picture and have become hyper-focused on what is but one piece in the whole process.

Personally I think it is an excuse (intentional or not) to avoid actually having to do any real hard work.

IS work is important, but the preponderance of folks I have met involved with it...well martially they don't impress me. Awesome you can do well at push hands and beat me. But if we did a test of martial abiltiy along the lines of "no-rules" or limited conditions, well ask yourself...do you have the strength to make up for your lack of skill? Do you have the physical skills (jiu jitsu) to actually control? Do you have the stamina and cardio to sustain a fight for longer than 30 seconds?

For alot of IS people I think it is an intellectual pursuit that they are convinced is a martial pursuit. So, yeah...I sort of chaffe at the whole concept of "don't do any weightlifing, running, cardio etc" type of advice.

Kevin Leavitt
03-29-2012, 09:02 AM
To clarify...my above post doesn't mean I do not see value in IS training. Quite the contrary. I beleive I need to do more of it. I am hoping to get with Dan Harden soon as a matter of fact if I can work it out with my schedule.

My rant above is simply to focus on the fact that I think that balance is necessary.

chillzATL
03-29-2012, 09:23 AM
One thing that bugs me about the whole IS thing is the degree of specificity that people go to train in this area at the detrement of other areas. I have run into numerous people that will tell me they refuse to do ANY upper body exercise for the same reason. When I ask them about their goals in martial arts and I astounded (and confused) that they want to develop functionality, but have become so focused in IS development that they will never be able to integrate or use it because they refuse to see the big picture and have become hyper-focused on what is but one piece in the whole process.

Personally I think it is an excuse (intentional or not) to avoid actually having to do any real hard work.


A lot of that is, IMO, coming from those of us who simply don't have that way of moving burned into our bodies to the point that we can do traditional strength training without falling back on the traditional way of doing it. I'm quite sure someone like Dan or Mike could go into the gym and do what appears to be traditional strength training, on the surface, but is still very much in line with their IS training goals. On the flip side, having muscle feels good and looks good, but when you're training for something that doesn't need chest, biceps, traps, etc to "be strong", is there any benefit to building those muscles? If someone who trains that way and is strong without those traditional muscle groups and can engage successfully with someone who does have them, are they really needed?


A good way of thinking about it is that IS training is, at its core, very much like traditional strength training. You're learning a "proper form" for that type of movement and then slowly building up the resistance and load you can handle while doing those movements. Having proper form is important in both aspects, but if your goal is IS development, then bouncing between the two types of strength training without knowing the proper form for both is going to set you back.

As it relates to aikido, I definitely agree that most use it as an excuse to avoid hard physical work, but a lot of that has to do with not even knowing that there is a "correct form" for doing aikido and it isn't about having a big gut or blindly "not using muscle".

Walter Martindale
03-29-2012, 10:48 AM
Ok... I'm only a nidan in Aikido and a very retired shodan in Judo. I'm also a "Level 4" (of 5) professional coach in rowing, and have a master's degree for studies in biomechanics and exercise physiology. Athletes I've coached in their "early" 1-5 years of training have gone on and raced successfully (i.e., brought home medals) in international competition. If I was training stiff, clunky people, they wouldn't make it to the finals in local competition, let alone the podium at the Olympics - they wouldn't get to the Olympics because they wouldn't make the team. I use some Aikido principles when I'm guiding the learning process for some rowers/scullers, and I use coaching method/sport science info when I'm prepping people for Aikido - it's all got to blend.

Muscles contract and relax. They do not extend. A limb "extends" when muscles contract to make it extend. If you do a "grab my wrist" and "extend" through the uke's centre (center for the other North Americans), you're contracting muscles in the shoulder, upper arm, bracing (isometric contraction) the muscles in the abdomen and chest, bracing and contracting the muscles in and around the pelvis and leg muscles, and pushing with your feet on the ground - If you've managed to align all of this correctly, you can (and I've done it) lift a 200 lb person off his balance and tip him over backwards. Can you do it without looking like a professional body builder? Of course. Can you do it without using muscle? NO.

Movement (or the initiation of movement) requires first a nerve impulse, coordinated by the brain, to travel down a (very) complex path to stimulate muscle fibres (via neurotransmitters going from the nerve to the muscle) to do a bunch of stuff involving sarcoplasmic reticulum, calcium ions, adenosine triphosphate, myosin, and actin. The end result is that the muscle fibre shortens, pulling on the tendons, which pulls the bones to which the tendons are attached closer together. Since most of these operate at some distance from a joint, there's usually bone movement as a result.

Movement can't happen without muscle contracting. Full stop. Sure, if you swing your hips and flail your arms loosely attached to the shoulders (which are indirectly attached to your hips) you can move your arms without using arm muscles, but they're moving solely on momentum generated by - muscle contraction in the legs/pelvis/abdomen... If you think you can move without using muscles, let's "pith" your spinal cord just below T12 and see how much use your legs are... That's the ultimate relaxation..

Relaxation:
It's not really relaxation when high performance athletes or high-mucky-muck shihan demonstrate their expertise. It appears fluid, flowing, connected, controlled, and "easy", but there has to be muscle contraction in the main movers, or the movement won't happen. They're smooth and all because they're not co-contracting antagonist muscles which interfere with the movement and make it "jerky".

Training Muscles - a simplified overview:
First, before getting going, you need to do training in "multi-joint" or "whole body" movements that require coordination of body parts, balance, stabilization of core musculature, or you're building "beach muscles", which doesn't perform much function in sports or aikido.

What seems to work - according to courses I've taken in strength training and experience gained from my own training and 30 years of coaching - If you're after "pure strength" you need to have some muscle there to start with:

- "pure strength" is a result of better coordination of the muscles through improved neural drive to the muscles. This is done with "sets" where the loads lifted are such that you can't do more than 5 repetitions. This type of training doesn't cause muscle growth unless the person doing the training is brand new to training (but this shouldn't be the first type of training undertaken); it's the type of training that those weight lifters in the vids linked by Katherine would do - lots of sets of not many reps, but with lots and lots of weight. They have to be strong, but also have to be flexible. The flexibility is necessary to not get torn to pieces when they fail and drop the weight behind themselves, and when they're in a "nearly touching the butt on the ground while catching 3 x their body weight on their shoulders" position.

- "body building" is done with loads that permit the person do to between 6 and 12 repetitions - the muscle being under load for a longer time with sufficient resistance to create "overload" and a stimulus to the body to somehow increase the amount of contractile elements (myosin and actin) within the muscle fibres - the muscle actually grows bigger.

-"power" training is done with loads somewhere between 40% and 60% of the maximum load the person can move, and you do this more for a neural drive to get the person able to move with force, quickly - lifting is done aggressively, and from "rest" - in between lifts, you rest the weight down briefly to deactivate stretch reflexes that increase contractile force from muscle contracted while being stretched. this is primarily a "neural drive" type training, also, and it's supposed to strengthen the tendons connecting the muscles to the bones.

- "strength endurance" training is done with lighter loads (30% of max, for example) that you can do 50 - 1000 times. (so, 1000 bokken suburi, or 1000 Yokomen with your jo qualify as strength endurance training, but Aikido purists won't like using that terminology). Sure, you'll get somewhat stronger, but if the heaviest thing you've lifted is a 1275mm long 25 mm diameter jo made of oak, you're going to struggle with heavier things; the biggest load you can move doesn't get as big as it gets when you've trained with heavier stuff first. You get pretty good at aligning your body and coordinating force application when you start off it overload training, and then when you get into the lighter "actual" loads like a jo, you can put some real power behind the speedy movement, and it's a solid, coordinated platform behind the strike. This training is more aimed at the energy storage and energy enzymes in the muscle fibres themselves - so that the energy is available to make the muscles contract for longer and longer periods of time with forces (in my sport, anyway) that are more specific to the actual forces encountered in competition.

Coaches of people who are going for high performance in sport have NO INTEREST in creating "muscle bound" clunky people - we use strength training to enhance the rest of the training, or we don't do it. The problem with folks who think that strength training off the mats interferes with development of aikido is that they have this misconception that you can't be smooth and relaxed in your movements if you're strong - and I call BS on that...

Cheers,
W

kewms
03-29-2012, 10:53 AM
Still I hold to the maxim that if you want to improve your [inset sport here] fitness do lots of the same sport. The only proviso is that regular class sometimes does not give the intensity you need. You often have to find some way to get around that.

I think that's especially true in aikido as your level increases. The more senior you are, the less work you do as nage, and also the fewer people are going to be able to make you take really demanding ukemi.

Katherine

kewms
03-29-2012, 11:02 AM
however, the fact is, you need strength, you need to develop coordination, muscles, and create a body that can respond and move when you need it to. Weight loading activities are a part of doing this.

So, no....categorically I do not agree that ANY kind of weightlifting brings tension to the upper body. in fact the whole physiology is wrong. there is tension in the upper body when doing marital movements. you need tension...it simply needs to be in the right areas at the right times. You can lift weights, build a strong upper body, and do it in a way that creates appropriate responses.

I can say from personal experience that the single biggest improvement in my stability for koshinage came from getting under a barbell on a regular basis. Very immediate and dramatic.

The impact of upper body strength is a bit harder to quantify, both because most aikidoka (self included) use too much upper body strength to begin with, and because many upper body exercises can degrade flexibility. I would say that a well thought out upper body strength *and mobility* program is unlikely to hurt your aikido. It will probably help your ukemi, by building up the supporting structures for the joints.

Katherine

Gorgeous George
03-29-2012, 11:25 AM
The best way to be fit in aikido, is...aikido!:)

It's this kind of absurd dogmatic approach that has led me to look outside of aikido to learn what aikido teaches.

I look at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and all the innovation, all the different styles, techniques, and approaches that people have come up with - in just the last ten years - and then I look at aikido...and I really really wish aikido was so open to development.

kewms
03-29-2012, 12:07 PM
At O' Sensei's level of course everything is aikido.Then again farming is not weight lifting.As far as i know O' Sensei,Tohei sensei,Shioda sensei,Kanetsuka sensei (to name a few) never used weight lifting in their practice, they used jubi udo instead.The best way to be fit in aikido, is...aikido!:)

Unmechanised farming is pretty physically demanding, and Ueshiba Sensei was known for his physical strength long before he made his mark as a martial artist. You can't really compare him to a sedentary 21st century beginner whose only physical activity is aikido.

There are also vast differences in dojo practice and the extent to which conditioning is or is not included in early training. When I see someone post that they are concerned about taking 25 or 50 rolls on their next test, or about surviving a full day seminar, I think that person's training might not be as intense as Tohei Sensei's, Shioda Sensei's, or Kanetsuka Sensei's.

Katherine

jonreading
03-29-2012, 12:33 PM
I am a jumble of thoughts here...

When I hear an aikido person advocate against physical fitness, specifically a measure of strength, I am instantly put on guard as to why. Why you would not wish your fellow students to be strong as an oxe and fit as a fiddle? Overlapping this perspective, we are inviting mentally and physically ill people to train along with persons with disabilities. In a similar vein, we also treat other skilled martial artists with a fair amount of distain. MMA, judo, karate - anyone that can put us in our place we bully out. Give us the meek, the cult, those who would not persevere in other fighting arts...

As stewards of aikido, we need to cultivate our art. There are far more aikido people who are unfit to train then there are too fit to train. I would rather personally work with someone who is "too strong" then wait for someone to "recover" on the side of the mat. I think the elephant in the room here is that a vocal population of aikido people who want to be at the top of the pyramid are intimidated by capable opposition.

If my partner is so strong and/or inflexible as to hinder her aikido that is her problem, not mine. If I am that person, then it is my responsibility to address those issues. In either case, I think the exclusion or persecution of these persons is ridiculous.

When I hear, "lifting weights is bad for aikido people," I usually read, "lifting weights is bad for me doing aikido to you."

ryback
03-29-2012, 01:45 PM
That mindset is why nobody has come close to his ability too. It's fairly well proven at this point that "do more aikido" isn't the answer those who want to be like Shioda, Tohei, etc, much less Ueshiba.

In my opinion that mindset is the only one looking at least in the right direction.The reason why nobody comes close to the ability of the old masters is because everybody is "westernising" something that was created under a different approach.The posts in this thread is the greatest proof of that...

ryback
03-29-2012, 02:07 PM
Thanks for the response. You haven't really at the basic level answered the question. Sure, I am convinced that you believe that it interferes, but physically and kinethetically you don't explain how it interferes or exactly which ones interfere. You can't categorically make the statement you make.

I would tend to agree that particluar types of physical activity can be determental. That is, if you isolate muscles and then train them to fire quickly when they percieve a load (proprioception) then you can build unintended habits. I am not an advocate of the "Arnold" way of weightlifing that you see prevelant in gyms that many still do based on what was learned in the past for body builders simply to build mass.

however, the fact is, you need strength, you need to develop coordination, muscles, and create a body that can respond and move when you need it to. Weight loading activities are a part of doing this.

So, no....categorically I do not agree that ANY kind of weightlifting brings tension to the upper body. in fact the whole physiology is wrong. there is tension in the upper body when doing marital movements. you need tension...it simply needs to be in the right areas at the right times. You can lift weights, build a strong upper body, and do it in a way that creates appropriate responses.

I have no idea what is meant by "blocking ki". nor do I really understand what KI is when you use it in that context (nor do I really care to get into a discussion of Ki...been there done that). However, you can't throw a concept out there like "blocking ki" and not qualify it and not explain HOW weightlifing intereferes with it.

Ki in the respect of transferrence and direction of mechanical energy involves tension and relaxation of body structures. You can respond with a push to move someone backwards...if you do this you do this...simply put. Of course there are different ways to do this that may use less force, less comittment of energy, and less feedback of structure etc.....we can train our bodies to do this by conditioning ourselves to connect our body in a particular way through varous methodologies and conditioning drills, exercises. Weights and load bearing activities can be integrated (and should be) into this process.

One thing that bugs me about the whole IS thing is the degree of specificity that people go to train in this area at the detrement of other areas. I have run into numerous people that will tell me they refuse to do ANY upper body exercise for the same reason. When I ask them about their goals in martial arts and I astounded (and confused) that they want to develop functionality, but have become so focused in IS development that they will never be able to integrate or use it because they refuse to see the big picture and have become hyper-focused on what is but one piece in the whole process.

Personally I think it is an excuse (intentional or not) to avoid actually having to do any real hard work.

IS work is important, but the preponderance of folks I have met involved with it...well martially they don't impress me. Awesome you can do well at push hands and beat me. But if we did a test of martial abiltiy along the lines of "no-rules" or limited conditions, well ask yourself...do you have the strength to make up for your lack of skill? Do you have the physical skills (jiu jitsu) to actually control? Do you have the stamina and cardio to sustain a fight for longer than 30 seconds?

For alot of IS people I think it is an intellectual pursuit that they are convinced is a martial pursuit. So, yeah...I sort of chaffe at the whole concept of "don't do any weightlifing, running, cardio etc" type of advice.

I won't say of course what ki is but what ki is not:It is NOT the topic of this thread.Any workout with the weight lifting approach blocks the flow of ki and makes the upper body and shoulders tense but of course i can't analise here something that it is a book on its own.Tohei sensei has written a number of books on the subject, so with a little research everything is available.In my opinion is wrong to build ju-jutsu strength to make up for your lack of skill.You should spend more time on the tatami...eliminating that lack of skill.If it wanted ju-jutsu i would study it.My choice in aikido is very specific and a very serious personal journey.I totally agree that one should have stamina and breath control to be able to sustain a fight but that can be achieved through jumbi udo,breathing exercises and constant practice with breakfalls.It's a way to be fit,but the aikido way!The way i practice i emphasize on being effective in any fighting situation(if possible of course)so being "fit" is of the utmost importance.Nutrition(what we eat,how much and how it is cooked as my sensei says) daily practice in the dojo with everything i mentioned above and using the stairs instead of the...lift(haha) seem to be doing it for me.I respect everybody's opinion of course but i also have the right to stick to my own.Thank you for your time.:)

chillzATL
03-29-2012, 02:19 PM
In my opinion that mindset is the only one looking at least in the right direction.The reason why nobody comes close to the ability of the old masters is because everybody is "westernising" something that was created under a different approach.The posts in this thread is the greatest proof of that...

:)

phitruong
03-29-2012, 02:30 PM
Unmechanised farming is pretty physically demanding, and Ueshiba Sensei was known for his physical strength long before he made his mark as a martial artist. You can't really compare him to a sedentary 21st century beginner whose only physical activity is aikido.
Katherine

yup. i can attest to that. imagine working in the rice field, in the mud about knee deep, starting before the dawn, two hours break at lunch for lunch and nap, then back to work until you no longer be able to see. the kind of works: plow the mud fields with a couple of water buffalo (those buggers are quite strong) where you control the plow (how wide, how deep and how straight) and the water buffalo provided the pulling power, or using oversize hoe to clear the field, or carry heavy load walking around in that mud. most folks here won't last an hour. now do that 7 days a week. unmechanized farmers are deceptively strong and had high endurance and tolerance for pain. ya, i can't do that any more. i am too westernized and preferred mechanized means. :)

phitruong
03-29-2012, 02:48 PM
For alot of IS people I think it is an intellectual pursuit that they are convinced is a martial pursuit. So, yeah...I sort of chaffe at the whole concept of "don't do any weightlifing, running, cardio etc" type of advice.

i do weight lifting, chin up bar, running (not enough), cardio (not enough) and even looking into a pair of leotards to help my fitness. i looked pretty good in one actually. :)

i do those things with IS approaches. one time, Sigman shown how to train IS using weight equipments. look still the same from the outside, but different from the inside. yoga rubber bands and balls work pretty well too. have not been able to figure out how to keep the yoga thong from giving me a super wedge. :D

lbb
03-29-2012, 03:16 PM
Wow. Just wow. Has this thread wandered off into the weeds, or what? I don't think OP was asking for the idealized aikido workout, and frankly, determining what the idealized aikdo workout would be is yet another of those pointless "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" arguments that waste so many electrons on this forum. The answer can never be determined because: no one can define "ki", no one can really tell what anyone else is doing because we're all on the other side of a keyboard, nobody here actually worked with O-Sensei (and let's not even get into the heretical argument about whether O-Sensei might not have had the ideal level of "aikido fitness himself, OF COURSE HE DID HE WAS O-SENSEI AND HE COULD TURN WATER INTO WINE WITH HIS KI...ahem). So on, so forth, any number of other reasons. So, unless you're interested in argument for argument's sake, it's all a lot of useless hot air -- even more so because even if we had the answer, it wouldn't help us! I don't have time in my life for the idealized aikido workout -- I work for a living, I only have so many hours in the day, and I don't have unlimited financial resources for gear, gym memberships, seminars, this and that and the other. I suspect most other people in this forum are in the same boat. So why don't we try just once to steer the discussion away from the unprovable hyptheticals and towards something that's actually useful to real human beings who live real lives?

Take it back to the beginning. You've got 24 hours in the day. Take out the hours you spend sleeping, working, and doing other necessary tasks (and let's not forget, doing aikido), and what you have left is the time you have for this "fitness program". You've got only so much money. You live in some place, which is guaranteed NOT to have absolutely every facility, teacher and resource you might want. So. What is actually USEFUL to tell someone in that situation (that is, all of us) for how to improve their fitness for aikido?

phitruong
03-29-2012, 03:57 PM
Take it back to the beginning. You've got 24 hours in the day. Take out the hours you spend sleeping, working, and doing other necessary tasks (and let's not forget, doing aikido), and what you have left is the time you have for this "fitness program". You've got only so much money. You live in some place, which is guaranteed NOT to have absolutely every facility, teacher and resource you might want. So. What is actually USEFUL to tell someone in that situation (that is, all of us) for how to improve their fitness for aikido?

run twice a week: equipment - shoes and socks (clothing optional :) )
run up and down the stair if you have one for about 20 times (depend on how high your stair): equipment - yourself and the stair.
jump rope, a few hundreds at a time: equipment - a piece of rope.
resistance works (funikogi undo or ikkyo undo): equipment - some bungee cords at the local hardware store
weight training: suburi with gallon jug water, run up and down the stair carrying gallon jug of water. equipment - gallon jug of water.
striking: go to local lumber yard and get a post. bury it in the back yard. wrap it with foam insulation and duct tapes. go at it. also good for suburi target practice.

mismatch: run and resistance works for two days, stair work and weight training for two days, rest in between. or run and weight, jump rope and resistance, rest.

don't cost much but time and effort.

and you can sleep when you are dead. :D

btw, 12 angels can dance on the head of the pin.

Pauliina Lievonen
03-29-2012, 04:07 PM
Take it back to the beginning. You've got 24 hours in the day. Take out the hours you spend sleeping, working, and doing other necessary tasks (and let's not forget, doing aikido), and what you have left is the time you have for this "fitness program". You've got only so much money. You live in some place, which is guaranteed NOT to have absolutely every facility, teacher and resource you might want. So. What is actually USEFUL to tell someone in that situation (that is, all of us) for how to improve their fitness for aikido?Hear, hear!

Things I do that almost anybody could do and that don't take a lot of equipment:

Running and walking. Not even huge amounts, just twenty minutes to half an hour of alternating running and walking, according to how I feel.

Using a bike as my main means of transport (ok I realize that this isn't possible for everyone...)

Squats. I was surprised to find that just doing a few squats while watching tv at night made a noticeable difference in a few weeks. I could get up much easier after being thrown.

Getting to class regularly twice a week.

Hmmm...that's it really. :) I can get through a weekend seminar of 4,5 hours both days just fine and go to work the day after, and I've done something like 80 forward rolls in a row without dying. Those pretty much are my fitness goals, modest as they are.

kvaak
Pauliina

hughrbeyer
03-30-2012, 09:32 PM
Various responses.

As others have said, the idea that weightlifting makes you inflexible is a crock. Ronnie Colman (Mr. Olympia some years back) could do a full split. I myself lifted weights fairly seriously for years and stretched out for 10-15 minutes after every workout. When I gave up weightlifting I started to *lose* flexibility because I also wasn't stretching as regularly.

That said there are a lot of stupid weightlifters around who can barely put their hands on the back of their heads.

I gave up weightlifting when I started to do the IS stuff seriously. I don't particularly like it, but when all the people teaching me this stuff tell me weights are going to get in the way of my progress, how stupid do I have to be not to listen?

From my experience, I can see two reasons. One, weights teach you that when you feel resistance, push through it. And I mean really *teach* it--I can't count the number of days I walked out of the weight room with a big grin on my face because I was nearly stapled by some PR but gritted my teeth and simply refused to let the bar come down. That's exactly the wrong instinct for Aikido, especially Aikido with aiki.

Two, my teachers say you lose sensitivity. I'm still on the fence with this one, but the more I learn to feel exactly where uke is and how to take his power where I want it in my own body, the more I think they just possibly might have some small justification on their side. Moving someone else's body is not at all like moving iron--there's no real reason why getting good at one should get you good at the other.

I'm entirely unimpressed with all the arguments about how muscles work. All those arguments are based on a simplistic hinged-joint model of how the body is moved, which researchers are finding is simply not a useful approximation of the real body. In particular, the new research about the role of fascia in movement and transmitting power suggests that saying "muscles only contract" is fairly useless to understanding how to use them.

Finally, none of this has to do with what I consider to be the biggest fitness issues with doing Aikido. I'd say you need to have enough cardiovascular fitness to do energetic activity in bursts (think wind sprints); enough endurance to keep it up for an hour or a day; be lean enough to do rolls and breakfalls safely (matters less as you get better, but you don't start better do you?); and be flexible enough to move well--and resist injury when you fail to move well. Raw strength may be useful for actual fighting but I see it as less important for getting through a weekend seminar.

bothhandsclapping
03-30-2012, 10:49 PM
When someone asks what 'style' we practice (as in hard vs. soft), I always respond 'energetic'. In our school, it's just not much fun if you're always sucking air.

So my recommendation? Get in shape aerobically. When you can roll and pop up and roll and throw and throw and roll and pop up and roll again you will get plenty of workout for the rest of you.

Walter Martindale
04-02-2012, 09:39 PM
(snip)
In particular, the new research about the role of fascia in movement and transmitting power suggests that saying "muscles only contract" is fairly useless to understanding how to use them.

(snip)



Any chance you could cite some published research regarding this? International Journal of Sports Biomechanics? Journal of Biomechanics? Journal of Applied Physiology? Medicine and Science in Sports? etc...
I'd very much like to see some peer-reviewed, published research.

And I'm not asking this to be belligerent. If this info provides a better way to strength-train I'll be all over it. But it's gotta be better than that with which I've had a lot of coaching success.


Regards,
W

PeterR
04-02-2012, 10:24 PM
Any chance you could cite some published research regarding this? International Journal of Sports Biomechanics? Journal of Biomechanics? Journal of Applied Physiology? Medicine and Science in Sports? etc...
I'd very much like to see some peer-reviewed, published research.

And I'm not asking this to be belligerent. If this info provides a better way to strength-train I'll be all over it. But it's gotta be better than that with which I've had a lot of coaching success.

Regards,
W
I would like to see this also. The term Fascia has been jumped on by some to somehow explain the uniqueness of what they do compared to what everyone else does.

The different types of fascia are pretty dense connective tissue and one supposes can be used to transmit the effect of one muscle elsewhere in the body but power generation through fascia is a bit of a stretch (I do love of bad pun). Even the idea that because you can find some myosin within the fascia and therefore this means that it can act like a muscle is pushing it.

What we can say that there are some painful conditions resulting from damaged fascia and that how one exercises can have an affect. Claims beyond that really need to be shown.

hughrbeyer
04-02-2012, 11:52 PM
Walter -- I don't have good peer-reviewed reports for you, and I don't have enough expertise in the field to know which journals are really reputable either. When I was looking at this--about a year ago--I found a lot of the pop-physiology articles but also a number of references to things scientists do when they're overturning a paradigm--that is, conferences organized on the specialized topic with researchers attending to share their findings (http://www.fasciacongress.org/), but no real new consensus yet formed. It was enough to convince me that this wasn't on a par with crystal healing, even if the actual science isn't nailed down yet.

My understanding is that the role of fascia isn't that it generates power in itself. It's more about power transmission, and how that power transmission is very much non-obvious in a structure as complex as the human body. So not only is it like pulling on a rope (tendons) but it's like plucking a guitar string, where force in one direction can be turned into force in a perpendicular direction, and like a tensegrity sculpture, where instead of the weight or force being carried by the rigid members (bones) as you'd expect, it's distributed throughout the fascial network.

PeterR
04-03-2012, 12:11 AM
Walter -- I don't have good peer-reviewed reports for you, and I don't have enough expertise in the field to know which journals are really reputable either. When I was looking at this--about a year ago--I found a lot of the pop-physiology articles but also a number of references to things scientists do when they're overturning a paradigm--that is, conferences organized on the specialized topic with researchers attending to share their findings (http://www.fasciacongress.org/), but no real new consensus yet formed. It was enough to convince me that this wasn't on a par with crystal healing, even if the actual science isn't nailed down yet.

My understanding is that the role of fascia isn't that it generates power in itself. It's more about power transmission, and how that power transmission is very much non-obvious in a structure as complex as the human body. So not only is it like pulling on a rope (tendons) but it's like plucking a guitar string, where force in one direction can be turned into force in a perpendicular direction, and like a tensegrity sculpture, where instead of the weight or force being carried by the rigid members (bones) as you'd expect, it's distributed throughout the fascial network.

Good response Hugh and it reflects what I have seen. By way of analogy I would use pulling the corner or edge of a rubber sheet. The effect is not as directional as the rope/tendon. I am far more comfortable with the idea that a lot of the inherent inflexibility we show is a function of the fascia rather than "stiff muscles".

kewms
04-03-2012, 01:16 AM
I think Thomas Myers -- author of Anatomy Trains, among other things -- is one of the leaders in research on the role of connective tissue. Putting his name into your favorite journal index or citation search is likely to turn up some good papers. The book Anatomy Trains itself has lots and lots of detail, and is very clear about what he can back up with research and what is extrapolation.

Men's Health had a pretty good introduction to the subject, and searching on the sources it used might be another productive avenue:
http://www.menshealth.com/print/17771

Katherine

dalen7
04-06-2012, 04:10 AM
The way his acolytes venerate him, showing a complete lack of knowledge of BJJ, is embarrassing (see the top comment about him '99% getting a twister' on Marcelo Garcia, for example).
The rubber guard seems to be a particularly bad idea: Ryan Hall calls it 'Wacky crap' on his triangle instructional, and Saulo Ribeiro eschews locking yourself to your opponent; plus, being trapped flat on your back is a big no-no in BJJ, right?

Dunno... Kevin spoke to this and if I remember correctly had good things to say about Saulo and Ryan.

But its kind of rough going all out and calling something "wacky crap"... unless your flexible enough to try it out. [Not knowing and not having trained with these guys I cannot say.]

I do know that flexibility is beneficial to the individual so it definitely cant hurt your game.
[It could only help you.]

My kids and I have been going through the Gracie Bullyproof program, and I have emphasized flexibility with this, and one of my kids can now fly into lotus position and another one is almost there.
Many people may struggle into lotus, but to put your legs up without using your hands is a mean feat indeed.

The fact is that for many its easier to go and pump iron than to work on flexibility.
And when you can throw 'horsepower into technique' as one MMA fighter put it, there is little patience for something that is not that comfortable to begin with. You just have to put your mind to it and do it.

Eddie cant go around with his height, weight, strength and represent to each individual that flexibility works. The individual in their own weight class needs to see if their flexibility gives them an edge.

Probably 9/10 people are indeed caught by surprise when the rare occasion happens that Mr./Ms. flexi walks in, knows their stuff [or even more so, doesnt know it that well] and pulls of something that unexpected.
[i.e. like my kotegaeshi in the grappling portion of Thai Boxing class... in fairness none of these guys had an authentic BJJ teacher - though they have one heck of a THai Boxing teacher.]

Whether or not such positions can be thwarted depends on their time practicing with this and making it second nature to them. [or vice-versa making it effective.]

Im around my 40s and I want to step my flexibility game up.
If just for my own health purposes.

Kevin put it rather nicely and it goes for most people in BJJ and in martial arts in general.
Hes not that flexible so it does not fit into his games.
Also he is not totally into the counter culture bit of Eddie.

Two points which summarize much of the traditional martial arts world as well as the bit with BJJ and flexibility.

- He was humble enough to say, "look I cant do it and it does not make me feel comfortable to work with at this time" [paraphrase, sorry if it appears to come across different than what you felt you intended.]

- counter culture.
Due to the whole counter culture bit people shy away from this... as well as the fact that its just darn hard to really get your body flexi enough to do what he does. [Hurts like... for this 'old man'] ;)

But that is typically how it is in arts, yet many disguise it with a 'right' or 'wrong', black and whites without any verification or attempt to verify things. Easily dismissing something or someone that does not fit in their mode. [Again, this is not what Kevin did, he owned up and stated what was up... and at least your aware of it and at some point you may be able to add parts to your game, or at least be aware of its validity which may fit into someone elses game you train with.]

So the whole point of the thread is about fitness.
indeed... First step is to drop worry and fear or rather stress,

Then have fun and move the body [call it exercise] and push it to various limits while experimenting [running, flexibility, biking, weight training... whatever it is your body needs - not someone elses body] ;)

Peace

Dalen

Gorgeous George
04-06-2012, 09:00 AM
Dunno... Kevin spoke to this and if I remember correctly had good things to say about Saulo and Ryan.

But its kind of rough going all out and calling something "wacky crap"... unless your flexible enough to try it out. [Not knowing and not having trained with these guys I cannot say.]

I do know that flexibility is beneficial to the individual so it definitely cant hurt your game.
[It could only help you.]

My kids and I have been going through the Gracie Bullyproof program, and I have emphasized flexibility with this, and one of my kids can now fly into lotus position and another one is almost there.
Many people may struggle into lotus, but to put your legs up without using your hands is a mean feat indeed.

The fact is that for many its easier to go and pump iron than to work on flexibility.
And when you can throw 'horsepower into technique' as one MMA fighter put it, there is little patience for something that is not that comfortable to begin with. You just have to put your mind to it and do it.

Eddie cant go around with his height, weight, strength and represent to each individual that flexibility works. The individual in their own weight class needs to see if their flexibility gives them an edge.

Probably 9/10 people are indeed caught by surprise when the rare occasion happens that Mr./Ms. flexi walks in, knows their stuff [or even more so, doesnt know it that well] and pulls of something that unexpected.
[i.e. like my kotegaeshi in the grappling portion of Thai Boxing class... in fairness none of these guys had an authentic BJJ teacher - though they have one heck of a THai Boxing teacher.]

Whether or not such positions can be thwarted depends on their time practicing with this and making it second nature to them. [or vice-versa making it effective.]

Im around my 40s and I want to step my flexibility game up.
If just for my own health purposes.

Kevin put it rather nicely and it goes for most people in BJJ and in martial arts in general.
Hes not that flexible so it does not fit into his games.
Also he is not totally into the counter culture bit of Eddie.

Two points which summarize much of the traditional martial arts world as well as the bit with BJJ and flexibility.

- He was humble enough to say, "look I cant do it and it does not make me feel comfortable to work with at this time" [paraphrase, sorry if it appears to come across different than what you felt you intended.]

- counter culture.
Due to the whole counter culture bit people shy away from this... as well as the fact that its just darn hard to really get your body flexi enough to do what he does. [Hurts like... for this 'old man'] ;)

But that is typically how it is in arts, yet many disguise it with a 'right' or 'wrong', black and whites without any verification or attempt to verify things. Easily dismissing something or someone that does not fit in their mode. [Again, this is not what Kevin did, he owned up and stated what was up... and at least your aware of it and at some point you may be able to add parts to your game, or at least be aware of its validity which may fit into someone elses game you train with.]

So the whole point of the thread is about fitness.
indeed... First step is to drop worry and fear or rather stress,

Then have fun and move the body [call it exercise] and push it to various limits while experimenting [running, flexibility, biking, weight training... whatever it is your body needs - not someone elses body] ;)

Peace

Dalen

I don't think it's a matter of Ryan Hall being incapable of using, or understanding Eddie Bravo's, er, 'system' (he demonstrates the rubber guard himself, when calling it 'wacky crap'), but rather, the fact that he competes at the highest level, against the best in the world, and knows what is legitimate - and what is possible to pull off against those of a low level, perhaps, or the unsuspecting.

There's the maxim 'Jiu jitsu for everyone', that Caio Terra, and Saulo Ribeiro champion: and i'm with them; I read something by TK Chiba a while back where he said the same thing about aikido: it's something that allows people to find their own way, and at their own pace.
But if you teach your style as a 'one-size-fits-all', then you're excluding people, and being ridiculously dogmatic: try telling 'Joey Karate' that he just needs to work on his flexibility -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-Vw7c42HiM

Marcelo Garcia repeatedly gave Eddie Bravo - the master of the rubber guard - the position; and repeatedly escaped it.
And for all Eddie's flexibility, he ended up using strength - whereas Marcelo used relaxation, and flowed around him.

Regards fitness in aikido: don't rely on muscle to effect technique; you have to be able to move, and that requires some muscle - but you should be able to have muscles, and be physically fit, and just not use them.
I'm sick of this mentality that becoming proficient at aikido is an excuse to be an unfit slob, because all you do is stand there, and relax - and you're never under pressure to defend yourself/remove yourself from a bad situation, so you can get away with it.
I want to make the most of my body while i'm relatively young - and having a somehwat toned physique, and good cardiovascular endurance, makes me feel good, healthy, and alive.
I'm both strong, and flexible. I've also recently started practicing some gymnastics, to aid my style in BJJ, and my body feels great - and so do I.

dalen7
04-06-2012, 10:00 AM
Regards fitness in aikido: don't rely on muscle to effect technique; you have to be able to move, and that requires some muscle - but you should be able to have muscles, and be physically fit, and just not use them.

Not sure if we are understanding one another... suppose the best way around words is just to get out and train with the individual to 'feel' what is being said. Clears up a lot.

This is how I have to learn due to the language where I live, [feeling the technique work], and I see so many people confused by when an instructor says one thing, and another comes up to stop them and says they are doing it wrong and shows them another way.

I step in, with what I do know, [Im not that 'beautiful' at it] and say with my best language skills to 'feel' if it works or not. And when it does there is a light that goes off in their head, an ah-ha moment.
And then I proceed to tell them, for political reasons, to do whatever they are taught and its up to them to show what they now learn for clarification with the given instructor.

Forums and Aikido are tough... we all have our perspective on it, but even speaking the same language - and more so - we can talk right over the others head.

Peace

Dalen

dalen7
04-06-2012, 10:50 AM
Marcelo Garcia repeatedly gave Eddie Bravo - the master of the rubber guard - the position; and repeatedly escaped it.

One note as this is about 'fitness'

Marcelo Garcia is 29...
Eddie Bravo is 41...

Not sure how old you are, but Im at 40s door and Im nothing like what I was in my late 20s.
The fact that he had the stamina to hang with him speaks volumes... do a count and see how many people over 40 hang with the younger guys.

[No, we get dvds called BJJ for over 40... emphasizing the difference - and the reason to stay fit and flexi] ;)

Peace

Dalen

Alberto_Italiano
04-07-2012, 10:57 AM
Hello all,

We had a Sensei yesterday teach us Ukemi for the whole 2 hour training period. It was amazing- and very level specific- so I found myself finally getting in a high breakfall practice that I wanted to do for months. The second class did something similar for half the time and then went back to regular technique practice for the other hour.

With my first summer seminar just 10 weeks away, I'm slightly worried now. Two full days of training is starting to sound...daunting. Especially as I sit here slightly sore from yesterday's work out.

This has raised three questions for me:

1. How fit does one has to be to do Aikido? We have practitioners here in their 30s with simply amazingly muscled bodies and then on the flip side other folks who are in theirs 60s/70s and still doing it. The question here is does the first type of person have the ability to access more of Aikido than the later.

2. How fit do you have to be to do a full day of Aikido? I assume you have to pace yourself and not spend all your energy at once. I also know all the techniques are not going to require a breakfall to survive. Good ukemi would help greatly here as well.

3. What type of fitness is needed for Aikido? At the higher levels (ie black belts doing randori) I can see the need for anaerobic capacity. But most of the time I'd guess aerobic. Is this correct?

Thanks,
ZoŽ S. Toth

Whatever. You should think of fitness because you enjoy sports, without any particular goal. Everything helps.

If indeed you want an advice, my two cents go for skipping rope. You should get able to make 10 rounds of three minutes, with one minute of pause. That's about 40 minutes on the whole.

I use a wrist watch with a countodwn alarm: i set it to 4 minutes, when it is at less 3 i start skipping, when it rings it should have autorestart, you check it until from 4 it goes again to less 3 minutes, and you start again the next round of skipping.

The reason for this is that you would get able to dance on your feet. You have no idea what sense of an advantage it may give to you knowing you can keep dancing around, and not run out of breath whilst your adversary is spent in one minute or two. Then you begin.
ps if your adversary is not spent in two or three minutes (in a real situation you will tell he feels spent inded from this even more than from his breathing: he will start lowering his neck and shoulders, as if slightly bending, while he looks at you a lil bit like a frustrated puppy), call Houston: we have a problem... (that is: you're in for a regular beating - so, be heroic: aaaaaaaaway on your heels!)

Gorgeous George
04-09-2012, 09:30 AM
One note as this is about 'fitness'

Marcelo Garcia is 29...
Eddie Bravo is 41...

Not sure how old you are, but Im at 40s door and Im nothing like what I was in my late 20s.
The fact that he had the stamina to hang with him speaks volumes... do a count and see how many people over 40 hang with the younger guys.

[No, we get dvds called BJJ for over 40... emphasizing the difference - and the reason to stay fit and flexi] ;)

Peace

Dalen

I don't think the age is of any significance.
For example, Marcelo Garcia has a teacher who is much older, and not as fit; however, they still roll, and his teacher will still be able to keep up; Saulo Ribeiro, in his book, even talks about sparring with Helio Gracie - in his nineties - while he himself was young, and a world champion, and Helio was able to defend himself against the submission; he also talks about sparring with a much older Rickson Gracie, and getting tapped by him, repeatedly.

What is going on in all these cases, and in the Garcia/Bravo video, is that everybody is taking the element of fitness out of the equation, and creating an equal playing field: technique Vs technique: that's how you learn in BJJ.
The fact that Eddie Bravo is gassing, is testament to poor technique: he repeatedly uses brute strength to try and contain Marcelo; that's bad BJJ, and bad aikido.
I well recall Koichi Tohei making the point that if you rely on tension/strength, then you will ultimately tire, and be unable to resist - and that's why you need to relax, and use technique, whether you do BJJ, or aikido.

'If you think, youíre late. If youíre late, you muscle. If you muscle, you tire; and if you tire, you die'

- Saulo Ribeiro

Walter Martindale
04-15-2012, 10:05 PM
Well, I don't have a lot more time for this. The "tensegrity" stuff is current, sure, but it's in the "popular" press. It's a really minor part of transmission of force from muscle to movement or stabilisation.

I had a nice hour long chat with a professor of spine biomechanics at the university of Waterloo. He consults for international olympic sports federations, for some MMA equipment manufacturers, and for some MMA competitors. There's a confidentiality agreement he enters into with the sport feds and the competitors that prevents him from telling the world who he's consulting for.

Essentially, the upshot of the discussion was that the whole "fascia" and "tensegrity" thing isn't really anything to get all fired up about.

Fitness required for Aikido - depends. Do you want to teach a few techniques and then go around and correct techniques, or do you want to be active, robust, tough, and strong enough to actually do something when some young buck wants to take your head off? There are lots of examples of young bucks taking old 'no touch' sensei apart, and frankly I'm not at all interested in going up against any of them - maybe 30 years ago... Nah, not even then.

Get as fit as you can - run, run up and down hills, run up and down stairs. Carry your friend(s) up hills or stairs. Practice LOTS of aikido with LOTS of ukemi. Swim, ride a bike, learn how to balance a racing shell and row a single for 2 hours a day. It's just like getting to Carnegie Hall... Practice, Practice, Practice. You get fit by practicing, you get skilled by practicing, and if you do supplementary training, you get fitness from (say) continuous work that isn't interrupted by minutes of sitting in seiza while a sensei babbles on about how to do something when he could have got you going with four demonstrations - or three...

Gotta go.
W

Kevin Leavitt
04-16-2012, 07:54 AM
Nice post Walter. I can relate to the seiza stuff for sure!

Walter Martindale
04-16-2012, 08:20 AM
Nice post Walter. I can relate to the seiza stuff for sure!

experience:
sensei mumbles, teaches, demonstrates, mumbles towards floor, demonstrates, beats up uke for a couple of minutes.

(while mumbling about what he's doing - whoopie - he ALMOST speaks loud enough to get through the tinnitus generated by range practices in the days before hearing protection and YEARS of sitting next to outboard motors...)

releases dojo to practice.
Partner 1 tries move 4x
Partner 2 (frequently me) gets into second attempt to try move.
Sensei claps hands and we're all back in seiza

lather
rinse
repeat
MADDENING
Knees no longer young, ankles, too...
Cheers,
W