View Full Version : A solo training method of Ueshiba Morihei

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Ellis Amdur
03-31-2012, 03:12 PM
I'm just finishing up a two week training stint in Athens. The current training venue is an old concrete factory, with a marble floor, with decades of machine oil and almost microscopic metal tailings ground in. My students have cleaned and scraped the floor and the walls and the - - - - anyway, it's not enough. The place would need an industrial size steam cleaner and probably electromagnets!. So what they've done is bolt plastic tarps over the floor and everyone wears shoes to train in. So after one week Araki-ryu, where I battered the hell out of my knees, and now Toda-ha Buko-ryu. Last night, finished a good four hour practice and was calming walking down the street and my ankle simply gave out. A joint-capsule sprain, not severe, but painful and weird - I was on flat ground, just took a step and . . .
Which brings to mind the book Born to Run. (http://www.amazon.com/Born-Run-Hidden-Superathletes-Greatest/dp/0307266303) I have close to 45 years, barefoot, or when outside, with sandals - minimal soles. Not expecting this training situation, the only thing I had was wonderfully shaped and padded Oakley all-purpose athletic shoes. Best as I can tell, my sore knees didn't help, but here I was doing movements that were almost instinctual, but wearing footwear that totally changed my relationship with the ground. My brain was getting utterly deranged information, and then, when walking on flat ground, simply organized me in a way that momentarily, the ankle sheared.
So today, I'm gimping along and I laid a bo on the ground and started standing on it, and rolling my foot on it - hard enough to hurt. Made the ankle functional enough to practice. In short, I woke up all the proprioceptors in the ankle that receive information from the foot that tell the brain about irregularities in the ground.
And then I remembered something that Terry Dobson told me. He only told me two things about Osensei's training regimen. That anytime he traveled with him, Osensei was up half the night, praying. And that every morning, he spent about 10 minutes doing the same standing on a jo, moving so the full pressure hit every point on his feet, and rolling the jo back and forth with pressure, as if grinding out the muscles of the feet.
Aside from it helping my ankle a little, I can see a pretty powerful effect in increasing the sense of contact with the full foot, contouring itself to the irregularities of the ground.
Ellis Amdur

03-31-2012, 03:48 PM
Although they have it under the "no pain no gain" genre here. http://www.mensjournal.com/laird-hamilton-says-make-yourself-uncomfortable
The full article in print has mention of the proprioceptors and shocking the central nervous system awake by standing on golf balls, specifically under your " bubbling well point " or kidney one point to Chinese medicine( just behind the ball of your foot , middle)
Hopefully awareness of this kind of fitness catches on soon
Thanks very much for sharing this

Janet Rosen
03-31-2012, 05:55 PM
Interesting! (and BTW - hope you mend fully and quickly!) - it was a Pilates rehab specialist who, about 6 or 7 yrs ago, got me using the same rubber ball I use for back trigger points to stand on and flex/stretch each foot in turn. Hurts but helps. Never thought to try w/ staff but methinks a left foot/right foot comparitive study shall commence this evening.

Michael Varin
03-31-2012, 09:28 PM
I've been a proponent of "foam rolling" for the past few years.

I roll my feet on a golf ball every morning. It makes a big difference.

In fact, if the rest of my activities aren't throwing my body out of balance, it seems to be the only thing I need to do regularly now.

Carsten Möllering
04-01-2012, 06:13 AM
... standing on a jo, moving so the full pressure hit every point on his feet, and rolling the jo back and forth with pressure, as if grinding out the muscles of the feet.
Interesting. My first teacher used to do this very often.

Im was nearly not able to do it correct or completely, because there where some places on the sole of my feet where I just could not bear the deep pain. It felt as if my feet would break apart, or as if the pain was going deep through my whole body.
I am now doing kind of qi gong since some weeks. And standing "correct", making contact to the ground, aligning the body and so on, causes a little ache here, a joint that creaks there and so on. The body "works", just like timber.
And regarding my feet it is the exactly same places I "feel" during specific excercises.
There is a whole lot going on down there in my feet. And whatever it is, it is clearly related to what is going on in the rest of my body. ;-)

Alex Megann
04-01-2012, 01:32 PM
Kanetsuka Sensei used to have us do this on the wooden floor in the dojo where he taught at the time.

We did two exercises: standing with the feet parallel facing across the jo and rolling back and forth across it so it massaged the whole of the soles of the feet; and standing in hanmi on the jo and pivoting on the balls of our feet to face one way and then the other.

I remember being VERY aware of my feet afterwards...