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Mary Eastland
06-21-2013, 09:39 AM
Training for life is quite a commitment. We get to run into ourselves often: injuries, classes where only one or two students show up, ego, rank, whether to stay with a teacher or wander about on our own. We train through times when life is easy and life gets difficult.

Long drives, economic worries, issues with other students or teachers... these situations can all seem like reasons to stop...along with having to train with limitatations because of age or a long term injury. Job changes, family commitments, complacency, boredom...people stop training for all sorts of reasons.


For me the best way to honor this commitment that I have is to train one class at a time.


God willing and the creek don't rise... I will be on the mat on Saturday morning...10:00 A. M sharp...cause I am teaching first. :D

scott.swank
06-21-2013, 11:12 AM
Akira Tohei told me he had to dedicated enough to come to the next class.

bkedelen
06-21-2013, 12:32 PM
Every other athletic program in the world, including other Japanese gendai budo, use some form of strength and conditioning to prevent and rehabilitate injury, prolong active years, and create people who are more useful in general. People hoping to maximize their years in Aikido may benefit similarly.

aiki-jujutsuka
06-22-2013, 04:43 AM
Every other athletic program in the world, including other Japanese gendai budo, use some form of strength and conditioning to prevent and rehabilitate injury, prolong active years, and create people who are more useful in general. People hoping to maximize their years in Aikido may benefit similarly.

While I believe that all martial arts should promote and encourage their members to remain fit, strong and healthy my experience of combat sports and my observations of others is that they are at more risk of injury. When I did Judo I suffered torn ligaments in my knee and hematomas on my shins. A friend of mine who is now doing Judo has broken his toes and his radius in his arm. While all these injuries heal and we can carry on training, I have found my school of aiki-jujutsu to be more conducive to training as I have not (thankfully) suffered any serious injuries yet. Yes I come away with bruises sometimes and sore wrists if it has been a particularly rigorous night of training (usually tanto waza) or a heavy focus on Nidan (nikkyo), I've also been punched for real a few times either by not moving quick enough or my partner not pulling their atemi; however nothing that has kept me off the mat. Continuity in training is very important in my opinion.

I desire to train for life, however, that is a big commitment and life changes in all sorts of ways. Take my current training for example. I received my ikkyu rank earlier this month meaning that I am now at the highest level of kyu grade before I go for my dan grade. I am one grade away from my black belt but I am emigrating to Japan before I can sit it! In the bigger picture this doesn't bother me - after all it's not all about the colour of your belt but your attitude to training - nevertheless I will have to begin all over again in Japan at white belt as I want to transition to Aikido. But who knows whether I will be with the same club/area long enough to grade to black when I'm in Japan? Who knows whether I will be able to commit to weekly training when I'm married or when I eventually have a family and who knows what my financial situation will be like several years from now? There are so many variables. I look at my senseis and shihans and admire them for the decades worth of training they have accomplished and long to imitate their dedication, but I can't make any promises to myself because I can't predict my situation in 10, 15 or 20 years from now. All I can do is carry on training as often as I can, when I can and enjoy my training, because if we stop enjoying our training we are less likely to continue with it.

JP3
06-22-2013, 12:36 PM
Training for a lifetime is merely going to class one day after another.... for a lifetime. It's harder than one might think.

Life is strange. I know, Captain Obvious. But, life moves us around, sometimes it driving us, sometimes us chasing it - and, at times, us carrying it ploddingly onwards with the weight across the back and shoulders. Martial art is a part of our lives, but sometimes not part of the lives of those around us with whom we share those lives, those we love, like and sometimes those we only tolerate or outright acknowledge that we do not care for.

We may leave a place for another place, and in the changing of places, the circumstances almost always change. But, we can almost always find a place to practice/train. In something.

Someone might need to leave their classes (but perhaps not practice on their own) of shindo muzo ryu jodo, for example, to take up iaido of one of a few varying styles, or perhaps even sport kendo. Each is weapon based of course, but each is as different from the others as a pine tree is from an apple tree is to a willow (not drawing parallels). Still, there is much to be gained from "merely" continuing to train, yes?

Injuries happen. Above, in Ewen's response to Benjamin, he relates how he has slid away from judo practice (sounds as if he was in a serious sports club, which can be a lot of fun, but there's a lot of conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy going on, eh?) to stick with his aikijutsu, but his partner caught him a couple times when something went awry. As he said, it happens. If the aikijutsu practice gets a little "too" realistic or combative/competitive, punches landing might become more commonplace (throwing punches is a simple, learned skill at the basic level, compared with the methods of dealing with them effectively via the various forms of aiki, right? You would agree with that?), his opinion might change a bit, and he might yearn for the good old judo dyas of a dislocated toe, rather than a fractured orbital socket. I've been in a class where a tori zigged when he should have zagged, "smack" combined with "pop" and off to the hospital someone went. Uke was horrified at what happened, but it does happen. Where was I going? Oh yes, lifetime training and a point on the physical fitness side of things.

Just for health's sake, everyone should be doing some sort of exercise which promotes accelerated heart rates, to get into the therapudic training zone, usually the easiest way to know when you are is when you break a sweat, sort off like the body's parallel to kicking on the radiator fan. We really "should" all be doing tha 3x a week, but life gets in the way.

I guess I felt like rambling, so I did, and lost my way. But, I taught class last night, took some good techniques from my two guys coming up for nidan, tweaked some of their stuff, and we'll be back at it on Tuesday. Just how it goes, and has gone, since 1975. Ouch... coming up on 40 years of practicing ... something. Not age. Ouch I say...

lbb
06-24-2013, 08:26 AM
Every other athletic program in the world, including other Japanese gendai budo, use some form of strength and conditioning to prevent and rehabilitate injury, prolong active years, and create people who are more useful in general. People hoping to maximize their years in Aikido may benefit similarly.

This sounds like great advice, but a minor nit: I never saw anything like this when I was practicing karate, or heard of a karate dojo that did this.

Walter Martindale
06-24-2013, 09:43 AM
This sounds like great advice, but a minor nit: I never saw anything like this when I was practicing karate, or heard of a karate dojo that did this.

You didn't do pushups in your karate dojo?
Stretch? It may not be specifically called "preventive training" but I've not seen a karate or TKD dojo where some part of every session was devoted to a bunch of exercises that - while called 'warm up' were also 'conditioning' - or 'prehabilitation' or....
Not that I've been to a lot of karate or TKD (one or two of each) but we sure used to do a lot of stretching, pushups and (it was a long time ago) situps in judo...

Janet Rosen
06-24-2013, 10:05 AM
Of course, stretching cold before working out has been shown to be useless anyhow....in any athletic endeavor.

lbb
06-24-2013, 11:20 AM
You didn't do pushups in your karate dojo?
Stretch? It may not be specifically called "preventive training" but I've not seen a karate or TKD dojo where some part of every session was devoted to a bunch of exercises that - while called 'warm up' were also 'conditioning' - or 'prehabilitation' or....
Not that I've been to a lot of karate or TKD (one or two of each) but we sure used to do a lot of stretching, pushups and (it was a long time ago) situps in judo...

We did "stretching" (see Janet's comment), no pushups. It certainly wasn't any closer to "conditioning" than what we do in aikido (in fact I'd say the latter is somewhat better - the wrist stretches are helpful, and we do situps). It isn't conditioning. I think the idea of conditioning is great, but I don't think the dojo is the place for it (it has a different set of goals, and it takes a lot of time), and I don't see any dojo in any style doing what I'd call conditioning.

Walter Martindale
06-24-2013, 11:48 AM
yes, it's true that stretching prior to high-level competing or hard training can actually take away from performance. And, I agree that most of the exercising done prior to a training session isn't sufficient to be considered "training". I recall being told of a conversation between my sensei and Okano Isao (all Japan judo Champion some time in the late 60s) - Okano apparently insisted that he never did anything other than judo for training, but my sensei bumped into him at the Kodokan's weight room when Okano was pounding away on the bench press and doing some huge weights in other movements - "I thought you said you only did judo for training" - Apparently the reply was "this is judo"..
Who's going to argue with an 80 kg all-japan champion?
Training - if you're truly training - is more than dojo time - just like in my professional side training is more than just boat time - in a 12-workout week, 2-3 weights sessions and 1-2 run or bicycle sessions supplement/complement the time spent in a racing skiff.

jonreading
06-24-2013, 11:50 AM
A pop-up said its been a while since my last post... So here goes...

I tend to agree with the observation that most organized sports or athletic programs have a conditioning component. Some components are less stringent, or may precede instruction, but they are there. I think you can argue the effeciveness of the component, but my experience in martial arts, community athletics, highschool athletics, and collegiate athletics have all included conditioning as a core element of practice. Aikido is actually the only martial art or athletic practice in which I have been involved that did not include some kind of conditioning as part of regular class.

Second. I have heard the the claim from many aikido people who I respect indicate that certain types of conditioning will make aikido training less intuitive. That's fine. I believe the point of the message is that some of what we do requires a "re-wiring" of body movement; I have not heard anyone make the claim conditioning is bad, just counter-productive to aiki movement. To be fair, I would take issue with a claim that physical activity of any kind is "bad".

Third. I think most martial arts strive to create a workout methodology that maximizes intensity and minimizes injury. I can't imagine a dojo that intended to cause injury amongst its students would survive - we all saw what happened to the Cobra Kai dojo. I am not sure citing a sports injury inherit to participating in a sport is supportive of any claim against, or for, conditioning. What I hear coming from the broken oldies is that the manner in which they trained at an earlier point in their career did not carry a good workout methodology and the level of intensity at which they trained exceeded their bodies' abilities to ward off injury. Some of these individuals are leading the way in creating a workout methodology that allows for intensity with a lower risk of injury.

bkedelen
06-24-2013, 01:46 PM
We did "stretching" (see Janet's comment), no pushups. It certainly wasn't any closer to "conditioning" than what we do in aikido (in fact I'd say the latter is somewhat better - the wrist stretches are helpful, and we do situps). It isn't conditioning. I think the idea of conditioning is great, but I don't think the dojo is the place for it (it has a different set of goals, and it takes a lot of time), and I don't see any dojo in any style doing what I'd call conditioning.

If you rely on what you do in the dojo to create the totality of the environment which will allow you to maximize your training life, you may be missing out on many wonderful things such as nutrition, general physical preparation, quality sleep, etc..

Furthermore there are many, many budo dojo with integrated conditioning. Most Judo dojo have a warm-up that is more taxing than two hours of Aikido class, some koryu have serious conditioning built into their systems, and any dojo worth a damn needs to have a warm-up which provides for the most basic needs of its practitioners. Now there are even Aikido dojo which have classes that have a conditioning component that is either integrated into their classes or taught in separate classes. This kind of thing is pure common sense in my opinion.

Krystal Locke
06-24-2013, 02:10 PM
What does stretching cold do for gymnasts that isn't better achieved faster and with less injury by other methods such as stretching after a reasonable warm up?

bkedelen
06-24-2013, 02:17 PM
Two of the programs with which I am familiar have athletes do several mobility and flexibility sessions throughout the day independent of their gym training schedule. The proscription on cold stretching is not exactly wrong, it is just broscience.

lbb
06-24-2013, 08:10 PM
If you rely on what you do in the dojo to create the totality of the environment which will allow you to maximize your training life, you may be missing out on many wonderful things such as nutrition, general physical preparation, quality sleep, etc..

Yes, you see, that was my point, in response to your earlier comment:

"Every other athletic program in the world, including other Japanese gendai budo, use some form of strength and conditioning to prevent and rehabilitate injury, prolong active years, and create people who are more useful in general."

"Every other athletic program in the world" does not have something that I would call "conditioning". Speaking only from my own experience, not only is it not "the totality" of a fitness program, it isn't even a decent nod in that direction.

Furthermore there are many, many budo dojo with integrated conditioning. Most Judo dojo have a warm-up that is more taxing than two hours of Aikido class, some koryu have serious conditioning built into their systems, and any dojo worth a damn needs to have a warm-up which provides for the most basic needs of its practitioners.

I'm willing to believe that such things exist, but I'd want to see the specifics of one of these programs before I agreed that it was "integrated conditioning". And I'd want to see numbers before I'd agree that "many, many budo dojo" have this.

This kind of thing is pure common sense in my opinion.

No argument. I just don't think it's very common, and there's probably a good reason for that: conditioning, true conditioning, is both time-consuming and rather specific to the individual.

ChrisMikk
06-27-2013, 02:25 AM
I don't see any dojo in any style doing what I'd call conditioning.

In my Kenshusei program, the first class every day is devoted to conditioning. Sometimes it is ukemi work, sometimes calisthenic-type. Since all the students this year have knee issues, the classes have to be very imaginative, but last year they went running, did lots of air squats, etc.

Since a lot of aikido at our (beginner) level is unlearning strength and learning center, I think traditional weight training would be counterproductive. However, I think the thing keeping more of the advanced students from more conditioning is (1) lack of training tools and (2) lack of time.

ChrisMikk
06-27-2013, 03:10 AM
Japan culture point People may be interested to know that in Japan, there does not seem to be the same gym culture that we have in the US (or, I assume, in Europe). Popular work-outs in Japan seem to be tied to activity. For example, a boxer-cise class... or martial arts.

Periodization I would guess that a major issue facing a martial arts supplementary training regimen is that the cycle of training is very different from modern athletics. The goal of modern athletics is to maximize performance for a narrow demographic (young people) in a narrow time frame (end of season championships). Enter the concept of periodization. For Michael Phelps, the four years between Olympics are not a weekly grind of swimming and weight lifting. The timeframe is broken up with periods of more or less dry land work, more or fewer meters swum in the pool, more or less intensity. It's all a four-year-long plan designed to get his speed to peak in a narrow two-week window at the end of the four years.

Aikido is very different. There is no "peak performance window," not even any timeframe goals excepting testing.

Gendai budo like judo that are practiced as a competitive sport are somewhere in between aikido and Olympic swimming. I think this is why judo has supplementary training. My guess is that people who and places where judo practice more as a sport have more supplementary training than places where judo is practiced as a "martial art."

If the goal or concept of a supplementary training program in aikido is to improve performance, what we know from physiology, kinesiology, etc should lead us into some sort of periodization scheme (even without a competition looming), which would change dojo culture completely...

Imagine a dojo where the sensei said, "from September to December, I want everyone to cut back on their mat hours and spend more time with free weights." Never!!!

Imagine a dojo that was so close-knit that students could coordinate their schedules to follow any periodized program at all. Never!!! (Except in Yoshinkan kenshusei/senshusei training, where the students train all together every day, over a one-year period, with a common set of monthly goals.)

On the other hand, if the goal or concept of supplementary training in aikido is injury prevention, then something completely different should be conceived with a systemic training program that includes things like beginners' instruction in how not to injure people and a way of teaching techniques that relies on something other than trial and error for student progress. My guess is that because of the types of injuries common to aikido, performance-oriented training like weights is less useful than improving focus, resolve, and partner-awareness. (Again, this sounds a little like Yoshinkan aikido... what can I say?)

grondahl
06-27-2013, 03:58 AM
Aikido is very different. There is no "peak performance window," not even any timeframe goals excepting testing.

I would guess that for many, seminars and training-trips could very well be viewed as "peak performance window". Going from maybe 6 hour/week to 6 hour/day is quite a ramp up in intensity and in my experience many have to take classes of after the first day or two.


On the other hand, if the goal or concept of supplementary training in aikido is injury prevention, then something completely different should be conceived with a systemic training program that includes things like beginners' instruction in how not to injure people and a way of teaching techniques that relies on something other than trial and error for student progress. My guess is that because of the types of injuries common to aikido, performance-oriented training like weights is less useful than improving focus, resolve, and partner-awareness. (Again, this sounds a little like Yoshinkan aikido... what can I say?)

Doing lots of similar training without supplementary exercises for mobility and strength is a sure way to get injured in the long run regardless of sport (this is equally true for runners and cyclists as aikidoka), this is usually something that programs for running etc point out and adresses while I never have seen this in an organised fashion in aikido.

jonreading
06-27-2013, 11:48 AM
I was think about testing as a peak period... ASU is starting to spend more time getting yudansha candidates prepared for their exams.

As a point of inspiration for me, I enjoy seeing older students take ukemi. I want healthy, vibrant ukes of all ages and conditions training.

I think some of this discussion reflects upon our comitment to train. If an exercise program improves my strength, stamina and health in order to better train, then it is part of what I should be doing. We have had discussion before about whether an activity can be considered "aikido training" if it does not include kata exercise. I think we all have different limited commitments to aikido. I think there is a segment of the population that does not perceive conditioning or other athletic activity as part of their training, nor do they wish to participate in such an endeavor.

Going back to the original post, I think carving out the time and money to train to your level of commitment is vital to your continued participation in any activity. As an observation of responsibility, I would think that if we allocate some portion of our time and money to participating in aikido, why would we neglect the vehicle of training?

phitruong
06-28-2013, 10:39 AM
If an exercise program improves my strength, stamina and health in order to better train, then it is part of what I should be doing.

have you tried Zumba yet? it looks interesting. don't know about strength, but stamina and health should be covered. i might have to give it a go, but have to return my yoga pants first, because it shown way too much stuffs. :D

jonreading
06-28-2013, 11:45 AM
We are completely moving to bedazzled yoga pants as standard uniform... Just saying...

Hilary
06-29-2013, 04:36 PM
Of course, stretching cold before working out has been shown to be useless anyhow....in any athletic endeavor.

With all due respect, every time I have seen a “stretching does not reduce injury study” once I dig a little deeper, they are always talking about runners occasionally triathletes. Now to be fair I’ve only drilled down on five or so (over 7-8 years). Thus for what most of us do the study is irrelevant. We deal in potentially extreme body flexure under load. We deal with ranges of motion the runners and cyclists don’t and our motions are not repetitive cyclic motion associated with long distance events.

With only a minor amount of stretching I dramatically increase my shoulder waist and hip ranges of motion. Give me research on martial artists, dancers, acrobats and gymnasts and I’ll buy it. I buy runners don’t need to stretch to reduce injury, their activity is a mostly a more intense version of what we do every day…walk.

bkedelen
06-29-2013, 06:31 PM
That is exactly my experience Hilary.

I have seen other studies potentially correlating cold stretching with reductions in "strength". When you actually read the studies, or even just read the conclusions instead of a sensationalized headline, you find out something like the fact that "strength" for the purposes of biometrics research means something useless like ( max grip strength + max hamstring curl ) / 2 or the contractile potential of biopsied muscle tissue.

The reality facing any actual athlete, including martial artists, is that any drawbacks mobility training may pose are far, far outweighed by the potential disaster faced by those who train on bodies that are imbalanced, inflexible, and mechanically lazy.

Janet Rosen
06-29-2013, 07:11 PM
I have also seen studies - and I'm sorry, I don't keep a cache of links - saying that static stretching of cold muscles makes them more prone to microtears.
Here's a google search page:
https://www.google.com/search?q=stretching+cold+muscles+microtears&oq=stretching+cold+muscles+microtears&aqs=chrome.0.57.13833j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
Personally cold stretching never did improve my on the mat experience, while general movement, range of motion, rocking into rolling, and tai sabaki do.

Hey, I know it's a minority view and I know most of the folks in my dojo are hooked on long static stretching before training.

bkedelen
06-29-2013, 07:39 PM
Actually I agree with you Janet. I think if you can do so, why not do other warm-up activities before stretching to avoid doing it "cold"? The only problem that people run into is the need to do their mobility when they can find time throughout the day, which usually results in some cold work for people with kids, full time jobs, etc.. As a coach I would rather see people do the work than skip it because they can't do it under ideal conditions. Also I think that the research on cold stretching has generally degraded people's opinion of other kinds of stretching and mobility work in general, which is really going to cost the folks who use that research to skip out on a core discipline in the game of lifelong training.

Hilary
06-30-2013, 12:20 PM
So after reading the first post in the google link I stand by my guns on this one, with a caveat. I think these days when we say the word stretching and when we observe most people doing it (particularly in the context of aikido) we are talking slow dynamic stretches.

I don't see people forcing the muscles trying to get their splits. I have not observed the grab toes and hold position for 30 second type of activity for over a decade. That sort of thing is reserved for increasing range of motion. I have daughter who trains in circus arts and is currently taking contortion classes. They, once they have warmed everything up push and bend using, what seems to be a lot of PNF type work. They do some grab and hold, but I don't see it in any dojo I've been in as normal warmup.

Janet Rosen
07-01-2013, 12:30 AM
(ahem) afraid you haven't observed a bunch of places I have where grab and hold is still common part of "warmup". BTW, I am a big fan of PNF - not at all across the board anti-stretching.

jonreading
07-01-2013, 01:10 PM
As part of many PT tests, participants are tested on their ability to touch their toes from a "cold" stretch. This is a test of your natural range of motion. They have simlar exams for arms, torso, etc. I performed one every session of my knee PT returning from an ACL surgery.

Most of the "cold" stretching with which I am familar surrounds our natural flexibility and is a stimulation of circulation as we prepare our bodies for activity. I am personally not familar with a method of "cold" stretching intended to increase flexibility. My experience with gain stretching is that activity is intended for a period during which your muscles already have circulation and you are "warmed up". In many cases, the micro abrasion is intended to elongate muscle tissue or build muscle tissue (the scarring tissue adds muscle mass and your muscles get bigger).

The idea behind "cold" streching is to become knowledgeable about your body's natural state of flexation. In practice, the idea being the mugger is likely not going to give you time to strech and warm up before chasing you several blocks... Or your 4-year old son deciding to test daddy's back by jumping onto him from the 6th stair. It happens...

Janet Rosen
07-01-2013, 07:10 PM
Yes - a test of range of motion. When the others in my dojo are doing their long static stretches as part of "warming up" I am at the back of the mat doing slow moving range of motion. There ARE still dojos, not just this one, that include holding static stretches of cold muscles in order to, according to their thinking, promote movement and flexibility - because it's "traditional".

Janet Rosen
07-02-2013, 12:07 AM
Since I am one of several folks who have sort of sidetracked this from the OP...I'm going to post something to try and swing it back :-)
Training in the long haul to me means....
1. keeping it fresh by continuing to get out and explore, then bringing back home anything of value, be it a small bit of advice or an overhaul of approach
2. allowing myself to change how I train based on demands of a changing body for better or for worse
3. continuing to engage with beginners in an open and engaged way in order to pay back my seniors and to help keep myself sharp because it's the beginners whose bodies and questions can be so reality-testing

lbb
07-02-2013, 08:07 AM
I think there's a distinction between "training for the long haul" and "training in the long haul". The former is the more common expression, and has to do with plans and goals. The latter means being in process.