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DavidM
08-09-2002, 03:05 AM
Hey All, Just wondering if anyone has any websites, or videos that will demonstrate things to do with a Bokken that will increase some upper body strength....Just no Jo work....I'm not very fond of that one yet....
Any help would be greatly appriciated...

Thanks,
David

Genex
08-09-2002, 05:26 AM
We were doing bokken work last night also, mainly takes but some strikes and cuts.

This is a site Ian gave me and i've found it Really useful

http://12.224.234.149/WeaponsKata.htm

hope it helps a bit i know my upper arms hurt a bit after last night i did find after putting my bokken down my arms wanted to raise to the ceiling, this could have been the strikes and counter strikes taking their toll.

pete

JJF
08-09-2002, 05:27 AM
Take a look at the aikigallery in the 'equipment' part. Theres is a picture of what I think is called a 'Makiwara'. It is designed for doing suburi-exercises (cutting-exercises) with the bokken. Somewhere on the net I once saw a description of how to build one, but I can't remember where. Maybe this is what you are looking for.

akiy
08-09-2002, 09:23 AM
Take a look at the aikigallery in the 'equipment' part. Theres is a picture of what I think is called a 'Makiwara'.
That would be this picture:

http://www.aikiweb.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=38

In any case, I've really never fully understood the want for more upper body strength using a bokuto. It's not strength that cuts using a sword but correct blade angle and correct cutting motion. Aikido is also not about upper body strength but using the whole body in a correct manner.

Any thoughts?

-- Jun

Aikilove
08-09-2002, 10:29 AM
Yes, I think the late Saito Shihan said that practicing tanren on a makiwara like the one on the picture, would strengthen the hip stability. i.e. if done correctly it's not an exercise for the arms or the upper body (maybe the lower arms then because of the grip :)).

willy_lee
08-09-2002, 01:02 PM
I think there's nothing wrong with increasing upper body strength in aikido as long as you're increasing it in conjunction with your whole body.

Of course you want to make sure that your power is coming from your hips and core muscles. That said, doing lots of suburi practice is a good wholebody workout, including your wrists, forearms, and biceps, at least for me. I am a relative beginner, so take this with as much salt as you like.

I guess you could always use one of those big suburi bokken that look like oars if you really want to build up your arms. Or indian clubs. Or do tanren bo (look here: http://ejmas.com/pt/ptart_taylor_1200.htm)

=wl

Bruce Baker
08-20-2002, 03:11 PM
If you want to increase your upper body strength, it won't be with a bokken or sword. It will be with pushups, exercise, and a great diet that compliments yours calory usage.

After you get all bulked up, then you will seek the path that lets the mind give you strength, not the physical body. Hence, the practice becomes the art with the mind, body, and extension of a weapon that takes in the energy, then releases it in movement.

If you do high repetitions, with very light weights, such as going beyond physical strength, then you begin to understand that strength is not always from muscles, but mostly from technique/ endurance.

Find these things, and you will not ask about upper body strength ... although it couldn't hurt if you were in a pinch.

MaylandL
08-20-2002, 08:15 PM
...It's not strength that cuts using a sword but correct blade angle and correct cutting motion. Aikido is also not about upper body strength but using the whole body in a correct manner.

...-- Jun
Hello Jun

I absolutely agree. Its the cutting technique including the focus of the cut. I've always been taught to relax the shoulders, arms and hands when cutting and to focus on using my hips and movement to power a cut. My experience is that when strength is used to weild a sword the cutting motion is more akin to "chopping wood" - its a more "hacking" rather than cutting cleanly.

IMHO, the use of bokken and jo is an extension of your hand. The principles of doing aikido and its associated positioning and movements with or without weapons remains the same.

Anyone have other thoughts?

wanderingwriath
08-20-2002, 08:23 PM
Strength may not be important in a technical way, but strength and endurance are absolutely lovely for those long training sessions. Stamina as well.

akiy
08-20-2002, 10:13 PM
I absolutely agree. Its the cutting technique including the focus of the cut. I've always been taught to relax the shoulders, arms and hands when cutting and to focus on using my hips and movement to power a cut. My experience is that when strength is used to weild a sword the cutting motion is more akin to "chopping wood" - its a more "hacking" rather than cutting cleanly.
When using a shinken to cut through makiwara, I've noticed that as soon as I initiate the cut with my upper body, the hasuji goes awry and my sword bounces off the makiwara. Relaxed cuts cut right through...

As one of my friends who has done a heck of a lot more makiwara cutting than I have (in Shinkendo) said, his best day in cutting was when he was barely getting over the flu. He could hardly life the sword! But, because he was allowing the weight of the sword to cut, it cut cleanly and without effort.

Lastly, I've heard that Yamaguchi sensei used to say that all aikido techniques should be done by the weight of one's arm.

-- Jun

MaylandL
08-21-2002, 05:07 AM
...Relaxed cuts cut right through...

...
I think there's still a need for the proper intent and focus for the cut though. It seems that there is a balance between being too tense and not tense enough. I'm still learning the proper cutting technique.
...

Lastly, I've heard that Yamaguchi sensei used to say that all aikido techniques should be done by the weight of one's arm.

...
I've heard something similar from a godan that visits one of the dojos that I train at. He has been doing aikido for 30 something years!

Back to the subject at hand, I'm not sure that the use of bokken and the associated suburi, awase(?) and kumitachi exercises are designed for strengthening the upper body. The dojo that I train at emphasises the use of bokken as a means of proper use of bokken/jo, teaching movement, miai(sp?), positioning, use and extension of ki. I stand corrected if other dojos also perform bokken exercises as a means to improve strength. I understand that there is a heavier style bokken that is used for training and this might be used to improve strength.

If aikidoka experience soreness, tenderness etc from bokken work it may be due to incorrect cutting technique and not necessarily lack of strength/stamina. I think there are more efficient and effective strength training such as weights.

Happy training all :)

Bruce Baker
08-28-2002, 07:18 PM
You know ... if you chop wood for an hour or so, you stop using strength and start using technique.

Either that, or you slip and chance a very nasty cut. Maybe that is why I rather enjoy thirty minutes or more of continuous aiki-ken or Aiki-jo.

jimvance
09-04-2002, 01:45 PM
You know ... if you chop wood for an hour or so, you stop using strength and start using technique.I agree. My dad is a carpenter, has been one for forty years, and is real skinny. He can drive nails better than anyone I have ever seen, one tap to set, one tap to drive. He has never asked for a bigger hammer so his muscles will get bigger, as a matter of fact, he stays away from the bigger hammers. I worked with him last summer for four months and he worked me into the ground on "hammering" days. I spent a good part of my time resetting nails because I couldn't drive them correctly.

If form follows function, why does anyone need big muscles to use a three foot knife? Anyone in a trade using tools will tell you that all things being equal (no loss of performance or longevity), they would rather use lighter tools.

Think of it as personal economics. If you have heavier tools, you have to have bigger muscles. That means you have to exert more energy to use the tools. This is turn means you have to consume more food as fuel to power the muscles and more food as raw material to rebuild the muscles. Is bigger always better?

I don't think so. Budo and current social standards don't always mix. One teacher in my past told me I had to work smarter, not just harder.

Jim Vance

Liz Baron
09-04-2002, 04:55 PM
The best lessons I've had in this area were actually during a basic blacksmithing course I went on last March.

The hammer was maybe 3 to 3.5 lbs, and you'd be surprised how quickly it became obvious that power was the wrong approach.

:)

liz