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Paula Lydon
09-05-2002, 09:46 PM
~~Hi all! Another question. Just as a centering practice I spin--high, low, sweeps, wide and tight circles; slow stops and sudden. I think it's a great, and simple, practice (loved it since childhood) and was wondering if anyone else out there has discovered and pursues the fine art of maintaining center while spinning and recovering from spins. Or just likes to get loopy?:freaky:

09-06-2002, 07:34 AM
Hi Paula,

We use a spinning exercise every session as part of our warmups - arms extended, up and down the mats. I find it's good for balance, centering and also just to get the blood moving!

09-06-2002, 07:36 AM
I just had to explain this to a couple new students - how not to get dizzy when spinning, or rolling.

Pick a point on a wall, and while spinning / rolling, keep your eyes looking at that point until you can't anymore, then "snap" your head around to find that point as soon as you can again. If you ever watch figure skaters when they are doing their spins, this is what they do so they can recover quicker.

09-06-2002, 07:38 AM
Usually we start off doing udefuri-undo, or arm swinging exercise. Then we would graduate to udefuri-choyaku-undo or arm-swinging spinning exercise. If the instructor felt ambitious, they would have us spin down the whole length of the mat. They emphasize control (spinning in a straight line) and keeping your center (moving your head with your body unlike ballet dancers who point with their heads when spinning).

These exercises are listed in Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere as basic exercise #15 pp. 134-136 and Aikido:Exercises for Teaching and Training pp. 93-94.

In Aikido:Exercises George Simcox notes:
In the movie Karate Kid II, the villagers on Okinawa had a toy drum with a handle. On two sides, a short string was attached with a lump on the end. Spinning the handle back and forth turned the drum around the handle axis, causing the strings to spin out (as in the Arm Swinging Exercise), and hit the drum with each change in direction. When the direction of the spin was changed, hit the drum, a good illustration of "turning about the center."

In the movie the little drum was mentioned as the "heart of karate."
As a note to the spinning (udefuri-choyaku-undo) exercise, C.M. Shifflett in Aikido: Exercises wrote:I recently heard this exercise dismissed as a newfangled and rather frivolous sort of activity of no particular value except perhaps "practice in accustoming oneself to functioning while dizzy." In fact, it is very traditional and teaches balance, coordination, focus, relaxation, and good posture all in one - no small feat. When ended with an ude-mawashi (page 92), it becomes Kokyu-Nage Basic (page 201), Shomen-uchi ikkyo tenkan (page 209) and many other "real throwing techniques." It is also very "real" on its own.
In a recent class, my sensei had us start shoulder-to-shoulder with uke, then have uke push with their shoulder so nage goes into a spin. After a turn, nage can lift up their arms, bring them down on uke and perform Kokyu-Nage Basic (Aikido: Exercises pg 201-203).

Sorry for the long post. This is probably more than you every wanted to know about spinning.


Bruce Baker
09-06-2002, 08:04 AM
Since I have a vestibular problem(balance and vertigo) I have to use a number of tricks to keep the room from spinning while I am not.

The best of them is to raise a hand to eye level and concentrate on that as the non moving item of concentration. It is the only way I can do tenkan practice, or even drills with moving to the eight directions of a circular practice.

If you have somewhat good balance, then holing an item such as a weight, your bokken or jo will give you a better perspective as to how good or bad your spinning techniques are.

There is nothing so testing as to off set your normal balance with an item or weight so that you need to adjust your turns and stopping ability.

As for me ... I am just happy I can do most of the class. Funny though, they seem to be spinning even when they are standing still? Must be time for me to sit down again.

09-19-2002, 08:40 AM
As nearly all tenkan technique begins with a spinning motion, and the tighter the better, I constantly refer to that great artist Mikhail Barishnikov (sp) and admonish student to spin, spin, spin. Good post!