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Peter Boylan
05-08-2017, 04:27 PM
How are Aikido and stress connected? Like any physical activity, Aikido practice can help relieve stress, but are there any other ways Aikido and stress are connected? Could it help you handle situations so they aren't stressful to begin with? I argue that good budo training does this in this blog post http://budobum.blogspot.com/2017/05/budo-training-and-stress.html

What do you think? Does your aikido help you to handle stress better?

sorokod
05-08-2017, 05:07 PM
How are Aikido and stress connected? Like any physical activity, Aikido practice can help relieve stress, but are there any other ways Aikido and stress are connected? Could it help you handle situations so they aren't stressful to begin with? I argue that good budo training does this in this blog post http://budobum.blogspot.com/2017/05/budo-training-and-stress.html

What do you think? Does your aikido help you to handle stress better?

Not dishonest when here Aikido is mentioned four times including the title but in the actual linked article, zero times including the title?

Clickbait:


/ˈklɪkbeɪt/
nouninformal
noun: clickbait; noun: click bait
(on the Internet) content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

lbb
05-09-2017, 08:08 AM
Not dishonest when here Aikido is mentioned four times including the title but in the actual linked article, zero times including the title?

I'm not gonna go there with "dishonest", but I think there's a missed opportunity given the choice of topic. We can talk all we want about how "budo" is all the same in the end, but I believe that there are things specific to aikido that can help with "stress", that poorly-defined thing that everyone tries to escape. No doubt there are other martial arts forms that also have these things, but all budo? No, I don't think so. So, yeah, I think this post represents a missed opportunity more than anything else. OTOH, I'm also a believer that, as Rita Mae Brown once said, "If you don't like my book, write your own."

Peter Boylan
05-09-2017, 08:45 AM
Not dishonest when here Aikido is mentioned four times including the title but in the actual linked article, zero times including the title?

Clickbait:

I'm sorry you feel that way. I was hoping to engender conversation about Aikido and stress. The particular article is written in a general manner to apply to all forms of budo across the board, which certainly includes aikido. The particular question was phrased and presented so that people could discuss aikido and stress without reading the article. In addition, if you feel that aikido is not a form of budo, I'd love to have that discussion as well.

Peter Boylan
05-09-2017, 08:51 AM
We can talk all we want about how "budo" is all the same in the end, but I believe that there are things specific to aikido that can help with "stress", that poorly-defined thing that everyone tries to escape. No doubt there are other martial arts forms that also have these things, but all budo? No, I don't think so. "

Mary, that's an interesting perspective. What things do you see as being unique to aikido that you don't find in other forms of budo?

lbb
05-09-2017, 09:57 AM
Mary, that's an interesting perspective. What things do you see as being unique to aikido that you don't find in other forms of budo?

I did not say "unique".

Stress is often a function of having, or believing that you have, few choices (and none of them good). Aikido trains you, indirectly, to see other options, or the possibility for them. It is a way of thinking practiced on the mat in a specific context, but I believe that aikido training can exercise the brain in a way that allows you to see more options off the mat.

sorokod
05-09-2017, 10:24 AM
I'm sorry you feel that way. I was hoping to engender conversation about Aikido and stress. The particular article is written in a general manner to apply to all forms of budo across the board, which certainly includes aikido. The particular question was phrased and presented so that people could discuss aikido and stress without reading the article. In addition, if you feel that aikido is not a form of budo, I'd love to have that discussion as well.

Same deal here: "Do you practice Aikido on a blank canvas..." http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25158 . My feeling is that you posts here are of a commercial nature and are a gateway for advert clicking on your blogspot site.

From the discussion of your post "Aikido Is An Anachronism ..." http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24519 (yes, links to your blog - no, no mention of aikido) my impression is that you don't know enough about Aikido to engage in serious dialog.

Peter Boylan
05-09-2017, 10:32 AM
. My feeling is that you posts here are of a commercial nature and are a gateway for advert clicking on your blogspot site.

From the discussion of your post "Aikido Is An Anachronism ..." http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24519 (yes, links to your blog - no, no mention of aikido) my impression is that you don't know enough about Aikido to engage in serious dialog.

I'm sorry to have given that impression. I won't say I make no money on my blog site, but the $25 a year or so that I get from it is not the motivation for doing it. The motivation is an abiding interest in all forms of budo, including aikido. I post here because, frankly, I get better discussions here than pretty much anywhere outside of Facebook. E-Budo as a discussion forum has atrophied terribly.

As for aikido, I find it amazing that this is nearly 20 years old, but hopefully my efforts to stay somewhat current have succeeded. http://www.aikiweb.com/spiritual/boylan2.html

Hilary
05-09-2017, 12:40 PM
the $25 a year or so that I get

A profiteering robber baron in the making, stone him!

SeiserL
05-09-2017, 04:25 PM
Does your aikido help you to handle stress better?
Perhaps we need to stay mindful that stress is a subjective generic cognitive process.
We can make anything stressful.
Perhaps an activity (like Aikido) distracts the mind and temporary relieves/manages/handles the stress.
Perhaps we need to address how we create it in the first place.
If we don't create it, we don't have to handle it.
Until again,
Lynn

lbb
05-11-2017, 10:00 AM
Perhaps we need to stay mindful that stress is a subjective generic cognitive process.
We can make anything stressful.
Perhaps an activity (like Aikido) distracts the mind and temporary relieves/manages/handles the stress.
Perhaps we need to address how we create it in the first place.
If we don't create it, we don't have to handle it.


As Monty Python reminds us, "universal affirmatives can only be partially converted: all wood floats, but all that floats is not wood." Thus, while it is possible for people to "make anything stressful", it is not true that all stress that happens to people is of their own manufacture. For those who disagree, there are any number of conditions that people endure that are not of their creation and that create very real stress, and I'd invite you to try some of them for yourself, only, gosh, they're not something you decide to have.

Janet Rosen
05-11-2017, 03:57 PM
Oh jeez, Peter was an integral part of aikido-L community before there was an aikiweb. He's cheerfully gotten on many a mat with us at cross-training seminars and even purely aikido events. Trust me, click-bait he ain't.

Peter Goldsbury
05-11-2017, 08:02 PM
Oh jeez, Peter was an integral part of aikido-L community before there was an aikiweb. He's cheerfully gotten on many a mat with us at cross-training seminars and even purely aikido events. Trust me, click-bait he ain't.

Like Janet, I have a gold star after my name, which means that I send Jun Akiyama some funds each year, to keep AikiWeb going. I have been doing it for so long that I have forgotten the amount, so it is not particularly painful. I am also a part owner of E-Budo and a group of us decided that on balance it was better to keep it going than to abandon it. Again, it is not so much. So, I really do not think the $25 that Peter B receives is too much of a problem. Since he also practices other arts, besides aikido, I think that straying from the main theme also adds some breadth to the content.

As for stress in aikido, I have a few opinions about this, for I think the potential stress operates on several levels and it is partly a consequence of the lack of overt competition. The main Japanese word for this is shiai, but there is another word, kyouso [競争], which also means competition and I think this is just as evident in aikido as in any other budo.

The first time I encountered the art, it seemed something very beautiful to watch and I wanted to be able to do it just like my teacher was doing. He was Japanese and I eventually met K Chiba. His aikido was also remarkable to watch—and also receive ukemi from. There was a close matching between form and content that was also aesthetically pleasing. This takes a long time to develop and involves different difficulties for different individuals. You can see the difference, for example, between a physically gifted individual, who can move very well, and an expert—who is perhaps not so physically gifted, but who has learned to match form and content in his or her own case to a very high level.

However, I was rather shocked at the levels of stress to which K Chiba subjected his own students and I once had occasion to confront him about this. We often talked privately and I received some of his own confidences about the levels of stress that he, also, had received when he was a deshi at the Aikikai Hombu. Chiba subjected his own students to very severe training, but I was sometimes concerned whether they were able to cope with it.

For some years I trained at a local dojo in the UK and also saw the psychological stress to which some students were subjected. One of a small group who trained virtually every time it was possible to train, they were given a model by the Japanese shihan and were expected to reproduce it as fully as possible. There were full length mirrors in the dojo and our physical movements were often subjected to very intense scrutiny. Some students could cope with this stress better than others and one or two became quite ill. Basically, they wanted to be the best students in the dojo and could not understand why they never seemed to achieve this goal, at least to the shihan’s satisfaction.

One other important point is that the instructor has to run the dojo in such a way that the students can find a release from stress if necessary, and so it is a good place to train. But the instructor is not immune from stress and this can also be a burden. The reason why I argued with K Chiba was that I good reason to believe that he occasionally took out his own stress on his students.

Best wishes,

lbb
05-12-2017, 08:50 AM
I don't think the original post had anything to do with stress in aikido.

Cass
05-12-2017, 09:12 AM
Another AikiWeb thread with some passive-aggressiveness for no reason it seems? It's a good line of thought and a discussion worth having, try to keep on point.

Anyway I thought the blog articulated the point rather well, aikido has helped me deal with stress in many of the ways mentioned. In fact, often during the week the prospect of training after work is that only thing that I am focusing myself on so that there is a silver lining to every day. Going for a good training particularly stressed is bliss, like a massaged muscle after a cramp, you breathe, let go, release, focus and go for it as hard as you can, you're rewarded with the beautiful rush afterward, you successfully vent your annoyance. I am almost always in a vastly better mood after training than when I go in. That said, entering stressed can sometimes damage your training if you are unable to focus yourself from the distractions that pick at your mind from the day. Those days where you can't stop being distracted and end up doing poor technique, or end up not exerting yourself enough can be more draining than anything, but fortunately I find those are pretty rare (especially for any seasoned aikidoka). Thank you for the topic, Peter :).

bothhandsclapping
06-10-2017, 09:17 PM
How 'bout we throw a little science into the mix ...
1.) We all experience a plethora of what we might call primal stresses. Hunger, thirst, the desire for possessions, status and reputation, the desire for sex, the need for certainty, etc. These stresses are all sourced in unconscious 'Darwinian algorithms' designed to generate the behaviors that have been proven as giving us the best chance to get our genes (or the genes of close relatives) into the next generation. These stresses aren't going away. Period.

2.) We then experience a host of what we might call derivative stresses, where we then stress about the behaviors and conditions that these primal stresses inevitably bring about. And it seems reasonable that what we normally think of as stress are these category 2 stresses.

Where does Aikido (budo) fit in?

Physical exercise does seem to be one temporary solution. That is, if we are working out, we have no time to generate or perpetuate the category 2 stresses. And, it does seem that budo training can give us some leverage in taming one of the biggest primal stresses - the need for certainty. Knowing that you have survived worse ordeals can indeed often be of great comfort (stress reduction).

But it does beg the question - is there no other choice? Are we left to busting our asses so that we have no time to think about our problems or are we left to engaging in increasingly challenging ordeals so that every other 'normal' stress pales in comparison?

It seems that many sages (martial artists included) have walked this exact path before and found it insufficient.

rugwithlegs
06-10-2017, 11:02 PM
Not unique, but more than other martial arts clubs in the vicinity - Aikido talks about self development and that a student will obtain an improved ability to handle stressful situations is at least strongly implied if not outright said. This is only a tiny fraction, IMO, of what the sixth rule for practice says Aikido should offer. I know of several schools who make a promise of better stress management, but I don't see how they are actually working towards this. 1000 kotegaeshi doesn't make someone a psychologist. Most junior instructors will talk about how Aikido improves our ability to handle stress, but they could never say how.

Pressuring students with the hopes that everything else in their lives will seem mild by comparison, Marine Corp Style - like with the military model, there has to be significant attrition expected especially for beginners. Military trainers at least have to answer for recruits who are too injured or too broken to go on to perform their duties but there is no such demand in a dojo. No one is becoming a retainer. The sensei is the highest level of authority, and the students give them their authority. Out of the teachers I have known to demand this, most were people who hadn't earned that level of loyalty. A few who had earned that level of respect from me refused to let me be so impressionable.

Does meditation help with managing stress? Yes, but few schools I have been to had actual training in specific meditation techniques as part of the curriculum. Often, there seems to be a brief moment a class of students being seen-and-not-heard passing as development.

There is some pain, some falling and fear, some interaction. There is some physical exercise that aids in stress release. Better structure leads to less physical stress on my body when I go to work. There is a desire some days to not even show up that I push through and usually feel better for it. Sometimes class is a pressure release valve.

Is any of that unique to only Aikido? No.

Rupert Atkinson
06-11-2017, 01:11 AM
Anyway I thought the blog articulated the point rather well, aikido has helped me deal with stress in many of the ways mentioned. In fact, often during the week the prospect of training after work is that only thing that I am focusing myself on so that there is a silver lining to every day.

Probably wandering off topic ... but I have always preferred early morning training, but not too vigorous - have to go to work after all. And right now, there are no dojos near me that train in the morning, so I go through stuff by myself : to an onlooker they might think I'm doing Taichi. Anyway, if I do light aiki-taiso and go thru a few waza ... to me it is like my daily spiritual breakfast. I feel great ALL day.

Why wait all day to feel good :)

bothhandsclapping
06-11-2017, 02:21 PM
Probably wandering off topic ... but I have always preferred early morning training, but not too vigorous - have to go to work after all. And right now, there are no dojos near me that train in the morning, so I go through stuff by myself : to an onlooker they might think I'm doing Taichi. Anyway, if I do light aiki-taiso and go thru a few waza ... to me it is like my daily spiritual breakfast. I feel great ALL day.

Why wait all day to feel good :)

Hi Rupert, I believe your post is quite relevant. I may be wrong, but from reading your post, a reasonable person would conclude that the quality of your day would be lessened if you didn't do your morning routine. So, as a thought experiment, what would your life be if you could never ever again have your spiritual breakfast, no matter how much you wanted it?

This is what the sages through the years had realized was lacking in this kind of path - one where you are always free to do the things that you want to do and when you want to do them. This path is not fixed, can never be fixed. There will inevitably be a day when you cannot do the things you want to do, when you want to do them. What then?

And one of these sages might say something like: "When doing your morning thing and and not doing your morning thing are the same ... there is nothing you lack."

Rupert Atkinson
06-11-2017, 02:32 PM
And one of these sages might say something like: "When doing your morning thing and and not doing your morning thing are the same ... there is nothing you lack."

The sage in me says, "Keep doing your morning thing."

dps
06-11-2017, 04:21 PM
The only thing stress relieving about Aikido is a a good physical workout and opportunity to focus mentally on doing one thing. I get these by lifting weights, mowing the lawn. going for long walks and recently doing Bathaks (Hindu squats) and Dands (Hindu push ups).

dps

nikyu62
06-11-2017, 05:21 PM
All wood does not float; doing one's "morning thing" is a biological imperative. Aikido may relieve stress for some, and cause stress for others.....I have experienced both at various times. It is ok for people to have differing viewpoints, as long as you agree with me......(just kidding, but some people are not.)

bothhandsclapping
06-11-2017, 05:56 PM
The sage in me says, "Keep doing your morning thing."
:D

bothhandsclapping
06-11-2017, 06:02 PM
All wood does not float; doing one's "morning thing" is a biological imperative. Aikido may relieve stress for some, and cause stress for others.....I have experienced both at various times. It is ok for people to have differing viewpoints, as long as you agree with me......(just kidding, but some people are not.)
:)

Currawong
06-11-2017, 10:37 PM
I see a lot of mention of Aikido as a means of relieving stress, but how about as a means to learn to deal with stress?

One of the things I appreciate from having practiced Aikido is that it puts me under situations which have triggered fears within me, including personality flaws, and through practice I've learned to overcome them.

This also relates to the other side of the situation where I've seen people become senior enough that they don't have to confront their character flaws and instead end up abusing their students or juniors in various ways.

I've come to appreciate each time I screw up a technique somehow, as it gives me a chance to examine myself and find what part of me, often my own thinking, is causing me to move in an bad way. For example, we have all found ourselves forcing techniques, even slightly when we know we shouldn't. I've found often this might be with a particular partner, maybe someone very senior, with whom I'm not confident about being able to do the technique well. By examining both my mental/emotional state as well as the technique, I can learn to deal with similar reactions in situations outside of Aikido and improve my interactions with others overall.

Peter Boylan
06-26-2017, 11:09 AM
I see a lot of mention of Aikido as a means of relieving stress, but how about as a means to learn to deal with stress?

One of the things I appreciate from having practiced Aikido is that it puts me under situations which have triggered fears within me, including personality flaws, and through practice I've learned to overcome them.

This also relates to the other side of the situation where I've seen people become senior enough that they don't have to confront their character flaws and instead end up abusing their students or juniors in various ways.

I've come to appreciate each time I screw up a technique somehow, as it gives me a chance to examine myself and find what part of me, often my own thinking, is causing me to move in an bad way. For example, we have all found ourselves forcing techniques, even slightly when we know we shouldn't. I've found often this might be with a particular partner, maybe someone very senior, with whom I'm not confident about being able to do the technique well. By examining both my mental/emotional state as well as the technique, I can learn to deal with similar reactions in situations outside of Aikido and improve my interactions with others overall.

This is the sort of thing I was really looking for. I wonder what different dojo and groups do to inoculate students against stress. How is this dealt with? Or isn't it? What specifically does your dojo do to help students learn to handle stress?

lbb
06-27-2017, 08:17 AM
This is the sort of thing I was really looking for. I wonder what different dojo and groups do to inoculate students against stress. How is this dealt with? Or isn't it? What specifically does your dojo do to help students learn to handle stress?

Peter, once more, you are failing to define "stress". You may think it's obvious what it means, but it is not -- it is a broad umbrella term that means many things to many people. If you want a discussion, and particularly if you want a discussion guided into channels that you are "really looking for", you should define your terms.

ninjedi
06-28-2017, 03:21 PM
I respectfully disagree. Stress is a pretty standard emotion, not sure how differently it could be defined by others.

Stress is emotional (oftentimes physical) strain/pressure resulting from uncomfortable/demanding/confrontational circumstances and/or situations.

Right?

Peter Boylan
06-28-2017, 04:06 PM
In this case, I'm specifically thinking of the stress of physical confrontation, where you are genuinely concerned about getting hit, grabbed or otherwise attacked. How do you train to deal with the stress of waiting to be attacked and dealing with the actual attack? Does your training increase the type, speed and force of attacks to raise the stress students are accustomed to dealing with in the dojo? If so, how?

Adam Huss
06-29-2017, 08:21 PM
How are Aikido and stress connected? Like any physical activity, Aikido practice can help relieve stress, but are there any other ways Aikido and stress are connected? Could it help you handle situations so they aren't stressful to begin with? I argue that good budo training does this in this blog post http://budobum.blogspot.com/2017/05/budo-training-and-stress.html

What do you think? Does your aikido help you to handle stress better?

I feel my time as an uchi deshi at a Yoshinkan dojo helped me significantly to successfully complete one of the toughest training schools in the US Marine Corps. Training techniques are great, but after acquiring reasonable efficiency one can focus on efforts and stresses trained through by regularly putting oneself in uncomfortable situations....and persevering through them. Stress can be defined as the reaction to change, and aikido training...budo training...presents a unique opportunity to continually train in this way. Unfortunately it seems, especially in aikido, people like to settle into comfortable routines and lose themselves to frustration when normative regiments are disrupted. This is particularly present in training environments where closed circuit atmospheres appear. Places where students not only don't train with other groups, but aren't really even aware that other styles or organizations exist.

Avery Jenkins
07-26-2017, 05:09 AM
There is another aspect to aikido's stress-relieving properties that isn't physical. It's the community created by the dojo. As I edge toward the precipice of 60, I've come to realize that much of my life has been a search for community. Having been a part of that dojo community for a long time, then having been absent for nearly a decade and finally returned, I realized just how important a role the dojo community -- call it camaraderie, if you want -- is to my well-being. And I'm not talking about the beer & pizza after class, I'm talking about the community that is formed on the mat.

Of course every dojo is going to be different, but for the most part it's like different flavors of ice cream. Yeah, one's chocolate, one's vanilla, but they're still ice cream.

I grow in those communities.Even the more stanky ones, I find I am better/less stressed with them than without.

Of course, this isn't unique to aikido. But, having found, participated, and discarded many groups in my search for connections, the aikido dojo's appeal is unique to me. And a few others, I suspect.