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I'm just curious how many of you make use (or your dojo does or encourages) of things like weightlifting, running, video taping students, training logs (weight, pulse, body fat, etc...), nutrition, and whatever else as it relates to improving your aikido? With the exception of nutrition, these things seem rare to me in the general Aikido populace, yet they are commonplace with professional trainers and coaches. So, I'm curious what people are doing and I'm even more curious as to what is done at the dojo level.
09-19-2000, 04:35 PM
I've often wondered the same thing. Staying in good physical shape is necessary for my profession so I go to the gym five or six times a week. I alternate between aerobic machines (stationary bike, ski-machine, etc.) and the weight machines. I've found that by increasing my aerobic capabilities my ability to perform multiple ukemi and randori sessions has increased. The weightlifting has helped make my technique stronger also. I know you are supposed to blend with uke and use his/her energy or strength to your advantage, but sometimes uke doesn't give you enough. It helps to add a little energy of your own sometimes, at least enough to accomplish the desired technique.
09-19-2000, 11:24 PM
I think that someone asked a similar question awhile back on this also. My opinion is still the same (so forgive all those who read my previous).
I think that exercise is very important to all martial arts, especially the soft ones like Aikido. Here are some reasons 1) A healthy muscle is more flexible and can relax more as it is being used. If you haven't exercised in awhile flex your arm right now as hard as you can, and when you release it you will still feel tension. Proper weight lifting can help you learn body sensitivity to use only the proper amount of muscle to do a given task. 2) If your body isn't even in enough shape to walk a flight of stairs without gasping for air, then you won't be able to do randori either. I'm not saying that you have to become a marathon runner/Mr. Universe, but an all around program will help anyone.
Reading about O'Sensei, there are many stories about him lifting huge logs to get stronger and that when he grabbed onto your wrist for a technique it would leave bruises. So even this plays a part in Aikido, but we shouldn't "Muscle" a technique to make it work. I think it is a fine line between the two that all of us need to find.
Working out keeps up my physical endurance. Reading and ibuki exercises keep up my mental endurance.
09-20-2000, 03:16 PM
I would like to expound on a statement I made earlier. When I stated that sometimes it helps to add some of your own energy or strength to complete a technique I did not intend to give the impression that as Aikido students we should muscle the uke. I apologize if I've confused anyone. It can be said that in all Aikido technique it is inevitable that the nage will use some of his own energy or strength when performing a technique; for example many iriminage technique require the nage to lead uke's center and then "step through" to inhibit uke's balance. Uke needs to offer some resistance which in turn results in the need for nage to add some strength or energy of his/her own. It is only needed to add a little energy of your own, there is no need to abuse your uke. I apologize if this post has a snooty tone as that is not the tone I mean to convey.
"shuchu roku" - Focus all your energy to one point
Thanks for the replies so far. Some more thoughts on the matter and what I'm after.
Video taping practice because you can hear a thousand times that you are leaning too much, but 5 minutes of video will clear up any illusions on the matter.
I keep a dietary/exercise log using a product called Life Form, it takes me less than 5 minutes a day, and tracks exercise, calories consumed, body weight, nutritional information and more. I'm currently looking at the data as a method of structuring a more healthy dietary practice.
Coaches and trainers in most sports keep detailed statistics and measurements on their athletes. This data is used as a measure of growth and as a measure to see where growth is needed. They develop plans for their athletes. Or, the athletes develop plans. Anyway, you get the idea and this isn't necessarily short-term thinking either.
Top grade athletes, in almost every athletic endeavor use weightlifting to some degree. I remember reading for years, this isn't that long ago, that weights would make you muscle bound and detract from your ability. Hmmm, sound familiar to anyone? It's interesting that even long distance runners use weightlifting these days.
Am I triggering anything here? How come we are better Aikidoists by not using modern techniques and tools?
I like many of you feel that I gain alot from the tradition which is evident in aikido however I still feel that I need to train outside of the dojo as well. Half of the club I attend feel that they need to train outside of the dojo as well. This isn't uncommon as sometimes due to the nature of a specific class it won't give you much of a physical work out and sometimes it will make you puke. Yet what we all share in common is that we train outside the dojo with the aim of improving or perfprmance inside the dojo.
Personally I go for the more endureance and anerobic stamina. Thirty miles a week road work and ten or twenty minutes, four times a week of anarobic work. For the anarobic I box as two minutes in the ring very similer to randori or jyu waza. Yes I moniter my heart beat during all of my training.
Aikido can be the most demanding thing on the planet if you let it be but training outside the dojo can really allow you to focus on more important matters.
As for wait training has nobody seen pictures of O'sensei in his fifties, Five foot and over seventy kilo's. Big boy. Gozo Shioda once said that you need to power/muscles through all your techniques until one day you don't need to.
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