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01-23-2003, 11:13 AM
Medicine Ball, Dragon Ball...
Get it?
Sorry. :)
Anyway, I was toying around with a medicine ball with one of the other students the other day, tossing it back and forth. I was showing him how to toss the thing without effort when it occurred to me that the medicine ball could be used as an aid to teach using Ki instead of strength.
The idea goes something like this: A medicine ball is probablt the oldest fitness tool out there; it is traditionally used by throwing it between partners using a flat-handed shove from the center of the chest. It takes a lot of effort - that's the idea. BUT, if one uses ki properly - simply extending outward and letting the ball go with the hands - one can toss the ball all day without working up a sweat.
While we were looking at this, we also had the idea - which my Sensei tried and says it worked quite well - of using the med. ball to teach certain techniques, namely katate-tori kokyunage tenkan, by having the student hold the ball while performing the technique - that keeps his/her hands in the right position, and seems to do an excellent job of teaching the flow required for that technique to work.
My question is, does anyone use medicine balls regularly in their dojo? If so, what exercises do you do with them? and if not, what do you think of the ideas I've just described? :)
Thanx, friends! :)
David R. Organ

01-23-2003, 11:18 AM
Hi Dave,

Interestingly enough, our main instructor has been teaching the Centering class at our dojo for the last few weeks and has been using medicine balls in the class...

-- Jun

01-24-2003, 12:09 PM
Hi, Jun! Thanx for the response; I'm curious, how does he/she use the medicine ball? It seems to me like it could be an excellent tool if used right!


Bryan Webb
01-24-2003, 01:46 PM
We have used volleyballs and tennis balls,in an attempt to keep corners out. This seems to help add a depth dimension to techniques, and helps the students go around and not thru (compression). Seems like everyone forgets to add depth to the techniques(creating spirals).

We have also used slinky toys to show the spirals.

One last one, is to use a plastic pipe analogy to have the student remove their arm from the pipe, it seems to help reiterate the spiral concept.

We have also used beach balls to help beginners with front, back and the Waite Sensei type "beachball" rolls.

Kevin Wilbanks
01-24-2003, 02:26 PM
The medicine ball is a great tool for learning and developing coordinated body power. Probably the most basic exercises applicable to Aikido would be Russian Twist variations - both holding it for accelerations and deccelerations, and tossing and catching it using hip power and keeping the ball in front of the torso. Another good one for punching/pushing power is to learn to throw it like a horizontal shotput, as you would throw a reverse punch in boxing. Best to use a solid brick wall for this, as it will be difficult to find a partner willing to catch a ball thrown that hard. (I am assuming we're talking about the rubber, bouncing variety - sewn fabric medicine balls offer no advantage and far less options)

If I were to equip my own fantasy dojo, I'd have a hard floor, block wall area for doing HIIT workouts including med ball exercises, and I'd offer led HIIT sessions as a strongly recommended fitness supplement to classes... not to mention at least a minimal strength training setup along with help available to learn and design basic strength routines.