PDA

View Full Version : raising the level of your training


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Mathias
04-26-2004, 09:40 AM
Hello

My focus for the last year has been to keep a good balance and low center. Now itīs time for something new.

Without something special to focus on, i sometimes feel that i donīt improve the way i could. I go to class maybe four times a week but learn nothing.

Some of the things that i need to improve is my understanding of maai and i also timing. I have also thought about focusing on atemi.

So what things do you do to raise the level of your training? Anything that really helped you to take your Aikido to the next level?

Thanks/Mathias

Yann Golanski
04-26-2004, 09:47 AM
How about "Mu shin, mu gamae"?

*grins evily*

thisisnotreal
04-26-2004, 12:02 PM
Yann, What's that?

Janet Rosen
04-26-2004, 12:08 PM
So what things do you do to raise the level of your training? Anything that really helped you to take your Aikido to the next level?
Hi Mathias. Good question!
I find that my training itself reveals deficiencies or barriers, in some combination of physical and psychological. If I think about it a bit, I can identify a common thread or theme that unifies the deficiencies, and that gives me something to focus on for the next period of time.
Currently I'm working on improving connection by not subtly bailing or turning away, and on understanding how choice of which hip to initiate movement with helps make clear my intent to enter or to receive.

Jordan Steele
04-26-2004, 12:52 PM
Just train hard, give 110% every class. All the technical things start to fall into place when you are not focussed on one objective such as ma-ai or atemi. Just MOVE! And, if you must focus on certain aspects during a class, focus on zenshin(awareness). When taking ukemi, don't just fall, look for openings to recover. You don't have to resist your partner every time, just be aware of your options. Also, when throwing, depending on the level of your uke, really throw them, make them take ukemi, don't let them. Just my thoughts.

shihonage
04-26-2004, 01:33 PM
If you don't see where to expand, you need to spar with an amateur boxer or someone from another competitive art.
If you've never done that before, it will be an eye-opening experience and you will find plenty of things that need to be focused on.

aikidocapecod
04-26-2004, 01:38 PM
When you say you go to class and learn nothing if you do not have a focal point....maybe it is time for a change in how you approach class.

Rather than going to class saying, "today I am going to focus on this...or that" go to class and feel your way through it. Allow the class to take over what you are doing.

I know....sounds crazy.... Let me try to explain....

If one goes to class...or any activity and has predetermined what she/he is going to pay attention to,
I am going to guess that many things are going to be missed. And what if Sensei is doing something a bit different in class, and your focal point is barely touched on..... That could be a class that is wasted.

So, go to class with a beginners mind. When you are Uke, attack honestly and feel what nage is doing and how nage is moving. Recognize what that movement means to your body and how you have been moved. Rather than focusing on a single idea when you are nage, focus on only your movement. Do not try to control Uke, control yourself and watch Uke fly around you.

Just a thought.....but try it......

ian
04-27-2004, 03:33 AM
I would agree with Larry whole heartedly. Think to yourself, is your training perfect? If not, why not. Likely there are many reasons, but you probably have an idea of your largest problems. Discover yourself the way to deal with these and then get through that bit. Often when you feel there is no progress, this is when you are doing the routine actions which then enable you to question finer points (because the major points are instinctive). You cannot read a book on aikido and become an expert - it is all about internalising it, and then honing it. I know with weapon work some beginners are resistant to repetitive practise and say 'what if I am learning it wrong'. Everyone learns it wrong at the start, and the objective is to keep tweaking it until it gets closer to being right.

Within psychology there is a concept of the logical mind not DIRECTING but instead justifying the actions of the subconcious. To logically think of this or that is not going to be optimal for your progression. I would agree with Bruce Lee in that it is best to develop your own exercises and concepts to improve yourself. In a similar way, although I've often tried to structure teaching, the most effective method is to start with a rough idea of what I'll do, but to change in light of the deficiencies I see within the students. Just like aikido, your learning has to be fluid and spontaneous and a response to what is happening NOW. Humans are so obsessed with predicting the future we forget that the future is better if we deal effectively with the present.

Ian

ian
04-27-2004, 03:36 AM
P.S. if you truly are stumped and have been training several years without feeling any progression, maybe visit some other instructors who will give you new insights.

aikidocapecod
04-27-2004, 05:23 AM
Ian brings up a good point. We all learn in different ways. Teachers teach in different ways. One Sensei # 1 can describe/show/teach ikkyo and you may not understand what she/he is saying. And Sensei # 2 will describe/show/teach ikkyo using totally different words and it just clicks for you.

This does not mean that Sensei behind curtain # 1 is wrong...or not a good instructor...just different.

Yann Golanski
04-27-2004, 06:11 AM
Mu shin, mu gamae means "no mind, no posture". What it means is open to a lot of debate.

For me, it's not having any preconception about either what the attack will be nor what the technique I am going to do will be. I let uke decides what attack and therefore what technique I will use. Meaning that I can hardly be in any kamae when I start.

SeiserL
04-27-2004, 07:58 AM
Slow down. Pay attention to the subtleties. Apply the concepts. Train with and against honest intent. Pay back, by working more with Kohai.

Mathias
04-27-2004, 08:27 AM
Currently I'm working on improving connection by not subtly bailing or turning away, and on understanding how choice of which hip to initiate movement with helps make clear my intent to enter or to receive.

Hi Janet

This is interesting, i have not thought about it this way. I donīt make any distinction between entering or receiving. I feel that i enter AND recieve in every technique. Can you explain further?

Mathias
04-27-2004, 08:42 AM
Thanks for all the answers!

Maybe it came of a little bit wrong when i said that i donīt learn anything. This is just how it feels, i am sure that i learn something of value each time i step on the mat but i have very high demands on myself. Iīm always trying to figure out ways to improve my training.

Aleksey; I do spar now and then and it sure is an eyeopener, but i feel that there is a big difference in sparring and Budo. and i want my Aikido to be a Budo. Btw, i sparred just this Sunday with a friend who has been training taekwondo before and i took quite some beating :)

Yann; Mu shin, mu kamae is a really interesting concept witch i try to follow in randori or jiuwaza. But do you do it in ordinary training also? Maybe something to try...

Again, thank you all for your posts, keep them coming

Yann Golanski
04-27-2004, 09:53 AM
Yann; Mu shin, mu kamae is a really interesting concept witch i try to follow in randori or jiyuwaza. But do you do it in ordinary training also? Maybe something to try...


Depends what sensei are teaching. If it is kata, then I know which attack and technique are coming. However, I still try to start the technique in a no mind frame or as relaxed as I can be. I tend to start always in neutral and then go into kamae as uke attacks. When I'm uke, it drives my Aikikai partners nuts. Once I start whatever technique sensei wants us to practice, I tend to think of kuzushi and timing.

In a way, mu shin mu gamae is not showing your hand to uke until it's too late for uke to do anything about it.

aikidoc
04-27-2004, 11:21 AM
Ask yourself if you are really not learning anything or is your mindset one where you are not open to learning. I've been doing aikido for a bit and I always step on the mat with the mindset that I am going to learn something new. It may only be a minor distinction with something I'm working on or working out the details of a new shihan I've seen on tape. I have never been disappointed. I always learn something even when teaching. I do not give my responsibility for learning to the instructor or anyone else. I take that responsibility on myself and my mind/body is trained to and expects to learn every time.

Janet Rosen
04-27-2004, 12:29 PM
Hi Janet
This is interesting, i have not thought about it this way. I donīt make any distinction between entering or receiving. I feel that i enter AND recieve in every technique. Can you explain further?
Hi, Mathias. Hmmm...clearest example I can think of, and the one that got me thinking on this, is with tenkan. Yknow how beginners are admonished that it is not a moving backwards? Yknow how you can mess up iriminage, as nage, if your turning takes you backing away from uke, so you move away from uke and disconnect?
Looking at tenkan as a pivot with a stepback: My hip nearest uke ("inside hip") was initiating the pivot by starting to move back, probably in anticipation of an eventual stepping back with it. When I focussed my intent on my outer hip, and initiated the pivot by oving that hip forward, the pivot had an entering feeling and the inside hip stepback just happened as a consequence. The overall feeling to both me and uke is of a positive movement, a forward movement, a movement towards uke, an irimi, thought to look at it it is tenkan.
I'm still playing with this, applying it in different situations; by no means am I presenting this as an "answer" to anything. But it's sure an interesting tool for me to play with and I'm expecting sometime later this yr it will be part of an Aikiweb "the Mirror" column.

jgrowney
04-30-2004, 09:33 AM
My teacher gave me a great bit of advice regarding these sort of questions. Ask the question to yourself first. What would your response be if one of your juniors asked you this same question? How would you answer? If after a great deal of trial and error (coming up with your own answers and testing them) you still can not seem to figure it out, then ask your sensei.

This is the process of finding YOUR aikido. Just because a technique works a particular way for one person does not mean that it works the same way for another. You need to figure out how to make your technique work for you. The principles are the same for everyone, but how they are applied has tremendous variety.
Jim

Lyle Laizure
05-17-2004, 06:54 PM
Sometimes we focus so hard on doing that we cannot do. Train for the sake of training and you will find that it is a lot more fun and you will "do".