View Full Version : Speed issues
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12-09-2004, 03:08 PM
I'm new to aikido. Only been in it a few months. I noticed that in many scenarios, that speed plays a big part. I practice the Tomiki Aikido system, and we try to simulate real events. IE: Full speed punches, kicks, etc...and I've noticed that my partners often have to slow down so I can get the techniques down, and even when I do, they still need to go slow, because my speed definately is lacking. So, I was wondering, what could I possibly do to up my speed? I've trained every day with different uke, and i still can't find anything. I thought of going more of the offensive, but aikido is passive. I can't really train with weights, because you can't hold a weight and grab uke's wrist at the same time. I work out regularly, and I thought surely that would help me, but my speed has remained the same. It is indeed puzzling. So, I was hoping that my fellow aikidoka here would be able to give me some pointers or advice, in order to help me in my training. Any input is greatly appreciated.
I'm new to aikido. Only been in it a few months. I noticed that in many scenarios, that speed plays a big part. ..... I work out regularly, and I thought surely that would help me, but my speed has remained the same.
Two things come to mind:
1. Consider that your speed is fine, but your timing may be poor. That is to say that you can move fast enough, you may not be moving at the best moment.
2. You've only been training for a few months, keep training and things will improve.
12-09-2004, 03:27 PM
Much of what you think of as speed has to do with four things; when they begin to move, smoothness of movement, direction of movement, and use of the feet in movement. In correct timing, your reaction time is reduced so the person seems to be moving quicker (keep practicing). A person who moves smoothly seems to be moving quicker (keep practicing). A person who moves in closer as you move towards them seems to be moving quicker since your reaction time is reduced (keep practicing). A person who uses their feet to move their entire body seems to be moving quicker because they can improve their timing, move smoother and reduce your reaction time (keep practicing and patience).
12-09-2004, 04:14 PM
Yes, I would also think that you are dealing with timing issues and not solely a matter of twitch-muscule development. You may find some added perspective by looking at some of the things I have jotted down elsewhere - they have to do with some of the other points folks have brought up thus far. If you got some time:
12-09-2004, 04:24 PM
I thought of going more of the offensive, but aikido is passive.
I would also suggest you rethink the notion of aikido as passive...perhaps "not aggressive" would be a better way to put it. For me at least, aikido is very much about NOT being passive.
Have fun as you continue to practice and learn new things about aikido and about yourself!
12-09-2004, 05:23 PM
If you have only been practicing a few months, you are probably still "thinking" the portions that comprise sequences. Give yourself time to integrate movement patterns into your body (kind of like driving a car) by doing them slowly and smoothly, and the speed will show up one day.
12-09-2004, 06:03 PM
So, I was wondering, what could I possibly do to up my speed?
12-09-2004, 07:55 PM
I'm new to aikido. Only been in it a few months. I noticed that in many scenarios, that speed plays a big part. I practice the Tomiki Aikido system, and we try to simulate real events. IE: Full speed punches, kicks, etc...and I've noticed that my partners often have to slow down so I can get the techniques down, and even when I do, they still need to go slow, because my speed definately is lacking. So, I was wondering, what could I possibly do to up my speed? <snip...>.
Whether you say a person is slow or fast, it is irrelevant. What matters most is how you blend and be one with the uke. When you are in harmony with your uke, fast and slow does not exist; All that matter is you are in control of uke.
In my dojo, there is a poster of the late Kancho G. Shioda and below it is a wonderful quote... I will copy it down and post it here tomorrow, I think it reflect wonderfully on the slow/fast issue. The quote can also be found in "Dynamic Aikido" by the same man.
12-09-2004, 08:10 PM
In my experience, people often use speed to mask deficiencies in their technique. So whats the big deal about speed? My sensei always says that speed comes after the proper form. If your speed is lacking, then work on your form and the speed will come in time. Better to be slow for now than to have hollow technique, which is all too common.
12-09-2004, 08:47 PM
What Raul says. Work on smooth speed will come.
12-09-2004, 09:44 PM
Don...I agree with the others. Its not about speed its about timing. Its about provoking a reaction and not just reacting. If you are reacting you are too late and you are not in control.
The idea that Aikido is passive is a mislabel by people who watch demos but don't understand what's happening.
If you cause the reaction of the other person (whether it is by hitting them first, or allowing them to grab you or to think they might be able to grab/hit you) then the idea is that you are already a step ahead of them and should be able to use that to blend with them and to do a technique.
Don't work on speed. Work on seeing what your uke is about to do before they do it and then try to make them do that.
But most of all keep training and all will come in time.
Just a thought or three,
12-10-2004, 02:11 AM
As all above :).
I would also add that ma ai (correct distance) is key component here too.
12-10-2004, 02:25 AM
The original poster says he does Tomiki so (no guarantee he does the orthodox version) from that perspective there is an interesting take on speed.
At the 5th Kyu level we begin by introducing tsukuri which means fitting but is probably better described as a sort of explosive entering. Between Shodan and Nidan there are relatively few new techniques (basically tanto dori) but what is really looking for in the exam is timing and tsukuri. If the poster is looking for an exercise to develop speed the basic hontai no tsukuri is probably the best way to go. The trick (and there always is a trick) is to almost let yourself fall forward and then thrust with the rear leg - far more speed and power than from a standing position alone.
12-10-2004, 08:47 AM
IMHO, timing, targeting, and ditances are more important than speed. Work on ocrret form. The speed comes of its own. To get faster, first train slower.
12-10-2004, 10:26 AM
Basic footwork drills are a good place to work on speed. Start slowly and gradually speed up. See what you have to do in order to complete the drill more quickly but still with precision and good form: this may involve posture, lightness, or changing the relative proportion of different parts of the movement. Make sure that you don't compromise your balance while moving quickly. You should be able to stop at the end of any movement and not wobble or stagger.
Trying to do actual techniques quickly is, in my experience, a road to doing them badly. Drills are better because you have fewer details to work on and less temptation to get sloppy.
You don't need to be fast, the timing must be coordinated with the uke. Therefore training faster and faster will not improve your ability to coordinate your timing. Also, break the technique down into sections. Especially the avoidance of the attack (the most important part), timing must be good, and you can try just moving, wit hard and fast attacks.
Also, just try training really slowly (again, if your uke is resistant or changes in reaction to you, this is not good training if you are developing responsiveness and coordinated movement). Always training hard and fast results in scappy aikido with little blending.
Additionally, be aware that you should be responsive to uke. Thus as uke moves you are moving - even during a technique. Do not think of a technique and try to force this through to the end. Be positive, but if uke changes you must change in direct response to him. Hard to explain without a demo!
Think of your uke as an intelligent training dummy to train your nervous system in different ways. Break down techniques into sections and develop good technique as well as good speed. (If you think of swimming training, floats and drills are used to focus on one aspect of the stroke, to improve it).
12-10-2004, 02:27 PM
I'm also a beginner that is yet to test for blue, but I can give you my two cents since I too experience this problem from time to time. Here's my perspective (from a Ki Aikido point of view):
Your speed is probably good but if you only react physically to the body movement of the uke, you will probably be too late to react. Like some of the comments here, this is a timing issue. This will always happen if you react on body movement. Instead ride on the uke's Ki. Remember that before the uke moves to attack, there is intent on his part to actually do the attack. Normally you can feel this in your gut (one point). When you get this feeling, this is the time to move (ride on his Ki). This way, you will always have enough time to blend with the uke and redirect him. Don't react when your mai is already broken- this is too late. Don't react too early either as this too is ineffective.
So anyway I'm in the same boat- still learning and have ways to go. Hope this ranting make sense.
12-10-2004, 09:39 PM
My students also tend to have questions regarding speed. Most times what they are really referring to is timing or elimination of waste movements that give the effect of slow speed.
What Peter R said is possibly the best advice for speed training (conditioning your nerves and muscles for explosive entry) and those who indicate that it is best to train slowly and correctly before worrying about speed are also correct. However, the latter is focused on during kata practice in the way we train, that is the time for slow movement and internalising. From your post I get the feel that you are thinking about speed in randori the way Tomiki/Shodokan folks do it. In this regard the hontai no tsukuri and hiji mochi drills are your best options based on the method you are studying. There are times in the very beginning where we go slowly in kakari geiko or tai sabaki practice until one gets accustomed to the types of movements required (usually for rank beginners of only a few weeks if so much), but as soon as one understands the basic principle attacks quickly speed up to a point where one is continuously challenged though not totally out of one's range of reaction.
I'd think though that the best person to ask this question would be your Sensei, since he/she could actually obseverve your movements and instruct what needs to be adjusted to get the most efficient results from your body. I've found a lot of folks who have speed or reaction problems do so because they have not yet learnt to eliminate waste reflex and muscular twitch reactions (often a result of pent up mental or muscular tension or energy). These things can only be truly dealt with by a 3rd person who is looking at you, since we are often not aware ourselves that we are doing these slight, almost undetectable waste movements that inevitably slow us down in randori and can throw off timing as well.
Ask your instructor and get his views.
Just my 2 cents.
12-10-2004, 10:51 PM
if you say that person's technique is fast... that person is slow, you are only seeing the form of the people. You must scrap such thoughts. In blending with the person's energy (timing), at the moment when you are really together with that person, both fast and slow are gone. That is what Ueshiba Sensei called "becoming one with nature",by Gozo Shioda extracted from Dynamic Aikido pg. 187
My understanding is that fast and slow is relative, the truth is when you have harmonised with uke, the issue of fast or slow dissapear and you are in control of the uke. Isn't that better than trying to be faster and faster?
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