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Tim Heckman
01-05-2005, 11:29 AM
I took a Pilates class with my wife last night on an aikido off night, and enjoyed it. It felt like it opened and strengthened my hips, and worked on some small muscles that are probably weak and degrade my stability in aikido. Plus, it has this emphasis on strengthening your core, which is suspiciously close to my hara...

Does anyone have significant experience in both Pilates and Aikido? What are your thoughts?

Thanks,
Tim

sunny liberti
01-05-2005, 12:25 PM
I don't rate as "significant" experience with either, but I wholeheartedly agree that pilates is just good. There's no down-side that I can find. And whose aikido wouldn't get better with improved posture, stronger core, and more coordinated movement?!

j0nharris
01-05-2005, 12:39 PM
Well, I've training in Aikido for about 10 years, and went to a Pilates class a couple of months ago.
They were pretty flexible, but their ukemi left a lot to be desired! Especially with those tiny mats they use :D

I'm not sure why they haven't asked me back??

Janet Rosen
01-05-2005, 03:16 PM
Pilates should be a good supplement for aikido. I've only had a brief intro to it but want to find a way to integrate it into my routine. Only thing I find is that the breathing pattern is different, isn't it?

Tim Heckman
01-05-2005, 04:23 PM
Breathe?? My sensei still yells at me to breath while doing simple techniques. You mean I have to breath during Pilates too? Next thing you know, I'll be breathing all the time!

Jordan Steele
01-05-2005, 07:29 PM
My sensei is a certified pilates teacher and a personal trainer. I use his personal training services about once every six months and have been to a few pilates classes. Pilates is truly an excellent complement to Aikido on the conditioning side. It doesn't do a whole lot cardiovascularly but everything else (strength, posture, flexibility, etc) is improved. The effects are subtle but powerful.

JJF
01-06-2005, 02:11 AM
Breathe?? My sensei still yells at me to breath while doing simple techniques. You mean I have to breath during Pilates too? Next thing you know, I'll be breathing all the time!

Actually that might not be as bad as it sounds. I know it's a radical thought - but you really ought to give it a try :D

Ron Tisdale
01-06-2005, 11:55 AM
I've heard Ellis Amdur has used Pilates and liked the benefits in relation to martial arts in general...Ellis...are you out there? Maybe he could share some thoughts...

Ron

Ellis Amdur
01-10-2005, 01:14 AM
No, never did Pilates. I've studied (and continue to study) Gyrotonic. This is another method of core strength building. Perhaps the best way to distinguish the two is that Pilates emphasizes contraction and linear movement, whereas Gyrotonic focuses on spiral expansion out from the core. Sort of like Bagua compared to xingyi . . . or Yamaguchi's aikido compared to Saito's. What both these system's offer the martial artist is the building of flexible strength for the stabilizer muscles - the muscles lengthen, and most of the strength building is at the attachments rather than the belly of the muscle. One becomes stronger in an almost infinite amount of configurations, so that in the random movements, torques and stresses of martial practice, the body is protected. Finally, the focus on the core (trunk/abdomen/ perinium) means that the back is protected and that one trains to move powerfully with integrated strength. As for Gyrotonic, you can get some idea of it (and some pictures of the equipment) at www.gyrotonicseattle.com

best

Ellis

paw
01-10-2005, 07:14 AM
What both these system's offer the martial artist is the building of flexible strength for the stabilizer muscles - the muscles lengthen, and most of the strength building is at the attachments rather than the belly of the muscle.

Respectfully, I challenge anyone to produce evidence that either pilates, gyrotonic or yoga is capable of lengthening muscles. Baring surgery, that simply isn't possible.

Regards,

Paul

rob_liberti
01-10-2005, 08:01 AM
Basicallly, people develop patterns in the way they hold their body that result in muscles not being used in the optimal way. When you correct that you get the sensation of them "lengthening" - which is probably more accurately them just stretching out.

Look at yourself standing naturally in a mirror and notice your hands. If you see the back of your hands, odds are that you have an unhealthy pattern or two (or more). If you see the palms of your hands (be honest!) then I'd say odds are that your posture is much closer to optimal than the average person.

People who do Alexander Method talk about the sensation of your muscles lengthening and widening. This is pertenant to aikido in that I'd say many people in aikido have unhealthy body issues that really restrict/prevent reflexive movement.

I wouldn't say that yoga/pilates is the best thing to fix that specific problem I mentioned above. (I'd go find a St. John's method neuromuscular theropist for that one.) But, these problems cause weaknesses in core muscle areas and I have seen nothing better than the yoga/pilates combination to help. Core strength and flexibility are critical to aikido especially for developing fudoshin (unmoveable mind/mody).

Rob

paw
01-10-2005, 08:41 AM
When you correct that you get the sensation of them "lengthening" - which is probably more accurately them just stretching out.

So there isn't any evidence of muscle lengthening and instead pilates/yoga/gyrotonic are using misleading terminology. Is that the jist of your post?

Regards,

Pauol

rob_liberti
01-10-2005, 08:56 AM
Well, yes and no.
Yes - I agree that it is a bit misleading but not terribly so.
and No - The "gist" would ALSO have to include that there are many posture and core strength and flexibilty problems - which these activities help.

Rob

paw
01-10-2005, 10:00 AM
Well, yes and no.
Yes - I agree that it is a bit misleading but not terribly so.and No - The "gist" would ALSO have to include that there are many posture and core strength and flexibilty problems - which these activities help.

I guess I don't see how it isn't, at best, misleading, and at worst.... The muscles do not lengthen.

It appears you are suggesting that pilates/yoga/gyrotonic improve flexibility and strengthen muscles allowing for improved posture (which is then misinterpreted as "lengthening"). I suspect, given the many ads and promotional material concerning yoga and pilates that a fair number of instructors are not concerned with correcting this misunderstanding..

In any case, if that is your point, then there is no reason to presume that yoga/pilates/gyrotonic is the only way to improve core strength and flexibility, nor that yoga/pilates/gyrotonic is the best way to improve core strength and flexibility...much less improving core strength and flexibility specifically for aikido.

Regards,

Paul

Qatana
01-10-2005, 10:58 AM
This morning I could not put my head on the floor between my legs. After my yoga practice I could. How can you explain this beyond "muscles lenghthening"?

Any object that is able to contract is by definition able to lenghthen. This does not mean you can make your muscles grow longer, it means they can be lenghthened from a Contracted position.You can also stretch something past its limits, which will cause profound contraction- this would be called a cramp.

Janet Rosen
01-10-2005, 12:04 PM
Jo, I was formulating my reply as I read down the thread, and now I see you have gotten there a bit ahead of me. Yes, muscles especially those with trigger point contractions, often exist in chronically shortened form either within the segments of the muscle or along its length. A variety of therapies can release these contractions, in effect restoring the muscle to its normal "longer" state. Another example is how after one side of your body worked on, whether in massage, chiropractic, stretching, etc, you will indeed be longer on that side--more space opens up in the hip area and that foot is definitely further from your head than the other foot.
I have an appt with a pilates rehab person late this month and will keep aikiweb posted on how it goes.

Tim Heckman
01-10-2005, 12:38 PM
Paul,

I am curious as to whether you have any suggestions for improving flexibility/core strength specifically for aikido. I'm an occasional practitioner of yoga, and as mentioned in the opening post, have only taken one pilates class. However, at thirty-five years old, and having worked in a lot of jobs involving repetitive motion, my body has a lot of flexibility/muscle pain issues which an aikido practice of several hours a week has not improved significantly.

Thanks,
Tim

paw
01-10-2005, 12:40 PM
In reverse order.....

Any object that is able to contract is by definition able to lenghthen. This does not mean you can make your muscles grow longer, it means they can be lenghthened from a Contracted position.

I agree, although I would have said "it means they can return to the original, relaxed state".

My point is, since mucles cannot grow longer once a person is full developed, it's misleading (at best) to say "activity X lengthens muscles". I feel it would be more honest to say, "activity X improves flexibility or improves/restores natural range of motion".


This morning I could not put my head on the floor between my legs. After my yoga practice I could.

Is putting your head on the floor between your legs a common position in aikido? Is putting your head on the floor between your legs advantegeous in aikido? Is pilates/yoga/gyrotonic the only way (or the best way) to develop the ability to put your head on the floor between your legs?

I would submit that putting your head on the floor is a common position in aikido, and it is not advantageous in aikido to do so, in the same way that I believe it is not necessary in aikido to bench press 300 pounds, nor advantageous to do so.

Regards,

Paul

paw
01-10-2005, 12:53 PM
Paul,

I am curious as to whether you have any suggestions for improving flexibility/core strength specifically for aikido.

I have none. As far as I know, no one has studied aikido in depth enough to make suggestions for specific physical development or training routines. In contrast, Wayland Pulkinnen has studied judo enough to make suggestions, as he does in his book, The Sport Science of Elite Judo Athletes. (http://www.bestjudo.com/brsportscience.shtml)

I'm an occasional practitioner of yoga, and as mentioned in the opening post, have only taken one pilates class. However, at thirty-five years old, and having worked in a lot of jobs involving repetitive motion, my body has a lot of flexibility/muscle pain issues which an aikido practice of several hours a week has not improved significantly.

It's one issue to say yoga improves flexibility or decreases muscle pain issues for you or for anyone else. Obviously, if yoga is working for you, my advice is to keep with it, provided your doctor agrees.

It's another issue to suggest that yoga is the only way to improve flexibility or decrease muscle pain issues. It's another issue still to suggest that yoga is the "best" way to improve flexibility or decrease muscle pain issues. It's yet another issue to suggest that yoga is the "best" way to improve flexibility or decrease muscle pain issues specifically for aikido.

I suppose that my posts on this issue appear that I'm anti-yoga/pilates/gyrotonic. I am not (though you may not believe that). I do object to the misleading (at best) terminology of "lengthens muscles" as I hope I explained previously. I also object to the idea that "activity X is the best for developing attribute Y for aikido" as I don't believe there's any real basis to make that statement.

Regards,

Paul

Qatana
01-10-2005, 01:03 PM
Paul
If you pay attention to any of my postings I have repeatedly observed that flexibility is not at all integral to aikido. If it was, there wouldn't be any yudansha in my dojo.
Believe it or not, I do other physical practices, other than aikido, which require a high degree of flexibility. In order to perform the CanCan, you better believe i better be able to sit in a straddle and put my head on the ground. And do splits.In order to do some of the modelling jobs I have done, I'd Beter be able to do a backbend and endure holding a position with the help of outside support for extended periods of times.And the fact that I am able to do these things at 48 years of age leads me to believe I might just have a clue as to what I am talking about.
Flexibility just comes in real handy in my lines of work.

paw
01-10-2005, 01:35 PM
Paul
..snip


Jo,

If you had the impression that my reply to you was a personal attack/slight in some way I assure you that was not my intention.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any anger you may have felt, and please contact me via aiki-mail if you would like to discuss this further.

My point, which I actually think (hope) I made more clearly in my response to Tim, is one of "carryover". Cycling may improve endurance as can swimming, but neither are the only ways to build endurance, and neither is the best way to train for running a marathon, which is also in part, a test of endurance.

Regards,

Paul

Qatana
01-10-2005, 01:39 PM
Paul, you asked:

"Is putting your head on the floor between your legs a common position in aikido? Is putting your head on the floor between your legs advantegeous in aikido? Is pilates/yoga/gyrotonic the only way (or the best way) to develop the ability to put your head on the floor between your legs?"

I gave you the best answer I could. By telling you why I, Personally, need to be able to do these things. I thought we were talking about flexiblilty in general, not aikido in specific.

rob_liberti
01-10-2005, 01:44 PM
Hi Paulo,

Whom are you arguing with? I just did a word search on this thread to find the word "best". It seems like the only one to specifically make reference to yoga/pilates being the best for flexibility and/or specifically for aikido is YOU. Got back and re-read and you'll see that no one else said that!

Also, you seem to have a hang up where you think "lengthen" means "grow" and the rest of the folks on the thread all seem to agree that "lengthen" is a perfectly normal way to describe muscle activity going to a "relaxed state". I suggest you let it go and return to a "relaxed state". You might find that you'll "grow". :)

No one needs to be able to do a full Chinese split for aikido. But I think we agree that some flexibility is integral to aikido. Especially mental flexibility...

Rob

paw
01-10-2005, 02:10 PM
Hi Paulo,

Whom are you arguing with? I just did a word search on this thread to find the word "best".

I wasn't under the impression that I was arguing with anyone. Unless I'm mistaken, I used the phrase "the only way or the best way" or words to that effect each time.

Also, you seem to have a hang up where you think "lengthen" means "grow" and the rest of the folks on the thread all seem to agree that "lengthen" is a perfectly normal way to describe muscle activity going to a "relaxed state".

I don't think I have a hang up about this. A lot of activities improve flexibility or range of motion: gymnastics, some dancing, Olympic weightlifting...but I'm only aware of pilates and yoga using the terminology of "lengthening muscles" and haven't encountered it elsewhere.

Now that might just be the term that pilates and yoga use to refer to improved flexibility/improved range of motion. But, that certainly wasn't the case with my yoga instructors, nor do I believe that to be the case with a fair amount of the yoga/pilates literature I've read. And you yourself admitted the term is somewhat misleading, so I should hope that any confusion on my part is at least somewhat understandable.

I suggest you let it go and return to a "relaxed state". You might find that you'll "grow".

Oh, it's gone, Rob. I care far less about this than you can imagine.

Regards,

Paul

rob_liberti
01-10-2005, 04:13 PM
Seriously, sorry if I'm teasing too much! I couldn't resist.

As I said before the Alexander Method folks also use the term lengthening. And also as I said before, the term might be a little misleading - but not terribly so. Most of the folks on the thread seem to know exactly what is meant by it. If this helps, consider that when I blow air into a baloon, it "lengthens" and "widens" eventhough the amount of rubber that comprises the baloon doesn't "grow". I like more explicit terminology myself. I can get to LA via Omaha because "via" means "by way of" and I have to read about people getting to the internet via the browser at my job (where they want via to mean "by means of") - and well I just have to let it go because pretty much everyone knows what they mean and that is the evolution of language - like it or not.

As far as aikido goes - to keep this somewhat on topic here - people mistranslated a term in Japanese to mean "extension" when they should have said "expansion" about 30+ years ago and that's done a lot of damage to many people's aikido paradigm since. Things like yoga and pilates go a long way towards fixing that problem as well!

Rob

Ellis Amdur
01-10-2005, 05:50 PM
Jeezus - Paul, I'm not a Gyrotonic instructor. I'm like a 5th kyu asked to explain aikido and giving an honest best effort. In fact, the official name of the system is the "Gyrotonic Expansion System," not the Gyrotonic Lengthening System.
Here's a quote from the website I referred to in my last post:

Gyrotonic® comes from the word "Gyro" (meaning spiral or circle) and "Tonic" (to tone or invigorate).  It is based on fluid circular movements, and the participant's own restorative energy.       
With the body continuously supported by the equipment, either in lying or sitting positions, the participant moves through a series of rhythmical, low impact exercises, specifically designed to gradually
•  Stretch and strengthen the musculature
•  Improve the articulation of the joints and  spine
•  Build abdominal strength to enhance core  support, balance and stability
•  Develop kinesthetic awareness for better posture, and a renewed sense of the body as a whole
Breathing patterns are synchronized with the exercises to stimulate the nervous system, and create a revitalizing and invigorating flow of energy. As these processes come together, stiffness is released; flexibility, inner strength and coordination are improved, while stress and the risk of injury are reduced. Everyday movements become easier, and more efficient, resulting in an increase in vitality and well being.

They also have non-equipment based component:

Gyrokinesis® is based upon the same principals as the Gyrotonic® Expansion System, and requires only a stool and exercise mat to be performed. It is the core of the Juliu Horvath System™and was first developed out of his personal struggle with chronic pain and injuries.
The goal of Gyrokinesis® is to educate the body to move with fluidity and power.
Through a series of gentle and systematic movements the entire body is released, stimulated and invigorated. The first part of the class is performed seated and guides you through an awakening of the senses. While performing repetitive, rhythmical movements, you will be able to release stiffness, increase blood circulation and stimulate your internal organs and nervous system. The class then moves to the floor and finishes with strengthening exercises for the back and abdominal muscles.

My personal opinion: I think it is a wonderful supplementary exercise system for martail arts practice.

Best

Ellis Amdur

Pauliina Lievonen
01-10-2005, 05:56 PM
As I said before the Alexander Method folks also use the term lengthening. ...snip...

In the Alexander technique, "lengthening and widening" usually refers to your whole back, not so much specifically just muscles. And it's not a claim of something happening, more a direction that you give yourself (just to reassure Paul:).

BTW, and I apologise for nit-picking, my experience as an AT teacher is that people who stand with their palms forward often are busy pulling their shoulders back, in other words doing more work than is necessary. I don't think you should draw a lot of conclusions about the state anyone is in by looking at that kind of detail really.

kvaak
Pauliina

rob_liberti
01-10-2005, 08:07 PM
Hi Paulina,

I find some folks try to fix things artifically like that, but a good St. John Neuromuscular Therpist (who would also use the term "lengthening") will help you fix your posture problem by helping you relax you hips structure and knees properly. Also, I've had a few Alexander lessons where I was helped to lengthen and widen my arms, legs, hips, as well as back. I find it most interesting that I had to feel how to let some chest muscles naturally relax to let things happen. I have found all of this stuff tremendously helpful in kokyu ho and basically all of my waza.. These practices are really helpful for aikido. (And I'm not saying the only ones or the best ones. Just the best I've found so far!)

Rob

Pauliina Lievonen
01-11-2005, 05:33 AM
I have found all of this stuff tremendously helpful in kokyu ho and basically all of my waza.. These practices are really helpful for aikido. (And I'm not saying the only ones or the best ones. Just the best I've found so far!)


Glad to hear that! Obviously I've found Alexander Technique useful, otherwise I never would have trained as a teacher. :D I've worked with a couple dojo-mates as well who report that they've fond it helpful for aikido. On the other hand, IME the aikido folks have been some of the nicest to work with... :)

kvaak
Pauliina

Ron Tisdale
01-12-2005, 02:25 PM
Thanks for your contribution Ellis! Sorry that I mis-remembered the system's name...but it still sounds interesting. I was just looking around for Pilates locally...I may be switching my focus after your post!
Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
01-12-2005, 02:34 PM
I was just looking at their site Ellis, and noticed the exercise equipment they sell. May I ask if you use any of their equipment at home yourself, and if so, is there a particular model you prefer?
Thanks again,
Ron

Ellis Amdur
01-12-2005, 03:07 PM
Hi Ron -

1) First of all, the exercises are subtle enough that it's really important that one gets detailed instruction first - and gets some expertise. I'm quite fortunate in that my wife-to-be is a gyrotonic instructor, so I do have one of the professional units at home, and can work out with her instruction.
2) There are a number of pieces of equipment, with specialized exercises for each. The core unit is the "tower." The "actual" unit is only sold to certified trainers.
3) There is a "home unit" - I don't like it because it uses a spring system rather than the pulleys, which are more expensive to make. Springs have variable tension along their length (LOOK EXPERTS: I may be not exactly right here - I don't know physics either!). The result is that when you are at the moment of greatest extension (and vulnerability), the springs pull harder. One has to be mindful as to not get hurt, which is antithetical to the freedom the movements should/can give.
So, truth be told, I'd recommend working out at a studio. Many people do twice a week.

Best

Ellis

P.S. I'm going to be at Mechanicsburg the end of February - a two-day open seminar on Saturday and Sunday 2/26/27. Will you be able to come up. Be happy to talk with you more about this stuff then.

Ron Tisdale
01-12-2005, 03:28 PM
I think I've found one not far away from me...I believe I'll give them a call. I think I know what you mean about the resistance provided by springs.

I don't know yet about feb...but I've put it on my calendar just in case things open up. It would be good to train up there again and to see you...haven't been up since the Stevens seminar. If I don't make it, tell Bob and the folks I said Hey...
Ron

willy_lee
01-18-2005, 05:07 PM
Coming late to this, but my 2c FWIW

My personal impression of why the term "lengthening" gets used by yoga/pilates advertising is an idea of the kind of physical look that is being "sold" (for lack of better term). A "dancer's body" look. Related to a fear of "bulking up", is my guess.

Could I have any more "quotes" in one post -- I'm not sure!
=wl

Colbs
01-18-2005, 07:19 PM
Lengthening the muscle is actually different to strengthening, When strengthening a muscle you "bulk" it up, it enlarges in it's current shape, it doesn't get noticeably longer - this is especially apparent when you have people like me (tall, with shortish bicepts). Conversely you can lengthen muscles, making them look more 'toned' without having them grow out.

It's the difference there that leads it to be used to market to a primarially female client base - most women don't want to be built like brick shithouses but they do want firm lithe bodies (here here - drool).

Basically the effect leads to natural marketing, rather than the other way around.

Qatana
01-18-2005, 09:26 PM
No amount of yoga, Pilates, or any other exercise program will give a woman a classic "Dancer's Body" unless she was born with the bone structure to build on. I was a semi-professional dancer for over ten years, I am extremely flexible, I have the right kind of muscles for classical ballet, but I do not have the bones, so therefore i do not and can never have a "Dancer's Body".
And yes, if I go back to ballet tomorrow I will discover that my muscles have indeed gotten shorter than when I was taking two classes a day, and I know that if I work at it, they will get longer again.

Janet Rosen
01-27-2005, 10:33 PM
Well, to revisit this thread with a longish post....
It has been apparent for some time that I need to pursue some comprehensive program to address a long list of structural and movement problems in this now-out-of-warranty body. I considered the options, and booked an appointment with a rehab specialist at the Pilates clinic run by the author of “Pilates for Dummies.”
My appointment was yesterday and this is the list of issues I brought to the appointment:
1. (R) knee: 2000 acl allograft and medial meniscus partial removal. Longterm, some joint laxity and probably reinjury of meniscus with pain on prolonged walking/wtbearing and ocasional acute episodes of swelling. Weird stuff in back of knee.
2. (L) shoulder/upper arm: December 2004: pain in abductor/?triceps, no obvious injury, not necesarilly aikido-related; not improved by reduced training, somewhat alleviated with stretching.
3. Longterm ongoing intermittent problem posttraining with (L) inner thigh tetany/spasms, not clear if adductor or other medial structure involved. Seems related to ocasional carpopedal spasms though not at same time. Also chronic (L) hamstring tightness not abated by stretching.
4. chronic tightness trapezius, bilaterally
5. chronically subluxed carpal/metacarpal thumb joints
6. fairly recent onset of difficulty with left-starting forward rolls; Elaine Yoder (one of my instructors, and a Feldenkrais practitioner) observed me and it appears that I’m not integrating above/below center on that side, so lose track of my legs.

The rehab approach where I went starts with evaluation and neuromuscular re-education based on the work of Janda & Lewitt, in order to start correcting problems before jumping into Pilates exercises. I was really impressed with the person I was working with: her evaluation of my gait and posture was comprehensive and also picked up some old problems I’d not mentioned. She did point out that my left side is carrying most of my weight, and working harder than it needs to. I’m also spiraling my upper body to the right. When I walk, my right leg moves normally, but my left leg steps forward prematurely, working, not waiting for my center to move.

Her hands-on approach was direct trigger point work plus proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, but she was targeting areas that neither I nor any practitioners had previously identified as problems: the iliotibial band and on the right side far distal hamstrings. The itb was so tight, that when she asked me to abduct the leg, I used my low back to initiate the movement. She found amazing trigger points!: when she started working the left itb, it felt as if she was going to break my femur. Thanks to lots of aikido training, I was able to breathe deeply into it, and in fact the itb released nicely--so much so that I walked as if drunk until she did the right side!
I have homework to do, pressure point work on specific areas, different on the two sides of the body, and a couple of stretches. Going back next wk. Everything made amazing sense. Nice start for the new year.

Ron Tisdale
01-05-2006, 11:59 AM
Hi Janet,

Do you mind if I bring this thread back up to ask how this is going? Did you continue, and if so, what were the results relative to aikido?

Best,
Ron (still haven't made the time for Gyrotonics, but strongly reconsidering that right now)

Janet Rosen
01-05-2006, 12:11 PM
Hi ron--happy new year!
I continue to be an essentially lazy sod who happens to love aikido...I worked 1:1 with a Pilates person every wk or two for around three months (til the $ ran out...) and I've got a 15 minute Pilates routine that I do at home a couple times a wk. I also do trigger point release with a ball or a roller as needed. I'm finding that I don't do this too thoroughly or often, as it appears that a certain amount of the "offness" is actually protecting my bad knee: When I have fully released hips, low back, itb, etc, I end up with weird things happening in the support tendons and ligaments of the bad knee that make me nervous.
I DO find that the fundamentals of pilates (and from what I know of gyrotonics from a gal at our dojo who teaches it, its similar) really enhance aikido.

Ron Tisdale
01-05-2006, 04:13 PM
Thanks! And Happy Gnu year to you, too.

The idea that straightening other things out is problematic for the knee is a little worrysome. I'm working on my right knee now. And I get you with the lazy thing. Already have one activity that keeps me out nights and weekends. I need another time consumer like a whole in the head. But I think the bod just won't hold up on its own like it used to. So it's Gryotonics, pilates, yoga or a gym. And I REALLY HATE weight lifting. The little yoga I've been exposed to has helped, but I don't do it often enough, enough of it, or well enough for what I really need.

Hmmm, kind of like my aikido lately...maybe it's just my flawed character! ;)

Best,
Ron

James Kelly
01-10-2006, 02:02 AM
My quick $0.02. I've done a lot of yoga in my day, some very hard and some very soft, all meant to help iron out the structural issues I've developed through aikido and being very tall (mostly back and knee problems). I recently started bikram (aka hot) yoga. I'm as weary as the next person about the advice of zealots (meaning take this with a grain of salt because I'm pretty buzzed about my new practice) but it really is a spectacular system. The hot room used to seem like cheating to me, but now I view it as a safety net. It's much harder to hurt yourself when you're that warm. The series of postures is not particularly difficult so you're less likely to over strain and it strengthens and stretches and aligns just about every muscle I know about. My knee problems have all but vanished and my back is more flexible than it has been in years. About once a week is all it takes for me, especially because I'm training aikido.

Hope that helps.

ps -- re the earlier parts of the thread about the lengthen of muscles. Muscles can absolutely be lengthened and there is scientific literature to back this up. My sister lost much of her leg in a moped accident and they put her in a halo (an external thing screwed into the bone at various places like orthodontists braces for the leg). The halo is usually used to stabilize and lengthen bone while it heals, but it also has the effect of lengthening muscles which is why they used it in her case (many of her muscles were severed and not long enough to reach where they should). After they took the halo off, her muscles had lengthened and they were able to reattach them (there's all kinds of other stuff wrong in there, but each step forward is a good one). So if muscles can be lengthened by an external brace, why not by internal stretching...?

Scott Josephus
02-05-2006, 08:29 PM
Hi Tim-

Just a quick reminder that Sensei suggests that when we stretch at the beginning of class, don't rush through your stretches - take it a little slowly, and this will slowly increase your flexibility (at least in theory).

See you Monday. :)

paw
02-05-2006, 09:42 PM
ps -- re the earlier parts of the thread about the lengthen of muscles. Muscles can absolutely be lengthened and there is scientific literature to back this up. My sister lost much of her leg in a moped accident and they put her in a halo (an external thing screwed into the bone at various places like orthodontists braces for the leg). The halo is usually used to stabilize and lengthen bone while it heals, but it also has the effect of lengthening muscles which is why they used it in her case (many of her muscles were severed and not long enough to reach where they should). After they took the halo off, her muscles had lengthened and they were able to reattach them (there's all kinds of other stuff wrong in there, but each step forward is a good one). So if muscles can be lengthened by an external brace, why not by internal stretching...?

So, in other words, the use of the halo restored her muscles to her original length (pre-accident) by lengthening the bones? That's a vastly different concept than increasing the length of her uninjuried muscles, as I understand it.

As Donny Schreier, said:

"A muscle is attached to a bone on one end, crosses a joint or joints, and attaches to another bone at its other end. The muscle's length is fixed between these two points, and no matter what you do and no matter how you exercise or how hard you try you cannot lengthen this muscle without lengthening the bones to which it is attached, which as you know cannot be done without breaking them."

So if you know of scientific literature that indicates otherwise, I'd love to read it if you can point me in the right direction.


Regards,

Paul

Janet Rosen
02-06-2006, 12:51 PM
individual muscle fibers within a muscle can be contracted or relaxed and that will affect overall muscle length. dancers w/ tight quads have shortened quads that pull the pelvis bones in such a way that their butt's stick out. i have opposite: chronically tight hamstrings -- a tendency that conventional stretching does not affect-- that pull the pelvis in the opposite direction and flatten my lumbat curve abnormally, giving rise to low back discomfort.
so, no, bones won't grow or break, but bone position within the body can and does change due to the force of muscles, tendons, etc.

paw
02-06-2006, 11:09 PM
individual muscle fibers within a muscle can be contracted or relaxed and that will affect overall muscle length. dancers w/ tight quads have shortened quads that pull the pelvis bones in such a way that their butt's stick out. i have opposite: chronically tight hamstrings -- a tendency that conventional stretching does not affect-- that pull the pelvis in the opposite direction and flatten my lumbat curve abnormally, giving rise to low back discomfort.
so, no, bones won't grow or break, but bone position within the body can and does change due to the force of muscles, tendons, etc.

So if I understand what you are saying, someone moving their wrist towards their head, causing their elbow to bend, will contract the bicept. And yes, that will make the bicep "peak" and appear shorter. They can drop their wrist to their waist which will contract the tricept, and allow the bicept to relax. If that's "lengthening" the bicep, then yes, all muscles do that by nature of their ability to contract.

What I'm saying is that the true length of the muscle, determined by it's connections to the skeletal system cannot be lengthened by any activity unless bone is broken. Exercise, stretching, whatever....cannot accomplish that. Further, the shape of the muscle is determined by genetics, and no excercise routine or stretching, or whatever is going to change that either. So, speaking of "lengthening" the muscle or "changing the shape of a muscle" in reference to an exercise program, stretching routine or late-night infomercial is misleading.

Regards,

Paul

Janet Rosen
02-06-2006, 11:18 PM
paul, no, actually what i'm saying is that *chronically* tight or even deformed and contracted muscles (beyond my hamstrings, thinking of my friends w/ c.p. and about how folks w/ scoliosis respond to muscle and soft tissue manipulation) DO move bone w/out breaking it by slowly realigning joint staraucture and changing alignment of bone w/in body. the skeleton is NOT a fixed unchanging size and shape. bones can turn within the body without breaking, and relative position of bone end can move within body in response to trauma or to muscle pulling, so bone is NOT a fixed thing that defines muscle length any more than the earth is a single fixed solid circle.