View Full Version : improving reflexes/w rubber ball.

Please visit our sponsor:

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

Christian Orderud
01-29-2005, 08:42 PM
I've recently began practicing Aikido again, and are still a beginner in every sense of the word.

Something I have been worrying about, is my abillity to get hold of an attackers wrists/hands/elbows if I ever have to defend myself using Aikido. After some thinking about this, I got an Idea on how to practice reflexes, grips, and eye to muscle coordination.

What about using a small bouncing rubber ball, which you trow at a wall at random angels, and then try to either avoid, or grab with either hand? :) By starting out slow, and improving the force which you trow the ball into the wall, as well as trying to grab the ball while performing Aikido moves/techniques, I think you should definitvly improve both reflexes and eye/muscle coordination. I have done this a few days now, and have even tried to visualise the ball being a hand or foot with intent of striking me, and feel my reflexes have improved somewhat.

Anyone who have ever tried a full power trow with one of those small hard and massive rubberballs inside a house, can attest to the resulting frenzied high-speed bouncing between walls, roof and floor, :crazy: so be carefull to do it in a room without easily brakeable objects, and ofcourse, be carefull with your eyes. :freaky:

Christian Orderud

Janet Rosen
01-29-2005, 11:04 PM
Most of my instructors have emphasized NOT tryig to "grab ahold" of anybody, but of positioning myself appropriately and then connecting.

01-29-2005, 11:58 PM
Why don't you just go to a racquetball court and play a game of handball?


p.s. I'm with Janet on this one.

Christian Orderud
01-30-2005, 12:16 AM
Remember that I'm still really new at Aikido, and that this was just an idea I had a few days ago for improving myself. :)

Anyhow, my intention was first and foremost improving my eye-muscle coordination, but I understand your concern with the grabbing thing, and why that can be counter-productive. What about the "avoiding the crazy randomly-bouncing ball by moving out of it's way"-thingie? Wouldn't that be aiki in that the principle is irimi?

01-30-2005, 02:31 AM
Christian: Any exercise that improves hand-eye coordination, reflexes and timing is a very good thing. Your ball sounds like good practice; and a lot of fun too! As is your second idea of avoiding the ball as it caroms around the place. What I'd recommend for that part of the exercise is to concentrate on tai-sabaki while doing it. Keep your center of gravity - i.e. your body - over your feet; keep centered; keep one-point low for stability.
Also; don't dodge the ball; move out of its way. In other words; move your body as a unit, don't twist, duck stretch or leap. Try to make the avoidance move smooth and controlled; rather than a wild leap.
With those restrictions; the drill will be much harder - that's the idea. But practice makes for improvement and over time can only help - greatly - your aikido. :)
Good idea!
Other points:
Agreed totally with Bronson; handball is great for this sort of exercise - excellent cardio and fun too.
Agreed also with Janet; but it's two different things - reaction/reflex training on one side, positioning on the other. Practice both. :)

Jordan Steele
01-30-2005, 07:15 AM
I think it sounds cool. I know where you're coming from...you're not looking for a bunch of useless technical advice, just some feedback. It probably works really good too.

Adam Alexander
01-30-2005, 07:37 AM
remember when Mr. Miagi said,"why break board? tree didn't attack me."...something like that.

01-30-2005, 08:04 AM
Hei pa deg Christian:

Reflexes as nage will come with practice. As you learn and develop your tai sabaki you will find the grabs become second nature. If you focus too much on grabbing, you will miss other important elements of executing the technique. I have my students sometimes practice real slow-almost tai chi like. I also have them go through the technique without an attacker (sort of like shadow boxing) so they can feel the movements without an attacker. If you focus on grabbing, you are focused on the throw in my opinion. If you can't set the technique up you'll never get to the throw.

01-30-2005, 10:24 AM
Compliments on creativity and motivation to improve. IMHO, I like anything that trains corrdination. Beside grabing, try entering (irimi) side-stepping off the attack line, tenkan (omote and ura) just begore the ball hits you, or letting your hand blend behind it as you turn (kokyo-ho) and keep directing it on its path. Interesting ideas. Let us know if they actually transfer you when you step on the mat.

Jill N
01-30-2005, 01:52 PM
I like the idea of using a ball to learn getting off line, and for blending. Tenkan with the ball and push it along it's way. Catching the ball is good for eye hand co ordination, but could train you to concentrate on the hand coming towards you instead of the whole body movement of your uke. When you are going for a grip on a ball, you are aiming at a small object. In aikido techniques, you are generally going for the whole arm (like a rope) and you get the grip once you have followed it to the "knot"(the hand). Maybe it would work better if you attach a tail to your ball, and try to approach the ball by touching the tail first and getting to the ball by following that. Otherwise, you may end up training yourself to snatch a hand in mid air with your hand, instead of sweeping the whole person along with your whole body.

I hope this makes some sense. I love your inventiveness. It is great to have fun with training.

e ya later.

PS watch out for the lamps and windows, or your S.O. won't be so impressed with your training.

Christian Orderud
01-30-2005, 06:29 PM
Thanks for the feedback people. :) I have gotten a number of ideas for improving this exercise, as well as some very good advice.

Especially liked the idea with the tail. Tried it and found out that it actually work great if i fasten the thread using a small pin, instead of knotting it around the ball(which dampened the ball's abillity to bounce.).


Christian :)