View Full Version : Solo training in "Aikido"

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Mike Fugate
09-18-2005, 11:47 PM
I was wondering on a specific training method of AIkido. Now I do study AIkido, but it is more less along with KungFu and Karate. I have learned to basically blend the three, into one art. Now in Karate and Kungfu I have learned Katas, and workouts on lets say wooden dummies and other things to practice. All of these I can easily blend Aikido into, for it is so similar. But for strictly Aikido practitioner, how would they train (physically) if by themselves. Is there any forms of kata in Aikido? Or solo workouts? :ki:

Devon Natario
09-19-2005, 12:25 AM
Well you can basically put together a kata with specific movements you learn in any martial art.

For instance, I do not have kata in Jujitsu, but I have 30 throws. I can perform them in sequence and pretend an attacker is coming with a hook punh- I do a shoulder throw, another attacker is attempting to tackle me- I do Kaiten Nage, etc etc.

Kata is just the practice of techniques on an imaginary opponent (s). If a person knows techniques from any art, they can perform a kata from them.

Edit: In the style of Aikido I took, we did not have kata though, to answer that question. I am sure some styles now have kata though.

Tim Griffiths
09-19-2005, 04:44 AM
You can certainly practice movements and techniques solo. However, this is limited - the part of aikido that is hardest to develop is understanding the leverage and blending neeed when working with a partner. Literally, by yourself there can't be any 'aiki' in the normal use of the term.
Visualising techniques and doing one half of them is good, but it is only half the technique.

Better solo practice is to work on the solo irimi and tenkan movements (which are normally done at the beginning of an aikido class), shikko (knee-walking), rolling, and of course weapons work, if your dojo uses them.

A small word of caution as well. You said:
Now in Karate and Kungfu I have learned Katas, and workouts on lets say wooden dummies and other things to practice. All of these I can easily blend Aikido into, for it is so similar.
Its certainly possible to blend aikido techniques into both these arts. A big stylistic difference though is in the large body movements made in aikido compared to the more linear movements of karate and the more static body position of kungfu (generally, varying with style, of course). The problem with a wooden dummy is that it doesn't move too much and is usually positioned up against a wall - it makes it hard to practice the body movements in aikido that we most need to train in. It also doesn't provide the kind of resistance we want to understand the leverage and power we're exerting to move our partners.

Train well,


Nick Simpson
09-19-2005, 05:44 AM
Obviously your not trying to nikkyo the wooden dumby, but im just interested as to how you incorporate one into aikido, if you do?

The others have given you good advice, visualise techniques with an imaginary uke. Do weapons work, train in ukemi on your carpet/floor/garden or whatever surface is best for you. Stuff like that.

09-19-2005, 08:20 AM
I think kungfu and karate have katas because the instructor was not always around to teach them. I think (unfortunately) this has caused some harm in that even the understanding of the katas has degraded to the point that people often don't realise what different movements in the kata are for. I personally believe there is only 'one' martial art, and that is what all martial arts are tryng to achieve. Aikido to me is more a training method than a set of techniques; and the training method is to have a partner and learn to blend with them through frequent single and directed attacks. All the techniques of aikido are in karate and especially within kung fu (at some level), although they are performed slightly differently. I think generally the solo practise is best reserved to strength/fitness training and striking/kicking and these require less of an ability for blending (although they should really include blending within the timing).

I have thought recently of trying to develop a solo kata for aikido, but to some extent it is just like tai-chi. I also think for many tai-chi kata there are additional benefits beyond just learning the technique, such as developing good balance and also health. Makes you wonder whether it is possible to develop and aikido kata that could be even half as good as the stuff that is already out there.

I know I promised some people some stuff on solo practise - unfortunately I have been very busy with work this summer. However I am working on it again now (it's mostly based on atemi combinations that are linked with the different techniques - based on the atemi Saito would normally use). However, for self-defence purposes I think it is most useful to have a live attacker!

09-19-2005, 08:23 AM
P.S. I think the difficulty sometimes with kata is also that the idea is to have a certain technique with a cetain attack type. IMO aikido is blending within each moment, and there really are not seperate techniques since they can so easily move from one to another. Seperating the techniques in a kata at an advanced level could possibly be counter productive.

Devon Natario
09-19-2005, 09:28 AM
All good replies, and almost everyone has a different outlook.

In every martial art you need to have a partner. 90% of any art is learning how to feel your opponent or read them. The techniques of any art are just 25% or less of that art.

Some say Kata was designed to help a student remember and teach the moves. Some say it's a road map to discovering the truth of pressure points, and yet some say it's just for developing good technique. Some also say it is for developing Ki or Chi (inner growth). There's even the common sense factor that says if you train in kata your body and mind become one and the movements become reactive instead of thought out. It's definately good to train muscle memory. Afterall we didn't all just start running when we were born.. We learned how to crawl (kata), walk (pratice with a partner), and run (fight).I believe that all are true. There are many reasons kata are good and you can not take away from it, even if you hate it like me.

Practice the movements of Aikido, it can not hurt you at all. Someone said you need a partner to feel their energy and to learn how to blend with them. Thats great! Im sure you and every martial artist knows this. But learning the basic movements through kata is great. Now you have one less thing to learn when trying to blend and feel energy.

Good luck.

Mike Fugate
09-19-2005, 10:05 PM
Thanx for the replies. This is more less what I knew to be true with Aikido, and I appreiciate the replies. As for how do I incorperate Aikido in my Kung Fu and Karate, Well to me I do not see how one could not incorperate it. KungFu is So much like Aikido, froma aphilosophical and techniques veiw both. In certain styles such as Eagle Claw, where there are much Chin na locks, as for Akido has theses too. In Wing Chun the blocks that are on the dummy, are easily turned into an AIkido technique once applied. See in authentic Kung Fu, alot of the "blocks" actually redirect the force. The foot work and hand movement are very circluar, which again flows easily with Aikido. Here is an old quote from Shaolin, that really sums it all up, "“Perceive the way of nature and no force can harm you. Do not meet a wave head on avoid it. You do not have to stop force, it is easier to redirect it. Learn more ways to preserve rather than to destroy. Avoid rather then check, check rather then hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill, for all life is precious and can never be replaced.” See, the similarities? ;) :ki:

10-25-2005, 09:14 PM
Just thought it was worth mentioning....I've pretty much abandoned my aikido training at the moment for shotokan karate. (I'm a full-time student, so my time is limited...but I might go back to aikido eventually.) One reason I did this, among others, is so that I would have an art I could practice by myself, as in kata. But I've noticed that any "real" ability I get from karate is from the kumite drills...the actual application of techniques with a partner.

Mark Uttech
10-26-2005, 06:22 AM
solo aikido training can be as simple as going for a walk through crowds.

Ron Tisdale
10-26-2005, 08:25 AM
If you have access to materials on the Yoshinkan basic movements, you might want to explore that. They can be done alone, or with a partners, or with a sword/bokken. Especially if there is a Yoshinkan instructor in your area who can teach you the basic movements. I've heard it said that you should learn to control your own body first, and then it will be much easier to control/redirect/unbalance someone else's.



10-26-2005, 09:11 AM
IMHO, tenkan, tenkan, and tenkan. Practicing proper alignment (everything pointing in the same direction) while performing footwork (tenkan: step turn) is excellent solo training. Put on some music and you have rhythm and timing training. Speed it up and it become cardio-vascular. keep doing it and you have endurance and mental toughness training. Doesn't take much space and there is no training equipment or partner required.

Relax, breath, and enjoy yourself.

Larry Feldman
10-26-2005, 12:19 PM
Ki Society dojo's practice 'ki exercises' - movements fundamental to Aikido. They are made to be practiced solo and can help you with centering and making basic movements fundamental (sounds a lot like what Ron has referred to above). Shifflet has published some books on these...

Many Bokken and Jo katas can also be done solo.