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James Kelly
11-18-2005, 05:17 PM
So, I've had something of an epiphany recently. It seems to me that the better people get at aikido, the _slower_ they move. You'd think it would be the other way around, but when I look at the Shihan, the faster the attack comes, the slower they seem to go.

I thought this might be particular to aikido, where the emphasis is not on speed and strength, but I've recently started cross training in capoeira, a very fast martial art, in a school where speed is emphasized over just about everything, and when the high levels play, they go slower and slower, even if their opponent is zipping around. They just put themselves in a place where the opponent can't attack. The better they are, the less they have to move to get into that place. It really is amazing to see one guy spinning and twirling like a top and the other, calmly stepping in and out of the way.

This came as a shock to me. For years I've been trying to speed up my techniques. My dojo has a reputation for teaching very slow aikido so when I go to other dojos or a seminar I would try to see if I could play at their speed. By this I thought it meant doing the techniques as fast as they attack. But now I'm trying something different. I'm trying to go as slow as I can, no matter how fast they attack. It's not easy, but I'm kind of grooving on it.

Anyone else make this observation? Have any thoughts on the speed of aikido training? Am I totally off base here? I saw a t-shirt once (from Boulder Aikikai I think), ‘Slow is ok' on the front, ‘but fast is better' on the back (or something like that). Now I'm thinking maybe I should make one just, ‘slow is better'.

Discuss

SeiserL
11-18-2005, 07:53 PM
IMHO, it isn't a question of slow or fast, but one of timing and correctness.

SteveTrinkle
11-18-2005, 08:01 PM
My teacher said once that "slow is ok, fast is ok, but suddenly is not so good."

Janet Rosen
11-18-2005, 10:20 PM
Part of how I have always prepared for testing by asking my training partner to attack at full intent but 1/2 speed--which is NOT easy to do!--but working at that speed, you get to really play with posture, timing, position, connection etc at a speed that better lets you feel, observe, find exactly where your openings/problems are.

tedehara
11-19-2005, 02:10 AM
This is where The Principle of Ten (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4668) applies.

If you're attacked slowly (3), you should move quickly (7) so the result is 10. If you're attacked quickly (6), you should move slower (4) so the result is 10, but you also have to move earlier.

Think of this as a principle of ma-ai that you can refine through practice.

nekobaka
11-19-2005, 04:21 AM
I was at boulder aikikai for a few years, and often felt that stamina was just as important as technique. then I came to japan and practiced at a "slow" dojo, where everyone attacked in a heavy way. there was also a lot more personal instruction from the yudansha.I liked it better and feel like I really improved while I was there. then I moved and the dojo I'm at now is a "fast" dojo, where very rarely does anyone attack "heavily". I feel like I've gotten worse instead of better in the last 3 years. I will probably move again in the next year or so, so I hope to find another slow dojo. I think when you do a techinique fast you can fake your way through it, as well as the attack being light, and easy to move the person. with a heavy attack, I really have to move from my center and not use muscle, because most of the people are stronger than I am. that's why I think it makes me improve.

Rupert Atkinson
11-19-2005, 04:28 AM
In response to the initial post - certain shihan may appear slow, and they may be slow, but what they do will be based on years of fast training. Thus, it would be a mistake to take what they appear to do and train slow.

Lan Powers
11-19-2005, 08:06 AM
Another aspect of the speed of the technique is the nage *may be* setting the speed instead of allowing the uke to control their meeting as a means to gain firmer control overall.
Our sensei often says that the nage sets the pace....no matter how fast uke comes at him, he gets sucked into the technique with balance just out of reach, either before him (faster) or just behind where it is recoverable (slower).
At times it can look like uke charges full blown, into nages solo slow motion tai-chi form. :)
Doing a technique exquisitely slow to reveal a point he is stressing is also MUCH harder than doing it with flow and momentum. Lots of benefits.

Lan

Devon Natario
11-19-2005, 09:00 AM
My instructor used to tell me that speed was irrelevant to the entire spectrum of things.

He would demonstrate a technique on me doing it very fast, then do the technique relaxed and at half speed. Both time he asked me to reverse it, or to stop the flow of the technique and I could not respond to either.

The brain and the muscles can only respond so fast, and they can not re-react.

Now I learned the re-react from Hanshi Dillman. Let someone do a front hand choke on you and move swiftly and hard all the way to the right, then directly move your head swiftly and hard all the way to the right.

The person choking you can not maintain a grip strong enough to hurt you and it gives you time to take their hands away or walk backward. (This does have to be done rather fast, not too slow otherwise the persons brain will catch up and latch on you).

The lesson was to show that the brain and the muscles can not re-react, they only react quicklly.

If you can think of the many techniques that we do that we change direction, you will understand why it is so hard for our partners to re-react to techniques making speed almost irrelevant. You just barely have to be fast enough to make sure your partners brain doesnt catch up to what's going on.

CNYMike
11-19-2005, 04:44 PM
.... Now I'm thinking maybe I should make one just, ‘slow is better'.

Discuss

Slow is better for learning and training safely. My Kali instructor, who also has permission to teach Pentjak Silat Serak, drives this point home constantly. According to him, there's a large body of research to back this up. Thai Boxers, I understand, also spar at a compartively slow pace; there's no way they could do that all day in a hot and humid country and live to talk about it if they didn't. Of course, when they go in the ring, they're full speed ahead, but that's the payoff for going slow.

One reason it's a good idea is as follow: When you go dull speed ahead, your fight-or-flight refelx can kick in, resulting in an "adrenaline bomb" being dumped into your blood stream. So you "dumb down" to moves that don't have a lot of fine motor control. This is why in Karate-Do, kumite doesn't look like kata, bunkai, or ippon kumite -- they're going too fast to have presence of mind to do those beautiful techniques! Of course, there may be perfectly valid reasons why they go full boar out the gate, either from the perspective of attaining mushin no shin or some aspect of Japanese culture. But it has that drawback.

Now, once you get used to doing things slow, of course, then you can ramp it up, from say 1/4 speed to 1/2 and so forth. But it shouldn't feel any different -- just take less time. That's also what my Kali instructor is doing -- sheparding us through ascending levels of "practice sparring" before you get to the real deal.

So in a nutshell, slow is better. And it's best of your sensei agrees with you; otherwise, it's a moot point.

David Yap
11-20-2005, 03:44 AM
...You'd think it would be the other way around, but when I look at the Shihan, the faster the attack comes, the slower they seem to go.

I thought this might be particular to aikido, where the emphasis is not on speed and strength, but I've recently started cross training in capoeira, a very fast martial art, in a school where speed is emphasized over just about everything, and when the high levels play, they go slower and slower, even if their opponent is zipping around. They just put themselves in a place where the opponent can't attack. The better they are, the less they have to move to get into that place. It really is amazing to see one guy spinning and twirling like a top and the other, calmly stepping in and out of the way...

Hi James,

Hmmm..I think they call this phenomenon "efficiency" :D

Hi Dr. Seiser,

I'm reading "Aikido Basics". Great work. Congrats to you and Dang sensei.

Best training

David Y

SeiserL
11-20-2005, 11:04 AM
Hi Dr. Seiser, I'm reading "Aikido Basics". Great work. Congrats to you and Dang sensei.
Thank you.

Amir Krause
11-21-2005, 02:54 AM
Slow is better for learning and training safely. My Kali instructor, who also has permission to teach Pentjak Silat Serak, drives this point home constantly. According to him, there's a large body of research to back this up. Thai Boxers, I understand, also spar at a compartively slow pace; there's no way they could do that all day in a hot and humid country and live to talk about it if they didn't. Of course, when they go in the ring, they're full speed ahead, but that's the payoff for going slow.

One reason it's a good idea is as follow: When you go dull speed ahead, your fight-or-flight refelx can kick in, resulting in an "adrenaline bomb" being dumped into your blood stream. So you "dumb down" to moves that don't have a lot of fine motor control. This is why in Karate-Do, kumite doesn't look like kata, bunkai, or ippon kumite -- they're going too fast to have presence of mind to do those beautiful techniques! Of course, there may be perfectly valid reasons why they go full boar out the gate, either from the perspective of attaining mushin no shin or some aspect of Japanese culture. But it has that drawback.

Now, once you get used to doing things slow, of course, then you can ramp it up, from say 1/4 speed to 1/2 and so forth. But it shouldn't feel any different -- just take less time. That's also what my Kali instructor is doing -- sheparding us through ascending levels of "practice sparring" before you get to the real deal.

So in a nutshell, slow is better. And it's best of your sensei agrees with you; otherwise, it's a moot point.

Working slower gives one time to realize what he is doing, and make sure everything is done exactly as it should. One should practice more at slower speeds, learning. And practice faster only occasionally, to maintain his ability to accelerate the same movement.

The only issue that should be tested at fast speed is timing, and even then, a great M.A. can be identified as those who seem to move slower than their attacker (good timing and positioning requires less movement).

Amir

Nick Simpson
11-21-2005, 04:37 AM
Timing.

j0nharris
11-21-2005, 11:04 AM
Now, once you get used to doing things slow, of course, then you can ramp it up, from say 1/4 speed to 1/2 and so forth... .
I agree that moving slowly at first lets us work on correct posture, etc.
The hardest thing I've found, though, especially lately, is getting uke to follow through with their intention, as if, they were going faster to complete the attack.
I'm also reminded of Morihito Saito Sensei's visits to the United States & his insistence that the weapons forms be learned slowly & correctly so that we can do them without strength!

It seems harder to impress on our newer, younger students the importance of the process of start-stop, then awase, then Ki No Nigare so that (hopefully) the form does not break down.

Not that I'm ever guilty of that myself! :D

Bronson
11-21-2005, 11:24 PM
The phrase "if you can't do the technique slow you've got no business doing it fast" is often heard in my class :D

Bronson

odudog
11-22-2005, 09:46 AM
The phrase "if you can't do the technique slow you've got no business doing it fast" is often heard in my class :D

Bronson

That's a good saying! Will your Sensei mind if I or anyone else outside of your dojo borrow that? I tell my kohai that they need to go slow so that they can learn what they are supposed to feel, where to feel it, and when to feel it. I have one colleague in my dojo who just passed his 2nd kyu test. When I worked with him to get him ready for the test, I would say "I'm going to do a Rob" and proceed to mimic his technique. I think he is finally starting to understand to move slow for he know sees how his technique looks like because verbally telling him over the past 3 years just didn't have the same affect.

James Davis
11-22-2005, 10:20 AM
IMHO, it isn't a question of slow or fast, but one of timing and correctness.
My Sensei calls it "timing and precision", but he still looks fast as all hell!! :D

Neil Mick
11-22-2005, 10:27 AM
I've recently started cross training in capoeira, a very fast martial art, in a school where speed is emphasized over just about everything, and when the high levels play, they go slower and slower, even if their opponent is zipping around. They just put themselves in a place where the opponent can't attack. The better they are, the less they have to move to get into that place. It really is amazing to see one guy spinning and twirling like a top and the other, calmly stepping in and out of the way.

Capoeira is also not just about speed. Certain musical tempo's demand a slow roda (game), as well as certain styles such as Angola, in which the participants play almost completely on the floor, demanding a much slower (and more difficult) roda.

bratzo_barrena
11-22-2005, 01:41 PM
Aikido is not a matter of speed, and I mean fast or slow, you shouldn't try to be faster or slower, there's a range of speed in which your body will be able to perform the techniques properly and balanced, faster or slower depending on the situation. Your body will find the appropiate range with practice. But you don't aim to be the faster or the slower just for the sake of it.

xuzen
11-23-2005, 08:49 PM
Hi James,
So, I've had something of an epiphany recently. It seems to me that the better people get at aikido, the _slower_ they move. You'd think it would be the other way around, but when I look at the Shihan, the faster the attack comes, the slower they seem to go.
James, a question... when you said fast or slow, are you saying it from the perspective of being the uke or from the perspective of a third party on-looker? When I am being the uke for my sensei, it felt fast because of his sharp tenkan, but when I see him do aikido on other uke, his technique seems of only casual speed to me.

I thought this might be particular to aikido, where the emphasis is not on speed and strength, but I've recently started cross training in capoeira, a very fast martial art, in a school where speed is emphasized over just about everything, and when the high levels play, they go slower and slower, even if their opponent is zipping around. They just put themselves in a place where the opponent can't attack. The better they are, the less they have to move to get into that place. It really is amazing to see one guy spinning and twirling like a top and the other, calmly stepping in and out of the way.
Maestro at work.

This came as a shock to me. For years I've been trying to speed up my techniques. My dojo has a reputation for teaching very slow aikido so when I go to other dojos or a seminar I would try to see if I could play at their speed. By this I thought it meant doing the techniques as fast as they attack. But now I'm trying something different. I'm trying to go as slow as I can, no matter how fast they attack. It's not easy, but I'm kind of grooving on it.
A quote from Shioda Kancho from his book Total Aikido: The Master Course pg. 187: "If you say that person's technique is fast or that person is slow, you are only seeing the form of that person. 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".

IMO, slow or fast is not relevant. it is only relative. Being in control throughout is what we aim for. And when you are in control, fast and slow is irrelevant.

Bronson
11-24-2005, 12:39 PM
IMO, slow or fast is not relevant. it is only relative. Being in control throughout is what we aim for. And when you are in control, fast and slow is irrelevant.

I would agree with this. However, it is much easier to learn control when moving slowly...speed can always be added.

Bronson

Bronson
11-24-2005, 12:40 PM
That's a good saying! Will your Sensei mind if I or anyone else outside of your dojo borrow that?

If it'll help, feel free.

Bronson

Taylor Franklin
11-26-2005, 01:40 AM
I'd have to say its a learned thing, it's not that they're going very slow, it is that they know how to do it at an acceptable pace that is both applicable to the mood of how they want to teach and showy enough to show that it is effective

For example. When you first learned to drive - if you do drive and you can remember the first few times - its very fast paced, its hard to take in everything. After a few rounds and some experience builds things slow down. Now compare back then if you were to drive to the mall from your house, and now. You could do it much safer(hopefully), faster(even if you are not speeding), and more percise if a problem were to arise. The first-timer self would probably have a hesistate, have a wreck, be very nervous, etc. That's how I look at it.

Delvin
12-14-2005, 07:46 PM
It reminds me of golf – you watch a professional golf player hit the ball.
They don’t look like they are trying to hit the ball,
They don’t look like they are trying to swing the club,
It looks like they are just letting the club fall – using gravity, and just hanging on.
Well to get that good they had to: Try to hit the ball and Try to swing the club.
Eventually they understood how the club felt as it moved and how it impacted the ball and they no longer had to try so hard to do it – become one with the club and the ball and allowed it to work.


I’m new to Aikido but it seams that way too.

Derukugi
12-27-2005, 09:47 PM
The better you get at doing things slowly, the easier you`ll find it to add speed later as need be.
The absolutely worst you can do is try to practise speed while moving incorrectly.
(Same applies for Ju-Jutsu and Judo, btw)

jxa127
01-03-2006, 08:34 AM
What I've been noticing a lot more is that moving sooner is better than moving more quickly. My tendancy has been to move quickly in response to an attack that has nearly connected. Because of that, I've been working on responding sooner and being more sensitive to the attack. I've found that moving sooner allows me to more at a more relaxed pace and my technique is crisper; not so hurried.

Regards,

jester
01-03-2006, 01:31 PM
Our Instructor used to say that "Slow is Fast and Fast is Slow".

It sounds funny and contradicting until you really understand what it means.

Let's assume we are already at MAI-AI.

For the average person, being fast means jumping forward or lunging. You want to get there really fast right. But what happens when you lunge or spring forward to attack?

First thing you have to do is a weight shift to your rear foot, then you sink down slightly to get your legs ready to spring forward, then you spring forward. So there is 2 parts to your movement.

To me this is really a slow process. While the end result is a fast spring, the compression phase of this movement is rather slow and is telegraphed from a mile away.

Now lets move slowly. All you have to do in fall forward by lifting for knee. Fall with whatever foot is forward. Don't do the weight shift, just let your body fall forward and then slide your back foot up to complete the movement like Sugi-Ashi.

It's a slow relaxed movement, but you actually close the distance faster without a pre-movement shift of your body.

I don't know if other people do this, but I've tested it with other styles of MA and I am almost 100% of the time faster than they are. Not because I'm fast, but because I know how to move more efficiently.

Another thing to think about is moving to fast or to early. By being nervous or excited, you can often move to fast or take Uke's balance and not wait for his recovery.

By being to fast and applying the technique to early, you close the window of opportunity on that technique. You have to slow down and wait for Uke to catch up. This is faster because you are in time with Uke and you don't stop the technique and let Uke figure out what you are doing.

Practicing slowly will also increase your muscle memory. It's like learning scales on the guitar. If you try to speed through them you will sound sloppy and your timing will usually be off. If you practice slowly while learning and practicing your timing will be more precise and your finger positioning will be more accurate.

roosvelt
01-03-2006, 03:08 PM
It's a slow relaxed movement, but you actually close the distance faster without a pre-movement shift of your body.



I don't know if we're doing the same thing or not. If we do, it has nothing to do with slow movement.

I think basically it's the same unweighting to move or change direction in skiing/skating. You can do the normal jump up and move/change direction. Or you can jump down and move/change direction.

You reflect your knee and drop your centre quickly downward to move forward more quicly than drop your centre downward only.

In either case, internally you move very fast. Because you can't defy the gravity for too long.

I don't think slow aikido is a good goal, you need to learn move your centre very fast and faster.

jester
01-03-2006, 03:29 PM
I think basically it's the same unweighting to move or change direction in skiing/skating. You can do the normal jump up and move/change direction. Or you can jump down and move/change direction.

While Skiing and Skating, your already in motion and all your doing is channelling the motion so it's not the same.

Stand there in from of a mirror and take a step towards it. If your head telegraphs your movement, then your shifting your weight to move which is natural, but really isn't that efficient.

I don't think slow aikido is a good goal, you need to learn move your centre very fast and faster.

I'm glad that works for you, but I have to disagree 100%. In my opinion, efficient movement isn't dependent on speed. It's has more to do with timing.

roosvelt
01-03-2006, 10:56 PM
While Skiing and Skating, your already in motion and all your doing is channelling the motion so it's not the same.



I'm confused.

Let's start from beginning, your weight is on both of your legs. To move your front foot forward, you have to somehow lift your front foot off the ground, i.e. no weight on the front foot. There are three ways to do that.

1. shift your weight from your front leg to your back leg.

2. push off ground with your front foot.

3. drop your centre/front leg, so your front body is in a free fall.

I was thinking of the number 3 method.Its the same mechanism in skating/skiing.

If you're not using the 3 method, how do you lift your front knee?

jester
01-03-2006, 11:16 PM
I'm confused.
3. drop your centre/front leg, so your front body is in a free fall.

I was thinking of the number 3 method.Its the same mechanism in skating/skiing.

#3 seems correct. It's not a very fast movement, but the results seem fast to someone with inefficient movement.

roosvelt
01-04-2006, 12:28 PM
#3 seems correct. It's not a very fast movement, but the results seem fast to someone with inefficient movement.

Just for fun. I tried defferent "unweighting" on a scale.

1. Jump up.

It's easy to do, no matter how "fast" or "slow" I jump, the scale reading reduced momentarily.

2. free falling/reflex down.

a. Just think/mind/willl my centre down. No change in reading. Proof my internal work isn't good.

b. squat down slowly and in moderate speed. No change in scale reading.

c. reflex/bend knees quickly. the scale reading reduced momentarily.


In skiing, the pushing down/relexing knees to unweighting is common. Though caving is in fad due to introduction of fat caving ski. I'm not a good skier. I won't elaborate on this.

Being in Canada, I have to skate a bit. The hockey stop is a good example of unweighting.

Your feet point forward. You have to somehow make your feet pepenticular to the direction of your traveling. To change direction you have to unweight first. Since both of your feet have to change direction at same time in hockey stop, you can't shift weight. It leaves you only two options: jump up or push down (free falling).

If you jump up to change direction. Your centre goes up first, then you have to lower your centre to use your body weight to apply pressure to stop. The up and down motion is time cosuming and unstable.

If you push down (free falling to lower your center), it's one step technique. Your body weight is already on your skate after chaning direction.

It's only a small time window that you can change your direction. The faster you drop down your weight, the quicker you can stop.

Leon Aman
01-04-2006, 09:25 PM
So, I've had something of an epiphany recently. It seems to me that the better people get at aikido, the _slower_ they move. You'd think it would be the other way around, but when I look at the Shihan, the faster the attack comes, the slower they seem to go.

I thought this might be particular to aikido, where the emphasis is not on speed and strength, but I've recently started cross training in capoeira, a very fast martial art, in a school where speed is emphasized over just about everything, and when the high levels play, they go slower and slower, even if their opponent is zipping around. They just put themselves in a place where the opponent can't attack. The better they are, the less they have to move to get into that place. It really is amazing to see one guy spinning and twirling like a top and the other, calmly stepping in and out of the way.

This came as a shock to me. For years I've been trying to speed up my techniques. My dojo has a reputation for teaching very slow aikido so when I go to other dojos or a seminar I would try to see if I could play at their speed. By this I thought it meant doing the techniques as fast as they attack. But now I'm trying something different. I'm trying to go as slow as I can, no matter how fast they attack. It's not easy, but I'm kind of grooving on it.

Anyone else make this observation? Have any thoughts on the speed of aikido training? Am I totally off base here? I saw a t-shirt once (from Boulder Aikikai I think), ‘Slow is ok' on the front, ‘but fast is better' on the back (or something like that). Now I'm thinking maybe I should make one just, ‘slow is better'.

Discuss

As I study the topic being discussed I'm quite confused to the relevance of Slow and Relax, that's why I'm reluctant to share my opinion but for the purpose of sharing Id like to express mine.

As I understand Slow is distinct from Relax and likewise Quick is also distinct from Relax. You can neither be slow nor quick but that does not a guaranty that you are relaxed. But if you are relax you can either be quick and slow. If I may add relax doesn't mean weak or weak doesn't definitely mean relax. so the point here is that if you are relaxed you can either be slow or quick depending on where you are comfortable with to move to a certain situation .

There are some instances that you have to move a little bit ahead(Quick) to your uke and sometimes a little bit delayed (but that doesn't mean slow). But,,, SLOW?,,,,, I don't think so…. We can only possibly do that on the mat with the collaboration of uke to the tori, but in the actual training or rather combat , I doubt it really…Slow as I view it is appropriate only for tai chi.. I guess.

You can observe that on shomenuchi attack you can move quickly even before your uke completely raise his hand so that you can break his balance or you can block his attack in a weak point of convergence and then you can proceed to the technique.

On a similar attack shomenuchi you can allow the uke to move a little bit ahead of you till he raise his hands, and on the act of delivering his blow to your head, you can extend your hand to make contact on his and quickly make an irimi tenkan (while your hand slidely grasping his sleeve) and then kneel down while whipping him on the mat by using the centrifugal motion and leading his force of attack in a circuit of projection and the uke will surely somersault infront of you. But of course this technik requires excellent timing and accuracy in order to execute it properly. I observed that marvelous style to Robert Mustard, maybe some of you know him well.

leon