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Jim23
06-21-2001, 10:33 PM
I find that the warm up exercises and stretching at the beginning of class are not enough. They don't really do much good, because they're over way too quickly. In fact, it's pretty darn dangerous, considering the extent of ukemi and general twisting and turning that we go through -- ouch!!!

I know that it's different for each school, but of the classes that I've been in (and watched), they're not done enough to do much good (I even had one sensei tell me that students come to him to learn techniques, not to get a workout. I couldn't take my eyes off his distended gut as he explained this to me).

I think warm-ups/stretching should last at least fifteen-twenty minutes -- minimum.

And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.

Jim23

Erik
06-21-2001, 11:51 PM
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go

I'm guessing that sounds familiar, only faster perhaps? Ycccchhhh! If I had to go through that, I'd start getting to class early and warming up on my own.

Seems to me like the only time I've run into this was at a seminar where someone was tasked to warm up the class for the visiting sensei. Personally, I'd rather not bother.

Jim wrote:And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.

Jim, do you have any windmills up there? ;)

Honestly, I think the answer by most sensei is that you are on your own with a physical conditioning program. I've never seen a push up or sit up done in a class at the sensei's behest, although I'm sure that somewhere, someone is doing exactly that. One dojo I know of comes close with modified crunches performed once a week but that's it.

I know where you are coming from though.

Chris Li
06-22-2001, 04:01 AM
Originally posted by Jim23
I think warm-ups/stretching should last at least fifteen-twenty minutes -- minimum.

And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.

Jim23

Because:

1) Those are all things that you can do on your own.
2) Out of a 90 minute class I don't want to spend 20 minutes (over 20% of the class) doing push-ups, I'd rather be learning stuff, or practicing stuff.

I get to the dojo early and do my own stretches and exercises - as far as I'm concerned I'd be perfectly happy if there weren't _any_ warmups done.

FWIW, I keep my serious physical conditioning seperate from my Aikido classes, it's more efficient, and more effective.

Best,

Chris

andrew
06-22-2001, 05:58 AM
Originally posted by Jim23
And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.



I think the kind of conditioning that actually matters to your aikido is obtained a different way. Rolls exercise your stomach muscles (try doing 300 in ten minutes- not that I'd be able to go so far myself, but I know people who do), Suwari waza strengthens the hips (probably the most important muscles in my opinion), extensive weapons practice might strengthen the shoulders.
Sadly, we rarely train that hard. However if you want to improve your physical fitness, there _are_ aikido exercises that you can do for this, which are also more useful to your aikido than say pushups. Also, a lot of aikido training just isn't convenient outside of the dojo setting (rolling, varios paired exercises).

I know a guy who makes his students do 1000 rolls for their nidan grading. (I train with him once a year). Obviously his students have to be in excellent physical condition, but they do it without the pushups etc. which you can do on your own time. I guess if you're not able to get intense training locally, you should do them by yourself. Or 400 bokken cuts every day.

andrew

Jim23
06-22-2001, 08:36 AM
OK, the pushups might not be all that necessary, but the warmup and stretching are.

Some people go straight to class from work (traffic, etc.), I think they deserve a good (safe) warmup. Especially older folks.

Pop, there goes the hamstring. Pop, there goes the shoulder.

Jim23

lt-rentaroo
06-22-2001, 08:40 AM
Hello,

Warm-ups that seem a little "soft" is something that I've also witnessed, especially with wrist/back/shoulder stretching. I feel it is very important for Aikido students to properly stretch before and after class, doing so prevents injury. My classes usually involve about 15 minutes of "warm-ups" that include stretching and ukemi exercises. I've found the "warm-up" exercises not only help prevent injury during class, but also get the students in the right frame of mind (meaning that they are in the dojo now, and are ready to begin training).

I prefer to keep my general physical conditioning (weight-lifting, aerobic exercises, etc.) apart from my Aikido training. Of course, Randori can be quite the aerobic exercise in itself :)

guest1234
06-22-2001, 10:06 AM
I'd agree that folks who want/need longer warm-ups should get them in before class. When i can't get off work early enough, i might modify the quick counts some instructors do to a lower/deeper count so i get a slower/better stretch. if i still needed more time after that, i guess i would try to get a slower kind of partner for the first few techniques, and we could work slowly enough not to injure anything. the main thing i expect to get out of warm-ups is a little stretching, and then things that i can do on my own but would like to watch sensei and be watched while i do them, the Aikido-related movement exercises--i already know how to do sit-ups and push-ups, and do them each morning...but while i also practice the Aikido exercises i am not anywhere certain i am doing them right. One of my favorite intructors would always do some exercises, and then vary some of the others---i noticed that those that varied were tied into the techniques we did that night, and it became fun to watch for them as the techniques were taught.

Jim23
06-22-2001, 10:24 AM
I watched a class the other night (not regular club) and I actually saw the (very senior, visiting) sensei interrupt the class about 5-6 times for additional stretching (mostly knees, ankles and shoulders).

I've never seen that before.

Jim23

guest1234
06-22-2001, 01:15 PM
and i heard a very senior Shihan last year at a California seminar tell the several hundred Aikidoka there that they paid him to teach Aikido, not warm-ups, to warm up before class...he had a point...
when the sensei you saw interupted class to do other exercises, did they relate in any way to the techniques he was demonstrating?

Jim23
06-23-2001, 06:26 PM
Originally posted by ca
and i heard a very senior Shihan last year at a California seminar tell the several hundred Aikidoka there that they paid him to teach Aikido, not warm-ups, to warm up before class...he had a point...
when the sensei you saw interupted class to do other exercises, did they relate in any way to the techniques he was demonstrating?
Hmm ... a paid seminar is a different story, I think.

The stretching was pretty basic stuff (important, though) and I suppose it was done because the sensei was quite senior (also starting to get up there in age too, meaning he wasn't a twentysomething or thirtysomething guy) and understood the importance of not damaging joints or straining muscles.

Jim23

guest1234
06-23-2001, 09:51 PM
Perhaps the seminar is different, but I usually find more intensity and energy (=opportunity to strain) at seminars...
I just try to make sure especially with that Shihan that I get there early :).
There are others whose seminars I attend who do longer warm-ups, and that I like also, guess I'm flexible about stretching.
I'm not sure how I'd do if I stopped during class to stretch, then began again; no longer thirtysomething myself, I tend to stiffen up if I'm still for too long once I get going, guess it would depend on how long and just what was being stretched. I like stretching once warmed up, but if it was just one muscle group, the rest could get cold.

Axiom
06-24-2001, 11:46 PM
I think that while some people are correct, that most students don't go to an aikido class to learn warm ups, I think thats a very important part of any physical activity. When beginners first learn warm ups, it acts as a separator from the rest of their day, and the first(and most easily mastered) lesson. When they are outside of class, and need to stretch, they will have a nice little routine that they can do. I personally relieve a lot of tension(especially after typing) by doing the wrist stretches. Also, in mastering the stretching, you are something more of a member of the dojo- each school of martial arts I've been to has a slightly different form of stretching.

And, of course, stretching does prevent nasty injuries, and should definitely be required at the beginning of class.

As for physical conditioning, while I think that's important, I think it also might turn away a lot of students. I heard a Capoeira instructor at a workshop remark that he made his students do 1000 jumping jacks the day previous. While for some that might be exactly what they want in a physical activity, I think many people(especially those who take aikido, who are on the frail side) would not like something so strenuous. Other posters have said, and I agree- get your physical fitness outside of class. I would bicycle the 4 miles to the dojo(a large portion of that uphill) several times a week, and that kept me in pretty good shape. Ballet(if you can afford it) focuses on many of the same principals as aikido (balance, moving while centered, moving from the center, etc) and really is a good workout, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time(a whole bunch of plie's[sp?] and your calfs feel like they've been beaten by a stick the next day). Or you can just go to the gym and lift heavy things, though I never find that to be nearly as fun as an actual activity.

Alex Magidow

Nick
06-25-2001, 12:59 AM
I think that there should be some kind of warmup routine, to prevent injury as well as just for doing it... at our dojo, our little 'routine' is just as much a part of the class as the waza... being young, I could probably prevent any serious injuries even if I didn't stretch out (at least, no injuries I could see at this point in time)... however, I wouldn't want to give it up...

Nick

ian
06-25-2001, 08:29 AM
I have been told that Ueshiba did no warm ups in the class - he expected everyone to do their own warm ups before hand.

The problem is nowdays that we expect everyone else to be responsible for our training.

What I think is best is to get the mats out as quickly as possible and allow 5-10 minutes at the start to let people arrive AND to let those who need to warm up more to do so. Then a BRIEF warm up doing a general coverage of the body is done.

People require different amounts of warm up for different parts of the body (I used to have elbow problems and press-ups were the best way to warm up my elbows before class).

Ian

ian
06-25-2001, 08:32 AM
P.S.

I feel even more strongly about physical excercise - in that Aikido training isn't there to get you fit, it is to teach you aikido. However fitness is an important part of aikido and it is up to the trainee to do it in their own time.

Sometimes I get fed up with lazy people who expect everyone else to make the effort for them.

Ian

Jay Cirillo
06-25-2001, 09:42 AM
In my dojo, we pretty much do the whole 9 yards...pushups (often with someone on your back) crunches, situps, and all the stretching as well. We do usually 30 minutes before each class...each class is 1.5 hours long. I think it helps alot, I've actually lost some weight since I started and I feel in much better shape than I have ever been. Also, my techniques feel tighter subsequently. I think it's a great addition to the whole work-out. However, I don't really think things like weighlifting and running are really necessary, though they don't hurt.

Jim23
06-25-2001, 10:40 AM
Originally posted by ian
I have been told that Ueshiba did no warm ups in the class - he expected everyone to do their own warm ups before hand.
He didn't?? Didn't know that (or much else for that matter). Was that just in the latter years?

I really have a problem with a five minute warmup (seconds for each stretch) for a two hour class, I think it's dangerous. As for warming up before class, usually within a few minutes of the mats being out, class begins - so much for stretching before class (unless you don't mind a dirty dogi).

Personally, I don't depend on aikido for my workout (although I think some do, based on their schedule), but I think the stretching is vital - could do it in the car on the drive to the dojo. ;)

The martial arts that I did before did a lot of stretching, but I suppose they had to (high kicks, spinning kicks, etc.).

Just curious, do they stretch a lot in judo (no kicks)? Where's mj when you need him?

Jim23

[Censored]
06-25-2001, 12:28 PM
And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.

Don't you think that the warmup should be in character with the activity itself? If so, wouldn't pushups be practically the worst Aikido warmup possible? When will you use that movement?

I think a good functional warmup can be done in about 5 minutes, if you are using the right methods.

Jim23
06-25-2001, 12:47 PM
The pushup, situp thing was a general fitness question, and I suppose general fitness can be done elsewhere at a different time. However, people who do other exercise (running, weights, swimming ... whatever) MUST warm up and stretch their tight muscles and joints before class.

When I hear people talk about five minutes of warm ups/stretching, it makes me nervous. OK if you do your own thing before class, but only five minutes total? What do you stretch, just your legs? Just your wrists and shoulders?

Jim23

guest1234
06-25-2001, 04:29 PM
I would not be surprised if O Sensei told his students to warm up on their own, as Saito Sensei (his longest uchideshi) was the one who said the same thing to a seminar group. As for extended warm-ups, I see runners do that, but can't say as how i see weight lifters doing the same. Perhaps the degree of muscle stretching that will occur immediately and for how long is a key. If your first few techniques start out slow (and really, each pair determines how slow, anyway) then a few minutes as a group is probably OK. The mats are usually too crowded to be running full tilt for a long distance at your partner, usually really only a few fast steps and it's over.

akiy
06-25-2001, 05:09 PM
On the other side of things, how many of you do any kind of cool-down exercises (outside, perhaps, of suwari kokyuho) or after-class stretching? I always try to stretch for at least five minutes after class usually during and after I fold my hakama...

-- Jun

[Censored]
06-25-2001, 05:16 PM
When I hear people talk about five minutes of warm ups/stretching, it makes me nervous. OK if you do your own thing before class, but only five minutes total? What do you stretch, just your legs? Just your wrists and shoulders?

The key to a efficient warmup, IMO, is to utilize full-body movements. There is a 2-second sequence that I practice before every class, which opens the ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. It also improves circulation, functional coordination and balance, e.g. speed and power. It's a dynamite warmup, even @ 2 minutes.

Then I might spend 2 minutes targeting the neck and 2 minutes on the legs. This is my insurance, in case of a bad fall.

Chris Li
06-25-2001, 06:19 PM
Originally posted by [Censored]
Don't you think that the warmup should be in character with the activity itself? If so, wouldn't pushups be practically the worst Aikido warmup possible? When will you use that movement?

Everytime you get up from the mat when you're not rolling (ie, ikkyo, nikkyo, etc.).

Best,

Chris

Chris Li
06-25-2001, 06:32 PM
Originally posted by akiy
On the other side of things, how many of you do any kind of cool-down exercises (outside, perhaps, of suwari kokyuho) or after-class stretching? I always try to stretch for at least five minutes after class usually during and after I fold my hakama...


IMO, after workout stretching is much more important than pre-workout stretching, which doesn't actually do all that much good (unless you have some specific problem area). I actually read an article by George Foreman where he recommended no pre-workout stretching at all.

Personally, I like to do a warm-up that gets my pulse rate up and my body moving (a lot of rolls, usually). That loosens things up a lot more than cold stretching, and only takes a couple of minutes.


Best,

Chris

Jim23
06-25-2001, 08:02 PM
All this talk of not stretching or warming up properly sounds nice and smart. However, I'm the one with the pulled hamstring at the moment.

I went for an hour run before class, cooled down for a bit (on the way to class), muscles tightened up, then RIP! - actually, it was more like a POP!

I should have known better than to accept that stupid stretching routine!

I'm the fool here for not following my gut and my experience!!

Jim23

guest1234
06-25-2001, 09:40 PM
Originally posted by akiy
On the other side of things, how many of you do any kind of cool-down exercises (outside, perhaps, of suwari kokyuho) or after-class stretching? I always try to stretch for at least five minutes after class usually during and after I fold my hakama...

-- Jun

That's when I find stretching to do me the most good, it seems easier to get a good stretch when the muscles are warm from class (except the hot muggy Baltimore summers, when they are warm---hot---all through class). For me the goal is increased flexibility to improve my ukemi, so hopefully no injuries after the short warm-up at the start of class. My first dojo would occasionally have an entire class where the sensei taught only stretching, usually the pairs kind---really helped, although I think I may have been the only one enjoying it. Perhaps you could combine folding with stretching, sit in seiza as far away from your hakama as possible, then lean over and reach out...
Jim23, sorry to hear about your injury, hope you are better soon.

akiy
06-26-2001, 01:53 AM
Originally posted by Chris Li
IMO, after workout stretching is much more important than pre-workout stretching, which doesn't actually do all that much good (unless you have some specific problem area).
I usually take the pre-workout "stretching" as more of a warming up of the body and working out its kinks rather than really stretching any part of it.
Originally posted by ca
Perhaps you could combine folding with stretching, sit in seiza as far away from your hakama as possible, then lean over and reach out...
Actually, I usually fold my hakama with it on the floor right in front of my with my legs straight on either side of it. That way it gets a bit of a stretch while I'm folding it and it's easy to work on the legs right afterwards, too.
Originally posted by ca
Jim23, sorry to hear about your injury, hope you are better soon.
Likewise here. Injuries suck.

-- Jun

ian
06-26-2001, 04:26 AM
As Chris Li said, I think you can potentially warm up by doing good aikido excercises (i.e. working gently into ukemi etc) at a slow pace. So it depends what you call warm up, and I expect it depends on how vigorous the technique is.

Although I don't like big warm ups, 5 minutes does seem short to me. I don't set a time, but it is usually about 15 minutes (including ukemi like excercises).

Also, I've been told that you need a minimum of 8 seconds to stretch a muscle effectively (and without bouncing).

Unfortunately the warm down is something that I tend to do qite poorly - I usually use some form of kokyu-ho. For older people doing vigorous excercise an effective warm down is essential as this is the time when you are most likely to get a heart attack! :eek:

I suppose the real question is, do you get strains or injuries from not warming up enough? (I've never had that myself)

Ian

Kami
06-26-2001, 04:30 AM
Originally posted by Jim23
I went for an hour run before class, cooled down for a bit (on the way to class), muscles tightened up, then RIP! - actually, it was more like a POP!
I should have known better than to accept that stupid stretching routine!
Jim23

KAMI : that's bad, Jim! Hope you get well soon!
Best regards :ai:

Stone
06-26-2001, 08:26 AM
I workout everyday on my own and then go through the stretching and ki-development exercises for the first 1/3 of the class or so. If I need more stretching, I just come early and stretch before class.

My point is, I am responsible for my own body so I take the initiative to keep it in shape and stretched. I go to the dojo to learn aikido...

ian
06-26-2001, 08:44 AM
Well said.

(Ubaldo - sounds like a nasty injury! I'd love to hear of any more such injuries. I presume yours was 'cos you cooled down too much before aikido? - maybe because evryone was warming up slowly?)

Jim23
06-26-2001, 10:57 AM
Originally posted by ian
(Ubaldo - sounds like a nasty injury! I'd love to hear of any more such injuries. I presume yours was 'cos you cooled down too much before aikido? - maybe because evryone was warming up slowly?)

Ubaldo?

Originally posted by ian
I suppose the real question is, do you get strains or injuries from not warming up enough? (I've never had that myself)
Yes you can, I'm living proof right now. And I've never had it myself either - until now. I think I'll live though.

I'll have to hop a bit like that aikidoka (ki) that Ubaldo mentioned a while back.

Jim23

deepsoup
06-26-2001, 06:33 PM
Chris Satori wrote:
Don't you think that the warmup should be in character with the activity itself? If so, wouldn't pushups be practically the worst Aikido warmup possible? When will you use that movement?


I'm sure it cant hurt to give your triceps a bit of a work out now and again. (I'm not suggesting you should be the next Schwarzenegger or anything ) Thats the muscle that straightens your arm, and keeps it straight. (Would it be too contraversial to say its the muscle that makes your unbendable arm unbendable?)

You use a straight (unbendable?) arm as a conduit for power from your hips all the time while throwing, and you straighten a bent arm pretty much every time you apply atemi.

Or I could be talking out of my hat.

By the by, Shodokan dojos worldwide (so I'm told, but certainly across the UK) do pretty much the same standard warm-up every session. Theres a routine of limbering up and stretching exercises, but what really gets the blood pumping is the kihon (basic) practice. First the solo footwork and tegatana exercises developed by Tomiki sensei while he was imprisoned in Russia after the war, then a series of paired excercises designed to develop awareness of distance, timing, entering and breaking balance. (among other things)

All in all, the warm-up and basic practice takes up about the first 30 minutes of a two-hour session. It seems like a lot of time but most of the exercises relate directly to aikido. Personally, I find the routine, predictable nature of our warm up helps me get into an aikido frame of mind and leave the rest of my life outside the dojo.

Sean
x

-I dont have a clever quote to put here, all contributions greatfully received. :D

[Censored]
06-26-2001, 07:24 PM
I'm sure it cant hurt to give your triceps a bit of a work out now and again. (I'm not suggesting you should be the next Schwarzenegger or anything) Thats the muscle that straightens your arm, and keeps it straight.

The muscle fibers that straighten the arm are NOT the fibers that keep it straight.

...you straighten a bent arm pretty much every time you apply atemi.

That is true, in a broad sense. So, do you think that pushups are the best possible warmup (sans props) for striking with the arm? Or are they merely "good enough"? 'Cause if class is only one hour long, "good enough" ain't good enough.

Jim23
06-26-2001, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by [Censored]
Don't you think that the warmup should be in character with the activity itself? If so, wouldn't pushups be practically the worst Aikido warmup possible? When will you use that movement?
Exercise, not just warmup.

Applying it to everyday life? Oh, you could use it for just about anything that involves tricep (pushing) strength. Aikido is applied to everyday life, isn't it? (couldn't resist that one) ;) :D

By the way, pushups are also great for strengthening the "centre" of your body and your back (get in "pushup position", but instead of being on your hands, put your elbows on the floor [hands on the floor too], back straight ... hold that for two minutes).

I agree that many of these types of exercises should be done on your own time. HOWEVER, If I were teaching (yeah, right) and noticed many sloppy, out of shape students in the class, I would help them out a little each class.

Jim23

deepsoup
06-27-2001, 06:27 PM
Originally posted by [Censored]

The muscle fibers that straighten the arm are NOT the fibers that keep it straight.
Oh, ok, I didn't know that, thanks.

...you straighten a bent arm pretty much every time you apply atemi.

That is true, in a broad sense. So, do you think that pushups are the best possible warmup (sans props) for striking with the arm?

No, of course I dont think they're the best possible warmup, and I dont have the experience to say what is. I wasn't saying they're the best, or even that they're particularly good, merely that they're not completely useless.

I can certainly see why people who have a limited amount of time to spend with their sensei dont want to spend that time on an excercise they can just as well do alone.

Sean
x

darin
06-27-2001, 07:44 PM
We do 30 to 50 push ups and crunches at the end of class. We do push ups on the back of our hands so as to strengthen the wrists. Fingers can point towards each other or away. It takes a while to get used to it.

As for warm ups, we are encouraged to properly warm up the joints. Also doing taisabaki and ukemi also helps warm up the body. I try to avoid any static stretching in the warm up, jusk keep it all dynamic.

Strength training is important but brute strength shouldn't be a substitute for technique. Then again I asume there are situations where your only option is to use strength as technique has failed.

guest1234
06-27-2001, 08:54 PM
I try to stay aerobically fit and muscularly toned, but don't really feel any need to specifically develop strength---the fact that I am not anywhere near as strong as my larger, more muscular partners helps me improve my technique at an accelerated rate, I think --- difficult to muscle someone 100+ pounds heavier. I do push-ups and light weights to keep my torn rotator cuff away from surgery. But I do not think it is something I want to spend class time on, I can (and do) do them at home.
As for the 'out-of-shape, sloppy students', I have one observation: if most of them wanted to be 'helped' into better shape, they'd probably join a gym, or at least stay after to work with those who exercise after class. We have some fitness-challenged types in my dojo, and when one of the instructors tried to encourage them to improve their ukemi by having more of it in warm up (a change I actually liked), they stopped coming to his classes. Not everyone comes to class for the same thing. Good luck at encouraging yours, but be prepared for some to like themselves out-of-shape.

Jim23
06-27-2001, 10:22 PM
It's got to be a gradual thing. Don't even let them know that they are getting in shape. One day they will wake up and ... wham! Is that me?? I'm too sexy for my gi.

Jim23