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DaveO
03-01-2006, 12:08 PM
'Lo!

I am a big believer in relative-action training. (The name it's referred to in the Army.) It's a type of training we should all be fairly familiar with in one way or another - it works by taking common, repetetive work-related activities and using them to practice and ingraine fundamental physical skills.

OK; the most common example - and it's joked about a lot - is The Karate Kid. "Wax on, Wax off." That particular example is funny; mainly because Mr. Miyagi wasn't doing it correctly - in the film he leaves the kid to perform mundane tasks while he goes off and relaxes. In reality; what this does is reinforces bad habits. Done properly; a student (or more commonly, the practicioner himself) is fully aware of the intent of the training; is guided through the correct principles and works with the intent of practice fully in mind.
(My big one was repair work on our presses. Moving in tight spaces, lifting heavy rollers and breaking dozens of large bolts allows for a brilliant opportunity for developing posture, body mechanics and a good power chain. It's either that or keel over from exhaustion by breaktime. :D )

I haven't really done any sort of research on the matter; but I was watching a show on Shaolin recently and it struck me that many of the mundane chores performed by monks - and now that I think about it, O'Sensei's hoeing - fall into the category of this sort of training.

So I was a bit curious - Does anyone here have any insights of their own into relative-action training or have any further knowledge of its history? Does anyone have a similar training regime?

Thanks. :)

tarik
03-01-2006, 12:36 PM
OK; the most common example - and it's joked about a lot - is The Karate Kid. "Wax on, Wax off." That particular example is funny; mainly because Mr. Miyagi wasn't doing it correctly - in the film he leaves the kid to perform mundane tasks while he goes off and relaxes. In reality; what this does is reinforces bad habits.

Of course, there is a school of thought (that I don't particularly agree with) that the student should be left to figure out the intent and connection themselves and if they do not, there is no point in taking the training any further. It certainly is one way to screen students! :rolleyes:

So I was a bit curious - Does anyone here have any insights of their own into relative-action training or have any further knowledge of its history? Does anyone have a similar training regime?

Almost everything I do, I try to incorporate some type of training mentality or regimen into it. Sitting here typing, walking (that's been a BIG one for the last year or two), working in the yard and on the house (we have a massive fixer upper), and so forth. It has proven helpful and useful, but it isn't always easy. It does keep one from being bored though. :D

I don't anything about the history of such training.

Regards,

Tarik

sullivanw
03-02-2006, 12:52 AM
I think it's great and find myself doing it here and there. I can see how one could develop bad habits (what bad ones have I been developing?) but I remember once while closing a door I didn't use my center and left my arm 'behind', and realized that if one of my senpai had me in that position I'd be pinned or thrown in a heartbeat. Now, I don't go all Dragonball-Z when I'm walking down the street, but I think it's a good idea to be aware of and incorporate proper body mechanics, blending, etc. in everyday life... like washing the floor using shikko!

-Will

Alec Corper
03-02-2006, 05:51 AM
Great post Dave,
I think this is an aspect of training that is far deeper than most think, after all we spend more time off the mat than on. Tarik's comments were right on, I try to do similar things myself, how to walk, how to lift, how ro reach for things, all using center and coordinated body. The only examples i know of however stem from Shaolin training, here are a couple.

Younger students were required to pour tea for seniors from a very large tea pot weighing around 20 kls. whilst standing in mapu, (horse riding stance), good for coordinating center, upper back to wrist strength. Walking up and down the hill to the temple on hands and feet. Again, great strength building but with particular "snake" like movement, good for generating whole body power. At times more senior students were taught to sleep on a narrow wall, training your instincts to function as an alarm system in sleep, but also how to simultaneously relax and remain alert to subtle signs, this training being accomplished in sleep thus bypassing ordinary mental processes.

There is a similar school of thought in strength training which suggests that ordinary lifting is not so effective since it builds strength in relation to movements hardly used in everyday life. Hence "functional" strength training utilizing cables and pivots that allow a huge range of motion that matches natural movement. This is a form of training that can even, heresy!, benefit Aikidoka, even though I know we mustn't use strength ;) .

I have heard, but never verified, that O Sensei used extra heavy weight garden tools, and we use suburito instead of bokken sometimes to teach free movement of tanden.

Love to hear more on this, think it's a lost aspect of training.
regards, Alec

Mark Uttech
03-02-2006, 03:13 PM
Simply moving to the country and raising small stock, gardening, and heating with wood can do wonders for training.

DaveO
03-03-2006, 12:20 AM
Thanks for your replies folks; I think this is a very interesting subject to explore, myself. :)

I find it interesting how much of the talk - one of my own examples; and just about everyone else's as well - has to deal with moving extra mass - heavy weights of one type or another. I think that's signifigant because in order to safely and properly shift mass; one really has to move in a coordinated, organized way. Injuries happen otherwise.
Which leads to another question: Has anyone tried practicing aikido while wearing arm/leg weights and/or a weighted backpack? (Something I practiced regularly during my Army unarmed combat instructor's course. Major ouch; but seriously effective.) :)

Cheers!

eyrie
03-03-2006, 04:33 AM
Was the combat instructor's name, Major Ouch??? LOL!

You know, you could keep it really simple and do all the household chores for the Mrs, that we all take for granted. Like:
sweeping the floor and yard - with a broom (not a leaf blower)
washing the clothes by hand (give the washing machine a break)
chopping the firewood (instead of having it delivered)

Hmmm, wonder why the old country women in China are so strong? Certainly not from listening to iPods or playing X-Box, while the Fisher & Paykel dishwasher does the dishes!

I'm with Mark Uttech.... spend some time on a farm or out in the country... it will do your training wonders. ;)

DaveO
03-03-2006, 02:03 PM
Maybe - unfortunately most people aren't willing to move to the country so they can practice aikido. :rolleyes:

Ignatius, you're missing the point. It's not about strength training; or the benefits of healthy living. It's about using common tasks to isolate and train specific defensive/structural principles. You've provided examples such as washing dishes and sweeping floors - good so far; can you elaborate on using those tasks as relative training?

eyrie
03-04-2006, 03:09 AM
I don't think I missed your point Dave... ;) I know exactly what you're asking. And I suggested common household chores as a way of relative training. Common household chores most people no longer engage in with all the mod-cons we have today.

Instead of merely practicing jo kata, sweep the floor at the same time - practice footwork, jo extension, body movement as you're thinking about jo movement. Instead of doing wrist exercises, try hand washing laundry - think kotegaeshi, nikyo, sankyo, or gokyo as you wring the washing out. Instead of doing 1000 suburi, chop some wood. The applied principles are the same.

You can however, choose to use these basic chores as tanren instead. I think that's really what they're for... ;)

Dan Rubin
03-04-2006, 09:46 AM
My first martial arts teacher often related a story from his jujutsu teacher, who said that his best job was as a dishwasher in a restaurant--he had to hold wet dishes tightly to keep from dropping them, thus doing wonders for his grip strength.

Dan