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Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > AikiWeb AikiBlogs > Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai

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Seeking Zanshin: Blood, Sweat, Tears & Aikikai Blog Tools Rating: Rate This Blog
Creation Date: 02-24-2005 11:53 PM
jducusin
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One small gal + a dojo full of big guys = tons o' fun
Blog Info
Status: Public
Entries: 272 (Private: 12)
Comments: 195
Views: 281,943

In Miscellaneous Conditioning for Aikido: Kettlebells! Entry Tools Rating: 5 Stars!
  #240 New 01-10-2009 01:54 PM
I just updated my Strength/Conditioning post to reflect that after some research, I started incorporating Kettlebell exercises into my regimen back in December and thought it might be helpful to elaborate on this decision a bit. One of the "selling features" of Kettlebells has always been the claim that more than traditional weight exercises (ie. using machines), Kettlebell exercises offer "real world" increases in strength by engaging your whole body and working groups of muscles instead of isolating muscles like some machines do. It is because of this that many personal trainers have advocated the use of Kettlebells in the conditioning regimens of martial artists. So what have I found?

Not only have I been finding workouts with Kettlebells more convenient given the demands of my workplace this time of year (I do my Kettlebell workouts at home first thing in the morning before heading off to work) but almost immediately, I have found the exercises translating into improvements in my performance of Aikido technique. I believe that because many Kettlebell exercises rely upon engaging your whole body from your core on up (and only then, secondarily through the arms), I'm finding more and more that habitually using my center to initiate movement against this kind of resistance in my conditioning regimen, I am in turn doing this more and more in Aikido as well.

Within just a couple of weeks of starting these exercises, I started feeling a greater connection with my center during "power movements" within certain techniques. For example, I've always struggled with the entry to Kotegaeshi, during and just after the tenkan where you bring uke's wrist in front of your centre before performing the wrist lock itself. Due to having had some Aiki-related wrist injuries in the past, I find my grip will fail at times when faced with heavy resistance. Recently there was a particular class, however, in which Sensei asked us to spend some time focusing specifically on this sabaki where I started feeling very distinctly like I was initiating my centre to power uke around me.

Both uke and Sensei noticed a difference right away and it was at this point that I realized that I was subconsciously treating uke's arm like a Kettlebell! It was extremely gratifying.

In addition to this, I've been finding that:
- the movements behind certain Kettlebell exercises such as the "Clean and Press" very closely mimic the basis behind Aikido movements (in this case, such as the entry to some Morotedori techniques where, to lift uke's arm you must first initiate your core before pushing upwards with your arm)
- because they tend to engage your whole body, Kettlebell exercises get your cardio going much earlier than weight training exercises that isolate muscles/muscle groups (where the rest of your body is sedentary)
- all things considered, these exercises are a heck of a lot of fun!
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