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I continue to find interesting things about what I can feel as I make progress with IS conditioning. Some recent points that have stood out in my mind:
1. I've talked about feeling connection in the arms before and how, after a period of steady practice, that feeling of connection started working its way into my torso, mostly under the arms. Well recently I've started to notice that feeling of connection across the back, down to my waist/belt-line. It's very subtle in comparison to what I can feel in my arms, but it's definitely there. I feel it from pushes and pulls to my arms and from little things like expanding my arms out (like you're going to hug someone) and even when walking the dog. It's a weird thing to feel to be honest. I'd be describe it as a slight tug, criss-crossing the skin of my back.
1a. Over the last few months I've been able to, for lack of a better word, "activate" that connection feel in my arms/upper torso using ki/intent and to some extent maintain that activity while doing stuff. That feeling is something I've read people of skill talk about, but never really felt before now. What I find interesting beyond the structural benefits is the things that we have in our style of aikido that produce this same feeling. For instance, tekubi shindo. We do this as part of every class and instructors often talk about feeling your weight settle in your hands and the "tingle" in your hands/arms. That activated feeling I mentioned earlier is very similar to
We've recently brought our first dog into the family, an 11wk old female Shiba Inu (Japanese dog had nothing to do with aikido BTW, Seriously! =P ) . By all accounts a difficult first dog, but she's been quite the dream in comparison to stories I've read from others about the breed. One trait that she exhibits that is perfectly in line with the breed is her stubbornness. In our daily leash training the goal is to teach her that she can't pull on the leash to get where she wants to go and that she can't lag behind, she has to stay with me when I'm walking. In the almost two weeks we've had her, she's picked this up pretty well, but it really seems to depend on me and the "connection" I maintain with her. If I let the leash go slack, she will often pick up her pace and try to pull me. If I get ahead of her and let slack get into the leash she will often stop to sniff and then fight against my desire to keep moving forward. If I maintain a very slight tension in the leash, whether she's in front or behind, she walks exactly as I expect her to. She seems to inherently feel and respond to the connection and knows immediately when it's not there or when I'm trying to muscle her. Once I noticed this I started to make it into an exercise for me as well. Taking the slack out of my own body and listening to her through the leash. I've learned that I can feel, through that connection, her subtle changes in direction and changes in her focus as they happen and adjust our connection acc
Finally grabbed a copy of this book. I don't know how much of the credit should go to the translators or how much goes to Shioda himself, but he's a pretty easy and enjoyable read. I also enjoy some of the nuggets he drops in regards to developing power in aikido. I'll try to come back and highlight some of the specific things I found interesting when I'm finished.
My usually IS type workout consists of a few things. Basic static pushes and pulls on some bungie's from several positions and several stretching/breathing exercises. After that I'll move on to some more active things that combine the two. Typically it's normal for the tops of the shoulders, upper chest and traps to kick in to support the body when pushing (or to try to do the push). It's obviously a goal to continue conditioning that out of the body, which I feel I'm continuing to progress at. Lately I've noticed a change in both my arms and legs when doing these things.
For the arms, I've started to notice a tension under the arms and in the armpits running down my side. I'm hesitant to use the word tension, because that makes it sound more like typical shoulder activation, but it doesn't feel that way at all. It has the opposite effect that normal shoulder muscle usage seems to have. That is, I don't feel it lifting and pushing me back. It's more of a connected, driving me down sensation.
I've also noticed something similar in the legs/hips/middle. This is a tricky area to relax and still support yourself well. I think in this area it's normal for everything there (quads, glutes, lower back, lower abs) to activate and support you against a force of some sort. What i've noticed in this area is a lessoning of muscular tension on the inside and outside of the legs. The tops of the quads still seem to be working, but I definitely feel more relaxed in those areas that