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Mike Sigman 03-17-2006 01:20 PM

Correct Movement in Aikido
 
How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to
exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move
correctly'"?

Thanks for any commentary.


Mike Sigman

justin 03-17-2006 01:36 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
not sure about that i hit that point last night and just felt like being sick and leaving the mat

Adman 03-17-2006 01:40 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
I would rather be fresh, but warmed-up (not exhausted) if I wanted to work specifically on mechanics. Then, I might keep going until I'm exhausted, if I want to get in a work-out.

thanks,
Adam

Karen Wolek 03-17-2006 01:44 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
In the advanced/freestyle class, we all tend to end up completely exhausted toward the end (except Sensei, somehow, hm....). Sensei wants us to work on specific things then, but I'm usually too tired to remember what. <grin>

Staying grounded, breathing, keeping your center, I think. Breathing, especially, for me.

And yes, I suppose you can't rely on muscling uke when you are too tired to move.

Adman 03-17-2006 01:46 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
I forgot to add that if I wanted to work on movement for my normal, everyday life, I wouldn't want to train while exhausted. If I wanted to work on good movement for an exhausted state, then of course I would do that. It sort of depends. Make sense?

Michael Douglas 03-17-2006 01:50 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
No, in my experience, in learning ANY skill
my brain and body learn well when fresh,
and learn junk when I am exhausted.

Exhaustion triggers our body to recover and
get fitter,
and can teach our brains to keep everything
going on willpower and guts.

Both fitness and guts are important, but in
a short fight you may well come out on top with
skills and luck.

Mashu 03-17-2006 01:55 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
I've known people who come to keiko from their workout or their daily run in order to be exhausted and relaxed so that they cannot muscle techniques. I've tried it myself and while it may be true that the inability to compensate with muscle power seemed to make it easier to find and feel the correct way in a technique it certainly didn't guarantee it and at times allowed me to find new ways to fudge waza.

bratzo_barrena 03-17-2006 02:03 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
[quote=Mike Sigman]How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move correctly'"?[quote=Mike Sigman]

you surely will get tired, not necessarilly will move correctly.
About the use of muscles, as in 'we don't use muscles in AIKIDO', is incorrect. Just to stand straight we need to use our muscles, so to move and perform techniques we need to use our muscles. But the minimum amount of 'muscle force/effort' NECESSARY to perform the desired movement.
Once you get tired, really exhausted, usually you won't be able to 'think' what you're going to do, you just react by reflex. Becase your mind can't focus on an specific response, you're movements become more reflexive, and respond more to muscle memory than to the thought. This doesn't mean that you will move correctly, because if the movements you learned are wrong, your reflexive response will be wront too.
Now, an advance Aikidoka doesn't need to get exhausted to achieve this degree of reflexive/correct response. After proper training/time this intiutive/refelxive response should be possible at any moment, even when one is fresh and rested.

Tennessee Mike 03-17-2006 04:02 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
I don't think that tiring your body before practice makes you any more receptive to anything but building stamina and focus. It would seem to me that being tired adds another distraction to building the awareness of what we are learning. Repetition builds muscle memory and guided trial and error provides for learning aiki.

Having a background in instructional design, I might suggest analyzing the techniques. Look for the essential principles and motion elements. Attempt to prevent bad habits before they start. Maybe the principles and motions can be taught independently so that the forms become less complicated for the learner. I understand some martial arts have square forms that round and flow as the student progresses.

This view is given to the more experienced to contemplate.

Lyle Bogin 03-17-2006 04:42 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
I have trained that way many times. Mostly it made me sick, and perhaps a little crazy.

tarik 03-17-2006 05:18 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move
correctly'"?

Thanks for any commentary.

I used to buy into the idea and I have certainly experienced training while exhausted as helpful. However, this was because I had an inkling of what correct, efficient movement was already and made the deliberate effort to find it when I became exhausted.

An inability to 'cheat' and use brute strength can be useful.

Now, I'm more of the belief that you must first learn enough about how to move correctly to perform at least the basics of correct movement before such a thing might truly be helpful.

What comes out when exhausted AND under pressure is often a reflection of what we have trained into our bodies as reflexive movements, and that is certainly helpful knowledge, but I don't really believe that this is the right tool to get us there.

Tarik

crbateman 03-17-2006 08:16 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
I don't know about being exhausted for keiko (just getting up from the mat could be a chore) but I do know many who are of the opinion that meditation at the point of utter exhaustion is the way to go. Personally, I haven't made up my mind.

SeiserL 03-17-2006 10:38 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
IMHO, exhaustion only makes me sloppy and dangerous to myself and everyone I work out with. There are more productive and constructive ways to move correctly.

Just because its old doesn't mean its accurate. If that were the case I would be right more often.

I do believe it trains some sense of mental and physical toughness. The old "when you don't have anything left, show me what you got" idea.

Mike Sigman 03-18-2006 07:27 AM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Does getting exhausted add to or subtract from our efforts to add the "Divine Will",i.e., the "intent" to our movements?

FWIW

Mike

SeiserL 03-18-2006 12:15 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
Does getting exhausted add to or subtract from our efforts to add the "Divine Will",i.e., the "intent" to our movements?

IMHO, getting exhausted to learn correct movement or to add divine will/intent is like finding enlightenment through isolation or boring the mind into alphas-state, it seldom generalizes to the state-specifics of normal everyday consciousness or practice.

xuzen 03-19-2006 09:20 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move correctly'"? Thanks for any commentary. Mike Sigman

During our jiyu waza training, especially when my sensei is having his evil streak... he will let us do continuous jiyu waza, i.e., shite/tori remain the same, but we keep changing the uke. Sometimes up to four uke against one shite.

In my own experience, when I am at my most exhausted, I can myself the clearest. My movement naturally becomes more economical, and I subconsciously use simple technique, mainly of the atemi-waza type.

I also tend to move smarter, e.g., holding a uke in ushiro-nage but not throwing him, to create a barrier from the remaining ukes. Or sometimes, throwing uke in the direction of incoming uke, to distort and disorientate their attack rhythm. I tend to use more muscular power when I am still fresh, I somehow need to be exhausted before I start to play smart.

I guess in this sense, I will answer yes, I quit using muscle and began to move more correctly, when I am exhausted.

Mark Freeman 03-20-2006 04:03 AM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, exhaustion only makes me sloppy and dangerous to myself and everyone I work out with. There are more productive and constructive ways to move correctly.

Just because its old doesn't mean its accurate. If that were the case I would be right more often.

I do believe it trains some sense of mental and physical toughness. The old "when you don't have anything left, show me what you got" idea.

I completely agree with Lynn's post.

Sometimes new ways are found to achieve the same ends that were always done in a certain way. If they weren't there would be no progress.
Yesterday I attended a course given by one our chief instructors, and we spent the whole course working on one shihonage exercise. The exercise broken down into its component movements, and each one examined before moving onto the next. At each stage the correct posture, movement and mental aspect was practiced before moving onto the next. By the end when the whole exercise was practiced you could be in no doubt that 'muscling through' was not part of the last 4 hours of study.
So no exhaustion, only a very clear picture / experience of correct movement.

I also agree that there is a place for getting exhausted, but I don't think it is very beneficial as a learning / teaching tool.

regards,
Mark

SeiserL 03-20-2006 07:46 AM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
I was taught in the military, as well as in motor skill learning and acquisition, that fatigue effects the subtle small motor functions most, so for a crisis situation keep working on techniques that are basically gross motor skills.

Yet, the more I experience and progress in Aikido the more I see the "secrets" as being in the small motor skills, the concepts, and doing the techniques correctly.

This has been an interesting line of questioning. Thank you Mike.

Adam Alexander 03-20-2006 11:56 AM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
How many people believe the old adage that if you just work yourself to
exhaustion, you will begin to "quit using muscle and begin to 'move
correctly'"?

I haven't heard it said exactly like that; I disagree with the statement made.

I find that exhaustion has added an increased sensitivity to uke, a stillness in myself, and an improved ability to apply what my instructor tells me (I only focus on what I'm told).

I believe training to exhaustion is one of the many examples of efficient learning I've found in my style. You develop drive, toughness and stillness while being receptive to understanding of the technique.

I'm a 100% fan of training to--and beyond--exhaustion. I just wouldn't phrase it like it is above.

Mike Sigman 03-20-2006 12:14 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Jean de Rochefort wrote:
I believe training to exhaustion is one of the many examples of efficient learning I've found in my style. You develop drive, toughness and stillness while being receptive to understanding of the technique.

I'm a 100% fan of training to--and beyond--exhaustion. I just wouldn't phrase it like it is above.

Hi Jean:

Well, the question was more along the lines of how training to exhaustion would make your *movements* more efficient, particularly in terms of "moving from you center". You've listed "drive, toughness and stillness" and "receptive to understanding the technique" as benefits... and while I'd would take your word for it, those are subjective valuations and not the same thing as the movement that was being discussed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Adam Alexander 03-20-2006 12:47 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
Hi Jean:

Well, the question was more along the lines of how training to exhaustion would make your *movements* more efficient, particularly in terms of "moving from you center". You've listed "drive, toughness and stillness" and "receptive to understanding the technique" as benefits... and while I'd would take your word for it, those are subjective valuations and not the same thing as the movement that was being discussed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Ahhh. Yeah, you've got to be patient with me.

I'd say that for balance, because my legs are spongy, I'm much more conscious of my balance. You'd think that balance was poorer because of lack of energy, but I've found (atleast I think I've found) that I'm much more sensitive because of it.

I think my movements are lighter also.

When I'm real tired, I really can't muscle techniques. However, there's a caveat to that.

I wouldn't recommend that sort of training for techniques that haven't been seen before. Seems I more give up out of indifference when it's a new technique, but if I know the technique and have a measure of reflex built in already, it's sort of like being on auto-pilot and just tweaking the movement a little to get it to work.


Is that on subject? LOL. I kind of think it isn't still.

Nick Pagnucco 03-20-2006 12:50 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Mike Sigman wrote:
Hi Jean:

Well, the question was more along the lines of how training to exhaustion would make your *movements* more efficient, particularly in terms of "moving from you center". You've listed "drive, toughness and stillness" and "receptive to understanding the technique" as benefits... and while I'd would take your word for it, those are subjective valuations and not the same thing as the movement that was being discussed.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

The closest I've come to experiencing this was while practicing bokken cuts. As my arms and shoulders became more tied, I became more aware of how they were being used. Visualizations of a direct line of force from my front foot to my hands helped somehow when it came to raising the bokken.

The usual form exhaustion takes in my dojo is randori training, at which point things just get sloppy. My sensei does believe in the importance of seeing what people do when they run out of steam, and the rhetoric in place is that this 'teaches' proper movement. IMHO, at least in the way our dojo practices, exhaustion is more the exam than the actual teaching. We try and learn correct movement slow, and exhaustion tests our ability to keep doing it.

Spontaneous revelation is always possible, especially under pressure (or exhaustion). But at least in my dojo (I can speak on no other martial art experience), exhaustion seems to build the ability to keep correct movement rather than correct movement itself.

Josh Reyer 03-20-2006 01:11 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Jean de Rochefort wrote:
When I'm real tired, I really can't muscle techniques. However, there's a caveat to that.

I wouldn't recommend that sort of training for techniques that haven't been seen before. Seems I more give up out of indifference when it's a new technique, but if I know the technique and have a measure of reflex built in already, it's sort of like being on auto-pilot and just tweaking the movement a little to get it to work.


Is that on subject? LOL. I kind of think it isn't still.

Actually, the above speaks to what Mike is talking about.

There's an idea: muscling an aikido technique is bad.

Ergo, training when exhausted will prevent muscling up, and will "teach" proper movement/technique.

It would seem that most (on this forum and others that Mike has posted the question to) think that being physically tired can help if you already know how to move correctly. But if you don't, then being tired will probably just lead to bad habits.

Josh Reyer 03-20-2006 01:16 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Say, Mike, do you have any thoughts on what effect lactic acid build-up might have on utilizing kokyu/jin?

Adam Alexander 03-20-2006 04:11 PM

Re: Correct Movement in Aikido
 
Quote:

Joshua Reyer wrote:
It would seem that most (on this forum and others that Mike has posted the question to) think that being physically tired can help if you already know how to move correctly. But if you don't, then being tired will probably just lead to bad habits.

That's not exactly what I was trying to say. What I mean by "being on auto-pilot and just tweaking it" is that when I know the macro (I dont' know how else to say it right now) of the technique, your body will move that way. However, if, while in the course of moving, you encounter resistance, the exhaustion makes you much more sensitive to it and you adjust to avoid the resistance and "find the technique."

So, I think it's the exhaustion that shows you the correct way.


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