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Peter Boylan 01-03-2014 01:07 PM

Training Every Day, or Everyday Training?
Towards the end of the year, I saw a bunch of calls for people to make a special effort to train every day until the the year's end. I thought this was kind of strange, because training is a part of my everyday life, so I wrote this blog post about it.

What do you think?

Rupert Atkinson 01-03-2014 01:39 PM

Re: Training Every Day, or Everyday Training?
I agree totally. The dojo provides tuition, then you go out and practice. If your only experience is in the dojo you will not learn much.

jonreading 01-06-2014 11:37 AM

Re: Training Every Day, or Everyday Training?
Great read. I think the notion that we "are always training" is somewhat cliche and it is nice to read new perspectives on an important subject. Visions of our masters dashing out from behind the file cabinet to strike us with shinai then quickly vaporizing are difficult to stifle.

For you Clusou fans out there:

I think it is a common thing to define and compartmentalize activities. Many people view aikido from a perspective of paired exercise requiring proper attire and venue. To satisfy this perspective is difficult outside of a dojo and some people choose to focus their attention within a dojo environment, compartmentalize that experience and move on to whatever activity ante cedes training. Ikkyo in a tie during your lunch break is not the same as ikkyo in your hakama on tatami, right?

On another level, it is also necessary to "turn off" our training on occasion. Social pressure requires us to subvert our instincts and break the very rules in which we train. Crowded subways, busy malls and other public areas often put us at conflict with our instincts. Our loved ones tell us in agonizing detail how they gave a ride home to a nice stranger [or some other heart-stopping act of kindness]. Then we let our kids go to school...

I think there is a balance here that tells us we need to inherit aiki. There is some inheritance through training, and some through living. Living is not training, but expressing training in your life. Otherwise, what would be the difference of practicing your ikkyo in your office wearing a tie?

Thanks again!

lbb 01-06-2014 01:21 PM

Re: Training Every Day, or Everyday Training?
I go back and forth on this one. What Peter says about good movement and posture makes complete sense to me. At the same time, is cultivating good movement and posture outside the dojo really "budo training"? Maybe, if you use the budo definition of what "good movement and posture" is. I'm sure that ballet, or gymnastics, or bricklaying all have their own definitions, and while there's doubtless some overlap (limited number of ways the human body can move), "good" has to be functional, and when we're talking about different functions, the definitions of "good" will not be exactly the same. Are your budo "good movement and posture" functional outside the dojo, then, or are you forcing the definition?

There are people on this forum who know a lot more than I do about sports training methodologies and the like. I've observed, though, that the word "training" always has a connotation of improvement. In exercise we speak of the "training effect" that is gained by working at an intensity that produces an improvement in your capabilities. Using the word in that sense, for "aikido training" to be possible outside the dojo, I think you need prior understanding and present observation. Using a simple and direct example -- when enthusiastic aikido newcomers ask how they can train more outside the dojo, people frequently suggest tai sabaki or suburi. But for these solo practices to be "aikido training", you need to first know what the correct movements/techniques are (prior understanding), and then have the skill to observe and correct yourself (present observation) -- otherwise you're just some eccentric waving a stick around and walking funny.

"We are always training" is perhaps an ideal (and perhaps not as desirable as we think...back to sports training, there is the concept of rest, which is essential for improvement...but I digress). But we don't achieve this ideal merely by declaring our 24/7 dedication to aikido. We gain some understanding in the dojo, and in the dojo we can also learn the skill of self-observing and self-correcting (if, that is, it wasn't already learned elsewhere, through some other practice) -- and then, maybe, gradually, we can do "everyday training".

Mario Tobias 01-06-2014 02:24 PM

Re: Training Every Day, or Everyday Training?
Good read. I agree with this post. Thinking about it, probably 90% of what I've learned in aikido was outside the dojo by analyzing, what for me, aikido really is.

Aikido is both art and science. The dojo serves both as a canvass and a lab to experiment but it is only a part of the whole process.

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