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Dave Miller 05-19-2003 06:11 PM

Speed of training:
 
Do you think that it's better to practice full speed or to practice slower? Or should time be spent on both?

Personally, I tend to think that one needs to start out slow and develope a certain level of mastery of a technique before speeding up. This is for several reasons:
  • To avoid injuries.
    To train the body in the finer points of the movements in the technique.
    To see subtle mistakes that are being made and allow for more fine tuning.
What do you folks think?

sanosuke 05-19-2003 07:14 PM

Quote:

Personally, I tend to think that one needs to start out slow and develope a certain level of mastery of a technique before speeding up. This is for several reasons:

To avoid injuries.

To train the body in the finer points of the movements in the technique.

To see subtle mistakes that are being made and allow for more fine tuning.
Couldn't agree with you more. To add some I read in some books (The Dynamic Sphere I think) that training in high speed will make you easier to lose control over your partner. I don't suggest to train on slow speed, though, just train in reasonable speed, where your partner can react fast enough but still have time to think about the technique, later on after we have some experience we can do faster and faster.

DCP 05-19-2003 10:33 PM

I agree whole-heartedly with you both. The only addition is to consider the ukemi ability of your partner. Uke "should" keep in mind his/her own ablities before delivering the attack, but nage needs to be aware in case uke is getting "too big for his britches." (I think Reza was hinting at this, I just wanted to clarify . . .)

jxa127 05-20-2003 08:31 AM

There is a lot of value in practicing slowly when learning the movements. One key is that uke needs to give good energy and realistic movement even when working slowly, and that can be a difficult thing to learn.

After a while, though, one should be able to speed up the technique and still perform it well.

Regards,

Dave Miller 05-20-2003 10:09 AM

Quote:

Drew Ames (jxa127) wrote:
There is a lot of value in practicing slowly when learning the movements. One key is that uke needs to give good energy and realistic movement even when working slowly, and that can be a difficult thing to learn.

After a while, though, one should be able to speed up the technique and still perform it well.

This continues to be the hardest part of being a good uke for me. How about you guys (and gals)?

Marty 05-20-2003 10:21 AM

I agree with all that is stated above I just wanted to point out that in my experience fast is easier, and there for I think that slow with good intent is far more valuable especially in the beginning. I know that people fall into the trap of I need to do it fast so it will be realistic but I think that in the end you have to learn how to move first. after all the harder that they attack the more off balance they are, and the more energy they are giving you to work with.

that being said I still like to go fast now and again! I think variation is important, and I have seen and heard that if you really are "doing aikido" then speed doesn't matter. I think that O' sensei said something like they attack thinking I am in front of them when in fact I was behind them even before they moved. I have seen this in my sensei for him speed does not seem to matter.

Marty

"Do you thing my being faster than you has anything to do with my muscles, in this place?"

-- Matrix

Largo 05-20-2003 08:08 PM

My sensei actually brought up something about this the other night. He said that timing was more important than speed. In other words, its better to do the technique slowly, but with accurate timing than to rush through and do it as fast as possible. (but it's still so much mor fun to fly through it though...)

opherdonchin 05-21-2003 06:32 AM

Slow is great in lots of ways, but fast is also important in the beginning because it helps uke and nage understand what 'natural movement' feels like. Especially interesting is to go back and forth between slower and faster, learning to notice the differences between them.

DaveO 05-21-2003 06:48 AM

I like slow - Tai Chi slow - at first; progressing to standard speed as practice progresses; when possible.

I was working with a newer student on Sunday; the technique I was trying to teach him was katate-tori ikkyo. Wasn't doing too well; he was trying to muscle through the technique like any other student. :)

So, I had him do the technique solo in extreme slow-mo, (each repetition taking about 2.5 minutes) to get the 'feel' of the movement. First time I'd really tried it with a genuine student; I was surprised how well it worked. Once he got the dancelike flow down; I added myself in as uke, and over successive repetitions gradually increased the speed until he was doing it at normal practice speed. He did very well; with no further problems - for that technique anyway - with muscling.

My 2 cents - hope it helps. :)

shadow 05-21-2003 06:57 AM

im of the opinion that power comes from form and to make sure your form is good you have to do it slowly checking your posture and balance many times. if you can throw someone ever so slowly without them being able to stop you, then natural speed and power can be tacked on any time after.

kensparrow 05-21-2003 01:05 PM

A senior student once pointed out to me that Aikido is like a revolving door... You go out as fast as you come in. With that in mind I try not to attack any faster than I feel my ukemi can handle at the moment. Generally speaking though, most of the people I train with seem to naturally do a new technique slowly and then gradually ramp up.

Pretoriano 05-22-2003 10:28 PM

speed
 
Hi Dave Miller, your supositions are technically correct, the slower the solid and better you learn.

I got a friend striking guy that when I treat him to go with me to aikido clases he says: "again to the submarine world?, no, you go" "this people are just playing, do they train every day this way?

I say: yes, but if you get into the aikido idea you never going to quit.

There is no way aikidokas changes their approach to trainning, this is not going to change.

Aikido sacrifices a decent real approach for the clean beauty looking on technniques.

They are show like people, theatre lovers, and for you succeed there you just have to play and get your acting grade.

So what you got is people wich bodies react instintively correct as told, but beyond that, untested.

And it is supposed (cause they try to insert this in your mind) that when youre really old taking care arterys and bones, you will be good at it.

The problem is not the speed they train, but their spirit confined to the aikido actual way to train they just follow without questioning.

get your scuba,

"All men wants to have truth on their side, but few wants to be on the side of truth"

Praetorian

George S. Ledyard 05-25-2003 05:26 AM

Proper Energy
 
Slow training is fine as a way to learn a new motor skill. It is also a way for beginners to train safely. Finally, it is important for those recovering from injuries as they start training once again. But it can also be a crutch that allows students to feel as if they are really training while they avoid the more intimidating realities of what is contained in the practice.

Imagine that you are sitting behind a clear Plexiglas barrier. If I were to throw a hardball full speed at your face, even knowing the barrier was there, you would have a hard time not blinking or flinching from the on-coming ball. If I were to merely lob the ball at your face, you would almost certainly be able to stare straight at me without so much as blinking. Why is this? Because we have the ability to perceive the amount of energy an object is carrying. We don't have to be hit by the physical object in order to know it is carrying a lot of energy.

So the object in a sense has a column of force that exists in front of the physical object. Just as a plane about to break the sound barrier, that column of force is greater the faster the object is moving.

People who train primarily at slow speed or moderate speed do not develop the ability to handle attacks which come in with speed and strong intention. Their ability to stay relaxed and centered while attempting to meet and redirect the energy of an incoming attack is very limited because they seldom deal with attacks which carry much energy.

I meet students all the time who know how to do all sorts of techniques with great precision. But when you attack them full speed, their energy fields collapse. They are defeated before the physical attack ever touches them. Because they don't train at what is a true full speed for an attack they can't handle even the perception of the power that is incoming, much less the actual physical blow itself.

A large number of students I see use slow training as a way to avoid what is intimidating or potentially painful in learning to deal with full speed attacks delivered with intention. They use the excuse that they are studying the details of the technique, trying to perfect the movement... but somehow, several years later they are still at the same level. Perhaps they are a bit smoother in the execution of their technique but completely unable to do the technique when really attacked.

I am not talking about so-called "real" attacks, the non-traditional attacks many feel are necessary for developing martial competency. I am simply referring to the good old tried and true Aikido attacks. If these are never delivered at full speed and full power by someone who can actually throw a good attack, twenty years of daily slow to medium practice will simply result in a person who cannot do his technique when really attacked.

DCP 05-25-2003 08:33 AM

I would like to alter the flow of the thread by adding a question: Can a proficient nage control the speed of the technique regardless of the speed of the attack?

In other words, can a full speed punch by uke result in a slow/soft kokyu nage? Or is that "fake?"

George S. Ledyard 05-25-2003 09:18 AM

A Matter of Perception
 
Quote:

Daniel Pierson (DCP) wrote:
I would like to alter the flow of the thread by adding a question: Can a proficient nage control the speed of the technique regardless of the speed of the attack?

In other words, can a full speed punch by uke result in a slow/soft kokyu nage? Or is that "fake?"

I don't think it is the speed of the technique that changes. In other words, if you are receiving a punch, that punch will strike you at a certain moment in time. You need to have evaded, deflected or whatever you are going to do before that instant arrives or you are struck. Which means that if there is a fast attack, you need a fast defense. This isn't a variable that you control.

However, a variable that you can exert control over is how you perceive the speed of the movement you are doing and also how you perceive the speed of the attack itself. We do an exercise in our randori practice that is useful in this regard. When a student is getting too excitable during multiple attacker practice and attempts to handle the three attackers by trying to out speed them we will have the student do a couple randoris in which he is asked to move in such a way that he feels that he is moving almost in slow motion. The ukes move at full speed.

You find that the student will start to shift his relative perception of how fast he needs to be moving. He will still need to execute his techniques just as fast in an absolute sense. But he will start to perceive that everything is going slower than before. He will realize that he didn't need to get excited, that he has plenty of time to make the moves he wishes to, that his perception of time is not controlled by the attackers.

As for whether one can do a slow / soft throw on an attacker who is moving very fast the answer is sure, why not? It is the "entry" that takes place at a speed that must, in absolute terms, match the speed of the attack. Once the "entry" has taken place, you can ground out the energy, absorb it, whatever. You can cause the attacker to simply collapse or you can hurl him across the mat. At the instant that you have kuzushi, it doesn't matter.

Now there can be exceptions. There was the story of the swordsman who challenged O-sensei and then attacked with what was essentially a killing blow. O-sensei did an irimi and the attacker careened into him, bounced off which such force that he hit the wall and was seriously injured. There is a sort of Conservation of Quality of Energy at work here I think. If the attacker has real lethal intention, what he gets back in terms of energy will probably be destructive. I do not think that, despite ideals to the contrary, that one can defend oneself against an attacker who has lethal intent and not hurt him (assuming that he has some skill level approaching or exceeding your own).

SeiserL 05-25-2003 01:33 PM

IMHO, start slow working on flow and alignment. Gradually pick up the pace for both attack and response.

shihonage 05-25-2003 04:59 PM

Re: A Matter of Perception
 
Quote:

George S. Ledyard wrote:
I am not talking about so-called "real" attacks, the non-traditional attacks many feel are necessary for developing martial competency. I am simply referring to the good old tried and true Aikido attacks. If these are never delivered at full speed and full power by someone who can actually throw a good attack, twenty years of daily slow to medium practice will simply result in a person who cannot do his technique when really attacked.

This is so true.

Thank you for this excellent post.

Hanna B 05-25-2003 05:45 PM

I'd say it is good to practice in different tempos, full speed, tai shi slow and things in between. Avoid getting stuck in one "kind of normal" tempo. It very easily happens.

Paul Sanderson-Cimino 05-26-2003 01:12 AM

In our dojo, we do motions rather piece-by-piece at first (also relatively slowly), but we almost always finish class with some 'round-robin' training. To summarize, it's kind of like randori, but only one at a time, and not from a 'circle', but feeding out of a line. While precision and perfection are stressed earlier in the class, to learn the movement, the idea of round-robin is to ingrain it and experience it more spontaneously by moving smoothly and at a more rapid pace.

An example of combining slow and fast.

jxa127 05-30-2003 09:08 AM

I'm with Hanna on this. Yes, one should work at a slow speed. Yes, one should work at full speed. Yes, the energy is a bit different, often quite different.

Why does there have to be a dichotomy? Or, why does this have to be so complicated?

I can't imagine anyone always training full speed. At some point, we all have to slow things down and really try to figure out what we're doing, right? At the same time, if we don't attack/get attacked at a fast speed, we never get the chance to test our understanding of the principles and techniques we practiced, right?

Regards,


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