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Jim23 06-21-2001 10:33 PM

Twist and shout
 
I find that the warm up exercises and stretching at the beginning of class are not enough. They don't really do much good, because they're over way too quickly. In fact, it's pretty darn dangerous, considering the extent of ukemi and general twisting and turning that we go through -- ouch!!!

I know that it's different for each school, but of the classes that I've been in (and watched), they're not done enough to do much good (I even had one sensei tell me that students come to him to learn techniques, not to get a workout. I couldn't take my eyes off his distended gut as he explained this to me).

I think warm-ups/stretching should last at least fifteen-twenty minutes -- minimum.

And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.

Jim23

Erik 06-21-2001 11:51 PM

ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go
ichi - ni - san - yon - go

I'm guessing that sounds familiar, only faster perhaps? Ycccchhhh! If I had to go through that, I'd start getting to class early and warming up on my own.

Seems to me like the only time I've run into this was at a seminar where someone was tasked to warm up the class for the visiting sensei. Personally, I'd rather not bother.

Quote:

Jim wrote:And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.
Jim, do you have any windmills up there? ;)

Honestly, I think the answer by most sensei is that you are on your own with a physical conditioning program. I've never seen a push up or sit up done in a class at the sensei's behest, although I'm sure that somewhere, someone is doing exactly that. One dojo I know of comes close with modified crunches performed once a week but that's it.

I know where you are coming from though.

Chris Li 06-22-2001 04:01 AM

Re: Twist and shout
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Jim23
I think warm-ups/stretching should last at least fifteen-twenty minutes -- minimum.

And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.

Jim23

Because:

1) Those are all things that you can do on your own.
2) Out of a 90 minute class I don't want to spend 20 minutes (over 20% of the class) doing push-ups, I'd rather be learning stuff, or practicing stuff.

I get to the dojo early and do my own stretches and exercises - as far as I'm concerned I'd be perfectly happy if there weren't _any_ warmups done.

FWIW, I keep my serious physical conditioning seperate from my Aikido classes, it's more efficient, and more effective.

Best,

Chris

andrew 06-22-2001 05:58 AM

Re: Twist and shout
 
Quote:

Originally posted by Jim23
And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.


I think the kind of conditioning that actually matters to your aikido is obtained a different way. Rolls exercise your stomach muscles (try doing 300 in ten minutes- not that I'd be able to go so far myself, but I know people who do), Suwari waza strengthens the hips (probably the most important muscles in my opinion), extensive weapons practice might strengthen the shoulders.
Sadly, we rarely train that hard. However if you want to improve your physical fitness, there _are_ aikido exercises that you can do for this, which are also more useful to your aikido than say pushups. Also, a lot of aikido training just isn't convenient outside of the dojo setting (rolling, varios paired exercises).

I know a guy who makes his students do 1000 rolls for their nidan grading. (I train with him once a year). Obviously his students have to be in excellent physical condition, but they do it without the pushups etc. which you can do on your own time. I guess if you're not able to get intense training locally, you should do them by yourself. Or 400 bokken cuts every day.

andrew

Jim23 06-22-2001 08:36 AM

OK, the pushups might not be all that necessary, but the warmup and stretching are.

Some people go straight to class from work (traffic, etc.), I think they deserve a good (safe) warmup. Especially older folks.

Pop, there goes the hamstring. Pop, there goes the shoulder.

Jim23

lt-rentaroo 06-22-2001 08:40 AM

Hello,

Warm-ups that seem a little "soft" is something that I've also witnessed, especially with wrist/back/shoulder stretching. I feel it is very important for Aikido students to properly stretch before and after class, doing so prevents injury. My classes usually involve about 15 minutes of "warm-ups" that include stretching and ukemi exercises. I've found the "warm-up" exercises not only help prevent injury during class, but also get the students in the right frame of mind (meaning that they are in the dojo now, and are ready to begin training).

I prefer to keep my general physical conditioning (weight-lifting, aerobic exercises, etc.) apart from my Aikido training. Of course, Randori can be quite the aerobic exercise in itself :)

guest1234 06-22-2001 10:06 AM

I'd agree that folks who want/need longer warm-ups should get them in before class. When i can't get off work early enough, i might modify the quick counts some instructors do to a lower/deeper count so i get a slower/better stretch. if i still needed more time after that, i guess i would try to get a slower kind of partner for the first few techniques, and we could work slowly enough not to injure anything. the main thing i expect to get out of warm-ups is a little stretching, and then things that i can do on my own but would like to watch sensei and be watched while i do them, the Aikido-related movement exercises--i already know how to do sit-ups and push-ups, and do them each morning...but while i also practice the Aikido exercises i am not anywhere certain i am doing them right. One of my favorite intructors would always do some exercises, and then vary some of the others---i noticed that those that varied were tied into the techniques we did that night, and it became fun to watch for them as the techniques were taught.

Jim23 06-22-2001 10:24 AM

I watched a class the other night (not regular club) and I actually saw the (very senior, visiting) sensei interrupt the class about 5-6 times for additional stretching (mostly knees, ankles and shoulders).

I've never seen that before.

Jim23

guest1234 06-22-2001 01:15 PM

and i heard a very senior Shihan last year at a California seminar tell the several hundred Aikidoka there that they paid him to teach Aikido, not warm-ups, to warm up before class...he had a point...
when the sensei you saw interupted class to do other exercises, did they relate in any way to the techniques he was demonstrating?

Jim23 06-23-2001 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by ca
and i heard a very senior Shihan last year at a California seminar tell the several hundred Aikidoka there that they paid him to teach Aikido, not warm-ups, to warm up before class...he had a point...
when the sensei you saw interupted class to do other exercises, did they relate in any way to the techniques he was demonstrating?

Hmm ... a paid seminar is a different story, I think.

The stretching was pretty basic stuff (important, though) and I suppose it was done because the sensei was quite senior (also starting to get up there in age too, meaning he wasn't a twentysomething or thirtysomething guy) and understood the importance of not damaging joints or straining muscles.

Jim23

guest1234 06-23-2001 09:51 PM

Perhaps the seminar is different, but I usually find more intensity and energy (=opportunity to strain) at seminars...
I just try to make sure especially with that Shihan that I get there early :).
There are others whose seminars I attend who do longer warm-ups, and that I like also, guess I'm flexible about stretching.
I'm not sure how I'd do if I stopped during class to stretch, then began again; no longer thirtysomething myself, I tend to stiffen up if I'm still for too long once I get going, guess it would depend on how long and just what was being stretched. I like stretching once warmed up, but if it was just one muscle group, the rest could get cold.

Axiom 06-24-2001 11:46 PM

I think that while some people are correct, that most students don't go to an aikido class to learn warm ups, I think thats a very important part of any physical activity. When beginners first learn warm ups, it acts as a separator from the rest of their day, and the first(and most easily mastered) lesson. When they are outside of class, and need to stretch, they will have a nice little routine that they can do. I personally relieve a lot of tension(especially after typing) by doing the wrist stretches. Also, in mastering the stretching, you are something more of a member of the dojo- each school of martial arts I've been to has a slightly different form of stretching.

And, of course, stretching does prevent nasty injuries, and should definitely be required at the beginning of class.

As for physical conditioning, while I think that's important, I think it also might turn away a lot of students. I heard a Capoeira instructor at a workshop remark that he made his students do 1000 jumping jacks the day previous. While for some that might be exactly what they want in a physical activity, I think many people(especially those who take aikido, who are on the frail side) would not like something so strenuous. Other posters have said, and I agree- get your physical fitness outside of class. I would bicycle the 4 miles to the dojo(a large portion of that uphill) several times a week, and that kept me in pretty good shape. Ballet(if you can afford it) focuses on many of the same principals as aikido (balance, moving while centered, moving from the center, etc) and really is a good workout, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time(a whole bunch of plie's[sp?] and your calfs feel like they've been beaten by a stick the next day). Or you can just go to the gym and lift heavy things, though I never find that to be nearly as fun as an actual activity.

Alex Magidow

Nick 06-25-2001 12:59 AM

I think that there should be some kind of warmup routine, to prevent injury as well as just for doing it... at our dojo, our little 'routine' is just as much a part of the class as the waza... being young, I could probably prevent any serious injuries even if I didn't stretch out (at least, no injuries I could see at this point in time)... however, I wouldn't want to give it up...

Nick

ian 06-25-2001 08:29 AM

I have been told that Ueshiba did no warm ups in the class - he expected everyone to do their own warm ups before hand.

The problem is nowdays that we expect everyone else to be responsible for our training.

What I think is best is to get the mats out as quickly as possible and allow 5-10 minutes at the start to let people arrive AND to let those who need to warm up more to do so. Then a BRIEF warm up doing a general coverage of the body is done.

People require different amounts of warm up for different parts of the body (I used to have elbow problems and press-ups were the best way to warm up my elbows before class).

Ian

ian 06-25-2001 08:32 AM

P.S.

I feel even more strongly about physical excercise - in that Aikido training isn't there to get you fit, it is to teach you aikido. However fitness is an important part of aikido and it is up to the trainee to do it in their own time.

Sometimes I get fed up with lazy people who expect everyone else to make the effort for them.

Ian

Jay Cirillo 06-25-2001 09:42 AM

In my dojo, we pretty much do the whole 9 yards...pushups (often with someone on your back) crunches, situps, and all the stretching as well. We do usually 30 minutes before each class...each class is 1.5 hours long. I think it helps alot, I've actually lost some weight since I started and I feel in much better shape than I have ever been. Also, my techniques feel tighter subsequently. I think it's a great addition to the whole work-out. However, I don't really think things like weighlifting and running are really necessary, though they don't hurt.

Jim23 06-25-2001 10:40 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by ian
I have been told that Ueshiba did no warm ups in the class - he expected everyone to do their own warm ups before hand.
He didn't?? Didn't know that (or much else for that matter). Was that just in the latter years?

I really have a problem with a five minute warmup (seconds for each stretch) for a two hour class, I think it's dangerous. As for warming up before class, usually within a few minutes of the mats being out, class begins - so much for stretching before class (unless you don't mind a dirty dogi).

Personally, I don't depend on aikido for my workout (although I think some do, based on their schedule), but I think the stretching is vital - could do it in the car on the drive to the dojo. ;)

The martial arts that I did before did a lot of stretching, but I suppose they had to (high kicks, spinning kicks, etc.).

Just curious, do they stretch a lot in judo (no kicks)? Where's mj when you need him?

Jim23

[Censored] 06-25-2001 12:28 PM

Re: Twist and shout
 
And why aren't pushups or situps, etc. done? They just increase strength, general health, etc., it doesn't matter if strength isn't used in aikido.

Don't you think that the warmup should be in character with the activity itself? If so, wouldn't pushups be practically the worst Aikido warmup possible? When will you use that movement?

I think a good functional warmup can be done in about 5 minutes, if you are using the right methods.

Jim23 06-25-2001 12:47 PM

The pushup, situp thing was a general fitness question, and I suppose general fitness can be done elsewhere at a different time. However, people who do other exercise (running, weights, swimming ... whatever) MUST warm up and stretch their tight muscles and joints before class.

When I hear people talk about five minutes of warm ups/stretching, it makes me nervous. OK if you do your own thing before class, but only five minutes total? What do you stretch, just your legs? Just your wrists and shoulders?

Jim23

guest1234 06-25-2001 04:29 PM

I would not be surprised if O Sensei told his students to warm up on their own, as Saito Sensei (his longest uchideshi) was the one who said the same thing to a seminar group. As for extended warm-ups, I see runners do that, but can't say as how i see weight lifters doing the same. Perhaps the degree of muscle stretching that will occur immediately and for how long is a key. If your first few techniques start out slow (and really, each pair determines how slow, anyway) then a few minutes as a group is probably OK. The mats are usually too crowded to be running full tilt for a long distance at your partner, usually really only a few fast steps and it's over.

akiy 06-25-2001 05:09 PM

On the other side of things, how many of you do any kind of cool-down exercises (outside, perhaps, of suwari kokyuho) or after-class stretching? I always try to stretch for at least five minutes after class usually during and after I fold my hakama...

-- Jun

[Censored] 06-25-2001 05:16 PM

When I hear people talk about five minutes of warm ups/stretching, it makes me nervous. OK if you do your own thing before class, but only five minutes total? What do you stretch, just your legs? Just your wrists and shoulders?

The key to a efficient warmup, IMO, is to utilize full-body movements. There is a 2-second sequence that I practice before every class, which opens the ankles, knees, hips, back, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. It also improves circulation, functional coordination and balance, e.g. speed and power. It's a dynamite warmup, even @ 2 minutes.

Then I might spend 2 minutes targeting the neck and 2 minutes on the legs. This is my insurance, in case of a bad fall.

Chris Li 06-25-2001 06:19 PM

Re: Re: Twist and shout
 
Quote:

Originally posted by [Censored]
Don't you think that the warmup should be in character with the activity itself? If so, wouldn't pushups be practically the worst Aikido warmup possible? When will you use that movement?
Everytime you get up from the mat when you're not rolling (ie, ikkyo, nikkyo, etc.).

Best,

Chris

Chris Li 06-25-2001 06:32 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by akiy
On the other side of things, how many of you do any kind of cool-down exercises (outside, perhaps, of suwari kokyuho) or after-class stretching? I always try to stretch for at least five minutes after class usually during and after I fold my hakama...

IMO, after workout stretching is much more important than pre-workout stretching, which doesn't actually do all that much good (unless you have some specific problem area). I actually read an article by George Foreman where he recommended no pre-workout stretching at all.

Personally, I like to do a warm-up that gets my pulse rate up and my body moving (a lot of rolls, usually). That loosens things up a lot more than cold stretching, and only takes a couple of minutes.


Best,

Chris

Jim23 06-25-2001 08:02 PM

All this talk of not stretching or warming up properly sounds nice and smart. However, I'm the one with the pulled hamstring at the moment.

I went for an hour run before class, cooled down for a bit (on the way to class), muscles tightened up, then RIP! - actually, it was more like a POP!

I should have known better than to accept that stupid stretching routine!

I'm the fool here for not following my gut and my experience!!

Jim23


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