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tedehara 07-07-2001 11:07 AM

Hard Training
 
I've seen many comments on this and other forums about Hard Training. But I'm still not sure what they're talking about :confused:

What do you define as Hard Training?
  • Is this the traditional training until there is "blood on the mat" type exercises?
  • Is it the number of hours you train a week?
  • Is it the activity level while you're on the mat?
  • Is hard training for you not any of the above, but something else?
Why do you think this type of training is better or worst than regular training? Would you always train this way or never train like this again?

Inquiring minds want to know! :)

akiy 07-07-2001 01:38 PM

I remember a story in which a student asked Saotome sensei for some "hard training." Saotome sensei looked at him and told him to stand on one leg for an hour.

Any way, for me, "hard" training can mean a variety of different things including a physically brutal and/or vigorous training and a mentally strenuous training.

At least for me, physically "hard" training can mean anything from training with people who are better than I am who can throw me five inches under the mat to an aerobically vigorous workout consisting of a heck of a lot of ukemi. It can also be those classes in which we work on the simplest but subtlest aspects of things like movement, kuzushi, and musubi.

A mentally "hard" training may be one in which I try to maintain a mental connnection with my partner(s) all the way throughout the entire class and training with a lot of concentration. A lot of weapons training falls into this category as it's usually not very physically difficult but more mentally challenging.

I think that the notion of "hard" training is different for different people and very well will be different for the same person at different times. Whatever training that pushes people's boundaries, beliefs, and abilities is, I think, my definition of "hard" training...

-- Jun

tedehara 07-08-2001 10:31 PM

Rephrased Question
 
This tread was created to help gain an understanding of the following posting from another thread.

Quote:

Originally posted by George S. Ledyard on essence of aikido thread
Read the Masters of Aikido volume published by Aikido Journal. Almost uniformly the old Deshi cmplain that Aikido has lost its heart, that people are going through hollow motions but do not have the foundation of hard training to back up what they are doing. I was surprised at the consensus amoungst teachers who are otherwise quite different.
As has been said, Hard Training could mean different things to different people or even different things to the same person. Let me rephrase the question.

If Mr. Ledyard is correct, I'm assuming that he is, since I don't have the book Aikido Masters to discount it, then what do you think the founder's students are complaining about? What is it in today's aikido training that O Sensei's students sees missing?

Are they just a group of old aikidoists who remember their training as special because of nostalgia? Or is there something truly different from the way people train today, as opposed to how they used to train.

akiy 07-08-2001 10:56 PM

Re: Rephrased Question
 
Quote:

Originally posted by tedehara
What is it in today's aikido training that O Sensei's students sees missing?
I remember one instance of Saotome sensei talking about his training when he was an uchideshi. He simple said that a lot of people these days are happy to train for eight to ten hours every week, but he said he trained that amount pretty much every single day.

It's not just the number of hours, either, that impresses me; it's also the peers with whom people like him trained...

-- Jun

Erik 07-09-2001 12:43 AM

Re: Re: Rephrased Question
 
Quote:

Originally posted by akiy
I remember one instance of Saotome sensei talking about his training when he was an uchideshi. He simple said that a lot of people these days are happy to train for eight to ten hours every week, but he said he trained that amount pretty much every single day.

It's not just the number of hours, either, that impresses me; it's also the peers with whom people like him trained...
Which is why he is who is, and we, well, we ain't.

That's a really valid point though. A lot of dojos don't even offer the opportunity to train 6 days/wk much less 10 hours a day. Plus, to have so many people with experience in other martial arts before they even start is remarkable. I'd say compared to that my practice is pretty hollow.

PeterR 07-09-2001 12:53 AM

Re: Re: Rephrased Question
 
Hi Jun;

Quote:

Originally posted by akiy

I remember one instance of Saotome sensei talking about his training when he was an uchideshi. He simple said that a lot of people these days are happy to train for eight to ten hours every week, but he said he trained that amount pretty much every single day.

That's the nice thing about being uchi-deshi it's your job. No distractions and no travelling to the dojo.
Quote:

It's not just the number of hours, either, that impresses me; it's also the peers with whom people like him trained..
Well to be a world class ping pong player you need to train with world class ping pong players. It's not enough that the teacher was a world champion but the level of your peers.

Most of your interaction in class is with fellow students. Training with multiple yudansha who in turn came from a class with multiple yudansha is something that is not easily duplicated.

There is another factor which I think has a lot to do with the sentiments of the old guys. These days so many come in with pre-conceptions of the philosophy of Aikido - in the old days the deshi who joined Ueshiba were interested in his Budo not his religion. Not saying you can't have both - but many want to hide in the latter and this is not discouraged.

I doubt very much I would have survived training at the Kobukan. No nice cushy mats, no my toe hurts excuses (I used that one last week), and just about everyone had broken bones to remember.

tedehara 07-09-2001 12:07 PM

Re: Rephrased Question
 
Quote:

Originally posted by tedehara
...Are they just a group of old aikidoists who remember their training as special because of nostalgia? Or is there something truly different from the way people train today, as opposed to how they used to train.
One thing that does come to mind is that the Aikido Masters book interviewed only Pre-WWII aikido students of O Sensei. Several things to consider:
  • The training was probably more brutal than the post-War students. That would go along with the pre-war culture of Japan.
  • O Sensei was actively involved in teaching during that period. There was probably more emphasis on techniques than his later deepening interest in spirituality.
  • This was a ju-jitsu type martial art with a nationally well-known instructor. I think it was around the war when O Sensei would start calling his martial art aikido.
I believe that the hard training these former students mentioned is the brutal, physically demanding type of training that was prevalent in most martial arts in Japan before WWII.

Today there doesn't seem to be an opportunity to try this type of training. Even if there were, most people wouldn't or couldn't take part in it.

If this understanding is correct, I'm not sure that I'd agree with these deshi. I would hope a person could have the heart (core or essence) of aikido and not have to go through the physically demanding course that they went through.

andrew 07-09-2001 12:44 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by akiy
A lot of weapons training falls into this category as it's usually not very physically difficult but more mentally challenging.

Some weapons training can be both. Which is nice after you're finished doing it, but during it I tend to think "Why am I doing this? this is hard, I wish I could take a break..."


About the notion of hard training..... Obviously there's a few different ideas, but I think hard training is when physical activity becomes mentally challenging. You might do 100 rolls, but if you up that to say 400 you'll reach a point where mental effort alone keeps you going. It's hard to make yourself do something like that- I certainly can't make myself try that hard. Most people need to be pushed to train so hard by a teacher, but few teachers do.

andrew

ian 07-11-2001 08:19 AM

Yep, I'd reflect Andrews sentiment. I'm not really bothered what they used to do or now do in aikido. I know myself that psychologically hard training toughens you up psychologically. In difficult fighting situations my brain does something like this:

"he's a big bloke who could probably pound me into a pulp - but it wouldn't be anything like as painful as the 2 million bokken cuts I did 5 years ago"

and therefore psycholigcally events that some may perceive as 'tough' or hard to deal with suddenly get put into a different context; and you realise you can cope with a lot more pain and discomfort than you previously realised.

To me, training regularly for many years can still leave you psychologically unprepared for serious fighting situations, and 'hard' training (i.e. psycholigcally distressing) may help with this.

Ian

fiona 08-02-2001 02:52 AM

hard training / soft students
 
" Almost uniformly the old Deshi complain that Aikido has lost its heart, that people are going through hollow motions but do not have the foundation of hard training to back up what they are doing. I was surprised at the consensus amoungst teachers who are otherwise quite different. "

There's been quite a lot of discussion about this here in my neck of the woods, and we've come to use the word "hard' in a different manner. It means to remember while training that aikido is a martial art - to train as though your uke is a real attacker and not just a friendly face from the dojo. To respond as you would like to do in a real-life situation. To throw with power, to be ready for the next attacker, to put the locks on HARD enough that uke can't escape and clout you.

I've heard the opinion expressed that as dojo's become more commercial, the techniques become softer so that beginners are not discouraged too early when things actually hurt.

I guess its nice to think that your training might be useful out there in the real world - not that I'm denigrating all the other obvious benefits of training.

Chuck Clark 08-02-2001 10:08 AM

Re: hard training / soft students
 
Quote:

Originally posted by fiona
" we've come to use the word "hard' in a different manner. It means to remember while training that aikido is a martial art - to train as though your uke is a real attacker and not just a friendly face from the dojo. To respond as you would like to do in a real-life situation. To throw with power, to be ready for the next attacker, to put the locks on HARD enough that uke can't escape and clout you.
This is the foundation of proper training in budo. Treat it as a "life and death" situation at all times. Vary your speed and level of force to fit the skill level of your partner, but always keep real intent of budo.

Regards,


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