Michael McCaslin wrote:
The last time the urge struck me I went to a park, stretched for a few minutes, and took off running at a full sprint. I promptly sustained tears to both hamstrings!
One of the interesting things that happens with these deliberate breath/slight-stretch exercises is that it begins to stabilize and strengthen your joints and muscles. The stabilization is part of the process that begins to give you strength, but there's also an aspect that is somewhat related to the intra-abdominal pressure stuff that weight-lifters use, only more widely spread (caution has to be used here and the approach slow). You don't "tear" things so much. My ability to throw a very long baseball throw came back, I don't sprain my ankles or wrist very often if at all. Of course to work the whole body, you need a whole-body regimen, not just the simple start I outlined near the start of the thread. Frankly, my opinion is that pretty much all the variety, etc., that is needed for good Aikido practice/development of these skills is right there in Aikido, when done correctly with the breathing and force manipulation. I don't suggest anyone look elsewhere than Aikido, although to be balanced I'd have to note that all sorts of qigongs, yoga routines, etc., will do the same thing when the breath and force-manipulations are used.