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Old 08-11-2009, 08:49 AM   #21
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

I would stop everything but cardio for a while. There is a period where your body needs to "reset." I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer so for me-I needed to avoid every device where my body would revert back to just doing what it knew. That included power lifting, Judo/jujutsu, everything. I wasn't kidding about this training changing your body physically. It is conditioning; mentally and physically, but it is very soft, meant to not be physically exhausting, by rather mentally exhausting. Remember all the cautions I gave about sitting down if you were tired and stopping? Why? Because we need your mind at its peak and your body aware and listening. It's a soft, gradual process. "Burning it in" with hard exercises will just screw it up, so will doing it fast. All that comes later.

Self correction, proprioception, and the natural feedback loop
I am sure you remember all the many physical corrections being made on a host of people there; from single-side weighted, to hip prowing and flexation issues, to the use of shoulder and muscle, on to side to side sway in movement and overall general body slack. Those external anomalies-manifested from poor internal connection and training- plague the martial arts. They are not going to be fixed overnight. This training is intense and will NOT offer immediate relief. That's why most quit. They don't have the mental fortitude.
To be perfectly honest everyone I know and have taught (without exception) keeps doing the "same o'l" "same o'l" familiar habits even up to a couple of years into this. Of course it lessons and eventually goes away, but the body is a great deceiver of itself. I always make jokes that it's easy for me to make an agreement with you (while pointing to your head) the problem is that he just won't listen (pointing to your chest).
This is my great argument with the proprioception crowd. To me, it's just another buzz word someone caught on to and wants to use. To make my point I feel them, make notes, then stop and say
"Okay, lets define it."
Proprioception: The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.
Now lets discuss what you know and to do with your own body I just tested and you failed at....
"Ah I see. Let's not ask YOU again shall we?"

You can listen to your body all the day long when you start training this way; most everything you are getting as proprioceptive feedback that is familiar to you is wrong. It's why standing-though an excellent exercise- can be so slow a process of discovery. We alter that with forcing postures and force-feeding lines by hands on manipulation in a very intimate way.
As many will tell you I put them into positions or let them stand in familiar stances and I challenge them to "find" their centered weight. A few times I told them while rolling my eyes- "I'll go get a beer and a sandwich." There is almost no chance for them to find it. Then when I put them in the proper stance-many of them for the first time in their lives- what did they all say? "This feels wrong, weak, and unnatural."
So much for proprioception in the beginning.
a) just as kata can sometimes build connection from the outside in, but be a "catch as catch can" and slow learning device
b) so is standing and solo work as a "catch as catch can" and slow learning device.

There is a better way, and that is to have someone push the lines into you and have hands-on (hands all over) you to move those lines in, through, and around inside you; even to extend lines of intent "outside" of you, until you are moving energy and leading your body on your own.
If you recall most could not "find" anything much at all, and their bodies at that point were receiving load in such odd and tense ways that they literally could not "get out of their own way." Then, you probably felt or heard of people who were receiving force and failing and when I touched them and moved lines within them with my own hands- their power built? It is a process of identification from outside-in then, inside-out. Left to their own devices how much of a learning curve do you think is ahead for each one of them to find it / lose it, find it, fix it/ lose it again? There is a faster and better way if you have some hands on help.
For the above reasons I would simply not trust yourself to go do things you are "used to doing"-though that is EXACTLY what most, if not all, are going to do.
If you're going to try something different….why not try something "different" and give your body a chance to embrace it and see what it can make of it.

Were I you, I would be doing the solo exercises you were shown to build intent and connection and then; beg, borrow, or pay someone to work with you and push on you, and do more solo exercises. Then I'd get back here as often as I could for an all day tune up. That's just one long Saturday for you and all it costs you is gas and tolls. My door is open for you now.

Last edited by DH : 08-11-2009 at 08:51 AM.
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