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Old 11-28-2002, 12:45 PM   #16
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
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Smart Strength or Stupid strength?

The validity of needing muscles to move is a generally valid assumption for movement, but if I am bigger/ stronger than you ... how do you over come that size and strength advantage?

That is the basis for considering overuse of upper body strength ... and pulling my back out half a dozen times in the last thirty years from lifting outboard motors up to 140 pounds and hearing or feeling a pop in my back.

Yeah, you seem invincible until that old back goes out and the agony of not being able to even crawl without torturous pain comes to your body for a week or more. That, and considering there will always be someone stronger than you somewhere or sometime, I consider using strength in a smart way rather using brute strength in the stupid manner that cause injury to myself or others.

You should consider stealing the strength techniques of the small person who moves you as if you were a child, that is the smart way to use strength. If you live to reach your fiftys or sixtys, you probably won't be the great pillar of strength you were in your youth, so you must learn the smart way to be strong.

You do need muscles .... but there are intelligent way to use them when required ... just as there are stupid ways to use strength.

Too much upper body strength means you have moved your center closer to your shoulders ... is that where you want your center to be? I doubt once you learn to lower your center of gravity you will want to use the upper body strength the was you did in youthful exuberance.

Nice retort though ... you do need muscles, but can you use them in an intelligent manner to overcome brute strength?

I bring this subject up because of my experienceing four of more students exhibiting this trait during my last attendance at a seminar. Did I just happen to find the few people who did not listen to their Sensei, or is this upper body strength syndrome more widespread?

I rather tend to go with anyone who is practicing on the mat, including any sensei or higher grade student ... and it really doesn't matter how renouned there are, I tend to see them as equals ... students practicing Aikido.

Maybe we need a bit more of that. Less caste system mentality, and more actual praactice towards understanding we are equal human beings practicing Aikido.

I see too much of "Sensei this", and "Sensei that" nonsense, which tends to hide the true meaning of Aikido practice.

Our politeness is just that, respect and politeness. The important part of Aikido is the ability to practice, share our knowledge in practice, and help each other to better understand the basis of practice and where it can take us when the practice becomes application.

Enough ranting.

Upper body strength.

How many of people in your dojo are using too much, and what practices does your teacher use to help correct it?

Last edited by Bruce Baker : 11-28-2002 at 12:50 PM.
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