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Old 08-07-2006, 05:45 PM   #1
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 591
Training the Body. Part 2: Exercesis

Onto the exercises then:
*These are only two of the exercises I train with over here in Tokyo. There's a variety of others, but they all adhere to the core principals. Besides which describing all of them would be a pain. If you're curious about the other exercises, come to tokyo and drop me a line

Leg Raises

*This exercise was already covered earlier in the article, but done
upagainst a wall. Doing it against the wall is actually harder. However it has to be able to be performed without a wall, still adhering to the same requirements while in motion(taking steps) if you want to realize any real benefits from this training.


Keep some tension in the neck
(Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth, while gently closing your teeth. This should also serve to lift the head up, and keep the tension in the neck present to support the spine.)

Put some tension in the back, and straighten the spine.
Imagine there is a wall behind you and you're trying to touch the small of your back to the wall.

## Upper Body "Cross" Tension Requirements##
Extend the hands outwards on either side. When doing this draw the shoulder blades together while simultaneously dropping the shoulders. This should cause tension to drop from the shoulders, flow to the elbows and out to the fingertips. The elbows and fingertips should feel sore if this tension is held.
Elbows should be STRAIGHT.

If you fulfill the physical requirements listed above, you should feel a "cross" of tension in the middle of your sternum/chest area
Continuously have a feeling of pushing out the hands, while simultaneously drawing the shoulder blades together and dropping the shoulders. (This is the contradictory part of the exercise)

When raising the legs do not KICK! This is extremely important.
Although the movement ends up looking somewhat "like" a stretch kick if done correctly, the intent is different.
Do NOT kick..
need I say it again?
Do NOT kick.
Simply raise the leg.

Try and raise the leg from the (Pelvic crease) area.

When performing this exercise, raise the leg in such a way that the upper body and the "cross" in the sternum are not affected.
This means that the hands should not waver, move up/down side/side. Keep the upper body motionless.

Take a step as you raise the leg and proceed forward.

Repeat this exercise until your elbows, shoulders go numb and the fingers tingle execessively.

Once you become accustomed to this movement, try the same exercises with a six-foot staff running across your back.
The staff will serve to provide feedback to your body, and help you feel any imbalance occuring in your upperbody.
(translation, it'll tell you whether you're wavering all over the place)

Basic Benefits from this Exercise

Helps to connect the arms as one unit. If you can understand and use this feeling, it can help to eliminate telegraphing in punches, throws or the gr@pple(yes, including all the "kyos"). Don't ask me to describe it in mail. It has to be shown.

Develops the upper center or the "cross", which serves to stabilize the body.

Develops and strengthens the bodies ability to move the lower body without affecting the upper body. Easily seen benefits include throws that're harder to detect/non telgraphic.

Increases/strengthens balance and bodies ability to "move" from the spine. This results in kicks that're better balanced, and much more solid than an onlooker might percieve.

Spinal Alignement Exercise

There are three transition states when doing this exercise.
The entire exercise should be done smoothly without stopping at a
very slow tempo. You should sweat like a pig after about 3 minutes of doing this exercise correctly. If you aren't, either you aren't human and don't have sweat glands, or you're doing it WRONG.


When doing this exercise be sure to keep the tension constant!
Keep the tension flowing from your feet to your fingertips.
Keep the spine straight, and STAND from the SPINE.

Bottom Posture
You may want to first grasp the requirements for this posture by doing it against the wall.

Remember to keep some tension in the neck at all times, and place the tongue at the roof of the mouth while keeping the mouth gently shut to induce a "suspended" feeling from the spine.

Place both heels against, or an inch from the wall, about shoulder width apart, toes pointing forward.

Touch the small of the back to the wall.

Now, extend the arms out.
Elbows straight.
Hands in fists. Put some power into your fists.
Elbows over Knees. This is extremely important. Elbows over KNEES.

Drop the shoulders, but at the same time do NOT let the small of your back unstick from the wall.

Now, slowly lower your spine straight down, still pressing the small of the back to the wall.
It should feel like someone's pulling you forward, but at the same time you're pulling yourself back. This is the foward/backward contradictory force part of the excercise

As you lower yourself, make sure you push your knees out!
This creates the "arch" along the inside of the legs mentioned earlier which helps to support the spine.

As long as you do this, and you keep a "suspended" feeling, most of the support is being done by your spine, and you won't have to worry about the knees. (I know I know, knees shouldn't go over the toes, but that's only if you're allocating your weight to the knees. The trick is to support yourself from the spine)

Lower yourself until your heels want to pop up, then stop.
Drop the shoulders forward and down even more if possible, while pulling your body back to the wall, this should increase pressure in both your body and fists.

As you sink your body from the spine,your body should fold like an
accordion. The pelvic crease area should naturally close when you do this, however keep the feeling of keeping it open as you do this.

Try to pass the tension in the legs up the back, past the shoulders,
and to the very end of your hands.

If you don't have tension, chances are high you're not connected!!

The tension is maintained by relaxing the correct places (namely the pelvic crease area and dropping the shoulders), while keeping tension in others (the spinal area needs to have tension). Determing which places you need to tense and
relax is part of the self-discovery process.

The tension is NOT induced through clenching the muscles.

Transition and Supporting the Sky posture. - Named because it looks like you're supporting the sky. Expletitive deleted
From the previously described posture, open the hands so that the fingers are pointing straight up, palms facing forward.

Now fold the elbows, elbows and bring the hands together in
front of the chest, as if praying. Keep the elbows dropped when you do this, and keep as much tension flowing to the fingertips as you can during the movement. Elbows should still be over the knees.

From the "prayer" position, move only the arms, without raising the body, straight up and above your head, so that both hands
are "wedging" the sky. Extend the arms straighter and straighter, and bring them behind your head so that they touch the wall.
This should bring extreme tension to the base of the neck.

Now PULL your body up along the wall by pulling from the arms.
In particular, focus on the the base of the neck and how it
pulls the spine and the rest of the body along with it.

Do NOT push the ground with the legs or feet.

*You will have loads of tension in the quads, and the feet. But the idea is to pull your body up using the spine. As opposed to activating the leg muscles further and pushing the body away from the ground.

Pull your body up along the wall until the knees straighten out; continue to maintain the tension to the finger tips, keep the arms behind the head, stay against the wall, and "wedge" the sky.

Once you are fully standing, keep the tension in the fingertips and spread the hands apart, and push the palms and arms up skyward as if you were pressing up against the sky with your palms. Continue to keep the small of the back stuck to the wall.

At the same time, lower the body, and pull the sacrum/base of the spine downwards, while maintaing the "arch" in the legs mentioned earlier with knees pushed out.

Transition back to Bottom Posture
From the Sky posture, rotate the palms 90 degrees inward so that your fingers point behind you, and still keeping
tension in the finger tips, bring the arms slowly down so that the elbows are inline with the knees. Bring the palms straight in front of you until they're about chest height.

Feel familiar? You should be back to the "Bottom Posture". Now rinse repeat and do 5 more reps over the course of 15 minutes.

What the fuck does this weird exercise do??
It both teaches and strengthens the body to derive support from
the spine, while also letting it understand what it means to move within the range of an efficient biomechanical structure.

If you want to derive the maximum benefit from this exercise, it has to be done everyday without fail, and the "requirements", such as the arch in the legs, cross in the chest, and tension in the aforementioned spinal points need to be realized [emphasized?] in everyday posture.

This exercise affects all parts of the game, and will increase performance in throws/strikes/takedowns etc.

Working out in this manner allows you to immediately recognize what constitutes a sound biomechanical base and when it is disrupted.
A simple example of an application would be avoiding an arm bar on the ground. You'll know immediately when that arm bar is coming, simply because your body will feel "unbalanced" because the "physical properties" you're trying to keep together in your body are coming undone. Countering the arm bar then becomes
a simple affair of "readjusting" your body so that your body is once again adhereing to those properties.
The tension maintained in the exercises helps to teach the body how to connect the various points/properties together and make the adjustments to get them back second nature.

Learning techniques becomes faster since all sound techniques also adhere to the biomechanical principals taught in these exercises. This applies to all techniques be it kicks, punches, throws or anything else.

Since this exercise is probably difficult to understand and perform properly without a visual aid, I've included a link here for people to check out. Keep in mind that this example is being done without a wall.

The parts where the hands are being held in a circular posture, or being twisted are training other components, and can be ignored for now. I won't bother to explain them since they're a bit beyond the scope of this article. However, they still are physical properties that relate back to the key points mentioned earlier. No ch1 was harmed, harnessed or otherwise used in the making of this video.

There are other exercises, but I've provided two examples for
people to experiment with and see if they derive a benefit.

In case it is not apparent in the description, these are physical exercises designed to strengthen and connect the body's core, developing proper, efficient biomechanical motion and not some quasi mystical chi crap.
Not that anyone would make a crack about that in the first place.

The provided exercises are only the beginning stage. There are more indepth and advanced exercises that bring other deeper parts of the body into play.

I would like to emphasize that while the exercises are
done seperately, both of them (and other exercises as well) feed off of each other. Certain things are stressed and easier to feel in one exercise, and the benefits gained from it can then be put back into the other exercise and vice versa.

And if you claim this is too easy for you, then either you're full of crap, doing it wrong, or you're a monster in which case I want to roll with you =D
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