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Old 09-28-2005, 11:58 AM   #26
tedehara
 
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Learning to relax is what ki development is all about. It is a process, not a destination.

It is not practice that makes perfect, it is correct practice that makes perfect.
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Old 09-28-2005, 12:24 PM   #27
SeiserL
 
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

IMHO, relax is a "let", not a "make". You relax naturally when you "let" go of what you do to "make" yourself tense. The mind-body connection would suggest that you may have some thoughts, fearful or restrictive (as in "I CANNOT") which is interfering.

Perhaps you are taking the whole thing too seriously and too personally. Stop trying to "make" yourself relax and have a good time. Relaxation is a natural by-product of having a good time.

Remember that where ever the head goes, the body tends to follow.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 09-28-2005, 02:32 PM   #28
Goetz Taubert
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

If you want to learn about s systematic approach to relaxation try out Autogenic Training (german: "Autogenes Training") invented by Schultz in 1920. In America it is often called self-hypnosis.
By focusing on body phenomena like heaviness, warm skin, beat of the heart/pulse, breathing, warmth deep in the belly (solar plexus), gentle coolness on the forehead one learns to systematically switch from sympathetic activation to parasypathetic activation.
This is a good way to learn about relaxation and recreation.
If practiced correctly you can learn the different aspects in about half a year (3 times a day practice for 4 minutes) and deepen your understanding in the next half year.
Attention: The method is often changed in unlogic or ineffective way, so you have to look around to get good literature (i.e. First and only english edition 1959, I. H. Schultz, title unknown, Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart is the publishing company in germany).

For your training the command "relax" is definitely not enough to make you overcome the current problems. Many problems stem from the following points: wrong positioning of the feet, weight not equal on both feet, hipps not low enough, pelvis and (lower) back stretched backward (a hollow back won't allow you performing a 180 degree turn at the place), position not upright enough, shoulders too high, movements/gestures too excentric and so on and so on. Your sensei should analyze where to help you to create a base where from relaxation can be build up.

Good luck Goetz
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Old 09-28-2005, 03:20 PM   #29
bogglefreak20
Dojo: Ki dojo
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
IMHO, relax is a "let", not a "make"....
Perhaps you are taking the whole thing too seriously and too personally. Stop trying to "make" yourself relax and have a good time. Relaxation is a natural by-product of having a good time.

Remember that where ever the head goes, the body tends to follow.
I couldn't agree more. I works that way for me. At the begining of my aikido training I went home sometimes more and sometimes less tense. Yes, you read it correctly. Then, slowly and for the bigger part on its own, this feeling shifted (and still is shifting) more and more towards being more or less relaxed, not only in training but throughout the day.

Quote:
Goetz Taubert wrote:
If you want to learn about s systematic approach to relaxation try out Autogenic Training (german: "Autogenes Training") invented by Schultz in 1920. In America it is often called self-hypnosis...
Good of you to mention AT. I must say I'm using it as a relaxation technique on and off for about 8 years. It all began for me in my 1st year of high-school when my grades dropped drastically due to the change in the enviroment, hence I got nervous up to a point I could hardly write a math exam without braking a pencil - literally!

After a couple of months of regular 15-min-once-a-day-before-bed-time practice of AT I managed to achieve such a level of relaxation that sometimes my mind wandered off during a test in english (which I was rather comfortable with from the begining) and I could get through a math test without too much trouble.

So I got from total stress-out to a state that our sensei refers to as negative relaxation (when you're oblivious to the world around you).

And now, years after, I'm discovering something called positive relaxation, natural movement, awareness without stress etc. All of the afore mentioned experience offer good guidance. As is true, IMHO, for anyone - your experience shape you, form you, mold you. And that is probably why there's never a single answer to a question.

I suppose everyone has to find his own way to relax (now, wasn't that deep).

Best wishes to all!
M
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Old 09-28-2005, 04:06 PM   #30
Dante
 
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Hello all - I'm not sure if Andrew means he can't relax during the entire session, for parts of it, or just for some techniques/exercises. I go through this as well. While I do catch myself relaxing more and more, there are some techniques (from both an uke and nage point of view) that immediately make me tighten up. For example, when we're practicing tenchi nage, and I'm on the receiving end, I can't help but become rigid - which is probably the worst thing I can possibly do (except perhaps to not draw my head in to protect my neck.)

Luckily, as we continue to practice the heaven/earth throw, I also practice relaxing while being uke in tenchi nage. It's still not instinctive - and I suppose it never will be - but at least I now end up thinking about relaxing when needed in this specific situation.

Now if I can only do the same for all the other instances...

Cheers.
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Old 09-28-2005, 06:55 PM   #31
Nito
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

When I have a problem with a technique (always) in relaxation, body placement, balance... I like to feel how a beginner (er, those few who have less experience than I) does the technique. This will usually give me plenty of ideas on how I am doing it wrong, and ways to suck just a little bit less.I think that sometimes if someone who really has their stuff together does the movement, there is 'too much' going on for me to grasp a specific problem that I am working on. Make sense? probably not, but I hope it helps...
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Old 09-29-2005, 07:42 AM   #32
Karen Wolek
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

This is an interesting aricle about how your face influences how relaxed you are:

http://www.litchfieldaikido.com/litc...pression.shtml

Karen
"Try not. Do...or do not. There is no try." - Master Yoda
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Old 09-29-2005, 08:12 AM   #33
charron
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

I find, that sometimes when doing a specific drill or working with specific indivduals, and am trying to make something work, that the reasons that I fail is twofold. First , I trying to make something work, which adds tension. Second, my mind gets in the way, keeping me from relaxing. When I recognize these two symptons, I switch my focus, from trying to control every aspect of the exercise, and just let the body do it. Most of the time, when you stop thinking and trust that the body knows, then you become more relaxed, and it works like a charm.
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Old 09-29-2005, 10:04 AM   #34
Amendes
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
This is an interesting aricle about how your face influences how relaxed you are:

http://www.litchfieldaikido.com/litc...pression.shtml
Won't work for me Dead link..
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Old 09-29-2005, 01:35 PM   #35
CNYMike
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Quote:
Andrew Mendes wrote:
I have been doing Aikido about 5 1/2 years now.
I still haven't figure out how to relax. Any hints?

Last Friday I wasn't relaxed enough. (I thought I was until our instructor said I wasn't.) And last night I was too relaxed.

For the Love of God I try so hard to relax that I actually get less relaxed. And when I don't try I think I am almost as bad.

I find i'm getting so frustrated.

I can't win!
<R. Lee Ermey Voice> TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND CALM DOWN, MAGGOT!!!! JUST RELAX!!!! DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT!!!! </R. Lee Ermey Voice> Sorry, couldn't resist. Serioulsy, relaxation is the hardest part of all martial arts, not just Aikido. My karate sensei pointed it out to me seven years ago. I'm still trying to learn to relax my shoulders, but even when I think they're relaxed, someone else notes how tense they are.

One time, while driving home from Aikido, I felt the muscles in my shoulders melt. Then they tensed up again. So the CAN relax, but I don't as yet have conscious voluntary control over it.

So I hear what you're saying, but try not to let it frustrate you too much; that will only make it worse. There are people, I know, who can just melt every muscle in their bodies at a thought. Then there are the rest of us mere mortals who have to work at relaxing .... if that makes any sense.
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Old 09-29-2005, 05:19 PM   #36
emma.mason15
Dojo: Shima Arashi Dojo
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

gonna ask an obvious one here ....
but ever tried meditating???
learning top relax muscles outside the dojo may help you .... i find i can zone out at pretty much any time at will now ....
em

Dance your cares away .... worry for another day ... let the music play .... down in fraggle rock!

when bored ... do as I do. Poke a patient!
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Old 09-29-2005, 05:51 PM   #37
ikkitosennomusha
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Hi Andrew!

I would recommend that you truely learn the meaning of "no mind". Read some articles on it, learn how to achieve it. It took me a couple of years but when I was able to have no mind, I suddenly became more aware of my surrondings as if everything moved in slow motion. Actually, someone mentioned zazen. This is a grat place to start. Read the philospohical methodology on how to clear your mind.

Having no mind is being able to see everything.
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Old 09-29-2005, 09:01 PM   #38
rob_liberti
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Quote:
Goetz Taubert wrote:
Many problems stem from the following points: wrong positioning of the feet, weight not equal on both feet, hipps not low enough, pelvis and (lower) back stretched backward (a hollow back won't allow you performing a 180 degree turn at the place), position not upright enough, shoulders too high, movements/gestures too excentric and so on and so on. Your sensei should analyze where to help you to create a base where from relaxation can be build up.

Good luck Goetz
Weight not equal on both feet? How do you move?!!! I'm not sure I would sacrifce my ability to take a step. Can't you remain relaxed and be able to shift your weight from foot to foot in an instant?

Rob
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Old 09-30-2005, 07:12 AM   #39
Michael Meister
Dojo: South Hetton
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Quote:
Karen Wolek wrote:
This is an interesting aricle about how your face influences how relaxed you are:

http://www.litchfieldaikido.com/litc...pression.shtml
That's exactely what I meant. Btw suwari waza kokyo ho is a very good technique to test it. At least it was for me.
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Old 10-08-2005, 08:14 AM   #40
guest89739
Dojo: Shiseikan
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

andrew,

i know exactly what you mean...
my sensei keeps shaking me to "loosen me up" it drives me nuts!!
but i think maybe the" face relaxation thing" is a good idea

cheers, marieluise
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Old 10-08-2005, 11:34 AM   #41
Carol Shifflett
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Re: I can't Take It Anymore! I CANNOT RELAX!

Quote:
Andrew Mendes wrote:
I have been doing Aikido about 5 1/2 years now. I still haven't figure out how to relax. Any hints?
Last Friday I wasn't relaxed enough. (I thought I was until our instructor said I wasn't.) And last night I was too relaxed.
For the Love of God I try so hard to relax that I actually get less relaxed.
That's what ki exercises are for; they show the difference. ;-)Howevever, to avoid starting a ki war, I will suggest something even more heretical -- biofeedback. I've been looking at this ever since I discovered that a $9.95 Radio Shack was a good predictor of passing or failing a ki test. Ki testing IS biofeedback, with your partner serving as a human sensor.

OTOH ELECTRONIC biofeedback is getting more and more attention. There is even a biofeedback game on the market "Into the Wild Divine." In order to play the game . . .

-- you MUST learn to relax, and know when you're relaxing and when you're not.

-- you MUST learn to ramp back up when necessary, alternating between what looks to me like "alpha" relaxation vs. "beta" relaxation.

-- you MUST learn to breathe, and realize that the physiological changes are very real and not mere imagination or party line.

The game comes with sensors for skin conductance, muscle tension, heart rate, etc.

Recently I attended a certification class for biofeedback where I watched attendees walk away with thousands of dollars worth of equipment that in my opinion, doesn't offer a whole lot more than Wild Divine for $160 (except of course, FDA certification for treating tension and Inability to Relax) ;-)

You can purchase the Grapher Expansion Pack which reveals the physiology behind the game. Watch your blood pressure or heart rate changing, under your control, in real time. See for yourself the effects of breathing and relaxation. Do Ki exercises while hooked to the Wild Divine sensors -- and watch what happens!

Yeah, OK, so "RELAX!!"-- but this lets you learn what that really means!

Cheers!
Carol Shifflett
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