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Old 01-10-2005, 05:50 PM   #26
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Jeezus - Paul, I'm not a Gyrotonic instructor. I'm like a 5th kyu asked to explain aikido and giving an honest best effort. In fact, the official name of the system is the "Gyrotonic Expansion System," not the Gyrotonic Lengthening System.
Here's a quote from the website I referred to in my last post:

Gyrotonic® comes from the word "Gyro" (meaning spiral or circle) and "Tonic" (to tone or invigorate).  It is based on fluid circular movements, and the participant's own restorative energy.       
With the body continuously supported by the equipment, either in lying or sitting positions, the participant moves through a series of rhythmical, low impact exercises, specifically designed to gradually
•  Stretch and strengthen the musculature
•  Improve the articulation of the joints and  spine
•  Build abdominal strength to enhance core  support, balance and stability
•  Develop kinesthetic awareness for better posture, and a renewed sense of the body as a whole
Breathing patterns are synchronized with the exercises to stimulate the nervous system, and create a revitalizing and invigorating flow of energy. As these processes come together, stiffness is released; flexibility, inner strength and coordination are improved, while stress and the risk of injury are reduced. Everyday movements become easier, and more efficient, resulting in an increase in vitality and well being.


They also have non-equipment based component:

Gyrokinesis® is based upon the same principals as the Gyrotonic® Expansion System, and requires only a stool and exercise mat to be performed. It is the core of the Juliu Horvath System™and was first developed out of his personal struggle with chronic pain and injuries.
The goal of Gyrokinesis® is to educate the body to move with fluidity and power.
Through a series of gentle and systematic movements the entire body is released, stimulated and invigorated. The first part of the class is performed seated and guides you through an awakening of the senses. While performing repetitive, rhythmical movements, you will be able to release stiffness, increase blood circulation and stimulate your internal organs and nervous system. The class then moves to the floor and finishes with strengthening exercises for the back and abdominal muscles.


My personal opinion: I think it is a wonderful supplementary exercise system for martail arts practice.

Best

Ellis Amdur

Last edited by Ellis Amdur : 01-10-2005 at 05:54 PM.

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Old 01-10-2005, 05:56 PM   #27
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
As I said before the Alexander Method folks also use the term lengthening. ...snip...
In the Alexander technique, "lengthening and widening" usually refers to your whole back, not so much specifically just muscles. And it's not a claim of something happening, more a direction that you give yourself (just to reassure Paul.

BTW, and I apologise for nit-picking, my experience as an AT teacher is that people who stand with their palms forward often are busy pulling their shoulders back, in other words doing more work than is necessary. I don't think you should draw a lot of conclusions about the state anyone is in by looking at that kind of detail really.

kvaak
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:07 PM   #28
rob_liberti
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Hi Paulina,

I find some folks try to fix things artifically like that, but a good St. John Neuromuscular Therpist (who would also use the term "lengthening") will help you fix your posture problem by helping you relax you hips structure and knees properly. Also, I've had a few Alexander lessons where I was helped to lengthen and widen my arms, legs, hips, as well as back. I find it most interesting that I had to feel how to let some chest muscles naturally relax to let things happen. I have found all of this stuff tremendously helpful in kokyu ho and basically all of my waza.. These practices are really helpful for aikido. (And I'm not saying the only ones or the best ones. Just the best I've found so far!)

Rob
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Old 01-11-2005, 05:33 AM   #29
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote:
I have found all of this stuff tremendously helpful in kokyu ho and basically all of my waza.. These practices are really helpful for aikido. (And I'm not saying the only ones or the best ones. Just the best I've found so far!)
Glad to hear that! Obviously I've found Alexander Technique useful, otherwise I never would have trained as a teacher. I've worked with a couple dojo-mates as well who report that they've fond it helpful for aikido. On the other hand, IME the aikido folks have been some of the nicest to work with...

kvaak
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Old 01-12-2005, 02:25 PM   #30
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Thanks for your contribution Ellis! Sorry that I mis-remembered the system's name...but it still sounds interesting. I was just looking around for Pilates locally...I may be switching my focus after your post!
Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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Old 01-12-2005, 02:34 PM   #31
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

I was just looking at their site Ellis, and noticed the exercise equipment they sell. May I ask if you use any of their equipment at home yourself, and if so, is there a particular model you prefer?
Thanks again,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-12-2005, 03:07 PM   #32
Ellis Amdur
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Hi Ron -

1) First of all, the exercises are subtle enough that it's really important that one gets detailed instruction first - and gets some expertise. I'm quite fortunate in that my wife-to-be is a gyrotonic instructor, so I do have one of the professional units at home, and can work out with her instruction.
2) There are a number of pieces of equipment, with specialized exercises for each. The core unit is the "tower." The "actual" unit is only sold to certified trainers.
3) There is a "home unit" - I don't like it because it uses a spring system rather than the pulleys, which are more expensive to make. Springs have variable tension along their length (LOOK EXPERTS: I may be not exactly right here - I don't know physics either!). The result is that when you are at the moment of greatest extension (and vulnerability), the springs pull harder. One has to be mindful as to not get hurt, which is antithetical to the freedom the movements should/can give.
So, truth be told, I'd recommend working out at a studio. Many people do twice a week.

Best

Ellis

P.S. I'm going to be at Mechanicsburg the end of February - a two-day open seminar on Saturday and Sunday 2/26/27. Will you be able to come up. Be happy to talk with you more about this stuff then.

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Old 01-12-2005, 03:28 PM   #33
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

I think I've found one not far away from me...I believe I'll give them a call. I think I know what you mean about the resistance provided by springs.

I don't know yet about feb...but I've put it on my calendar just in case things open up. It would be good to train up there again and to see you...haven't been up since the Stevens seminar. If I don't make it, tell Bob and the folks I said Hey...
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 01-18-2005, 05:07 PM   #34
willy_lee
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Re: Aikido & Pilates - "Lengthening"

Coming late to this, but my 2c FWIW

My personal impression of why the term "lengthening" gets used by yoga/pilates advertising is an idea of the kind of physical look that is being "sold" (for lack of better term). A "dancer's body" look. Related to a fear of "bulking up", is my guess.

Could I have any more "quotes" in one post -- I'm not sure!
=wl

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Old 01-18-2005, 07:19 PM   #35
Colbs
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Lengthening the muscle is actually different to strengthening, When strengthening a muscle you "bulk" it up, it enlarges in it's current shape, it doesn't get noticeably longer - this is especially apparent when you have people like me (tall, with shortish bicepts). Conversely you can lengthen muscles, making them look more 'toned' without having them grow out.

It's the difference there that leads it to be used to market to a primarially female client base - most women don't want to be built like brick shithouses but they do want firm lithe bodies (here here - drool).

Basically the effect leads to natural marketing, rather than the other way around.
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Old 01-18-2005, 09:26 PM   #36
Qatana
 
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

No amount of yoga, Pilates, or any other exercise program will give a woman a classic "Dancer's Body" unless she was born with the bone structure to build on. I was a semi-professional dancer for over ten years, I am extremely flexible, I have the right kind of muscles for classical ballet, but I do not have the bones, so therefore i do not and can never have a "Dancer's Body".
And yes, if I go back to ballet tomorrow I will discover that my muscles have indeed gotten shorter than when I was taking two classes a day, and I know that if I work at it, they will get longer again.

Q
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Old 01-27-2005, 10:33 PM   #37
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Well, to revisit this thread with a longish post....
It has been apparent for some time that I need to pursue some comprehensive program to address a long list of structural and movement problems in this now-out-of-warranty body. I considered the options, and booked an appointment with a rehab specialist at the Pilates clinic run by the author of "Pilates for Dummies."
My appointment was yesterday and this is the list of issues I brought to the appointment:
1. (R) knee: 2000 acl allograft and medial meniscus partial removal. Longterm, some joint laxity and probably reinjury of meniscus with pain on prolonged walking/wtbearing and ocasional acute episodes of swelling. Weird stuff in back of knee.
2. (L) shoulder/upper arm: December 2004: pain in abductor/?triceps, no obvious injury, not necesarilly aikido-related; not improved by reduced training, somewhat alleviated with stretching.
3. Longterm ongoing intermittent problem posttraining with (L) inner thigh tetany/spasms, not clear if adductor or other medial structure involved. Seems related to ocasional carpopedal spasms though not at same time. Also chronic (L) hamstring tightness not abated by stretching.
4. chronic tightness trapezius, bilaterally
5. chronically subluxed carpal/metacarpal thumb joints
6. fairly recent onset of difficulty with left-starting forward rolls; Elaine Yoder (one of my instructors, and a Feldenkrais practitioner) observed me and it appears that I'm not integrating above/below center on that side, so lose track of my legs.

The rehab approach where I went starts with evaluation and neuromuscular re-education based on the work of Janda & Lewitt, in order to start correcting problems before jumping into Pilates exercises. I was really impressed with the person I was working with: her evaluation of my gait and posture was comprehensive and also picked up some old problems I'd not mentioned. She did point out that my left side is carrying most of my weight, and working harder than it needs to. I'm also spiraling my upper body to the right. When I walk, my right leg moves normally, but my left leg steps forward prematurely, working, not waiting for my center to move.

Her hands-on approach was direct trigger point work plus proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, but she was targeting areas that neither I nor any practitioners had previously identified as problems: the iliotibial band and on the right side far distal hamstrings. The itb was so tight, that when she asked me to abduct the leg, I used my low back to initiate the movement. She found amazing trigger points!: when she started working the left itb, it felt as if she was going to break my femur. Thanks to lots of aikido training, I was able to breathe deeply into it, and in fact the itb released nicely--so much so that I walked as if drunk until she did the right side!
I have homework to do, pressure point work on specific areas, different on the two sides of the body, and a couple of stretches. Going back next wk. Everything made amazing sense. Nice start for the new year.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-05-2006, 11:59 AM   #38
Ron Tisdale
Dojo: Doshinkan dojo in Roxborough, Pa
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Hi Janet,

Do you mind if I bring this thread back up to ask how this is going? Did you continue, and if so, what were the results relative to aikido?

Best,
Ron (still haven't made the time for Gyrotonics, but strongly reconsidering that right now)

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
St. Bonaventure (ca. 1221-1274)
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:11 PM   #39
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Hi ron--happy new year!
I continue to be an essentially lazy sod who happens to love aikido...I worked 1:1 with a Pilates person every wk or two for around three months (til the $ ran out...) and I've got a 15 minute Pilates routine that I do at home a couple times a wk. I also do trigger point release with a ball or a roller as needed. I'm finding that I don't do this too thoroughly or often, as it appears that a certain amount of the "offness" is actually protecting my bad knee: When I have fully released hips, low back, itb, etc, I end up with weird things happening in the support tendons and ligaments of the bad knee that make me nervous.
I DO find that the fundamentals of pilates (and from what I know of gyrotonics from a gal at our dojo who teaches it, its similar) really enhance aikido.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 01-05-2006, 04:13 PM   #40
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Thanks! And Happy Gnu year to you, too.

The idea that straightening other things out is problematic for the knee is a little worrysome. I'm working on my right knee now. And I get you with the lazy thing. Already have one activity that keeps me out nights and weekends. I need another time consumer like a whole in the head. But I think the bod just won't hold up on its own like it used to. So it's Gryotonics, pilates, yoga or a gym. And I REALLY HATE weight lifting. The little yoga I've been exposed to has helped, but I don't do it often enough, enough of it, or well enough for what I really need.

Hmmm, kind of like my aikido lately...maybe it's just my flawed character!

Best,
Ron

Ron Tisdale
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"The higher a monkey climbs, the more you see of his behind."
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Old 01-10-2006, 02:02 AM   #41
James Kelly
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

My quick $0.02. I've done a lot of yoga in my day, some very hard and some very soft, all meant to help iron out the structural issues I've developed through aikido and being very tall (mostly back and knee problems). I recently started bikram (aka hot) yoga. I'm as weary as the next person about the advice of zealots (meaning take this with a grain of salt because I'm pretty buzzed about my new practice) but it really is a spectacular system. The hot room used to seem like cheating to me, but now I view it as a safety net. It's much harder to hurt yourself when you're that warm. The series of postures is not particularly difficult so you're less likely to over strain and it strengthens and stretches and aligns just about every muscle I know about. My knee problems have all but vanished and my back is more flexible than it has been in years. About once a week is all it takes for me, especially because I'm training aikido.

Hope that helps.

ps -- re the earlier parts of the thread about the lengthen of muscles. Muscles can absolutely be lengthened and there is scientific literature to back this up. My sister lost much of her leg in a moped accident and they put her in a halo (an external thing screwed into the bone at various places like orthodontists braces for the leg). The halo is usually used to stabilize and lengthen bone while it heals, but it also has the effect of lengthening muscles which is why they used it in her case (many of her muscles were severed and not long enough to reach where they should). After they took the halo off, her muscles had lengthened and they were able to reattach them (there's all kinds of other stuff wrong in there, but each step forward is a good one). So if muscles can be lengthened by an external brace, why not by internal stretching...?
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Old 02-05-2006, 08:29 PM   #42
Scott Josephus
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Hi Tim-

Just a quick reminder that Sensei suggests that when we stretch at the beginning of class, don't rush through your stretches - take it a little slowly, and this will slowly increase your flexibility (at least in theory).

See you Monday.
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Old 02-05-2006, 09:42 PM   #43
paw
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Quote:
James Kelly wrote:
ps -- re the earlier parts of the thread about the lengthen of muscles. Muscles can absolutely be lengthened and there is scientific literature to back this up. My sister lost much of her leg in a moped accident and they put her in a halo (an external thing screwed into the bone at various places like orthodontists braces for the leg). The halo is usually used to stabilize and lengthen bone while it heals, but it also has the effect of lengthening muscles which is why they used it in her case (many of her muscles were severed and not long enough to reach where they should). After they took the halo off, her muscles had lengthened and they were able to reattach them (there's all kinds of other stuff wrong in there, but each step forward is a good one). So if muscles can be lengthened by an external brace, why not by internal stretching...?
So, in other words, the use of the halo restored her muscles to her original length (pre-accident) by lengthening the bones? That's a vastly different concept than increasing the length of her uninjuried muscles, as I understand it.

As Donny Schreier, said:

"A muscle is attached to a bone on one end, crosses a joint or joints, and attaches to another bone at its other end. The muscle's length is fixed between these two points, and no matter what you do and no matter how you exercise or how hard you try you cannot lengthen this muscle without lengthening the bones to which it is attached, which as you know cannot be done without breaking them."

So if you know of scientific literature that indicates otherwise, I'd love to read it if you can point me in the right direction.


Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:51 PM   #44
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

individual muscle fibers within a muscle can be contracted or relaxed and that will affect overall muscle length. dancers w/ tight quads have shortened quads that pull the pelvis bones in such a way that their butt's stick out. i have opposite: chronically tight hamstrings -- a tendency that conventional stretching does not affect-- that pull the pelvis in the opposite direction and flatten my lumbat curve abnormally, giving rise to low back discomfort.
so, no, bones won't grow or break, but bone position within the body can and does change due to the force of muscles, tendons, etc.

Janet Rosen
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Old 02-06-2006, 11:09 PM   #45
paw
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote:
individual muscle fibers within a muscle can be contracted or relaxed and that will affect overall muscle length. dancers w/ tight quads have shortened quads that pull the pelvis bones in such a way that their butt's stick out. i have opposite: chronically tight hamstrings -- a tendency that conventional stretching does not affect-- that pull the pelvis in the opposite direction and flatten my lumbat curve abnormally, giving rise to low back discomfort.
so, no, bones won't grow or break, but bone position within the body can and does change due to the force of muscles, tendons, etc.
So if I understand what you are saying, someone moving their wrist towards their head, causing their elbow to bend, will contract the bicept. And yes, that will make the bicep "peak" and appear shorter. They can drop their wrist to their waist which will contract the tricept, and allow the bicept to relax. If that's "lengthening" the bicep, then yes, all muscles do that by nature of their ability to contract.

What I'm saying is that the true length of the muscle, determined by it's connections to the skeletal system cannot be lengthened by any activity unless bone is broken. Exercise, stretching, whatever....cannot accomplish that. Further, the shape of the muscle is determined by genetics, and no excercise routine or stretching, or whatever is going to change that either. So, speaking of "lengthening" the muscle or "changing the shape of a muscle" in reference to an exercise program, stretching routine or late-night infomercial is misleading.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-06-2006, 11:18 PM   #46
Janet Rosen
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Re: Aikido & Pilates

paul, no, actually what i'm saying is that *chronically* tight or even deformed and contracted muscles (beyond my hamstrings, thinking of my friends w/ c.p. and about how folks w/ scoliosis respond to muscle and soft tissue manipulation) DO move bone w/out breaking it by slowly realigning joint staraucture and changing alignment of bone w/in body. the skeleton is NOT a fixed unchanging size and shape. bones can turn within the body without breaking, and relative position of bone end can move within body in response to trauma or to muscle pulling, so bone is NOT a fixed thing that defines muscle length any more than the earth is a single fixed solid circle.

Janet Rosen
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