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Old 03-02-2008, 12:30 AM   #1
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Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

AikiWeb Poll for the week of March 2, 2008:

Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?
  • I don't do aikido
  • Yes
  • No
Here are the current results.

Cast your vote at the top right of this page.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:41 AM   #2
Amir Krause
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

This question reminds me of a specific occurence in my past. After practicing Korindo for over 10yrs, I added TKD for a while. The TKD teacher was a great guy and very "S.D." oriented.

The occuasion I recall was one in which he asked us to play a slapping game, while each person holds the same hand of his partner. I Utilized my Aikido advantage and got into a controling situation time after time, lightly slapping the other person almost at will and evading his attacks. He lost his temper and started loosing it and getting wild. I mostly kept my advantage and continued the same, while asking him to loose the strenght and keep the game light. Then one strong slap of his passed through my light defense and hit my eye. I got angry, brought him to a an indefensible situation, with his both hands immobilized by my one hand, and his back turned to me and then I kept slapping him while yelling at him "stay calm" and "only light slapping is in this game" and "keep yourself under control" ...
The TKD techer stopped us shortly and asked me why did I think the other guy had a chance to hear me out, when he was under such an attack, or did I loose my temper too?

My answer would ahve to be that the manner of telling is most important. Just saying relax is not effective in most excited situations, but more sophisticated means such as "think of XYZ" (your breathing, his breathing, the sea waves, the wind, ...) might distract a person into relazation.

Amir
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Old 03-02-2008, 02:57 PM   #3
SeiserL
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

In the short-term, no, it frustrated me because I thought I was relaxed.

In the long-run, yes, because they could feel the tension, I could not, and as a result of their kind feedback, I was able to perhaps relax a little more.

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 03-02-2008, 05:41 PM   #4
reisler
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

absolutely yes!!
I need to be reminded to relax quite often and it makes a huge difference. I often don't realize how tense I am.

Roberta
Aikido - a kinder, gentler can o' Whoop Ass.
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Old 03-02-2008, 06:18 PM   #5
DCP
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

"But I'm relaxing as hard as I can . . ."

-My Sempai, Kay

A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.
- Aesop
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Old 03-02-2008, 08:33 PM   #6
Aiki1
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

I never use the word relax, but I can show someone how to Release properly (hmmm) fairly easily and quickly.

Larry Novick
Head Instructor
ACE Aikido
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:10 PM   #7
tarik
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

It's not specific enough.

Tarik Ghbeish
MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:52 AM   #8
Dieter Haffner
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

Quote:
Larry Novick wrote: View Post
I never use the word relax, ...
Me neither. I say 'Ontspan u'.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:45 AM   #9
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

You Belgians are so polite...

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:51 AM   #10
eyrie
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

For some weird reason, the brain doesn't register the word... so telling someone to relax only makes them more tense.

"Softer" or "gently" seems to work better.

Ignatius
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Old 03-03-2008, 04:02 AM   #11
Dieter Haffner
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
For some weird reason, the brain doesn't register the word... so telling someone to relax only makes them more tense.
Maybe you should say 'Ontspan u'.
They will probably look at you with a strange face, wondering what the hell you just said.
This will get their mind of whatever they are struggling with.
Hence, they will be relaxed.


Now, does anyone have a suggesting what word I can use, because 'Ontspan u' will give the same result as if I would say to just relax.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:06 AM   #12
phitruong
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

No. my sensei told me to relax all the time, but i wasn't. took awhile to realize the reason. used to train in karate which taught you to "tense at moment of impact and relax all other times". took a long time to de-program my body responses with the tense at moment of impact.

attended a systema workshop recently. they (systema folks) have lots of interesting drills which teach you to relax when dealing directed force. you can't tell folks to relax, but you can teach them how to relax. Hooker sensei once said "teach the mind through the body" then later you can "teach the body through the mind" (hopefully, sensei would forgive me from mangling his quote).
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:30 PM   #13
JAMJTX
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

Just telling someont to relax does no good at all.
Usually the problem is that people either don't know how to relax, they just can't. Some people say "I am relaxed", meaning they are are not as tense and stiff as they were when they left the office before heading over to class.

Instruction should include exercises to promote relaxation.

Jim Mc Coy
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:04 PM   #14
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

Relax, like water flowing over rocks. That is my favorite

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Old 03-03-2008, 08:15 PM   #15
Chris Parkerson
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

A light gentle touch to the tense area, assisted with breath support can assist your partner in relaxing a specific area.

Do this in the sequence of muscles you want your partner to learn and it can work wonders.
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:30 AM   #16
Esaemann
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
In the long-run, yes, because they could feel the tension, I could not, and as a result of their kind feedback, I was able to perhaps relax a little more.
Lynn Sensei,

I was told awhile ago (in push hands practice), and now feel, that when I feel tension in another person its usually my own ... or I would at least respond with my own tension. Although, if someone else felt my tension, its also probably mine.

Eric
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Old 03-04-2008, 03:07 PM   #17
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

Usually, when someone tells me to relax, I respond with a terse: "I *AM* relaxed!" Doesn't work for me.

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 03-05-2008, 09:33 PM   #18
wideawakedreamer
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

I voted yes, but that doesn't mean that it's enough to just say "relax" and expect a beginner to actually do it. It can help, but it's not enough. A beginner should be shown, as well as told, to relax.

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Old 03-06-2008, 03:23 PM   #19
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Doable

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
For some weird reason, the brain doesn't register the word... so telling someone to relax only makes them more tense.
"Softer" or "gently" seems to work better.
That's very interesting. I have to remember to try it at next class I teach - some other word... which will have to be in Swedish, though.

It probably needs to be positive instead of negative: "Relax" is like telling people not to use their muscles at all, which is impossible, whereas "softer" and "gently" indicate a certain way of using one's muscles, which is doable.

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
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Old 03-07-2008, 03:33 PM   #20
Jennifer Yabut
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

Quote:
Rafael Ayala wrote: View Post
I voted yes, but that doesn't mean that it's enough to just say "relax" and expect a beginner to actually do it. It can help, but it's not enough. A beginner should be shown, as well as told, to relax.
Exactly. When I first started Aikido, every other blackbelt kept telling me to "relax". One had this annoying habit of stopping me mid-technique and shaking my arms until I allowed them to hang limply. *That* didn't help either, because how am I supposed to do *anything* if I'm limper than a noodle? Isn't that called "flopping"?

I *think* I've been doing better with the whole "relaxing" thing, or at least I'm becoming more aware of students who *aren't* relaxed. Maybe this is something which can be more readily seen by an *outsider* as opposed to self. During a recent seminar, one of the instructors kept telling me to "Relax!" every time she walked by me. She stopped me at one point to briefly massage my shoulders with a stern, "You need to RELAX!" I don't know if that helped or not, though one of my friends back at my home dojo said to me, "See...it's *not* just us telling you to relax!"

I guess this is one of those those that'll take me a while to figure out.

"The ultimate aim of martial arts is not having to use them." - Miyamoto Musashi
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:47 PM   #21
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

I voted yes.... because ultimately it does help ME out in my techniqes. Sometimes that help is immediate and other times I have to really figure it out and get over what ever stress/reaction/tension that is bubbling subsurface.

I have found that sometimes it does not serve for me to tell others to relax. Sometimes the other person is not receptive, sometimes I'm misunderstanding the "pressure" other times I may be the one who needs to relax.

This touches on my most recent stumper-of-a-thinking-exercise..... We are doing paired practice. If I get a limp attack I have little force to redirect. If I give a limp attack the nage has the same problem. Often I tend to resort to muscling through the technique. But the reverse isn't always better. Overly stong or tense movements can get one or both of us hurt. I understand that the key is BALANCE... its the learning where I can achieve it that's been evading me lately
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Old 03-08-2008, 09:53 PM   #22
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

I love- GENTLY.
Relax makes me more tense!

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Old 03-08-2008, 10:46 PM   #23
eyrie
 
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Re: Doable

@dieter - "Ontspan u" (how do u pronounce that?) - is that Belgian for "relax... harder"?

@stefan - np. you Swedes are sooooo relaxed as it is... So... how do you say "softer" or "more gently" in Swedish? (For next time when I meet nice Swedish girl...)

Ignatius
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:57 AM   #24
Stefan Stenudd
 
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Re: Doable

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote: View Post
So... how do you say "softer" or "more gently" in Swedish? (For next time when I meet nice Swedish girl...)
It is so tempting to lead you far astray, now.... Would you trust me enough to try the words?

"Softer" is "mjukare" and "gently" is "varsamt".
Trust me

Stefan Stenudd
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Old 03-09-2008, 04:45 AM   #25
eyrie
 
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Re: Poll: Do you think telling someone to "relax" is helpful in aikido training?

Well, if I get a slap... I know where you live...

So how do I pronounce that? Moo-joo-car-ree? Var-some-t?

[edit]Varsamt = caution... yeah... that'll get me a strange look. Mjukade/mjukarupp = soften... hmmm... not quite the same intent as blid or hey! even better... mjuka läppar [/edit]

Last edited by eyrie : 03-09-2008 at 04:56 AM.

Ignatius
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