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Old 08-15-2008, 04:22 PM   #1
Lorien Lowe
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speed: good question from kohai

Recently a kohai (one of those very serious martial arts students who asks lots of questions, and really cares about the answers) asked me, 'So, do you train at full speed all the time?'
My immediate answer, of course, was, "No," but it made me think for a couple of days about it. The full answer that I finally gave was that I spend probably 80% (+/- 10) of my time training at a jogging pace, 10-20% of my time training at a running pace, and maybe 2% or less at 'full speed' - say, sprinting speed, as fast as you can go - and that only during tests and/or when I or my partner are out of control.

How does this work out for you guys? I imagine that there are plenty of people (some in my own dojo) whose 'running' percentage is higher, but what do you consider 'full speed' and how much training do you do there?
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Old 08-16-2008, 05:03 AM   #2
Mark Uttech
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Onegaishimasu. I think that time slows us all down and directs us to intensely study "the first move". Some ki-enthusiasts like to study "before the first move". Some of us begin to study ourselves more and our partners less, and some of us, having spent some intensive time studying ourselves turn towards an exhaustive and intensive study of 'the other'. That's the best thing about the study of Aikido; there is no end to it.

In gassho,

Mark

- Right combination works wonders -
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:19 AM   #3
mathewjgano
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
Recently a kohai (one of those very serious martial arts students who asks lots of questions, and really cares about the answers) asked me, 'So, do you train at full speed all the time?'
When I do get to train these days, I'm usually training at a light jog though I'd often rather be walking. It might not be good for learning full speed timing, but I like the slower pace for delving deeply into how my mine and my partner's structures feel.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 08-16-2008, 12:25 PM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

I once heard that to be fast, train slow (most of the time). Get the form right and speed will come on its own (if we get out of the way).

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 08-16-2008, 03:44 PM   #5
enjaku
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

From the gun-fighting world:
slow=smooth: smooth=fast

enjaku
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Old 08-16-2008, 04:43 PM   #6
Will Prusner
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

I remember when I started playing around with nunchaku. At first, all I was concerned with was not hitting myself over the head or on the inside of the elbows or smahing my fingers. I went slowly and smoothly. After the movements started to feel natural, the speed increased exponentially on it's own, I really had no thought of "I have to do this faster", it just sort of happened. I would expect the same phenomenon with Aikido. Longer wait perhaps, due to the more subtle nature of aikido v. nunchaku.

Plus, when i'm swinging nunchaku, i don't have to worry about injuring the nunchaku, only myself. So the speed is a function of my own reckless abandon. When practicing aikido with a partner, i feel reluctant to go full speed for fear of injuring my training partner. For me, slow/smooth training with a healthy partner beats no training because of an unfortunate injury. A slow(safe) training partner on the mat is worth two fast ones in traction on the sidelines.

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration...

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Old 08-17-2008, 07:02 PM   #7
mathewjgano
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Eric Stewart wrote: View Post
From the gun-fighting world:
slow=smooth: smooth=fast

enjaku
That's very much my kind of thinking. I think of it as: slow leads to smooth; smooth leads to fast.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:04 PM   #8
ramenboy
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Eric Stewart wrote: View Post
From the gun-fighting world:
slow=smooth: smooth=fast

enjaku
i was gonna say that!!!
+1

slow is smooth, smooth is fast. no other way to put it.

also, i think you have to put speed into perspective. my 'fast' might not be your 'fast.' my 'slow' may not be your 'slow.'
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:48 AM   #9
Lorien Lowe
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

I agree with everything that has been written - practicing slowly is absolutely valid and important. Just, for curiosity, how much do you practice slow, and how much fast?
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Old 08-18-2008, 12:30 PM   #10
ramenboy
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
I agree with everything that has been written - practicing slowly is absolutely valid and important. Just, for curiosity, how much do you practice slow, and how much fast?
depends on who i practice with. if its with more advanced dojo mates, we go hard; i take the advice of my sempai...don't hold back if your partner can take the ukemi. if my partner is less experienced, then i won't 'go fast.'

if that hasn't answered your question, i think its because its hard for someone to say 'i practice 70% fast and 25% slow, and5% of the time, i'm sitting in seiza....'
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:20 PM   #11
Keith Larman
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

One thing I've come to think is that it isn't the speed that matters. To give an example is to compare the person speeding along the freeway, zigzagging through traffic. Jumping off the freeway at the first sign of slowness, then getting back on when it seems to be moving again. In the end they don't tend to get to their destination any faster, but they went faster at times and certainly did some rather stupid things.

This is really an echo of the markman's creed of slow is smooth, smooth is fast as already mentioned. Speed is a product of rigorously well done technique.

How many have come up to train with someone who is older, not in the best shape, but who still seems to be able to outmaneuver you? There is a good example of the idea. Efficiency of movement with a proper end result is only possible if the movements are perfect. The positioning perfect. The progression perfect. The better the waza the less extra "stuff" that is needed to pull things off.

Where do folk think the notion of "effortless" movement comes from? It isn't really effortless but it is all about efficiency and what is ultimately the expression of elegant form. And while they seem "fast" in some sense, they're not really moving all that fast. They're just not wasting any time with superfluous motion or extraneous movement. It just happens.

Of course you could just try to go faster. But what usually happens there with some is that the high speed is really there to mask poor technique. Some people who train this way try to close openings in their waza by going faster than someone else can exploit them. But that to me isn't a proper solution to the problem. Because if they can do it properly without the opening to begin with there is no necessity to speed it up. And if they do it with efficiency and elegance it is faster because less time is wasted.

So to me it is all about learning to do it well. Speed comes naturally when it is time to go fast. In other words, the ability to do things at "full speed" is really an expression of having internalized the basics so well that you simply can do it at full speed. So you can't teach speed -- it is a something that becomes possible as a result of proper, rigorous, focused training. You don't train for speed, you simply get good enough to be able to do it fast...

In training "full speed" is done to push at the limits of your waza. And when you bang into those limits you need to slow down and fix whatever caused you to bang into them in the first place. It isn't the speed that is the problem but the basics underlying all of your skills.

So how much? More now than 10 years ago. And I certainly enjoy training at full speed given where I'm at today in my training. But I don't see how one can really come up with any measure as things vary so much...

Just my $.02.

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Old 08-18-2008, 01:41 PM   #12
NagaBaba
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

I expect to see slow practice when you learn new techniques. But when you practice lets say 2 years, I'd rather see you practice full speed all basic techniques. Unfortunately, due to lack of competition, one can see very often, ppl in peak age with 10, 15 or 20 years of experience still practice slowly all techniques as if they are 95 years old.It is valid to both roles: nage and uke. Seems like everyone wants to become O sensei without too much physical commitment.
Such situation helps a lot to build many ilusions as we have proof oth that on Aikiweb forums..

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-18-2008, 01:56 PM   #13
Rev.K. Barrish
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note: it may be useful to consider that in training speed and intensity are not analogous….and the intensity and focus and awareness of connection present relate directly to the “aliveness” of the interaction and the presence of Aiki. Then it would follow that if you could accomplish waza in a manner imbued with life/Aiki slowly you could change speed/rhythm effortlessly and aite should be able to feel free to try to move at any speed or level of intensity following deai (1st instant of physical interaction/touch).

Thank you
Rev. Barrish
Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja
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Old 08-18-2008, 03:47 PM   #14
Michael Ghekiere
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

I agree with Keith's post above. Speaking for myself, I'm consumed these days with just trying to move as one body, rather than being led by my feet, or hands, or head, or chest, etc.

What makes it all the more frustrating is that I believe that one has to do something correct first on accident, before it can be done correct on purpose. Progress in aikido comes from experience, not observation...

So, to attempt to answer the initial question, these days, I'm probably 90% slow (meaning attempting to be correct), 8% seiza (watching, and trying to "steal" details from Sensei), and 2% fast (but most likely incorrect...)

- Mike

Randori - Wait, then move.
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Old 08-18-2008, 03:49 PM   #15
mathewjgano
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Lawrence Koichi Barrish wrote: View Post
Hi everyone,

Just a quick note: it may be useful to consider that in training speed and intensity are not analogous….and the intensity and focus and awareness of connection present relate directly to the “aliveness” of the interaction and the presence of Aiki. Then it would follow that if you could accomplish waza in a manner imbued with life/Aiki slowly you could change speed/rhythm effortlessly and aite should be able to feel free to try to move at any speed or level of intensity following deai (1st instant of physical interaction/touch).

Thank you
Rev. Barrish
Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja
Thank you sensei! Do you feel training to be quick (such as reflex drills) is itself useful or is quickness/responsiveness a product of training to be relaxed? ...Or maybe a better way of asking is, what do you think is needed to be quick enough to act meaningfully with an attack?
Take care,
Matthew

Last edited by mathewjgano : 08-18-2008 at 03:52 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:01 AM   #16
Lorien Lowe
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Sometimes going fast is good just for the joy of it. I know I'm not the only one who enjoys being tossed across the dojo once in a while. And going fast is a different way of testing oneself than simply examining a motion as one goes through it.

so far, the answers I've been getting make me think that the vast majority of us spend the vast majority of our time training at a walking or jogging pace. Again, not a bad thing: I include myself in that estimate, for all of the same reasons already described.

Last edited by Lorien Lowe : 08-19-2008 at 12:05 AM.
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Old 08-19-2008, 03:40 PM   #17
Ed OConnor
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

We're often reminded:

"You can practice slow or you can practice fast, just make sure it's not half-fast."

http://www.aikidocenters.com/
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Old 09-06-2008, 12:29 PM   #18
Abasan
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

I like the marksman creed... its interesting. but I don't understand the half fast one... try as I might.

Anyway, just like to chime in with my thoughts.

Train aikido at the speed uke gives you his attack... at least that's how I think we could achieve the blend. Any other speed means you're imposing on the movement. What do you think?

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 09-06-2008, 03:05 PM   #19
mathewjgano
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post
but I don't understand the half fast one... try as I might.
Half fast = half-assed

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 09-06-2008, 03:22 PM   #20
Shany
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

its the same when you practice guitar (for example to make fast riffs), you do it zillions of times slow, than pace it up, than slow again, the fingers will sore, they will stretch, they will bleed if have to lol until the brain finally makes up the neuro path connections and speed finally comes

A good stance and posture reflects a proper state of mind
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Old 09-06-2008, 05:59 PM   #21
lbb
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Eric Stewart wrote: View Post
From the gun-fighting world:
slow=smooth: smooth=fast

enjaku
That's funny, I learned that one in a Wilderness EMT class. It's what our instructor would say when we were flailing around trying to deal with some critical situation. It worked every time.
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Old 09-14-2008, 10:23 AM   #22
RoyK
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
Half fast = half-assed
I understood it as in, whatever speed you start with, keep the same pace throughout the technique.
I dislike being asked to attack slowly, and then suddenly being thrown fast.
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Old 09-14-2008, 10:06 PM   #23
Walter Martindale
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

Quote:
Roy Klein wrote: View Post
I understood it as in, whatever speed you start with, keep the same pace throughout the technique.
I dislike being asked to attack slowly, and then suddenly being thrown fast.
I dislike that, too - and - if you get part way through the ukemi (just before kime) the sensei pauses to make a point and then switches from slow demo to fast demo... Grrrr. ("Here, you want to get him stretched out like this where he's really light (as Walter manages to keep his 100 kg from falling when the movement stops, and teeters on the edge of falling) and then you finish off low and fast like THIS." (oops, gotta accelerate the 100 kg back up to speed for the big over-the-top ukemi for kotegaeshi)) Should be able to deal with it, but that's the wrist with the old injury to one of the carpals...

Speed... Full speed practice is important sometimes if only to learn that what's more important is timing and ma-ai.
W

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 09-14-2008 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:44 PM   #24
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

OODA loop is really where the answer is at. Speed is realitive to that. Speed is good when and where speed matters. Speed comes at a price/cost though.

Speed should be used to get us back ahead of the loop, but once there we need to balance things out so we stay ahead, but we use economy as well.

When we go fast, the propensity of making mistakes goes up, and efficiency. That is, we use more energy.

For most of us, we must practice in several ranges of speed. Very slow where we work on instilling the proper proprioceptions and muscle memory, medium speed, where we learn to move a little more quickly with those same proprioceptions and memories, and finally quickly and uncooperative with as close to natural responses and resistance as possible to ensure that we understand the dynamics of "reality".

As mentioned slow is smooth...smooth is fast.

We go slow at first to learn to do it smooth. As we get "smooth" down we can operate faster and faster.

With experience, we can operate "fast enough' to stay ahead of our opponents OODA loop and then we are effecting the situation vice having him affect it on you.

The problem I see in much training is that we many times we don't ever operate in the "alive" environment to "point of failure". We practice somewhere in the "middle zone".

Thus, when we are confronted with someone who is getting inside of our OODA loop, we panic and attempt to go faster to get inside his. If he is better, he stays slightly ahead in the process until we either "gas out", mentally quit, or make mistakes that cause the situation to be resolved in his favor.

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Old 09-15-2008, 07:02 PM   #25
Rennis Buchner
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Re: speed: good question from kohai

My sensei said this in an iai context but I think it applies to most things. First learn it slowly, smoothly and correctly until it is internalized. Next it should naturally work up to blindingly fast. As you progress, after you have reached "lightening fast" it will slow down again as you discover and begin to internalize proper timing and distancing. Finally in an ideal world it will become whatever is correct for that given situation.
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