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Old 07-24-2009, 08:30 AM   #1
sunrod
Dojo: Reading Zenshin Aikido Club
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Becoming a living katana

I've written a couple of articles & I'd be interested to hear what people think.

The first one illustrates the importance of accurate hanmi:
http://www.aikido-reading.co.uk/Jase...ing-katana.php

& the second one offers hints & tips for beginners:
http://www.aikido-reading.co.uk/Jase...-beginners.php

Cheers
J.
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Old 07-24-2009, 09:25 AM   #2
Janet Rosen
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Re: Becoming a living katana

"
You write: "Athletes stretch to enable their body to perform properly. If you're going to participate in a physical activity like aikido, I'd advise you to stretch. By taking the time to stretch, not only will you become more supple & less prone to injury but you will also gain a better understanding of your body. You'll have a better understanding of your posture, where you hold tension & how the parts of your body are connected."

Stretching before activity has never been shown in any study to have a positive affect on performance. Stretching cold muscles, prior to warming up, *might* predispose to microtears and eventually pulls. It is only stretching after activity that is now recommended by most sports coaches.

However, in aikido dojos, the terms "warm up" and "stretch" are used synonomously. The exercises usually done are a combination of range of motion activities, in which muscle groups are moved through their full normal range of movement, and actual stretching. A real warmup, which is a very beneficial thing, will get the body moving and the muscles warmed and will include large movements and range of motion.

Janet Rosen
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"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-24-2009, 10:15 AM   #3
C. David Henderson
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Re: Becoming a living katana

All this is both true and a good point. I'm not sure if Jason was in fact advocating the usual "stretch-at-the-beginning-of-class" regimen, though.

I noted this language immediately following the statement already quoted:

"Taking time to learn your own body outside the dojo where you can study yourself at your own pace, while you're relaxed & 'still will be a big help when it comes to adding movement or another body into the mix."

So, I took him as advocating stretching as a part of solo practice (to be preceded, ideally, by a warm up (?)).

I think this is also good advice, myself.

Regards,

cdh
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:11 AM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: Becoming a living katana

David, you are right. I just felt that the nonspecificity of the advice could be easily interpreted as the "standard" which is IMO unhealthy.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:36 AM   #5
lbb
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Yeah, what Janet said. The practice of stretching while cold is ubiquitous, and I think that's what most people will think you mean if you talk about "stretching".

I have a sempai who likes to warm up class with four or five easy runthroughs of the 31 jo kata. It's a great way to warm up.
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Old 07-25-2009, 02:10 AM   #6
Dusko Bojic
 
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Quote:
Stretching before activity has never been shown in any study to have a positive affect on performance. Stretching cold muscles, prior to warming up, *might* predispose to microtears and eventually pulls. It is only stretching after activity that is now recommended by most sports coaches.
This was very helpful, thank you. I was actually going to start a new thread about it but then I found this one.

"Accepting what Is. You don't try to change it. You don't run from it and you don't try to fight with it. You just accept it and embrace it."Aikido
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:42 AM   #7
sunrod
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Hi all. Thanks for the feedback.

I am actually talking about including stretching as part of an overall training regime.

I'll look at editing the piece to clarify this.

J.
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:57 AM   #8
Suru
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Re: Becoming a living katana

The katana is a deadly weapon made to slice, pierce or both, and to kill. This "becoming a living katana" must be studied, thought through, and fully comprehended as the delicate metaphor it is. If I became a living blob of C4 plastic explosives, sure I could enter and submit the attacker, but at what cost?

Drew
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:56 AM   #9
Abasan
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Re: Becoming a living katana

What a wonderful piece of work. I think it'll help a lot of people to understand or start to understand kihon in Aikido.

Also, this is the 2nd time I heard someone say there is only push in Aikido ... "Most of the time in aikido we push. There's very little pulling. We generally get our body in a position where we can drive with our hips transmitting this power through our arms."

If I remember correctly, Osensei says there is no pull or push in Aikido. I suppose that doesn't leave much room for us to move but I then we always have circular movement, leading, awase, connection, irimi and etc.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:28 AM   #10
Suru
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Re: Becoming a living katana

By "no pull or push," O'Sensei might have meant not to force anything. Ideally, nage flows smoothly with uke; nage moves with no resistance.

Drew
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:41 AM   #11
rob_liberti
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
By "no pull or push," O'Sensei might have meant not to force anything.
I don't think that does more than scratch the surface. I also sincerely doubt he would drive with the hips. -Rob
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Old 07-27-2009, 08:18 PM   #12
Abasan
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Re: Becoming a living katana

I agree with Rob. But maybe its a question of terminology and how we understand what push or pull means.

By mine, it means an action that causes unnecessary 'force' onto uke to make him compliant. As opposed to just leading uke's energy.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:30 AM   #13
dps
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Quote:
Ahmad Abas wrote: View Post

If I remember correctly, Osensei says there is no pull or push in Aikido. I suppose that doesn't leave much room for us to move but I then we always have circular movement, leading, awase, connection, irimi and etc.
" instead the principle is "ENTER when pulled, and TURN when pushed."

from the book, Aikido. Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Hozansha Publications. 1985.

David
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:02 AM   #14
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Personally, in spite of the source, I think that also just scratches the surface as well. But it is a good starting place...IF you maintain your structure while doing it. IF you have a structure to maintain, that is...

Best,
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 07-28-2009, 10:02 AM   #15
phitruong
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
" instead the principle is "ENTER when pulled, and TURN when pushed."

David
Why? why not stay where you are and make uke goes somewhere else regardless if uke pushes or pulls.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:46 AM   #16
Suru
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
" instead the principle is "ENTER when pulled, and TURN when pushed."

from the book, Aikido. Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Hozansha Publications. 1985.

David
This makes much sense to me, even with such a simple example of uke grabbing katate-dori and pushing inward to close the gap. Then nage "tenkans." How in the world have I missed this book? I must purchase it soon. The year sounds familiar though, are you talking about "The Spirit of Aikido" by Ueshiba K.?
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:04 PM   #17
dps
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Quote:
Drew Gardner wrote: View Post
This makes much sense to me, even with such a simple example of uke grabbing katate-dori and pushing inward to close the gap. Then nage "tenkans." How in the world have I missed this book? I must purchase it soon. The year sounds familiar though, are you talking about "The Spirit of Aikido" by Ueshiba K.?
http://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-Ja...0406299#reader

Another good book, Aikido & The Dynamic Sphere by A. Westbrook & O. Ratti

http://www.amazon.com/Aikido-Dynamic.../dp/0804800049

David

Last edited by dps : 07-28-2009 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:23 PM   #18
CitoMaramba
 
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Re: Becoming a living katana


This is a great book. Highly recommended.
My Sensei has a first printing of this book (signed by the Nidai Doshu himself) which was published before the split with Tohei Sensei. I opened it one day and discovered that a lot of the pictures that showed Chiba Sensei in the 1985 edition originally showed Tohei Sensei in the first edition.

Inocencio Maramba, MD, MSc
Dangayan Singkaw Aikido Shinzui
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:27 PM   #19
Suru
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Thanks for the link. The cover does look remotely familiar. I'm glad it had the "look inside" option, and I am not going to buy it. Detailed descriptions of technique don't help me all that much for some reason, so I lean toward the spiritual and philosophical texts.

Drew
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:59 PM   #20
Abasan
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Re: Becoming a living katana

Personally I would recommend Osensei's Secret of Aikido for your reading. Its not about techniques, but the philosophy behind Aikido's spirituality and its undertaking.

There is no push or pull when you are one with your opponent by the way.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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