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Old 08-10-2009, 09:51 AM   #1
Jon Haas
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Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

A question I have been thinking about since Dan's seminar last weekend is how do you integrate the Aiki solo conditioning exercises with other types of exercise, or do you? Now, I know Dan has gone on record multiple times here on Aikiweb stating that body-building type weight lifting does not mix with Aiki. No problem there. What about yoga or Systema conditioning work or suburi or kettlebell lifting? Can they successfully be incorporated into this type of training or will they have a negative effect on the goal of building Aiki in the body?

Thanks,

Jon Haas
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:06 AM   #2
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Dan lifts weights, does he not?

Ukemi can be a great solo practice. Calisthenics, yoga, Pilates, weapons kata.

Here's just a few exercise's from my site:

http://www.aikidostudent.com/content/?cat=11

Good luck with your training.

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Old 08-10-2009, 11:50 AM   #3
jss
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Well, wouldn't the first question be "If I'm training in Aiki skills, what other skills do I need to train besides that?" I mean, aren't these Aiki skills that big a deal that you have to rethink your whole training regimen?
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:19 PM   #4
MM
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Quote:
Jon Haas wrote: View Post
A question I have been thinking about since Dan's seminar last weekend is how do you integrate the Aiki solo conditioning exercises with other types of exercise, or do you? Now, I know Dan has gone on record multiple times here on Aikiweb stating that body-building type weight lifting does not mix with Aiki. No problem there. What about yoga or Systema conditioning work or suburi or kettlebell lifting? Can they successfully be incorporated into this type of training or will they have a negative effect on the goal of building Aiki in the body?

Thanks,

Jon Haas
Hi Jon,

For me, I found that just focusing on the fundamental exercises (both solo and paired) for at least 6 months was *the* best way to start. They really do work on identifying and working those pathways. Can someone incorporate working on aiki with yoga, Systema, kettlebell lifting, or other stuff? Sure.

I couldn't at the very beginning but everyone is different. You might be able to mix them with yoga, or whatever, just fine. I think Rob said he's doing some version of yoga, so maybe he'll chime in here.

But I'd stay away from anything that has as its main focus to develop specific muscle groups. Like using weights to build biceps.

And while I wouldn't recommend any of the exercises that Chris posted, I might alter the wrist stretch one to fit what you're working on. Instead of focusing on "stretching" the joints, work on your intent going outwards such that when you twist the joint, you encounter that outward intent along with your whole body being at that joint. ack. Hard to describe.
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:05 PM   #5
rob_liberti
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Integrating solo work into my practice:
1 - I initially changed my "before" and "after" class workouts to be the solo exercises.

2 - Next, I focused on looking for my solo work in the aikido warm up exercises, then I favored techniques that my solo practice seemed to fit into the best. Basically more training my mind to start adjusting slowly.

3 - Then, I realized that since I am a teacher of several teachers, I can let those others teach, and I can take class and work on doing things in a different way - where no one was planning on correcting me (for not doing the technique exactly like what was shown) at least once per week.

4 - Lately, I am continuing to work on this stuff as close to all day long as possible, so when I am in class it is no different integrating than it is when I am sitting at my chair at work, except that martial application is the most difficult.

I know fairly effective external methods to do things, so having to give that up has been terrible!

I think you have to have the courage to back off of the things you know so well, and spend a good amount of time with the new way on at least 1 thing you can sink you teeth in. For me, that was developing what I refer to as the super punch. I really like my striking now. I can drive almost all techniques from that kind of trusting, so it has been working out very well for me so far.

As far as ancillary practices, I'm a big fan of AIS because it helps with getting your body issues out of the way, and works with intent - so it kind of supports the solo work in both ways.

Yoga is awesome. It is not as good for stretching as AIS if you ask me, but it is awesome. I'm a big fan of para yoga for people with healthy bodies into this kind of solo work, and a big fan of forrest yoga for people with body (specifically core) issues. I'm sure others are fine too, I'm just telling you what I have found to be helpful so far.

I'm not a big fan of kettlebells personally. Use bodies as resistance, I say.

Rob

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:30 PM   #6
rob_liberti
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

One thing that I should also say is that sometimes I got my mental focus so into my own body in terms of correcting structure that I had completely lost any amount of intent eminating out of me. That is a gotcha, so be on the look out to avoid that.

Rob

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:32 PM   #7
Jon Haas
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Hi Mark,

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
But I'd stay away from anything that has as its main focus to develop specific muscle groups. Like using weights to build biceps.
Agreed. The type of weighted exercises I am referring to are full-body exercises, like a kettlebell snatch, c&j, or turkish get-up, for example. I have always tried to stay away from the isolation exercises that focus on specific muscle groups.

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
And while I wouldn't recommend any of the exercises that Chris posted, I might alter the wrist stretch one to fit what you're working on. Instead of focusing on "stretching" the joints, work on your intent going outwards such that when you twist the joint, you encounter that outward intent along with your whole body being at that joint. ack. Hard to describe.
I remember what you are talking about here. You explained it to me at the seminar after I failed to put a wrist lock on you!
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:34 PM   #8
Jon Haas
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Thanks Rob! I've never heard of para yoga, but I will look it up. I'm a big fan of Ashtanga, but I am always willing to learn more.

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
As far as ancillary practices, I'm a big fan of AIS because it helps with getting your body issues out of the way, and works with intent - so it kind of supports the solo work in both ways.

Yoga is awesome. It is not as good for stretching as AIS if you ask me, but it is awesome. I'm a big fan of para yoga for people with healthy bodies into this kind of solo work, and a big fan of forrest yoga for people with body (specifically core) issues. I'm sure others are fine too, I'm just telling you what I have found to be helpful so far.

I'm not a big fan of kettlebells personally. Use bodies as resistance, I say.

Rob
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Old 08-10-2009, 01:48 PM   #9
rob_liberti
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

I'm actually looking to do a 1 day seminar in Boston (tentative date September 19th) about beginning Internal Martial Arts for yoga people (non-yoga people are welcome and all, but I wanted to talk about the stuff we are doing in a bit more of a yoga language). So far, of all the people I have helped get started with this stuff, the yoga folks have consistently excelled. The wrestlers are always good too, but I end up spending a lot of time teaching them how to stretch so they can get started.

Rob

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:20 PM   #10
DH
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

I'll write something a little later, but thought I'd chime in that the AIS (Activated Isolated Stretching) is very good stuff. .
This is not Internal training but it sure helps to loosen up the body and I think aid in working through stuck areas due to injuries and such. I was impressed. Also that we kiddingly have started to call him Dr. Rob -in that he has a very good "listening" hand. In three sessions he did what my chiropractor brother and two massage therapist could not do in breaking up an re-aligning a repetitive injury situation that I have occasionally had for years.
Interesting idea to approach it from that end Rob. Since you are working on some people here I intend to track it for learning curve.
Cheers
Dan
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:56 PM   #11
rob_liberti
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Dr. Dimento was taken...

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:14 PM   #12
Ron Tisdale
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

I used to listen to Dr. D. on WXPN and WRTI back in high school. 11 pm...nothing like falling asleep listening to Dr. D...

B,
R

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 08-10-2009, 03:43 PM   #13
Sasan Parwar
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Fish heads fish heads roly poly fishheads....

Santa got run over by a Reindeer...

Dr D is a true blast from the past.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:25 PM   #14
Jon Haas
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I'll write something a little later,
Looking forward to it, Dan. Thanks!

Jon
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:50 PM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Quote:
Rob Liberti wrote: View Post
One thing that I should also say is that sometimes I got my mental focus so into my own body in terms of correcting structure that I had completely lost any amount of intent eminating out of me. That is a gotcha, so be on the look out to avoid that.
Nice to know more advanced folks than me have that breakdown sometimes :-)

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:08 PM   #16
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

What is Activated Isolated Stretching? How does it differ from what would be considered a typical post-warmup, pre-workout stretch?
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:52 PM   #17
rob_liberti
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

http://www.stretchingusa.com/aboutAIS.cfm
I'm starting to think that I should get some advertising dollars from Aaron Mattes. But, then again, he changed the quality of my life, so I'm happy to send him business. -Rob

old mcdojo had a form, aiki aiki do...
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:55 PM   #18
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Thanks for that link. I'll make sure he sends you a bonus check if I sign up.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:24 AM   #19
Budd
 
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

This isn't really saying anything new . . but in terms of what exercises you do - it's much less important than "how" you do them. I think for those just getting introduced to "this stuff", really try to hold onto the feelings you had that were new and different and you were directed towards . . then *any* exercise you do needs to lead back in that direction - hopefully waking up other bits that lead to further exploration. The important thing being you have a clear intent of what you're working for and trying to condition, so that you can pay close attention to avoiding exercising/flexing the bits that you don't.

This is in stark contrast to repeating an exercise again and again, even if you make each one feel like the only one . . and waiting until you "get it". You have to been shown explicitly what to go for, initially, then go from there, work the hell out of it . . get checked again, fix bad stuff, rinse, repeat . .

And I'll repeat again *what* exercise is almost beside the point as it's more important to focus on *what* the emphasis should be and *what* results you should expect. It's conditioning work, counter-intuitive in some ways and takes a lot of time and effort. For those just getting the foot in the door, I'd recommend picking a couple exercises that properly stretch and strengthen the connections on the inside and get you started managing very light external forces vis a viz those connections.

If you've been shown them, work them again and again, critique the hell out of yourself. Pay close attention to *what* is being trained, conditioned, strengthened. E.g. if it's local muscles in the arms and shoulder - not so good. If it's gross muscles in the legs and lower back . . better. Get with a partner and work to help each other and minimize each other's delusions and competitiveness (especially to start - in terms of fighting each other - help instead).

Anyways, my two cents spread over a pile of penny pennies . .
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:21 AM   #20
MM
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Quote:
Jon Haas wrote: View Post
Hi Mark,
Agreed. The type of weighted exercises I am referring to are full-body exercises, like a kettlebell snatch, c&j, or turkish get-up, for example. I have always tried to stay away from the isolation exercises that focus on specific muscle groups.
Most of what I've seen for exercises using kettlebell snatch, turkish get-up, etc are not building what I'd call internal strength. Or even whole body strength.

There's always some weight involved when using kettlebells. Think about the seminar and how much, or how little, it took to destabilize your structure when working on those exercises. Think about how the weight of a kettlebell will overload your system and cause you to kick in muscle to compensate.

It's just my opinion, but when first starting out, I think any kind of working with weights are not good.

One, if you're working exercises that you've done for years, you're just going to slip into those old habits which aren't building the internal strength we do.

Second, when you're initially identifying pathways, building those pathways, and strengthening them; weights are going to engage localized muscle groups and invalidate the internal strength work.

Third, these exercises are working to rewire and rebuild your body. They are very different than most and you have to get used to them, used to what they are working internally, before integrating them with other exercises. Otherwise, it's too easy to lose sight of what you're really trying to build for internal strength.

For instance, when you lift the kettlebell, is your whole upper body tightening up? Your bicep can be somewhat relaxed, but that doesn't mean other parts of your body aren't tightening. Your body will automatically rely upon old habits, without you even noticing. The internal strength exercises are there to undo all that and rewire your body to use a different kind of strength.

I always say everyone is different, so you might be able to adjust and work within those exercises. My opinion, though, is to keep to the exercises for at least 6 months before deviating from them at all. Then, check your progress and go from there.

Can you use "kettlebell snatch, c&j, or turkish get-up," etc? Sure. The more important question would be, Is it wise to use them at this stage in your training?
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:49 AM   #21
DH
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

I would stop everything but cardio for a while. There is a period where your body needs to "reset." I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer so for me-I needed to avoid every device where my body would revert back to just doing what it knew. That included power lifting, Judo/jujutsu, everything. I wasn't kidding about this training changing your body physically. It is conditioning; mentally and physically, but it is very soft, meant to not be physically exhausting, by rather mentally exhausting. Remember all the cautions I gave about sitting down if you were tired and stopping? Why? Because we need your mind at its peak and your body aware and listening. It's a soft, gradual process. "Burning it in" with hard exercises will just screw it up, so will doing it fast. All that comes later.

Self correction, proprioception, and the natural feedback loop
I am sure you remember all the many physical corrections being made on a host of people there; from single-side weighted, to hip prowing and flexation issues, to the use of shoulder and muscle, on to side to side sway in movement and overall general body slack. Those external anomalies-manifested from poor internal connection and training- plague the martial arts. They are not going to be fixed overnight. This training is intense and will NOT offer immediate relief. That's why most quit. They don't have the mental fortitude.
To be perfectly honest everyone I know and have taught (without exception) keeps doing the "same o'l" "same o'l" familiar habits even up to a couple of years into this. Of course it lessons and eventually goes away, but the body is a great deceiver of itself. I always make jokes that it's easy for me to make an agreement with you (while pointing to your head) the problem is that he just won't listen (pointing to your chest).
This is my great argument with the proprioception crowd. To me, it's just another buzz word someone caught on to and wants to use. To make my point I feel them, make notes, then stop and say
"Okay, lets define it."
Proprioception: The unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation arising from stimuli within the body itself.
Now lets discuss what you know and to do with your own body I just tested and you failed at....
"Ah I see. Let's not ask YOU again shall we?"

You can listen to your body all the day long when you start training this way; most everything you are getting as proprioceptive feedback that is familiar to you is wrong. It's why standing-though an excellent exercise- can be so slow a process of discovery. We alter that with forcing postures and force-feeding lines by hands on manipulation in a very intimate way.
As many will tell you I put them into positions or let them stand in familiar stances and I challenge them to "find" their centered weight. A few times I told them while rolling my eyes- "I'll go get a beer and a sandwich." There is almost no chance for them to find it. Then when I put them in the proper stance-many of them for the first time in their lives- what did they all say? "This feels wrong, weak, and unnatural."
So much for proprioception in the beginning.
a) just as kata can sometimes build connection from the outside in, but be a "catch as catch can" and slow learning device
b) so is standing and solo work as a "catch as catch can" and slow learning device.

There is a better way, and that is to have someone push the lines into you and have hands-on (hands all over) you to move those lines in, through, and around inside you; even to extend lines of intent "outside" of you, until you are moving energy and leading your body on your own.
If you recall most could not "find" anything much at all, and their bodies at that point were receiving load in such odd and tense ways that they literally could not "get out of their own way." Then, you probably felt or heard of people who were receiving force and failing and when I touched them and moved lines within them with my own hands- their power built? It is a process of identification from outside-in then, inside-out. Left to their own devices how much of a learning curve do you think is ahead for each one of them to find it / lose it, find it, fix it/ lose it again? There is a faster and better way if you have some hands on help.
For the above reasons I would simply not trust yourself to go do things you are "used to doing"-though that is EXACTLY what most, if not all, are going to do.
If you're going to try something different….why not try something "different" and give your body a chance to embrace it and see what it can make of it.

Were I you, I would be doing the solo exercises you were shown to build intent and connection and then; beg, borrow, or pay someone to work with you and push on you, and do more solo exercises. Then I'd get back here as often as I could for an all day tune up. That's just one long Saturday for you and all it costs you is gas and tolls. My door is open for you now.
Cheers
Dan

Last edited by DH : 08-11-2009 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:57 AM   #22
Jon Haas
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Mark,

Thank you for such an excellent reply.

Since Dan's seminar last weekend, I have been diligently working every day on all the solo conditioning exercises we learned. The only other work I have incorporated is joint mobility beforehand to loosen up. Other than that, all my previous exercise routines have been suspended indefinitely. My goal is to burn this stuff in and *then* be able to build my fighting style back in on top of it. The reason I asked the question was simply that I did not know and wanted to hear the opinions of people farther along the path than I. This is good information and helps to reinforce that I made the correct decision!

Jon

Quote:
Mark Murray wrote: View Post
Most of what I've seen for exercises using kettlebell snatch, turkish get-up, etc are not building what I'd call internal strength. Or even whole body strength.

There's always some weight involved when using kettlebells. Think about the seminar and how much, or how little, it took to destabilize your structure when working on those exercises. Think about how the weight of a kettlebell will overload your system and cause you to kick in muscle to compensate.

It's just my opinion, but when first starting out, I think any kind of working with weights are not good.

One, if you're working exercises that you've done for years, you're just going to slip into those old habits which aren't building the internal strength we do.

Second, when you're initially identifying pathways, building those pathways, and strengthening them; weights are going to engage localized muscle groups and invalidate the internal strength work.

Third, these exercises are working to rewire and rebuild your body. They are very different than most and you have to get used to them, used to what they are working internally, before integrating them with other exercises. Otherwise, it's too easy to lose sight of what you're really trying to build for internal strength.

For instance, when you lift the kettlebell, is your whole upper body tightening up? Your bicep can be somewhat relaxed, but that doesn't mean other parts of your body aren't tightening. Your body will automatically rely upon old habits, without you even noticing. The internal strength exercises are there to undo all that and rewire your body to use a different kind of strength.

I always say everyone is different, so you might be able to adjust and work within those exercises. My opinion, though, is to keep to the exercises for at least 6 months before deviating from them at all. Then, check your progress and go from there.

Can you use "kettlebell snatch, c&j, or turkish get-up," etc? Sure. The more important question would be, Is it wise to use them at this stage in your training?
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:21 AM   #23
Jon Haas
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Hi Dan,

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
Were I you, I would be doing the solo exercises you were shown to build intent and connection and then; beg, borrow, or pay someone to work with you and push on you, and do more solo exercises. Then I'd get back here as often as I could for an all day tune up. That's just one long Saturday for you and all it costs you is gas and tolls. My door is open for you now.
Cheers
Dan
Thank you! This is exactly what I intend to do. I have been diligently working the solo exercises on a daily basis and am working with Rob to try and get him down to NJ for a day to help me and some of my guys who also want to train this stuff. And I'm working with my wife (does begging count as "working with"???) to try and schedule a Saturday to come back up and train with you.

Thanks,

Jon
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:19 AM   #24
Josh Lerner
 
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Quote:
Jon Haas wrote: View Post
And I'm working with my wife (does begging count as "working with"???)
Oh, Jon. Take the advice of those of us who have gone down that dark, forbidding alley - find more friends to push on you and leave the wife out of it. This is going to be another relationship severely tested by The Quest For The Eternal Internal Strengthz. Consider yourself very lucky if you escape with just some eye-rolling, audible sighing and "What, push on you again? For that weird stuff you're doing? For how long? . . . That was longer than a few seconds!"

Josh
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:29 PM   #25
DH
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Re: Solo Aiki Conditioning and Other Exercise

Quote:
Jon Haas wrote: View Post
Hi Dan,
Thank you! This is exactly what I intend to do. I have been diligently working the solo exercises on a daily basis and am working with Rob to try and get him down to NJ for a day to help me and some of my guys who also want to train this stuff. And I'm working with my wife (does begging count as "working with"???) to try and schedule a Saturday to come back up and train with you.
Thanks,
Jon
Hello Jon
I'm glad to see that others are going to be getting together, that means my assessment of the situation and the over all plan to approach teachers is working.

Exercises are required of course but there is so much that are add-ons in our overall approach;
Fixing stances, once-side weightedness, carrying your weight from the center then strengthening movement and support, loosening of the waist/hips, how to tie the limbs together with the body/ center and legs to stop locks and throws. How to use the frame in weapons work -all kinds of weapons work. Weapons are a whole different subject that many people researching this stuff don't fully understand nor have a good handle on. I think in many of the discussions on-line people are over reaching between their opinions and views their real abilities in person.
Over time we can show you how we tie it together in a series of body training exercises and forms that resolves a host of issues that are absolutely essential for aikido- that I have yet to see anyone in aikido do well.
And it just so happens that it works in msany other things. As you saw first hand; from MMA, to karate, to CMA, and judo.
So we were hoping for just what you guys are discussing; repeat visits and group support.
Good on you.
Hope to see you soon
Cheers
Dan
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