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Old 07-03-2012, 09:20 AM   #1
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
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094) My Damn Shoulders Messing Up My Aikido?.. July 2012

How many of us have been struggling with improper movement of our shoulders, which mucks up our Aikido?  This area has been an intense focus for me as I have been learning to improve my Aikido by allowing my shoulders to function properly.  The shoulder joint is a ball joint.  The head of the humerus bone rests inside of the Glenoid cavity of our Scapulua.  The ball joint can rotate inside of this cavity, allowing the arm to have a large range of motion.  Additionally, the Clavicle and ribs allow the scapula a range of movement, further enhancing the range of arm movement.
When we are relaxed, arm and shoulder movements, can provide us with a better understanding of how our arms and shoulders can move in a variety of ways.  It never ceases to amaze me how we can mess this movement up as soon as we experience incoming force from another person or object.  We quickly find ourselves either locking our shoulders into our bodies, or placing our shoulders in positions that essentially isolate the arms from whole body movement.
If someone is grabbing us, it is so common to tighten our Trapezuis and Pectoralis muscle, so that our shoulder lifts up and away from our body, reducing our ability to allow the arm to rotate upwards.  If you think about, we can easily understand and feel our Romboid, Deltoid and Latissimus Dorsi muscle enabling the ball of the humerus to roll down the backside of the body, which causes the humerus to rise in front of us (simply put, raising our arms).  Those same muscles can cause the ball of the humerus to roll down the front side of the body, which allows the humerus to be lowered (simply put, lowering our arms).  The same dynamics are involved when we want to raise and lower our arms at the side of our bodies.
Another important aspect of shoulder movement, is the correct movement that allows the scapula the ability to move, without compromising our body structures when we are experiencing incoming force.  One of the warm-up drills that I employ has us rolling our shoulder structures in a circular movement on a sagittal plane (front to back of our bodies).  When we can move our scapula without excess contraction from the trapezius and pectoralis muscles, our shoulders can move without compromising our arm movements and ability to manage incoming and outgoing forces.
I would like us to spend this month focusing how we move our shoulders as we receive an attack and execute techniques.  It has been quite a revelation for us already, as to how important this subject matter is in significantly bettering our Aikido.
Marc Abrams Sensei
ps.-  During the summer, maintain good hydration and LISTEN to your bodies in this hot weather.  Training your body to function well in very hot conditions is important to do right!


(Original blog post may be found here.)
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Old 07-13-2012, 07:12 AM   #2
tlk52
Dojo: Aikido of Park Slope/NY Aikikai
Location: NYC
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Re: 094) My Damn Shoulders Messing Up My Aikido?.. July 2012

this is very interesting to me...though I don't know much about the biology involved

I recently started studying tai chi and one effect that it's had on my aikido is that my shoulders have become much more relaxed during aikido waza, consequentially there's less opportunities for resistance by uke
.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:20 AM   #3
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
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Re: 094) My Damn Shoulders Messing Up My Aikido?.. July 2012

Quote:
Toby Kasavan wrote: View Post
this is very interesting to me...though I don't know much about the biology involved

I recently started studying tai chi and one effect that it's had on my aikido is that my shoulders have become much more relaxed during aikido waza, consequentially there's less opportunities for resistance by uke
.
Toby:

Good observation! We engender resistance in the uke as a direct result of our failures. When we use certain muscle groups and/or utilize muscle contraction to freeze shoulder movement, we have essentially allowed any force going through the shoulders to directly effect our spine. Any time we respond to tension with reciprocal tension, we also create a reactive response from the uke.

If we can allow incoming force to go cleanly through our shoulders and dispersed in multiple directions, the force does not effect our posture, balance and movement. The incoming force will also continue until the expected feedback (reciprocal tension) is received, signaling the necessity to change actions. This is essentially what you are describing in the lessened opportunities for resistance by the uke.

Regards,

marc abrams
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:22 AM   #4
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: 094) My Damn Shoulders Messing Up My Aikido?.. July 2012

i have used many of the exercises from this video regularly (there are 6 of them) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzZca...feature=relmfu . actually, i have used them as part of my aikido warm-up

em worked good!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:45 AM   #5
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
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Re: 094) My Damn Shoulders Messing Up My Aikido?.. July 2012

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i have used many of the exercises from this video regularly (there are 6 of them) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzZca...feature=relmfu . actually, i have used them as part of my aikido warm-up

em worked good!
I have seen that video before. Great resource. I have melded so many things into what I do, I think I qualify as a mutt at this point in time.....

Regards,

marc abrams
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Old 07-13-2012, 10:16 AM   #6
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,740
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Re: 094) My Damn Shoulders Messing Up My Aikido?.. July 2012

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
I have seen that video before. Great resource. I have melded so many things into what I do, I think I qualify as a mutt at this point in time.....
welcome to aiki muttville. hey, weren't you in bunnyville just recently? i am thinking i got enough stuffs to last a 2 hours warm-up routine. of course there won't be anytime left to do aikido. if i want to do aikido then that would cut into my partying hours which is sacred territory!

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:09 AM   #7
Marc Abrams
Dojo: Aikido Arts of Shin Budo Kai/ Bedford Hills, New York
Location: New York
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,302
United_States
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Re: 094) My Damn Shoulders Messing Up My Aikido?.. July 2012

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
welcome to aiki muttville. hey, weren't you in bunnyville just recently? i am thinking i got enough stuffs to last a 2 hours warm-up routine. of course there won't be anytime left to do aikido. if i want to do aikido then that would cut into my partying hours which is sacred territory!
Phi:

I think that the bunny mutated into a mutt .... It is difficult trying to balance the practice of various things. Two full-time jobs, a family, etc... At least when I am worked to death, I will have a well-conditioned corpse! . Like you, my party time is sacred territory! I have to have a least one good vice left!

Have a great weekend and hope to get on the mats and train with you some time soon (PS- DAN IS AT MY PLACE 9/7-9/9- can even stay at my modest party abode).

Marc Abrams
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