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Old 10-14-2014, 07:04 AM   #1
TenkanThomas
Dojo: Newport Aikido, Kai Shin Kai
Location: Gwent
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Question Newbie Solo Exercises?

Hello everyone,

I'm new to Aikido. Only the three lessons done so far. I could do more but just letting my body get used to the falling and twisting for a short time; I'm keen to ask if anyone could recommend some exercises I could do at home that would improve my Aikido and my performance in class

Piece and peace

Chris
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:10 AM   #2
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Hi Chris,

It takes time to condition for ukemi, and when you're a beginner, it's a good idea to only practice ukemi in class, for safety reasons. Outside of class, any exercises that build core strength will be beficial. But be patient. Whenever someone with just a few classes under their belt asks for outside exercise to help them "do more", that strikes me as someone who is impatient for results. If that's the case with you, you'll probably lose interest in aikido pretty quickly. The initial learning curve is steep, results tend to be subtle more often than dramatic, and (at least in my case) you often only notice them in the rearview mirror.
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:19 AM   #3
TenkanThomas
Dojo: Newport Aikido, Kai Shin Kai
Location: Gwent
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Hi Mary

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Much appreciated.

I do understand what you are saying with respect to ukemi. That makes complete sense.

I'm not so sure I can agree with you with respect to the point you made regarding impatience. To clarify I'm not looking to do more outside of class due to impatience, I'm simply keen to learn more about exercises that can help me develop on a daily basis and enhance my understanding in class an of aikido in general.

Thanks again for your reply but it strikes me as a little negative and I don't think what you have said is going to add to my aikido journey.
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:19 AM   #4
kewms
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Ask your teacher.

There are a number of solo exercises that might be helpful, but it's impossible to learn how to do them properly via an internet forum. Also, different styles can disagree about some of these details.

Improving your general fitness is never a bad idea, but remember that aikido demands lots of flexibility. Yoga might be a better choice than power lifting, for instance.

Katherine
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Old 10-14-2014, 09:28 AM   #5
TenkanThomas
Dojo: Newport Aikido, Kai Shin Kai
Location: Gwent
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Hi Katherine,

Thank you for taking the time to offer some advice. I really appreciate it.

I have asked my teacher and he is going to show me some exercises next class. I was just interested in what other aikido practitioners may think also. The more ideas the better I figured.

I really like the idea you suggested about yoga. That makes lots of sense to me. I shall give that some thought for sure. And yes granted, the internet might not be the best place to learn the movements themselves.

Thanks again!

Chris
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:51 AM   #6
tlk52
Dojo: Aikido of Park Slope/NY Aikikai
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

*tenkan
*funagoki (rowing exercise)
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Old 10-14-2014, 11:54 AM   #7
lbb
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Quote:
Chris Thomas wrote: View Post
Thanks again for your reply but it strikes me as a little negative and I don't think what you have said is going to add to my aikido journey.
Well, that's your interpretation and your choice. I'm not trying to discourage you; however, I think that the only place you can learn aikido is in an aikido class. Based on your other post, it sounds like you only have the option of one class a week, which puts you in a difficult position. Any hope that that might change?

Are there exercises? Sure, but you're better off having your sensei introduce you to them, and then give you feedback after you have practiced them at home -- practicing the wrong thing won't help you. And, as I said, exercises for core strength, and anything for aerobic conditioning, is probably going to be most beneficial at this point.
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Old 10-14-2014, 12:17 PM   #8
Cliff Judge
Location: Kawasaki, Kanagawa
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Quote:
Chris Thomas wrote: View Post
I'm not so sure I can agree with you with respect to the point you made regarding impatience. To clarify I'm not looking to do more outside of class due to impatience, I'm simply keen to learn more about exercises that can help me develop on a daily basis and enhance my understanding in class an of aikido in general.
No really. Just focus on going to class 3-4 times a week for about five years. When you aren't on the mat, don't obsess about it. You will come to understand.
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Old 10-14-2014, 03:09 PM   #9
Dan Richards
Dojo: Latham Eclectic
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Quote:
Chris Thomas wrote: View Post
The more ideas the better I figured.
Hi Chris, I'd sorta watch out for that. It's less about getting lots of ideas, than getting a few ideas that are good and exploring them deeper.

Ya' know those "warms up" solo exercises everyone does for about 10-15 minutes at the beginning of a class? Well, they're more than just "warm ups," and there's more than meets the eye. It'd be closer to the truth if you'd look at them as a type of Aikido Yoga, that's meant more for body conditioning rather than just "warming up."

This video shows a sequence of movements that are fairly typical of something you'd find in most aikido dojos.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNAeXDcZlNg

And while videos can be fine for supplemental ideas, especially after you have more experience, they're really going to pale in comparison to actual live instruction on the mat.

I'm sure your club has similar movements shown in the video. And whatever your teachers are doing in the first 10-15 minutes of class in the solo movements - do that. There's your solo exercises specifically tailored for the aikido your club is doing.

Do that movement sequence - just as you're being taught in class - at home as solo work. Like I said, there's more to it than meets the eye.

Good luck in your training.
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Old 10-15-2014, 05:52 AM   #10
TenkanThomas
Dojo: Newport Aikido, Kai Shin Kai
Location: Gwent
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Hi everyone,

Once again thank you for all the feedback and advice. Makes a big difference.

Chris
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Old 10-15-2014, 08:52 AM   #11
Dan Richards
Dojo: Latham Eclectic
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Chris, I'll just add that a lot of what the sensei in the video is describing behind the movements may not be explained in a lot of dojos. In fact, many aikidoka who started training before a more open age of communication might go for years - if ever - before knowing that these kinds of movements had more going on than just the Western version of "warming up exercises."

He even goes so far as to spell out that many of the movements are not "stretches," but rather for structural alignment and body conditioning. That's also know as "tanren."

Notice some of the words and phrases he's using, such as "furitama." Jot them down and do a little research. A lot of what he's talking is fairly esoteric, but is now being more openly shared. Until recently the only way students would have known any of this was to be told directly by a teacher or by researching and reading through strange books. And even then, a lot of the translations weren't particularly good.

Watch this brilliant demonstration by Yoko Okamoto. And listen to what she says at the end of the video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv7BTKQzn50
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Old 10-17-2014, 02:31 AM   #12
TenkanThomas
Dojo: Newport Aikido, Kai Shin Kai
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Hi Dan,

Thank you very much indeed for taking the time to offer such detail and insight. Much appreciated! I will be sure to take a good look! Most grateful.

Chris
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Old 12-07-2014, 12:18 PM   #13
fatebass21
 
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

I have done the warm up exercises (aikitaiso) for years even when I have been away from the dojo on breaks. On my days off from training I still do them every morning. This will ensure that you commit the important basics to muscle memory.

Chris Sawyer
Training day is every day
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:07 AM   #14
carpeviam
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

My aikido improved a lot around the time I started working out more. After a week of focusing on squats, I found I was more comfortable bending my knees and keeping low. Planks also made a difference (though that could also be coincidental, not causal).

But some things--like shikko walking--only improved as I spent time doing it on the mat. Whatever muscles it takes to shikko walk, there isn't a single machine in the gym that seems to address them.

But I also agree with the posters above. Don't feel pressured to get it all at once.
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Old 12-09-2014, 12:39 AM   #15
John Ianus
Location: Montreal
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

It's great that you want to do exercises outside of the dojo and you need to.

Pay attention to the warm-up exercises and do those by all means.
Dan has given you great advice and definitely do your tenkan as much as possible.
your footwork and turning are very important.

Last edited by akiy : 12-10-2014 at 01:34 PM.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:44 AM   #16
PeterR
 
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

There is nothing wrong with going through the warm-up exercises that you learn in class including the stretching, body conditioning, even the taiso. You will get your corrections, if you need them during regular class. I wouldn't worry too much about supplementing them with aikido specific exercises you hear here or elsewhere but I would (if Aikido happened only once a week or so) consider another activity you enjoy that would provide overall fitness. Go for a run, do yoga. In both cases they might not help your aikido too much but they can't hurt.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:29 AM   #17
Mary Eastland
 
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

We ask our students to do ki exercises everyday. It really makes a difference.

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Old 12-10-2014, 07:12 AM   #18
fatebass21
 
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Re: Newbie Solo Exercises?

Chris,

I forgot to mention breathing exercises. The more you do this the better and you will notice a significant increase in your lung capacity/volume within a relatively short amount of time if you do this everyday.

Chris Sawyer
Training day is every day
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