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Old 01-18-2017, 09:24 AM   #1
Dojo: Cagayan Aikido Dojo
Location: Cagayan de Oro City
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 10
Hypotethical question.

If strength isnt very much needed in aikido, where do we use our strength then?
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:40 AM   #2
Demetrio Cereijo
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 2,248
Re: Hypotethical question.

Jon Christian Tuadles wrote: View Post
If strength isnt very much needed in aikido, where do we use our strength then?
Sure strength isn't very much needed in Aikido?
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Old 01-18-2017, 01:19 PM   #3
Mary Eastland
Mary Eastland's Avatar
Dojo: Berkshire Hills Aikido
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,435
Re: Hypotethical question.

Where do you want to use it?

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Old 01-19-2017, 01:52 AM   #4
dps's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,353
Re: Hypotethical question.

We use our strength when we are uke getting up off the floor after sent to the floor by Tori.

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Old 01-19-2017, 05:05 AM   #5
Dojo: Brighton Aikikai, UK
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 59
United Kingdom
Re: Hypotethical question.

Just because strength is not the technical focus of Aikido doesn't mean it is not needed.

You don't need the same strength as compared to somebody else, but you need strength in your legs to hold your own body up, to move well and spontaneously, keep balance, and to get up off the floor and down to it in a controlled way. Strength in your core and back for good posture and breath control. Strength to support all your joints and keep them safe as you improve in flexibility.

Fortunately, all of this is developed and maintained continually through the practice of lovely Aikido, not a boring gym.
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Old 01-19-2017, 08:46 AM   #6
Walter Martindale
Location: Edmonton, AB
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 771
Re: Hypotethical question.

I understand that O-Sensei was very strong in his early years. Saotome, in one of his publications, describes his strength, even later on.

Given the choice, frail and weak versus robust and strong, I'll take the latter.

It may be that "strong" is relative. A person who works 8 or more hours a day in a physical job may not be as strong as someone who trains in a gym, but they're certain to be stronger than someone who sits at a desk all day and doesn't lift anything heavier than a laptop carry-bag. The physical worker will have (in my experience, anyway) more than enough strength to "do" aikido - the desk worker may need to do some building up to be fit enough to "do" aikido without getting hurt.

It's best, I think, to learn the movements of aikido by finding the path of least resistance without using a lot of strength, and after learning those movements, the strength is there in reserve.

A certain amount of physical ability is mandatory. It CAN be developed through aikido practice, but if you're complete mush before starting training, it can take several months to become robust enough to train.

I guess one question is - do you do aikido to get fit, or do you get fit to do aikido?

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 01-19-2017 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 01-19-2017, 09:26 AM   #7
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,192
Re: Hypotethical question.

I think it's possible that what is commonly called "strength", actually refers to a fairly limited subset of motions and muscle groups. When people think of "strength", they think of lifting something, hauling something, pushing something. They don't think of "strength" being used when they walk or rise from a chair or reach for a cup of coffee. They think often of moves that use flexion of the extremities, not extension. And there's more than a little confusion caused by aikido people's use of incorrect terminology: I constantly hear people saying "don't contract", but that's incorrect -- muscular contraction is required for every movement, what they mean is "don't flex". So, aikido does require strength, but I think it's fair to say that as your aikido improves, you should need less. The ideal aikido movements are coordinated, efficient movements. If you're inefficient, you'll need more strength; if you're uncoordinated and constantly having to recover and correct, you'll need more strength to try and compensate.

It's definitely true that if you really strive for correct aikido movements, you may (probably will?) discover areas where your conditioning is lacking -- and it may be that in some cases, you could devise a strength training program that would develop that more efficiently than aikido training. But it all comes down to individual cases, understanding anatomy, understanding what the movement is asking for you. And in practical terms, by the time you actually do understand that, you've quite likely developed the strength you need for it.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:55 AM   #8
Derek's Avatar
Dojo: Roswell Budokan, Kyushinkan (AWA)
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 71
Re: Hypotethical question.

Perhaps it is not that strength is not needed, but that strength is not the wait to achieve success. I feel that you should be able to do a technique with minimal strength since you may be overcome by someone stronger if you depend solely on strength. My approach to get a technique down, then strip away the strength to find the correct form. Once I can do the technique with minimal strength and correct form, you can then select to add as much or as little strength back in as you desire. This way the strength adds to the technique without getting in the way.

Derek Duval
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Old 01-19-2017, 09:56 PM   #9
Dojo: Open Sky Aikikai
Location: Durham, NC
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 433
Re: Hypotethical question.

I am a nurse. Once, I had a patient who was an elderly Japanese man with a disease that could be transmitted sexually. He had very basic English, and I started a conversation awaiting a translator. When I mentioned sexual transmission risks, he laughed and said, "No Strength." Maybe one of the many translators here could help out, but Strength seems to have layers of meaning I would not typically use in English.

I usually hear that we do not Rely on strength, which is not the same as No Strength. We need muscles for all body movement. Good posture, precision, alignment, relationship, timing, and good manipulation of anatomy to reduce uke's ability to resist and increase my ability to issue power - I tend to refer to these as my functional strength. I can throw people who are heavier than the weight I can lift and throw. Bad posture and poor alignment is exhausting, and I need to use more muscle for probably weaker results and maybe even risking injury. Strength is only a piece of power.

Strength is not a bad thing - a power lifter who was my sempai was regarded as one of Sensei's best students and my kokyu-ho benefitted from practice with him enormously. I had to move correctly, not just do a bicep curl.
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