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Old 02-18-2017, 07:39 PM   #1
leonagastya
Dojo: Bulungan Aikido Dojo
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Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

In Aikido I have been focused on both types of preparations . For example, I have my own workout program to support myself physically while practicing meditation and breathing exercises to improve my focus and confidence. My question is, out of both types of preparations, mental and physical which one is the most important for all of you? Can we survive in Aikido with a subpar physique or a low self esteem?
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Old 02-20-2017, 07:06 AM   #2
fatebass21
 
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

I would say they are equally important. What type of workout program are you doing separately from dojo practice? I think regular training at the dojo accomplishes both of these as warmups/exercises before class have been designed to condition the body for aikido training.

Not sure that physique has much to do with surviving in aikido. Low self esteem? For the most part I think aikido takes care of any self esteem/confidence issues as well.

Chris Sawyer
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:51 AM   #3
leonagastya
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Well for my workouts I do my typical pushups, cruches, lunges, and also cardio training to improve my endurance in Aikido. I haven't been doing any weights lately as I am young and my parents keep telling me that it would be detrimental to my growth.

Anyways thank you for answering my question, I was just curious to see which one is better since I'm focusing on both aspects of Aikido at home and in the dojo.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:09 PM   #4
SeiserL
 
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Inter-connected/dependent.
Aikido is the unification of body/mind.
When moving the body, move the mind.
When moving the mind, move the body.
Don't separate what you want to unify.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-21-2017, 06:11 AM   #5
leonagastya
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Thank you for the insightful quote Lynn! I have seen something similar to your quote when I was reading a book called "The Path of Peace" where it keeps telling me that for my Aikido to be successful I must have to unify my mind and body. This is my overall goal in the martial art as I know that if I can achieve the unification of my mind and body then my Aikido would improve. But may I ask, have you achieved this state before in the dojo and in your daily life? If so how do you do it? May I also know where you got that quote from, it looks interesting.
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Old 02-21-2017, 06:49 AM   #6
rugwithlegs
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

I agree with Lynn, and I do love the quote. FWIW, my understanding of Tohei's system was how intention, the logical mind played a role. At least, most of the Ki no Taiso as they were taught to me had this approach instead of how the emotional mind related (though it totally does).

I have been told the ability to concentrate and learn makes other abilities possible. The famous example is that Bodidharma taught his exercises because the monks were too weak to meditate. Certainly the mind leads the body but the body affects the mind.

Emotional issues, I recommend having some help rather than trying to do it alone.
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Old 02-21-2017, 03:43 PM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Quote:
Leonard Soetandi wrote: View Post
But may I ask, have you achieved this state before in the dojo and in your daily life? If so how do you do it? May I also know where you got that quote from, it looks interesting.
What quote? This was off the top of my head. Though the top of my head is usually filled with stuff I have learned from other, but not sure who to credit it to, but certainly not myself.
Many of us are working on shoshin (beginner's mind) or mindfulness in training. To pay attention and direct the action by the intent of the mind is a goal we only glimpse but is worth cultivating.
Its also just a good idea in life, intelligently pay attention to whatever you do (its also kinda a Zen thing). I was a Buddhist (and psychotherapist) long before I started studying Aikido.
Due to neuro-plasticity (neurons that fire together, wire together) slow deliberate concentrated focused practice/repetition over time makes all the difference.
Hope that helps in some small way.
Until again,
Lynn

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-22-2017, 12:58 AM   #8
Cass
 
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Interesting discussion and I agree with others that they go hand in hand. Just by doing Aikido I think both sides improve significantly. The more you train the more you learn, the more you learn the more confident you will get. And on top of that the more you repeat the above the healthier you will get physically. It is a beautiful cycle really. I think it innately helps you practice mindfulness as well, my mind is pretty singularly focused during training because there is no time or room for other thoughts, you have to pay attention or you will be quickly lost. For me it's also lovely because it is very much physical and about connection, when in this day and age a lot of that is going away, everything is a mental pursuit but here it is all about contact and feeling.

I would not place one above the other though but I do think that the physical is more possible to be a solid hurdle in your training. Mentally you have no choice, if you aren't paying attention you will be unable to do the techniques and I think it is nigh impossible to change your personality if it is "undesirable". Likewise confidence and self esteem tend to take a backseat, you will always have a partner and there won't be time to consider how you look or think about the stresses of the day (that is one of the beauties of it). I think both of these improve as you get used to partnering with strangers and going out of your comfort zone as well. Physically? Aikido can be a great workout, especially with "harder" and "faster" styles, but it is not on par with a lot of other exercise. So you can gain muscle but will not necessarily lose much fat - there are a lot of heavier yudansha at my dojo en verite. It also puts a lot of strain on a whole bunch of places that are not normally exerted to that extent in other daily life - such as the knees. So for that reason if I were going to pursue one side outside of the dojo it would be physical as personally I find the mental aspect more natural.

Survive is an interesting way to put it though - anyone can "survive" in Aikido as long as they have the will to continue, regardless of physique and mentality. Different people will value each side differently though, personally I would much prefer to partner with someone of poor physique than poor mentality (overly aggressive, snide/degrading aikidoka for example). A sensei however might prefer an uke that has great physical endurance and not care for their mentality as much. Either side lacking will bring with it different challenges. So long as we are striving forward for unity in both we are making progress .



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Old 02-22-2017, 11:25 PM   #9
Riai Maori
 
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Quote:
Leonard Soetandi wrote: View Post
Well for my workouts I do my typical push-ups, crunches, lunges, and also cardio training to improve my endurance in Aikido.
Excellent, because when it comes to doing Randori with 4 attackers for 5 minutes, mentally your mind may say I can do it, but physically the body cannot if no endurance training has been done. I always enter the Dojo with an empty mind, but the body is filled with Aikido spirit.

Motto tsuyoku
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Old 02-24-2017, 12:45 PM   #10
GovernorSilver
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

I agree w/ Cass regarding fat burning. We get a bit of cardio when we do our rolls across the mat, but that's about it. It's nothing compared to what I was subjected to in Judo - we did rolls there, but on top of that there were other exercises like jumping (or was it jump and roll?) over partners lying in a line, shrimping and other bridging type movements across the mat, etc. We might have also done squats with a partner on our shoulders - or was it in BJJ class? Then of course after the technique practice portion of class, there's Judo randori - basically one-on-one sparring - for multiple rounds. There were nights where I got so much of a workout I wondered if we skipped the technique section and went straight from the exercise section to the randori section.

BJJ was kind of similar, except it's usually at least 20 min. of sparring to end the class - by the end of class I was so tired that I didn't even bother trying to submit anybody anymore, I was reduced to purely defending and thinking only of making it to the end of class.

Regarding prep for Aikido, I notice quite a few experienced Aikidoka have knee problems. I recently learned that even Ikeda-shihan suffers from it, and that is why he doesn't do suwari waza anymore. I wonder if the practice of stretching at the beginning of class has something to do with it. The discovery that stretching a "cold" body - one that has not been already warmed up - is actually bad for the body is relatively recent, long after the founding of Aikido. Our dojo includes stretches in the warmup, so I try to compensate by walking fast when I get off the train and walk to the dojo, so that my leg muscles aren't totally cold. I also try to get on the mat early before class and do some rolls or whatever to further warm up.

One of the things I do to keep my knees healthy is one-legged squats (mostly pistol squats), as they not only strengthen the muscles around the knees but also keep them in balance. Muscle imbalances between the quad and hamstring have been known to cause knee problems for some people.
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Old 02-25-2017, 01:55 AM   #11
leonagastya
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Quote:
I wonder if the practice of stretching at the beginning of class has something to do with it.
In my personal experiences the stretching in Aikido is an essential part in preparing your body for all the techniques done in the dojo. For example, after doing an intense session in the dojo for about 2 hours, the next day I experienced pain in my achilles tendon just because I haven't stretched before class (I was preparing the tatami). This shows why stretching is important as even me a guy who is active and does workouts to improve endurance still feels pain after a few hours in the dojo if I haven't stretched yet.

Quote:
One of the things I do to keep my knees healthy is one-legged squats (mostly pistol squats), as they not only strengthen the muscles around the knees but also keep them in balance
That is an interesting workout exercise. Personally I am doing jumping squats as I'm not sure if I have the strength to do a pistol squat yet.
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Old 02-25-2017, 05:17 AM   #12
Walter Martindale
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

One of the most "aerobic" sessions I remember in aikido practice was when the sensei of the day was sick and couldn't teach. He showed up, had someone else lead warmup, and every 10 minutes or so had us practice a different technique... No teaching, no instruction, no interruptions - just "Shomenuchi - Iriminage" (for 10 minutes) then "Shomenuchi - Kotegaeshi" - for 10 minutes, then... well... you get the picture. No partner changes, no rests, no stops, just 80 minutes post-warm up of go, go, go, go... The mental training there is to keep going when worn out. The physical/mental training comes in when you can do the skills/techniques with good movement principles when you can barely stand... (Funny, my judo sensei used to say that, too.)
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Old 02-25-2017, 06:11 AM   #13
GovernorSilver
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Quote:
Leonard Soetandi wrote: View Post
In my personal experiences the stretching in Aikido is an essential part in preparing your body for all the techniques done in the dojo. For example, after doing an intense session in the dojo for about 2 hours, the next day I experienced pain in my achilles tendon just because I haven't stretched before class (I was preparing the tatami). This shows why stretching is important as even me a guy who is active and does workouts to improve endurance still feels pain after a few hours in the dojo if I haven't stretched yet.
Well, there are right and wrong ways to stretch, if you feel you must stretch before class instead of afterwards. Check out this older thread - I believe Janet Rosen is a real nurse:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showth...ght=stretching

Quote:
Leonard Soetandi wrote: View Post
That is an interesting workout exercise. Personally I am doing jumping squats as I'm not sure if I have the strength to do a pistol squat yet.
It took some time for me to develop the pistol squat. My knees ached more before I started practicing the movement. I used a top-down approach that is found in a bunch of online videos, but the bottom-up one taught here establishes a better foundation. I now practice them bottom-up - they help me keep my aches/pains in the hips/low back under control:

https://gmb.io/pistol-squat/

Last edited by GovernorSilver : 02-25-2017 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 03-02-2017, 09:43 AM   #14
phitruong
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

after doing aikido for awhile and once you figure out that gravity is your friend, you don't work up much of sweat. for me, i have to supplement my aikido with something else that would stress my physical and mental. i joined the local aerobic exercise practice. when you are the only old guy (or guy) in the whole class, it's a very dangerous situation. you are surrounded by leotard and yoga alien beings (you never want to see me in leotard or your nightmare will never end!). you have to keep up with the loud upbeat music and not sucking wind. you have to move your body in way that defy human erectus meant to move. you have to keep 360 degree awareness, just in case these alien beings attack you, so you have to plan your randori strategy ahead of time, for example, pretend leg cramps and limping out (they don't attack weaken prey, although snickering does happen). it is extremely physical and metal taxing especially when there are a lot very developed and non-developed (aikiwise) leotard people.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
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Old 03-02-2017, 05:59 PM   #15
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Hilarious

Chris Sawyer
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Old 03-03-2017, 08:21 PM   #16
leonagastya
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Re: Physical vs mental preparation in Aikido

Quote:
Hilarious
Agreed! This is hilarious.
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