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Old 02-01-2004, 05:05 PM   #1
actoman
Dojo: USA Martial Arts Center
Location: West Virginia
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 88
United_States
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Talking Still need to 'muscle it up' ?

Hey all,

Just got back from training and had a very lengthy discussion with my Sensei regarding using muscular force during technique to make it effective.

We both agreed that yes, on some techniques with Ukes that are bigger or stronger, more muscle is needed, but the force should come from the center.

I find during Tenkan and the '20 year head throw, as well as Shihonage and the Bridge that I need to use a significant amount of muscle to throw uke.

Am I weak or just doing something wrong? Sensei thinks that I am not lowering my center enough, which could be the problem.

Any thoughts on this?
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Old 02-01-2004, 10:22 PM   #2
Jamie Stokes
Dojo: Kenkyu Kai
Location: Australia
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 62
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Hello Andy,

I would agree with your Sensei on lowering your center. Using muscle isn't the best option, even if uke is stronger than you.

Try overextending ukes movement and take their balance. then you can guide all that energy into a movement.

Being a big bloke, I can easily use strength, but getting it to work doesn't usually work.

One thing you haven't said is if your short, tall, average strenght or a bruiser.

Use the occasional atemi to help break both ukes comcentration and balance, and then guide them through the movement till they ukemi (or splat out! )

Heres a thought that will make your head hurt.

Did O'Sensei, as an elder gentleman (65 years +) use "muscle" or was it a combination of timing, atemi, Ki and so forth.

Warmest regards,

Jamie

Aikido: Love and compassion at one metre per second.
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Old 02-01-2004, 10:26 PM   #3
Jamie Stokes
Dojo: Kenkyu Kai
Location: Australia
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 62
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PS

Andy, are you doing something wrong?

If you keep trying the same thing over and over again and get the same results, why would you expect something different?

generalisiation, I know. Try techniques slow, fast, "weak" and "Strong".

Ask uke to give a determined attack ie. always entering and then compare it to a liner "straight through" attack.

Let us know how you go.

Jamie

Aikido: Love and compassion at one metre per second.
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Old 02-02-2004, 01:35 AM   #4
pointy
Dojo: aikido of park slope
Location: brooklyn, ny USA
Join Date: Jul 2002
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i was practicing at the dojo on thursday.. jo waza

uke is 6'4", 250 lbs or so, BIG dude

im 5'6", 160 - a smaller dude haha

i throw him once.. it feels good, nice and big. some muscle, but not too much.

next throw i decide to lead the throw with a part of the jo he wasnt grabbing. i wanted to keep it light. it felt really soft, too much so. i felt like that softer throw kinda sucked. i almost wanted to apologize for throwing so poorly

he gets up and says "niiice.. feels real strong!" but he's not being sarcastic.



i think of it this way, if i didnt use ANY muscle, i would just collapse in a limp mess as soon as i stood up!

so use just enough muscle to keep your extension out there while your body moves around uke, helping him find the floor.
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Old 02-02-2004, 03:47 AM   #5
Chad Sloman
 
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Dojo: Aikido of West Florida, Pensacola, FL
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I'm not sure what your style is so I'm not going to suppose that your sensei is wrong or anything, but I have always been taught not to muscle techniques. I'm a bigger guy so there is a lot of temptation to use muscle instead of good technique. I'm often told that the amount of energy needed to perform a technique should be about the same amount of energy you use to swat a fly from your face. So not to say that your arms should go limp but use enough strength to put your hands where you want them to extend uke but also don't struggle to do so. Often if I find myself struggling through a technique, I know that I'm doing it wrong. I don't know what the "20 year head throw" and "bridge" are but I do know that with shihonage, a lot of energy is not needed. In yokomenuchi shihonage, I just use ukes momentum to pull him into the hole to break his balance. On katatedori shihonage ura, you use ukes momentum, but on katatedori shihonage omote I can see where their can be problems. It can be hard for me to get big/strong ukes balance on omote but I just have to turn uke by keeping my hands in front of me and turning my hips and really, really extending uke so that they are almost lying on my back if I have to. I don't know much but I do know that once I take ukes balance I never, never let them get it back.

A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
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Old 02-02-2004, 07:09 AM   #6
PeterR
 
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Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
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One of my favourite refrains is that you will always have your muscle, in the dojo we develope skill. When push comes to shove you will have both.

That said (one can I say I like saying it) Aikido, like all fighting arts, is the skilled application of power. Right time, right place. The wonderful thing about Aikido is how even a little power, artfully applied, can be devastating.

So .... the advice is. Don't try for no power because that has little to do with Aikido but instead consider the where and hows of applying force. That usually makes things easier to understand.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:17 AM   #7
Nick Sanders
Location: Green Bay, WI USA
Join Date: Jan 2004
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One of my first workouts I had an interesting experience while receiving an attack from my sensei. I can't remember the exact technique, but I'm pretty sure his instruction carries over to more than that one specific technique. Anyway, on to the point.

On the first attack, I tried to muscle him through it. He got up from his roll and told me not to muscle him.

The second round through, I apparently did it again. At some point in the technique, he countered and I ended up on my back without a clue as to how I got there.

He then explained that by using muscle/brute force to get him through the technique, I essentially gave him something to counter against, something to resist. If i don't use muscle, but instead use his weight/momentum/force against him, he has nothing to counter against but himself...which is far more difficult to do.

Food for thought, not sure if this applies in your situation or not.
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Old 02-02-2004, 08:51 AM   #8
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Quote:
He then explained that by using muscle/brute force to get him through the technique, I essentially gave him something to counter against, something to resist. If i don't use muscle, but instead use his weight/momentum/force against him, he has nothing to counter against but himself...which is far more difficult to do.
Was wondering when someone would say this....

In the first example, just because there's something to resist doesn't mean they are capable of resisting.

In the second example, just because it's more difficult (which I'm not sure I agree with) certainly doesn't mean it can't happen.

Peter's comments:

That said (one can I say I like saying it) Aikido, like all fighting arts, is the skilled application of power. Right time, right place. and Don't try for no power because that has little to do with Aikido but instead consider the where and hows of applying force. That usually makes things easier to understand.

is right on.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-02-2004, 09:03 AM   #9
Ted Marr
Location: Providence, RI
Join Date: Oct 2003
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The less you need your muscles, the better your technique is. The more you try to use no muscles, the more you can feel where the technique is going wrong and you can fix it. So, train using no muscles. However, if you were ever to have to use it "for real" (goodness forbid), then once you get uke off balance and ready to throw, instead of letting gravity take them, you can choose to throw them "through the floor" with that muscle of yours. Of course, if your technique is good, then that is just overkill.
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Old 02-02-2004, 09:24 AM   #10
paw
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Quote:
So, train using no muscles. However, if you were ever to have to use it "for real" (goodness forbid), then once you get uke off balance and ready to throw, instead of letting gravity take them, you can choose to throw them "through the floor" with that muscle of yours.
Was waiting for this one too.....

Again, this looks good on paper, but it's much too simplistic. IF one believes that they will perform as they have trained THEN it only makes sense that if they have not trained to add additional force during a throw, they will not be able to properly.

If you don't feel this is true, try it out (Use a crash pad if you're concerned about injury). I'll bet you someone who hasn't trained to add additional force will "stop" the technique when trying to do so --- which was the very situation that we wanted to avoid.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 02-02-2004, 09:35 AM   #11
Nick Simpson
Dojo: White Rose Aikido - Durham University
Location: Gateshead
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I suppose the answer then is to train to use additional force?

They're all screaming about the rock n roll, but I would say that it's getting old. - REFUSED.
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Old 02-02-2004, 09:50 AM   #12
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Quote:
I suppose the answer then is to train to use additional force?
I believe Peter gave the answer when he wrote:

Don't try for no power because that has little to do with Aikido but instead consider the where and hows of applying force.

In my experience, we say people are "muscelling" when they apply force at the wrong place, the wrong time or the wrong way (ie just pushing with arms instead of moving from one's center). Beyond that, be honest in what you desire and train for it accordingly.

Regards,

Paul
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