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Old 07-09-2003, 05:06 PM   #1
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
Rowing and Aikido (and other sports?)

From a different thread
I wrote:
I was on a crew team in college ...
Dave Miller wrote:
So does that experience help your aiki in terms of moving with your whole body and such?
That's such a hard question to answer. I think it's amazing that every pattern of movement we engage in stamps itself on our bodies and our movements, and changes us for the rest of our lives. It's been years and years, but you can still tell that I rowed port because my left shoulder is a little higher than my right shoulder when I stand.

I'm sure that rowing helped me with 'whole body movements,' but that's not the one that really sticks out for me. The part that I really notice is the way that rowing teaches you about sensitivity and paying attention to the moment. Balance determines so much in rowing, and with 8 other people in the boat there is a lot to pay attention to, even the slightest shift in awareness can be felt as a tremor through the whole boat.

Our coach was pretty forward-thinking. I was on the team about 15 years ago, and he brought in Jon Cabot-Zinn (then unknown) to teach us to meditate and help us understand the importance of awareness and the moment. I'll carry those particular lessons with me forever.

Anyway, I thought I'd open this up as a topic: does anyone else have stories or thoughts about past experience with other sports and the way they carry into Aikido?

Yours in Aiki
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Old 07-09-2003, 10:17 PM   #2
C. Emerson
Dojo: Emerson's Martial Arts
Location: Denver, Co
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 97
No, I don't think that anything directly translates. I feel that certain sports help keep you in shape. Making it easier to stay at a high level in the martial arts.

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Old 07-09-2003, 11:16 PM   #3
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 42
I danced for a number of years and I think it has directly impacted my aikido.
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Old 07-09-2003, 11:46 PM   #4
PeterR's Avatar
Dojo: Shodokan Honbu (Osaka)
Location: Himeji, Japan
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 3,319
If you don't think your Aikido training is giving you the workout you need consider altering the training.

I've been in dojos where I've left the mat dry as a bone. Others, my own included, have you sweating like little piggies.

I think the main reason for doing other sports other than Aikido is for the variety. To keep your life interesting. With this in mind choose what you want to do for fun and don't worry too much about what is good for your Aikido.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 07-10-2003, 07:05 AM   #5
Dojo: Methuen Aikido
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 97
I find I'm always finding parallels between rock climbing and aikido. Balance, breathing, relaxed movement, emphasis on form, mental focus, controlling fear and falling (lots of falling!). Of course those things are key to just about every physical endeavor (except maybe the falling part).
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Old 07-10-2003, 09:04 AM   #6
MikeE's Avatar
Dojo: Midwest Center For Movement & Aikido Bukou Dojos
Location: Hudson, WI
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 407
You would think his funakogi movement would be great

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
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Old 07-10-2003, 09:20 AM   #7
Brad McMillan
Dojo: New England Aikikai
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 7
I have found that applying aikido principles (relaxation, extension, movement from center) has substantially improved my golf game. There is no direct connection, of course, but the principles apply.
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Old 07-10-2003, 09:27 AM   #8
Larry Feldman
Dojo: Atlanta School of Aikido
Location: Atlanta, GA
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 373
Skydiving (now retired).

Staying calm, the mind leads the body, and you move around your center.
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:01 AM   #9
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
Of course, some things transfer in a less positive way. For instance, my left shoulder is still much less relaxed than my right shoulder and I always end up getting stuck with it.

Another issue, and this may come from rowing or it may just be me, is that I have the hardest time switching from thing to thing. Rowing is certainly a sport that is much more about doing one thing than about learning to switch between them.

Yours in Aiki
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:05 AM   #10
Dojo: Aikido Center of South Texas
Location: Houston,Tx
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 151
I was able to transfer quite abit from my basketball training to my aikido training. I just had to learn to apply it in a different manner. In BB you had to learn to keep a good center of gravity when blocking out for a rebound, pivoting (tenkan) is used widely in BB, as well as others.

Now when I go back and play, I feel that my "grounding" is much better. I have had opponents tell me that moving me is like trying to move a brick wall. Taking the opponents center has also helped in positioning for the ball or a rebound - something that is essential in BB.
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Old 07-10-2003, 11:46 AM   #11
Qatana's Avatar
Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 834
Argentine Tango= always move from center, always stay connected to your partner - the leaders' center controls the followers steps.i must be absolutely open & present since i never know what he will lead in the next moment.Must move from my center's connection with my partner's center. Trust & centeredness & balance.With music. Still looking for an Aiki-Tango partner...

Ballet, tai chi & yoga. Ballet partnering- boy you'd better let your partner take control or both of you will get trashed...tai chi is helping my throws. Yoga for balance & flexibility.

Opher, you are of course aware that what J.Cabot-Zinn taught you was Buddhist meditation...


"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:20 PM   #12
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
Well, Jon dumbed it down for us and made sure that it was accessible and relevant to a bunch of muscle-headed 19 year olds, but I certainly recognized a lot of the same ideas in my later reading and practice. One day, he dragged us all down to the gym for a yoga class, and boy did we get a surprise and a shock!

I took an Argentinian Tango workshop a few weekends ago. It was really great stuff and very much related to Aikido. Petaluma is a ways to go, though.

Yours in Aiki
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Old 07-10-2003, 10:51 PM   #13
Veers's Avatar
Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 169
I played 7 years of little league baseball...every position but catcher. Seeing as I don't know what life would have been like if I hadn't done baseball...I can't say for sure if it rubbed off on me.

But I think it taught me some balance...and hand-eye coordination. Also, though not reall applicable in aikido, I have a decent throwing arm from being a back-up pitcher.

However, I can already see aikido affecting my body in "normal" life now...especially at work where collisons with doors, walls, the floor, and co-workers are a constant threat. I do a lot of tenkaning, shomenuchi on doors, hands up when going around a corner, etc. People say I look funny, but, hey, I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who hasn't eatten floor.


The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 07-13-2003, 05:26 AM   #14
Patrick O'Regan
Location: Brisbane
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28
This is my first post ever so appologies in advance.

Rowing helped me with balance, coordinated power and to pay attention to timing and continuous movement.

I think boxing was a disadvantage. The footwork felt so different and I just couldn't get ukemi.

Rugby helped because I just couldn't get ukemi.

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Old 07-14-2003, 01:27 AM   #15
Bronson's Avatar
Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,677
I pull a lot of stuff from my old fencing practice.

Things like: Learning to protect my centerline and to watch the opponents, gauging distance, explosive accleration/decelartion (if it is possible to have explosive decelaration ), keeping good posture, extension through a weapon, sensitivity through a weapon, not to mention all the pressure points we used to hit with our swords that would completely debilitate our opponents BWAHAHAHA!!!!


"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 07-14-2003, 08:35 AM   #16
Dojo: Dunstable/Dinton
Location: Milton Keynes, Uk
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 32
I played a lot of badminton when i was young, and when i had a few games recently i found aikido, and more specifically the weapons work, effecting/influenced how played. Also when i was teaching i kept using sword methaphors,

So a case of aiki effecting everything else - far more common i'm sure!
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Old 07-18-2003, 02:06 PM   #17
Dojo: Shoshin Aikido Dojos
Location: Orlando
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 159

They all do. When you see Tiger slam one down the ninth fairway he just demonstrated iriminage. When Agassi slams a forehand he does the same. When Tracy McGrady goes up and under for a slam dunk he is a perfect aikido master for those few micro-seconds. I've watched Michael Jordon 'look' a person off his feet. And I mean 'off his feet.'

Opher, several years ago after the last Olympics I gathered all my students together during class and using a compass and pencil I went through the special Sports Illustrated Olympics edition and we were able to define the 'center ' of each athlete at his moment of greatness. A wonderful exercise.

Human physiology doesn't change with the endeavor. In most sports we push to the limit of the body. In Aikido we use the limit of the body as a measure and then go beyond that limit , breaking our partners balance and sometimes his body. But the rules are the same. My seven pillars of Aikido wisdom are simple. Understand traingulation, center, energy nexus, break points, technique, timing and ki.

Could be a formula for any sport.

Daniel G. Linden
Author of ON MASTERING AIKIDO (c) 2004
Founder Shoshin Aikido Dojos
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