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Old 08-09-2000, 12:22 AM   #1
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
I was fortunate enough tonight to have an opportunity to really cut loose with someone. After I was done it dawned on me how seldom I've done this and that it felt GREAT.

In my Aikido history, for a variety of reasons, a lot of my strength and power has been suppressed. Part of it is that I'm on the bigger and stronger side and could muscle technique on most people. Part of it is that I've never really had peers that I could cut loose with (not because of any great competence but circumstances). Lastly, I think that part of it is that we tend to have negative connotations in regards to strength and power in this art so it was perhaps discouraged because of this.

So I'd like to ask 2 questions. First I'm curious how people see strength and power. How do you relate to these concepts?

My second question is how often do you cut loose in your practice, really go at it?


[Edited by Erik on August 9, 2000 at 01:59am]
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Old 08-09-2000, 03:25 AM   #2
IP Hash: 22791998
Dojo: Shinwakai Aikibudo
Location: Slough, UK
Join Date: Jun 2000
Anonymous User
Can't say much on cutting loose as I am still in the very early stages of this most excellent of pasttimes!! However, I can say that I am also much larger than most and would have no trouble 'muscling' technique for the most part. What I am very conscious of though, and have been through most of my life, is the fact that my greater than average size and the little extra strength that comes with it has very great potential to hurt someone whether I mean it or not. This has led me to get into the habit of not using my size and strength against people in any way and I think that mental state is helping me with Aikido. Having got used to not using excessive strength in everyday life I think has made it easier for me to not rely on strength during the few techniques I have learnt so far!! Saying that though, being of the much larger persuasion, using my body weight (lowering posture that type of thing) I think lends power in a more natural way to the unbalancing/centre taking stuff against a lot of people!!

Just my own thoughts mind!!


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Old 08-09-2000, 12:39 PM   #3
MikeE's Avatar
Dojo: Midwest Center For Movement & Aikido Bukou Dojos
Location: Hudson, WI
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 407

I am an ex-powerlifter and currently bodybuilding. I do sometimes have a hard time showing my students that very little if no strength is used in aikido. Usually to get the point across (especially to my bigger students) I have to let them feel my technique and energy individually. I am lucky though, I have 3 students that are between 320lbs and 350lbs so it makes my 250lb frame look small.
As for cutting loose; Once a week I train with other dan ranks for a couple of hours and usually we wind up doing some jiyu-waza. I find this less fun though, because being a cautious nage, I am constantly worried about causing any injury to my friends. I can't say that I am comfortable with "cutting loose" because I've only been studying aikido for 12 years and I don't believe I have the control necessary to go full out without causing injury. (Maybe in another 20 or 30 years)

Mike Ellefson
Midwest Center
For Movement &
Aikido Bukou
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Old 08-09-2000, 12:54 PM   #4
Location: ATL
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 847
I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum from the last post. I'm an average size guy. Average build, average strength. So muscling my way through a technique usually, unless someone is much smaller than me or just not being a good uke, is not an option. For me power comes from timing, distance and body movement. I'm not quite sure what you mean by "how do I relate to them" but my understanding of them, as far as how they relate to aikido, came at several different times. Most of them being from attacking someone (usually sensei or shihan) very hard and very fast and having them get me at "just the right point" where, in my head, one second I was attacking, the next I realise "holy Sxxx i'm in the air" and landing very hard. They had caught me at a point in my attack that no matter who I was, how big I was or how hard I was attacking, they would have dropped me just as easily. It's a very amazing feeling to be thrown like that. We can talk aikido principles all day long but it's hard to fully understand them until you feel it like that. I've also had a few instances where I was nage and caught uke the same way. No strength or thought on my part, just a little movement and BAM, Uke was flying. He got up and was like "man, that felt awesome" I was just standing there with my mouth open, having never experienced that. Good times!
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Old 08-09-2000, 02:39 PM   #5
Mike Collins
Location: San Jose
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 189
I'm fortunate to train with a short, squat monster. This guy is almost a foot shorter than I am and probably about 70 lbs lighter, and I can go full on with him and still have an impossible time forcing technique with muscle. I also have teachers who can get me to go as full on as I am capable of in taking ukemi, and you're right, it is the best.

Being big, it is easy to shy away from muscle at all, because at first it is somewhat debilitating to good technique.

My teacher has said many times "There's nothing wrong with muscle, you've just got to learn when and where to apply it." I think that muscle is a manifestation of Ki, it just isn't the whole story.

The teacher from Japan I most relate to is cut like a marble statue, even at age 63-64, so I've got to believe that there is nothing wrong with muscle.
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Old 08-09-2000, 04:52 PM   #6
Chuck Clark
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Dojo: Jiyushinkan
Location: Monroe, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,134
I have come to the understanding that we all grow old, and as we grow older we lose strength and agility in various degrees (but it is constant at some point), also the principles of aiki (and judo) when done properly use the opponent's force and require vary little from the tori.

I try to practice and teach others to use as little force as possible without giving up any effectiveness so that we have plenty of time to get "good at it" before we get that old.

There's also the fact that the more force we use...the more feedback the other person can feel from us which gives them information to make decisions with. I's rather they feel very little from me.


Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
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Old 08-09-2000, 05:12 PM   #7
Mike Collins
Location: San Jose
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 189
Until it's appropriate. It is a kick to be "softed" into the air, then launched a few tatami.
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Old 11-18-2004, 09:35 PM   #8
Dojo: Formerly with Central Pacific Aikido Assoc
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5
Re: Power and Strength

2nd question first.....most of the sparring that I have done was full bore, in the street, no padding...just go for it...and its great. And it really teaches you things. As to the 1st question..... I think most people equate strenght and power with big huge muscles and strongmen and such. I have seen teeny tiny skinny people do things that those big strong men cannot. I had a 90 pound girl grab me with a grip that would have made any muscle man flinch in pain. So where did she get that? I believe its in the eye of the beholder. To me size matters not, I can take a body builder have have them sweating like mad in less than 5 minutes. But if that person has the mind to control and focus all that power and strength that they have built up, then watch out. ITs all upstairs. Confidence in yourself. That and a good solid foundation in body mechanics and structural awareness can show you that its not size that matters but how you use "YOUR" size.
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Old 11-19-2004, 10:20 AM   #9
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 59
Re: Power and Strength

Power and strength to me are projections - there are just some people you bounce off even before you touch them. I agree that it's all upstairs, that if you can manage to project power and strength, you impose a specific perception on uke and s/he will approach you differently. I was once at a seminar with a sensei who walked in a way that suggested "here somes a mountain, and you will not be able to move it" - that was pretty powerful. And a pretty good illustration of a fairly short, squat guy not looking particularly dangerous or mean, but definitely giving you the idea that he would be a piece of work to trifle with simply because he felt so HEAVY.
Dynamic practice is great, I just love it when you can barely breathe and you're dripping with sweat and joints are sore and you've really been worked over. Not from the application of brute force, but because finally, for once, there was that flow that everybody talks about and you were able to catch a ride. So if that's what you mean by "going at it", yeah, it's great, but alas for a beginner, much too rare.
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Old 11-21-2004, 01:09 AM   #10
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 63
Re: Power and Strength

I'm sort of new to aikido, myself. I've only been doing it for a couple of months now.
The biggest I've noticed about aikido is that using muscle to overpower uke is the wrong way to go about it. I've applied techniques using their own power against them and I've noticed that the techniques are applied much more smoothly, much more efficiently, and much more powerfully. I'm not saying muscles aren't a good thing--fitness in any way is good. I just believe that aikido is one of those things that can be done effortlessly once you really understand it.
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Old 11-23-2004, 09:22 AM   #11
Rocky Izumi
Dojo: GUST Aikido Club
Location: Salwa, Kuwait
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 381
Re: Power and Strength

Force = Mass x Acceleration
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