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Old 08-21-2006, 08:07 PM   #26
Mike Sigman
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Paul Watt wrote:
Robert, I'm extremely disappointed in these remarks of yours,
Speaking of remarks, do we have to get into this endless cycle of "correcting" someone and taking one more thread off topic? Sometimes Rob brags, sometimes he doesn't.... who cares? He basically seems like a nice guy, even if he doesn't conform to someone else's ideas of right and wrong. The main thing he does is provide interesting and useful information... so quibbling about the way he posts seems a bit pointless.

Other than to register that Rob is moving up against some fairly well-trained opponents with this type of strength, what is the point in worrying about his personal style? If we're all that above and beyond mere mortals, let's show strength of character and not lecture.

Back to our regularly-scheduled program.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-21-2006, 08:36 PM   #27
Upyu
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Paul Watt wrote:
Robert, I'm extremely disappointed in these remarks of yours, as it seems a lot like bragging at the expense of unnamed martial artists. In every dojo, academy or gym I've trained in, it was always clear that training is training. It is about polishing one's spirt and working cooperatively to improve the group, not improvement at the expense of others followed by their belittlement.
Uh ok dude.

Kraken! (Sorry, inside joke)

I'm not making "fun" of them at their expense. I still train with a couple of them, and I know one of them prolly reads these posts (to his amusement I'm sure )
I'm just telling you how it is.
I'm not invincible, I had my fair share of chokes put on me as well, but when all is said and done, the fact that I could go and roll toe to toe with these people with virtually no experience says a lot, especially since the ground game is generally considered "different" from the standup game.

Quote:
Paul Watt wrote:
If someone were to post on this board that they threw a high ranking aikidoist when they had very little training in aikido, I would expect that person to be taken to task, and rightly so. In the future I would hope we --- as a community --- would grant the same treatment to other martial artists.
Why would that bother you?
That would indicate that the guy might have something worth learning.

Incidentally if you want more info on the above, I suggest you PM Gernot. He can give you some funny annecdotes when I went down to Kyoto involving myself, a student from Abe sensei's class of some years, and my index finger

I don't hide where I train, and I post it openly for all to come check out. If I were full of BS I expect to be "taken" to task. But the fact that no one has yet also says a lot I think

Quote:
Paul Watt wrote:
Now then, speaking of methodology, perhaps if you could provide a link to the "push out" drill that was mentioned earlier to aid in understanding where you're coming from.
Fair enough, I was digging in the archives and couldn't find it even though I referenced it myself in the "Jo trick" thread.
JFYI though, that particular "drill" is more a baraometer of bodyskill. It doesn't actually develop it persay. More like it allows you to polish/refine the connections you've built up in the solo work( I've posted examples of solo work in the "training methedology thread" under the "Training"section)
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Old 08-21-2006, 10:47 PM   #28
paw
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
Why would that bother you?
That would indicate that the guy might have something worth learning.
On one level, it wouldn't, on another level it would.

I attended a Gracie camp and watched one fellow roll with Royce Gracie. Royce was very gracious, and never tapped the fellow he was rolling with. Royce allowed the other person into the game, so speak, and rolled at their level more or less, which gave them a chance to learn.

I've seen aikido instructors do the same thing with people who walk in off the street with x-number of years training in another art. The instructor lets the person experience success. The fellow off the street gets in the ballpark with their technical execution, and so the instructor (or senior student) gracefully falls and offers some words of encouragement.

And in both cases, I've seen the person talk about how they "were able to hang with Royce Gracie" or "how they threw that senior student/instructor". Not in front of Royce, and not in front of the senior student/instructor, but I think you get the picture. Chances are someone will make such a claim on the never-ending "aikido doesn't work" threads that hit the board from time to time.

So if you feel my objection was unfair or out of order, then please accept my apologies. I don't think it that was the case, but I realize you may feel differently, and I'm honestly not looking for a fight on the matter.

When I get a chance, I'll look up the thread you've suggested.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 08-21-2006, 11:39 PM   #29
Upyu
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Paul Watt wrote:
I attended a Gracie camp and watched one fellow roll with Royce Gracie. Royce was very gracious, and never tapped the fellow he was rolling with. Royce allowed the other person into the game, so speak, and rolled at their level more or less, which gave them a chance to learn.

I've seen aikido instructors do the same thing with people who walk in off the street with x-number of years training in another art. The instructor lets the person experience success. The fellow off the street gets in the ballpark with their technical execution, and so the instructor (or senior student) gracefully falls and offers some words of encouragement.
I understand where you're coming from, and I also understand the conditions which you were assuming this took place. That wasn't it. In the case of BJJ it was simple sparring done to whoever got submitted first. There was one purple belt that did just that, started out soft, to "guide" me through, then tried to eventually submit me with a textbook guard -> armbar. He couldn't, which caused him to ramp up the intensity since, well, everyone's got an ego ( myself included mea culpa). He was surprised that I was pretty much able to avoid every setup, and asked me if I had wrestling experience.

I've done the same thing at open rolling sessions at Paraestrae, and trust me, no one rolls to "teach" the other at those sessions.

Rolling with a GI doesn't exactly interest me at the moment which is why I'm not going to Axis right now (they tend to do Gi only work).

This isn't about ego though, it's about results. If I could get these kind of results, sans the overall groundwork strategy and technical knowhow... well think what someone with the technical knowhow/experience could do with this kind of bodyskill.

I'd never say that I don't have anything to learn from groundfighting, otherwise I wouldn't be training with said partners. I'm all about learning from each other. If I get my ass kicked soundly then all the better

Btw, rolling with any of the gracies would be a awesome.
Even it would end in
" ***** gracie by armbar"
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:11 AM   #30
darin
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Re: conditioning routines

I have to agree with Robert John on this. I too have seen people with natural ability out wrestle those who have done years of BJJ. I think their advantage is being unpredictable. The problem is that we all get used to one style of training and sparring/randori with one type of attack.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:25 PM   #31
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: conditioning routines

I'm not rejecting Robert's system, I have yet to hear anything that even makes me want to investigate it. These latest anecdotes about the fantastic wrestling abilities yielded don't add much. These could easily be explained, as Darin said, by talent. All the prior claims he has made that it is 'more advanced' than consensus science-based training, vastly superior to it, or the many dismissive things he has said of contemporary training methods that bely almost no understanding of what is being dismissed lead me to believe that I am dealing with something I have seen many times before.

Now I hear it has an "ancient" lineage. If you had seen as many dietary and training gimmicks and fads as I have, none of this would sound new to you. Caveman diets, secrets of the ancient yogis, the ancient art of Russian kettlebell training, any one of hundreds of ancient Chinese Gung Fu training methods, blah, blah, blah... Some of them have some useful elements and some are pretty much all crap, but what is common to all of them is that they never live up to the extravagant claims of the people who hype them, the people who hype them are never well-educated in the science and contemporary training methods, and they never represent something that discredits or supplants what we already know about training.
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Old 08-22-2006, 02:14 PM   #32
Mike Sigman
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
Now I hear it has an "ancient" lineage. If you had seen as many dietary and training gimmicks and fads as I have, none of this would sound new to you. Caveman diets, secrets of the ancient yogis, the ancient art of Russian kettlebell training, any one of hundreds of ancient Chinese Gung Fu training methods, blah, blah, blah... Some of them have some useful elements and some are pretty much all crap, but what is common to all of them is that they never live up to the extravagant claims of the people who hype them, the people who hype them are never well-educated in the science and contemporary training methods, and they never represent something that discredits or supplants what we already know about training.
All true, I'm sure. And you probably know more than the teaching faculty at the CU medical school, who hadn't seen or heard of such things as mind-controlled force vectors before (not to mention a number of things that I simply didn't get to show them). But they were interested and took a look without disparaging ahead of time... which was why I suggested that you should look at what Rob and Akuzawa do. They're probably the only resource I can think of that would be interested in showing you personally.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-22-2006, 08:03 PM   #33
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: conditioning routines

You truly have a talent for skew, Mike. I have never claimed vast knowledge of kinesiology or medicine, and, as I've said, I am still not even interested in the details of Robert's system.

The purpose of this thread was to ask people about good supplemental conditioning methods for Aikido. I suggested basic general preparation - basic strength and endurance training - which virtually all athletes of any type use worldwide as both foundation and supplement to training more specific to thier sport. Robert came on, and instead of saying "here's my system, I think it's good", he disparaged conventional methods in ways that did not make sense and belied his own ignorance of them. He then went on to trumpet his own system as superior and 'more advanced'.

What I have done from that point on is to respond to these claims and deconstruct the propaganda and fallacy he is peddling here. I haven't even begun to look into his system or disparage it.

What you have done is made several attempts to misrepresent my responses and impugn my motives in an attempt to assasinate my character... a type of activity which is apparently your principal hobby. As I said on the other thread, your posts are so shrill and your attempts at reasoning so sloppy that I don't see any point in prolonged argument with you. Changing your mind is obviously not on the table and responding for the sake of preventing others from being influenced by you is probably not necessary.
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Old 08-22-2006, 08:13 PM   #34
Mike Sigman
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
You truly have a talent for skew, Mike. I have never claimed vast knowledge of kinesiology or medicine, and, as I've said, I am still not even interested in the details of Robert's system.

The purpose of this thread was to ask people about good supplemental conditioning methods for Aikido. I suggested basic general preparation - basic strength and endurance training - which virtually all athletes of any type use worldwide as both foundation and supplement to training more specific to thier sport. Robert came on, and instead of saying "here's my system, I think it's good", he disparaged conventional methods in ways that did not make sense and belied his own ignorance of them. He then went on to trumpet his own system as superior and 'more advanced'.

What I have done from that point on is to respond to these claims and deconstruct the propaganda and fallacy he is peddling here. I haven't even begun to look into his system or disparage it.
Fair enough. You laid your reputation on the line. I lay mine on the line. This is about the third time I've tried to tell you, but I'm not as polite as before (it obviously doesn't work with you). There's something you don't know. It's worth seeing. If you want to have it archived that you "do Aikido" and you are belittling what Rob has been politely trying to tell you, fine. There's a *reason* why Ikeda Sensei invites Ushiro Sensei to teach "kokyu".... you don't seem to know that reason.
Quote:
What you have done is made several attempts to misrepresent my responses and impugn my motives in an attempt to assasinate my character... a type of activity which is apparently your principal hobby. As I said on the other thread, your posts are so shrill and your attempts at reasoning so sloppy that I don't see any point in prolonged argument with you. Changing your mind is obviously not on the table and responding for the sake of preventing others from being influenced by you is probably not necessary.
Thanks for the personal attack... again. I'm happy that you already know all the answers. Best of luck. Remember that I made it clear that you should go see this stuff through someone else.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 08-22-2006, 09:43 PM   #35
Upyu
Dojo: Aunkai, Tokyo
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
The purpose of this thread was to ask people about good supplemental conditioning methods for Aikido. I suggested basic general preparation - basic strength and endurance training - which virtually all athletes of any type use worldwide as both foundation and supplement to training more specific to thier sport. Robert came on, and instead of saying "here's my system, I think it's good", he disparaged conventional methods in ways that did not make sense and belied his own ignorance of them. He then went on to trumpet his own system as superior and 'more advanced'.
Actually I wouldn't say it's my system.
I personally know other teachers that have methedologies to develop this body skill.

Like Mike said, if you haven't touched hands with someone of skill I suggest you do so.
Here's a list you can start from:

Ushiro Kenji
Chen Xiao Wang (or any of the top Chen Village Instructors)
Don Angier of Yangagi Ryu
Sam Chin of Iliqchuan (Who also focuses on devleoping these skills directly and is in NY incidentally)
Ren Guan Yu of the Chen Style, also in NYC
Abe Seiseki
...list goes on

Some teachers are more forthcoming than others about talking about the "how" to exactly train it and what the physical requirements are. Besides Ark, I'd say Sam is easily one of the more approachable as well as several of his students having top notch skill. He's been to Russia as well, with several top mma/sambo guys who have done the whole "western" approach decided to incorporate his training methedology into their system.


One thing I want to make clear, I think you're mistaking the skillset I refer to as some kind of "technique" which is far from the case.

Think of it this way.

We both agree that Aikido is a form of human movement.
We simply disagree on how to power that movement.

You're choosing the orthodox western strengthening method.
I'd say this method is a similar concept, but that it trains a "different" kind of strength that you can't get from lifting weights, club bells, eating cave man food, or spouting nonsensical garbage while hugging trees.


FWIW

Last edited by Upyu : 08-22-2006 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 08-22-2006, 09:51 PM   #36
Upyu
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
What I have done from that point on is to respond to these claims and deconstruct the propaganda and fallacy he is peddling here. I haven't even begun to look into his system or disparage it.
Sorry for the double post...but isn't that kind of ...what's the word...oxymoronic in a sense?
How can you deconstruct something you haven't even looked at or given thought to?

I've laid out some basic exercises in my training manual. If you could do those simple exercises to a T, 100% correctly, incorporating all of the requirements I laid out, maybe I'll shut up
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Old 08-23-2006, 01:25 AM   #37
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
....stuff....

Sorry for the double post...but isn't that kind of ...what's the word...oxymoronic in a sense?
How can you deconstruct something you haven't even looked at or given thought to?
I don't know if this is just poor reading comprehension or a disingenuous attempt at a gotcha. I have been deconstructing your hype and misguided criticisms, not your training system, or whatever it is. I have stated this clearly, and now repeatedly.

If you want people to come and learn about what you do with an open mind, my advice is not to start off by recklessly criticising methods which you don't understand, and of which you obviously do not even understand the basic vocabulary or concepts. It's probably also best not to make extravagant claims about how your methods make others unnecessary and are 'more advanced' - particularly if the methods in question have been consistently integral to winning innumerable Olympic medals and world championships for decades running. If you don't want to be viewed as a carnival barker or snake oil salesman peddling something which sounds like a miracle but is probably worthless, don't talk like one.

***

For the sake of other onlookers, I'll reiterate that my original post recommending simple strength and endurance training was identifying the most basic, useful types of supplemental training serving the modest goals of injury prevention and achieving sufficient conditioning to make Aikido training easier and more productive. Ask anyone involved in athletic training for any sport at any level and you will find that this is not even remotely controversial - it is considered basic and minimum as something one does prior to participating in a sport and as supplemental to sport-specific training on an ongoing basis.

A lot of the subsequent argument is centered around a separate question, which I never intended to address: what kind of training would be optimal for Aikido, or would result in optimum performance. To my knowledge, contemporary science-based methods have never been put to this use... not even close. If you want to see what these methods are and what they can accomplish in terms of faster, higher, stronger, look at professional and Olympic level sports. Compare what these athletes can do now compared to what they could do 50 or more years ago when most athletes were depending on received wisdom-based methods, and rigorous science had not yet been applied to the task... I think the results speak for themselves.

I didn't get into this latter question because it seems pretty nonsensical when applied to Aikido. The reasons why I practice Aikido and pretty much everyone else I have ever encountered do, have little to do with being stronger, faster or better at it in an athletic sense. There is no organized competition in most incarnations of the art, and few people are into it for the sake of going out and being a devastating super-fighter. Even when people set goals along athletic lines, or hold competitions in some sects, it is usually for a broader or higher purpose in terms of what they are ultimately looking for from the art, not winning for the sake of winning. So I don't see many Aikidoists lining up for complex multifactoral periodization training, strict diets with weighed portions and regular blood workup monitoring, force plate and high-speed video analysis, temperature contrast baths, etc... I would never argue for the superiority of this kind of training for Aikido because it's beside the point.
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Old 08-23-2006, 01:41 AM   #38
Upyu
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
If you want people to come and learn about what you do with an open mind, my advice is not to start off by recklessly criticising methods which you don't understand, and of which you obviously do not even understand the basic vocabulary or concepts. It's probably also best not to make extravagant claims about how your methods make others unnecessary and are 'more advanced' - particularly if the methods in question have been consistently integral to winning innumerable Olympic medals and world championships for decades running. If you don't want to be viewed as a carnival barker or snake oil salesman peddling something which sounds like a miracle but is probably worthless, don't talk like one.
Sagawa was famous for having Olympic gold medalist Judoists come into his Dojo and not be able to to do anything within a "judo" match setting. (To the point of knocking one of them clean cold with a throw that looked like he barely twitched, this of course when he was at the ripe young age of 87)
Even with that skill, Sagawa mentioned that all of this was grounded in building the body in a specific manner, which you can't do using simple weights.

Which makes me not the "only one" making "extravagent" claims. Maybe you should consider that they're out of your field of experience.

My personal opinoin, I don't think Aikido was made for the purpose of the "touchy feely" winning is not winning philisophical bs that a lot of people like to espouse. That only comes as a result of the bodyskill you foster from solo training. If you get that far, then you have a right to say whatever you want.

I suggest you look up one of the people myself, mike and others have mentioned in other threads. Maybe you'll get a taste for something that's outside your paradigms for once.

PS
I'm not recklessly critizing something I don't understand. I've done those routines way back, I also workout with people that follow those routines. To get your foot in the door, its fine, if you just want overall fitness in the beginnning. Eventually though, that kind of training regimine can become a roadblock to further progress unless you have a proper guide.

Oh, and hit me back when you've tried those exercises

Last edited by Upyu : 08-23-2006 at 01:44 AM.
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:34 AM   #39
paw
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Robert John wrote:
You're choosing the orthodox western strengthening method.
I'd say this method is a similar concept, but that it trains a "different" kind of strength that you can't get from lifting weights, club bells, eating cave man food, or spouting nonsensical garbage while hugging trees.
Robert,

I haven't had the chance to examine the post you mentioned earlier, but here's the disconnect that I have.

Muscles contract and relax. Different training methods may have muscles contract longer, or attempt to recruit a maximum number of fibers to contract, but as best I understand it, muscles contract (and relax). A muscle doesn't know what resistence is causing the contraction --- if it's electrically stimulated, or it's a free weight, a clubbell, a kettlebell, a sandbag, an elastic band, your own bodyweight or the groceries you bought. The mind knows, but not the muscle.

Is my understanding incorrect?

So then, I don't see how any training methodology can develop a "different" kind of physical strength that cannot be developed in any other way. The muscles have to contract, and there's a number of ways to accomplish that. The "best" way to accomplish that, depends on the individual's goals and the physical demands of the activities they face.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:22 AM   #40
cguzik
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Re: conditioning routines

You have to ask yourself what kind of conditioning you want. Endurance and stength training are fine, if that's what you are looking for.

Most weight training programs inculcate the basic push/pull response with isolated muscle groups. I used to do it, but I stopped because this basic response was interfering with my ability to use my whole body in a connected way during aikido practice.

However, core strength training (e.g., push-ups with your toes on an inflatable ball, hanging crunches, etc) are probably much more effective from the standpoint of building up one's ability to use the core to maintain balance and structure.

Last edited by cguzik : 08-23-2006 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:33 AM   #41
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Chris Guzik wrote:
Most weight training programs inculcate the basic push/pull response with isolated muscle groups. I used to do it, and stopped because this basic response was interfering with my ability to use my whole body in a connected way during aikido practice.
This place is like an irrational myth factory. Have you really encountered "most weight training programs"? Been on a world tour, have you? Visited Olympic Training Facilities and professional sports teams?

How do you know doing a few weight exercises a couple times per week was creating this "basic push/pull response" which you were apparently unable to unlearn and that it was interfering with your Aikido? Personally, this is the first time I've ever heard of a "push/pull response". Can you provide any technical description of it or any plausible explanation of why it inhibited you from developing largely unrelated motor skills?
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:45 AM   #42
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: conditioning routines

Ah you edited. "Core" training is a current fad. The novel exercises you describe don't train the "core" any more than the extremities, and training the core more than or apart from the extremities isn't even desireable. Resistance training exercises that are useful for sport conditioning usually involve most or all of the body in a coordinated chain - muscles seemingly not involved in movement contribute to joint stability and balance. This is why they are chosen as fundamental strengthening exercises, because they are large, basic whole-body movements. A weighted Back Squat will do much more for your 'core' than any exercise that involves wobbling around on a ball or balance board, because it can provide far more resistance. Moreover, the strength developed is more likely to carry over into practical activity because managing your body plus other weight standing on the ground is much more common than wobbling on balls or boards.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 08-23-2006 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:06 PM   #43
clwk
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Paul wrote:
Muscles contract and relax. . . . . A muscle doesn't know what resistence is causing the contraction --- . . . The mind knows, but not the muscle.

Is my understanding incorrect?

So then, I don't see how any training methodology can develop a "different" kind of physical strength that cannot be developed in any other way.
I'm not Rob, and I'm only jumping in here because it sounds like you're not being facetious. The quoted and snipped portion of your question might contain a clue to an answer. Reading what you wrote, I notice - buried in your suppositions - the idea that 'physical strength' can only be developed by training the muscles.

Think about the simple case of applying force downward though. You *can* train the muscles to apply a downward force, but you can also use the body weight to do the same thing. But - and this is the important part - by default, you cannot use the weight without also using the muscles, because you rely on the muscles to form the connection between the bulk of the body mass and the point of application. If there were some other way to form that connection - then maybe you could use the weight without incurring the 'cost' of using the muscle. In order to train that though, you would need to isolate it. As long as you stay focused on strength coming only from the muscles, then you're specifically preventing yourself from strengthening the connection in any other way. Consider - by analogy - that as long as you believe tortilla chips come in a bag, you never learn to make them from tortillas. It might be easy, it might be hard, but as long as you buy them from the store, you don't explore other options. Assuming strength comes only from muscles is believing tortilla chips come in a bag. I'm not particularly prepared to go into detail about how to make tortilla chips, but if you think about it, I think it might answer your actual question.

-ck
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:43 PM   #44
Upyu
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Paul Watt wrote:
Robert,
Muscles contract and relax. Different training methods may have muscles contract longer, or attempt to recruit a maximum number of fibers to contract, but as best I understand it, muscles contract (and relax). A muscle doesn't know what resistence is causing the contraction --- if it's electrically stimulated, or it's a free weight, a clubbell, a kettlebell, a sandbag, an elastic band, your own bodyweight or the groceries you bought. The mind knows, but not the muscle.
No disagreement there Paul. A muscle reacts against force. It either contracts or relaxs. But you can control how much it does so. Plus a human body is NOT a sandbag.
The ONLY reason this kind of strength works so well is because of how our skeletal structure is. (Btw, this still isn't referring to technique, just thought I'd cut that off at the head)

Try and dig a bit deeper.

Really though, I would suggest that you goto one of the afore mentioned people and feel them. Really its the only way to know what some of us on this board have been talking about.
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:54 PM   #45
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: conditioning routines

What you say is interesting ck, but again there is a problem with basic terms. A standard exercise science definition of Strength is the maximum amount of force a muscle or group of muscles can generate at a specified velocity.

What you are talking about is interesting, but it is not strength, unless you want to expand the definition into the realm of poetry, which will make any kind of reasoned argument difficult. By your own example, for instance, an obese person is extremely strong by definition, though perhaps limited to instances of standing or sitting on something. The ability to exert force through low effort use of the body's weight and inherent tissue structures certainly seems to be a goal of Aikido and other 'internal' martial arts. Using accepted definitions, however, learning to do this would be classified as learning a skill, not developing strength.

It may be that this is exactly what the other fellows are describing when they talk about what I am calling their 'system' for developing a "different kind of strength". I have no problem with this, or with believing that I might be impressed with their abilities or the abilities of gurus on their list. Where they, and apparently also you, go wrong is here:

"As long as you stay focused on strength coming only from the muscles, then you're specifically preventing yourself from strengthening the connection in any other way."

There is a problem here and it is a direct function of not knowing these basic terms and what they mean. A lot is known about the interaction of various methods of strength and skill training. It is not true that training for strength necessarily prohibits one from learning a skill, except if one were dealing with such time constraints that only one activity could be fit into a schedule. These days, serious athletes of all types do a wide variety of different types of training, from basic strength and endurance training, to power training, to sport or movement-specific conditioning, to learning a skill... even psychological exercises.

What has been at issue all along is whether whatever this 'system' is eliminates the need for other types of training. If it is, as I suspect, something I would classify as sport-specific skill training, then the answer is no, it does not and cannot eliminate the need for other modalities.

As I pointed out initially, the purpose of basic strength training is to build up a base level of fitness and prevent injury. It does this by increasing cross-sectional muscle area, bone density, ligament and tendon tensile strength and thickness, etc... Skill training is no substitute. Likewise for the power training. If the goal is to increase motor-neural qualities related to developing greater acceleration and power, more skill training is not a substitute. If the goal is to increase the intensity and duration of the output of the body's phosphate and glycogen energy systems, skill training is no substitute for interval training. You get the idea...

Now, I have no opinion about whether the 'system' in question can produce amazing results, but I do know that it cannot replace a type of training that is dissimilar to it or achieve superior results in terms of increasing a particular fitness factor to another mode of training expressly designed to maximize this factor. It is basic science and basic logic.
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:15 PM   #46
clwk
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Re: conditioning routines

Kevin,

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
What you say is interesting ck, but again there is a problem with basic terms. A standard exercise science definition of Strength is the maximum amount of force a muscle or group of muscles can generate at a specified velocity.
I haven't read every post in this thread so carefully to know for absolute certain, but I would not assume that 'standard exercise science' is the source of word usage in play. I understand that this is your area of interest though. Certainly 'strength' does not imply muscle in the 'standard English language' usage. I'd be willing to argue the point, but I think it's both obvious and somewhat tangential. If we're just quibbling over whose vocabulary to use, who cares? I believe one of the interviews Mike linked to (was it this thread, or another?) talks about 'jin' and 'li' as different kinds of 'strength' - and this distinction is fairly comprehensible, I think.

Quote:
What you are talking about is interesting, but it is not strength, unless you want to expand the definition into the realm of poetry, which will make any kind of reasoned argument difficult.
Come on, now - I'm just asking to remove the word 'muscle', really - not proposing something magical.
Quote:
By your own example, for instance, an obese person is extremely strong by definition, though perhaps limited to instances of standing or sitting on something.
Well, okay - but I'd also hedge and say those are pretty serious limitations, so what's difference does it make? It's also not totally academic because in order to lift their own weight a heavy person *does* have to be strong. It's just that they don't have a lot left over to use for anything else - unless, as you say they are sitting on someone, *or* they have the ability to harness their full weight in a variety of ways.
Quote:
The ability to exert force through low effort use of the body's weight and inherent tissue structures certainly seems to be a goal of Aikido and other 'internal' martial arts. Using accepted definitions, however, learning to do this would be classified as learning a skill, not developing strength.
I think you are proposing a false dichotomy between 'muscular strength' and 'skill'. You assume that 'inherent tissue structures' do not need to be and cannot be developed. Why is it you consider subjecting the muscles to load in order to strengthen them conditioning, but you consider doing the same thing to the 'inherent tissue structures' to be skill training? I'm not saying there are not important skill-related trainings intertwined with this kind of conditioning (if it even exists, right?) - but that's not what's under discussion.
Quote:
Where they, and apparently also you, go wrong is here:
As I said before, I'm not Rob, and I don't speak for Akuzawa's system. I would also like to point out that your entire argument is based on the assertion that other people are misusing 'accepted terminology' and therefore what they are saying cannot make sense. I think everyone would agree that the word 'strength' is not being used according to your supplied definition. Nevertheless, sports science does not have a lock on diction; and there is an obvious use of the word which you are misunderstanding. Either:

a) you are intentionally being difficult (possibly because you assume the people with whom you disagree are idiots, and therefore deserve it).
b) you don't understand/know something substantial which is being discussed.
c) there is a genuine misunderstanding of some kind.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume c) - but if this doesn't help clear it up, I don't see many options other than a) or b). Oh, wait - there's d) You are completely right, and those with whom you disagree *are* idiots.

For fun, in order to add something substantive and not *just quibble over terminology*, let me try a slightly more concrete example than the tortilla chips. Suppose you take two archers and give them identical bows and one year to train. At the end of this year, they have a contest to see who can shoot a single arrow the farthest. They can train in any way they like. Let's assume that both archers spend a portion of their time making sure they can aim the bow and release the arrow in such a way as to maximize the translation of their 'strength' into arrow distance. (This would be your 'skill' component.) Now, let's say that one archer decides to spend most of his extra training time strengthening his arms, back, chest, etcetera - so he could pull a bow with, say, a 500 pound draw (good training methods!). Of course, the bow he was issued has only a 100 pound maximum draw. The other archer spends only a portion of this time on muscle, so he only gets enough muscular strength to draw a 250 pound bow. However, he spends his spare time conditioning his bow - who cares how, it's just an example. The end result though, is that he has physically changed his bow so that it can sustain a 250 pound pull. My question is this: on game day, who can shoot farther? Which archer has more available strength for archery? Notice this has nothing to do with skill at all. It's actually kind of calculus problem as to how much time to spend on what. And just to forestall the obvious trivial point - *obviously* the 'bow' in this analogy is not an external object: it's part of the 'archer' - a component of his power-delivery system, just like his muscles are.

Like I said, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you're at least a little interested in real discussion. I think for this discussion to be anything like productive *you* would need to accept that 'standard exercise science' hasn't necessarily analyzed this particular problem to death (note: I'm not saying it couldn't apply - just that the application doesn't seem to have been performed. If it had been performed, then your definition of 'strength' would either be more inclusive, or you would have a better word than 'skill' to substitute for it.) If you cannot accept this, then you're right - there's no point in the discussion; but maybe someone else will find it interesting anyway.

-ck
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:26 AM   #47
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: conditioning routines

Okay, I understand a little better what you are proposing as this new type of 'strength'. It seems like an interesting hypothesis, but my main concern is that you are still positing something extra and unnecessary on top of what is probably just skill development. How do you know that the amazing throwing/not being thrown/whatever effects of this training are the result of structures in the body becoming stronger, as opposed to just developing more skill at aligning, moving and holding the body?

What do you propose is going on physiologically?

The structures in question are pretty straightforward. If you aren't using any muscular strength, then we are just talking about bones and ligaments. This is absurd however, because not using any strength will result in lying crumpled on the floor. So we add muscles, tendons and fascial sheaths, assuming one must at least use a little effort to provide locomotion and hold joints in stable positions... So far as I know, these are the only available structures that are likely to contribute: bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and fascial sheaths.

You could propose that training these structures in some special way makes some or all of them far stronger than weight training ever could. This sounds like it can be easily dismissed without even doing comparitive biopsies/autopsies on powerlifters, weightlifters and internal strength gurus. The structures in question get stronger as an adaptation to the application of force... is anything going on when someone throws someone with seemingly little effort that compares to cleaning 600 pounds or sqautting 1000? Probably not. Lifting or heaving huge amounts of weight is going to make these structures much stronger than anything done involving less force...

To my knowledge, biopsies on powerlifters show the highest bone density in lower body bones on record that are not the result of disease, and we already know they have the strongest muscles. It seems safe to deduce that they probably also have the strongest ligaments, tendons, and fascial sheaths. And, of course, anyone competent in Aikido or Judo should be able to throw an unskilled powerlifter fairly easily.

So what is getting "stronger"? It seems the obvious answer is nothing much more than when someone does ordinary Aikido. On the other hand, the development of the neuromotor elements that involve how one aligns, holds and moves the body is plausible as an explanation of the development of amazing throwing and balancing capablities without the application of huge forces, and without the kind of muscular hypertrophy one would expect to see develop in muscles required to stabilize joints during the transmission of such forces. Learning to align and move the body in a more effective way is best described as a skill, not strength.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 08-24-2006 at 12:28 AM.
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:01 AM   #48
Upyu
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Re: conditioning routines

Now we're getting somewhere I think

Kevin, just out of curiosity, can you try the following exercise. It's the pushout exercise I mentioned before.

Since i couldn't find it I'll try my best to describe it.

Two people face each other at arms length.
Feet shoulder width apart. Knees straight, not bent.
Person A's arms are extended, the Person B's arms are pulled back, chest open, shoulderblades touching, shoulders dropped.
A then tenses the arms (in whatever manner you feel comfortable with) with the specific aim to keep B from extending his arms.

B tries to extend his arms and move A back without RESTING his weight, or leaning in any manner, or using the arm muscles extensively.

Kevin or anyone else that cares to try this exercise let me know what your results were?
I think this discussion could take an interesting turn, and we might be able to find some middle ground.

Btw Kevin I do agree that the strengthening the connective tissue is important.
In fact the exercises I mentioned do the same thing, increasing bone density, tendon strength, tensile strength, density etc etc etc. But without increasing the muscle size significantly(For reasons maybe we can get into later)

Your observation about certain muscles needing to be engaged is also correct since we'd simply collapse to the floor.
But how you strengthen the muscle is all important since simply strengthening it can be detrimental to learning the "strength" skill we mentioned since it involves gaining control over the relax/contract nature of muscles.

I think we can find some middle ground on this

See if you, or someone else can't do this exercise first, then hit me back with your thoughts.
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:11 AM   #49
Upyu
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Re: conditioning routines

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
weightlifters and internal strength gurus. The structures in question get stronger as an adaptation to the application of force... is anything going on when someone throws someone with seemingly little effort that compares to cleaning 600 pounds or sqautting 1000? Probably not. Lifting or heaving huge amounts of weight is going to make these structures much stronger than anything done involving less force...
Sorry for the double post, and I'm not trying to be a jackass here...

but what if, what if Judo players "think" they're using their entire body to throw, using all their strength, but actually because of the way they train, end up using their muscluature in an opposing fashion, fighting their own structure, and using more muscle in the process.

The fact that Sagawa was able to stand there with 100kg Olympic medalists pulling on his jacket unable to move him means that maybe their bodies weren't working in an optimum matter.
(Sagawa at that point was in his late eighties, weighting maybe 110 lb soaking wet)

I'm able to show a similar principle to wrestlers who I work out with. They devote all their strength trying to "throw" me, thinking they have my balance, but since they haven't destabilized my upper center, they can't throw me or double leg me, and each time they do they say I feel like a sack of bricks, or a wall (take your pick).

But its not like my weight suddently increased either...

Btw, the guys trying to throw me, suplex me whatever generally have a 10-15 kg weight advantage on me, and can certainly bench more, and do weighted squats etc the whole nine yards. They're also flexible and not stiff. But their muscles always tense up when they come in contact with me...

just some food for thought...
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:19 AM   #50
James Young
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Re: conditioning routines

For those who are interested Kenji Ushiro sensei's take on muscle training is (according to his book Kata: The Essence of Bujutsu Karate, pg. 209) as follows:

"Muscle training may be good when you are young, but as you become older, your muscles gradually weaken. Also, muscle training has a side effect, that is, it leads you to rely on power and thus your karate becomes a power karate. Power karate causes you to become immobilized during your movements. Also, the spped of your movements becomes slower and you become unable to produce explosive power. Karate that relies on power can be learned in a short period of time, but the reality is also that this kind of karate can only be maintained for a short period of time.
In muscle training, there is a tendency to train only partially. It is also difficult to unify all muscle elements into one because of the existence of an unlimited number of factors thus making it impossible to develop a unified body. This means that you are unable to move freely. This can be considered the major problem with muscle trauining."

This passage comes from the kokyu-ryoku section, so the explosive power and unification he refers to he states can only be developed through kokyu training. Obviously these same concepts apply to aikido as well, that is why I believe Rob John and others are saying it's more productive to train in exercises that will help you develop that kokyu power rather than just concentrating on traditional strength training. I believe strength training has its place and I do it myself, however, for the purpose of mastering aikido I think you only need to do it to a certain level to reach a certain level of fitness. Unlike other sports where generally the stronger and more athletic you are has direct benfits, aikido by design doesn't necessarily benefit nearly as much in the same way because you shouldn't need a high level of strength and speed. Once you reach a certain level of strength and firness and maintain that in my opinion I think you can benefit more from concentrating on those exercises that develop kokyu power rather than additional strength training. So I'm saying in my opinion both types of conditioning are important, the balance of which may be dependent on your personal fitness level and the level and focus of your aikido training.
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