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Old 03-30-2007, 11:42 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

I wonder why Tohei, who focused on trying to get ki and kokyu skills to the forefront of Aikido again (even when he was still with Hombu Dojo as the head instructor), neglected to mention weight-training as an aid to Aikido and instead kept trying to get people to relax as they're beginning to learn?

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Mike Sigman
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Old 03-30-2007, 12:01 PM   #2
akiy
 
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
I wonder why Tohei, who focused on trying to get ki and kokyu skills to the forefront of Aikido again (even when he was still with Hombu Dojo as the head instructor), neglected to mention weight-training as an aid to Aikido and instead kept trying to get people to relax as they're beginning to learn?
Maybe he had a different focus of his training and teaching than others? From what I have experieced, different aikido shihan have different approaches and emphasis (eg Morihiro Saito sensei and heavy suburito). So it goes.

In any case, please let's stick with the subject at hand which is aikido, weight lifting, and flexibility. Thank you.

-- Jun

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Old 03-31-2007, 06:56 AM   #3
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Weight training as in power lifitng or isolated body sculpting lifting?
They really are two different things
Dead lifting can be done for whole body strength without that isolated "Hey ma look at my biceps!" thing.

But power lifing, and stretching-which need to go hand in hand-won't help your aikido one wit. May even harm it. I tried it
Aikido training should never be about physical muscle driven strength. Thats low, low level. Approaching aikido that way will slow down any real progress. The power is in relaxation yes. But it is in "using" that relaxation to both do things and allow things in your body to create aiki.
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Old 03-31-2007, 12:15 PM   #4
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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Kevin Wilbanks wrote: View Post
The orginal question was not about how or whether weight training would take one's Aikido to some rarified level. In my view, it probably wouldn't help much in this respect, because that is all about skill, and there are no clearly defined performance goals to even test whether such a program works. The question was about "stiffness" and flexibility, and whether weight training might cause it and thereby hinder one's Aikido. The answer is clearly no, as most pro athletes do employ weight training and there are plenty of examples of these that are way more flexible, finely coordinated, and fluidly moving than most Aikidoists.
The problem is that learning to use the ground, the weight, the "ki", etc., with the middle actively controlling these things, means that you have to extensively recoordinate the way you move. That's what the problem is. Different arts have different preferred approaches to this massive re-coordination (Tai Chi, for example, approaches the recoordination/re-training through slow movements, etc.). Aikido has some deliberate re-training-of-movement exercises, but most people slop through them as "warmup" exercises or vague ritualistic movements and miss the whole point.

The person who has been shown how to move in this new fashion has to spend a lot of time and focus re-learning how to move. Using weights in the same isolation fashion as his old movement is simply counter-productive for this because you never learn the new way of moving from the middle controlling the jin/kokyu.

But everyone should have known that. It is NOT a matter of "well that's your opinion". It's simply the basics, not some arguable opinion. If it is a matter of discussion and campfire opinion about how to build up kokyu power, etc., then maybe Ushiro puts it best: "No Kokyu; No Aikido". Period. I.e., if we're talking about using weight-training, we're not talking about Aikido.

Can someone who has learned this form of movement now use heavy implements and weights? Yes. But he'll use them quite differently from someone who doesn't know these movement skills.

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Mike Sigman
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Old 03-31-2007, 11:10 PM   #5
Kevin Wilbanks
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Ridiculous. Do you find eating with a fork interferes with your ability to write with a pen? Human beings are not so badly designed as to be haplessly unable to keep from mixing up different movement patterns and skills. Power cleans and barbell squats are nothing like the movement patterns of dribbling a basketball and weaving through defenders, yet Michael Jordan did them, and both he and his strength coaches thought they were valuable.

You are correct that this is not a matter of opinion, nor is it a matter of self-evident proclamation from people claiming esoteric knowledge, it's a matter of scientifically established fact, and something easily verifiable by anyone's own experiences. I have never met nor even heard of a single person who uncontrollably mixed up skills in the way you are describing. Can you cite an instance of someone who went to write a letter yet couldn't help jamming the pen in his mouth? A runner who intended to do tenkan but instead uncontrollably sprinted across the mat?

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Old 04-01-2007, 09:44 AM   #6
DH
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Kevin
Mike is correct, you are not.
A very simple example is the upper body. Most men I meet and play with fire the familiar combo of pecs/delts/arms. Hence their whole upper center is hard and light. It takes years and years to reverse that and get your center in your hands. You can say "center is body mass" till we're blue in the face. I just did!! Most guys I've met- haven't a clue what that really means.
Lifting can really set you back if your not careful, and you will just be another "strong guy" whoopie.

And if you want to argue with Mike's idea your arguing with a thousand years of history of Asian arts all saying the same thing.
Ya might as well argue with Ueshiba.

As for the Saito example. I'd say outright "He just didn't get it at that point." Period. Want to argue with that too. Exaplin Uehsiba improving when He was small? Explain Sagawa a waif-trashing gold medal judoka. Takeda at 4' 11" trashing men all over. For the men who think lifting is the way to make better martial artists I say please continue. To those who can think past what they see and currently know, please reconsider.

I appreciate the "Show me" state of mind. But it has a false air of certainty. Maybe you guys should consider you don't know everything cause your dads, coaches and Arnold told you so, or you haven't felt it from somone who really knows what they're doing. Makes me wonder why folks are in an Asian art at all? They are willing to go lift and run and build up. And not train the body method that allowed the Asian artists to "tune" everyones butts in the first place. All they see and think of is muscle and technique.
Its like doing UFC 1 all over again. Bunch of yahoos counting on technique and muscle size wresttlers who power lifted, P/Kers who lifted getting absolutely tuned, owned... by a small guy with a method they did not know.
Here we are today. SSDD
Poor Morihei.

Aikido body and strength training should be of a different type. The internal one. The one advocated by?????????? Its founder
I'm pretty sure he knew better then Kevin.

Last edited by DH : 04-01-2007 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:12 AM   #7
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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Ridiculous. Do you find eating with a fork interferes with your ability to write with a pen? Human beings are not so badly designed as to be haplessly unable to keep from mixing up different movement patterns and skills. Power cleans and barbell squats are nothing like the movement patterns of dribbling a basketball and weaving through defenders, yet Michael Jordan did them, and both he and his strength coaches thought they were valuable.

You are correct that this is not a matter of opinion, nor is it a matter of self-evident proclamation from people claiming esoteric knowledge, it's a matter of scientifically established fact, and something easily verifiable by anyone's own experiences. I have never met nor even heard of a single person who uncontrollably mixed up skills in the way you are describing. Can you cite an instance of someone who went to write a letter yet couldn't help jamming the pen in his mouth? A runner who intended to do tenkan but instead uncontrollably sprinted across the mat?
Actually Ark's mentioned that he regrets ever having done gymnastics. A lot of the exercises that he did caused him to ingrain some bad habits that cause the shoulder muscles to flare up a bit. Ideally you want to cut down any unwanted firing of the muscles down to a minimum. Strength training/lifting does exactly the opposite. All of my mma friends that life have a hard time improving on connection exercises until they stop lifting.
If they bitch and moan I point to them and say, look, you're built like a friggin freight train, but I let you try and double leg me but you can't take me down...but I'm skinny as "#$k compared to you so why am I so hard to take down?
Then they bitch and moan saying the connection exercises are too taxing on the body, then they suffer a brain fart and collapse in a heap on the ground...ayyayyay can't win either way
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:22 AM   #8
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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Ridiculous. Do you find eating with a fork interferes with your ability to write with a pen? Human beings are not so badly designed as to be haplessly unable to keep from mixing up different movement patterns and skills. Power cleans and barbell squats are nothing like the movement patterns of dribbling a basketball and weaving through defenders, yet Michael Jordan did them, and both he and his strength coaches thought they were valuable.

You are correct that this is not a matter of opinion, nor is it a matter of self-evident proclamation from people claiming esoteric knowledge, it's a matter of scientifically established fact, and something easily verifiable by anyone's own experiences. I have never met nor even heard of a single person who uncontrollably mixed up skills in the way you are describing. Can you cite an instance of someone who went to write a letter yet couldn't help jamming the pen in his mouth? A runner who intended to do tenkan but instead uncontrollably sprinted across the mat?
Maybe your first example with the pen is a good one. Doing correct calligraphy involves changing one's movements to exactly the same kind of movement I'm talking about. People who do calligraphy like that use their chopsticks (forks) in a different way than people who don't understand kokyu movement.

You're saying "ridiculous". I'm saying that this is all about something in which you have no experience or you'd know I'm simply saying something fairly basic. To follow your line of thinking, even the discussion about "use your hara for movement" is meaningless and your perception of "using the hara" indeed doesn't ring a bell as being substantively different from normal movement. But you can't bring yourself to say "hmmmm... I'd need to see it". You simply gainsay everything with the idea there can be nothing under the sun you don't already know.

But then, that's why I'm contributing less and less to this forum. The number of people who already know everything is too high and the people who have been interested enough to explore have pretty much already done so. Go your own path. Remember though that I have 7-8 years of experience in Aikido and a large number of years in a number of other martial arts, not to mention a lot of years chasing down the fundamentals of this odd type of movement. You have zero real experience in this type of movement yet you're quick to poo-poo it. I'd simply suggest you go get some bona fide experience in it before you make pronouncements about it.

Regards,

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-01-2007, 10:26 AM   #9
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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Demetrio Cereijo wrote: View Post
The story Saito Sensei told was that he used to accompany O-Sensei on many trips. In the beginning he wasn't that strong, and had trouble handling some of the trainees in the places they visited. So, he took up weightlifting to build himself up. He couldn't afford a barbell of his own, so he worked out using a railroad rail that he got from work.
Heck, I use weights, too. But I use them in a quite different way from what a weight-lifter does. Your story is good, but you have no real idea of whether Saito (1.) had good internal skills or not (notice that none of us hold him up as an examplar of internal skill; we don't know or (2.) whether O-Sensei coached Saito in using weights correctly or not.

I.e., this is a more complex discussion that a few simple anecdotes are going to cover.

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Mike Sigman
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:40 AM   #10
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

I used to be an avid weightlifter, but I've also come to believe that typical weightlifting is actually counterproductive if you want to develop the sorts of body skills coveted by the Asian masters. The science of sports training is not laid in stone, and the carryover and risk/benefit of particular forms of training to a specific sport is a topic of hot debate. One thing that is fairly well established is the principle of specificity, and clearly if the old masters lifted weights their bodies would look like weightlifter's bodies, and they don't. You can see in YouTube videos that someone like Chen Xiao Wang has noodle arms. I went to a seminar with Chen Bing, the body type is a result of specific kinds of training, same with Akuzawa, Ushiro, etc. Mixing weightlifting with Aikido will produce more reliance on muscling technique and typical external movement. If that's all you want to do or all you believe Aikido is (then why bother? there are plenty of more combative arts to choose from), then it should improve that. But if you're after what Ueshiba had, you would likely be heading in the wrong direction.
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:56 AM   #11
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

This is the powerhouse that wasted Judoka and Aikidoka alike in his eigthties-Sagawa Yukiyoshi

I think we should have advised a western personal trainer to teach him how to lift properly. Then he could have been more powerful. Afterall, of course we know best.
I wonder why the wieghtlifing Judoka who got trashed didn't win?
Ahh!!! must have been technique.
Gotta remember
Lifting and technique
Lifting and technique
Attached Images
File Type: bmp Sagawa.bmp (66.8 KB, 198 views)

Last edited by DH : 04-01-2007 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 04-01-2007, 12:32 PM   #12
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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Ideally you want to cut down any unwanted firing of the muscles down to a minimum.
YES!

Any muscles that are firing when they don't need to be are off the reservation, so to speak. In order to redeploy a firing muscle, it must first be relaxed. This takes up extra time, creates slack, and can be easily felt by those who know what they're feeling for. If it can be felt, it can be foiled. Any muscle that doesn't need to be firing as per the job order at hand shouldn't be. This, I think, is what Tohei sensei really meant when he said "relax completely" (which you can't literally do and still remain standing): relax every muscle that doesn't need to be firing.

One of our dōjō family is a very accomplished bodybuilder. He's incredibly strong, but his weightlifting makes it very hard to do Aiki. (Although, it does seem to help him get women... hmmm...)

The type of force generated by firing muscles in a sport like basketball is quite different from the subtle, almost imperceptable, yet very forceful stuff going on here. This is why sport Judo sucks when compared to what Mifune sensei was doing... it's the exact opposite.

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Old 04-01-2007, 04:12 PM   #13
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Quote:
One of our dōjō family is a very accomplished bodybuilder. He's incredibly strong, but his weightlifting makes it very hard to do Aiki.
I would expect that a bodybuilder would have a hard time with aikido --- to me, it would unusual if they didn't. Of course a bodybuilder would have trouble, since bodybuilding's most common training methodologies and practices are all about muscle isolation, rather than using the body as a single unit.

And...now a rant. I have a pet peeve with the use of "weightlifter". I sincerely doubt that people have trained or do train aikido with a weightlifter --- that is to say someone who competes in weightlifting (clean & jerk, snatch --- Olympic weightlifting). Weightlifters are phenomial athletes; matching gymnasts in flexibility and sprinters in speed in addition to being frighteningly strong.

I suspect when people say "weightlifter" they are referring to someone who weight trains, and frankly, that could mean anything at all.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-02-2007, 04:15 PM   #14
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Digressing from body building and developing kokyu/internal power, I thought I might share something from the BBC series, "Mind Body and Kickass Moves" which I thought might be appropriate.

It was mentioning that when developing a martial body it was more important to have developed triceps, than biceps, and that large biceps would inhibit power (particularaly striking power,but the same in grappling as well), in that in more techniques your arms extend out/ push out than pull in.

Perhaps this is why some people with bodybuilding techniques have some difficulties with MA?
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Old 04-02-2007, 05:40 PM   #15
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
Digressing from body building and developing kokyu/internal power, I thought I might share something from the BBC series, "Mind Body and Kickass Moves" which I thought might be appropriate.

It was mentioning that when developing a martial body it was more important to have developed triceps, than biceps, and that large biceps would inhibit power (particularaly striking power,but the same in grappling as well), in that in more techniques your arms extend out/ push out than pull in.

Perhaps this is why some people with bodybuilding techniques have some difficulties with MA?
Interestingly, Korestoshi Maruyama head of aikido yuishinkai (ki soc offshoot) often discusses using the triceps in relation to internal power.

Mike

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Old 04-03-2007, 07:04 AM   #16
Mike Sigman
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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The true hubris here is from people who may have some experience in "internal skills" that pretend this makes them experts on subjects with which they obviously lack even passing familiarity: exercise science, neurology, physiology... not to mention basics of reasoning or problems of knowledge.
I already posted at least twice in passing years that I did an in-service for the teaching staff in physical therapy at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. I led them through some basic jin things. When I asked several of the doctorate level people if they had ever seen anything like it before, they hadn't and didn't know what to say about it since it was outside of their experiences. You, on the other hand, with nowhere near their credentials and teaching experience, are ready to talk about the "hubris" of anyone who doesn't let you argue by reason of authority, even when you're pontificating on something you've never seen. Why don't you go look before you disparage? Try Dan. After watching your superior posts a couple of times before, I already made up my mind that it won't be me. The people at UCHSC.... the ones with twice your credentials... are a lot less supercilious when they talk to people and I'm a delicate soul.

This is NOT some new coordination like ice-skating. It's a different way of coordinating the body entirely. IF you ever get to see it, you'll begin to understand it.
Quote:
The science shows that there is no basis for the claim that lifting weights interferes with learning relatively dissimilar skills or movement patterns. In fact, the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. All the world's best athletes in every kind of competitive athltetic activity - from biathalon, to marathon running, to water ballet - now use at least general weight training to some extent - even if it is just to provide a minimal base of stength and injury prevention.

The claim that engaging in a few resistance training exercises a few times per week necessarily interferes with motor learning is beyond false. It is evidently absurd to anyone who has a body, as I have pointed out. I challenge anyone to recount a single instance of one exercise or activity confusing or disrupting a dissimilar one.
I've seen people go nowhere for years because they thought they could just mix this stuff in with normal movement. Even people with a few basic skills often only go a little way because they never fully commit to changing the way they move/coordinate. It's part of the big spectrum of skills thing that I've mentioned before.

Even better.... there are people that don't get even the first skill because they're so convinced that there can be nothing they don't know that they just talk themselves into a standstill and don't even go look. The real thing that is going on is that Asian martial arts, including Ueshiba's stuff, has a very clever set of movement mechanics at its core.... i.e., the heavy-duty level of Asian arts is even brighter than we thought. Aikido is even cleverer than you think.

FWIW

Mike Sigman
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:23 AM   #17
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Someone wrote about triceps
Using the triceps as islotaed firing in relation to internal power is most assuredly a misunderstanding. I'd guess that teacher was trying to describe the inner lines of the arms down to the elbows. Flexing and isloting your triceps will lead to the upper body getting lighter and at least more easly controlled in grappling. The function of drawing down on something "like a tricep exfension" is best done with the body. There are different ways to do that including a simple non dedicated weight transfer to cause down weight that is relaxed, heavy and more controlling to a grappler -and harder to float or manipulate back to boot.
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Old 04-03-2007, 07:58 AM   #18
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Sagawa Yukiyoshi senior to Ueshiba in Daito ryu

".....At twenty I had built up my body to a beautiful inverted triangle proportion, much like a body builder's. However this body did not do much for my techniques so I had to change /adjust my training methodology. The training needed to strengthen the parts needed for Aiki is different from "Normal" training. However, if you are passionate enough you'll realize what this means, since I drop hints on how to train during our normal practice.

...... relaxing the shoulders is an extremely hard thing to do and requires a long amount of training/tanren. (It is easy to relax them initially, but should you ever find yourself in a real situation you will most likely find that they will tense up.)"


He goes on to talk about the back and the legs and how the movement is not natural and not normal training.

Much the same advice you will find in many if not all Asian MA teachers. Odd that those who were classified as truly great seem to be of a similar mindset. Hmm....

Most will keep doing what they do.
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Old 04-03-2007, 08:05 AM   #19
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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I'd guess that teacher was trying to describe the inner lines of the arms down to the elbows
Pretty much spot on. He (Maruyama Sensei) talks about triceps in relation to the 'unbendable arm' exercise. Or so I'm told by those who attended that particular seminar anyway. I couldn't make it.

Mike

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Old 04-03-2007, 08:26 AM   #20
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
Aikido is even cleverer than you think.

Mike Sigman
I think I'm going to get this made into a t-shirt

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Mike Haft wrote: View Post
Pretty much spot on. He (Maruyama Sensei) talks about triceps in relation to the 'unbendable arm' exercise. Or so I'm told by those who attended that particular seminar anyway. I couldn't make it.

Mike
Hi Mike (Haft),

Actually 'hi' to both Mikes.

Maruyama sensei was indeed talking about the line along the underside of the arm but not only in extesion/contraction of the triceps but in any arm movement.

He had an interesting way of explaining it. If you think about it all animals attack with claws or teeth (excepting rhinos and elephants maybe) and they rip and tear, using biceps, only humans punch and extend throught arm. I think he wants to emphasis an expansive structure (like and A-Un statue perhaps) rather than a bent over one, like a monkey for example.

If we always concentrate on the triceps, stretch or flex, we maintain a more upright structure and don't compromise on stability.

I love watching that old footage of mifune jumping around the place like some sort of pogo stick, never once saw him bent over unless there was someone flying over his shoulder. Look at most judoka nowadays, very different.

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Old 04-03-2007, 08:51 AM   #21
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

I've problem with that except I'd take out the reference to the tricep "muscle." The inner lines as horizontal or downward extension need not fire the tricep at all so why bring it up?
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:01 AM   #22
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

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I've problem with that except I'd take out the reference to the tricep "muscle." The inner lines as horizontal or downward extension need not fire the tricep at all so why bring it up?
Thanks Dan,

Its little tidbits like that confirm my suspicions, Rob said something similar before and I have read others describing arm movement without use of the triceps and biceps which muct be generated via lats/rotator cuff and pecs.

Of course in your own very special way.


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Old 04-03-2007, 09:34 AM   #23
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Quote:
Dan Harden wrote: View Post
I've problem with that except I'd take out the reference to the tricep "muscle." The inner lines as horizontal or downward extension need not fire the tricep at all so why bring it up?
It was basically in the context of someone mentioning which muscles it might be useful to develop. FWIW I don't really think that muscle strength is needed to make this stuff work. But any level of increased strength and fitness is always good IMO. Just so long as you make sure you know that the 'internal' skills are not the 'external' ones and you don't need one to do the other.

As I said in another thread. If you take the internal stuff and pour it into a DRAJJ cup you get DRAJJ, and aikido cup you get aikido, same for anything including BJJ, MMA, flower arranging and making cups of tea. Pour it into a broken cup and it leaks out the sides. In other words having a basic amount of physical fitness and strength is needed IMO. No point in trying to 'extend ki' through a broken arm.

Weight lifting isn't counter productive I don't think, just so long as you know enough to not confuse big muscles with strong ki. I wouldn't recommend someone try lifting weights in order to develop ki cos it doesn't work.

Regards

Mike

"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."
-Martin Luther King Jr
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Old 04-03-2007, 09:48 AM   #24
Haowen Chan
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Lightbulb Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Quote:
Aran Bright wrote: View Post
For that to occur at the most basic fundamental level the postural muscles of the body must be dominant over the more superficial mobilising muscles.
Great tip, thanks! So that's why everyone keeps chanting, relax, relax, relax...

Last edited by Haowen Chan : 04-03-2007 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 04-03-2007, 10:10 AM   #25
DH
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Re: Aikido, Weight Lifting & Flexibility

Quote:
Aran Bright wrote: View Post
So in a sense I believe you are right, weight training doesn't stop 'aiki', but it doesn't allow it either.
Kind Regards,

Aran
Hmm....Stop Aiki? Maybe not in an -absolute- sense.
But I'd go as far as saying that weight training- at least while one is tryng to learn these skills-is most likely the worst thing you could do. I'd spend all that time on bodywork-re-wiring.

It is a simple as this
Go lift that thing...."Errcchk!! Wrong."

Go lift that....."Errcchk!! Wrong."

All them Chinese and Japanese may have known best after all.
Every guy I've heard who said its natural. Doesn't get it.
No master level teacher I have ever ment who had it or I have read who others knew had it. All agree its an unatural and highly trained skill.
I think I'll bet on them-not us.
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