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Old 03-24-2002, 09:21 AM   #1
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
Training with weapons is easier?

Maybe it is just me, but I find I can train for longer periods without being tired with either jo or bokken? I don't know if it is the concentration of having a third party, the weapon, in the practice, or just the natural ease of using a weapon that forces me to place it at a point of usefullness?

Do any of you find you can practice longer, and more comfortably with bokken or jo, or not?

Note: I have a balance disease, Meniere's that takes away my balance, maybe the weapon is a focus to distract me? Yet, when I did a seminar with John Stevens sensei, I was not tired at after thirty minutes while other students, including some teachers, were bushed? Just wondering about your thoughts?
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Old 03-24-2002, 09:56 AM   #2
Carl Simard
Location: Quebec City
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 96
For me, I find training with weapons less tiring because we don't pass or time falling down and standing up again. With weapons, you simply stand up most of the time, without much falls, so it may be less tiring to some peoples...
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Old 03-24-2002, 10:11 AM   #3
Dojo: El Cerrito, CA
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 28
I think it could be that if you focus on a weapon properly it helps with balance, here's why.

First I've started doing forward and backward rolls while looking (with that wide-field vision) at my feet. Done at the appropriate time it lets my body stay in focus as I roll and I get a quick glance at the whole room. If I don't try to focus on anything, the roll just flies past and I don't know what's going on (which makes getting up more difficult because it takes a separate intention to get up.)

I've had a semester long 'movement analysis' class with a really cool non-Aikido teacher. The class was based on Alexander technique amongst other things. A relevant exercise we did was this: make sure you have room to do this, stand loosely with your feet fairly close together, keep your shoulders neutral but raise your arms so you make a T, (stretch your neck before you do this, tension kills the effect), turn your head to your right (or left if you want to be non-traditional), (loosen up your wrist before you do this, same reason), turn the palm of the hand you're looking at up and then towards your face, turn palm of the hand you're not looking at away from your head. Now relax, you're ready for the fun part. --->Focus on the palm of your hand<--- Turn your right leg and foot 45 degrees to the right, join with your left leg and foot, and do it again and again and again. This will make you spin, keep doing it until you need to sit down at which point do a backwards sit out/gentle backwards ukemi and look at the stars.
The sit out is the safety part (ukemi), it's a kind of meditation where the palm of your hand is the focus, if you don't use it, you will be VERY dizy and the whole thing will be unpleasant. If you use it you can keep going. I think the point is that intention is maintained and you don't really have to do much to keep focusing.
This is what lets me last through long practices, unbroken intention. Having to get your act together to move usually means you feel like you need to use muscles to attack/move/get up, whereas you really need to use your body (definately muscles involved, but your body knows how to do it better than you do)... refering to the generic 'you'...
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Old 03-24-2002, 10:21 AM   #4
Dojo: Aikido of Norwalk
Location: CT
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 205
Just as Carl said, the thing that makes weapons less tiring is that you aren't taking ukemi. If you could spend an entire class as nage, you would most likely have endurance just as long as for weapons practice.
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Old 03-24-2002, 06:44 PM   #5
akiy's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 6,045
I remember the first time I went to a week-long summer camp which was focused on weapons (about four hours a day); I came out each day feeling a bit tired and that was about it.

When I went the following year, though, my body wasn't tired at all, but my mind was extremely frazzled.

The way I look at it now, I think that the first year, all I could think about and absorb was the surface teachings of physical movement -- how to block, cut, parry, blend, and so on. The second year I came with more experience so I had to think a lot more about the more subtle things like intent, timing, and basically the why's of it all.

These days when I'm working in weapons with someone of my level or greater, I find it to be as intense or moreso than empty-handed training. It's usually a lot more mental than physical, but it's still quite draining.

-- Jun

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Old 03-24-2002, 07:02 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 915
Another reason the instructors/senior students looked more exhausted is, they tend to move more, and move more quickly through the kata than beginners. Beginners are more likely to go very slowly, learning the steps, but those that are very familiar with them go quickly through them.
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Old 04-03-2002, 07:24 AM   #7
Bruce Baker
Dojo: LBI Aikikai/LBI ,NJ
Location: Barnegaat, NJ
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 893
Practice with weapons

Of course you take ukemi with weapons!

Maybe half as much as normal if the class needs to work on the movements leading up to ukemi, one extra round, but ukemi with weapons is the bright sun breaking through on a rainy day!

As for my balance, yeah, I use the concentrate on on point method, plus some massage techniques ... but when the storm gets going, it is time to sit down .

By the way, the question of practicing with weapons sticks in my mind. After a John Stevens seminar we had in NJ two years ago. Stevens sensei did almost an hour of jo and bokken in the afternoon. While some of us thought there was a mad man whose voice grew to begin to shake the building, I was lovin' it!

Actually when we do weapons in practice, it is the exact same practice we do hand to hand, even throws.

Whether the weapon is used to divert, strike, or throw ... it is merely an extension of yourself. You won't understand some of the strange steps and movements in Aikido without an obstical, or weapon, in the way now and then, Bokken/Jo?

Triangle, Square, and Circle are not just pretty shapes.
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Old 04-03-2002, 09:53 AM   #8
Location: Frederick, MD
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 509
Originally posted by Krzysiek
... stand loosely with your feet fairly close together, keep your shoulders neutral but raise your arms so you make a T, (stretch your neck before you do this, tension kills the effect), turn your head to your right ...

Sounds a lot like Sufi whirling. Very cool stuff and very much moving meditation ...

In re weapons, fatigue and focus ...

I find that (with some exceptions), physically, weapons work is less tiring than taijutsu, though mentally, it tends the other way 'round.

The exception, for me, is doing ZenKen seitei iai. I'd much rather take a couple hours' worth of ukemi than do an hour of seitei iai. For whatever reasons (my mind rebelling against the squareness of the seitei, I think), I'm FAR more sore after iaido than aikido training.

Doing Shinto Muso Ryu jo, MJER tachi uchi no kurai, or the paired weapons stuff from our system, however, is much less tiring, physically, but is much more intense spiritually and mentally ...

And aside from the occasional whacked finger or wrist, weapons work tends to be less punishing on the body as well.


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Old 04-03-2002, 02:48 PM   #9
Johan Tibell
Dojo: Aikido Dojo Gamlestaden
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 56
Originally posted by Arianah
Just as Carl said, the thing that makes weapons less tiring is that you aren't taking ukemi. If you could spend an entire class as nage, you would most likely have endurance just as long as for weapons practice.
Well, it depends on if it's you or uke that is doing the throwing.
I find it more energy consuming to put alot of power in my throws than I find it to fall from someone who throws me that way.


Johan Tibell

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