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Old 02-14-2015, 12:59 AM   #1
The Noble Steed
Dojo: USA Martial Arts - Hoover, Alabama
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What happens when I go home?

Greetings to all who are kind enough to read and respond. I am a new student, returning to Aikido after being gone many years. Currently I am a gold belt. This is my dilemma. Is there a way to practice when I am home and in the absence of an uke? What can I do at home to better prepare for returning to class? Slightly frustrated as I feel I forget so much in between class. Any suggestions to help this newbie out?

Thanks,
Rei
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Old 02-14-2015, 01:06 AM   #2
kewms
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Ask your teacher. He knows you and his teaching methods better than we do.

There are a variety of solo exercises that can be done, but they're kind of hard to teach via internet, and might or might not fit into your teacher's way of doing things.

Katherine
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:05 AM   #3
odudog
Dojo: Dale City Aikikai
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Re: What happens when I go home?

You can't remember eveything from class, it's just way too much. So choose one technique to remember and practice that at home by yourself. You don't need an uke. Go through the motions over and over again, burning it into your muscles. Home is where you learn the technique to suit your body (balance, range of extension, rotation, relaxation, etc....), the dojo is where you see if what you done works or not and do the adjustments. This is what I tell my students.
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:52 AM   #4
The Noble Steed
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Quote:
Mike Braxton wrote: View Post
You can't remember eveything from class, it's just way too much. So choose one technique to remember and practice that at home by yourself. You don't need an uke. Go through the motions over and over again, burning it into your muscles. Home is where you learn the technique to suit your body (balance, range of extension, rotation, relaxation, etc....), the dojo is where you see if what you done works or not and do the adjustments. This is what I tell my students.
Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it and it does help. Our dojo makes available to us a DVD of everything we must know to advance to the next rank. Using the DVD and then, as you stated, going through the motions. I like the concept that "at home is where you learn the technique and the dojo is where you SEE if what you have done works or not and do the adjustments." Excellent advice.

Thank you for taking the time to give something with substance to it.
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Old 02-14-2015, 06:53 AM   #5
The Noble Steed
Dojo: USA Martial Arts - Hoover, Alabama
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Thanks, Katherine. You are absolutely right.

Rei
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Old 02-14-2015, 08:32 AM   #6
GMaroda
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
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Re: What happens when I go home?

I'm one of those people who had a long absence between periods of actively practicing Aikido. I think something like 13 years.

If you're anything like me, your body remembers more than your mind does.

I don't have any specific advice because I don't know you or your style. Heck, I don't even know what a gold belt is.
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Old 02-14-2015, 09:05 AM   #7
SeiserL
 
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Agreed, always turn to you primary teacher first for suggestions.
I find that footwork/tenkan while working on alignment/structure/breathing/relaxation to be very useful.
Also, like shadowboxing, you can walk through the different waza.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:30 PM   #8
JP3
 
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Is a gold belt a beginning belt, perhaps one above white? We call that a yellow belt, but probably same-same.

It is the nature of the thing to only be able to take with you a portion of what is given to you each class. I have heard of two ways to explain this to people, both colorful and one in judo, the other is aikido.

Pour water on the rock: Imagine that your head is, like mine, mostly made of stone. It's hard to put things IN th rock, and one of the easiest ways to get inside the rock is to use water. In class, your teacher dips water oout of his barrel of knowledge with his cup (lesson of the day) and pours it on you. Nearly all of it splashes over you, where you can fleetingly experience it, but in only a few moments it is gone, leaving a remaing film/sheen of moisture, which in turn disappears shortly thereafter. However, the rock IS worn down a small bit. Over time, the rock is worn down, cracks appear, and the water gets inside.

Throwing mud against a wall: Here, your mind is the wall, which starts out all clean, spiffy and whitewashed. There's nothing on it. The teacher is standing there with his knowledge, represented in this metaphor as a bucket of mud. The teacher pulls out a handful of the mud, and throws the mudball at the wall (that's a class) and it smacks against the wall. The mudball breaks apart, most of it falling to the ground and is apparently lost and rendered waste. Part of the mudball sticks to the wall, but that part, in turn, dries out and falls away, leaving only a muddy stained spot on the wall as time passes. BUT, you go to class again & again & again, and each time more mudballs hit the wall, break apart, dry and leave stains, which represents the process of learning, converting the white wall of no-knowledge into a nicely-stained pattern of some stains (internalization). Eventually, the entire wall is covered, and if you look down at the base of the wall, you'll notice that there's quite an accumulation of mud down there (experience) which you can bend down, and start throwing around at other people (teaching).

I like these. Both indicate that you only get the smallest portion out of each class, and while frustrating, it is the typical path.

I find it interesting that the kanji character for kuzushi illustrates a mountain falling on a house.
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Old 02-17-2015, 08:14 PM   #9
The Noble Steed
Dojo: USA Martial Arts - Hoover, Alabama
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Re: What happens when I go home?

I wrote initially when I posted my question that I was a "gold" belt! I'm not sure what I was thinking! I am a YELLOW belt ... I hope to test for the next belt in another month or so. We'll see. I'm not as concerned about the belts as I am with grasping the content of what they represent. I'm 53. Will I ever have a black belt? Who knows. I'm not really worried about it. I have great respect for those with these advanced levels. Amazing. I guess we never stop learning.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:51 AM   #10
lbb
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Quote:
Reinaldo Ramos Jr wrote: View Post
This is my dilemma. Is there a way to practice when I am home and in the absence of an uke? What can I do at home to better prepare for returning to class? Slightly frustrated as I feel I forget so much in between class. Any suggestions to help this newbie out?
For the most part, I don't think that you will make much progress trying to practice what you learned in class at home, without an uke. What can you do to better prepare for the next class?
  • Keep a journal. Nothing fancy, and definitely not an online "aiki-blog" -- those serve a different purpose. You are not writing for an audience but for yourself. Instead, just stick a notebook in your gi bag, and after class write down the techniques you did. If you happened to notice something or get some insight in this class, write that down too, but don't expect great epiphanies every day, and don't feel the need to write about how deeply meaningful each class was (because sometimes, a class is just a class). The important thing is to write as soon as possible after every class. Always start by writing down the techniques. If you write nothing else, this will help the techniques to stick in your mind.
  • Stretch after class.
  • After heavy workouts, follow a muscle-recovery diet. Lots to google about this. Always rehydrate, and in hot weather make sure you hydrate adequately between classes and before class.
  • Conditioning, particularly aerobic workouts.
  • Take care of injuries promptly, even if they're just little tweaks. Little tweaks have a way of becoming chronic injuries that can't be ignored.
  • Go about the rest of your life.
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Old 02-18-2015, 11:04 AM   #11
kewms
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Definitely agree with the journaling suggestion. Make a note of things like how you feel, too, both physically and mentally. The first step to identifying a source of stress is noticing that the stress exists.

There are two things to consider if you're tempted to do any kind of conditioning outside of class. First, could you be at the dojo during that time instead? Especially at the beginning, there are so many new movement patterns to learn that more time at the dojo will almost certainly do more for you than non-aikido-specific training.

And second, will what you are doing help or hinder your aikido? You might want to consult your teacher about specifics, but for example aikido places a premium on body mobility. So do yoga and dance, but strength training often does not.

Katherine
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Old 02-18-2015, 12:02 PM   #12
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: What happens when I go home?

foot works, aiki taiso, eat, drink, sleep, carousing. not necessary in that order. matter of fact it should not be in that order. actually, just throw out the first two items and focus on the last 4.

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 02-18-2015, 05:05 PM   #13
Shadowfax
 
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Try not to focus on working out techniques at home. You really need another person for practice since every persons body moves differently and so there is no real one right way t do a technique every time.

I have found it useful to simply pay close attention to my natural movements. How I am standing, where my weight is, where my balance is. Finding ways to move better. When I started aikido worked as a cook and part of my day every morning was to hand chop about 70 heads of lettuce. I spent the time paying attention to how I was holding the knife.How I was standing, what muscles I was using, where was I too tense etc.

Now I do another job that has a lot of physical work and I pay close attention to how a moving and what I might do differently. Sensei also has had us play with some tai chi type movement where we can really study how we move as we walks by taking a step at a time very slowly and paying attention to how balance shifts as we move weight from one foot to the other. It can be really interesting and a good way to use the time spent waiting for elevators or buses.

Explore movement in every day life and find ways to apply principles you learned in the dojo.At least for me this has been the most useful practice for off the mat.
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Old 02-19-2015, 09:30 AM   #14
Cliff Judge
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Training happens on the mat. Leave it there.

Your *only* job when class is over is to make sure you show up for your next class.

Over time your training will change you from the ground up. This will just happen naturally. You can trust it.
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:00 AM   #15
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
Training happens on the mat. Leave it there.
training doesn't stop at the mat. you need to train all the time, on and off the mat. you train even in your sleep as you can see from this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqqge3f5bMA never let your guard down

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 02-19-2015, 10:32 AM   #16
nikyu62
Dojo: Aikido Club of American Samoa
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Re: What happens when I go home?

I was taught that learning is in class and practice was at home. Having a partner allows one to see if one's art is effective. I was also taught not to focus on uke but to move properly for the technique (art) to work properly.
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:20 AM   #17
Erick Mead
 
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Also, like shadowboxing, you can walk through the different waza.
I spent two deployments aboard ship doing shadowboxing waza, aiki-taiso, and weapons, both suburi and kata. I was immensely improved each time I got back to the dojo, 6 months later. The bosun's mates initially thought I was nuts -- until I did the 31 jo kata at full speed ...

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 02-19-2015, 11:29 AM   #18
GMaroda
Dojo: Allegheny Aikido
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Re: What happens when I go home?

There is something to be said about shadow-aiki. I just wouldn't overdo it for fear of imprinting improper motion. That said, class would be where you fix those issues, right?

I can't tell you how many times I did my dojo's basic irimi nage by myself like a robot. But it helped me when I actually had someone. But, I also had to be aware I was only getting one small part of the technique.
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Old 02-19-2015, 12:03 PM   #19
PeterR
 
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
I spent two deployments aboard ship doing shadowboxing waza, aiki-taiso, and weapons, both suburi and kata. I was immensely improved each time I got back to the dojo, 6 months later. The bosun's mates initially thought I was nuts -- until I did the 31 jo kata at full speed ...
And then they were sure.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 02-20-2015, 01:17 AM   #20
nikyu62
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Re: What happens when I go home?

But i bet they didn't mess with him
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:10 AM   #21
lbb
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Re: What happens when I go home?

Quote:
Steven Shimanek wrote: View Post
I was taught that learning is in class and practice was at home. Having a partner allows one to see if one's art is effective. I was also taught not to focus on uke but to move properly for the technique (art) to work properly.
Appropriate, perhaps, for a student with some instruction under his/her belt (as are all the suggestions about shadow-waza, weapons kata and suburi, etc.). Not so much for a brand new beginner.
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