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Old 09-29-2009, 12:13 PM   #26
mjhacker
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Actually I have to beg to differ on this. This particular method of horse breaking teaches the animal nothing and does not foster trust in humans. Rather than force the horse to submit in this manner it is far easier and has a better result if you cause the horse to desire to be with you and to allow you to take the role as his leader through communication in his language.
Beautifully stated, Cherie!

I work on developing a high degree of trust with my students, just as my teacher helps me develop the same with him. I still have a lot of fear in me, but I'm letting it go.

The moment my teacher put his hands on me, he knew that I had been beaten up in my previous training. Beating people up teaches them to beat people up.

Michael Hacker
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:14 PM   #27
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Them is plural self is singular... the combination is a contradiction. The word should either be their-self or themselves.

Wild horses can develop a desire to be with humans and become willing partners given the right motivation and guidance. Just like those who maybe once considered themselves to be anti-violent and not interested in learning a martial art can be led to find a desire to train in this discipline.

Horses are among the creatures that lend themselves easily to domestication under the right circumstances, just like some people find that martial arts come natural to them given the right impression of what it means to be a martial artist.

Wild horses and I have a lot in common.

My apologies for the slight topic detour. I think in a way it still applies in an abstract sort of way.
I am a professional horse trainer and have worked with quite a number of troubled horses that were trained by humans behaving like predators rather then humans behaving like herd leaders.


Quote:
I work on developing a high degree of trust with my students, just as my teacher helps me develop the same with him. I still have a lot of fear in me, but I'm letting it go
It appears that yo and I also maybe have a lot in common.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 09-29-2009 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:28 PM   #28
tarik
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I believe there is much merit in training to the point of exhaustion. Lots going on when you do this. One yes, it is training for the "suck" factor, spiritual and all that.

More importantly, I believe it also forces you to have to do things with correct posture principles etc. Once you get the "fight" out, you can let go and begin to move correctly as you are no longer in your own way.

In BJJ we do this alot, especially with new guys that are wrestlers. It is like taming new horses, you simply gotta ride the bronco until he gives up and starts listening.
Young bucks (and some young does) are not being taught how to relax by letting them train to the point of exhaustion, they're getting all the misdirected testosterone laced idiocy out of their systems, at which point, PERHAPS they can be taught how to relax.

The two aren't really related, IMO, even though good things about how minimal movements and correct posture even while exhausted are effective can be learned. But not all newbies require this treatment to learn.

Real trust in the teacher is required. I'm finding that even when this is explicitly spoken and believed, it takes real time invested before that trust becomes real enough at the gut level to be acted upon when buttons are being pushed (gently or otherwise).

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Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #29
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
The muscles fibers that become stiff and tense when you see attacks coming are the same muscle fibers that are used for mobility in the body. By fatiguing the mobility muscle fibers (before they become tense) your body then has to rely on the muscle fibers that are primarily used for stabilization. The feeling you have at this point is active relaxation and a goal to be consciously reproduce without fatiguing the mobility muscles.

Predominantly using the abdominal muscles for breathing instead of the chest muscles is very important.

David
Mobility muscle fibers, stability muscle fibers, Do you just make this s#*t up or what?

In order to breathe the following process always occurs :
Inhalation of air through your nose or mouth, into your lungs. This occurs when the muscle called the DIAPHRAGM contracts and lowers filling your lungs with the inhalation. This allows the oxygen to osmosize through the cilia of the lungs, oxygenating the blood in the arteries, that then carry the oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. The muscles and tissues use the oxygen as fuel, producing a byproduct of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide infused blood then travels back through the body in the veins and as it passes through the lungs, it is exhaled through your nose and mouth. The process then repeats itself.

The appearance of abdominal muscles expanding and contracting is due to the diaphragm working to keep the blood oxygenated in porportion to the amount of exertion of the muscles. The pectoral muscles only appear to to expand and contract as the lungs fill to capacity due to the diaphragm working to ensure oxygenation of blood.

Mickey
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #30
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
The difference here is that broncos don't want to be tamed; you're forcing your will on them. If a student comes to my dojo to train, I assume they come of their own free will and intend to submit themself* to the training. If a student doesn't trust or follow what I'm telling them, they need to find a new dojo.

* How is this not considered to be a proper word by Merriam-Webster?
Understand. Some though can't get out of their own way. Mind/body connection simply is at odds and by training hard and exhaustive, you can "let go" and begin to relax.

It is not about literally forcing your students or torturing them, but about helping them work through the process.

Janet's point is also well taken and that has to be considered as well. that is, when you are tired your posture, focus, etc may not be as alert. That is true, agreed.

You can't go into this phase exclusively with out providing guidance and slow, deliberate study that allows students to reinforce new habits, that is a very important part of the process for sure.

However, I think though, when you start address "Stress" or "Relaxation" that requires a multi-faceted approach that is based on Solo Training, Kokyo, Partnered Kata/Waza, and Randori at increasing levels. All under the guidance of an instructor that understands how to train this process correctly.

A lot of the bad rap that Aikido gets I believe is due to the fact that students train within a certain paradiqm or with certain folks and then when they are presented with any change in that process they fall apart as they have not stressed the system. When you fall apart you lose the ability to relax.

So, if your goal is to learn to relax, I think you have to train the spectrum that it encompasses.

My comments where not to say this is the ONLY way to train, but I do believe it is a very valid and appropriate way if done correctly. I know it is, cause I train that way quite a bit.

That said, I do find myself training slower and slower these days as it is what I need in my practice right now.

FWIW, there ARE students that ARE the essense of a "Wild Stallion" and you need to "wear them out" for them to begin to learn.

Different people learn in different ways so it takes unique approaches to get through to people sometimes.

"Wearing them out" is not abuse though and you do need to keep things safe and protect them. Wanna make that clear.

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Old 09-29-2009, 12:37 PM   #31
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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So, if your goal is to learn to relax, I think you have to train the spectrum that it encompasses.
All in good time. But I won't do this with a beginner who doesn't understand how to release yet. I have a guy who is now a brown belt (and also has 30-some years of karate in his background). I'm starting to push him harder and harder now after 2 years of training.

Quote:
My comments where not to say this is the ONLY way to train, but I do believe it is a very valid and appropriate way if done correctly. I know it is, cause I train that way quite a bit.
At some level, it has definite uses.

Quote:
That said, I do find myself training slower and slower these days as it is what I need in my practice right now.
The slower I train, the faster I become.

Quote:
FWIW, there ARE students that ARE the essense of a "Wild Stallion" and you need to "wear them out" for them to begin to learn.
These folks tend to either change or leave on their own. :-)

Michael Hacker
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:41 PM   #32
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
FWIW, there ARE students that ARE the essence of a "Wild Stallion" and you need to "wear them out" for them to begin to learn.
The wild stallion only learns one thing when you train him this way.... Humans are predators. He may eventually learn but he will never willingly give himself to you as he would if you taught him with understanding.

Not saying all training is gentle and yes pressures must eventually be increased in training so as to overcome instinct in a high stress situation. But in the very beginning of training, earning trust and developing that leadership for them to follow is a must.

Personally I find that when I hit the point of exhaustion I can't learn effectively. I know each person learns differently but I am a kinesthetic leaner much like the animal we are using for comparison. I have found the same to be true in them. Submission is not the same as learning. Certainly I might fall more easily when I am tired but I no longer pay attention to how I fall and controlling it. Perhaps I wont use so much muscle in executing a technique but I also will not tune into the subtle differences in the feel of how my body is working. I might succeed and yet never understand how I succeeded in the execution.

Working a horse to a standstill may seem to be and in many cases is a faster means to the end result but often times it leaves gaping holes in the training that will eventually come out and sometimes to a very bad end for the trainer.
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:58 PM   #33
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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This is a weird question but I have been struggling with it always being stiff and tense when atacks come how do I let the attack come to me without tensing up ?
An attack or perceived attack would trigger the "flight or fight mode" which includes a chemical dump that the body uses to prepare for the flight or fight.
The simplest way to use up these chemicals is through physical activity. A preemptive strike would be to tire the muscles before the chemical dump.
I would use this until you have learned how to control this instinct response.

In my experience some horses respond well to training, some horses you have to keep waking up to train them and some horse you have to let them " burn off nervous energy" before they respond to training

David
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:15 PM   #34
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Burning off nervous energy can certainly help one to settle down and learn but I actually find that I get better results using that energy productively. Its a good place to train. With the green reactive horse I'll use that and direct it in something that requires less mental concentration on his part and maybe uses just his instinctive reactions until he begins to show me that he is becoming mentally engaged with me. AKA Join up.

In my personal training I have found that the warm ups and ukemi practice work well for settling me into and preparing for the work to come. But in either case I want to have something left to work with when it comes to the more advanced work.
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:42 PM   #35
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Burning off nervous energy can certainly help one to settle down and learn but I actually find that I get better results using that energy productively. Its a good place to train. With the green reactive horse I'll use that and direct it in something that requires less mental concentration on his part and maybe uses just his instinctive reactions until he begins to show me that he is becoming mentally engaged with me. AKA Join up..
You have much experience with horses than I do. So I will concede to your expertise on horses.

Thank You
David
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:44 PM   #36
Walter Martindale
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Michael Gelum wrote: View Post
Mobility muscle fibers, stability muscle fibers, Do you just make this s#*t up or what?

In order to breathe the following process always occurs :
Inhalation of air through your nose or mouth, into your lungs. This occurs when the muscle called the DIAPHRAGM contracts and lowers filling your lungs with the inhalation. This allows the oxygen to osmosize through the cilia of the lungs, oxygenating the blood in the arteries, that then carry the oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. The muscles and tissues use the oxygen as fuel, producing a byproduct of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide infused blood then travels back through the body in the veins and as it passes through the lungs, it is exhaled through your nose and mouth. The process then repeats itself.

The appearance of abdominal muscles expanding and contracting is due to the diaphragm working to keep the blood oxygenated in porportion to the amount of exertion of the muscles. The pectoral muscles only appear to to expand and contract as the lungs fill to capacity due to the diaphragm working to ensure oxygenation of blood.

Mickey
Um... Yes, diaphragm does drive most of the increase in lung volume, which lowers the pressure within the lungs, which allows air from the outside to flow inwards to the lower pressure area - people call this inhaling.

The pectorals don't take part in the expansion of the chest, and I'm not sure that this was the set of muscles being referred to in the earlier post.

There are, however, other chest muscles - you can probably easily palpate them if you've been training for a while - they are called Intercostal muscles (they're between the ribs), and assist in expanding the chest (and in contracting the chest, as well) to increase the volume of the lungs, decreasing the pressure inside, and causing air to flow from the high pressure zone outside to the low pressure zone inside. I'm skipping a lot of detail about pleura.

Anyhoo - I'm going to go look at websites relating to tsunami warnings in the south pacific. There was a 7.9 earthquake not long ago near American Samoa, and there's a "watch" issued for a whole lot of places, including NZ. Might be not much, but the mountains are an hour's drive from Christchurch... Oh - the radio says NZ's not in the warning zone. Whew.

W

Last edited by Walter Martindale : 09-29-2009 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:46 PM   #37
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Tim,
This worked for me: since this is training in the dojo where it is safe, you know that the uke is there to give you the right intent to the attack but is not going to hit you ( I hope). Then if you know the uke is not going to hit you, so why tense up? You are both in training and are there to both learn as uke and nage, right? Just let go and know that you are in a safe environment to learn. You don't need to be excited or be agitated when you get attacked. Just visualize the movement before the attack and just perform.

Plus Ki
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:51 PM   #38
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Re: Relax....HOW?

David.. thank you. I would not refer to myself as an expert so much as a very experienced student of their nature. There is no end to learning and even the experts don't know it all.

Using horses as an example for me helps me relate to my own training and be able to share my experience. It is not my desire to prove anyone right or wrong so much as to explain my point of view so that hopefully someone might benefit. If no one else does, I do, as this discussion causes me to really examine my own training and thoughts on it.

Walter I hope that you and yours remain safe if this threat becomes a reality.

Quote:
This worked for me: since this is training in the dojo where it is safe, you know that the uke is there to give you the right intent to the attack but is not going to hit you ( I hope). Then if you know the uke is not going to hit you, so why tense up?
another approach to this was mentioned above. If you are afraid of beign hit then perhaps you shuld ask uke to go ahead and make contact... not hard but enough to maybe let you begin tirealize that getting hit is not going to end you. Self preservation is a wonderful thuing buit sometimes it really gets in the way when it overrides the ability to think and act.

I have this issue at times as well so I can feel your pain. When I get locked up like I said I run through a breathing exercise and tell myself I'm perfectly safe and ok. And then I do it again. part of it is building trust in your partners and that can only come through many repetitions and positive experience.

Last edited by Shadowfax : 09-29-2009 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 09-29-2009, 02:01 PM   #39
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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Cherie Cornmesser wrote: View Post
Using horses as an example for me helps me relate to my own training and be able to share my experience.
Have you talked to Linda Eskin? She's also a horse person who uses her experience with horses in her Aikido training.

Michael Hacker
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Old 09-29-2009, 02:08 PM   #40
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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Tim,
This worked for me: since this is training in the dojo where it is safe, you know that the uke is there to give you the right intent to the attack but is not going to hit you ( I hope).
In my dojo, I will make contact with you if you don't move or change the line. How I do this depends on your experience level. With brand new beginners, I teach them ways that allow them to become gradually desensitized to the fear of having a hand in their face. But with a more experienced people, I'll make contact and drop him on his butt. Note: I do not strike to hurt people nor do I strike them percussively. My atemi is always designed to disrupt and destabilize my partner's posture (kuzushi).

Quote:
Then if you know the uke is not going to hit you, so why tense up?
Knowing is only half the battle. ;-) There's knowing and there's KNOWING, and there's a rather large space betwixt the two. I can tell you something, but for you to really believe it in your flesh and bones, rather than it being an intellectual exercise, takes time and proper, gradual training.

Michael Hacker
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Old 09-29-2009, 02:59 PM   #41
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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Larry Cuvin wrote: View Post
This worked for me: since this is training in the dojo where it is safe, you know that the uke is there to give you the right intent to the attack but is not going to hit you ( I hope).
Saturday, I didn't do a technique to test uke's attack and she laid me out flat on my ass on the mat. It's exactly what I expected and required her to do.

Quote:
Larry Cuvin wrote: View Post
Then if you know the uke is not going to hit you, so why tense up?
She did connect, not percussively, but if I'd tensed up, I'd have potentially gotten hurt.

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Larry Cuvin wrote: View Post
You are both in training and are there to both learn as uke and nage, right? Just let go and know that you are in a safe environment to learn. You don't need to be excited or be agitated when you get attacked. Just visualize the movement before the attack and just perform.
Yes, precisely, but there are ways that work and there are ways that work.. less. How did I get to where I could receive her attack like that? I think I've already hinted that in other posts.

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 09-29-2009, 03:57 PM   #42
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
All in good time. But I won't do this with a beginner who doesn't understand how to release yet. I have a guy who is now a brown belt (and also has 30-some years of karate in his background). I'm starting to push him harder and harder now after 2 years of training.

At some level, it has definite uses.

The slower I train, the faster I become.

These folks tend to either change or leave on their own. :-)
I think we are on the same sheet of music. It appears alot of this is semantics. Agreed about the beginner, and I should have pointed that out. You have to do an assessment about mental and physical conditioning and skills...there certainly is no value in whooping the crap out of someone that is not ready for that type of training.

I tend to work alot with a different profile than what we might find in an aikido dojo with Soldiers and BJJ guys. I work with a lot of wrestlers that have decent body skills and an expectation of a level of agression and pressure that is a bit different than maybe is in an aikido dojo, so I have to remember that as well.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:58 PM   #43
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
Have you talked to Linda Eskin? She's also a horse person who uses her experience with horses in her Aikido training.
LOL yeah Linda and I have been pals on here and on Facebook for some time now. She and I started at about the same time and have very similar experience on coming to aikido.

Ok had a bit of discussion on this topic with a friend of mine, who has years of experience as a MA teacher, this afternoon. I can see how training to exhaustion might be a useful learning tool to help relaxation. But the way I'm understanding the concept of Shugyo at the moment I still think that technique is maybe not the first choice for someone in the OP's predicament.

I still would not apply the concept to horses though and neither would he. Just a totally different creature with a totally different way of responding to such things. More on that in my other thread.
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Old 09-29-2009, 08:16 PM   #44
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Concerning training while exhausted, I'd like to say that I while I don't recommend it for learning to relax, I think it is good for learning to perform when you are at your weakest. I don't think this is for beginners who don't even know what proper posture and technique is, however.

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Old 09-29-2009, 11:23 PM   #45
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Re: Relax....HOW?

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John Matsushima wrote: View Post
Concerning training while exhausted, I'd like to say that I while I don't recommend it for learning to relax, I think it is good for learning to perform when you are at your weakest. I don't think this is for beginners who don't even know what proper posture and technique is, however.
Agreed.

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Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 09-30-2009, 01:18 AM   #46
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Re: Relax....HOW?

I totally agree with you Tarik and Michael regarding proper execution of the attack especially at the higher kyu levels. I distinctly remember the same situation happening to me not too long ago when I was at his level and even now at brown belt, I constantly remind myself not to tense up. At 5th kyu however it was harder for me not to tense up because when I was at this level, I was still thinking of the mechanics of the technique.
At our dojo, we are told to attack to the level of your partner (when their rank is lower) and always up the ante (i.e. speed and resistance) to help them progress. I just hope that Tim's cause for tensing up is just due to his experience level.

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Old 09-30-2009, 05:29 AM   #47
Mark Freeman
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
John Matsushima wrote: View Post
Concerning training while exhausted, I'd like to say that I while I don't recommend it for learning to relax, I think it is good for learning to perform when you are at your weakest. I don't think this is for beginners who don't even know what proper posture and technique is, however.
I agree with this. Using exhaustion to gain relaxation is not a good strategy. Imagine being accosted by an assailant and saying to them "can you just wait there while I run round the block, then I'll be ready"?
Relaxation is a mind/body state that a) takes a long time and much practice to really take advantage of and b) beats physical tension every time.
I find slow study the fastest way to relaxation, it gives time for deep enquiry into where the tension is when things are not going effortlessly, sometimes it is muscular, but as often as not, it is in the mind, too much 'wanting it to happen' and therefore too much 'trying'. When the relaxed state required is reached, speed can be gradually increased. The problem with going quickly, too quickly, is that the deeply ingrained mind/body tensions are inevitably going to show up just when you dont want them

The slower I go, the quicker I get

regards,

Mark

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Old 09-30-2009, 07:26 AM   #48
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Imagine being accosted by an assailant and saying to them "can you just wait while I do some deep inquiry , then I'll be ready"?

At least running around the block will get you away from the assailant.

David
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:36 AM   #49
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 644
Japan
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Michael Hacker wrote: View Post
* How is this not considered to be a proper word by Merriam-Webster?
Plural word attached to a singular. I myself enjoy the gender-neutrality of "they/their/them", but if you going to use the plural, ya gotta go whole hawg on it.

In the sword school I study, for beginners the primary objective is intent. Without intent in kata training, you have nothing, so whether form is good or bad, whether the student is relaxed or not, whether they do it right or wrong, none of that matters as long as they have intent.

To get relaxation, we start with the beginning and the end. You make sure you're relaxed (or at the least, more relaxed than normally) before the kata starts, and then again at the end. Naturally, it requires a fair bit of practice to really relax, but eventually you become aware of the difference between when you're relaxed in the beginning/ending and tense during the technique. And awareness is half the battle.

Another "trick" I've found effective is focusing on tensing up where it's good to tense up: the muscles surrounding the abdomen. It's physically difficult to tense the whole body, so when you focus on that area, the arms and legs naturally relax. You start to move with the whole body, and you find you don't need to put any strength in your arms in order to deliver power. You maintain stability, and this physically enables you to see the opponent more clearly. Clearly seeing the opponent helps keep you from getting rushed or hurried; you sense you have more time than it may normally seem. With a calm mind you maintain relaxation.

Josh Reyer

The lyf so short, the crafte so longe to lerne,
Th'assay so harde, so sharpe the conquerynge...
- Chaucer
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Old 09-30-2009, 09:36 AM   #50
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Team Combat USA
Location: Olympia, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 4,376
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Re: Relax....HOW?

My thoughts exactly David.

I think what we have going on is two different focuses on training in some respect.

Toby Threadgill actually wrote a very good essay on this issue that sums up the issue for me.

http://www.shinyokai.com/Essays_PCSConditioning.htm

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