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Old 10-01-2009, 02:41 PM   #76
Erick Mead
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
i remembered Hooker sensei said at one of the seminar "you need to enter his mind through his body, then enter his body through his mind." of course, Hooker sensei was hitting Sparkman sensei in the small rib area at the time. which later, Hooker sensei gave Sparkman sensei feet massage where Sparkman proclaimed his love for Hooker sensei, which is the emotional side of the fence.
Hooker reputedly illustrated that same point with a big wet smackeroo kiss on the lips -- followed by the most astonished uke in a koshinage you've ever seen ... I think it is usually told as a koshinage -- really though, I think nobody could concentrate on the throw at that point for laughing so hard..., or so Frank tells it.

How is Kevin Sparkman? Last I heard he was looking a lot leaner from treatment, but --- hopefully --- no meaner .... Awesome guy. He started with Hooker here a couple of years before I did (''84-85), and left just before I started. He had a couple other arts under his belt when he started -- while I was a clumsy, green sophomore -- and still am, by some accounts.

Cordially,

Erick Mead
一隻狗可久里馬房但他也不是馬的.
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:10 PM   #77
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
ah...this might be a big part of the disconnect!

It appears that you are looking at the kinesthic practice of aikido as a way to improve your horsemanship. No issues if that is working for you. Certainly you don't need to train this way if this is your goal!
At the moment yes I look at it this way. But I would not say it is my goal. lo my current goal in Aikido is to just experience it and see what I can get out of it. People ask me what brought me to Aikido and I can answer that it was mostly horses. But I could not give you a clear answer right now as to what I want to gain from it. So to me it is neither a means to an end or an end. It is simply part of a journey of self discovery.

Quote:

So, with that in mind, I believe we are looking at the same thing differently, therefore, their would be a different focus on value of skills.
Agreed. I already knew we were looking at the same thing differently. Cool thing about forums. Lots of people read them. Some will benefit form my POV some from yours and a whole lot will look elsewhere for their answers. Lots of people here have given lots of very valid answers depending on the situation of the reader. I hope out OP finds his answer among them.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:24 PM   #78
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

agreed Cherie!

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Old 10-02-2009, 10:26 AM   #79
phitruong
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote: View Post
Hooker reputedly illustrated that same point with a big wet smackeroo kiss on the lips -- followed by the most astonished uke in a koshinage you've ever seen ... I think it is usually told as a koshinage -- really though, I think nobody could concentrate on the throw at that point for laughing so hard..., or so Frank tells it.
that's funny! i got to remember that move for future usage. might come in handy when dealing with these internal masters.

Quote:
Erick Mead wrote:
How is Kevin Sparkman? Last I heard he was looking a lot leaner from treatment, but --- hopefully --- no meaner .... Awesome guy. He started with Hooker here a couple of years before I did (''84-85), and left just before I started. He had a couple other arts under his belt when he started -- while I was a clumsy, green sophomore -- and still am, by some accounts.
saw him over a year ago. looked pretty good. still a tough nut to crack.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:27 AM   #80
tarik
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Here are some thoughts..just for fun, okay..? (and i am not even sure if this is obvious .. or even wrong) .. so take it with a big grain of salt..
Josh, I like your post a lot. I think your observations are pretty much right on and where I was going with my advice.

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
I thought the OP wanted to know how to deal with getting hit, in a relaxed way. I don't know how to do that.
Start slow. Increase the pressure slowly. Whenever buttons are pushed, we tend to have reactions like tensing up, so slowing down helps us to specifically pay attention to that and to release the undesired tension. You have to increase the pressure until you've learned how to remain as relaxed as possible all the way to the terminal possibility of receiving the attack (on the floor).

I think what 'being relaxed' means is too often left undefined, but I think you define it well below:

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Here's the thinking; Relax means doing what you need to do to maintain your own body's structural integrity. This is priority 1. Just BE. Strongly. And it will certainly include flexing some parts.
Don't think of ‘doing something' to somebody. Don't think of ‘carrying' a weight. Don't think of pushing uke. Don't *do* anything as a priority..instead shift the thinking to make it a priority to try to keep your body integrity. Try to make whatever external thing is happening a *part* of you. Let the load disperse across the entire skeletal system. Let the load 'in'. (safely!) Consider any load borne in the body's muscles, in the normal way, it is a stimulus that attempts to destroy your structural integrity. To negate and fight that 'attack' , usually you locally flex that muscle and carry the load there...in the flexed muscle. (shoulder, for instance) But now we shift to think that relaxing means _not_ carrying the load...but rather includes doing what you have to, in order to negate that destructive force by keeping your own body's integrity intact.
Note that this also applies to being tori as well as being uke.

I find it most helpful for myself and my students when the specific muscle(s) providing added, unnecessary tension (deltoids!) are clearly pointed out or even touched.

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
What i think happens when you train to exhaustion beforehand is namely that you implicitly are too tired to ‘lift' and ‘push' around a load in a local, external muscle-born load...and (hopefully) you will default and do it in the ‘laziest' way possible...that becomes part of you...
I do NOT find it helpful to train to failure or exhaustion to learn how to be this specific (although as noted before, there is a place for this training).

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
Now...it bears saying that there are ways and there are ways to let it become part of you. I think there is a great depth here..
Oh yes. Reprogramming our gut level reactions to unpleasant stimulus is what it's all about. Even when you believe and understand this stuff intellectually, re-wiring your nervous system takes a lot of effort. I really don't feel that exhaustion is automatically the best path.

Quote:
Josh Phillipson wrote: View Post
I am sure to butcher this quote; but I remember reading where O Sensei talks about the rhythm of the universe being in the feet, but the rhythm of man is in the hands. I came to read that to mean MOVE YOUR FEET. MOVE YOUR BODY to the right place. Don't carry weight in the muscles by catching the load with the hands (which is normal for man). .. (or something like that).
Watch far too many of the aikido videos out there and what you'll see at the moment of kake or right before is tori STOPPING their feet instead of MOVING their feet. That's an automatic use of muscle to make the technique instead of staying connected with structural integrity and a definite 'fail' in my personal training paradigm (even if the technique 'worked').

Regards,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:28 PM   #81
dps
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Re: Relax....HOW?

I don't think this is relevant to the OP, but will add to the discussion about adrenaline shock and an experience being "burned" into a person's nervous system.

If you read the whole article some of what is discussed might be disturbing.

http://www.edgework.info/article_therapeutic.html

Therapeutic Self-Defense: Training for Survivors of Violence and Abuse©

Ellis Amdur M.A., N.C.C., C.M.H.S

"One of the modern trends in self-defense classes is a dynamic workshop that functions as a rite of passage. In these workshops, a group trains in extremely effective methods of combat, which they practice against heavily padded instructors -- full force. The climax of the workshop is a graduation ceremony in which the participants defend themselves against an assailant, often in a replay of an assault they suffered in the past. They defeat their attacker this time, with power and rage. This can be a wonderful experience for most participants. Many people, despite skill in dojo simulations, are overwhelmed when flooded with an unexpected burst of adrenaline. As their stomach hollows, their breath flutters and their hands shake, they interpret this not as a call to arms, but as a sign to surrender. Their previous experiences with adrenaline are associated with the helpless submission to or ineffectual defense against rape and assault. They have no experience whatsoever of adrenaline "shock" fostering victory. Therefore, such courses enable the person to learn to function effectively at a state of high emotional arousal -- and win.

There is considerable evidence that experiences learned in high arousal states are "burned" into the nervous system. This makes biological sense. If one is terrified by a snake and snatching a stick, pins it to the ground and then kills it, it stands to reason that the organism that remembers this and reacts in similar fashion even quicker the next time will survive longer than the organism "traumatized into amnesia." When helpless, however, the organism "burns in" the experience that happened, because alive, one by definition, enacted a survival strategy."

David
Thanks to Mr. Amdur for permission to use the above quote.
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:47 PM   #82
Shadowfax
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Wow really good article! Thank, David, you for posting the quotation and links on that.
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Old 10-03-2009, 10:25 PM   #83
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Re: Relax....HOW?

You can't relax if you don't know you are tense or what relaxed feels like. You can learn the difference, its not magic. I took a class (it filled a requirement in school), about the same time I started aikido, in progressive muscle relaxation. Thats the one where you practice tensing and relaxing individual muscles. Most descriptions of it are a quick version focusing on large muscle groups, this class was much more fine focus. I highly recommend it if you really want to learn to relax: I believe you can get tapes that take you through it. It has helped me ever since, probably the most useful thing I learned in college. Its a commitment but well worth the work. When I was in my first few years of aikido, the comment I often got was, when someone says relax, you actually do it! Which was because I had learned how.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:03 PM   #84
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Barbara Knapp wrote: View Post
You can't relax if you don't know you are tense or what relaxed feels like.

..., when someone says relax, you actually do it!.
+1

Here's a quote
Quote:
"Great relaxation can only be achieved in contrast to great tension"
-Pavel Tsatsouline
or in other words
Quote:
Tenyu Hamaki wrote: View Post
True contractive power is made possible only to the degree that one is able to access its corresponding decontracted pole. The greater the reception, decontraction, and compassion, the greater one's power is both manifest and non-manifest.

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Old 10-03-2009, 11:07 PM   #85
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

hey Tarik, thanks man. May, I ask: with respect to taking punches: Where do you think 'iron shirt/vest' training comes into it?

Last edited by thisisnotreal : 10-03-2009 at 11:11 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:02 AM   #86
Grazina Kizaliene
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Red face Re: Relax....HOW?

Hello everyone

It is indeed an interesting topic. I wonder, if I can ask you something. How do you manage to retain the state of active relaxation and use it whenever you want it? I know that I'm just a begginer and there's probably no need to worry about it but quite recently I have been in this state for a very short time and then it disappeared. Is it normal? How could I get it back and retain it?
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:21 AM   #87
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Grazina Kizaliene wrote: View Post
I know that I'm just a begginer and there's probably no need to worry about it but quite recently I have been in this state for a very short time and then it disappeared. Is it normal? How could I get it back and retain it?
By training for thousands and thousands of hours.

Why does everyone want a shortcut, a method, a magic pill? It's just training, there is no shortcut. Just practice.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:53 AM   #88
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Like Mary said, through experience. I am still learning after years and it is the one thing I wish I could do consistently and better.

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Old 10-13-2009, 08:23 AM   #89
PaulMArellano
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Clear your mind and breath regularly. Don't think of technique too much. Too much technique-thinking equals stiffness.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:53 AM   #90
MM
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Re: Relax....HOW?

I'm finding that working on the internal training exercises, especially paired, creates an environment where I'm learning to relax. Specifically, while I'm focusing on keeping the internal connections and my intent going, I'm relaxing. The more of a force I can work with, the more relaxed I get. It's when I get overloaded that localized muscle groups kick in and I lose both relaxation and aiki. It's why we sometimes work to the point of failure and try to work through it.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:12 AM   #91
thisisnotreal
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

just some ideas
-train your body to be very strong. By this i do not so much mean big-puffy-muscle-disjointed strength so much as old-man/farmer whole-body connected strength. Then you will not worry so much. That will allow you to relax. You know you are safe.
-learn your body's strengths. Strong positions.. strong stances.. strong joint angle...understand the limits of correct biomechanical movement.
-learn your body's weaknesses. Move your entire body to avoid being led into a weakness.
-learn the equilibrium/balanced position of your body's joints.
-learn how to stack your bones properly one on top of the other
-learn the first and second ways the joints tend to dissociate from their proper locations. Learn the muscle windings around your body (and their antagonists) that strengthen these weaknesses.
-free your body from any postural distortions
-free your muscles (/soft tissues) from any trigger points.
-What Mark said!

?
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:36 PM   #92
Carrie Campbell
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Tim, I'm struggling with the relaxed blend too, especially with tsuki, when uke's arm sometimes stays solidly planted above my waist, but should be lower…. So I am no expert, and look forward to more advice from this thread. Meanwhile, I offer my interpretation of advice given to me and my attempt at applying it.

In general, I think Cherie is right: breathe; breathe deep. And after the initial blend, relax/breathe again. Make sure your partner is connected with you before you go anywhere without him; take your time. If your partner is getting too far away, perhaps a smaller, closer circle would help, and maybe projecting little more down. This is something Sensei was talking about recently at our dojo.

As for thinking about the coming technique, a former instructor once insisted that we sing Mary Had A Little Lamb or any song we could think of while we were nage, continuously. This was during a test. (No pressure.) I believe his reasoning was that if we were thinking of the lyrics and that we were singing out loud in front of other people, we couldn't think too much about the technique and had to rely more on instinctual movement. Strangely, our muscles may have been more relaxed and calm this way. I don't sing out loud anymore, but when I realize I'm getting all tense and anxious, I take a deep breath, and if I need more than that, a song running around my head or humming a tune might help.
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:44 PM   #93
mjhacker
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
Carrie Campbell wrote: View Post
As for thinking about the coming technique, a former instructor once insisted that we sing Mary Had A Little Lamb or any song we could think of while we were nage, continuously.
We do this, too. Same song, even. I won't necessarily have them sing it, as simply reciting it will do. You can pick out any poem you like, or just talk. Anything unnatural-sounding in your speech is an indication of tension.

When two folks are having trouble doing randori together (ours is different from what most in Aikido would call 'randori'), I'll often ask them to have a real conversation with each other. Asking, listening, answering, exchanging. That will often fix the problem.

Michael Hacker
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http://renshindojo.com/

自由心流合気武道 - 鍛心館
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:54 PM   #94
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Yea..visualizing another action or shifting the mind works well as a technique to get you to reduce the "triggers" in one part of the body to relax. Singing songs, imagining one point, walking through the person to the door...all that is good stuff.

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Old 10-14-2009, 07:14 AM   #95
Mark Nicoll
 
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Re: Relax....HOW?

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
I have a weird answer.

Physical exhaustion.

Seriously, before class do an aerobic exercise(s). not weight lifting, until you are extremely tired.

David
I totally agree with David!

Sometimes, after a stressful day at work for example, some of us are ready to train in Aikido 15 mins before the 2 hour class finishes, because we have given it our all during the class and are nearing exhaustion at the end and thus do not have the energy to be tense!

"Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box."
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