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Old 03-30-2002, 01:33 PM   #1
Don_Modesto
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Tradition and Scientific Training

I'd be interested in knowing what practitioners think of standard aikido sessions in light of scientific concepts of training--periodicity, dynamic vs static stretching, variety to challenge the body, intake of water during training, warm ups that actually warm you up, etc.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 03-30-2002, 06:19 PM   #2
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Don_Modesto
I'd be interested in knowing what practitioners think of standard aikido sessions in light of scientific concepts of training--periodicity, dynamic vs static stretching, variety to challenge the body, intake of water during training, warm ups that actually warm you up, etc.
I'm all for modern training practices but I'll be stunned if you get more than 4 or 5 responses to this post even though these concepts aren't even radical relative to the stuff most people do.

By the way, what did you have in mind with periodicity? It seems to me that would have to be tailored to the individual. Given the irregularity of attendance and the composition of classes how would you implement it?
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Old 04-01-2002, 09:41 AM   #3
Lyle Bogin
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I listen to my body and my mind. I know when I need water. I know how warm I need to be to stretch. I get to class early as often as possible to get warm and loose.

You body will show symptoms when you are not treating properly...sudden fatigue, lower back pain, frequent injury, etc. Over time, you learn to adjust to your own needs so that you can optimize your practice time.
Listen to yourself. Inquire about possible solutions. Experiment. Repeat.
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Old 04-01-2002, 09:50 AM   #4
Edward
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It's not the way we do it at our dojo, but I've heard from friends that at their dojos they have to be ready at any time and occasionally the class starts with techniques involving heavy and sustained ukemi without any warm-up or preparation. They claim that this is the norm in Japanese Budo as you should be able to react to unexpected attacks without injuring yourself because of lack of warm-up. I am not sure if this is really the norm or not but the idea itself sounds appealing, except for the muscle stiffness that would usually occur after such practices.

Cheers,
Edward
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Old 04-03-2002, 08:21 AM   #5
Bruce Baker
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dynamic or static training?

I have seen a lot of injuries from dynamic before warming up/loosening for work or workouts.

The practical physicality of dynamic warmups, before strenuous is the perfect opportunity for injury, it has been in the variety of physical labors and jobs I have ventured into over the years. As part of working about Boats for thirty years, there are either winter layoffs, or building projects. Suddenly, there you are. You are working with carpenters, plumbers, or doing de-constuction to facilitate larger buildings. Try tossing a couple of hundred two by fours after carrying them off the lumber truck to a pile? Or filling a 40 ft long Container with debris'? Or fifty bags of concrete, fifty bags of sand for slurry fill? (75-80lb bags) You will get muscles like Swartzenegger.

Problem with that kind of strength is you never know when to quit? POP!! There goes an injured man! Why? Cold muscles, twisted too far, or just plain injured a minor sprain from earlier in the day or week. I have learned the hard way that continual stretching is the key to avoiding injury.

Yeah. I put a lot of stock into warming up, and gradual stretching ... especially after forty years old, the body takes a little longer to warmup, get going. The muscles do have a memory, but it takes a little longer to remember. I have also noticed it takes longer and longer to throw off the static of awakening. The muscles for running, jumping, and ukemi need a little more shaking to waken, but working at my own pace, it happens.

What is essential to being at any practice is to teach some of the little stretching and tension exercises you can do driving your car, or stretchs you can do during the day at work.

What? You thought you could do it all with one hour of practice a day!

Health, even with Aikido practice can not be relegated to one hour a day, can it.
Your practice of breathing, stretching, and activating the muscles in your body could be mild dynamic tension or static tension, but as long as you use them muscles ... they is gonna luv' you for it.

Plus, you will be able to do more that other people your own age because your muscles will be stretched and loose instead of tense from sitting and typing .... in fact I am stretching now. OH, did that feel good!

You can pay to go to a Rehabilitation Therapy, or you can learn to do the stretches before your get injured?

How do you know what to stretch?

If it has a joint and moves, it can be stretched. I used to sing "DEM BONES" to remember ...


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Old 04-03-2002, 03:41 PM   #6
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
....these concepts aren't even radical relative to the stuff most people do.
Sorry--what do you mean by this?

Quote:
....By the way, what did you have in mind with periodicity?...Given the irregularity of attendance and the composition of classes how would you implement it?
Periodicity--Not sure how relevant it would be to aikido training, actually, and thus, how to implement it. I take it to mean training one way for a period and then changing that to surprise the body and make it keep working. But we do many different types of training, on/off knees, weapons, forward/backward rolls, etc. Training by period would seem to suggest compartmentalizing these (don't know the wisdom of that). One could also factor in intensity and stepping scenarios (e.g., increase intensity for a period--one week, two weeks...--do it again, and then decrease it; this having shown itself to be an effective way to increase capacities overall.)

As to implementing periodization for a class, good question. Don't know how well that could work. What do you think?

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 04-09-2002, 02:34 AM   #7
George S. Ledyard
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Don_Modesto


Sorry--what do you mean by this?



Periodicity--Not sure how relevant it would be to aikido training, actually, and thus, how to implement it. I take it to mean training one way for a period and then changing that to surprise the body and make it keep working. But we do many different types of training, on/off knees, weapons, forward/backward rolls, etc. Training by period would seem to suggest compartmentalizing these (don't know the wisdom of that). One could also factor in intensity and stepping scenarios (e.g., increase intensity for a period--one week, two weeks...--do it again, and then decrease it; this having shown itself to be an effective way to increase capacities overall.)

As to implementing periodization for a class, good question. Don't know how well that could work. What do you think?
Hi Don!
I would say that it depends on what you think the end product should be. As in modern competitive athletics you need every aspect of training to further the attainment of peak performance at some specified time with the goal of winning in competition. If the goal in Aikido is to enhance our physical performance then all of the most updated training methodologies should be introduced into our dojos. However, to the extent that this is a form of budo, it may be that many of our training methods, while being antequated from the standpoint of modern learning theory and performance enhancement, may be desirable simply because of their traditional nature. We know performance degrades when you don't have enough water yet we have a tradition of not getting off the mat for water during class. Are we trying to maximize physical performance or train something else?

I would probably come down on the side of mixing what is modern in theory with what is traditional as long as it doesn't detract from the art as a form of Budo. But to update the training too much might detract from the character of the training. Hard to say. As you know I was trained by Saotome Sensei who was a real mix of innovator and traditionalist. It would be interesting to see what a dojo would be like if the training were conducted according to the most up to date theories on maximizing performance. I have a feeling that I wouldn't entirely like the flavor but that's just a guess.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 04-09-2002, 11:51 AM   #8
Chuck Clark
 
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Hi George,

I agree with the heart of your post, however, here in Tempe, Arizona you can get sick before you realize it without taking a water break during training. There are other ways to "temper our spirits".

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-09-2002, 03:10 PM   #9
Carl Simard
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Quote:
Originally posted by Edward
It's not the way we do it at our dojo, but I've heard from friends that at their dojos they have to be ready at any time and occasionally the class starts with techniques involving heavy and sustained ukemi without any warm-up or preparation. They claim that this is the norm in Japanese Budo as you should be able to react to unexpected attacks without injuring yourself because of lack of warm-up. I am not sure if this is really the norm or not but the idea itself sounds appealing, except for the muscle stiffness that would usually occur after such practices.

Cheers,
Edward
This kind of thing may be thinkable when your young. However, doing it when your older (and I don't mean very old, 25-30 and above) can be devatating. I don't think it's a good idea to risk getting an injury that may take weeks to recover and have the slow down or even stop training during this time...

I remember the when I was 26. It's when the "warm up" things get me. During that year, I had to constantly go to see a physician for all sorts of articulations and muscle injury: knees, back, elbow... At some point, even simply walking was painful. The doc then asked me "Are you doing some warm up before doing sports ?". I wasn't, since I never was and never got injured before. He then explains me that was the cause of my non stop injuries: my body was simply getting older and needs some time to adapt... I started warming up and since then never got another injury because of a lack of warm up...

I'm pretty sure that I will get an injury going on the mat without a proper warm up. Simply last chritmas, I injured myself slightly, at home, by simply trying to lift the chritmas tree in a stair... So, there's no way someone will get me doing some aikido without warming up before...
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Old 04-09-2002, 04:51 PM   #10
guest1234
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck Clark
Hi George,

I agree with the heart of your post, however, here in Tempe, Arizona you can get sick before you realize it without taking a water break during training. There are other ways to "temper our spirits".

Regards,
I've had two different instructors in Las Vegas who would have you go a bit longer if a water break was requested, but they also never had a heat injury so I guess they either knew what they were talking about or lucky or both.

I asked an exercise physiologist about this a couple of years ago, and they recommended (for humid east coast summers) being well hydrated before class with a sports drink at the 40 minute mark of strenous exercise... somewhat shy of a hour class, but not too much when you consider there are some slack moments here and there at least, and a warm-up period, so it comes out about right... it's those 2 and 3 hour long classes that can get you.

I think as long as the sensei is sensible ( ) and gives the class a break at the appropriate times (based on local conditions and class structure), it is good for the students to work on pacing themselves, and occasionally pushing themselves. You do want to avoid the kind of situations the Air Force has had the past several years with their recruits either getting heat stress/stroke, or water intoxication, from over zealous pushing.

Good reminder, I think I'll wander over to the Wellness Center this week and see if I can get an updated hydration schedule before it gets hot out here...
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Old 04-10-2002, 12:24 PM   #11
Don_Modesto
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Quote:
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard


Hi Don!

....to the extent that this is a form of budo, it may be that many of our training methods, while being antequated from the standpoint of modern learning theory and performance enhancement, may be desirable simply because of their traditional nature....I would probably come down on the side of mixing what is modern in theory with what is traditional as long as it doesn't detract from the art as a form of Budo. But to update the training too much might detract from the character of the training. Hard to say.
Hi, George!

I'm ambivalent about it, too. I posed the issue to here what other felt.

We know performance degrades when you don't have enough water yet we have a tradition of not getting off the mat for water during class. Are we trying to maximize physical performance or train something else?[/quote]

I've tried to update that in my training, getting off the mat for water (with the instructor's permission) and raised many eyebrows and elicited many comments. I don't think it's healthy, but I now hydrate thoroughly before class and drink only after. On the other hand, I've winced at dojos which allow folk to leave the mat at will, too.

As you know I was trained by Saotome Sensei who was a real mix of innovator and traditionalist. It would be interesting to see what a dojo would be like if the training were conducted according to the most up to date theories on maximizing performance. I have a feeling that I wouldn't entirely like the flavor but that's just a guess. [/quote]

It would be interesting, and I suspect I wouldn't wholly like it either.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 04-10-2002, 12:54 PM   #12
Kat.C
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I've been finding this thread quite interesting and there is something I would like to ask. Can your body adapt? Studies may show that you need water often for maximum performance but if you are train often for a couple of hours at a time without breaking for water could your body adapt and hit peak performance during these times? I know there is a worry about dehydration but if you got used to it would you be less prone to dehydrating? What I'm trying to ask is if we can train our bodies to preform best under hard conditions, (not just infrequent water intake).

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-10-2002, 07:52 PM   #13
Chuck Clark
 
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Several hard-headed Junior High and High School coaches in the Valley here in Arizona tried to keep the tradition of no water, etc. during workouts. After a few deaths attributed to dehydration in the last 10-12 years, they have changed their minds.

I have adults in my dojo that do not need to ask permission to go to the restroom or get a drink. They let the person in charge of the mat know with a hand or verbal signal.

It is pretty easy to understand who is getting off the mat for reasons other than appropriate water or toilet breaks. That can be a good teacher for them if monitored by the instructor and taken into consideration in their overall training and instruction plan.

Discipline takes many forms. The best is the discipline that comes from within rather than forced from without. Of course, there are some forms of training that require stricter discipline such as military, police, etc. Every day training in the dojo is not one of them in my opinion.

Regards,

Chuck Clark
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Old 04-14-2002, 01:44 AM   #14
George S. Ledyard
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chuck Clark
Several hard-headed Junior High and High School coaches in the Valley here in Arizona tried to keep the tradition of no water, etc. during workouts. After a few deaths attributed to dehydration in the last 10-12 years, they have changed their minds.

I have adults in my dojo that do not need to ask permission to go to the restroom or get a drink. They let the person in charge of the mat know with a hand or verbal signal.

It is pretty easy to understand who is getting off the mat for reasons other than appropriate water or toilet breaks. That can be a good teacher for them if monitored by the instructor and taken into consideration in their overall training and instruction plan.

Discipline takes many forms. The best is the discipline that comes from within rather than forced from without. Of course, there are some forms of training that require stricter discipline such as military, police, etc. Every day training in the dojo is not one of them in my opinion.

Regards,
I probably should have used another example as the water one is fairly clear. It isn't just a performance issue but a safety issue. My students are allowed to get water when they need it. But the issue remains about performance being the goal or some intangible that has more of the interior aspect.

I have read a bit about how the spetsnaz special ops personnel trained. The Soviets were at the forefront of sports psychology and performance enhancement techniques for their athletes but when it came to training their warriors they were definitely of he "beat the body, make the spirit stronger" school. Obviously most of us in the typical dojo aren't training for combat. But I do think that this is an issue that people need to think about. What are we training at an Aikido dojo? I assume that most would agree that we are training the body but I think there would be a very wide gap between dofferent opinions if we talked about training the mind.

If you go to one extreme you could look at Robert Twigger's experience doing the Tokoyo Riot Police course. The opposite extreme is the "I'm ok, you're ok" New Age type dojo where every attempt is made not to stress anyone, physically or mentally.

So I think every Teacher should look closely at what it is he is trying to teach and design the training accordingly. There may be many new performance maximizing techniques that can be incorporated without compromising even the toughest training.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 04-14-2002, 11:40 AM   #15
paw
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hiya!

Mr. Ledyard,

This is paw from, well, the other forum...

Quote:
I have read a bit about how the spetsnaz special ops personnel trained. The Soviets were at the forefront of sports psychology and performance enhancement techniques for their athletes but when it came to training their warriors they were definitely of he "beat the body, make the spirit stronger" school.
Have you had a chance to talk with Scott Sonnon about this? IMO, Sonnon has a number of instructional videotapes that give examples of tempering that would blend very well with aikido training.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 04-14-2002, 10:09 PM   #16
MaylandL
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Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

Quote:
Originally posted by Don_Modesto
I'd be interested in knowing what practitioners think of standard aikido sessions in light of scientific concepts of training--periodicity, dynamic vs static stretching, variety to challenge the body, intake of water during training, warm ups that actually warm you up, etc.
Hello Don

Interesting point that you raise. Personally I use a variety of training methods. For example, regular visits to the gym for cardio vascular workout and weight training to develop flexibility, stamina and muscle power. I've spoken to a sports physicians about the specific exercises I should be performing to improve the muscles that are used in aikido. My gym workout is concetrates on thigh, hips and abdominals muscles. There's sustained cardio vascular work on the exercise bike and rower as well. There is some weight work for upper body but not a lot.

I've also spoken to physiotherapists about the warm up routine that we do in aikido to see if there are any comments and improvements that they would suggest to make the warm up and stretches safer and more effective (more sustained stretched without undue pain or pressure on tendons, ligaments and joints). I took their comments to sensei who agreed with all of them.

As for taking water regularly, the dojos I train at allow and encourage students to drink regularly, especially in hot and humid weather.

All the best for your training.

Mayland
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Old 04-14-2002, 10:17 PM   #17
akiy
 
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Re: Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

Quote:
Originally posted by MaylandL
I've also spoken to physiotherapists about the warm up routine that we do in aikido to see if there are any comments and improvements that they would suggest to make the warm up and stretches safer and more effective (more sustained stretched without undue pain or pressure on tendons, ligaments and joints). I took their comments to sensei who agreed with all of them.
Interesting. Mayland, which parts of your warm-up routines were deemed "unsafe" by these physiotherapists?

For example, one stretch that I've seen people do which has been deemed "unsafe" is the one where you sit in seiza then lean all the way back so that your shoulder blades and back touch the ground.

-- Jun

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Old 04-14-2002, 11:24 PM   #18
MaylandL
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Re: Re: Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy

Interesting. Mayland, which parts of your warm-up routines were deemed "unsafe" by these physiotherapists?

For example, one stretch that I've seen people do which has been deemed "unsafe" is the one where you sit in seiza then lean all the way back so that your shoulder blades and back touch the ground.

-- Jun
There's a couple that they mentioned. One where you bend at the hip with one hand extended over your head and the other hand reaches as close to the ankle as possible. The Physio said not to bend at the hip so much. He recommended to just tilt the body slightly at the hip and just extend the hand up. You get a better and more sustained stretch without the pressure on the lower spine and hip.

The stretch that you are mentioning places a lot of stress on the small of your back, knee and ankle joints. He said you need a high degree of flexibility to do this stretch and should not be sustained. There are safer and better stretches than this.

The other one he mention is the back bend. The angle that I was doing it was too severe and placed a lot of stress on the lower back verterbrae and muscles. He said it was preferable to be on all fours and to do back arches. Alternative reduce the angle of the back bend to no more that 10 degrees and reach abover your head with your arms outstretched. THe overall shape should be an "X".

He also mentioned not to "bounce" when stretching. There was some commonsense suggestions too that the Physio made. Things like maintaining a stretch for about 1 minute to get the advantages of flexibility improvement. Not to extend to a point where the stretch was painful but rather just before it where you could "feel" the stretch.

Hope this helps and happy training

PS I'm sure others in this forum have other advice and comments about safe and effective warm ups. Perhaps Colleen may have suggestions give her medical background.

Some of these references might be useful:

http://gofree.indigo.ie/~ctkds/stretching.html
http://web.mit.edu/tkd/html/stretching_toc.html


Last edited by MaylandL : 04-14-2002 at 11:51 PM.

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Old 04-15-2002, 02:35 AM   #19
Tim Griffiths
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Re: Re: Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy

For example, one stretch that I've seen people do which has been deemed "unsafe" is the one where you sit in seiza then lean all the way back so that your shoulder blades and back touch the ground.

-- Jun
I'm not Mayland (and am rarely confused with her in public), but...

This stretch is a quad (top of thighs) stretch. The problem is that it also stretches a muscle called the Iliopsoas (actually two muscles). This runs up from the femur and connects to the lumbar vertebrae and disks at the top. Doing this stretch, or doing a situp with your legs extended straight out, tries to support your whole upper body by this muscle, which puts a lot of strain on the spine and particularly the lumbar disks, which we have enough trouble with anyway.

This stretch wouldn't be so bad, except that it's hard to go into it in a controlled way - people who can normally do it tend to fall into it (and occasionally find out they were stiffer than they thought). If you want to do it, stretch each side individually first, and then go back trying to keep your spine in a C-shape (the opposite of arching it) - so that ideally your lower back (not shoulder blades or head) touch the floor first.

As Mayland said, there's also strain on the knees and ankles, but this is less of an issue for people who spend a lot of time in seiza.

Hope that helps,

Tim

Last edited by Tim Griffiths : 04-15-2002 at 06:32 AM.

If one makes a distinction between the dojo and the battlefield, or being in your bedroom or in public, then when the time comes there will be no opportunity to make amends. (Hagakure)
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Old 04-15-2002, 06:25 AM   #20
Avery Jenkins
 
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

As a doctor who treats a lot of musculoskeletal injuries, I think you have to keep in mind a couple of things. First, people such as myself obviously spend most of our time treating people with injuries, so we tend to be a little more cautious in our advice. We don't want to re-injure the patient.

In an otherwise healthy individual, I don't think any of the exercises mentioned here would cause much in the way of problems, so long as proper form is employed. I do them myself.

Second, quite frankly, most of the injuries I see are the result of not enough stress on the body. I love it when I have an injured athlete come in, because their joints, bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons are so much stronger and healthier that it makes recovery faster and outcomes are usually better. So I recommend stressing your body. That's how we stay healthy.

As far as hydration goes, my opinion is that not everything has to be shugyo. If you are going to do shugyo, do it. Still, nine times out of ten, if you are properly hydrated before class, you should be able to make it through a one-hour class without a water break unless you're training in a hay loft in Alabama.

Avery
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Old 04-15-2002, 12:20 PM   #21
Don_Modesto
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Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

Quote:
Originally posted by akiy
Mayland, which parts of your warm-up routines were deemed "unsafe" by these physiotherapists?-- Jun
I was pleased to read Mayland's comments, she
having consulted with a pro. My own thoughts are far less tutored; I read The Science of Martial Arts Training by Charles I. Staley which confirmed some suspicions, raised others.

I believe in getting the body warm before
stretching; Staley confirms this. Moreover, the purpose of stretching must be questioned. The protracted stretches most do at the begining of class is better done at the end of the session when the body is warm. Then, as the body cools, the flexibility gains tend to remain.

If the purpose of the stretch is protection
against injury, then stretches ought to be
dynamic--as we'll be moving--not static (which is what we tend to do.)

I'll have to review the book (which I haven't
read for a while) to recall other issues.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 04-15-2002, 05:22 PM   #22
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

Quote:
Originally posted by Don_Modesto


I was pleased to read Mayland's comments, she
having consulted with a pro. My own thoughts are far less tutored; I read The Science of Martial Arts Training by Charles I. Staley which confirmed some suspicions, raised others.

I believe in getting the body warm before
stretching; Staley confirms this. Moreover, the purpose of stretching must be questioned. The protracted stretches most do at the begining of class is better done at the end of the session when the body is warm. Then, as the body cools, the flexibility gains tend to remain.

If the purpose of the stretch is protection
against injury, then stretches ought to be
dynamic--as we'll be moving--not static (which is what we tend to do.)

I'll have to review the book (which I haven't
read for a while) to recall other issues.
We have gone to a full half hour warmup with lots of movement at the beginning in order to get people's muscles heated up. We also use some of the old judo conditioning excercises. People are really wamred up when they train and I think it has helped keep the injury tally low.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
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Old 04-16-2002, 12:05 PM   #23
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
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Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

Quote:
Originally posted by George S. Ledyard
We have gone to a full half hour warmup with lots of movement at the beginning in order to get people's muscles heated up. We also use some of the old judo conditioning excercises. People are really wamred up when they train and I think it has helped keep the injury tally low.
No kidding! One hour?! What do you do all that time? (And do most people train for two hours?--Great!)

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 04-16-2002, 08:24 PM   #24
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Re: Tradition and Scientific Training

Quote:
Originally posted by Don_Modesto

No kidding! One hour?! What do you do all that time? (And do most people train for two hours?--Great!)
Notice I said full 1/2 hour warmup! And yes, most people are training for two to two and a half hours.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
Bellevue, WA
Aikido Eastside
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Old 04-22-2002, 09:41 AM   #25
justinm
Location: Maidenhead
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knee cirlces

I see many people doing knee circles as part of their warm up routine (i.e. standing with both feet together, hands on knees, and performing large circles with the knees).

I have always considered this as very bad, as the knees are not designed to move in that direction to my knowledge. I wondered if this is true, and if so, does this contribute to the large number of 'bad knees' we see in aikido?
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