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Old 04-16-2002, 11:51 AM   #1
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
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How to stay relaxed?

Anybody want to share some ways on how to stay relaxed, or relax after getting all tensed up? Please? My method doesn't seem to work for me at all when practising backward rolls. Usually when I feel my self tensing up I take a deep breath and let it out with a kind of forceful sigh and I usually relax. Problem is I either forget to exhale or I simply don't relax at all. It is starting to annoy me.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-16-2002, 12:33 PM   #2
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
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Re: How to stay relaxed?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
1 Anybody want to share some ways on how to stay relaxed, or relax after getting all tensed up? Please?

2 My method doesn't seem to work for me at all when practising backward rolls.

3 Usually when I feel my self tensing up I take a deep breath and let it out with a kind of forceful sigh and I usually relax. Problem is I either forget to exhale or I simply don't relax at all. It is starting to annoy me.
1 I find fatalism works systemically. Whether you call it competitiveness or the martial attitude of regarding every technique as a life and death struggle, wanting to prevail keys you up. Determine to lose sometimes, allow yourself to be hit even, in order to relieve yourself of this pressure.

2 I watch beginners try to back roll and they seem to tense, perhaps trying to stay round, like a ball. I have them do the neck stretch thing where you roll back from a sitting position to one with you feet over your head behind you. You have to relax your abdomen muscles to do this. Then the trick is to apply this dynamically to the roll (see 3, below)

3 er, remember to remember?

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 04-16-2002, 03:26 PM   #3
Ghost Fox
Dojo: Jikishinkan Dojo
Location: New York City (Brooklyn)
Join Date: Oct 2001
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A shot of booze before you get on the mat

Sex before class helps too.

Oh,...Practice, practice, practice.

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Old 04-16-2002, 04:14 PM   #4
guest1234
Join Date: Jun 2000
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I wanna go practice in Damion's dojo!

Kat, not sure what to say, don't put too much pressure on yourself, or compare yourself to some advanced student or another beginner, say, one who might be married to you... if you are getting tense because the rolls hurt, get a senior to carefully watch you and figure out why and give you tips on not hurting. But I'd put money you are getting tense because you expect yourself to get it instantly, and very very few of us ever do (I think they are not telling the truth, anyway ) I look at rolls as a return to a childhood I don't think I ever got to have, and while I'm often heard laughing in class, I am the loudest when I am really messing up.

Last edited by guest1234 : 04-16-2002 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 04-16-2002, 10:09 PM   #5
TheProdigy
Dojo: Aikido Kokikai Delaware
Location: Delaware, USA
Join Date: Nov 2000
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True relaxation will only come with time, as you continue your studies and are able to regain control of the body(something that will take quite awhile).

As for doing backrolls, don't change how you breathe.. allow yourself to continue to breathe normally. Never!!!! hold your breath!! Doing so can cause injury, and it may very well force your body to tense, as the pressure on the air isn't being released.

So, I can only say to try and stay calm and positive! Being happy, laughter for example, is something that relaxes everyone. And if you don't feel the need to laugh, simply smile and focus on one point. If you err, or it feels bumpy... look at it as something you can use to become better. Smile even moreso and try again!

Good luck on your improvement. It will come, and undoubtedly has already started to.

-Jase

Jason Hobbs
"As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life."
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Old 04-16-2002, 10:25 PM   #6
Greg Jennings
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Re: How to stay relaxed?

Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
Anybody want to share some ways on how to stay relaxed, or relax after getting all tensed up? Please? My method doesn't seem to work for me at all when practising backward rolls. Usually when I feel my self tensing up I take a deep breath and let it out with a kind of forceful sigh and I usually relax. Problem is I either forget to exhale or I simply don't relax at all. It is starting to annoy me.
Sometimes tension is caused by self-imposed stress from impatience with one's own progress.

We live in a fast-paced society. It's natural to want greater efficiency; to want things sooner than later.

For me, aikido often doesn't work that way. Frankly, I'm not sure that I want it to.

So, the answer sometimes is to chill out, enjoy yourself and let things come. It's not really the destination that matters anyway, it's enjoying the journey.

I think that's one of the greatest things I've gotten out of aikido. To enjoy what life gives me right here and right now.

But I still want that perfectly smooth and silent front roll and I want it NOW...

Best Regards,

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Old 04-17-2002, 12:12 AM   #7
faramos
Dojo: University of Chicago Aikido Club
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Don't Worry, Be Happy

Tension occurs in people because we worry about not being able to do something "right" or "completely" consistently. Often times it makes us frustrated. But if we look at it in a new light, tension is a tool to help us develop as a person. Sure, people want there to be less tension in their technique, but without it we may never understand how to make our ukemi better or how to handle situations that are not going the way we expect. Just remind youeself once in awhile why tension is there, to help you grow.

In terms of relaxing, remind yourself that it's going to take time to learn to backward roll, and there's plenty of it at your hands. It was a matter of time before we could relax when learning to walk, talk, etc. it will only be a matter of time before rolling takes the same feeling. Even then, the rolls are never perfect, so we train everyday to remind ourselves how much better we can be.

Gambatte (Good Luck) Train Safely
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Old 04-17-2002, 12:33 PM   #8
Kat.C
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ghost Fox
A shot of booze before you get on the mat

Sex before class helps too.

Oh,...Practice, practice, practice.

Oh, I like these ideas! I will have to see if they work

By the way are you speaking from experience?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-17-2002, 01:10 PM   #9
thomson
 
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Dojo: Sarpy Aikido Club
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Freaky! backrolls

Kat,
I'm like you in that I get keyed up and can't relax especially when I can't figure a move out. Also, I'm horrible about backrolls. I cannot perform a backroll to save my life if I think about it; however, when thrown from a technique I have no problems. I'm sorry, I can't offer any assistance in how to relax (I'm too hyper anyhow), I can only commiserate.

Quote:
Tension occurs in people because we worry about not being able to do something "right" or "completely" consistently. Often times it makes us frustrated. But if we look at it in a new light, tension is a tool to help us develop as a person.
Good point. That's exactly my problem.

Quote:
Sometimes tension is caused by self-imposed stress from impatience with one's own progress.
I love these forums, so many people that have been there before and are willing to help. Thanks Kat for asking your question and thanks to everyone else for their wonderful insights.

Mike

To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. - Sun Tzu
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Old 04-17-2002, 08:23 PM   #10
Kat.C
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Wow, first time I've ever been thanked for asking a question. I've got plenty more if you want to hear them

Just thought I would thank everyone for their replies too. I noticed that almost everyone mentioned about me being tense probably because I was too worried about my progress and I was going to write that that isn't the case at all. I don't compare myself with my husband, it would be too silly as he is so much quicker than I am at picking things up and we learn in different ways. I am, however envious of his ability do grasp things so quickly and it annoys me (sometimes) that I am so slow. It was reading these posts that brought it to my attention so umm, thanks

There is another reason why I am getting tense though, I dislike falling and rolling. I get a horrible out of control feeling which leads to my getting tense. Which leads to me not being able to do something so I get annoyed after a while and get more tense and then it becomes a vicious circle.
I took everyones advice tonight though and concentrated on having fun and I did We didn't do any rolling tonight but we did do back breakfalls which of course I sucked at but I had fun trying (though I was terrified) and didn't get annoyed at all. My partners were all very patient, helpful,and very gentle, and were also amused by the death grip I would get on their gi/wrist/arm. They also always made me let go and do the breakfall though

Well thanks again for the insights and advice it all really helped me tonight.

P.S I actually managed to learn a few things tonight

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-17-2002, 09:51 PM   #11
guest1234
Join Date: Jun 2000
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Hi Kat,

I'm glad you had fun and even learned some things

I think everyone was just trying to guess why you were tense , and since you come across as pretty intense about Aikido already (building a practice room! ) I figured it was more perfectionism than it was fear of falling (although that is always a good guess). I'm not sure if the out of control issue is related to a fear of falling, or just not liking the letting go (hmmm, could that be a sign of a perfectionist ), but if it's just the falling thing, then this might help: grab a senior and have them show you how to backroll from a seated position, and front roll starting with your shoulder already on the mat. It's hard to explain, but they'll know how to do it, it's a fairly common way to teach both, although it sounds like you were taught either from kneeling or standing (my dojo started you higher off the ground, too, and one of my friends was really bothered by the distance she had to fall to get to the ground). Another student showed her how she could start already on the mat, and she took to rolls after that.
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Old 04-18-2002, 06:10 AM   #12
Ghost Fox
Dojo: Jikishinkan Dojo
Location: New York City (Brooklyn)
Join Date: Oct 2001
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C


Oh, I like these ideas! I will have to see if they work

By the way are you speaking from experience?
Actually I don't drink. Besides I wouldn't encourage anyone to drink and ukemi, it would be dangerous. Although there's probably nothing wrong with a little liquid courage right before class.

As for the second one I did try it right before my Ikkyu exam, and I got to say I never felt so much love and compassion while throwing my ukes. I had a smile on my face during the entire exam.
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Old 04-18-2002, 10:42 AM   #13
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ghost Fox


Actually I don't drink. Besides I wouldn't encourage anyone to drink and ukemi, it would be dangerous. Although there's probably nothing wrong with a little liquid courage right before class.

I wouldn't really drink before class it would make everything worse (not to mention I doubt it would be allowed).
Actually I couldn't imagine doing it even if it was allowed.
Quote:
As for the second one I did try it right before my Ikkyu exam, and I got to say I never felt so much love and compassion while throwing my ukes. I had a smile on my face during the entire exam.
Hmm, did your ukes appreciate all that love?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-18-2002, 11:41 AM   #14
Erik
Location: Bay Area
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 1,200
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ghost Fox
A shot of booze before you get on the mat.
That's certainly not an untried experiment. Nor, is pot and various forms of hallucinogens untried in this game. You should read up on Terry Dobsen if you get the chance. I don't know if he ever went past pot but I know of others that have. Ellis Amdur does a section in his book on Terry and his pre-practice preparation.

I've had a beer before class and frankly even in low quantities, like one, it mucks up your motor skills. I'm 200 pounds by the way. I would never consider it at this point and would take a dim view of anyone doing it today. Alcohol, for what my opinion is worth is much worse than pot but frankly both are pretty uncool and irresponsible to the safety of your partners.

Alcohol could be quite a topic if we wanted to go there.

Quote:
As for the second one I did try it right before my Ikkyu exam, and I got to say I never felt so much love and compassion while throwing my ukes. I had a smile on my face during the entire exam.
Good thing you didn't have me as an uke. You wouldn't have been smiling during the entire test, assuming that I figured it out that is. I recognize that I'm ass on this topic (and probably others as well), but for reasons that I won't mention here I take this one rather seriously.
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Old 04-18-2002, 12:20 PM   #15
deepsoup
Dojo: Sheffield Shodokan Dojo
Location: Sheffield, UK
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ghost Fox
As for the second one I did try it right before my Ikkyu exam, and I got to say I never felt so much love and compassion while throwing my ukes. I had a smile on my face during the entire exam.

For once I'm going to get this one in before Colleen does:

I hope you washed your hands before training!

Sean
x
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Old 04-18-2002, 12:31 PM   #16
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 212
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik
[b]

That's certainly not an untried experiment. Nor, is pot and various forms of hallucinogens untried in this game. You should read up on Terry Dobsen if you get the chance. I don't know if he ever went past pot but I know of others that have. Ellis Amdur does a section in his book on Terry and his pre-practice preparation.

I've had a beer before class and frankly even in low quantities, like one, it mucks up your motor skills. I'm 200 pounds by the way. I would never consider it at this point and would take a dim view of anyone doing it today. Alcohol, for what my opinion is worth is much worse than pot but frankly both are pretty uncool and irresponsible to the safety of your partners.

Alcohol could be quite a topic if we wanted to go there.
I believe Damien meant it as a joke, as I did when I responded to his post. I really wouldn't ever consider doing something like that, it would be as stupid as driving while intoxicated.
Having said that I now wish to apologise for continuing on with the joke as I realize in retrospect that it was in poor taste. I am amazed that anyone would ever do something like that, my sensei (karate) would have kicked someone out of the dojo for drinking before coming to class. I assume the same would happen at my aikido dojo. I did not realise it was a real issue and am sorry that offense was caused by joking about such a serious issue.

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-18-2002, 01:40 PM   #17
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
Snipped!
Kat, I'm the last person you should worry about offending, so offend away. I surely offend others at times.

It's just that this is a topic that kind of gets swept under the table or accepted and for whatever reason I was feeling serious about it this morning.

I'm probably just sad that Bruce is leaving us.

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Old 04-18-2002, 02:40 PM   #18
Kat.C
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik


Kat, I'm the last person you should worry about offending, so offend away. I surely offend others at times.

Erik, if I do offend you again, please let me know so that I may apologise.

Quote:

It's just that this is a topic that kind of gets swept under the table or accepted and for whatever reason I was feeling serious about it this morning.
It is a serious subject and now that I know this is a real issue I would no more joke about it than I would drunk driving,so I am glad that you pointed out that it has happened. I completely agree with you that drinking before class is a dangerous thing to do.
Quote:
I'm probably just sad that Bruce is leaving us.

Do you need a bucket for your tears?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-18-2002, 03:26 PM   #19
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
Erik, if I do offend you again, please let me know so that I may apologise.
Just to clarify. I wasn't offended. It's a tough issue and while I have certain lines drawn in the sand other's don't have those same lines so who is to say I'm right.

Quote:
Do you need a bucket for your tears?
Thanks for your concern. It's a trying time but I'm managing to cope.
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Old 04-18-2002, 10:07 PM   #20
Kat.C
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik


Just to clarify. I wasn't offended. It's a tough issue and while I have certain lines drawn in the sand other's don't have those same lines so who is to say I'm right.


Now Erik, when someone apologises to you, you should graciously accept it,(especially when it is a woman as we are rarely wrong) as it is my lovely, thoughtful & humble apology has been utterly wasted. I am glad you were not offended just umm, serious?
As to who says you are right, in this case common sense and the safety of others does.


Quote:
Thanks for your concern. It's a trying time but I'm managing to cope.
Yes, saying goodbye does tear one up doesn't it?

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-18-2002, 10:43 PM   #21
Erik
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C
Now Erik, when someone apologises to you, you should graciously accept it,(especially when it is a woman as we are rarely wrong) as it is my lovely, thoughtful & humble apology has been utterly wasted.


I just hit my head on my desk in my attempt to bow in your direction which is errr....which direction do I bow????

I'll do better next time, I promise.
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Old 04-18-2002, 10:46 PM   #22
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 212
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Quote:
Originally posted by ca
Hi Kat,

I'm glad you had fun and even learned some things

I think everyone was just trying to guess why you were tense , and since you come across as pretty intense about Aikido already (building a practice room! ) I figured it was more perfectionism than it was fear of falling (although that is always a good guess). I'm not sure if the out of control issue is related to a fear of falling, or just not liking the letting go (hmmm, could that be a sign of a perfectionist ), but if it's just the falling thing, then this might help: grab a senior and have them show you how to backroll from a seated position, and front roll starting with your shoulder already on the mat. It's hard to explain, but they'll know how to do it, it's a fairly common way to teach both, although it sounds like you were taught either from kneeling or standing (my dojo started you higher off the ground, too, and one of my friends was really bothered by the distance she had to fall to get to the ground). Another student showed her how she could start already on the mat, and she took to rolls after that.
Hi Colleen, everyone pretty much guessed right in that I was annoyed with myself for not being able to do a roll properly. I just hadn't realised it until you guys brought it up. You know, I had thought it was just the falling thing, then I discovered that I was annoyed with myself, now you have mentioned perfectionism. I'm not sure if that term applies to me or not. In karate I was always trying to improve my techniques, I no doubt will do the same with aikido. I always practised a minimum of 2 hours a day, but usually more. I do throw myself into activities that I like doing and am never satisfied with my performance and continually strive to get better. Is this perfectionism? Is it a bad thing?
By the way, the building we are planning is necessary in order to sit outside in the summer, the bugs are overwhelming, we just thought we might as well use it for aikido too. Our house is way too small to practise in.
We were taught to do a back roll from a kneeling position, so not too high off the ground I think it is the rolling that bothers me the most doing this. Funny though, when I was a kid I loved to do someraults. The backbreakfalls are definitely scary, we do them from a standing postion Oh well, I suppose I'll get over my fear once I can do them properly. No one seems inclined to have me do these things from a lower postion, they do however comment that the mats are soft and it won't hurt. Which is true

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-18-2002, 11:00 PM   #23
Kat.C
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 212
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Quote:
Originally posted by Erik




I just hit my head on my desk in my attempt to bow in your direction which is errr....which direction do I bow????

Up would be the best direction as we women are above men. I do not believe that is possible though, so just bow towards New Brunswick.
Quote:
I'll do better next time, I promise.
Next time?! As I rarely make mistakes you should treasure my original apology as a one of a kind jem.

PS Sorry about your head

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 04-19-2002, 07:19 AM   #24
deepsoup
Dojo: Sheffield Shodokan Dojo
Location: Sheffield, UK
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 524
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kat.C

I always practised a minimum of 2 hours a day, but usually more. I do throw myself into activities that I like doing and am never satisfied with my performance and continually strive to get better. Is this perfectionism? Is it a bad thing?
Hi Kat,

I'd say it is mainly enthusiasm, maybe with a dash of perfectionism thrown in. I dont think its a bad thing, far from it, but I would like to throw in a word of caution.

Aikido is difficult to do. Sometimes you just dont get it, and that can be very frustrating. (I find I'm 'just not getting it' more often now than I was as a complete beginner.) Dont beat yourself up about that, it happens to everyone.

When you throw yourself into something with such enthusiasm, sometimes you find it just isn't sustainable. When life gets in the way, and you find you cant train as hard as you might like to, dont beat yourself up about that either.

Striving to get better is all well and good, but its also important to enjoy the moment.


Best
Sean
x
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