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Old 09-12-2010, 06:50 PM   #1
tim evans
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When is it time to turn it up a notch?

I have been doing aikido for 2 years and I,m a 5th kyu testing soon for 4th kyu when is it time to pick up the speed and intensity of my training I,m still a beginner safety is my number one priority.thanks

one of the "corn fed boys"
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:01 PM   #2
lbb
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

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Tim Evans wrote: View Post
I have been doing aikido for 2 years and I,m a 5th kyu testing soon for 4th kyu when is it time to pick up the speed and intensity of my training I,m still a beginner safety is my number one priority.thanks
Someone (can't remember who, sorry) said it very well in another thread some time ago: don't "pick up the speed and intensity" until you're ready to receive the same.

Also, if you have to ask "when is that?" -- especially of an internet forum -- there's a good chance the answer is "not yet". One thing can be said for sure, it isn't really tied to your rank or how long you've been training. You're ready when you're ready, and not before.
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:07 PM   #3
tim evans
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
Someone (can't remember who, sorry) said it very well in another thread some time ago: don't "pick up the speed and intensity" until you're ready to receive the same.

Also, if you have to ask "when is that?" -- especially of an internet forum -- there's a good chance the answer is "not yet". One thing can be said for sure, it isn't really tied to your rank or how long you've been training. You're ready when you're ready, and not before.
Agree 100 percent mary just curious because I see students at my dojo of the same rank going faster than my self I was just wondering if I need to go faster.

one of the "corn fed boys"
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

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Agree 100 percent mary just curious because I see students at my dojo of the same rank going faster than my self I was just wondering if I need to go faster.
I don't think so -- not just because they're of the same rank as you. There's always quite a bit of range among students of any given rank. More importantly, though -- is "going fast" really seen as a desirable goal at your dojo?
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:35 PM   #5
tim evans
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I don't think so -- not just because they're of the same rank as you. There's always quite a bit of range among students of any given rank. More importantly, though -- is "going fast" really seen as a desirable goal at your dojo?
No going fast enough to demonstrate the tech nique correctly is what the dojo strives for and thats my goal

one of the "corn fed boys"
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:41 PM   #6
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

I'm 5thy kyu going on 4th as well. We are encouraged in my dojo to occasionally increase the intensity and just move rather than focusing on going slow and attending to details. I am an intense person and I enjoy an occasional hard and fast bit of training with one of the more energetic members of the dojo. It gives me a chance to see what things I have got into muscle memory and what things I need to focus on when I slow back down. I would not do hard and fast all the time but I think it is useful training. Just remember not to go any faster than you can handle ukemi wise or you might find yourself flying harder and further than you are prepared for. And sometimes that too is kinda fun and shows you that you know more than you think. Everyone has to find what works best for them.

If you are unsure like others said you probably should not be increasing your pace too much just yet. Just being unsure can cause you to get hurt at higher speeds. Hesitation gets things out of balance and you can injure yourself by not going with the throw.

Talk to your sensei about this and see what he thinks.
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:48 PM   #7
Chris Farnham
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Tim,
I see that you are at a USAF dojo. My first dojo was a USAF dojo too, and Yamada is known for being one of those teachers who emphasizes strong basic technique. I say worry about the basics first then worry about turning it up a notch. A few years ago I was watching a dan grading that Yamada Shihan was presiding over , and after the tests were finished he berated a lot of the sensei present for sending shodan candidates to him who tried to fly through their technique without accomplishing basic elements like kuzushi that are required for Aikido to work. If your dohai(those of equal level) are flying through technique without executing the basic technique while you are refining yours, who do you think is accomplishing more in their practice?
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Old 09-12-2010, 11:40 PM   #8
Erik Calderon
 
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

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Tim Evans wrote: View Post
I have been doing aikido for 2 years and I,m a 5th kyu testing soon for 4th kyu when is it time to pick up the speed and intensity of my training I,m still a beginner safety is my number one priority.thanks
As soon as you are in shape and ready to hit the mat a little harder and faster!

It's great fun!

Erik Calderon
http://www.escalderonmartialarts.com

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Old 09-13-2010, 02:34 AM   #9
Jon Marshall
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Hi Tim,

My old teacher used to say "If you want to learn fast, practice slow." That said, it is fun to pick it up sometimes, and good to practice in different ways.

On this matter, I think things usually happen pretty organically, and there are certain people with whom you will naturally end up practising more vigorously. Mostly, things speed up with those with a playful (fighty?) spirit AND who look after you. The flip side of this is that it pays to look after your uke, because then (apart from being a good guy) you get better attacks. If there's the whiff of ego in the air, then keep it chilled.

Near the end of a class is good - in between getting bored of analysing stuff, and getting too tired to perform. Problems can arise if uke is not very aware of being in danger. Then tori might not be able to execute the chosen technique, but could do something quite nasty instead. Or tori may be good enough to change to some other technique, but at this point you are not learning as much because you are no longer able to protect yourself. You become cannon fodder, which is not so much fun for either of you.

Enjoy,
Jon
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Old 09-13-2010, 06:13 AM   #10
Pauliina Lievonen
 
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

In our dojo 5th to 4th kyu is time to work on smoother technique that flows a bit better. In contrast to 6th kyu where it's still ok to go in 1-2-3 steps carefully.

So not so much faster, but smoother. At least with the techniques you already know somewhat. And that applies both as uke and as tori.

kvaak
Pauliina
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Old 09-13-2010, 08:52 AM   #11
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Speed is overrated in training. Better to make sure you're technically sound and that your techniques flow smoothly.

That being said the only way to find out if you are ready is to try. Have your partner speed up a bit and see how if feels.

Lyle Laizure
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Old 09-13-2010, 03:36 PM   #12
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

LOL one thing I am noticing more and more lately. Watch any high ranking person demonstrating aikido at its best... they never appear to be in a hurry.In fact if anything they really are not moving all that fast.

I've become more and more aware of that lately when watching my own teachers as well as others. It seems to be more so in 3rd dan and above.

As my sensei quotes in class... slow is smooth, smooth is fast. So yeah its not so much faster as smoother like Paulina is saying.

Weirdly enough I also noted the other day that fast is actually slow....going faster won't get you there sooner. It more likely will delay your arrival while you fix all of the errors that develop.
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Old 09-14-2010, 09:13 AM   #13
Amir Krause
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Did you ask your Sensei?

Most of the training should be done slowly, this is the best way to learn. With a good Uke, Slow should still be intense and challenging. When you practice slowly, there is time to find the glitches and holes of your movements and techniques, and time for you to fix those and smoothen your moves correctly.

The above is true at any level, not jusst Kyu levels but also Yundasha levels. However, as you progress, you should find out that you have better control of your speed, and you can go at several notches of "slow" some of them much slower then today, and some faster than your current grasp of fast execution.

When moving fast, we normally try to make shortcuts, many of those might also short-circuit the technique we try to do. Hence, the strong objection for fast execution.

Despite all indicated above. Fast execution does have a place in the training methodology, as another way of testing and examination. Do I move smoothly enough so can do it much faster without losing anything? Where are the glitches I should correct training slow? which sub-movements limit me?

A good teacher will know when and how to apply each. For some types of beginners, that teacher is likely to keep trying to hold his horses, rather then urge them to run as they would like.

Enjoy and learn
Amir
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:31 AM   #14
tim evans
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Quote:
Amir Krause wrote: View Post
Did you ask your Sensei?

Most of the training should be done slowly, this is the best way to learn. With a good Uke, Slow should still be intense and challenging. When you practice slowly, there is time to find the glitches and holes of your movements and techniques, and time for you to fix those and smoothen your moves correctly.

The above is true at any level, not jusst Kyu levels but also Yundasha levels. However, as you progress, you should find out that you have better control of your speed, and you can go at several notches of "slow" some of them much slower then today, and some faster than your current grasp of fast execution.

When moving fast, we normally try to make shortcuts, many of those might also short-circuit the technique we try to do. Hence, the strong objection for fast execution.

Despite all indicated above. Fast execution does have a place in the training methodology, as another way of testing and examination. Do I move smoothly enough so can do it much faster without losing anything? Where are the glitches I should correct training slow? which sub-movements limit me?

A good teacher will know when and how to apply each. For some types of beginners, that teacher is likely to keep trying to hold his horses, rather then urge them to run as they would like.

Enjoy and learn
Amir
I have asked sensei in the past this and he says slow if he needs me to speed up he will tell me but sometimes you judge yourself by your peers I mean your current rank and these thoughts about your knolege of aikido creeps in you feel like your falling behind.

one of the "corn fed boys"
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:36 AM   #15
Janet Rosen
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

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Tim Evans wrote: View Post
I have asked sensei in the past this and he says slow if he needs me to speed up he will tell me but sometimes you judge yourself by your peers I mean your current rank and these thoughts about your knolege of aikido creeps in you feel like your falling behind.
This is not a competitive team sport where you will be benchwarming or cut.
Some people will always be faster to rise through the ranks, but the only thing you can ever be "falling behind" in is your own expectations.

Janet Rosen
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:46 AM   #16
C. David Henderson
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

I agree with Janet, but sympathize with the feeling you describe, Tim. I found during my first couple of years of training that comparing myself to others-- pretty much irrespective of the result of the comparison in my own mind -- impeded my learning and robbed something from my day-to-day practice. It helped me to take a long hiatus from testing. But that's me.

David Henderson
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:59 AM   #17
Marc Abrams
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Tim:

This is a frequently asked question in any dojo. My advice that I use and give to my students is that you should practice your techniques at a speed with which you can still feel the connection between you and the uke from start through (and including) finish, while at the same time, being aware of what is happening inside of you and what is happening inside of the uke.

Good Luck with that one!

Marc Abrams
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:49 AM   #18
Jon Marshall
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Quote:
Marc Abrams wrote: View Post
My advice that I use and give to my students is that you should practice your techniques at a speed with which you can still feel the connection between you and the uke from start through (and including) finish, while at the same time, being aware of what is happening inside of you and what is happening inside of the uke.
Good answer!

Another thought - and I don't know if you're the right grade for this yet. If you want to challenge yourself a bit, try making the movements smaller, which will make the technique quicker without having to go faster. For me, this has sometimes been the solution when I've been struggling with someone - i.e. being more ambitious. If this isn't a helpful idea at the moment, maybe bear it in mind for the future.

Jon.

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Old 09-16-2010, 03:40 AM   #19
Amir Krause
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
I have asked sensei in the past this and he says slow if he needs me to speed up he will tell me but sometimes you judge yourself by your peers I mean your current rank and these thoughts about your knolege of aikido creeps in you feel like your falling behind.
Your Sensei, who saw you, knows your level, skill, progress, etc. has given you a good answer.

Do not expect better answers from people in the forum, who know nothing about you.

(Unless you do not trust your Sensei, in which case, you should be looking for another first).

BR
Amir
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Old 09-17-2010, 03:58 PM   #20
tarik
 
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

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Tim Evans wrote: View Post
I have been doing aikido for 2 years and I,m a 5th kyu testing soon for 4th kyu when is it time to pick up the speed and intensity of my training I,m still a beginner safety is my number one priority.thanks
First, your instructor should really be your guide. But in terms of comparing experiences with other people...

Intensity can be achieved without speed.

IME, I can't count the number of students and partners I've asked to speed up.. because I'm almost always asking them to slow down.

If you move smoothly, speed ultimately takes care of itself, even if it doesn't look or feel fast. So practice always slow enough that you can smoothly and [mostly] correctly execute the movements required of you and speed will take care of itself.

Best,

Tarik Ghbeish
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:30 AM   #21
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Speed and Intensity.

Couple of different ways to look at them. I look at it much different than I used to.

Speed can be used to make up for short falls in skill. Yes, you can use speed to jump "gaps" in processes and get to somewhere you want to be for sure.

However, doing the wrong thing fast just gets you wronger faster. Also, speed can sacrifice accuracy and multiply errors to.

And yes, things do get intense when you don't know what you are doing and when you are uncomfortable and "things" are happening fast.

Personnally, I prefer the words EFFICIENCY and CALM.

The more efficient I become in my movements responses, the more accurate my movements and choices, the less I have to be concerned with being fast. I will simply be there before my opponent and force him to be behind the power curve or the decision cycle.

I want to force him into the situation to have to make the tough choices...and have to use speed and force him into an intense state of mind while I remain calm and clear.

It might appear that I am moving with speed, and in most cases, yes, speed is gained through efficient and accurate movements....makes sense right? your not wasting needless energy and motion!

As I gain skill and proficiency...the intensity level should actually drop. Things should move slower and calmer. You can begin to control the rhythm of your encounters and practice.

This is very, very fresh on my mind right now. In fact, I spend several hours a week these days with my weapon systems in very slow and deliberate movements/patterns...learning and reprogramming my body to move in the most efficient manners possible.

Slowing down and doing it right, connecting the breathing with good muscle memory with the right posture is key.

So, i'd focus less on speed and intensity and more on precision, efficiency and smoothness.

Ironically you will become as fast as you need to be to control the situation and things will naturally become more intense for you partner as they become less intense for you!

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Old 09-18-2010, 12:10 PM   #22
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Quote:
Tim Evans wrote: View Post
I have been doing aikido for 2 years and I,m a 5th kyu testing soon for 4th kyu when is it time to pick up the speed and intensity of my training I,m still a beginner safety is my number one priority.thanks
I am not being facetious when I say that, doing Budo and having safety as your number one priority are mutually exclusive. Aikido involves placing oneself right under the sword, right in front of the punch. Every technique requires an instant in which you "accept" the energy of the attack. This is inherently risky. The only way to make it all "safe" is to suck the energy and intention out of the training, which many folks choose to do. But it is impossible to develop any skill training that way.

I am reminded of the statement in the Last Samurai in which the young Samurai advises Tom Cruise that he is of "too many minds". You can't step in to take the center unless you are where your center could be taken. You can't step in to strike unless you are where you could be struck. So when it's time to go, you have to just go. It is impossible to really attack when you are worried about defense.

The problem with toning down the training to make people feel safe is that they tend to become dependent on that. I'm not saying that a new beginner doesn't need to go slowly. But I will say that, over the years, the folks that I knew who were consistently injured, who always seemed to be getting bunged up, were precisely those folks who were most worried about being hurt. One has to get over that fear. Sure, there are minor athletic injuries that can occur. But you can't really train if that is your concern.

Once you start down the road of trying to make everything feel safe, the life goes out of the art, as far as being a form of Budo is concerned anyway. Ten, fifteen years later, you aren't actually any better because you haven't ever really committed, have never walked on that edge.

If safety is ones number one priority, its better not to do martial arts at all. That's way safer. But even then, you assumed some level of risk when you got out of bed this morning, so it's really a matter of degree. No matter what we do, we will all die anyway. So it's a matter of how one approaches ones life. One can be "safe" or one can really commit, which is far riskier.

It's just like relationships... if you want to make sure your aren't hurt, don't have a relationship. It requires the willingness to be vulnerable, to accept that one can be hurt, to have a real relationship. You can see all sorts of folks who are alone precisely because they want an assurance that they won't be hurt BEFORE they are willing to open up. There is no such guarantee. It's the same with martial arts and especially Aikido, which requires non-resistance and a willingness to join with an attack rather than defend against it.

The only "safe" place when attacked with a sword is straight in under the blade. You might get cut, but it is surely the only way you won't be. All attempts not to be cut assure that yuu will be.

George S. Ledyard
Aikido Eastside
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Old 09-19-2010, 06:45 AM   #23
Amir Krause
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Speed and Intensity.

Couple of different ways to look at them. I look at it much different than I used to.

Speed can be used to make up for short falls in skill. Yes, you can use speed to jump "gaps" in processes and get to somewhere you want to be for sure.

However, doing the wrong thing fast just gets you wronger faster. Also, speed can sacrifice accuracy and multiply errors to.

And yes, things do get intense when you don't know what you are doing and when you are uncomfortable and "things" are happening fast.

Personnally, I prefer the words EFFICIENCY and CALM.

The more efficient I become in my movements responses, the more accurate my movements and choices, the less I have to be concerned with being fast. I will simply be there before my opponent and force him to be behind the power curve or the decision cycle.

I want to force him into the situation to have to make the tough choices...and have to use speed and force him into an intense state of mind while I remain calm and clear.

It might appear that I am moving with speed, and in most cases, yes, speed is gained through efficient and accurate movements....makes sense right? your not wasting needless energy and motion!

As I gain skill and proficiency...the intensity level should actually drop. Things should move slower and calmer. You can begin to control the rhythm of your encounters and practice.

This is very, very fresh on my mind right now. In fact, I spend several hours a week these days with my weapon systems in very slow and deliberate movements/patterns...learning and reprogramming my body to move in the most efficient manners possible.

Slowing down and doing it right, connecting the breathing with good muscle memory with the right posture is key.

So, i'd focus less on speed and intensity and more on precision, efficiency and smoothness.

Ironically you will become as fast as you need to be to control the situation and things will naturally become more intense for you partner as they become less intense for you!
Quote:
George S. Ledyard wrote: View Post
I am not being facetious when I say that, doing Budo and having safety as your number one priority are mutually exclusive. Aikido involves placing oneself right under the sword, right in front of the punch. Every technique requires an instant in which you "accept" the energy of the attack. This is inherently risky. The only way to make it all "safe" is to suck the energy and intention out of the training, which many folks choose to do. But it is impossible to develop any skill training that way.

I am reminded of the statement in the Last Samurai in which the young Samurai advises Tom Cruise that he is of "too many minds". You can't step in to take the center unless you are where your center could be taken. You can't step in to strike unless you are where you could be struck. So when it's time to go, you have to just go. It is impossible to really attack when you are worried about defense.

The problem with toning down the training to make people feel safe is that they tend to become dependent on that. I'm not saying that a new beginner doesn't need to go slowly. But I will say that, over the years, the folks that I knew who were consistently injured, who always seemed to be getting bunged up, were precisely those folks who were most worried about being hurt. One has to get over that fear. Sure, there are minor athletic injuries that can occur. But you can't really train if that is your concern.

Once you start down the road of trying to make everything feel safe, the life goes out of the art, as far as being a form of Budo is concerned anyway. Ten, fifteen years later, you aren't actually any better because you haven't ever really committed, have never walked on that edge.

If safety is ones number one priority, its better not to do martial arts at all. That's way safer. But even then, you assumed some level of risk when you got out of bed this morning, so it's really a matter of degree. No matter what we do, we will all die anyway. So it's a matter of how one approaches ones life. One can be "safe" or one can really commit, which is far riskier.

It's just like relationships... if you want to make sure your aren't hurt, don't have a relationship. It requires the willingness to be vulnerable, to accept that one can be hurt, to have a real relationship. You can see all sorts of folks who are alone precisely because they want an assurance that they won't be hurt BEFORE they are willing to open up. There is no such guarantee. It's the same with martial arts and especially Aikido, which requires non-resistance and a willingness to join with an attack rather than defend against it.

The only "safe" place when attacked with a sword is straight in under the blade. You might get cut, but it is surely the only way you won't be. All attempts not to be cut assure that yuu will be.
Two excellent posts, while for a beginner they may seem to disagree. In the eyes of a veteran practitioner, that is not the case. There is inherent tension between practicality and safety and between swiftness and technically correct execution.

The correct place for the student to be at, is not one of comfort, rather one of constant productive challenge, to learn you should succeed about 70% of the time. If it becomes too easy - you are relaxing and in the long run, you will not progress, and might find your techniques do not work. If it is too hard, you will not identify your errors instinctively - the learning process will be hampered.

At that place, you will find most of the time you are practicing slowly, eliminating errors, getting your moves smooth, closing the gaps. You will also train very slowly learning to feel the situation and change with it. And from time to time, to get a confidence boost and remember where and when thinking comes along, you should train moving as fast as you (and your partner) safely can.

Good luck
Amir
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:00 PM   #24
tarik
 
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Location: Boulder Creek, CA
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Re: When is it time to turn it up a notch?

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Speed and Intensity.

Couple of different ways to look at them. I look at it much different than I used to.
Sounds like the seeds of an article! ;-)

Best,

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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