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Old 03-23-2011, 03:39 PM   #1
MookieRah
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New to Aikido

Before I get to the meat of this post I'll give a little bit of my background. I was at an MMA school for about 6 months learning the basics of boxing, kick boxing, BJJ, and the like. I've basically was there long enough to get a basic foundation of those styles, but not much beyond that. I recently picked up the SCA for the sword fighting, and I've been having fun with that. The best guy in our group also studies Aikido, which is how I ended up checking it out.

I went to my first class yesterday and had a blast. It mirrors BJJ a lot in how it works, and it seems like the combination of the two arts would be pretty awesome. The dojo is also excited for me being there, as they want to spar with someone with an MMA background considering that, apparently, Aikido gets a lot of flak from the MMA community, so they would like to train with someone who uses it to improve. I'm also short, and I'm quite happy that being short is a GOOD thing for Aikido. For once I'm not at a disadvantage for being 5'6" in a martial art.

In any case, what would you guys recommend a Aikido newb to do? By that I mean are there any exercises, stretches, drills/katas, and stuff like that I could train on my own outside of classes? I'm basically getting back into my old MMA groove and starting back with my conditioning training, so I figure it would be good to append Aikido stuff to my routine as well.
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Old 03-23-2011, 04:32 PM   #2
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: New to Aikido

I am going to skip over commenting on the first part of your post and focus on the questions you asked at the end.....

Stretching is good. Try doing the exercises you are doing in class on your own. A lot of the stretches and strength exercises you do in class are done for a reason. Exercises for your core are always a good thing, but don't forget about your back muscles or you will get muscle imbalance. Some people find that yoga and pilates helps out with both of those areas.

If you are having problems with stamina, which you may not have an issue with because MMA is usually big on that, you could try doing more cardio. Figure out what works for you. Some people are walkers, joggers, runners, elliptical-ers, etc. Heck, skip rope and shadow box a while and you will get plenty of cardio. I'm sure you are already familiar with those! Why not enjoy your past art while you get fit at the same time?

There are things you can practice on your own later (footwork, weapons, ukemi, etc), but I would wait until you have been instructed in those areas before you take those on yourself. Best of luck in your future training. It can be a lot of fun!

Last edited by ninjaqutie : 03-23-2011 at 04:35 PM.

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Old 03-23-2011, 09:31 PM   #3
lbb
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
Jason Smith wrote: View Post
In any case, what would you guys recommend a Aikido newb to do? By that I mean are there any exercises, stretches, drills/katas, and stuff like that I could train on my own outside of classes?
Apart from basic conditioning to support your training, I'd stick with training in class for now. In class, I"d say the challenge is to maintain beginner's mind and not try to bring what you already know onto the mat.
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:10 AM   #4
MookieRah
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
A lot of the stretches and strength exercises you do in class are done for a reason.
The stretches they did Tuesday were pretty much identical to the stretches I did for MMA. After seeing that thread on here about doing wrist pushups I was wondering if there were more things like that in Aikido that would help me in the long run.

Quote:
Exercises for your core are always a good thing, but don't forget about your back muscles or you will get muscle imbalance. Some people find that yoga and pilates helps out with both of those areas.
I'm working on my back right now. I'm gonna find a way to get my tractor tire from my parent's house to my apartment so I can continue my old regiment of 3 sets of tabata sledging. That was always a great exercise for increasing punching power, and I would assume that it is as good if not better for increasing the power behind sword strikes as well.
Quote:
I"d say the challenge is to maintain beginner's mind and not try to bring what you already know onto the mat.
I was planning on going full on aikido in any sparring situation unless they otherwise stated they want me to use other styles. Like I state in the opening post, they are excited to be able to spar against someone with my background, so I'm all for that too. Either way, I'll have a lot of fun.

Speaking of fighting in the aikido style, I could tell from my first class that it will be hard to adjust from boxing/kickboxing style striking and defense to aikido. I'll get the hang of it eventually though.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:04 PM   #5
kewms
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
Jason Smith wrote: View Post
Speaking of fighting in the aikido style, I could tell from my first class that it will be hard to adjust from boxing/kickboxing style striking and defense to aikido. I'll get the hang of it eventually though.
You might talk to your instructor about that... most aikidoka are pretty terrible at strikes. It might be better for them to imitate you than for you to imitate them... Certainly the Zombie Fist of Doom that you see in many dojos is pretty unrealistic.

Katherine
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:40 PM   #6
Hellis
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
You might talk to your instructor about that... most aikidoka are pretty terrible at strikes. It might be better for them to imitate you than for you to imitate them... Certainly the Zombie Fist of Doom that you see in many dojos is pretty unrealistic.

Katherine
Katherine
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"" Certainly the Zombie Fist of Doom that you see in many dojos is pretty unrealistic. ""

Henry Ellis
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http://rik-ellis.blogspot.com/
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:48 PM   #7
MookieRah
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
You might talk to your instructor about that... most aikidoka are pretty terrible at strikes. It might be better for them to imitate you than for you to imitate them... Certainly the Zombie Fist of Doom that you see in many dojos is pretty unrealistic.
Well if they imitated me they would just be doing boxing. I'd be interested though if there were some videos outlining proper aikido strikes, and then I could work them on my punching bag. Seeing as I'm more used to stand up striking than them (more than likely) it might add some more depth to the dojo.

The biggest problem I noticed with the striking I've seen so far is that they are seem to be pretty telegraphed. The basic vertical and horizontal chops I have seen them doing require a lot of movement before they land. Also due to it being similar to a slashing motion, it's much easier to block because of it's angle. In contrast, most boxing punches act more like thrusts that are quicker and harder to block because the vector of the attack is more like a point rather than a line.

That said, from what I've seen so far, it seems as if most of the Aikido strikes were intended to be blocked so that you can begin to grapple your opponent, they are simply baits, but I would think that there is more to it than just that. Again, if someone could link me to videos outlining strikes I'd definitely would like to look into that.

[edit]
Something I thought about after I originally posted regarding strikes. It seems like it would make sense for Aikidoka should have a basic background in more western striking styles. Seeing how this style stresses self-defense, it would be important to train against the kind of strikes that would be more commonly used.

Last edited by MookieRah : 03-24-2011 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:54 PM   #8
lbb
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
Jason Smith wrote: View Post
That said, from what I've seen so far, it seems as if most of the Aikido strikes were intended to be blocked so that you can begin to grapple your opponent, they are simply baits, but I would think that there is more to it than just that.
Well, yes. For one thing, in typical practice, the person who attacks with a strike is not the person who is going to end up "winning" -- ask someone at your dojo what the words "uke" and "nage" mean. For another thing, aikido is not grappling and the objective in an aikido encounter is not to get to a grappling situation.

This is where beginner mind will serve you well, if you let it. Your data points come from another style. Spend some time acquiring some aikido data points, without trying to analyze them or fit them into a framework of what you already know. Once you have a good collection of data points, a shape will start to emerge. Just let it happen in its own time.
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:15 PM   #9
MookieRah
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
For another thing, aikido is not grappling and the objective in an aikido encounter is not to get to a grappling situation.
Sorry if my terminology caused some confusion there. I used the term grappling loosely there, for lack of a better term. I'm sure there is an Aikido specific term for it, perhaps to get specific it would be something along the lines of initiating an aikinagi or aikitoshi, or perhaps in general a nage?
Quote:
ask someone at your dojo what the words "uke" and "nage" mean
Yeah, I did totally get that backwards. I have a basic understanding of uke and nage. Uke being the guy that is thrown and Nage being the guy performing the throw.
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:22 PM   #10
Demetrio Cereijo
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
Jason Smith wrote: View Post
That said, from what I've seen so far, it seems as if most of the Aikido strikes were intended to be blocked so that you can begin to grapple your opponent, they are simply baits, but I would think that there is more to it than just that. Again, if someone could link me to videos outlining strikes I'd definitely would like to look into that.
Strikes are baits in some cases, but there are more uses for them. Be patient, young padawan

I suggest you, as a start, to watch this clip and to read this book (the atemi-jutsu chapter starting at p. 45) for some samples of Aikido striking.

Last edited by Demetrio Cereijo : 03-24-2011 at 04:28 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:44 PM   #11
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
Jason Smith wrote: View Post
The basic vertical and horizontal chops I have seen them doing require a lot of movement before they land. Also due to it being similar to a slashing motion, it's much easier to block because of it's angle. In contrast, most boxing punches act more like thrusts that are quicker and harder to block because the vector of the attack is more like a point rather than a line.
Also keep in mind that aikido strikes simulate weapons attacks as well. If you watch a shomen or yokomen attack and then hand them a sword, generally, the shomen and kesa cut should look pretty darn similar to the strike they did before.

Where as, boxing is an empty handed fighting style. As far as I am aware, none of the principles are based on a weapon (other then your fist I suppose) It is my impression, like you said that for the most part, the attacks are fairly straight and/or compact. Sure, obviously a cross, upercut, etc require some directionality, but the principle behind why the attacks are that way is different from some aikido attacks. You could dabble further into it and say that even a boxing jab is on a straight line, just a horizontal one.

Another point is that, until you get better, you need your uke to let their attacks hang out there a bit. It's hard enough to work on something new when they are kindly leaving their hand out there for you. Imagine how long it would take you to work on a technique when they keep retracting their punch and your left grabbing air.

With that said, just soak up what you can and you will come to your own conclusion. You will find things you like and you will find things you don't (I have). In the end, if you train long enough, your aikido will look different then others, though the foundation and basic principles should be the same.

I guess you could think of it like walking. Everyone has the same basic foundation and principles needed for walking, it's just some people use a different gait that suits their body. I feel that it is the same thing with aikido. Change a bit to suit your body, but change too much and you are doing something else entirely (not that it's a bad thing, it's just not aikido).

Last edited by ninjaqutie : 03-24-2011 at 04:49 PM.

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Old 03-24-2011, 05:11 PM   #12
Dave de Vos
 
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
Jason Smith wrote: View Post
Well if they imitated me they would just be doing boxing. I'd be interested though if there were some videos outlining proper aikido strikes, and then I could work them on my punching bag. Seeing as I'm more used to stand up striking than them (more than likely) it might add some more depth to the dojo.

The biggest problem I noticed with the striking I've seen so far is that they are seem to be pretty telegraphed. The basic vertical and horizontal chops I have seen them doing require a lot of movement before they land. Also due to it being similar to a slashing motion, it's much easier to block because of it's angle. In contrast, most boxing punches act more like thrusts that are quicker and harder to block because the vector of the attack is more like a point rather than a line.

That said, from what I've seen so far, it seems as if most of the Aikido strikes were intended to be blocked so that you can begin to grapple your opponent, they are simply baits, but I would think that there is more to it than just that. Again, if someone could link me to videos outlining strikes I'd definitely would like to look into that.
I'm a beginner in both aikido an kyokushin karate so take everything I say with a grain of salt, but I don't think the offense strikes with a lot of telegraphing should be practiced for their martial value. I think these strikes are just training tools, like the pads used in karate training.

If you are looking for aikido strikes with martial value, you should look at the defensive strikes: atemi.

My teacher stresses that these defensive strikes should be executed with as little telegraphing as possible. They are executed quickly from short range and preferably from a direction where the attacker does not see it coming. They are not intended to knock out the attacker, but to startle and off-balance him.

Last edited by Dave de Vos : 03-24-2011 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:01 AM   #13
kewms
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Re: New to Aikido

Try blocking a sword with your arm and see what happens.

As mentioned up-thread, many aikido strikes are derived from weapons arts, and a hard block is generally *not* the correct response. (Although beginners do often train that way.) Rather than thinking "strike-block-grapple," try thinking "strike-connect to center-move."

But mostly, don't overanalyze. Just train.

Katherine
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:02 AM   #14
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Re: New to Aikido

Quote:
Jason Smith wrote: View Post
The stretches they did Tuesday were pretty much identical to the stretches I did for MMA. After seeing that thread on here about doing wrist pushups I was wondering if there were more things like that in Aikido that would help me in the long run.
Training forward and backward rolls will definitely help in the long run. I don't know MMA, so I don't know if you get to train rolls in MMA.

I have done judo in the past, so I had some advantage, but I see many new aikidoka who are not comfortable with rolling even after a year of training or more. I think it becomes a bottleneck for their progress, because when they are uke, tori has to throw them carefully an slowly (when training kaiten nage for example). But this means they learn less from training with advanced students.

I think rolls are great to condition the body too. Especially backrolls from a sitting position seem to increase my core strength.

It's springtime now, the weather is getting better. So I train rolls in the garden

Last edited by Dave de Vos : 03-25-2011 at 04:12 AM.
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:20 AM   #15
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Re: New to Aikido

This might be a good example of an aikido strike (not the strike from uke, but the strike from tori/nage): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd0EMgXdqu8&t=53s

Last edited by Dave de Vos : 03-25-2011 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:31 AM   #16
dongaleb
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Re: New to Aikido

Zombie fist of doom....HA!

That's nothing compared to; "The running zombie fist of doom".
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:05 PM   #17
BJohnston
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Re: New to Aikido

The reason that I began training Aikido is due to a very dear friend of mine's recommendation. He too was an mma guy. Maybe the exception to the rule in that regard. Most mma guys don't see the value in Aikido, but that's another story. I asked his opinion about Aikido. I wanted to get his thoughts on the art, it's practicality...etc. The way he put it was "it's an art that you can grow old with and actually improve as you get older". I would say that biggest thing to keep in mind while training is trying not to muscle or power your way through the opponent. I know it's a concept that I struggle with daily. In order to learn anything from the art you really need to take into account the mentality. It's such a different concept than an art that specializes in being the aggressor. I think that's where we lose most of the striking arts guys. It can take time to really develop the Aikido mind. I've been training about 1 year and 5 months. I feel like I'm just scratching the surface. There's a long way for me to go, but I'm in no hurry. It's completely changed my life for the better.
I realize that you're probably looking for techniques to add to your mma tool bag, but the art is as deep as it is wide.
With that being said, I'm a fan of mma. There are tons of opportunities to implement Aikido techniques...Sankyo...Kotagaeshi...etc.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your training and wish you the best.

B
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