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Old 03-27-2012, 09:36 AM   #26
kewms
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Olympic weightlifters are among the most mobile athletes in sports. Powerlifters are among the least mobile. Be careful with generalizations.

Katherine
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:00 AM   #27
Gorgeous George
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Quote:
Dalen Johnson wrote: View Post
Indeed...

To the original poster check out Eddie Bravo on flexibility then watch some of his rubber guard moves.
It gives him an edge in BJJ.
http://youtu.be/OktcKhtMQ88

Of course it is all up to you what you want to get out of it, the better shape you can [are able to] be in will make you feel better all around.
While I think that flexibility is a valuable asset to have in BJJ, it's hotly contested whether Eddie Bravo's flexibility has aided his jiu jitsu.
'The Rubber Guard' is roundly condemned by many in the BJJ community - hell, at my school, you're barely allowed to mention his name, and on a BJJ forum I frequent, his name is automatically auto-corrected to 'Eddie Zero'.

I've always regarded flexibility as a critical aspect of aikido: you have to relax in order that you don't oppose anyone's force with anything, and you allow your power to connect to theirs, in your centre...Seishiro Endo - whose aikido baffles me - talks about how he's still learning to relax(!).

Regards fitness: as Demetrio's video shows, there is a plethora of fat, old, unfit aikido instructors; you can get away with a lack of fitness the higher up you are. If you just stand there and wave your arm, never having to practice being thrown a lot, then you're golden.

This is one reason why I prefer the training methodology of BJJ, to that of aikido: as sparring is a key part of practice, you are always being conditioned, and in shape, as you're always being challenged, and pushed.
I've started to really challenge myself, and push back the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of, since I started BJJ: for instance, I have just learnt to do a handstand, and cartwheel - and i'm just about there with a handspring.
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Old 03-27-2012, 01:48 PM   #28
Basia Halliop
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

To the original poster -- the seminars I've attended pretty much always had a range of participants, some training more physically intensely, others doing the same exercises at a slower pace. Generally you should be able to find people on the mat who you can practice with at different levels, at least in the seminars I've been at.

Of course if you work on training a bit harder and longer between now and then you will be better able to handle more training at a seminar. Don't burn yourself out in the attempt, of course -- ramp up gradually and give yourself enough rest days. Although really, even if the seminar is kind of overwhelming you will adapt and as long as you don't actually go to the point of injury, you'll learn a lot from the feeling of pushing yourself so hard. And you'll sleep well the next day .
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:39 PM   #29
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Quote:
Graham Jenkins wrote: View Post
While I think that flexibility is a valuable asset to have in BJJ, it's hotly contested whether Eddie Bravo's flexibility has aided his jiu jitsu.
'The Rubber Guard' is roundly condemned by many in the BJJ community - hell, at my school, you're barely allowed to mention his name, and on a BJJ forum I frequent, his name is automatically auto-corrected to 'Eddie Zero'.

I've always regarded flexibility as a critical aspect of aikido: you have to relax in order that you don't oppose anyone's force with anything, and you allow your power to connect to theirs, in your centre...Seishiro Endo - whose aikido baffles me - talks about how he's still learning to relax(!).

Regards fitness: as Demetrio's video shows, there is a plethora of fat, old, unfit aikido instructors; you can get away with a lack of fitness the higher up you are. If you just stand there and wave your arm, never having to practice being thrown a lot, then you're golden.

This is one reason why I prefer the training methodology of BJJ, to that of aikido: as sparring is a key part of practice, you are always being conditioned, and in shape, as you're always being challenged, and pushed.
I've started to really challenge myself, and push back the boundaries of what I thought I was capable of, since I started BJJ: for instance, I have just learnt to do a handstand, and cartwheel - and i'm just about there with a handspring.
I have some issues with eddie as most do. But he has contributed a lot to the game. I use some of his techniques. I had a student a white belt working on rubber guard, asked him to leave it alone as his time needs to be spent on foundations and not on this stuff. Nothing wrong with rubber guard, but it Dan be a distraction for the new guys. That and I can't do it,I am not flexible and doesn't fit my game at all. I've worked with those that can use it very effectively though.

Flexibility is just important in life. I have abused my body through army stuff, and like most army guys I have very tight hamstrings and it causes me back problems. I do decent. At bjj, so it isn't a requirement, but it certainly makes things better.

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Old 03-28-2012, 07:56 AM   #30
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
Yannis Mousoulis wrote:

Can you explain how weight lifing blocks the flow of ki and why it is not right for aikido practicioners?

Specificially what do you mean by weightlifting? There are alot of different methodlogies our there that are applied in varioous ways.
When we apply aikido techniques what we try to do is to relaxe our muscles and try to use the hips and kokyu to do the technique.So what i'm trying to say(staying faithfull to the thread's topic)is that you cannot combine aikido with any physical exercise that contradicts the above.Any kind of weight lifting brings tension to the muscles of the upper body,thus making the person stiff.People like that tend to muscle their way into imposing their technique,according to my experience.Any kind of tension results in blocking the flow of ki...

Last edited by ryback : 03-28-2012 at 07:59 AM.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:10 AM   #31
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
When we apply aikido techniques what we try to do is to relaxe our muscles and try to use the hips and kokyu to do the technique.So what i'm trying to say(staying faithfull to the thread's topic)is that you cannot combine aikido with any physical exercise that contradicts the above.Any kind of weight lifting brings tension to the muscles of the upper body,thus making the person stiff.People like that tend to muscle their way into imposing their technique,according to my experience.Any kind of tension results in blocking the flow of ki...
What is kokyu?

If you can do aikido with any measurable power and not use your muscles to do it, why can't you lift weights or do anything else in the same manner?
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:48 AM   #32
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
What is kokyu?

If you can do aikido with any measurable power and not use your muscles to do it, why can't you lift weights or do anything else in the same manner?
Kokyu is the way the ki flows by using your breathing.O' Sensei used to say:''If you do aikido without kokyu ryoku,then you do ju jutsu.'' Although you can utilize kokyu in every day life,the aiki way of using it is combined with tai sabaki movement and the momentum of the force of the attacker's aggressiveness.Anyway,i don't want to stray from the topic.There is a traditional sequence of ''aikido calisthenics'' called jubi udo,so in my opinion one should stick to that for proper aikido fitness.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:51 AM   #33
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

IMO, it's a bit silly to pretend that aikido is done with some mystical force that doesn't involve muscle contraction. Aikido techniques absolutely require muscle contraction -- it's just that most techniques require the use of the extensor muscles of the upper extremities. For some reason, it's very common for aikido people to believe that contraction is the opposite of extension, and that when we contract muscles, we cannot be extending, and thus, cannot be doing proper aikido. In fact, the opposite of extension is flexion, not contraction. One increases the angle of a joint, one decreases the angle of a joint, but both depend on muscle contraction to be accomplished.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:58 AM   #34
Basia Halliop
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Surely you can train muscles in a way that teaches you to better control them, to be more aware of which ones you're using and not at any given moment. If you're training your muscles _well_ then it shouldn't lead you to develop the habit of blindly tensing them automatically all the time. That sounds like bad training for most physical activities, not just Aikido.

Aikido isn't the only activity in the world that requires relaxation -- many many activities that 'use muscles' use them judiciously and efficiently, and require you to use only those muscles needed for a given movement, and only for the duration that they're needed, and relax others. I.e., they require body awareness.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:28 AM   #35
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Quote:
Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I have some issues with eddie as most do. But he has contributed a lot to the game. I use some of his techniques. I had a student a white belt working on rubber guard, asked him to leave it alone as his time needs to be spent on foundations and not on this stuff. Nothing wrong with rubber guard, but it Dan be a distraction for the new guys. That and I can't do it,I am not flexible and doesn't fit my game at all. I've worked with those that can use it very effectively though.

Flexibility is just important in life. I have abused my body through army stuff, and like most army guys I have very tight hamstrings and it causes me back problems. I do decent. At bjj, so it isn't a requirement, but it certainly makes things better.
I don't know...I haven't seen any of his instructional material, yet; and that video of him rolling with Marcelo Garcia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t47_Urqs-RM

...was just embarrassing. His rubber guard - and he's the master of it, right? - didn't do him any good.

The way his acolytes venerate him, showing a complete lack of knowledge of BJJ, is embarrassing (see the top comment about him '99% getting a twister' on Marcelo Garcia, for example).
The rubber guard seems to be a particularly bad idea: Ryan Hall calls it 'Wacky crap' on his triangle instructional, and Saulo Ribeiro eschews locking yourself to your opponent; plus, being trapped flat on your back is a big no-no in BJJ, right?
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:11 AM   #36
kewms
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
So what i'm trying to say(staying faithfull to the thread's topic)is that you cannot combine aikido with any physical exercise that contradicts the above.Any kind of weight lifting brings tension to the muscles of the upper body,thus making the person stiff.
Please watch this video and then tell me that "all" weightlifting makes people stiff:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB523WntoaY (Annoying music, turn sound down or off.)

Katherine
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:20 AM   #37
kewms
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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Basia Halliop wrote: View Post
Aikido isn't the only activity in the world that requires relaxation -- many many activities that 'use muscles' use them judiciously and efficiently, and require you to use only those muscles needed for a given movement, and only for the duration that they're needed, and relax others. I.e., they require body awareness.
Exactly. Pretty much every sport requires the explosive generation of power. The biomechanics of force generation are the same whether you're throwing a baseball, breaking a board, or flipping someone into a koshinage. The idea that aikido has a monopoly on relaxation is insulting to other athletes.

(Note that I'm not talking about internal power here. Those who have studied it at length say that it's different from what other athletes do, and I don't have enough knowledge to disagree. But most aikidoka aren't using internal power.)

Katherine
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:03 AM   #38
Basia Halliop
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

IMHO, a lot of us when we start Aikido aren't aware enough of our muscles to even know if we're tensing them or relaxing them, or which muscles we're tensing or relaxing. This seems to go both for moments when we're tense when we shouldn't be, and for moments when we mistake limpness for 'not being too tense'.

In that case, learning to consciously tense and relax different muscles in your body can be very enlightening.

Sometimes you have to develop the control to deliberately choose to do something before you can understand how to deliberately choose not to do it.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:29 AM   #39
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

First, I recommend to students to be prepared to train before class starts (i.e. "warmed up"). I have not been to a class where the instructor actually spent an appropriate amount of time to sufficiently and categorically limber up the muscles to receive vigorous exercise.

Second, my instructor refers to the warmup period preceding class as junbi taiso (or jumbi taiso as I have also seen it). The time was more about preparing for class then physically limbering up. Sure, we go through some exercises, but we are trying to dump the baggage of the day so we can train without distraction. Then we move into core exercises like tori fune or something to start to stimulate our training.

1. How fit does one has to be to do Aikido? Ideally, you need to be fit enough to present a low risk of injury while vigorously training. As your condition declines, you increase your risk of injury. As your condition improves, you decrease your risk. For me, I like to advocate that you should be in the condition your doctor recommends. If you are not that fit, then I will suggest prioritizing a health program to improve your condition. Training should be fun and you should feel better after training, not worse.

2. How fit do you have to be to do a full day of Aikido? Same as above, you just need to keep an eye on fluids, nutrition, and breathing. I am always surprised how quickly a good breather can recover from vigorous exercise.

3. What type of fitness is needed for Aikido? A good balance of cardiovascular exercise and core strengthening is a great start. I agree with some earlier posts about the needless warning against bulking; the reality of "bulking" is virtually impossible for anyone over the age of 25 without serious commitment to the effort. (I used to get that when I was a trainer - "I don't want to bulk, just tone." "Okay, how often are you going to be working out?" "2 or 3 times a week for at least 45 minutes." "Oh, then that won't be a problem.")

As for flexibility, I think flexibility is important. When I was in athletics, we never stretched for gain until after warming up. There are tons of gain programs out their if you are interested.
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:30 AM   #40
chillzATL
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
Although you can utilize kokyu in every day life,the aiki way of using it is combined with tai sabaki movement and the momentum of the force of the attacker's aggressiveness.
I disagree completely and IMO, so would Ueshiba. His linking of aiki and farming, his statements that "everything is aikido" and some of his often talked about around here challenges that did not involve attacks are in in clear opposition that the "aiki way" requires either an attacker or aggression and momentum from one.

Once you know how to use your body "the right way" anything can be aiki do, anything can be training, whether it's lifting weights, swinging a hoe or throwing someone in the dojo. ymmv.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:12 AM   #41
ryback
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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Katherine Derbyshire wrote: View Post
Please watch this video and then tell me that "all" weightlifting makes people stiff:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SB523WntoaY (Annoying music, turn sound down or off.)

Katherine
Thanks for the link, it didn't change my opinion.Thanks anyway!
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:17 AM   #42
ryback
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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Jason Casteel wrote: View Post
I disagree completely and IMO, so would Ueshiba. His linking of aiki and farming, his statements that "everything is aikido" and some of his often talked about around here challenges that did not involve attacks are in in clear opposition that the "aiki way" requires either an attacker or aggression and momentum from one.

Once you know how to use your body "the right way" anything can be aiki do, anything can be training, whether it's lifting weights, swinging a hoe or throwing someone in the dojo. ymmv.
At O' Sensei's level of course everything is aikido.Then again farming is not weight lifting.As far as i know O' Sensei,Tohei sensei,Shioda sensei,Kanetsuka sensei (to name a few) never used weight lifting in their practice, they used jubi udo instead.The best way to be fit in aikido, is...aikido!
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:33 AM   #43
Benjamin Green
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Muscles only really grow, and fitness consequently increases, when you exceed their tolerance. And you exceed their tolerance most efficiently by adding resistance - generally in the form of weights. While, obviously, one should try not to sit there just doing curls - and consequently end up with massively imbalanced muscles and no flexibility - I think it's unlikely that aikido is the most efficient way to get fit for aikido. Simply because it exercises the same set of muscles does not mean it does so as efficiently as it would were you to exercise those same muscles with added resistance.
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:11 AM   #44
ryback
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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Benjamin Green wrote: View Post
Muscles only really grow, and fitness consequently increases, when you exceed their tolerance. And you exceed their tolerance most efficiently by adding resistance - generally in the form of weights. While, obviously, one should try not to sit there just doing curls - and consequently end up with massively imbalanced muscles and no flexibility - I think it's unlikely that aikido is the most efficient way to get fit for aikido. Simply because it exercises the same set of muscles does not mean it does so as efficiently as it would were you to exercise those same muscles with added resistance.
I see your point although i disagree(see previous post about aikido calisthenics) but of course you are free to make your choices and so am i...
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:21 AM   #45
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

For my Sandan my biggest concern was the sessions of full-resistance randori that Shodokan in known for. I knew in advance that no matter how fit I was it would go on till I puked (or died) but I was determined to at least have a good show when compared with my other examinees.

I was lucky that months before one of my forum mates was a trainer for a college football team and was given a truely comprehensive work-out specifically designed to survive the randori.

This included stationary bike time, lots of wind sprints and reps with medium weights. Of course every chance I got I did randori.

My good friend puked - I didn't but .... never ever eat a large steak the day of the test no matter how many hours you have. I had other issues.

Still I hold to the maxim that if you want to improve your [inset sport here] fitness do lots of the same sport. The only proviso is that regular class sometimes does not give the intensity you need. You often have to find some way to get around that.

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 03-29-2012, 05:37 AM   #46
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote: View Post
For my Sandan my biggest concern was the sessions of full-resistance randori that Shodokan in known for. I knew in advance that no matter how fit I was it would go on till I puked (or died) but I was determined to at least have a good show when compared with my other examinees.

I was lucky that months before one of my forum mates was a trainer for a college football team and was given a truely comprehensive work-out specifically designed to survive the randori.

This included stationary bike time, lots of wind sprints and reps with medium weights. Of course every chance I got I did randori.
The "randori until you drop" is the last thing we do on all of our testing, and it's one thing that makes me perfectly ok with staying a white belt for the next 6 years. May I ask how long you went?

And as far as fitness for a camp goes, I honestly didn't think I was in that great of a shape, because I am usually quite literally dripping with sweat about 20 minutes into my classes. But we did a one day winter camp last month, and I survived quite well. That's also probably due to the fact you have to be quite careful when throwing people on a crowded mat, so about half the time nage had to pull the throw and just take uke to the point of breaking balance to be sure the technique worked.

I had a great time though, I can't wait until summer camp in June.

--Ashley
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:37 AM   #47
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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I don't know...I haven't seen any of his instructional material, yet; and that video of him rolling with Marcelo Garcia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t47_Urqs-RM

...was just embarrassing. His rubber guard - and he's the master of it, right? - didn't do him any good.

The way his acolytes venerate him, showing a complete lack of knowledge of BJJ, is embarrassing (see the top comment about him '99% getting a twister' on Marcelo Garcia, for example).
The rubber guard seems to be a particularly bad idea: Ryan Hall calls it 'Wacky crap' on his triangle instructional, and Saulo Ribeiro eschews locking yourself to your opponent; plus, being trapped flat on your back is a big no-no in BJJ, right?
Funny, I have spent time with both Ryan (We both lived in Arlington, VA) and Saulo (talked to Saulo most recently in January in Lisbon at the Europeans where he effortlessly won his division...it was awesome!).

Anyway, I have not been with Eddie, but have rolled with both Ryan and Saulo and they are impressive in their own right. So, tend to respect their opinions.

Also, I don't see much of Eddie's stuff being applied wholesale in BJJ. Given the adaptive nature of the culture of BJJers....if it works...we are doing it. You'd see more of it if it did work I suppose. I think like anything that Eddie's stuff has some relevance. Probably at first it was different and caused some issues for a few people who have since learned to deal with it.

Also, I simply don't subscribe to Eddie's "counter culture" personality and irreverence. I respect it to a degree, but the whole pot smoking thing and BJJ...naw...not what I am about.

(sorry for the off topic).

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Old 03-29-2012, 07:53 AM   #48
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

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Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
At O' Sensei's level of course everything is aikido.Then again farming is not weight lifting.As far as i know O' Sensei,Tohei sensei,Shioda sensei,Kanetsuka sensei (to name a few) never used weight lifting in their practice, they used jubi udo instead.The best way to be fit in aikido, is...aikido!
That mindset is why nobody has come close to his ability too. It's fairly well proven at this point that "do more aikido" isn't the answer those who want to be like Shioda, Tohei, etc, much less Ueshiba.
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:00 AM   #49
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

Quote:
Yannis Mousoulis wrote: View Post
When we apply aikido techniques what we try to do is to relaxe our muscles and try to use the hips and kokyu to do the technique.So what i'm trying to say(staying faithfull to the thread's topic)is that you cannot combine aikido with any physical exercise that contradicts the above.Any kind of weight lifting brings tension to the muscles of the upper body,thus making the person stiff.People like that tend to muscle their way into imposing their technique,according to my experience.Any kind of tension results in blocking the flow of ki...
Thanks for the response. You haven't really at the basic level answered the question. Sure, I am convinced that you believe that it interferes, but physically and kinethetically you don't explain how it interferes or exactly which ones interfere. You can't categorically make the statement you make.

I would tend to agree that particluar types of physical activity can be determental. That is, if you isolate muscles and then train them to fire quickly when they percieve a load (proprioception) then you can build unintended habits. I am not an advocate of the "Arnold" way of weightlifing that you see prevelant in gyms that many still do based on what was learned in the past for body builders simply to build mass.

however, the fact is, you need strength, you need to develop coordination, muscles, and create a body that can respond and move when you need it to. Weight loading activities are a part of doing this.

So, no....categorically I do not agree that ANY kind of weightlifting brings tension to the upper body. in fact the whole physiology is wrong. there is tension in the upper body when doing marital movements. you need tension...it simply needs to be in the right areas at the right times. You can lift weights, build a strong upper body, and do it in a way that creates appropriate responses.

I have no idea what is meant by "blocking ki". nor do I really understand what KI is when you use it in that context (nor do I really care to get into a discussion of Ki...been there done that). However, you can't throw a concept out there like "blocking ki" and not qualify it and not explain HOW weightlifing intereferes with it.

Ki in the respect of transferrence and direction of mechanical energy involves tension and relaxation of body structures. You can respond with a push to move someone backwards...if you do this you do this...simply put. Of course there are different ways to do this that may use less force, less comittment of energy, and less feedback of structure etc.....we can train our bodies to do this by conditioning ourselves to connect our body in a particular way through varous methodologies and conditioning drills, exercises. Weights and load bearing activities can be integrated (and should be) into this process.

One thing that bugs me about the whole IS thing is the degree of specificity that people go to train in this area at the detrement of other areas. I have run into numerous people that will tell me they refuse to do ANY upper body exercise for the same reason. When I ask them about their goals in martial arts and I astounded (and confused) that they want to develop functionality, but have become so focused in IS development that they will never be able to integrate or use it because they refuse to see the big picture and have become hyper-focused on what is but one piece in the whole process.

Personally I think it is an excuse (intentional or not) to avoid actually having to do any real hard work.

IS work is important, but the preponderance of folks I have met involved with it...well martially they don't impress me. Awesome you can do well at push hands and beat me. But if we did a test of martial abiltiy along the lines of "no-rules" or limited conditions, well ask yourself...do you have the strength to make up for your lack of skill? Do you have the physical skills (jiu jitsu) to actually control? Do you have the stamina and cardio to sustain a fight for longer than 30 seconds?

For alot of IS people I think it is an intellectual pursuit that they are convinced is a martial pursuit. So, yeah...I sort of chaffe at the whole concept of "don't do any weightlifing, running, cardio etc" type of advice.

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Old 03-29-2012, 08:02 AM   #50
Kevin Leavitt
 
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Dojo: Aikido of Northern Virginia
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Re: Fitness needed for Aikido [Help Requested]

To clarify...my above post doesn't mean I do not see value in IS training. Quite the contrary. I beleive I need to do more of it. I am hoping to get with Dan Harden soon as a matter of fact if I can work it out with my schedule.

My rant above is simply to focus on the fact that I think that balance is necessary.

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