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Old 12-10-2002, 11:25 AM   #1
GregH
Location: Harrisburg, Pa
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Solo Practice???

Hello all...I was looking for your thoughts on traning and/or practicing outside that dojo. I have the misfortune of being in an area that has few dojo (except the TKD ones in the phone book) and I've come to a point in my training where I need to train more often than the once per week for 3 hours I can do. I also have the misfortune of working nights so I can only attend a Saturday class. I was looking for ways to work on techniques outside class beyond what I can read from the notebook I keep from what I've learned. Your thoughts and help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-10-2002, 11:32 AM   #2
diesel
Dojo: Tenshin
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Besides practicing solo forms { tenkan, tai no henko, happo undo, etc } you could talk with someone in the dojo and see if you could get with them outside of class time. I do this frequently with kohai and my sempai to work on techniques.

If you do not have access to your dojo, practice outside on grass is good. Otherwise, talk with your sensei and see what he recommends. He might hook you up with a key to the dojo or recommend a place with mats where you can practice.

ERic
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Old 12-10-2002, 11:58 AM   #3
paw
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Increasingly I'm of the opinion that solo training should take the form of physical conditioning. While you certainly could do solo forms, I'd argue that they are of limited benefit, as without a partner, there's no sense of timing to one's movements.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 12-10-2002, 12:25 PM   #4
Williamross77
 
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Also try learning some weapons forms as that helps me when there is no one to pracrice with. seams your only a short distance from D.C. where Satome Sensei of ASU (i think) is, alot of weapons there.

and yes lots of aikitaiso

in Aiki
Agatsu!!
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Old 12-10-2002, 01:44 PM   #5
Kevin Wilbanks
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I agree with Paul. Not only is solo form work missing enough elements to make it questionably relevant to partner practice, it also gets stale easily. I've spent many hours swinging my Jo around in my back yard or the park. I've done the solo Jo kata so many times that I can't remember the numbers. I've started to invent various unusual interpretations of the moves and sequences, and even some of my own, more dynamic moves to keep from getting bored. It may look pretty, but I think it stopped being of direct benefit to my Aikido a long time ago.
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Old 12-10-2002, 04:07 PM   #6
siwilson
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The one word which is the best practice is "Form"!

Kamae is the essential practice - solo or in class - as this is where Aikido begins. This is the start of learning how to use the body's power.

From there, Shioda Sensei gave us Kihon Dosa, what some would call a "Kata". This is the basic movements of Aikido in solo (and also partner) practice, but with strict "form" and "Kamae"!

From there, solo practice can be the execution of techniques with an imaginary Uke, working on strict form, Kamae, and keeping center.

Additionally, there is Jo Kata (13 & 31), Kihon Dosa with Bokken, Happo Undo (8 direction cutting with the sword), repeated practice of cutting with the sword and striking with the Jo.

To summerise, all practice is good, but focus on form. If practice is not relavent to Aikido, then it is unproductive to Aikido.

My solo practice has always been in Kamae, Kihon Dosa, Happo Undo, Jo Kata, Uchi Bokken, Uchi Jo, Tenkan, Hiriki and Ukemi.

Ask your Sensei's advise on training alone. It will be more relavent to "your" school than what anyone outside of your school can tell you.

The one thing I must stess greatly is that you should not worry about timing so much, as if you cannot execute the technique with good form, then timing is worthless. For example, if the footballer kicks the ball at the right time, this is worthless if he does not know how to kick the ball in the correct direction.

The form is something you can practice outside of class. Timing you can learn with your Uke in class.

Good luck.

Last edited by siwilson : 12-10-2002 at 04:19 PM.

Osu!
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Old 12-10-2002, 04:38 PM   #7
Steven
 
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Hello Simon,

In regards to the kamae and kihon dosa I agree with you. However, I don't agree when you say:
Quote:
Simon Wilson (siwilson) wrote:
The one thing I must stess greatly is that you should not worry about timing so much
The whole premise of kihon dosa and kamae is timing. When we do this, we aim to unify the movement of the body in one motion. If you do hiriki no yosei ichi for instance and you raise the hands after the hip have moved forward, then techniques like shiho nage ichi and ni (Yoshinkan variant) will not work without added strength.

Shioda Kancho speaks of this in Total Aikido among other places. Can you please clarify what it is you meant if I mis-understood?

... Regards ...
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Old 12-10-2002, 05:35 PM   #8
Thalib
 
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Practicing solo is a must.

Other than keeping one mind and body at all times (of course there are times when I lose this, that's why I'm practicing), usually I let techniques race through my head. But this have the consequence of suddenly "dancing" on the street. Sometimes my friends gets kinda embarassed because I do tenkan and kaiten a lot when I'm walking.

When in a crowd, when people are pushing and shoving, I practice feeling their movement. When I speak to people, I practice listening to them, feeling their spirit (this I still have trouble with). Basically practicing Aiki in daily life. There are many ways of doing solo practices, many non-technical ones of course.

I still believe though that one could practice techniques alone. Back then, it was not only tenkan and kaiten, I could be seen doing iriminage or kotegaeshi techniques while I'm just walking on the streets. Or my hands start to move doing locking techniques. But, that was then, I got that under control now, except for the tenkan and kaiten.

Now, when I "Shadow" practice, I try not to embarass my friends. I do it in the comforts of my own home, or when there is nobody around. But "shadow" practicing is not enough, regular practice is still important. While solo practicing, one should reflect on what one has learned. This could be done by either by meditation/imagination or by the physical movement itself. Sometimes one will get enlightenment out of this, and put it into practice during regular training.

Let your mind be your guide.

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
--------
http://funkybuddha.multiply.com/
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Old 12-10-2002, 11:49 PM   #9
shadow
Dojo: Aiki Kun Ren (Iwama style)
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saburi saburi saburi

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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Old 12-11-2002, 12:30 AM   #10
Thalib
 
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What's saburi?

I only know suburi...

Which is practicing the sword...

When I have to die by the sword, I will do so with honor.
--------
http://funkybuddha.multiply.com/
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Old 12-11-2002, 01:39 AM   #11
fabion
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there is a kind of training called estori geiko (not sure if it's written/called like this, but it is something similar) in which you practice the technique alone, with an imaginary uke. you choose one technique and perform it over and over, for about half an hour or even more, without stopping (taht's the ideal, of course). you have to imagine everything, from uke attacking you to rolling down on the floor after you throw him. it is very important to keep breathing correctly all the time and focus on your center.

of course this is not the same as training with a partner, but has its benefits, and as for one it is easier to perform the technique in your own rithm and to focus entirely on the movments, breathing, center, etc. than when you have a partner. it sounds a bit easy, but it is not so much.
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Old 12-11-2002, 07:32 AM   #12
Kevin Wilbanks
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Quote:
Fabio Nudelman (fabion) wrote:
you choose one technique and perform it over and over, for about half an hour or even more, without stopping (taht's the ideal, of course).
From a neurophysiological point of view, this kind of ultra-high repetition training is a bad idea - same goes for '500 kicks' or whatever. Not only is 'the pattern' you are repeating not relevant to a live uke, it is likely that the overall form of the movement will get sloppier and sloppier as you go along - the primary active muscles get fatigued and drop out, and the body adjusts by changing the movement pattern so that other muscles can do the work.

Also, EMG tests have shown that neuromuscular recruitment patterns change significantly - even from repetition to repetition - even in a highly structed movement like an Olympic lift. In a sense, it is not possible to ingrain an exact neuromotor pattern, anyway... which many people who engage in this kind of training imagine they are doing. Actually, for Aikido, this is a good thing, because such a rigid pattern would almost certainly never be appropriate to any particular situation.

Moreover, this kind of work causes the opposite kind of adaptations in the muscle and motor units as those that increase speed and power. So, in essence, the ultra-high, continuous repetition traditional MA regimen is a recipe for becoming slow and sloppy.
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Old 12-11-2002, 09:21 AM   #13
ian
 
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Increasingly I'm of the opinion that solo training should take the form of physical conditioning.
I'd agree with this.

The amount you get out of solo form depends on what level you are at. If you are still learning techniques and still think in terms of just irimi or tenkan, it could be useful. However if you are at a higher level I think it may be detrimental. With solo forms you don't learn;

-instantaneous response

-blending

-reading your partners attack

-leading the attack

some of the key aspects of aikido.

Many of the traditional kata in other martial arts were developed so that you could practise on your own. In fact, I firmly that most martial arts started off more with a form similar to aikido, and then to train the masses when they weren't with an instructor they had to revert to more linear and systemised (often stationary) techniques.

Thus, it could be worth assessing the benefits of these forms. I think tai-chi forms would be worth learning; from what I've learnt instructors vary widely in the more minor aspects of the forms, and therefore even learning from a book would be useful (as long as you understand and can feel the priciples of moving with the centre and chi flow, which you should obtain from aikido) - if you do use a book or a teacher make sure it has martial application; many instructors/books ignore this aspect. Also, many of the tai-chi techniques a similar to aikido, though more static.

Also, chi-gung standing practise (especially holding the ballon/tree) is exceptionally useful; read 'The Way of Energy' - simple and effective.

Many conditioning excercises are available from kung-fu. e.g.

1. hold house bricks at shoulder height (shoulders relaxed) with fingers, throw them up and catch them in fingers - do repeatedly.: good for grip strength

2. tie a 1 or 2 litre bottle to a vertical stick and wind up and down slowly (to build wrist strength).

Also things like crunches, press-ups on fingers and palms of hands are useful. Fintess conditioning such as swimming and running. (Swimming was supposed to be a major reason for the successes of Napoleans armies). Striking is also easy to practise on your own against a punch bag (and an often neglected, though assumed aspect of aikido) .

Don't forget your aikido solo excercises either:

1. irimi-tenkan/tae-sebaki

2. bokken cutting (moving off centre line) i.e. all the suburi.

Of all these, I believe bokken cutting is the best solo practise you can do for aikido.

Ian
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Old 12-11-2002, 09:25 AM   #14
siwilson
Dojo: Kenshinkai Yoshinkan Aikido
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Quote:
Steven Miranda (Steven) wrote:
Can you please clarify what it is you meant if I mis-understood?
Sure.

The timing within the movement (in my mind) I would cover as part of "form". The timing I was speaking of was the timing of the technique - ie. With Uke.

This was after a post by Paul Watt in which he wrote:
Quote:
While you certainly could do solo forms, I'd argue that they are of limited benefit, as without a partner, there's no sense of timing to one's movements.
Yes, the timing within the movement is extremely important. Yet more that can be part of your solo practice.

Kindest Regards

Osu!
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Old 12-11-2002, 09:57 AM   #15
paw
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Simon,
Quote:
Yes, the timing within the movement is extremely important. Yet more that can be part of your solo practice.
Without a partner, timing doesn't exist. You might as well talk about learning to surf without the wave.

See also Ian's list. Those are vital elements to aikido, none of which exist without the relationship of uke and nage.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 12-11-2002, 11:13 AM   #16
siwilson
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Quote:
paul watt (paw) wrote:
Without a partner, timing doesn't exist. You might as well talk about learning to surf without the wave.
The last post was in reply to Steven:
Quote:
The whole premise of kihon dosa and kamae is timing. When we do this, we aim to unify the movement of the body in one motion. If you do hiriki no yosei ichi for instance and you raise the hands after the hip have moved forward, then techniques like shiho nage ichi and ni (Yoshinkan variant) will not work without added strength.
Hence, my post.

By the way. You don't go straight out with a surf board and find a wave. First you start on dry land, then calm water, and later to the wave. Kind of like Aikido.

Kindest regards

Osu!
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Old 12-11-2002, 12:53 PM   #17
paw
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Simon,
Quote:
By the way. You don't go straight out with a surf board and find a wave. First you start on dry land, then calm water, and later to the wave. Kind of like Aikido.
And how long do you spend on dry land?

Twenty minutes tops, one time only --- your first day. Then it's into the water. Which is the point. You can't surf without a wave.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 12-11-2002, 01:06 PM   #18
siwilson
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"Just as a house is only as strong as its foundations, our Aikido is only as strong as its foundation, the basics."

EWJ Stratton Sensei (1936 - 2000)

Founder of Yoshinkan UK

Maybe you cannot surf without the wave, but you can learn elements of surfing without one.

Kindest regards

Osu!
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Old 12-11-2002, 02:06 PM   #19
paw
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Simon,
Quote:
Maybe you cannot surf without the wave, but you can learn elements of surfing without one.
Sure, but it's not surfing and that's the point. Worse, not only is it not surfing, but it doesn't have any correlation to surfing, because surfing requires water. So why bother? IMO, you'd be better off reading a book, watching a video tape or spending time with friends and family.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 12-11-2002, 03:34 PM   #20
Steven
 
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Thanks for the clarification Simon. I do understand now. See .. I can be taught!


Quote:
Simon Wilson (siwilson) wrote:
Sure.

The timing within the movement (in my mind) I would cover as part of "form". The timing I was speaking of was the timing of the technique - ie. With Uke.

This was after a post by Paul Watt in which he wrote:



Yes, the timing within the movement is extremely important. Yet more that can be part of your solo practice.

Kindest Regards
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Old 12-11-2002, 03:46 PM   #21
siwilson
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Hi Steven

Thanks also. I'm glad I was clear then. Not always something I am accused of (Just ask the wife)! :-)))

Cheers

Last edited by siwilson : 12-11-2002 at 03:49 PM.

Osu!
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Old 12-11-2002, 03:54 PM   #22
siwilson
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Paul

"Just as a house is only as strong as its foundations, our Aikido is only as strong as its foundation, the basics."

Hope you understand.

Kindest regards

Osu!
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Old 12-11-2002, 04:20 PM   #23
paw
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Simon,
Quote:
"Just as a house is only as strong as its foundations, our Aikido is only as strong as its foundation, the basics."

Hope you understand.
I do. The basics involve blending, leading, timing, redirecting, maai, kazushi and other things that can only occur when there is a relationship between two or more people.

I'll just agree to disagree with you and let it go at that.

Regards,

Paul
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Old 12-11-2002, 11:46 PM   #24
PhilJ
 
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There's tons of great tips in here, thanks everyone. I'm going to benefit from these too.

What wasn't mentioned yet is the application of your aikido in your daily routine. Practice hitoashi yoekete (sp? One Step Aside) while you're driving. Try moving irimi/tenkan when maneuvering through crowds. Use unbendable arm to open doors.(especially on those you can't tell where to push! )

Then try it in verbal situations. Turn tenkan when someone calls you a name. Move irimi when you see a coworker or loved one "moving in for the kill".

Always remember that your goal isn't to throw someone on the mat, but rather to harmonize, or de-escalate, a situation.

This alone won't make you an aiki-stud, but I strongly believe it will help you when you return to the dojo.

Good luck!

*Phil

Phillip Johnson
Enso Aikido Dojo, Burnsville, MN
An Aikido Bukou Dojo
http://www.aikidobukou.com
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Old 12-12-2002, 05:19 AM   #25
shadow
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Quote:
Iriawan Kamal Thalib (Thalib) wrote:
What's saburi?

I only know suburi...

Which is practicing the sword...
saburi is suburi.... ive just read it written as saburi many times so i write it as such and my sensei writes it that way too. and its not only the sword it is with the jo too. there are 7 ken saburi and 20 jo saburi of which constitute the fundamental movements used in partner practice and also basic moevement in aikido if you look at all the riai (sp?). there is also as mentioned, the 31 jo kata, the 13 jo kata, not to mention happo giri and happo tsuki. if you know them you can also practice the partner practices.... solo, if you know what i mean.

happiness. harmony. compassion.
--damien--
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