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Old 10-09-2003, 10:03 AM   #26
Kensho Furuya
Dojo: Aikido Center of Los Angeles
Location: Los Angeles
Join Date: Apr 2002
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I hate to add my two cents here but I am going to anyways for what it is worth. Stretching and warm-ups are very important for your health and to keep your body flexible and limber for your training. The movements may not resemble Aikido techniques per se, but they are still quite necessary for your health and to prevent accidents in training. If you look at any other physical activity or sport, you will see that they do many types of warm-ups not really looking like what they do in their activity. You may not be aware of all the muscles you use and stretch and how your body all works together in each Aikido movement - your body is doing much more that you may actually realize.

Please, please do your homework! O'Sensei's method of warm-up - which we have greatly enhanced these days - was originally inspired from a colleague of O'Sensei around the turn of the century, named Dr. Katsuzo Nishi. Dr. Nishi developed what he called the "Nishi-shiki" or the Nishi System. These movements and exercises, which he formulated, were based on his theory that enhancing blood circulation throughout the body would increase one's health and vitality. In those days - this was a totally revolutionary and unheard of theory. Today, we still use many of these methods in traditional Aikido warm-ups - the idea of many of these moves was to develop and encourage good blood circulation throughout the body. The other implication here was to move the "ki" energy throughout the body at the same time as well.

Among teachers of the old school, some recommended doing these types of warm-up exercises before class. And some thought that as Aikido is a martial art, no warm-up's are necessary - you should be ready at any moment. Today, in all physical activites, current science and medicine, recommend that everyone should warm-up before and warm-down after training. The "main" purpose here, of course, as always, is to prevent injuries and accidents.

I think, in my own dojo, the students need to warm-up, loosen up the body, and release stress and tension built-up during the day, before actual training. The warm-down is also necessary to release tension in the muscles which may have tightened-up in practice. The other benefit of such exercises is to help the student to relax and ease up after such intense training.

Also, such warm-up's as funa-kogi undo or furitama - are not "physical' warm-up's but methods to stimulate and concentrate the "ki" energy in one's body. We should understand these as such and practice them for the purpose for which they were meant.

There is also a question of how much warm-up and I hate to cut into much of the practice time. Within one hour, we try to limit the initial warm-ups to just less or about 8-9 minutes and always finish with kokyu-dosa or some breathing exercises at times. I think it is a good balance in my dojo if the student gets at least 45 minutes of actual training within a one hour format. Hopes this helps someone, many thanks.
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Old 10-09-2003, 11:07 AM   #27
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Quote:
Jun Akiyama (akiy) wrote:
What about movements in the role of uke?
It's true that the back rounds as uke, but it still does not mean that passive spinal flexion is applicable. I have met one person in my time with a spine that was too stiff in terms of flexion to roll smoothly, but only one.

As to how to prepare for ukemi, this is quite a dilemma - one that I've been considering for some time. The problem is that it involves such a wide variety of body positions and muscle action patterns that it is almost unanalyzable. To make matters worse, in these positions, peculiar things happen like ballistic slaps and high speed decelerations. I hope to figure out more in the future about not only how to warm up better for it, but how best to condition the body for it in general.

For now, I have to go with the rule of when in doubt, opt for the most similar activity for a warm up. If one runs, for instance, slower running itself is the most important part of the warmup. So, I think doing light, gentle solo or partner ukemi exercises, gradually ramping up to more intense falls is the best I could do - after doing the other elements of a warmup as I described.
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Old 10-09-2003, 11:27 AM   #28
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Quote:
Kensho Furuya wrote:
I hate to add my two cents here but I am going to anyways for what it is worth. Stretching and warm-ups are very important for your health and to keep your body flexible and limber for your training.
Actually, stretching isn't necessary at all to maintain flexibility - at least not in the form of applying force to passive muscles at the end of their ROM. This is probably the most misapplied protocol in all of physical activity-dom. Passive stretching can cause a chronic lengthening of the muscle if done with sufficient frequency and consistency, but it has little acute effect... aside from reducing strength performance and possibly causing muscle tears. All that is required to maintain the ROM one has is to use it.
Quote:
Kensho Furuya wrote:
The movements may not resemble Aikido techniques per se, but they are still quite necessary for your health and to prevent accidents in training. If you look at any other physical activity or sport, you will see that they do many types of warm-ups not really looking like what they do in their activity. You may not be aware of all the muscles you use and stretch and how your body all works together in each Aikido movement - your body is doing much more that you may actually realize.
If lots of other people were jumping off bridges, would you do it? Just because you've seen lots of people do things, doesn't mean they were correct things. I challenge you to come up with any evidence of or plausible detailed explanations as to why contortionist-style passive stretching or shouting ho-ho-ho increases health or reduces training accidents. It's true that the body is too complexly coordinated to admit of easy analysis - which is precisely why grabbing your leg and saying "now I am going to stretch my hamstring" is functionally irrelevant.
Quote:
Kensho Furuya wrote:
Please, please do your homework!
I've done quite a bit on exercise science and contemporary training methods. I never considered studying the history of O'Sensei and his colleagues particularly relevant.
Quote:
Kensho Furuya wrote:
I think, in my own dojo, the students need to warm-up, loosen up the body, and release stress and tension built-up during the day, before actual training. The warm-down is also necessary to release tension in the muscles which may have tightened-up in practice. The other benefit of such exercises is to help the student to relax and ease up after such intense training.
The last one may be good benefit, but this other stuff about tension, stress, and tightness is way too vague to be a legitimate part of an argument for or against specific warm up and cool down protocols. The tight-loose analogy in particular is one that bothers me. Like the word "tone" as used in the popular media, it seems to have little relation to anything going on in the body and serves mainly to confuse and propagate a superstitious way of viewing its function. As for the Ki stuff, I have no comment.
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Old 10-15-2003, 06:23 AM   #29
shugyosha
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hello,
Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I've done quite a bit on exercise science and contemporary training methods.
I am very interested in the subject of warming up efficiently. So, could you please provide sources on the net or in literature?

thanks

Steffen

Steffen Glückselig, shugyoing Yoshinkan Aikido in Würzburg, Germany
:: gungfu.de ::
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Old 10-15-2003, 08:45 AM   #30
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Steffen,

I'm not sure because of the language difference if you mean efficiently or effectively -- if you mean you want a warmup that takes the least amount of time, or works the best. In either case, it isn't that complicated, and I don't think you'll find a whole lot of enlightening research. The kinds of studies I've seen demonstrate things such as: passive stretching warmup groups showing no significant difference in incidence of injury from control groups, stretching groups showing decreased strength output than control groups, and groups with increased muscle temperature showing higher strength/power performance in high intensity activity than control groups. I don't have my own reference database yet, so I can't give you specific studies - although I just bought a notebook computer and plan on beginning to compile one.

There's a good passage on the subject of various types of stretching and warmups on pages 121-124 in 'Facts and Fallacies of Fitness', by Mel C. Siff, which is an excellent book to have in general. Another book which he references there is 'Ergogenic Aids in Sport' by Dr. M Williams.

The concepts behind warming up are pretty simple:

1) prepare the body generally by literally warming it up (i.e., raising body temperature through light-medium activity)

2) prepare the body specifically for the upcoming activity by doing something in between doing nothing and doing the activity itself. For an activity like weight training, this is easy as could be as you just do one or more sets of each movement with lighter weights before advancing to the full workload. For an activity like Aikido, it's a little trickier, so more variety is in order. As I said, I like swinging the limbs around, doing some dynamic bodyweight squat and lunge variants, followed by aikido-specific activities like the two-step and mellow solo ukemi exercises... static, passive stretches aren't relevant and aren't included.
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Old 10-15-2003, 09:25 AM   #31
shugyosha
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hello Kevin,

thanks for your advices!

BTW with 'efficient' I mean 'best warm-up in shortest time'. ;-)

greets

Steffen

Steffen Glückselig, shugyoing Yoshinkan Aikido in Würzburg, Germany
:: gungfu.de ::
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:19 AM   #32
Misogi-no-Gyo
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 498
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Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
While consciously altering breathing can affect emotional and arousal states, unless you're hyperventilating, holding the breath, or doing something else that's weird, I think there are more important things to focus on...
Let's consider the following, according to Seiseki Abe Sensei, Master Calligrapher and 10th Dan Aikido Master. "The common element present in all DO is the conscious manipulation of breath. Without it, all you have is exercise or empty movement."
Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I never considered studying the history of O'Sensei and his colleagues particularly relevant.
Having said that, PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF THE ART, NEVER RETURN TO AN AIKIDO DOJO AGAIN!!!!! Kidding, please do, but do so with a more "inquisitive" mind, one that may be emptied just enough to entertain the idea that you may have completely missed the point.
Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
As for the Ki stuff, I have no comment.
Given that you don't find anything regarding the history of the founder relevant, it is no wonder that you have no comment. This attitude is unfortunately present in many statements showing a keen misunderstanding of the purpose for Jumbi Taiso.

When I have a bit more time, I would like to present a fair and balanced representation of the purpose for the presence of a complete warm-up.

Lynn's comments (Hi Lynn) are coming from a good place, as usual. I was enlightened by several of Furuya Sensei's comments, becoming newly informed as to the source of the apparent outward physical methodology O-Sensei mapped over the internal elements in the warm-up. As a result of this information, I intend to do a bit of research into Dr. Nishi's theories so that I may better understand why O-Sensei moved in such a modern direction considering his otherwise more traditional approach.

These days, there seems to be such focus on making Aikido more "martial," and how we all need to learn to make it more "effective" "My" disgust comes more from the state of aikido, specifically due to those proclaiming to teach it without even the dim remnants of an ember from the fire of O-Sensei's hearth to light the narrow, dark path upon which we each seek to travel.

Please consider that O-Sensei said, "Aikido is a form of Misogi." Simply speaking, Misogi is completely about breath control; hence the reason for the focus on a form of breathing that has been practiced for thousands of years, and is the essence of both the bu and bun paths that have been passed down from Master to disciple for generations. To aimlessly dismiss breathing, and the movements associated with jumbi taiso, is to blindly gut aikido, leaving nothing but empty form.

Last edited by Misogi-no-Gyo : 10-18-2003 at 12:22 AM.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:38 AM   #33
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Quote:
Shaun Ravens (Misogi-no-Gyo) wrote:
Given that you don't find anything regarding the history of the founder relevant, it is no wonder that you have no comment. This attitude is unfortunately present in many statements showing a keen misunderstanding of the purpose for Jumbi Taiso.
Jumbi Taiso? Is that a Japanese breakfast cereal?

The subject here was warming up for Aikido. As such, no, I don't think studying the history of O'Sensei or any past sensei relevant. Past masters and the majority of their students were undoubtedly a self-selected, athletically-inclined, non-injury-prone group. I say this not out of idle speculation, but because the warmup and conditioning methods handed down with every traditional martial art I've seen are awful - most substantially worse than no warmup at all. You are welcome to accept arguments from authority based on rank and pedigree, and consider this a matter to be investigated via poetry and the japanese-english dictionary. I consider the matter of conditioning and injury prevention to be something that can be rationally sorted out based upon looking at the far more recent and accurately observed history of contemporary athletics and scientific research.
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:59 AM   #34
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Quote:
Shaun Ravens (Misogi-no-Gyo) wrote:
These days, there seems to be such focus on making Aikido more "martial," and how we all need to learn to make it more "effective" "My" disgust comes more from the state of aikido, specifically due to those proclaiming to teach it without even the dim remnants of an ember from the fire of O-Sensei's hearth to light the narrow, dark path upon which we each seek to travel.
I can see how this would be frustrating for you, but I think you have to give the rest of us a break. Many of us are apparently spiritually impovrished mental midgets who may not even be capable of approaching your level of greatness and enlightenment.
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Old 10-18-2003, 08:12 AM   #35
Col.Clink
Dojo: Waiuku Ki Society
Location: New Zealand
Join Date: Dec 2002
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I enjoy the warm up. Contrary to other thoughts, I find it loosens me up physically(as my job is rather static, become quite stiff) and puts me in a good frame of mind, gets rid of the days tensions & stresses, I guess prepares me for taking in the info on a clean slate. Each to their own huh?

cheers

Rob

"Excess leads to the path of Wisdom"
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Old 10-18-2003, 09:04 AM   #36
Misogi-no-Gyo
Join Date: May 2002
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Nice mouth!

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
I can see how this would be frustrating for you, but I think you have to give the rest of us a break. Many of us are apparently spiritually impovrished mental midgets who may not even be capable of approaching your level of greatness and enlightenment.
You are right, but there may still be hope for you yet, as the Marlins may actually win. However, should they lose, Seppuku is your only salvation.

Must be all that sunshine, or all of them Girls Gone Wild videos that have made you so crazy. In the end though, with all your mighty scientific pontification, you really don't you're your a$s from your elbow. It doesn't take spirituality, greatness or enlightenment to see a blind person walking aimlessly across a busy highway. If you want to go on shrieking like a madman at someone because they yell out and offer a hand, you should try biting it, rather than your own tongue.

Maybe it is just the name Kevin - anyone no any nice people named Kevin?

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 10-18-2003, 12:43 PM   #37
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Re: Nice mouth!

Quote:
Shaun Ravens (Misogi-no-Gyo) wrote:
You are right, but there may still be hope for you yet, as the Marlins may actually win. However, should they lose, Seppuku is your only salvation.

Must be all that sunshine, or all of them Girls Gone Wild videos that have made you so crazy. In the end though, with all your mighty scientific pontification, you really don't you're your a$s from your elbow. It doesn't take spirituality, greatness or enlightenment to see a blind person walking aimlessly across a busy highway. If you want to go on shrieking like a madman at someone because they yell out and offer a hand, you should try biting it, rather than your own tongue.

Maybe it is just the name Kevin - anyone no any nice people named Kevin?
Wow. I am humbled by your impressive clarity of thought, skillful command of grammar and talent for metaphor. I will stop here before I embarass myself further.
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Old 10-18-2003, 07:39 PM   #38
Misogi-no-Gyo
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Re: Re: Nice mouth!

Quote:
Kevin Wilbanks wrote:
Wow. I am humbled by your impressive clarity of thought, skillful command of grammar and talent for metaphor. I will stop here before I embarass myself further.
Are you done, now?

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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Old 10-18-2003, 09:51 PM   #39
Kyri Honigh
Dojo: Aikido Curacao
Location: Curacao
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 50
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Foolish adults, ur stupidity sickens me.. Is it impossible to show some respect to the theories that led to out art?Scientific thought is not that old. And in my opinion its usually the safest way to investigate and come up with answers to almost any problem. But a lot will be overlooked if u only adhere to scientific though.

Maybe like in a few hundred years will say that our scientific way of researching was based on BS...Who knows.

well I'm gonna play with my Ps2 now, shit I need a life, can't believe I'm actually replying
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Old 10-19-2003, 07:48 AM   #40
markwalsh
Dojo: Airenjuku Brighton
Location: On the road - UK
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Seems to me that during "warm ups" several different processes are occurring. Some are short-term preparation (e.g., increasing muscle temp.) while others are longer-term training (e.g. increasing ROM or strength). Possible aims for aikido warm up exercises might be:

Motor skills training.

Mental preparation (calm down, hype up, get in the right frame of mind)

Injury prevention.

Flexibility training.

Muscle strength training.

Ki development.

Spiritual development.

Hangover recovery.

So I guess the question is what do you want; and I think we can agree to differ here; and what is the best way of achieving it (the science bit)?

On a personal note I have found that my understanding of many of the aiki warm up exercises has changed over the years. I now view many of them as educational tools, and see them in a more meditative light. One instructor I know asks students to "listen" to their bodies during warm ups so they can learn from them. Warm ups can be aikido not just preparation for it.

Re. breathing exercises, aikido seems to me like one big breathing exercise/ massage, whatever the style.



Mark

x
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Old 10-19-2003, 10:01 AM   #41
Kevin Wilbanks
Location: Seattle/Southern Wisconsin
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Mark,

That's some sensible thinking, although I'm not sure aims and means can be divided up as neatly as you propose. Far from being a matter of whimsical preference, the "science bit" has some pretty clear inputs regarding the appropriateness of some of those aims.

If one is after long-term adaptations in terms of strength or flexibility, the brief warmup period prior to Aikido training just isn't a very good place for these. Beyond the most rudimentary levels of fitness, there isn't enough time to accomplish anything. Increasing ROM requires more extensive and frequent sessions. Without specifically targeted joint actions, the time requirements could become staggering. Also, stretching this vigorously just prior to intense athletic activity is contraindicated as it has been shown to reduce strength output.

Likewise, in terms of strength, there is also inadequate time or facilites to accomplish much that would be useful to any but the dedicated couch-potato. The timing is not good, as just before a possibly extensive and vigorous workout is not the best time to exhaust, deplete and weaken the muscles. The most productive thing to do subsequent to serious strength exercise is to rest and replenish nutrients, not pile on an long exercise session running on empty.

Motor-skills wise, I think it is also questionable whether anything beyond the most rudimentary can be accomplished with solo warmup exercise. Motor skills are highly specific and can really only be addressed by doing the activity itself. Since Aikido is about doing things in relation to a partner, the role of solo exercise is inherently limited - far too many important elements are missing. Paul's surfing analogy comes to mind: while there may be some benefit at a beginner level to putting the board on the sand and practicing how to stand on it, how much time do experienced surfers spend doing this?

Also, my understanding with regards to hangovers: your system is full of toxic byproducts of alcohol metabolism, and it simply takes time to process them. The Aikido training itself might help in the long run by speeding up metabolism for a while, but nothing you can do in the 10 minutes prior to working out is going to make much difference.

Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 10-19-2003 at 10:05 AM.
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