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Old 07-23-2004, 12:56 PM   #1
Hawkins121
Join Date: Jun 2004
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breaking body habits

Hi,

I have been training for a little over a month now. My ukemi is getting better but I still have a hell of a time with most techniques. I have trained in Tang soo do and have been trained in the military so the habits i have developed training just dont seem to go away.

I know that there are alot of aikidokas that have trained in other arts and I was hoping to get some feedback to see what you have done to get rid of these old habits that hinder aikido.

I feel mighty rediculous when the instructor shows the simplist of movements and I tell him i understand. Then I proceed to do something completely different from what he just showed me!

This frustrates me greatly because I consider myself to be a fairly coordinated person and I feel almost 'retarded' when i step onto the mat.

I thank you in advance for you comments.
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Old 07-23-2004, 01:27 PM   #2
Jordan Steele
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Re: breaking body habits

I trained Wing Chun for four years beofre Aikido, so I had a lot of habits that needed to be broken. Wing Chun is close, fast, and snappy and Aikido is large and flowing. There aren't any physical exercises that will cure this, it is a mental thing. When you are ready to forget what you have learned previously and just do what is being showed with an open mind it works. I was always trying to keep some of my wing chun in my aikido, but I had to learn that when I'm in the dojo, I'm training Aikido and nothing else, just do what the sensei shows.
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Old 07-23-2004, 01:46 PM   #3
Don_Modesto
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
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Re: breaking body habits

Quote:
William Hawkins wrote:
....I still have a hell of a time with most techniques. I have trained in Tang soo do and have been trained in the military so the habits i have developed training just dont seem to go away....I was hoping to get some feedback to see what you have done to get rid of these old habits that hinder aikido....
You're looking at the negative. What're the positives? In my case, coming from Shotokan--very similar to TSD--I was alert, centered, not phased by taking a shot. I would guess that despite your own perceived shortcomings, you're still ahead of the game.

As to breaking habits, what I recommend to people who ask is what I do myself: When locked into something ineffecient, I drop back and forget about "winning". Even in aikido, we still want to WIN, to throw that other person. But when I just let the techniqe go past me and even dissipate, if you will, with attendant strange looks from UKE--that is, at the problem point just stop moving and see what happens--often I can feel UKE's opening and the problem resolves itself.

Hope this helps.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
------------------------
http://www.theaikidodojo.com/
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Old 07-24-2004, 01:15 AM   #4
Bronson
 
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Re: breaking body habits

Quote:
William Hawkins wrote:
I have been training for a little over a month now.
Quote:
William Hawkins wrote:
....what you have done to get rid of these old habits that hinder aikido.
Train for much longer than a month

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 07-24-2004, 07:59 AM   #5
DaveO
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
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Re: breaking body habits

1st; I call it 'physical retraining'; not unlearning - what skills you already have should be supplemented by aikido; not replaced by it. Speaking as someone who has had to do a lot of physical retraining; I recommend superslow, supersoft practice. It's boooooooooring sometimes to do a basic movement at the speed of continental drift; but that slowness helps you to voluntarily guide your body into the position it's supposed to be. As your body begins to get with the program; the movements will start to feel more natural; less deliberate. Works wonders; helps with patience too.
As for supersoft; it helps just as much in different ways. Physical force is, when you get right down to it, a crutch many of us who trained in hard fighting skills rely on. By practicing supersoft technique; one must isolate the leading, flowing nature of aikido destabilization and redirection and eliminate strength/force as a criteria. By practicing both together (slow and soft); one shakes a lot of the speed/force hangups our bodies have developed and more easily learns to get more in line with aikido technique.
Cheers!

Answers are only easy when they're incomplete.
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Old 07-24-2004, 10:56 AM   #6
SeiserL
 
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Re: breaking body habits

I come from a FMA/JKD background. At first the body would "stutter" because it didn't want to do what it was shown. I don't want to "unlearn" FMA/JKD and still attend seminars. I try to slow down and compartmentalize the training. When doing Aikido, do Aikido. When doing FMA/JKD, do FMA/JKD. It still gets interesting when we do Tanto/knife work. That were the past training really shows.

IMHO, relax, and enjoy learning something new and giving yourself more options. Many of the people I train with have strong background in other arts. We call each other on it, and laugh.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 07-27-2004, 03:21 AM   #7
Jorx
Dojo: Pärnu Aikidoclub Singitai
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Re: breaking body habits

I have a vice versa problem. I have trained in Aikido for 5 years and a little less than a year ago began taking BJJ, submission grappling and Vale Tudo in general. I sometimes tend to fall or roll too easily, so people just flow along and come on top of me. In Aikido you can get away and safe by taking an appropriate ukemi but in bjj they follow and you just get swept. Points in sport bjj, mounted and pounded in life / Vale Tudo.
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Old 07-27-2004, 03:55 AM   #8
Bridge
Dojo: Slough Aikikai
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Re: breaking body habits

I totally understand.

I reckon the guys at my aikido dojo think I'm rubbish at the backward ukemi cos I used to do jiujitsu and am trying to do the nice aikido version. I get in a muddle. And it all ends up looking like a mess!

And you're not alone in the not being able to get the "simplest of things", me too. But then, I was surprised how much I had learnt when some new beginners showed up and we went through the stuff I started on. Sensei had been "stretching" our understanding all along.

Keep going, it'll sink in eventually.
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Old 07-27-2004, 08:28 AM   #9
markwalsh
Dojo: Airenjuku Brighton
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Re: breaking body habits

Its called negative transfer and I'd say the only cure was practice. It probably wont make the other habits disappear, but may make your body/brain differentiate between two sets of responses.

It tends to happen when two things are similar but not similar enough! An analogy would be a wax tablet that has grooves in (practiced movements). New moments close to the groove tend to slip into it until a new groove is made. If you can, practicing very slowly and mindfully helps as mentioned.

I know how frustrating this can be, and to make it worse some instructors aren't very clever/ considerate and think you're doing it just to annoy them (rather than by accident).

As Mr Modesto said there is always the good side (called... "positive transfer" - for the geeks out there). If you can relate new movements to stuff you've learnt before it makes picking it up a whole lot easier (as you learn by linking bits of info). Learning how to learn and the attitude that goes with martial arts is probably most of the battle so don't despair And heh, some might say that anyone who pays money to be thrown around and put in pain is "retarded".

Mark
x

Slightly off topic: T hese two things make teaching you and old people different. As young uns have less of both the positive and negative.

Off Topic: Did Aikido help the move to BJJ Jorx? Was there anything that came more easily to you than other students?
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Old 07-27-2004, 08:45 AM   #10
gilsinnj
 
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Re: breaking body habits

One of the black belts at our dojo has been training for over 6 years now, and he still goes back on his Shodokan training every now and then, even though he only trained in that for 2 years.

Actually, our instructor doesn't look at it as a disadvantage, he's one of the best nage's in our dojo since he is also one of the best uke's. He's really good at throwing realistic attacks at the nage, definitely better than the rest of us when it comes to kicks. (Plus he's 6'4" with legs that seem like they are 5' long, so he can develop some real power with his kicks.)

-- Jim
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Old 07-27-2004, 09:45 AM   #11
Jorx
Dojo: Pärnu Aikidoclub Singitai
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Re: breaking body habits

Of course it helped in some ways. But the "other students" thing is not quite clear because I try to be one of the BJJ pioneers in Estonia and we're using outstanding methods and hard training Has gotten me in somewhat noob-bluebelt level with HUGE chunks of knowledge in 10 months or so but that's the good coach and good attitude I guess. But yes, 5 years of any MA doesn't just disappear in any way it has developed coordination and some timing. THOUGH I must say that being in a competitive and alive art as bjj, is in manymany ways a whole different world.
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Old 07-29-2004, 09:40 AM   #12
SeiserL
 
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Re: breaking body habits

IMHO, don't "break body habits" just learn more options.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 07-29-2004, 11:40 AM   #13
Hawkins121
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Re: breaking body habits

thanks for all of the replies.

Things have been getting easier with every class. I am learning to control my frustration. I am slowly making progress and it feels good to see myself getting better.
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Old 07-29-2004, 12:16 PM   #14
Lyle Laizure
 
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Re: breaking body habits

No different when you first started training in your first art. Practice, practice, practice. You go slow then you speed up. It is frustrating though. LOL Man is it ever frustrating, but it does get better.

Lyle Laizure
www.hinodedojo.com
Deru kugi wa uta reru
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Old 08-23-2004, 11:58 PM   #15
CNYMike
Dojo: Finger Lakes Aikido
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Re: breaking body habits

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote:
.... I try to slow down and compartmentalize the training. When doing Aikido, do Aikido. When doing FMA/JKD, do FMA/JKD ....
I agree with Lynn on compartmentalization. And I am in a similar situation -- I resumed Aikdio in March, and I am also doing Kali, Pentjak Silat Serak, karate, and tai chi. I don't know which one of the above is the source of the little wrist bends twists I am always being called on in Aikdo, but it has to be one of them!

It's not so much a question of breaking old habits -- they will always be with you, IMHO. It's more a question of learning new ones, which you have already just started.

Hormat

Mas Mike
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Old 08-24-2004, 01:14 AM   #16
JJF
 
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Re: breaking body habits

Hmmm I've been doing Shotokan Karate and Kendo and it took me quite a while to convince my body to move in circles instead of in straight lines. However I' m not quite sure I would have done any better if I had had no MA experience prior to taking up Aikido. Pretty much whatever physical training we do will have som sort of positive effect on our ability to learn something new.

One thing though - whenever we get a new student that used to practice karate it allways takes a while for them to stop uttering 'Oss' each time they are being instructed...

- Jørgen Jakob Friis

Inspiration - Aspiration - Perspiration
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Old 08-24-2004, 02:38 AM   #17
Devon Natario
 
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Re: breaking body habits

Im with some of the responding practitioners.
#1 Train longer than a month
#2 Dont unlearn anything, learn something new

Being skilled in another art means you can add to that art, or use your other art and add to Aikido. Thats what evolution is all about.

Devon Natario
Instructor
Northwest Jujitsu
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Old 08-25-2004, 01:19 PM   #18
Woitkiewicz
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Re: breaking body habits

Quote:
Dave Organ wrote:
I recommend superslow, supersoft practice. It's boooooooooring sometimes to do a basic movement at the speed of continental drift; but that slowness helps you to voluntarily guide your body into the position it's supposed to be.

I'll have to agree with that. I have been training for about a month too. I trained in TKD so getting the circular movements the been a bit of a struggle. Going slow definitely helps. The best thing anyone told me though was, "you can only make your own body move forget about the uke. If he/she has your wrist, move something else"
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Old 08-25-2004, 03:49 PM   #19
Paul Sanderson-Cimino
Dojo: Yoshokai; looking into judo
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Re: breaking body habits

I saw an article by Ellis Amdur, I believe, which included a few points on this subject. To attempt to summarize:
1) Don't try to compress two arts into one to make it easier.
2) Try to keep them separate; let them make connections on their own, rather than seeking such connections out.
I'd also like to quote Jumonville-sensei: "Learn the distinction."
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Old 08-26-2004, 12:02 AM   #20
Jorx
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Re: breaking body habits

Uh... I feel I'm somehow regaining my natural balance. In some situations Aikido had it completely ruined... And guess what - it's much harder for other Aikidoka to throw or pin me now because I don't want to go anymore. I think I'm an example of how you can get some really bad body-habits EVEN if doing some quite proper and sometimes classical & sometimes unorthodox Aikido training.
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