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Old 07-10-2001, 08:40 AM   #1
arvin m.
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 36
aikido and weights lifting

How can one use the concepts of aikido in weight lifting. I hear alot abt lifting from yer centre but i cant really figure out what it means...
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Old 07-10-2001, 10:02 AM   #2
Dojo: Salina Aikido Club
Location: Salina, Kansas, USA
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 33
Re: aikido and weights lifting

Originally posted by arvin m.
How can one use the concepts of aikido in weight lifting. I hear alot abt lifting from yer centre but i cant really figure out what it means...

I don't think the concept of moving from your center is very applicable in weight lifting, unless your goal is to strengthen the core (torso) muscle groups.

An example of moving from your center would be to lock your arms in relation to your torso and move them by moving your torso. Instead of pulling uke toward you by drawing in your arms, you would lean back or take a step back. If your arms are rigid (locked) or extended so there is no slack, then uke must move with you as you move your torso (center). You are stronger moving your whole body then by just flexing your arms, in this example.

How does moving your center apply to weight lifting? Often, it doesn't. If you are working on your arms, for instance, you want to flex and extend those limbs, not lock them. You can't do bicept curls if you don't flex your arms. You'll never get approriate results because the bicept needs to move through a full range of motion while under load to gain strength. Moving the load by moving your center does little to build arm strength because there is no flexion involving the muscles you're targeting.

For muscle groups in your legs, however, moving the center seems like it would be appropriate. You pick up a weight, lock it in place by keeping your arms rigid, then do squats or calf raises or what-have-you. -- Steve

Steve Hoffman
That's going to leave a mark.
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Old 07-11-2001, 12:57 AM   #3
Location: South Korea
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 32
I think you should distinguish between weight lifting in the sense of gym exercise and 'competition' weight lifting. If you're just looking to get exercise, then what Steve says is right: you need to isolate muscle groups, not move from the center.

However, if you're talking about competition weight lifting, then that's a different matter. The arms mainly become conduits for power transmitted from the legs, hips and torso. This can be clearly seen in the 'snatch' movement used to lift the weights clear from the floor. Movement like this is not unlike aikido, which uses the power of whole-body movement rather than isolated muscle groups. But I disagree that the arms should be 'rigid'. They should be relaxed and flexible, though not lax, since tensing the muscles will block the transfer of power. I don't really know how this would improve your weightlifting. Maybe if you visualized your center, as we often do in aikido, you could improve the coordination of your movement.
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Old 07-11-2001, 06:07 AM   #4
ian's Avatar
Dojo: University of Ulster, Coleriane
Location: Northern Ireland
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,654
As was said, weight lifting (excl. for competition) is used to isolate muscles, whereas aikido attempts to utilise many misecles simultaneously.

However there are some aspects:

1. Breath out as you do the strenuous part of the excercise. Also, breath using your diaphragm.

2. Focus on the 'extending' feeling (ki flowing through your arms/hands).

3. keep your spine straight (for most excercises), and don't unnecessarily twist or contort it.

4. Try to get the feeling that the excercise is 'easy' i.e. don't huff & puff, focus and e.g. imagine that there is a strong elastic band pulling the weight off you (or whatever direction). i.e. visualisation.

These sometimes work for me, but often I'm just not in the right mental/physical condition for optimal effect.

If you're thinking over doing weights for aikido, I've started doing more excercises taken from Kung-fu/chi-kung which often don't require equipment and many use the whole body at the same time. Also, I use Bruce Lee's punching excercise with weights i.e. get two 10kg weights and punch quickly with each arm (Bruce Lee apparently could do around 100 in one go - whereas I usually have to do sets and can't do more than around 24) - NB be careful of hyper-extension & make sure you're warmed up.

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